Cover photo credit, Virginia Maria
“It’s not about being locked in, tight, and perfect. It’s about the moment.”
In this interview, we cover a lot of ground and get quite philosophical about music and guitar playing. We start off with Darren’s sage advice to not wait to take the chance of accomplishing your goals, and don’t wait for the perfect time and circumstances because they don’t exist.
As Darren explains, “I was that guy. A lot of times waiting, going, man if only I had a record deal…you always wait for these things.”
He got tired of waiting for that right moment and launched his website to introduce his solo music to the world. He took the plunge and is loving the results.
We also talk about Darren’s progression as a videographer and all the efforts required to make a video. He gives us a glimpse into his creative process when shooting a video and gives a light-hearted description of just how much goes into shooting even a short clip. He talks about the logistics of video shooting and how his efforts to lighten his load when producing his second video ended up giving him a clever prop for the video.
“When I started making these videos, I had no idea. I didn’t know if I could do it…I just said, I’m going to this and I’m going to figure it out.”
His results are quite impressive. Just check out his website for links to several creative and well-made videos, all available to view on YouTube as well. He even won an award for one of his videos, as you will see in the video of our interview, linked at the end of this article.
He gives us a detailed yet entertaining outline of his progression from learning the guitar to becoming a professional musician. I really enjoyed hearing about his early days in his high school band and about how driven and goal-oriented they were. From the earliest days, they set their sights on competing against established recording acts instead of just competing against their local high school bands. It’s a great lesson in goal setting and band dynamics. He shares with us that his main objective was always to write songs and along the way, he fell in love with playing guitar.
His early band days were very impressive as he played with some fairly major Canadian musical acts of the time, such as Helix and Lee Aaron – impressive especially because he was still just a teenager. They took their cues from bands they would see on MuchMusic (Canada’s answer to MTV) such as, Poison and Motley Crue, in designing their stage and their shows. They were attracted to the theatrical elements of those eighties’ era heavy metal and hard rock bands.
But as most realize, life on the road is not an easy one and the life of a musician has many downsides. The reason why most continue is for the love of the music and of the instruments they play, as well as for the camaraderie of sharing their musical gifts with fellow musicians and their fans. He quotes Rik Emmett of the Canadian rock band, Triumph:
“If you want to be a musician, don’t do it because it’s the worst life. If you have to be a musician, do it because it’s the best life.”
Darren then tells us, “There’s a lot of sacrifice (in becoming a successful musician).” He is no longer chasing rock stardom but does what he does because it’s his passion.
We get a little sidetracked discussing the difference between heavy metal and hard rock, and talk about how Ozzy Osbourne is considered one of heavy metal’s pioneers so of course his music can be considered heavy metal. Many people criticized Motley Crue for not truly being heavy metal but, as Darren says, their second album Shout at the Devil is probably heavier than Blizzard of Oz.
We also got into a cheeky conversation about what is considered bad ass today will likely be seen as quite mellow years down the road. Darren recalls an interview he heard with Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister, as he told Marylin Manson to enjoy his infamy while it lasted for the same reason. Once a bad boy, now just part of mainstream nostalgia. This led us to recalling the days of Tipper Gore’s crusade against popular music and how she forced record companies to issue parental advisories on CD’s the released.
We close Part 2 of our interview with Darren’s reflections on modern record production and how it’s become too polished and over-produced, which has caused much of today’s music to not seem as soulful as music from earlier times. He also gives us some great insights into his song writing process.
The video ends with more of Darren’s masterful guitar playing.
Click the link below for Part 1 of our interview.
Click the link below for Part 3 of the interview.