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The Chaz Interviews - July, 2003
by Chaz and the artists

It was the summer of 2003 and's active message board community was heating up as well -- with flame wars. Along came Chaz Fanaro, looking to cut through the negative noise. He began to interview many of the musical artists who pitched a tent on the popular indie music forum. Others pitched in with questions of their own. July of 2003 could have turned ugly, but thanks to the interviews blanketing the forum, it became a home for insight and mutual respect. The forums were wiped clean by Vivendi in December, 2003. The interviews live on.


Artist description
aka Tarotkid is an Atlanta Singer/Songwriter doing Acoustic Music influenced by Folk, Rock, Jazz and Blues

Music Style
Acoustic music with folk, rock, jazz and blues influences

Musical Influences
Cat Stevens, Smashing Pumkins, Eric Clapton, Seal, Steely Dan

Similar Artists
Cat Stevens, Neil Young, James Taylor, John Popper

Artist History
I come from an extremely diverse musical background, with influences ranging from Mozart to Harry Connick, Jr. to James Taylor to the Smashing Pumpkins. My voice is often likened to Cat Stevens, but has been compared recently to John Popper from Blues Traveler. Many people who have heard my music have compared it to Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Hot Tuna and of course to Cat Stevens. Interestingly enough I have hardly really listened to any those bands but apparently my music sounds much more like those bands than those that I would name as my influences. My background in music reaches into the early years of his childhood, singing around the piano with my family. By the age of 8, I had landed a role as Winthrop in a local production of the Broadway classic, The Music Man. This role inspired me to continue his musical explorations by picking up the trumpet. At age 12, I wrote my first song on the piano (with vocals and lyrics) for a contest at his elementary school. I won the contest at the Elementary School level and went on to compete in the school district. By the time I arrived in junior high school, there wasn't a need for trumpet players in the band so I learned how to play the Tuba. I continued playing the tuba for six years and was offered a scholarship in the marching band to play tuba, which I declined. While in college, I started playing the acoustic guitar. Within months I was learning riffs from Eric Clapton's Unplugged tablature book and performing covers of Clapton's and other songs at the dormitories at the University of Utah. At age 22, I started writing music again and wrote "The Well", which was recorded recently in my home studio as a collaboration over the internet with Kim Novak from Austin, TX. Now at age 26, I have moved to Atlanta and am recording and producing my own music in my home studio. In addition to acoustic guitar, I have added keyboards, bass guitar, bongo drums, techno loops and drum computers to my productions. In the past year, I have made my music available for free download/streaming on several sites on the internet since I find great pleasure in sharing it with people who get something out of it. I have networked and collaborated with other musicians all over the world in this time and have been the beneficiary of some interesting opportunities... The one that means the most to me is that through some of these channels that I've established, I'm being given the opportunity to play my music in front of a large crowd (don't know how many people but I've been led to believe between 5 and 10 thousand) in August in Fort Collins, Colorado which is a fund raising event for a new Youth Activities Center for the city. I've always wanted to play in front of a large group of people but without my connections I probably would never have the opportunity. I have also within the past year accumulated over 25,000 plays on Again, something I never would have dreamed possible before I found out that I could put my music on the internet. I have no aspirations to become a star by any means, but I do believe that my songs have a unique message...and that there are people in the world who this message needs to reach. I don't know who these people are, but if they are looking and seeking out what I have to say they will find it

Group Members
Eric Steffensen with occasional appearances by Kim Novak, TJ Higley and Ted Lehmann

acoustic guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, bongo drums and vocals

There is life after tobasco, Never Say I Told You So EP

Press Reviews
From David Manning, retired film critic: When Love Dies: Picture the Electric Prunes on tour with Ozzy Osbourne. Well, perhaps not enough reverb nor delay effects for that. Aye, aye aye - none of that. Just straight ahead psychedelic acousto-rock. This is different! Originality: 4 Repeat Listen Rating: 3 Sounds: 4 Production: 4 Overall: 4 Audience: People who are offended by the word Starship following the name Jefferson. Praise: It's true. Don't change a damned thing or I will have to choke you.

Alpharetta, GA - USA

Chaz the Spaz
Practice makes perfect, do you practice?

I go through phases where I practice a lot and then through phases where I don't practice at all. Mostly I practice when I'm either anticipating performing or recording a new song.

Chaz the Spaz
What are your goals and what do you have planned for your music?

I have a lot of goals. On one hand, I just want people to hear my songs. On the other, I always dream about being able to at least support myself financially by just doing music. I'm currently working on my freshman CD release and after it's finished my plans are to promote the shit out of it and/or license it.

Chaz the Spaz
Do you feel development of your own website has it's benefits?

The two largest benefits are that I have complete creative control and that it's not cost prohibitive, especially for an indie. Also having my own website (and having my music hosted on the internet) has brought a lot of new listeners to my music and has allowed me to hear a lot of talent that I would have never heard otherwise.
There are downsides to keeping up and maintainin your own website...the most obvious of which would be time. It takes a lot of time and energy to build and maintain. In fact it's pretty obvious where I have taken some shortcuts in the building of

Chaz the Spaz
You listed some musical influences but you also mentioned a diverse musical background, tell us what music styles you like and some of your favorite musicians.

Chaz the Spaz
Thank you Eric! I have been spreading out questions over this past month for my Interrogation Station project. I would have asked you more, but I was about to sign off. It was nice to see you here again. If you have time check out a few INTERVIEWS, like Ted's or the Luddites.

I'm a big fan of people who write and perform their own songs. I particularly enjoy Rock and Folk music and have always been fascinated by jazz, blues and classical.
My favorite music of all time, in no particular order would probably be:
The Who
The Smashing Pumpkins (and of course Zwan)
John Mayer
Sting/The Police
Steely Dan
Led Zeppelin
Van Halen
Eric Clapton
Our Lady Peace
Butch Walker
James Taylor
David Bowie
Tears for Fears
Depeche Mode
...the list goes on and on...

You're welcome, and thank you Chaz. If you're ever in the mood to ask more questions I will certainly be willing to answer. After all, I do have a little bit I do called "Ask the tarotkid"

Ted Lehman
Why did you let that guy produce and play on your amazing song 11 Days written by Eric Steffensen, produced by Ted Lehman?

good one Ted!!!!

Wow that was such a tough business decision. I had to consult my management team, attorneys, CPA(s) just to make sure that Ted was the kind of guy I could work with
But seriously, I did it because I thought it would be fun to collab with Ted. Ya know what? I was right!

Ted Lehman
I could be coaxed into doing another one...


  -- Rick Munarriz

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