Honky-tonk guitarist and singer-songwriter Anders Thomsen is interviewed about his influences, secret indulgences, performing with Chuck Berry, and much more.
What first got you into music?
All the cool older kids were into rock n roll. I remember shooting baskets in the park and hearing ZZ Top coming out of a parked Chevelle, along with some sweet-smelling smoke. I could tell those guys were onto something.
Who are some of your influences?
I guess we are influenced by what we hear a lot of, or what we pay close attention to. I’m into old-school rock n roll, old country and western with electric guitars and Chicago blues. That’s not nearly all I like or listen to, though. But I think it definitely gives you an idea of my style.
What draws you to your preferred genre?
I dig that crazy beat!
And the far-out songwriting!
And the raw emotion!
And… It’s cool !
Any secret music indulgences?
It wouldn’t be a secret if I told you. I do listen to some stuff you might not expect. Aimee Mann is a favorite. I like lo-fi black metal. Wilson Pickett all day.
Chuck knew these guys pretty well and liked playing with them. Years later the piano player became his attorney
What was life like in Chuck Berry’s touring band?
I was in a band that was Chuck Berry‘s backing band whenever he played in the mid-Michigan area. The band had been playing with him since around the time I was born. I joined when I was 15, playing bass. Whenever we did a gig with Chuck the old bass player rejoined so I got to play 2nd guitar. Chuck knew these guys pretty well and liked playing with them. Years later the piano player became his attorney.
Chuck joked around a little with the crew and the band and seemed to enjoy the gigs. It was a completely mind-blowing, exhilarating experience for me!!! We played in Wrigley Field once with Sha-Na-Na as the opener. Crazy.
How did you get your start in the Savannah music scene?
I moved to Savannah in 2008 . At that time I had been retired from (or had quit) playing music since 2001. I played two gigs between July 2001 and Feb 2011 and I didn’t even keep a guitar in the house. Igor Fiksman of Damon and the Shitkickers was aware that I had moved to Savannah and when their guitar player left for Macon in 2011, I took over. It was an easy way to get back into playing cause I knew most of the tunes they did. My brain did, at least. My fingers needed some time to catch up after 10 years off!
Name a Savannah artist you’d love to collaborate with, and why?
There are tons of great players in Savannah. I am lucky I get to play with those that I do! I look forward to continuing my collaboration with the excellent drummer Chris Fullerton. Also with bassist/vocalist extraordinaire Rachael Shaner. And in answer to your question: Jalen Reyes.
I know good musicians in other towns who wish they could gig like we do
What are some of your favorite local places to play?
😎 All the places I play at are the best! They’re even better when YOU are there! I post my upcoming shows on Insta and Fb. @andersthomsentrio – And on my website www.bookanders.com – And Savannahjams got ‘em too!
Your thoughts on the Savannah music scene …
Savannah has a great music scene for both musicians and fans. It may not be what it once was-but nothing is. It’s not too big (yet) and not too small. We get lots of lovely tourists who want to have a good time with a drink and some live music. I know good musicians in other towns who wish they could gig like we do.
What’s next for you?
I have just finished recording a six-song EP with Ty Thompson at the controls! It sounds amazing. He has a totally chill studio with lotsa tasteful gear and good vibes. I wrote all the songs and sang and played guitar. Chris Fullerton played drums. Rachael Shaner played upright bass and sang harmonies. We recorded it in one three-hour session. All live. Blake Tallent mixed and mastered it like the boss that he is. I hope to have it released by April/May.
Also one of the songs I wrote has been recorded by alt. country/Americana artists the Waymores. It’s on their new album “The Stone Sessions” on Chicken Ranch Records and will be released in early April. The song is called “I Don’t Like The Liquor” and you can hear my version if you come see us play!