Rock Side/ Rhythm Side
Guy Schwartz - Texas Rock & Blues Musician 'They had come to pay tribute to a Texas legend on his 50th birthday. It was quite a concert! Gloria Edwards, the soul queen of Texas sang one of Guy Schwartz' songs. Calvin Owens, who was B.B. King's band leader for 30 years, couldn't wait to blow trumpet on one of Guy's 14 chord blues ballads, and was introduced so spontaneously that the local radio jock couldn't get to the stage in time for a proper introduction. E.P. Vallejo, Kool B, Jimmy Deen.... They were all there - rockers, rappers, bluesmen, folkies and every type of musician, entertainer and songwriter one could imagine. Guy Schwartz had worked with them all, and anyone could tell that he was enjoying the party!' That's what last year's official biography says in my promotional package. Lucky me... Still a musician at 50! Here's the very first solo album I started recording in 1974 and finally released in 1978. My first love is music, although I have a blast with recording, writing, film-making, digital art, web design and almost anything I do! I've often spread myself in too many different directions (including family, business, politics, community work and art), but, it is the music - and the music business - that I keep returning to. I sometimes refer to myself as a former 'minor league rock & roll star (because I've been lucky enough to have played some large shows with popular regional bands), but that type of simple characterization only touches the wide variety of experiences most of us have in our lives. I've previously (and presently) run several businesses, including an independent record company, publishing companies, a mortgage financing company and a large residential remodeling contracting firm. MUSIC STUFF For me, the largest musical fun comes from songwriting and performing with great musicians for enthusiastic music lovers. I love collaborating with other writers. Roger Tausz and I have written hundreds of songs together (several of which are good), and I cherish our working relationship. Bass and guitar are the two instruments that I've played the most in my professional career. As a bandleader I play both, but I get most of my musical calls for work as a bass player. Those that have hired me to play bass in the past include Muddy Waters, Lionel Hampton, John Lee Hooker, Sam 'Lightning' Hopkins, B.W. Stevenson (pictured next - with Zeeder Hoog and I), Jimmy Reed, Freddy Fender and Chuck Berry. My bands have opened up for, or shared the bill with, Todd Rundgren & Utopia, U2, Eddie Harris, Duran Duran, Ramones, Delbert McClinton, Sparks, David Lindley, Little Feat, Huey Lewis and the News, Eric Johnson, Carolyn Wonderland, Muddy Waters, Rush, Golden Earring, Johnny Winter, Romantics and Jeff Beck. These past six years years, as I've gotten the music geared back up after 7 years off to raise my kids and bury my dead, I've played bass for Milton Hopkins, Rick Lee and the Night Owls, Big Daddy Gumbo & the Sheetrockers, Chip Arnold & The Terraplanes, Heath Spencer Philip, Sandy Hickey, Gerald Gray, Michael Williams, Steve Radney, Don Sanders, Ashton Savoy, Opie Hendrix and Gloria Edwards. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, before I got the music career jump-started, I used to go religiously to jam with many Houston, Texas area cats at two great Texas Blues Jams. Come see archived pictures and visit these Texas Bluesjams by clicking here! Or, You can go directly to my first online jukebox (which I abandoned long ago), The Infotex Jukebox, to listen to sound clips of these fine musicians jamming! It was at these jams that the first signs of a my next band appeared in 1996-7, and bonds were formed between the musicians who would record and play songs I had written alone or with Roger Tausz. We recorded and played around southeast Texas a lot, in a large revolving band and review called Guy Schwartz & The New Jack Hippies. In 2001-2002, I took smaller version of The New Jack Hippies on the road. Since then, we haven't done more than 5-10 days out, but it's always fun, and I'm looking forward to more touring next year. HISTORY - MORE MUSIC AND RECORDING STUFF I started recording when I was 7. If you'd like to read that story, you know where to click! I formed bands in Middle School and continued into high school. At the age of 15, I was hired to lead a three piece rhythm section - 'THE ZAP RHYTHM BAND' - that backed four singers - 'The Four Dudes'(who performed dance solos) - on the East Texas/Southwest Louisiana soul circuit. It was the first of four Zap Rhythm Bands in my life, all of them containing fine musicians that I was very fortunate to work with and learn from. I played bass and recorded as a bandleader, a band member, a sideman, arranger, and consultant for other peoples gigs and recordings throughout the next 10 years. Roger Tausz gave me the first studio time for recording my own songs in 1976. It was right after we met. Our mutual friend, Gary Trimble, decided that we needed to meet each other. This was an unusual bit of foresight, because Roger and I were both bass players (and two bass players hardly ever get to work together), and at the time, Roger played primarily country music while I was playing rock. Nonetheless, Gary was right, and our relationship has lasted all of these years. One of the two singles that came from that resulted in my first commercial rock radio airplay. During those sessions, we also worked on a country song of mine called 'I Found God at a Truckstop', which brought me a little bit of infamy after it came to the attention of my friend and former summer camp counselor, Kinky Freidman.. Roger moved in with Charly and I, placing two bass players in the same home for ten years. The reason I play guitar today is directly attributed to the need for one of us to grab another instrument so we could jam at home. We played shows as 'THE ZAP RHYTHM BAND', performing music we loved, most of which we had written together at home. This was a great band, and almost a prototype for the type of large band we would later have with The New Jack hippies at the turn of the century. Both of out drummers from those days, Billy Block and Tony Braunagel, have gone on to play with great bandleaders and have cool careers in music. We still play (once or twice a year) with Billy at his WESTERN BEAT Roots Reunion shows in Nashville, and we're getting ready to have our first night of BILLY BLOCK'S WESTERN BEAT/HOUSTON in December of 2005. My succeeding bands have all recorded to one degree or another. 'BUCKSHOT' (featuring the twin 'guitar stylings' of Jim Fulton and Win Landureth) recorded and released several singles, before signing with legendary producer Huey Meaux. That was as far as it went, because although some good tracks were recorded, no further releases came from that signing. Jim now owns a guitar shop, Lone Star Guitar in South Houston, and still plays really well. Jim also builds fine custom guitars. Win is in California. Tim Munson and I wrote many songs together for RELAYER, and recorded 3-4 albums worth of material - one released - during a partnership that I enjoyed thoroughly. Tim is an excellent keyboardist, and an enjoyable eccentric. When we formed the band, with Win Landureth (who didn't stay long) being the primary ramrod, we recorded and released THE RELAYER ALBUM, with material that Tim and I had written previously. We recorded a second album, and a third, full of songs that Tim and I had written together for Relayer, but those songs stayed in the can forever. I still get calls for RELAYER, because the 1977 RELAYER album still sells well amongst record collectors. As I update this page (11.05), we are getting ready to re-release the Relayer Album on a double CD, with tracks from those other sessions. Roger Tausz and I worked together again in the late seventies when recording my first solo album 'Rock Side/Rhythm Side' (with a lot of help from our friends), featuring some of the songs we had written while living and working together. That's the album on this page! The version of 'She Caught The Katy', which The Zap Rhythm Band recorded at 4am one night, after a very successful show, comes from one of my favorite sessions ever! The guys in the band were really tight that night, so I called Steve Ames (the owner of Rampart Studio), we met up to open the studio and see what happened. Within 45 minutes, we had recorded the whole 7 piece band, live, doing two songs (each on the first take). We walked out that night with finished recordings on two songs. The only overdubs on KATY were the background vocals and Jimmy Don Smith's slide guitar! I met Randy Soffar when I was being hired to produce an EP on him. Our music, and our hitting it off personally, led to my forsaking my production fees in lieu of forming 'Z-ROCKS' with Randy. This partnership led to to a lot of fun, a lot of neat music, and to album that sold a few copies based upon the airplay we received on Randy's song, 'The Teacher's A Punk'.! Z-ROCKS recorded a second album, a double album full of some of my favorite material. By then, Randy and I were writing for Z-ROCKS, and the results were appropriately better. The tapes sounded great, with David Kealey co-producing at Inergi Studios, but they were never released. That seems to be a repeating pattern for me! Update (11.05) - We re-released Z-Rocks last month, with 15 tracks from those other sessions. There came a time, after Z-Rocks opened up on the 1985-6 Duran Duran tour, that I retired from music, in order to take care of several terminally ill family members. After about a year and a half of helping support five households, I ran out of rock star money and started a business that was a copycat of my father's old remodeling business. Toward the end of this period, I began my life online. Quite frankly, I never expected to play music for a living again. Somehow, a few years later, one of my online associations (with a guitarist named Larry Barras, led to my first visit to the blues jam at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar. Soon I was a regular jammer. Jamming led to live recording, and then to taking on a few gigs as a sideman... and then a lot of gigs as a sideman. Roger Tausz and I began to write together again in 1997, and the results seemed quite promising. I began using the blues jams as a laboratory for the new songs. Many of the new songs held up, and many did not. Many were reshaped by the musicians at the jam. Some songwriting award nominations and recognition came our way in 1998, which led to some live shows for which we put together an 18 piece band, mostly manned by musicians from the blues jams. That led to some studio recording, and an ongoing project which involves a basic core of around thirty great musicians who know a few hours worth of our material, and who show up, as available, whenever I'm asked to play. As a result, the gigs we've played for the past year, as Guy Schwartz & The New Jack Hippies have had anywhere from 7 to 18 musicians, of which 3 - 5 are leaders of their own bands, and are fully cpable of taking over the singing duties at any minute! Guys like Teri Greene, Jerald Gray, Albert Storo and Heath Spencer Philip have done much to help shape the songs. One never knows, do one!