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Willie Oteri: Seek and Ye Shall Find

By Published: December 8, 2004

AAJ: Are you still active in that area?

WO: No, but I would like to get back into it. I have some connections in Los Angeles for that, but it is difficult now, it has become a very closed market. There are three or four people who write things for movies now, and three or four people who record it. But there has been some interest, so eventually it would be nice to do something with that.

AAJ: It must be a problem for a musician like you to change your mind to the world of film music...

WO: If you are doing something for films, you have to do it like something that will work for the scenes of the movie, it is much freer to do what I do now, because you can do what the musicians are comfortable with when you are jamming, and more improv. I prefer what I am doing now, and I would prefer to keep traveling the world and promoting the CD.

AAJ: I have heard the CD Spiral Out , and I don't think it's possible to describe this music. You are really, really open-minded. Someone said to me once that you were a hard rock guitarist, but I don't think that is really true.

WO: Right. I think that a lot of me in my younger days is from hard rock. I was a fan of people like Jeff Beck and so on, I think it is just natural for Americans to play the guitar (ha ha). A lot of it is heavy stuff, but I try to be open-minded, I like to mix things together and do all the different styles.

AAJ: What about your other "idols"...

WO: I like John McLaughlin a lot as a guitarist, Stevie Ray Vaughan when he was alive, I don't like all the Stevie Ray Vaughan clones that are around these days...

AAJ: You like something with soul...

WO: Yeah soul, I don't listen to a lot of guitar players these days, I listen to sax players. I like people like Kenny Garrett, John Zorn, people who play really free, and a lot of my favorite bands are not really popular. Jazz Odyssey is a popular band in America at the moment, very avant-garde, open jazz stuff. It's mixed.

AAJ: Do you like any pop music? Peter Gabriel?

WO: Not the pop music that's out right now, Peter Gabriel that's old school pop, different from the singer songwriter girl pop that's popular in America now like Brittany Spears. Peter Gabriel, yes, of course. But there are a lot of good musicians behind one-hit-wonders, because it's good money and it's work. In a way it is because sometimes they are not contributing to the best forms of music or the best things for their future. They will just play on a tour and be forgotten about. They have to be really good to get the tour in the first place. And then nobody remembers who they are, it's kind of sad.

AAJ: Are you ready to do something like this for a one or two-hit-wonder?

WO: No, not me. I couldn't it, I would probably tend to focus on an older star, work with somebody like Peter Gabriel or something like that if I could.

AAJ: What about commercial success of Spiral Out...

WO: It's doing well for the odd CD that it is. It's gotten great reviews all over the world, people know it everywhere, I get E-mails from all over the world. So I think for the type of record that it is, it is doing very well. It's not really putting money in my pocket, but I never really expected that, I expected to be able to come to places like this and perform, which is what I wanted in the first place. I would like to progress now and do another one similar, even get the same players and do the next step of Spiral Out , it is difficult time-wise, and it's expensive.

AAJ: Do you have any idea how the performance will look today?

WO: Yeah, it's going to be pretty open, improvisational, were going to work from three or four of the themes of Spiral Out , and from there it's going to be totally open and free and I'll let the players throw it around and move in its own direction.

AAJ: Do you know the musicians and are you open for experiments?

WO: Very, very good, I was really impressed with the musicians. We all agreed on a few possible ideas of where to go. So we will be just nodding at each other and trying to keep it all as free as possible.

AAJ: What about your next project...?

WO: It's difficult but it can be done. I have played with enough different musicians around the world that I can feel the energy could go to another level by getting the right players together. I think Ronan Chris Murphy as producer would be perfect again, for he tends to listen more than most producers where they want to just structure it, he's open. I would like to take to another level.

AAJ: Is is possible you do something with the guys...

WO: I was thinking about that, a project having Oscar and the trumpet player, and a drummer named Schroeder from Germany, and his girlfriend plays violin, and we did a show in Italy with two members of a Croatian band called East Rodeo, and they were a bass and guitarist and both very, very good. And Schroeder, he is unbelievable, he can play in odd time signatures and it comes easy for him, and he really drives everything, really amazing. So I was thinking that I could put together the two guys from here along with two guys from Germany and that would make a really good record. So now it about the time and being able to afford it. I don't know how much it costs here, but in America it's very expensive.

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