Tim May is a studio guitarist that has recorded and/or performed with Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra, The Pointer Sisters, Ray Charles, Toni Braxton, John Williams, Michael Feinstein, Jerry Lee Lewis, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Janet Jackson, Quincy Jones, the Carpenters, Stan Getz, Lalo Shiffrin, Lionel Richie, Cher, Linda Ronstadt, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Louie Bellson, Gladys Knight and many more.
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My short bio: I am studio guitarist that has recorded and/or performed with Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra, The Pointer Sisters, Ray Charles, Toni Braxton, John Williams, Michael Feinstein, Jerry Lee Lewis, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Janet Jackson, Quincy Jones, the Carpenters, Stan Getz, Lalo Shiffrin, Lionel Richie, Cher, Linda Ronstadt, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Louie Bellson, Gladys Knight and many more.
What does Celine Dion smell like?
Celine Dion smells like talent.
I've met Jerry Lee, and he was a train wreck. What was it like to work with him?
Did Sinatra smell like whiskey, cigarettes, and sex?
Jerry Lee was Jerry Lee! Late, a little juiced, but came in and sat down and played like only he does! Had a lot of fun!
Didn't get a wiff of Frank Sinatra, sorry.
What would be your best advice for writing music?
Listen to and be influenced by all styles of music, and learn and understand HARMONY. When hearing music you particularly are drawn to, try to learn and identify WHY a certain musical work appeals to you. Learn the musical theory of what is being played. The idea is to acquire these tools and use them in your own compositions.
How are big stars behaving when you have to work with them?
Hi and thanks for doing the ama! which artist through the best parties after the show? also who do you think was the most genuinely nice? and genuinely not nice?
Well..I don't think I ever had much of a problem with people being a drag. Most everyone I've worked with has been pretty cool, just some more diplomatic than others. Seth MacFarlane definitely has the best parties!
Do you get sheet music and just play what's on the paper, or can you improv your parts?
I get anything from a very specific written part, to "we don't know what we want so come up with something good" and anywhere in between. As a guitarist I'm usually allowed a lot of freedom to create.
what are the weirdest warmup exercises you've seen another musician go through?
Nothing particularly weird comes to mind. I'm sure all the weird stuff is done in private.
Thanks for doing this!
What's your most fun memory from recording?
Honestly there have been so many great moments for different reasons, it's hard to pick one. I think one of the best thing about the music business experience for me has to be working with so many extremely talented people, who also happen to be great people that I truly enjoy being with. Someone said the best thing about the music business is the musicians! I think that's true.
What's the oddest drug you've seen someone do in the studio?
Nothing comes to mind. (????)
Were any of them not involved at all other then coming in to record their vocals, meaning did they not participate in the instrumental piece (even if it was just input)? If so, who?
Much of the time that was how it was done with many artists. I always preferred to hear even a scratch vocal to hear the song properly.
if you're still answering questions: how does one enter the studio musician scene?
i'm a drummer who's played for several bands and i'd like to think i have some chops. i'm getting a bit too old for the touring-in-an-old-van lifestyle, but i'm not entirely ready to put down music, and i've met a few people who make a living (or a side job) of studio music, but nobody ever seems to have a clear idea how to make that happen
First you have to be in a town where there is recording going on. Then you have to be real good, real fast, real versatile, and real professional, and people who are hiring musicians have to know about you. It's not easy, and it's very competitive. Good luck!
ive heard of you for some reason. a previous reddit ama?
im kind of surprised i dont have a question. im a guitar player. i had aspirations at some point i guess.
ok heres one: which artist was your first big break?
When I first moved to LA, The first band I played with was Louie Belson's big band. The great thing about that is was able to meet lots of players. The more people that hear (and like ) you play the better.
Hi! Why the big career change from comedy (30 Rock was amazing, and I Loved you on SNL!) to music?
They are mostly all good for different reasons. I love the variety.
great response. my question is, what is your advice for motivation? i find myself getting pretty good ideas for riffs or songs and i rarely ever finish them all the way through.
Think of the reason you are writing the song. If you are just entertaining yourself with no particular goal, that's fine. Enjoy yourself and your ideas. If you have a goal like to record or perform the song, just do that. Don't worry about perfection. Do the best you can, and know that (hopefully) you'll keep getting better as long as you keep
writing. I have a real procrastination problem, but I'll address that later.