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Ten Questions with...


Who you may ask? Well as Queen fans know he was involved in the pre- Queen band Smile, that featured Roger Taylor & Brian May. He is one of the few outside writers to get a writing credit on a Queen album as well with 'Doin' Alright', that appeared on Queen's debut album. Tim is about to release his first album for 30 years! Brian May & Snowy White (ex-Thin Lizzy) are amongst the guests.

1. What are you currently up to?

Just completed my first album for thirty years, a mix of tunes from the late sixties up to the present day, all new versions, with the core band of myself, Richard Lightman, John Webster, and my son Andrew.

2. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpint(s) of your career?

Well, I'm not sure about high point, but probably the most satisfying thing I've done is a brief period directing TV commercials and inserts in the late eighties; exactly the sort of mix of creative and technical that I like. I can't think of a low point, it's all been great fun, from Tommy the Tank Engine to the Millennium Dome.

3. You are currently working on the Amigos project. How did this idea come about? You also have some top line guests like Snowy White & Brian May. How did you get these on board and anymore to come?

Amigo is just an amazing result of the chemistry between the four of us. It just clicked. I didn't ever imagine I would make another album, but as soon as we started working together, it became daft not to! Brian agreed to contribute some guitar because, as you know, he and I go back to Hampton School in the sixties. Snowy White and I were in Jonathan Kelly's band... the list of players on the website is comprehensive, but currently omits Martin Shaw (trumpet), and, God willing, Roger Taylor, who I am hoping will take a verse on 'Earth' and 'Doin' Alright' (the plan is: 1 verse Brian, 1 verse Roger, 1 verse Me.) sort of, but not quite, Smile revisited.

4. Smile - what was the live scene like when the band started out? Why do you think Smile never had major sucess? What other bands were your main 'rivals' on the local music scene?

You have to remember that Smile was a semi-pro oufit - We all had other pressures - I'm not sure if any of us really considered Smile as a realistic career option. Lack of attitude? maybe. We used to play with people like Rory Gallagher's 'Taste'; Wishbone Ash; Climax Blues Band; Edgar Broughton etc, on a comparable level. We supported Hendrix twice, Pink Floyd, Yes...the list is endless...

5. How did 'Doin' Alright' end up on the debut Queen album? Were you ever approached to work with the band again?

Cynically I used to wonder if the guys had put 'Doin Alright' on the first album because they were short of 'native' Queen material, but it is after all, a 50% song with Brian, maybe it fitted the blend of material...I'm not familiar with that album so I can't really make a judgement. I never was asked to work with them again, but our styles had changed, so I wouldn't have expected it...

6. What did you do immediately after the break-up of Smile?

I went straight to the States for about four months, down south; Miami to be precise; I gigged about, solo and with other musicians, saw a few acts, smoked some weed, took some peyote and soaked up some was a good time...

7. Who have been your main influeneces on your career?

As a musician, there are just so many different things that I like; Guitarists; Ry Cooder, Brian, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton; Drummers; Harvey Mason, Peter Erskine, Dave Weckl; Keyboards; Joe Sample, Dave Grusin, Bob James;

Vocalists? Nancy Wilson, Gladys Knight, Al Jarreau,

Bass; Abraham Laboriel, Anthony Jackson, Marcus Miller, I could just drone on for hours...

8. Last book that you read...

I re-read Larry Niven's Ringworld; I understand Quincy Jones owns the movie rights: - Make the Movie, Quince!

9. Outside of business, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I draw a lot. Mostly on a PC, but manually, too; sculpt a bit, customise the odd guitar and generally play Dad.

10. Message for your fans...

You guys dignify me with your support. I hope I'm about to repay some of that with the new album. Thanks for hanging in for thirty years!

Interview © 2003 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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