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Magnificent Seven: The Sideman Roundtable, Part 2

Magnificent Seven: The Sideman Roundtable, Part 2

Peter Thorn, Jon Button, and Frank Simes

Peter Thorn: I was bad at sports, a geeky kid with thick glasses, bad haircut, and stuff like that. I wasn’t cool but I found music around fifth grade. I remember in sixth grade health class they had this Les Paul copy and this big old amp that use to shock you if the cord was the wrong way.

[All Laughing]

I took it to sixth grade health class to Show And Tell one day. I plugged in the guitar and played “Iron Man.” No singing. I was just playing the riff. All the kids were sitting there, “Wow!” I remember looking out at all the faces and going, “This is cool. I think I’ve found my deal.” It was really almost that simple. My first marker for me was that experience. That was my first crowd playing in front of people. This was my thing.

Lyle Workman: I grew up in the Northern California area playing in bands. We had a record deal with Island Records. Todd Rundgren produced our second record. Shortly after, we broke up and Todd asked people in Bourgeois Tagg to be his backing band. I think that was the first moment when I thought, now that I’m playing for someone else doing their thing, I guess I’m good enough to be playing with someone who I thought was amazing. That was the first time I thought maybe I can do this outside of being in a band.

Moving down to LA, one thing leads to another. You start doing sessions and then you’re in a room. Vinnie Colaiuta is playing drums and I’m playing the same time he’s playing drums!

[All Laughing]

And he’s not on a CD. You’re actually playing with him!

Lyle Workman: Yeah! When you start doing sessions and you start playing with people that’s when you start feeling, ok maybe... I still feel like that when I do a session with one of these guys. I feel like a sixteen year old kid reading the album credits.

There’s a video on YouTube of you directing the sessions for the movie Superbad. The guys on that date are legends.

Lyle Workman: That was fun. I had been asked to do the music for this movie. It was a Judd Apatow production. The director and the filmmakers had already temped in James Brown and Parliament, so it was really clear that we should go with that template. It was my idea and the filmmakers' to call Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, and Clyde Stubblefield. As soon as we started the very first cue, I realized it had to be conducted like a band rehearsal like when I was in high school. We couldn’t put charts up for everyone. We rehearsed it like a garage band and then we recorded it.

Brian Ray: Like a funk jam. That is so cool. It’s a great soundtrack.

Frank Simes and Eric Schermerhorn

Lyle Workman: I know you’ve had some great experiences on the way up, but playing with Paul has to be the ultimate. Where do you go from there?

[All Laughing]

Steve Stevens: [To Brian] This year we played Download Fest. I was in my hotel and they broadcast your performance from Isle of Wight. It was just astounding.

Brian Ray: Thank you so much.

Steve Stevens: The next day I said to Idol, “You have to see the footage of that.” It’s fuckin’ pyro! “Live and Let Die” was un-fucking unbelievable. The band is incredible.

Brian Ray: He’s so astounding. I don’t think that people expect to get their faces melted by McCartney. They think they’re going to hear some ballads or whatever. Then he rips your face off.

Lyle Workman: He’s so inspiring.

Steve Stevens: Regardless of the legacy, the amount of talent of everyone on that stage that carries their own weight holds up. It’s astounding.

Lyle Workman: [To Brian] You were kind enough to get me into one of your shows. The first time I heard that band I cried. It was powerful, it was perfection, it’s everything [Steve's] saying. I was thinking about everyone that I knew in the band doing it with Paul. I was overcome with emotion. It was the songs and everything. It was the ultimate in what we do, and I saw it in your band.
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