Most people familiar with Paul Reed Smith would first describe him as a guitar maker. However, behind-the-scenes, Paul is an avid songwriter, recording enthusiast, and leader of a band.
Today, Paul’s band is releasing their latest album, Time To Testify. The album is being released on Steve Vai’s Favored Nations Label.
We sat down to interview Paul and learn more about his work as a musician.
Q&A WITH PAUL REED SMITH
Early on, what led you to the guitar, why not a drum kit or the keys?
Paul: Oh I fell in love with guitar, I never thought twice about it. It started when my bother took me to a record store and showed me a unique looking album with a guy with two eyes on his shirt, he said, “these guys are going to be huge.” We bought it and later that day my brother left the house and I couldn’t wait and opened it without him. By the time “Are You Experienced” came on, that’s it, I was hooked.
I loved listening to the guitar parts on all sorts of albums: James Brown, The Allman Bros Live at The Fillmore, Humble Pie Live at The Fillmore, every Jeff Beck album I could get my hands on. Led Zeppelin too, I was eating it all up.
A lot of people played guitar to get a girlfriend, I played it because I just loved it.
What style of music do you and your bandmates play - what would you say influenced that?
Paul: We call it “Chesapeake Gumbo” - it’s a combo of a lot of things: funk / rock / blues / r&b / cajun swing / go-go / reggae and baltimore inspired bad-to-the-bone grooves. All of the band members’ prior experience led to it - it was just natural.