Billboard 29 April 2000
Tommy Guerrero's A Little Bit Of Somethin' album release is discussed.
Unless you're a faithful reader of skateboard mags like Thrasher or Transworld, you may not be familiar with Tommy Guerrero, whose Mo' Wax/Beggars Banquet bow "A Little Bit Of Somethin'" hits the streets June 20.
But the skating faithful know Guerrero well: A pro skateboarder from 1985 to 1994, he today operates his own company, REAL Skateboards, in the San Francisco Bay area. The firm deals in everything from board decks, trucks, and bearings to clothing and backpacks.
However, Guerrero has also been a musician for the past 20 years. "I've been playing music since I was 13," he says. "Me and my brother played in punk bands . . . I was playing [on bills] with bands like Fear, Bad Brains, D.O.A., Social Distortion."
Given his background in punk and the fact that skateboarders tend to gravitate toward a particularly aggressive type of music, it's surprising that Guerrero's album is an extremely mellow, melodic, and soulful all-instrumental project. In the liner notes for the album, Guerrero-who plays everything on the record-namechecks such influences as John Coltrane Bill Withers, Tortoise. Latin Playboys, Stevie Wonder, and Santana.
"I grew up listening to a lot of old soul and funk and jazz," he explains.
Guerrero has been recording on his own for the past seven or eight years and has his own 4-track and Adat setup at home. He released an album, "Loose Grooves And Bastard Blues," on the San Francisco indie Galaxia two years ago (two tracks are included on "Somethin"'). But the skate connection brought him to Mo' Wax, the London-based home of such cutting-edge electronic acts as DJ Shadow, UNKLE, and Money Mark.
"I made this skate video, and I did all the music as well," Guerrero says. "Andy Holmes at Mo' Wax, who is also a skater, saw the video and asked to release the music."
The trip-hopping sounds on the album aren't the end of Guerrero's musical endeavors: He also plays bass in Jet Black Crayon, an instro unit that toured the West Coast last year with Chicago's Isotope-217.
"I'd like to get something together to go out and play some of this stuff [from this album]," he says, "but it's difficult. The style I play is different, so when I've tried to have people play it, it didn't come out right."
- New west, Doolittle labels merge; Dreese to give AFIM keynote speech, Morris, Chris. Billboard; New York Vol. 112, Iss. 18, (Apr 29, 2000): 76.