An Interview With diggin_n_pickin

In this interview I talk to Steve aka diggin_n_pickin all about his days in the band Vette, music and Instagram.

Steve: First of all, I am incredibly grateful for the offer to be interviewed for your blog! Quite an honour my friend.

Here’s a little bit about me. My name is Steve. Born, raised and live in Los Angeles, California. Happy husband and father. I work as a physiotherapist with a passion for helping people with chronic pain.

I have been in love with music as long as I can remember. Though I don’t pay the bills paying it, I consider myself a musician. I have been playing piano since age 6 and guitar since age 10 and play a few other things as well.

I gigged and recorded with 2 bands Introvoys and Vette. You can still check out our album at www.vetterock.com. I’d start with Follow Me Home, Radio and She Got.

It was always a dream to be on MTV and it happened in a way I would never imagine. Vette had 2 songs placed in a carton called Good Vibes and we even got animated! Though Vette played their last gig 3 years ago, we are still slowly working on our 2nd album.

I started listening to music through my dad’s and uncle’s vinyl collections which included Linda Ronstadt, The Beatles, Air Supply and The Platters.

Then when I was about 9 years old, I found “my music” when I discovered The Monkees via MTV running running a marathon of their TV series. I was hooked. Later on I would get way into hair metal bands of the late 80’s which then brought me to their influences like Van Halen and Queen (who have been the biggest influence influences in my life, musically.)

I started collecting vinyl seriously about 2 years ago. It started with an idea that I’d buy a turntable and replace my childhood favourites along with 10-15 of my “desert island” albums. 750 records later… I am still digging whenever I get the chance.

Why did you start a vinyl themed Instagram?

I started my Instagram vinyl account about 7 months ago for two reasons to share my growing love for vinyl collecting and to get myself playing guitar again by sharing it with others. It had been a couple of years since my band stopped playing and my guitars were going largely unplayed.

It’s been a blast connecting with so many like minded music heads in the Instagram vinyl community. More than any other social media group I’ve been a part of, people are so positive whether our tastes align or are vastly different.

If you had to take 3 albums to a dessert island, what would they be and why?

This question is tough with 10 albums, let alone 3! Here’s my gut answer.

1. The Monkees – More Of The Monkees because it reminds me of my childhood and the excitement of finding my own music. It’s got so many great pop songs on it with my favourites being Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow sung by Davy and The Kind Of Girl I Could Love sung by Mike Nesmith.

The Monkees were the first band I became a ‘fan’ of. Their music and their TV show personas helped me break out of my shy-boy shell.

3. Queen – A Night At The Opera

This is the the easy choice and remains my #1 favourite album of all time. This album changed what I though was possible in music and inspired me to become a better musician. I would listen to it on my Walkman at night and marvel at the varied adventure that this record is. From hard rock to vaudeville to opera to a capella vocal canons and prog-ish Rock, they executed it all with utmost skill while still being very pop-catchy.

I also love the production on this record from the sonic layering to the play with the stereo field. Roy Thomas Baker was the perfect match for them and as often as played as Bohemian Rhapsody is, it still gives me chills. It is the perfect song with the most singable guitar solo ever by Brian May.

3. Extreme – III Sides To Every Story

Yes, the band most known for “Nore Than Words.” It’s one of my life’s missions to expose people to this album and the great band they are.

It contains so many elements that speak to me: grandiosity, kick ass hard rock, dazzling guitar playing, powerful vocal harmonies and spiritually searching lyrics.

This album hit me as I was getting serious about guitar and what better role model could there be than the amazing Nuno Bettencourt? His playing still drops my jaw to this day. The song finally featured a 70 piece orchestra and never fails to uplift and inspire me.

In my humble opinion, this album deserved to be among any list of rock albums of all time.

If you could have dinner with any musician from any time, who would it be and why?

It would have to be Brian May of Queen.

First off, he seems like a genuinely kind and humble guy who still has the same love for the guitar as when he first laid eyes on one.

I have this sense that we can just geek out on guitar talk for hours over some pre-dinner beers ( IPAs to be specific.)

Second over a burger and fries. I’d of course have to get some insight on creating that amazing music and dominating the music world along side Freddie, John and Rodger. I’d ask him what his reaction was Freddie brought Bohemian Rhapsody to the table. I’d try and on what such massive game is like and what his songwriting process is.

Lastly, after a slice of nice dense carrot cake, I will have hoped he brought his famous Red Special, the iconic guitar he built with his father and recorded with throughout his career. I want to see the joy in his eyes talking about the design process of the build of the build and of course I’d hope he’d let me hold and bend a few notes on it.

Any recommendations on movies, tv shows or music?

Music: Don’t ever apologise for what you like! And similarly, don’t dismiss others music that you don’t like as trash or crap. I spent to long doing both. Of course there’s stuff I don’t like, but what moves someone is the good music for them.

Tv shows: I’m still watching Law & Order: SVU into what… it’s 21st season? The Marvellous Mrs Maisel is really good. Breaking Bad has the best story arc and continuity of any tv series I’ve followed, absolutely brilliant. I’m also loving the character development in Better Call Saul. I became a big Downtown Abbey fan after my wife and I visited the castle it’s based on. I love to laugh so of course reruns of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Movies: Like I said I love to laugh! It can be stupid laughs like an old Adam Sandler movie or comedy/dramas like Sideways. I think and good comedy has high intelligence to it. I can watch the original Star Wars, Back To The Future and Lord Of The Rings trilogies anytime.

Website: www.vetterock.com

Instagram: @diggin_n_pickin

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