Mike is one of the top UK players and teachers, make sure you catch him when he’s gigging near you or flag him down for a lesson. Website I really want to hear his organ trio!
01. What/who were your initial influences?
My dad played guitar, and I taught myself by figuring out what he played by ear. That was: John Pearce fingerpicking things, Dylan, Folk songs, Elvis, Shadows, 50s rock and roll, and so on. After that it was Clapton, Brian May, Gary Moore, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Dire Straits, Van Halen. I basically just jammed along to all that stuff every day whilst trying to give my family tinnitus.
02. Are you gigging much at the moment and any projects in the pipeline?
Yes, you can see where I’m playing on this here page: www.mikeoutram.com/gigs Last year was the year of saying ‘yes’ to bizarre things. It started off with an improvised corporate function gig in Thailand, then I had to play the part of ‘Tiny Clanger’ on swanee whistle for a live screening of an episode of The Clangers, then I did a televised Prom concert with the cast of the kids’ show Horrible Histories and a 200 piece orchestra, and then I had a week of teaching Vanessa Redgrave how to sing Motorhead’s ‘The Ace of Spades’. Recording-wise, I have this completely improvised thing I made with Steve Lawson where we’d never played together, so we just set our stuff up, didn’t discuss anything about what to do, just went for it. I really like how it turned out, and we’re releasing that soon. I made a record with Gareth Lockrane; an incredible flautist who has a Hammond quintet. I played on Steven Wilson’s last record; the track I’m on sounds a bit like MUSE. He just sent the mixes over for that and I love it, it’s epic. Kevin Figes made a record that’s out soon – baritone and guitar frontline, pretty rocky and weighty sounding, and we’ll be touring this spring. I’ve been playing a lot with saxophonist Martin Speake and an American drummer: Jeff Williams. No bass player in that one, so I find it really challenging. We’re looking to tour early 2013. I’m writing some music, too. It usually takes me ages to finish my stuff, but when I do I put it on my website. Ah, that’s another thing, sorry this is sounding like a massive list, I periodically do stuff on my website, like I made a guitar lesson thing called ‘The Jewel Box’, that’s a 29 part series of lessons that you can download. I usually write every day for the site. I put tons of stuff on there, recording of gigs, and what not. So I’m just following whatever thread of randomness there is at the moment.
03. What’s your ‘desert island’ guitar or have you got it!?
I play a 335 most of the time. I like SGs or 335s. So long as it sounds like a mangy dog with an eye-patch, I’m good. There are a few things I’d like to change on it, like maybe a set-up might help, the frets look like this: vvvvvv
04. Best (jazz guitar) gig you’ve ever seen?
Well, the ones that stay with me are when I used to go and see Mike Walker when I was 17 and having lessons with him. It was great to hear him and then ask him incredibly nerdy questions about the music the day after. When you’re around a player for a time, you get a different insight into how they play, how they think, what they’re going for; and then getting to hear them live many times doing the thing you’re trying to understand. That’s a good thing. I guess I don’t have that any more with guitarists, because I’m not hanging around guitar players, but I do get to play regularly with the bands I’m in, so I get my fix from them.
05. Which guitarist(s) would you recommend for other people to check out?
Check out Steve Buckley. Gets a Great sound, plays beautiful, great feeling, writes brilliant tunes too. He’s got the Twang! Makes me want to play my guitar.