New Groove: Tim Herron Corporation
The latest New Groove act selected by our readers is the Tim Herron Corporation. The Syracuse-based trio first came together in 2000 and maintains a steady tour schedule in the New York area and beyond. Last fall the group released its latest studio effort, Talkabout.
Here’s what Tim Herron has to say about the Corporation…
Can you talk about the development of the group? How did you meet everyone and how did the current line-up solidify?
The group formed 11 years ago. Eric McElveen, our bass player, is the promoter of Sterling Stage and we got together to play a show out there. Over the next few years we toured regionally throughout the northeast playing many of the common jamband haunts. About seven years ago we went to playing only a few shows a year due to Eric being in California. A couple of years ago Eric moved to NYC and we decided to ramp things up again. Our drummer PJ Bullock was starting a family and couldn’t play as much as we wanted so we were able to get a guy I was doing jazz gigs with, Dave Salce (who of all things played with the loudest band in the world Blue Cheer). Recently we added a Pedal Steel/Guitar player named Patrick Strain. We’ve always been the unofficial house band/host band of Sterling Stage and the band really has developed in front of that audience, they are a big part of who we are.
In terms of musical backgrounds and interests, what does everyone bring to bear?
I would say that I bring most of the musical material to the table, including styles and avenues for improvisation and the general direction of the band, although that is a shared duty with Eric. Dave brings a vast knowledge of drumming, he was brought up in the cortland music scene under Rainbow drummer Gary Driscoll and has a strong connection to the Deep Purple musical tree, that and his years of study as a jazz musician in Ithaca give us an incredible array of musical grooves to bounce in and out of. Eric brings a lot of high level concepts about the music, direction and most important, what we want to say. Pat brings a solid foundation of a great musician so we can expand further.
How would you describe the vitality and support of your local music scene?
The band calls Central New York home and I would say that some of the best fans I have ever had the pleasure to meet have been right here. The town, Syracuse, is definitely stuck in its ways a bit, tribute acts are very popular and seem to swallow up most of the city’s musical exposure. However with this environment, underground musical communities like Sterling Stage have emerged and they are by far the most supportive group of people on the planet.
Who writes the band’s music? How it is typically presented to the group and how does it then come together?
I write most of the music, Eric does contribute some on occasion. We all live in different parts of the state, so technology has been very important to us. I can record a song and E-mail it off for the group to think about. When we do get together we go over the tune but in reality the tune doesn’t really take shape till we hit the stage. On stage is where it really finds it’s identity
How do you approach original songs in the live setting?
It really depends on the song. Some songs we play just like the album. Others we have left open space to create and see where we can take it.
What about covers, can you talk about what songs you toss in from time to time? Who selects them?
Either Eric or myself usually selects them. We do a bluegrass version of “Creep” by Radiohead. “Cocaine Blues” by Johnny Cash is another fun one. “100 Years Ago” by the Stones.
In terms of cover tunes can you talk about any spectacular successes and failures?
People really love our bluegrass version of “Creep” for some reason.
How often do you rehearse? What do you focus on when you get together for rehearsal?
Rehearsal is tough for us because of our proximity but we usually block off a time right before we go out for a run. We mostly focus on new material.
Can you talk about some of your performance highlights thus far. Is there a gig (or gigs) that stand out? Why?
I would have to say our set at the Sterling Stage Folkfest last year was a great highlight. Also this years New Year’s Eve show at the Watehole in Saranac Lake was real special. Both for the same reason: great energetic fans coming out to show their support.
What about your efforts in the studio. What has it been like bringing your live energy into that context?
I really try for an accurate picture of the band through our recordings. I try to make it as much to true life as possible if you were coming out to a show. I do like to add certain things but nothing that would misrepresent the band. At our level recording are a tool to get people to shows, and giving something that isn’t real would not be beneficial to us or the fans.
Any final thoughts to folks across the country who may be hearing about you for the first time from this piece?
As a band we feel very fortunate and blessed to play music for amazing people. For this group it’s all about the long haul and playing music we love for our community however far that might reach.