Tommy Organ Pocket Protector

January 1, 2011

GP0111_Riffs_tom_nr.jpgEVERYONE KNOWS HOW CHALLENGING it can be to perform an elaborate song that has a ton of different parts. “But it’s also a challenge to play the same part over and over again for an entire song,” says Tommy Organ. “In groove music, that’s often what you have to do. James Brown’s guitarists sometimes had to play the same, simple part for 15 or 20 minutes. You may want to throw in different licks, or change up what you’re playing, but don’t do it. Stay consistent, and when you play back the recording of the song later, you’ll be surprised at how great the groove sounds.”

Organ, who has had a guitar in his hands since the age of five, performs nightly in the house band for the TBS talk show Lopez Tonight. The show’s versatile ensemble features several musicians who, like Organ, were in Michael Jackson’s final touring band— the band that never actually hit the road, but got huge exposure worldwide in the posthumously released Jackson documentary This Is It. (The film’s band also featured recent GP cover artist Orianthi.)

“You know Michael was gonna have a good band,” says Organ. “In an okay band, music is work. In a good band, though, music is freedom. In a good band, you float. Everything floats. When you walk into an A-list band for the first time, just listen. Make sure you know what everyone else is doing before you play your first note. If you’ve done your homework and learned the songs inside out and gotten your parts down to the point that they’ve really sunken into your soul, you’ll be fine.”


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