We want Moore!

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Guitarist Thorson Moore continues to treat the Village to his electric delights

Q Mr. Moore, you are one of our region’s most celebrated guitarists, known for your great versatility. How would you describe your sound and/or style of play?

A I truly appreciate those words, but I never thought of myself as celebrated at all. I am honored and thank you.
I’m thinking I probably would have been better off sticking with a genre and really honing in on it rather than being versatile, as far as a career path goes. But because of my overreactive imagination and the pressure of learning whatever songs you have to, and as fast as possible, for gigs around here I kind of got sidetracked.
When I was younger, I had always spent a lot of time writing music and jamming around campfires or whatever. So, that gave me a lot of musical freedom and versatility. My friends and I were always jamming and improvising, for hours and hours on end. So, as far as my sound and style, I haven’t a clue. I’m planning on coming up with some new music soon and bouncing it off a couple of people I know, to try to dial it in stylistically. So, when I figure that out, I’ll let you know.

But I kind of don’t want to describe it yet. The main reason for that is so that I can see where I’m at this time around, musically, with my heart and soul that is.

Q You are a musical mainstay on Siesta Key, gigging at many venues here. In fact, most every Thursday night you are showcased at Blase Café. SKOB is another common venue for you. What makes playing on the island special for you?

A Well, I have had a lot of great experiences on the island of Siesta Key. I moved here in 1983 from Hawaii, when my father needed to retire early due to health issues. My great grandmother and my grandma on my dad’s side lived here so we were going to use Sarasota as a transition point for about a year. But then we just ended up staying here. Not really sure why, actually.
I spent a lot of time on Siesta Key, not playing music, but just growing up around here before I played music. And the beaches weren’t crowded like they are these days, so you could get away with lots more fun stuff back in the ‘80s.

Another fun fact: My first decent paying job (if you want to call it that) was at a place called China Palace delivering Chinese food when I was 17 years old. That building is now a bar/pizza place called Pi, and that’s associated with Blase Cafe where I play on Thursdays. And for those who don’t know, Blase Cafe and Pi have the same ownership and share a lot of the same staff in the kitchen as well as management and bartenders. So, for me hanging and playing music there, and also most likely being the only one who remembers when it was a Chinese delivery place, is pretty nostalgic for me.
I recommend the pizza and tequila. The people that work there are great too, by the way.

Q You play with many people under many different group names. Can you name them so people can be on the lookout?

A Yeah, I currently still play with Kettle of Fish, the Bri Rivera Band, Dirty Byrd, Moore Dirty … and honestly a lot of other people, too. If anybody wants to find me, I update my calendar monthly at thorsonmoore.com. You can also follow my band page at “Thorson Moore Music and Friends” on Facebook.

Q You recently performed at a tribute show for the late, great Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band fame. What was your history with Betts?

A I met Dickey Betts in 2001 or 2002. I can’t remember actually, I’m really bad with that.
There was a studio owner I knew that Betts had booked a session with and he was the one who introduced me. Dickey was recording a song for a John Lee Hooker album. John Lee Hooker would regularly collaborate with other musicians on his records, but I believe he finished his parts before the guest musicians had a chance to do their tracks. Or at least some of them, and then Hooker passed away before the other players recorded their parts.

So, then the other players, like Dickey Betts, etc., would go into a studio or whatever and finish their tracks. At least that’s it as I remember it. Pedro Arevalo was with me the day I met Dickey Betts, and then Pedro ended up playing bass with him for 20 years or so. I’ll never forget that night. It was just Dickey, Pedro and I in the studio for hours hearing incredible stories and guitar playing.
I feel truly blessed and honored.
I have been lucky enough to play with some really great people, almost like I’m dreaming sometimes, and my conversations with Dickey were always impeccable. He always showed me the highest mutual respect. That’s how I knew him.

Q You’ve recorded two albums — Open Art Surgery in 2008 and Mr. Nobody in 2015. Describe those efforts, and how can people hear them and/or order them?

A Well, the first one really was songs l had written mostly in the ‘90s, more of a learning experience to me than anything. It just took me that long to finish it and get it printed. It’s very far in my past at this time to me and I haven’t even listened to it in forever. Maybe one day I will revisit it just for kicks.

But I’d rather put out a lot of new stuff and focus on that. I’ve just been through so much and changed so much, that I have to put new things out there so people realize what’s actually going on with me. It’s hard to focus on what I really want musically. Just too busy working all the time. But I’m going to try to change that one way or another so I can get some things done while I am still here.

The Mr. Nobody album has got some pretty fun stuff on there, it’s very eclectic as is the other album. I think my head was on just a little straighter when I did the second record, though. Every once in a while, somebody will ask me to play a song off one of my albums, but then I – embarrassingly — have to try to remember how it goes. The reality of most gigs around here is that most people are on vacation, and so my PTSD in the back of my brain is saying “that’s not ‘Margaritaville. ‘” Just kidding, everybody.

Anyway, you can pretty much hear those albums on any music platform — just type it in correctly and it’ll be there. I might swipe it off there once I make some new music, though. But I still have CDs for both albums. I’m sure somebody out there might have a CD player, right?

Q You are scheduled to play at Blase Cafe at 7 p.m. July 4. What kind of fireworks can we expect out of you? Will a Hendrix-like rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” be among your offerings?

A I think (bandmate Brian) Byrd likes to do the “Star Spangled Banner” for the people and he does it great. But you never know. I might just light a guitar on fire.

Siesta Sand
Author: Siesta Sand

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