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Interview with George Tomsco of the Fireballs
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
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MuzikMan: How do you and the group feel about being pioneers of a genre?

George: We consider it totally unsuspecting and unpretentious. None of us had any 'plans' to establish any 'trend', so to speak. All we were doing was doing the best we knew how at the time. When we started hearing that we were 'kind of a guitar surf band'...we had no idea what was meant.

MuzikMan: You are one of the groups that laid the foundation for the Surf genre to be created, who would you site as being a major influence besides the Fireballs?

George: In my personal opinion it would have to be the Ventures.

MuzikMan: What are your immediate and future plans for recording projects?

George: Very broad and diversified at this point. The most immediate and important recording project we're involved with is our one and only 'Christmas' song we're working on to be ready for Christmas 1999. Future plans are to continue with Fireball style instrumentals; some new 50's & 60's type vocals, as well as some Country (Fireball style) and maybe even Pop (Fireball style) type ballads.

MuzikMan: Do you feel that your web site has helped to bring the Fireballs music more exposure to the world community?

George: Yes, I think it has helped even though we were a little behind times getting established...and since we're on the subject, it's I guess one great aspect is the 'links' that can add leverage and 'recall' to a site, However there were a lot of other influences already in motion prior to the web site that contributed, like doing radio station interviews, magazine interviews, such as this one for the 'MuzikMan' that helps tremendously...thank you very much !

MuzikMan: As a guitar player who would you consider to be the most influential in choosing your instrument. Who was your guitar hero before you decided to make a go of it?

George: Choosing my instrument would have to be after hearing Les Paul (& Mary Ford) songs on the radio. I was also fascinated (and still am) with Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. Even though I had already started playing chords & rhythm guitar, my rock & roll guitar player 'hero' had to be the first time I heard the lead guitar ride in Bill Haley's "Rock Around The Clock"...whatever that guy's name was! Then my all time favorite guitar player that I consider really laying down the authentic 'rock & roll guitar playing style' is Mr. Chuck Berry.

MuzikMan: What do you attribute your laid back and easy going nature? You are a joy to work with!

George: "laid back and easy going nature"?..."joy to work with"..? I'll bet the other Fireballs would tend to strongly disagree with you! However, I do try to be as accommodating as possible in whatever I'm doing.

MuzikMan: What are the differences in the music industry from when you started to present day?

George: Naturally the biggest differences are the 'way' and the 'sound' and the 'dimension'. The 'way' being everybody recorded at one over-dubs! The 'sound' being originally analog vacuum tube recording. My preference still lives there ! The 'dimension' being music has in many ways become much more complex.

MuzikMan: Which do you prefer to play, an instrumental or a vocal track?

George: Originally, instrumental. But now that the years has broadened my scope, I find that my natural tendency has increasingly included more lyric, vocal, and arrangement content.

MuzikMan: Are the Fireballs popular overseas?

MuzikMan: Yes...thank goodness ! In reference to recordings, we have always had releases on prestigious labels and decent sales overseas...thanks to Norman Petty's enterprising efforts, and the people that bought our recordings. As a matter of fact Ace Records, Ltd. London was the first one to take an interest in reissuing the catalog of Fireballs recordings. Once they started, then Sundazed and Varese Sarabande followed suite with USA reissue releases.

George: Do you still feel motivated and inspired to play and create music on regular basis, or do you take extended periods of time away from the business?

MuzikMan: When we first started our career, I ate, drank, and slept music...writing and playing all the time. That lasted for about 10 to 12 years. After that period, it started happening in spurts...especially the writing part. It seems as though there's no pattern or duration to the 'urge'. At one time (1984 - 1989) I decided I wanted to 'do something else' in life. I took training and worked with an insurance and investments company. I liked what I learned, and I still use the knowledge I acquired in my own finances, but I did miss music toward the last of that period. I can remember receiving a phone call from a friend in Clovis, New Mexico asking me if I could get as many original Fireballs together to do a show for the 1989 Clovis Music Festival. I was delighted to say yes, and used that as my excuse to jump back in.

MuzikMan: The current Fireballs lineup includes how many original members?

George: Two originals. Stan Lark (bass player) & myself.

MuzikMan: The members that are no longer with the group, were are they now?

George: Danny Trammell (orig. rhythm guitarist) lives in Longview, Tx. He has a very successful tire business Eric Budd (orig. drummer) lives in Harper, Ks. He's one of the "exec's" of Elco Metal Products. Chuck Tharp (orig. lead singer) lives is Clovis, NM. Still performing country music.

MuzikMan: In conclusion, are you excited about the future of music in regards to the marketing aspects that Internet has changed and made readily available?

George: I really like the idea of being able to get on the net and find our cd's, like on CD NOW. Otherwise I guess I would say I'm "cautiously excited", mainly because I'm trying to 'lock in' and understand the full scope of it...if it would just stay in one place for at least overnight ! I see some marvelous things, and I see some things that I don't care for, but isn't that always the case with the changing times?

MuzikMan: Thanks George!

George: Thank you, Keith.

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