Scott Detweiler / Blog

Lou Reed Hamburger & Coffee

When I first moved to Los Angeles I got a gig waiting tables at the Sheraton at Universal City, across from Universal Studios. (The hotel is now run by Hilton). This was about 1985 or 1986. It was after the lunch rush on a weekday. One of my coworkers came into the kitchen really angry. He said he had a very difficult customer who was very rude. I peeked into the almost empty restaurant and my friend pointed to the table. The customer was Lou Reed. I offered to take the table and my friend was glad to turn it over to me (my coworker had not been in this country very long and did not know who he was). All Lou Reed wanted was a hamburger and a cup of coffee. No menu. Just a hamburger and a cup of coffee. He was not very friendly at all. But it was fine with me. I was glad to have been able to serve him his hamburger and cup of coffee.

Ellis Marsalis On Soloing

Early in my development I had the good fortune to study privately with Ellis Marsalis, at the piano in his living room. One of the main principles of music that I learned from him was about soloing. He said that if your rhythm playing is weak then your solos will be weak. I know this to be true (it is true for pianists, like Ellis, as well as guitarists, like me). There are many players who can shred off millions of notes, but because the notes are not well-placed within the context of any rhythm, they lack elements of drama and color. On the other hand, a few well-placed notes can stain the memory and stir emotion in the heart of the listeners. One of my favorite examples of the proof of this is in the playing of B.B. King. I do not know what kind of rhythm player he is. I have seen him several times (live) and I have not see him play rhythm. But his solos are masterful. Although you will not hear many notes in his solos, the notes you will hear are very well-placed, and framed by his very strategic use of space.

Robert Conti

Detweiler met Robert Conti at the annual NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show in 2008. The meeting and association would forever change his guitar playing and his approach to the instrument. "Bob has had such an impact on my playing", Detweiler explains. "I am a student of his phrasing and approach to improvisation and recommend his system to all guitarists, no matter how long they have been playing". Most people, when asked about their personal favorite guitar player or choice of best guitarists of all time, name the usual dozen, or so. Says Detweiler, "Robert Conti is one of the greatest guitar players ever to play the instrument. Any live video of him that you can watch on Youtube will cause you to rethink your opinion about your definition of great guitar playing and the possibilities of the guitar".

About Finesse

Detweiler's first guitar teacher, Ellen Simon, was adamant about the importance of finesse when playing the guitar. Says Detweiler, "she used to tell me that finesse made the difference between a guitar player who just played the notes and chords, and a player who really put emphasis on the details, chord changes and dynamics. I think that finesse is important in all aspects of our lives; not just in music. It makes the difference in our relationships and communication with others".

Update September 2013

Detweiler is currently working on new material and soliciting support for a 2014 UK tour.