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My 2015 Interview Shannon Curfman Working With Kid Rock  

ArleneWeiss
(@arleneweiss)
Extreme Peach

Here's my May 2015 Archive interview with guitarist, singer, songwriter Shannon Curfman discussing her work as a member of Kid Rock's band, Twisted Brown Trucker, recording on Kid Rock's new 2015 album, "First Kiss" and his 2015 First Kiss Summer Tour, her guitars, gear, solo work, and more.

http://guitarinternational.com/2015/06/23/shannon-curfman-staying-true-to-herself-and-keeping-it-real-with-kid-rock/

Shannon Curfman-Staying True To Herself And Keeping It Real With Kid Rock

By Arlene R. Weiss

© Copyright June 9, 2015, 2016 By Arlene R. Weiss-All Rights Reserved

Gifted blues rock guitar virtuoso, singer, songwriter Shannon Curfman first garnered acclaim and recognition with the 1999 release of her debut, signature album, “Loud Guitars, Big Suspicians”.

In the years since then, Shannon has released several stellar albums on her own independent record label, Purdy Records. She has recorded, performed, and and toured with such esteemed artists including Buddy Guy, John Mellencamp, The Indigo Girls, Jeff Beck, Keb Mo, ZZ Top, Carlos Santana, John Fogarty, Joe Bonammassa, and her mentor and peer, Jonny Lang.

More recently, Curfman has been pulling double duty, writing, recording, and performing with her own Shannon Curfman Band, while also singing duets, background vocals, and burning up the fretboard as a member of Kid Rock’s touring band, Twisted Brown Trucker, on tour and in the recording studio to great acclaim.

Shannon joined forces with Kid Rock in 2010 and now appears on Kid Rock’s new 2015 release, “First Kiss”. She will be touring with the notorious Robert (Bob) Ritchie aka Kid Rock this summer on Kid Rock’s First Kiss 2015 Tour, headlining with Foreigner.

Shannon graciously spoke to me before she hits the road with Kid Rock when his First Kiss Summer Tour 2015 kicks off June 24, 2015 at The Xfinity Theater in Hartford, CT.

******

Arlene R. Weiss: Hi Shannon, how are you! Congratulations on collaborating with Kid Rock on his new album “First Kiss” and on Kid Rock’s “First Kiss” upcoming 2015 Summer Tour headlining along with Foreigner, kicking off June 24, 2015 in Hartford, CT. What can you tell people about the album’s songs and the artistic direction that Kid Rock aspired to in making the album, and how you are creatively involved in the album?

Shannon Curfman: Hey Arlene! Thank you! I really love the new album. I’ve done the background vocals for his last two albums which we recorded in his studio in Detroit. I feel these songs are much more Americana and roots oriented which of course, I love. There are plenty of songs that fit right in at a good ol’ honky tonk.

Arlene: How did Kid Rock first learn of your creative talents, what did Kid Rock see in your artistry that he wanted you to bring to the dynamics of his band, and how did you get the gig joining his band Twisted Brown Trucker? How and when did you and Kid Rock first meet and start creatively collaborating together, and what were your first impressions of him?

Shannon Curfman – photo courtesy of Shannon Curfman

Shannon Curfman: The guitarist in my band and main co-writer for many years was Marlon Young. He is from Detroit but moved out to L.A. with me to write and record for a few years and was also with me for my first major tour. He then went back home to follow a songwriting lead he had with Kid and ended up being Kid’s lead guitarist and main co-writer.

Obviously Kid’s gig pays a bit more than mine so he stayed up there with Kid and worked like crazy.

There was a point in 2010 when they were looking for a new background singer, someone who would sing the Sheryl Crow duet from the song “Picture” with Kid Rock, and play some guitar as his albums were getting more and more intricate guitar-wise.

Marlon suggested me and thought it would be a nice break for me to not be the boss for once so I took the gig. It really was perfect timing.

My daughter had just turned two and I really needed a break from some of the pressure of running my own record label and my own tours while learning how to be a Mom.

I had been around Bob [Writer’s Note: Bob Ritchie, Kid Rock’s real name], quite a lot before then but we were never buddies. We ran in some of the same social circles and I had gone to some parties at his house while I was living in Detroit. It’s always been very apparent to me that he is very committed and an extremely hard worker. I really admire his drive and passion.

Arlene: How has collaborating with Kid Rock informed and influenced you as an artist?

Shannon Curfman: Bob has influenced me in many ways. It’s intriguing being a spectator to someone with his caliber of success.

It certainly isn’t something that fell in his lap. He works so hard and he’s taught me a lot about being an entertainer. I feel that regardless of whether or not you are previously a fan of his music you would walk away from any of our shows respecting him as a frontman and I believe those are hard shoes to fill. He makes it look effortless.

Shannon Curfman – photo courtesy of Shannon Curfman

Arlene: How is your solo band doing and what are you currently working on? Are you writing and working on any new material or a new album of your own?

Shannon Curfman: Right now I am writing and going through song pitches from others for my new album. I won’t have time to record it until the end of this year since we will be touring all summer, but I have plenty of work cut out for me before I get to the recording part anyway.

A lot of things have changed for me in my personal life over the past year so I am just now really feeling like I’m getting a grasp on my new dynamic. What is a nice outlet for me is I always continue doing a bunch of shows with my band when I’m not out touring with Kid so that always keeps me on my toes and connected to the people who dig my music.

Shannon Curfman – Photo courtesy of Shannon Curfman

Arlene: What guitars, gear, and amps are you using in your own band’s rig, as well as in your rig performing live and in the recording studio with Kid Rock on “First Kiss”?

Shannon Curfman: I am using a ton of PRS guitars for electric and acoustic on both my shows and Bob’s. I’ve been using PRS amps with Kid and stick with my Fender Deluxe Reverb for my gigs.

My pedal board is very simple. I use a wah, Klon Centaur as a boost and a boutique-type pedal a guy named Mike Novak makes in Detroit called a Noverdrive.

My buddy, who is a guitar tech legend, Takumi Suetsugu, currently has my pedal board and he was adding a couple new pedals and bells and whistles, so I’m excited to see how it comes back.

Arlene: I first interviewed you in 2001 on the heels of your acclaimed debut release “Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions”. Why and how do you think that album still holds up so well in 2015 for so many people, and what are your emotions and creative feelings regarding writing, performing on, and recording that record, which broke you and your artistry through to people?

Shannon Curfman: Can you believe that album came out over fifteen years ago? It was half my life ago! That album came from such a pure place. I never studied how songs were supposed to be put together and was never told blues had to be in a 12-bar format or anything else that would have made me get stuck inside my own head.

I feel it was such a blessing that I had the chance to write and record an album at twelve, thirteen, years of age because I just simply didn’t know any better than to just play music how I heard it in my head. It was nice to be part of the music industry but be so young that I really didn’t know what was happening.

It was all so fun and I hadn’t been affected or jaded in any way, yet. I also hadn’t learned a lot of other people’s songs either which I feel helped me to not get pigeon-holed as the young version of some well established artists. To this day many of those “Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions” songs are still my favorites to play live.

Shannon Curfman – photo courtesy of Shannon Curfman

Arlene: Tell folks about your Summer 2015 “First Kiss” Tour with Kid Rock, where you will be playing, and what they can expect in the set list and from the show.

Shannon Curfman: We will be playing all over the U.S. Foreigner will be playing a set before us every night which will be a lot of fun. I think Kid will always have to play certain songs for the audience like “Bawitdaba”, “Cowboy”, “Picture” and “All Summer Long”, for instance, because they are his big hits, but we always add in a few from the newest album as well.

We don’t do so many that people are overwhelmed but Bob is a pro at writing a set list that has the perfect flow. There are countless times that we all get woken up to a new set list email in the middle of our tours at seven am from Bob, because I swear that guy never stops working and thinking about what he can make better.

© Copyright June 9, 2015, 2016 By Arlene R. Weiss-All Rights Reserved

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