Kenny, thank you so much for talking with me. I know you via martial arts but what I really wanted to talk to you about was your music. I am a big fan of anyone, literally anyone, who gets out there and does things. I’ve caught some of your work online, and you’re quite good. What instrument(s) do you play?
I play guitar and I am really good at playing the radio. LOL
Are you self-taught or did you take lessons?
I have taught myself a lot on my own, but my influence to learn was definitely my dad and step mom. I was 8ish give or take a year, when my dad met my step mom, Linda. She could sing very well and played guitar. Linda influenced my dad and he started learning guitar; they would have friends over every Saturday night at our house to play and sing. Some Friends knew how to play guitar and sing and a few learned over the years as they came over. I look back now and think what great friendships they had and how much fun they had as adults. I didn’t realize any of this as a kid. They played two kinds of music to quote my dad, “Country and Western” haha. I remember one song they did very well, which my youngest sister is named after, “Amanda” by Waylon Jennings and that has to be the beginning of my music love. My dad bought my first guitar when I was 16, it was a Gibson with a little Peavey amp and there you have it. I hid in my room for a year and learned to play songs from guitar magazine and shredded it!!!! LOL
You also write your own music and lyrics. What inspired you to get started?
I can’t really remember how and why I started writing. I didn’t sing when I first started playing then somehow along the way I picked it up. I’m sure I was inspired to write my first song, after being heart broken. LOL
Do you have a process for your song-writing?
I don’t have a process like most writers, which is why I only have about a dozen originals. My songs just hit me after some kind of inspiration and it usually is a pretty quick process. I am not able to start a song, table it for a bit and come back to it. I just have to lay it out as it hits, which some of my song are pretty basic and a couple are pretty in depth, but they mean something to me and it feels right to me.
One of my most popular songs “ In My Dreams “ , I wrote in about 20 minutes and it was inspired by a crush I had to a young lady that was to be married.
One that I really like “ Sunday” was inspired by a news article about a mom who had a drug addiction and left her 2 year old locked in a closet while she was gone, and it inspired me to write it from the father and family's point of view. I wrote “Sunday” in about 10 minutes.
Do you ever play covers or do you like creating all your own music?
I do play a lot of covers, when I gig out in my opinion it’s a must. No one really knows me or my music, so it’s hard to entertain someone who is a stranger to my music; most people want to hear songs they are familiar with. Once someone learns my songs they typically like most of them. I get very frustrated after hearing myself on recordings, I don’t feel like I am very good, but then I hear some of the garbage that is out there and I get inspired to play again.
Who inspires you, musically or otherwise?
Wow, that’s a long list. I love ALL kinds of music. I can say as I get older, I am a little more country though. I am current really into Chris Stapleton, Aaron Lewis’ solo stuff and I really dig Cadillac Three, as I play mostly acoustic these days, but if I plug in and jam it’s a bit different. Over the years my influences would include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackberry Smoke, Bob Seger. I am more of a blues/southern rocker if I plug in.
Have you ever played live in front of an audience?
Oh, yes many times. I am nervous as hell every time until I get started.
What thought was going through your head right before your first performance?
Ha, try not to pee my pants.
If you could staff your dream band, who would you have on what instruments?
Oh my, well, Chris Stapleton on vocals, Aaron Lewis on acoustic guitar and vocals, Kenny Wayne Shepard on lead guitar and vocals, Charley Daniels on fiddle and vocals, and Dave Grohl on Drums and vocals. I would also need a slide guitar player and maybe Harmonica.
What gear do you use?
My acoustic rig consists of a Fender acoustic guitar and an Ovation acoustic, which I usually plug mic and guitars directly into the P.A. I also have a 76 Fender Telecaster, which has a Seymour Duncan “Hot Rail” pick up in the bridge, she screams when needed. I use this one to gig out with. My prize possession is a 1963 Gretsch, Chet Atkins, Country Gentleman, mint condition. And I play through a late 60’s Fender Twin Reverb with various pedals.
Do you have any other interests or hobbies?
I have trained in Martial Arts on and off for over 25 yrs. I am also a connoisseur of Bud Light.
We always like to end these conversations with asking the expert what's one thing you could tell someone reading this that they can do in their home right now to get started musically without purchasing anything? Anything to get up, get going, get doing.
Sing, sing out loud, sing out loud tunes, it’s free, it’s satisfying and it does the heart and soul good, in key or out.
Kenny, thank you for taking the time!
No, thank you for taking the time and interest. What a wonderful opportunity you have given me.
If anyone is interested they can look me up on Facebook and YouTube.
FB link, https://www.facebook.com/kennypipesjrmusic/?ref=settings
YouTube link, https://www.youtube.com/user/KennyPipesJr/featured