5 Questions with Shawn Christie

1. How did Nation of Five come about?

I had played with a couple of the guys on other things in the past, mostly live gigs and sub work. Around the holidays it was mentioned that we should get together just to play some real book tunes for fun, and shoot video of the session for use on each of our own Facebook and YouTube pages. We figured it would be beneficial for all of us to have some high quality videos to add to our catalog of available material. These days you have to constantly be putting up content to stay in the public eye, and blah, blah, blah. For the record, I’m not really a big fan of social media. No one cares if you had some good coffee….lol

Anyhow, the session turned out really well, from a video / audio perspective. And considering there was no preparation, I think it came out extremely well. I’d like to point out that we approached this from more of a traditional jazz mindset. We played each tune twice, and agreed on which take we were keeping. Everything was recorded live. No edits, no overdubs, nothing of the sort of studio trickery prevalent on a lot of records these days. I think that it really displays the caliber of musicianship that the band has, and I feel really fortunate to not only perform with these guys, but to call them friends.

So it was with the last sentiment in mind, we decided to officially form, and are beginning to write for a full length release. In the meantime, the EP of that session, Underdubbed: Live from One Eleven , is now available.

Click the thumbnails for more video from Nation of Five

2. What’s the good word with Zeroesque ?

Zeroesque had a good 2011 from a live gig perspective. We were fortunate enough to share the stage with The Aristocrats ( Guthrie Govan , Maco Minnemann, Bryan Beller), The Alex Skolnick Trio (Testament, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), and a few more local acts, and each show was very successful.

These gigs also reminded us that it has been over 4 years since our last release, and subsequently, I have begun feverishly inspecting my backlog of riffs and ideas to assemble some new tunes for our third full length release. There will definitely be some great guests, just as we have had in the past (Vinnie Moore, Marco Sfogli, Derryl Gabel, Scott McGill), however I am not able to divulge the players that will be on the new disc at this point. Once we have their contributions, and all of the business stuff worked out, there will be plenty of info available at the band’s website and other media outlets.

3. What can you tell us about your gig at the Revel/Royal Jelly?

As most full time musicians know, it can be quite difficult to find a steady gig that is not only financially helpful, but an enjoyable experience as well. I have played more than my fair share of gigs in the past that were less than fulfilling, to put it nicely, however this new gig has turned the fun factor up to 11!

I am in the house band for the rock show at Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub . The club is located in the new Revel Resort in Atlantic City, NJ. It features state of the art sound and lights, and some very talented, beautiful dancers. The band is a trio (guitar, bass, and drums), and all of the vocals are taken from the original recordings. For example, when we do “Hot for Teacher”, it is David Lee Roth’s voice you hear. The thought process behind the vocals being “canned”, is that when a singer is present, people tend to look at the singer. In this case, it’s more about the overall show and presentation. All of the dancing and lighting cues are choreographed. It is a full on “show” experience, much different than most folks have ever seen. The response has been really great thus far, and I am having a blast. It’s loud, the tunes are fun, the girls are hot, the beer is cold, and my Vigiers are on display four nights a week.

The club is open 10pm-?? (lately it’s been til about 4:30am) Thurs-Sun. Cover is $25 for men, $20 for women. It is a nightclub, so a DJ is spinning in between the burlesque shows. There are 2-3 sets a night. 2 classic jazz shows, and the rock show to kick off after hours around 2am.

4. What above all else makes you reach for a guitar?

Listening to good music has always been the main inspiration for picking up the guitar. I am first and foremost, a music fan. I am constantly buying new music, or watching YouTube videos of guitar players from all over the world. Whether it’s an interesting technique, great tone, or just great songwriting, I am always inspired by others to continue to strive for excellence.

Let me be clear that in listening to others, there is never a comparison of “better” than or “worse” than another musician. Quite honestly I can’t stand pompous attitudes, and I don’t believe that art is competition. We should all try to be the best we can be, whatever the endeavor, but once a player is competent, there are so many things that could be judged, it’s insane. So to say, “this guy stinks, and that guy is great” because he plays fast, or slow, or with feeling, or without feeling, good tone, bad tone, in tune, out of tune, is utterly ridiculous. Anyone that is putting themselves into their craft, even if it seems “less than extraordinary” always has my respect. We can always learn from others.

I like all kinds of music, from rap and R&B, to country and blues, to jazz, rock and metal. I may be called on to play something appropriate for any or all of said styles. I can always rely on the versatility, and effortless playability of my Vigiers [ Ed note: Shawn Plays a custom Excalibur Ultra and a G.V. Wood ] to provide me with the tone necessary to authentically reproduce the sounds needed for such a disparate list of music that all have a “signature” sound. From the twang of a Tele, to the spank of a Strat to the roar of a Les Paul, I get them all in one guitar, with a quality that is unsurpassed in the industry. I’ve played so many other brands over the years, but my home is with Vigier.

5. If you could create an all-star band with yourself on guitar, who would play the other instruments (living or dead)?

This is always a tough question….very hard to narrow down all of the wonderful players out there to this list. Here goes….

Drums- Simon Phillips
Bass-Billy Sheehan
Guitars- Me
Keys- Bruce Hornsby
Vocals- Ann Wilson

Tags: excalibur ultra, gv wood, nation of five, royal jelly, shawn christie, zeroesque