An interview with Geoff Tyson
When you’re a musician, one of the greatest parts of your job is getting to tour the world and see and experience every culture possible. For Geoff Tyson, there was one country which stood out above all the others. Since moving from his native US, Geoff has been living and working on his many music projects in Prague, alongside his constant worldwide tours. We sat down with Geoff to discuss all things Prague and music.
PTV: So, why Prague?
Geoff: That’s a difficult question to answer! When I decided to leave the United States I actually toured around Europe with my guitar for three and a half months and I was just playing every café and bar and street corner. I really wanted to find a city and a culture that fit my own insane personality, and Prague had a good combination of- I mean, it’s a beautiful city, there’s a music scene here, the people are interesting, it’s not too expensive and people know how to enjoy themselves here. So it was a good match for me.
PTV: How do you think Czech people respond to your music?
Geoff: It’s been great actually, they’ve been very open minded. We play a lot of big concerts and festivals and we’ve been on the radio, on television. In a lot of ways, things that aren’t really possible in the United States for an artist any more- all of that is totally possible here.
PTV: And how does it compare to the United States?
Geoff: It reminds me of San Francisco in the early 1980s. There was a music scene, there were a lot of artists, it wasn’t too pretentious then and it had a lot of room to grow. Now in the US the music scene and the music industry is in a decline, so you can’t really compare the two right now. The United States used to be a really amazing place but Europe is the place to be.
PTV: How much of a culture shock was it when you first moved to Prague?
Geoff: I’ve travelled so much for just my work, playing rock ‘n’ roll concerts all over the world since I was 17 or 18, so I’ve experienced this kind of culture many, many times before. It’s always been very familiar to me- when I first walked out of my hostel the first day I was here, I just felt totally familiar. I walked down Národní and just said ‘yeah, okay, I get this- it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for’.
PTV: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen whilst living in Prague?
Geoff: There’s something every day actually- it’s really the whole lifestyle is weird compared to the US; I could tell you a hundred stories- for example, I used to live in Hollywood and there was a bar called the Lucky 13. Lucky 13 was a very small, very dark, smelly pub and the speakers were all destroyed and the bartender was an ex-Hell’s Angel or something and everybody in there was just pasty white from never ever seeing the sun. The bartender there was a friend of mine and when I first got to Letná beer garden- on top of the hill, it’s gorgeous- and you can drink beer outside, there’s hundreds of people there and I was looking at this beautiful panoramic view of Prague, holding a beer. It’s illegal to drink outside in the United States, so I took a photo of that and sent it to this guy and said ‘this is now my reality’ because the contrast was so great between those two things. I wouldn’t say it was the weirdest thing but it’s definitely something that stood out.
PTV: Do you miss anything about the US?
Geoff: I still go back there for work, I’m still touring and I’m going back there in a few days. For me, when you’re travelling on tour you’re in one city every day and then move on to the next city so you never stay stuck in any one particular culture for any period of time, so you’re really travelling kind of like a tourist. You get to see the best of whatever city you’re in, you meet the interesting people, then you play your concert and say goodbye and then you move on. I wouldn’t say there’s anything I especially miss- California, I mean it would be nice to see the ocean every once in a while but other than that I don’t think there’s anything lacking here in Prague.
PTV: Any upcoming projects that we should know about?
Geoff: I just released a new album and I’m starting a new band which is more of an avant-garde instrument-based thing. I think of it as a cross between The Doors and The Mahavishnu Orchestra, so it’s very musician oriented and I’m trying to get the best players that I can get. I’m still doing the Geoff Tyson Band as well, and we have some festivals coming up this summer. I also do a lot of productions for other bands; I’m working on a CD for a band called Bros ‘n’ Beasts. I’ve got a new music video coming out, and I write a lot of music for TV and film and I have an agency in California that places songs in different kinds of situations. It’s kind of this constant thing- when you do art and music for a living you have to constantly reinvent yourself and constantly be looking for new opportunities- but that’s normal.
For more information about Geoff Tyson and his upcoming projects, visit his website at www.geofftyson.com
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