Randy Sarles

Randy Sarles
Birth name
Randy Sarles
14 April 1954
Newark, NJ
Main Instrument
Years active
1964 - Present

Randy Sarles Biography



The Best of Randy Sarles

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Interview with Randy Sarles

Earlier this week, Festival Archive was able to touch base with one of our all-time favourite guitarist and all over musican, Randy Sarles. Here’s what he had to say…

If somebody has never heard your music before, how would you describe it to them in one sentence?

Having grown up listening to rock music and studying jazz, my style of guitar is a balanced combination of everything I can incorporate into it.

Who were your main musical inspirations growing up?

I grew up listening to and playing the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc. and studying jazz guitar. When I first heard Joe Pass it was life changing for me. I knew how to apply the theory and techniques I was studying and from all that my own style evolved.

What made you decide to become a musician and are any of your close family musically talented?

One of my only memories of preschool age was seeing someone playing guitar in a band, at that moment I made a connection to the guitar and music that has stayed with me ever since. From that day I asked for a guitar every Christmas until I finally got one five years later and took my first lesson on Christmas Day.

On a weekly basis, about how much time do you spend practising?

In my early teens when I decided I wanted to play guitar for a living I was relentless practicing, up to six hours a day. By my thirties when I was deep into my music career and family I found myself playing for hours each day but maybe only one hour a day of my own practice if I’m was lucky. Today that still holds true an hour or two of my own practice yet four to eight hours a day of playing guitar.

Do you have a fixed preparation regime before going out on stage? How do you cope with nerves?

I do not have a fixed preparation before going on stage except to make sure in that I am prepared. Being prepared helps with the nerves. My son tells people that I’m more comfortable and happier at work than anyone else he’s known. When I strap on a guitar and hit the first chord of the evening nothing else matters but the music from that point on.

What has been your most memorable gig?

Always, the last gig I played is the most memorable.

Which is the one place where you’ve always wanted to perform?

I have been performing for decades in every kind of situation and venue, so nothing jumps out at me as something I have to do at this point. As I get older I find myself more selective of gigs that I will and will not play. Whereas when I was younger and especially with a young family I only had two questions when it came to gigs, how much does it pay and what do I have to play.

If we were to walk into your studio, what equipment are we likely to find?

A room full of guitars, about a dozen on display. One for each style that I like to play, ranging from hollow body electrics for jazz, solid body electrics for rock and blues, resonator for slide, classical nylon string for Latin and classical, several steel string acoustics for various styles of acoustic music and finger picking. Also, bass guitars, keyboard, drum set and vibraphone. I give lessons on all the above instruments and use them for recording. My studio is also set up for recording with all the necessary hardware and software. Also, set up for rehearsals and guitar repairs.

Which famous present day musicians do you admire the most and why?

No one name comes to mind, I enjoy all styles of music and there are many performers in each style that I admire.

What’s it like being a professional musician, playing gigs, releasing CDs, etc.? Do you feel you’ve reached your goals?

I have the best job in the world. I often tell people that you don’t get in to music as a means to an end, retirement etc. You get into music because that’s who you are.

How do you balance your music with other obligations? – Besides music, what else are you into?

Everyone needs something or things to distract them from their jobs. I have my family, which is first and foremost. Other than that, astronomy, woodworking, golf are among many other things that I enjoy. The key to balance as with any profession is organization.

What are you goals and aspirations for the future?

In the immediate future is to release a new CD with my music partner Kelly Meashey.

What advise would you give any aspiring musicians wanting to make a name for themselves?

Find the best music teacher you can, practice hard and learn as much about business as you can. Until you learn to separate the art of music with the business of music you are just putting your future in the hands of others or luck. Neither of which is in your best interest.

Please tell us a little more about any singles or albums you are currently working on…

The Inner Urge is a duo project with my music partner and friend Kelly Meashey. What started out as two people with similar music tastes getting together to play, evolved into composing, recording and concerts together. Both Kelly and I enjoy listening to and playing different style of music and that is what we tried to get across in our CD. Each of the compositions and covers were picked to demonstrate our wide range of interests and textures. Kelly who is not only a world class jazz vocalist, also plays piano and flute on the CD and I play many different types and styles of guitars. The CD has gotten radio play on local jazz radio and has been featured all through Europe and Japan.

We would like to thank Randy for taking the time to talk with us, we hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about this talented musician. Remember to check out Randy’s website for further details on upcoming gigs, album releases etc.

Thank you Randy and best of luck with your future endeavors.

The Festival Archive team
– Comprehensive Jazz Festival Information Worldwide

Author: Paul Thomson