Monday, November 14, 2011

Laurence Juber Q & A

Grammy-Award winning guitar artist Laurence Juber will make a pair of intimate Southern California appearances this month. Juber will play at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, at McCabes Guitar Store, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, at The Fret House, 309 N. Citrus, Covina.

Often considered most famous for playing lead guitar in Wings from 1978 to 1981, Juber, known as ‘LJ’, has since had a distinguished career as a solo finger-style guitarist.

LJ graciously granted me an interview over the phone from Los Angeles to promote his two SoCal appearances.

Q: Do you enjoy playing in your own backyard?

LJ: I spend much of my time performing outside of Southern California, so it’s a pleasure to do what I consider ‘hometown shows’ in very intimate and close-up acoustic venues.

Q: In between shows, you also do guitar workshops. What are those like?

LJ: They’re definitely more on the technical end of the spectrum of what I do. It’s usually a group lesson between eight and 20 people, showing them tips, tricks and ways to improve their playing. I also explain my process for arranging and playing the solo acoustic guitar, how to get sound, resonance and character from the instrument. I pass on my knowledge and experience on how to create a solid musical experience.

Q: You've played at McCabes and The Fret House before. What are those two venues like?

McCabes is a historic place, which opened in 1958. It's also one of the best acoustic venues in the Los Angeles area and it's a delight to play there. It's a guitar shop and venue. At night they clear out the racks of guitars and put out chairs and it holds about 150 people. It's just a great gig. The list of musicians that have played there and hung out in the store is amazing - Ry Cooder, Bonnie Rait, Jackson Browne, Hoyt Axton, Jeff Buckley, Gene Clark, John Densmore, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Roger McGuinn, Mick Taylor - all the greats. I'm working on some new arrangements and whenever I play there I always throw in something new into the repertoire.

The Fret House is an annual show I do and this will be my 20th performance there. I've playing there since 1991 right after my first album, Solo Flight, came out. It's a guitar store but they have a separate performance space and it's a very intimate acoustic venue. I've always enjoyed playing there.

Q: At your concerts, you play all styles of music, including a nice sampling of the Beatles. Why are their songs so magical?

LJ: (laughs) Every time I hear a Beatles record I gain a new appreciation. Above and beyond the analytical part of it and creating the arrangements, when I start deconstructing Beatles songs, I find unexpected things. I can never listen to a Beatles record twice and hear exactly the same thing. There’s always something that I’ve missed, or a new discovery where you say, “Wow, what was that little guitar lick?” Or the way in which the backing vocals come in…there’s always something new to discover in their work.

For more information visit

What: Laurence Juber 
Where: McCabes Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica 
When: Friday, Nov 18, 8 p.m.
Cost: $20 
Information: 310-828-4497 or 

What: Laurence Juber 
Where: The Fret House 309 N. Citrus, Covina
When: Saturday, Nov. 19, 8 p.m.
Cost: $20 
Information: 626-339-7020 or

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