Alex Skolnick The Exclaim! Questionnaire
Published Oct 01, 2002Alex Skolnick is a guitarist and composer from Berkeley, Ca, currently residing in New York City. The new album by the Alex Skolnick Trio is called Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation.
Music: EST. Films: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Books: The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen. Food: anything hot, esp. Indian, Thai, Middle Eastern.
Mind-altering work of art:
Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig
Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Probably Zawinul Syndicate at Yoshi's in Oakland Ca. Some of the best musicianship I've ever seen.
What has been your career high and low?
High: having a major feature in Billboard magazine for my new album (and first solo album).
Low: Putting my first solo project together (in 1992) and realising that the guys I had were born again Christians. I didn't have any problem with this, until they insisted on group prayer sessions, and talking about Jesus every five minutes. By this time I already had two gigs booked and had to play them knowing it was already over with this band.
What should everyone shut up about?
Everyone should shut up about Friends, Britney Spears, and other trendy mediocre entertainment.
I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
Peace in the Middle East.
What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
Like: I don't judge anyone based solely on appearance, reputation, family etc... I give everyone a chance. (If they screw up their chance, that's another story...).
Dislike: Sometimes I'm too nice and say "yes" when I really should say "no."
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
I would kick someone out of the band if weren't able to get play their parts right. Unfortunately, I've had to do it a few times. I've never had to kick anyone out of bed, fortunately. But I would if she slapped me and said "Say my name, bitch!"
When I think of Canada I think:
Of the red leaf, eh?
What is your vital daily ritual?
I exercise (run, go to the gym, occasional yoga class), eat, shower, work on music for a few hours, check messages, check e-mail, and whatever other plans I have that day.
How do you spoil yourself?
Cafe Mocha (hot or iced/blended) and a big fat chocolate chip cookie.
What was your most memorable day job?
I only had one, and it wasn't very memorable: bagging groceries at Star Grocery in Berkeley. I was called a "courtesy clerk" and we used to say "courtesy jerk!"
If I wasn1t playing music I would be:
A writer. I haven't given up on that yet.
What is your greatest fear?
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
To cause deserving people to see their shallowness for what it is.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
Sun, water, heat.
Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
Yes and no. They both cause people to put aside their thoughts and give in to sensation. Their is also a similar process between performing music and performing sex: to be done well, both require sensitivity, expression and different stages leading to a high point. A career in sex is frowned upon, while a career in music is, well, come to think of it, frowned upon. I guess they're more the same than I thought... except that music plays a less important role in intimacy, heartbreak, weird feelings between friends, pregnancy and disease.
Strangest brush with celebrity:
I spent about a week and a half as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist. I didn't see much of him, but when I did, it was like something out of the Osbournes television series.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
It would be the Three Stooges: Moe, Larry, Curly and also Shemp. I would go to Katz's Deli on Houston St. in the city and pick up giant sandwiches on rye, matzah ball soup and cake.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
Doing academic research at some major university.