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Tom Curren - Interview

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I recently had the chance to talk with 3-time surfing world champ and musician Tom Curren about his newest collection of music. The EP titled Summerland Road is a classic rock blend of blues and island rhythms that perfectly encapsulates the surfing experience while staying distinctively separate from it. And while some of his answers show his characteristic quirkiness, it’s clear, that Tom is still living life on his own terms and still proving that he is not just a surfer but rather a total artist who is equally adept at drawing perfect lines across the wave face as he is stroking (and stoking) melodic guitar rhythms.

Read the review of Summerland Road.

Tom, what were your early musical influences? What bands got you into music in the first place?

The very first album I had was the White Album by the Beatles when I was like 5 or something so that was the first music I ever heard. My dad didn’t have much. I think he had woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. Some Hawaiian music, too. I think my mom liked the Beatles maybe. Yeah, that was the earliest kind of memory of music sort of for me actually.

How about now? What music are you into?

I listen to the radio a fair bit. And I get to hear a lot of different styles of music. You know, college radio and commercial free radio and a lot of different programs and stuff like that.

Am I off base or do I hear an Eagles influence on your new music?

Yeah, definitely, I think the Eagles have been an influence on music from my perspective. You know, it’s always on the radio.

What writers/singers are your lyrical influences?

I guess I mean it’s hard to say. I guess I like listening to Van Morrison or James Taylor or that kind of style. Kind of you know, I think the songs are straight-forward and direct with some musicality going on. You know, pretty simple. I like simple music and simple lyrics.

Do you feel that your lyrics and music are equal in importance or is one aspect more important than the other?

Equal I guess. Wait hold on, Jay.

…Very long silence and then a crash.

Just a sec Jay. Sorry.

It’s really hot here. I’m gonna go down to the beach. Sorry, go on.

Cool. What inspires your lyrics? Where do you find the themes or subjects for your lyrics?

Well, I think it kinda comes from a song idea as far of the guitar sound and I make up some words to go with it or the other way around. Where you just make rhymes and find a rhythm to go with it. As far as the content of the songs, I think, songs that I like have some kind of a message.

What is Summerland Road? What does it symbolize?

Well, that just seems just kind of a nostalgia kind of thing you know. Anyways. Yeah just like nostalgia. Not really things in the past particularly. I don’t know. That song just kind of had a guitar chord progression going on and the words were the ones that kind of worked with it. It’s a love song, whatever that means.

The opening line: “Did I want to live your life/ struggling to get by/ always thinking about tomorrow…continues…“Gotta go/ I can’t follow.” Is this something you think about? Your life seems pretty unique. Is it something you’ve tried to do – avoid a “normal” life?

Oh yeah, absolutely it has to. My goal in writing music isn’t to sell a bunch of records or anything. I want to make songs that aren’t just about one person. You know the songs that I like are somewhat idealistic or universal. But for me, you know, I don’t like to look at my writing like that. I am really critical of my own writing, and I want to make sure that it’s okay, I guess.

Continue reading Part 2 of my interview with Tom Curren.

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