Andy Timmons will perform his latest album, 2011's Andy Timmons Band Plays Sgt. Pepper, Monday, March 19, at Iridium in New York City.
Timmons, the former lead guitarist with Danger Danger, will perform with his own band -- bassist Mike Daane and drummer Mitch Marine -- and with the Les Paul Trio as part of Iridium's Les Paul Mondays series.
The album is an all-instrumental affair that pays tribute to The Beatles' 1967 masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
"This project is the culmination of my love for The Beatles and an expression of my love for guitar," said Timmons of the album, which he recorded over the course of two years with a minimum of overdubs, arranging completely from memory.
"That underscores what a Beatles geek I am," said Timmons during a recent interview with GuitarWorld.com. "I was alive when that record came out. I was born in ’63, and I had three older brothers who bought every ‘60s British Invasion release that came out -- Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Kinks, Yardbirds and Animals -- so that’s my foundation. Whatever you connect with in your youth is what’s most strongly linked to your DNA.
GUITAR WORLD: With only three pieces in the band, what was the most difficult aspect of recording the album?
Figuring out how I can get it all in without overdubs. Basically, how can I represent this song in this limited way but still capture its essence? That was the challenge. When I started working on it, I didn’t really think, “I’m gonna make Sgt. Pepper. It just became this hobby, like, "What if I played this song? How would that go?” Then I just wanted to see if I could play the whole album, top to bottom, by myself. I literally had the whole record arranged before I even approached the band about it.Did you stick with the original keys of all the songs?Everything. I did the arrangements without referencing the original record, all from memory. But say, for example, I needed to cheat. When I originally did the arrangement for “Within You Without You,” I stole heavily from the Love album arrangement where they took the “Tomorrow Never Knows” drums. It’s just a brilliant matchup. So I, because I’m playing the songs as I hear them, I can’t hear that song any other way now. I love that drum groove so much, and hearing it behind George’s Indian melody is just perfect.But when it came time for the Indian section in the middle of the song, well, even though I'm fairly adept at time signatures, this one completely eluded me. I just couldn’t really feel it. So when we did the original tracking, I just had Mitch go back to playing that groove, and I was just gonna do this freak-out psychedelic solo. But then I when I heard the playback, I thought, “I’m so copping out.” So I went back and said, “OK, I’m gonna figure out how to do this,” as in, pull off this guitar and this orchestra. So I had to go back and study for that.Besides your Ibanez Andy Timmons Signature Prestige guitar, what other gear did you use on the album to give all the songs their singular "voice," if I can call it that?Nobody’s pointed that out yet, but it’s very much a very similar voice on most of the songs, which I varied occasionally. Like on “When I’m 64,” I used an old ‘68 Tele through a Mesa Boogie Lone Star amp, and then got a neck-pickup tone on “A Day In the Life” and “She’s Leaving Home.” But most of the gear got paired down to two pairs of Mesa Boogies. On most songs, there’s about four amps running simultaneously. Obviously, the tone had to be as great as we could get it.For more about this album, check out Timmons' song-by-song description on GuitarWorld.com.Shows are 8 and 10 p.m. March 19. Visit theiridium.com for more info and ticketing.