Seoul greets the world’s most dangerous guitaristWhat does it take to be part of The World’s Most Dangerous Band? Talent, definitely ― and attitude. How else is the phrase “I’m with The World’s Most Dangerous Band” going to roll off the tongue?
Hiram Bullock, the barefoot guitarist for the band led by Paul Shaffer on the original “Late Night with David Letterman” show, has plenty of both. For the first, check out his concert in Korea. For the latter, visit his Web site, www.hirambullock.com.
Under the link “Rumor Control,” one question Bullock deals with is, “Is it true that you started to play guitar to meet more girls? Did it work?” When asked about “Rumor Control,” Bullock laughs. “I’m the type of person that people like to talk about,” he says from his New York office. “I’m just one of those personalities. People in the scene will say, ‘Did you hear what Hiram did the other day?’ I figured I would get it in fact so they wouldn’t have to wonder.”
(Note: the answer to the questions about meeting girls is yes.)
Then Bullock adds, “I should update that page. I live a pretty quiet life now. It was a lot more, let’s say, unbridled before.”
Bullock was born in Japan, and moved to the United States at age 2. He attended the music school at the University of Miami and studied with jazz heavies Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius. Bullock has released more than 10 albums and worked with Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Paul Simon, Sting, Miles Davis, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton and James Taylor. And that’s not the entire list.
Bullock performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Polimedia Theater in Daehangno, north Seoul, followed by a workshop on Thursday. The concerts follow the release of his latest solo album, “Try Livin’ It.” Bullock built his reputation as a jazz guitarist, but here he rocks. He’ll be taking the stage with drummer Jeremy Gaddie and bassist Frank Gravis.
Q You were studying piano at the Peabody as a child, playing saxophone at 11, the bass guitar in junior high, then the guitar in high school. Did you ever not want to be a musician?
A I didn’t want to be a musician then; I was just playing music. Who wants to be a musician? You’re always on tour and traveling on buses. You’re always struggling. I was not a person who was living for art. I liked to live well. I wanted to be a lawyer.
You went from dreaming about being a lawyer to...
I was lucky. I got to New York and landed gigs right away. People call me. I never really had to do anything I didn’t want to. In the past five, seven years, I’ve also begun doing my own thing.
Is there anyone left you want to play with?
Peter Gabriel and Stevie Ray Vaughan, separately.
What was it like learning with Jaco Pastorius?
He was not a great teacher. Insanity was slipping in. But he was my friend through it all. He was very funny, and a good-hearted person.
Have you taught any students?
Five. Most of them played better than I did, but they didn’t sound better. Guitar is an easy instrument to play, physically. But music is an emotional statement. It’s not about how fast you do it, or how technically proficient you are.
Your Web site has a community board, with both praise, some from fans in Korea, and criticism. How do you deal with the latter?
In any public situation, whether you’re an actor or a politician, some people like what you say, some won’t. That’s their prerogative. When you first start out, it can be tough. When you’re young, your work is you. If they don’t like it, you think they don’t like you. In actuality, your work is not you. You are you. I generally tell people, if they don’t like what they hear, listen to someone else. But if everyone doesn’t like it, that’s a different thing. What can you do?
What was it like working with The World’s Most Dangerous Band?
It’s like you go to work every day with your friends.
You know, Korea has the most dangerous golf hole, according to Sports Illustrated and Golf Digest Magazine. It’s by the DMZ.
I don’t think I’ll be going there
By Joe Yong-hee / Staff Writer
For more information, go to www.ampamp.net or call (02) 3675-2754. Tickets are 40,000 ($34) to 50,000 won.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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