- Surf Music
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Brook Hoover plays guitar in The Surf Zombies, an Iowa based surf/instrumental/garage band. The interview was conducted by David Lilly.
David Lilly: What was it that led you to playing guitar? Do you play other instruments?
Brook Hoover: I received an acoustic guitar for Christmas when I was 14 and took lessons from a local guitar teacher. Sight-reading was going pretty slow, but I found I could match pitch from records, tapes and tv shows and that led to jamming with my friends in the basement and a life-long love of music. I play drums and bass in order to produce demos and song ideas. I also like to sing.
David: Keith Richards strongly encourages starting with acoustic. I understand what you’re saying about sight reading. Once I learned a song on clarinet, I didn’t need sheet music. I’ve rented electric guitar, electric bass and tried harmonica over the years. I’ve never stayed with anything though. I suspect that’s due to not having anyone to jam with. Do you enjoy playing by yourself just for the sake of playing and it being fun for you?
Brook: I live to explore and practice the most basic fundamental aspects of guitar playing. The hardware is pretty interesting too. I am especially fond of Fender amps. Just locating the notes on the fretboard and understanding the patterns is pretty therapeutic for me. I really think it is healing to listen to music as well as play notes. I study more complex excerpts of songs but can't remember much. I live to improvise and write.
David: What kinds of music do you like to play the most? Also, what or who do you like to listen to?
Brook: I love to dig in and play blues chords and try to fashion melodies, riffs and chords to fit chord progressions. Also studying basic jazz chords and progressions. Improvising and creating new music is probably my favorite thing to do. I also enjoy designing lessons for beginning-level students.
I listen to Iowa Public Radio (https://www.iowapublicradio.org/ ) for a variety of new and classic music that is under-represented by commercial radio. Also I have many old favorites that are the usual suspects of rock and blues pioneers. Anything from the 20's-current is something I'd listen to. I am fascinated by Jeff Beck. I spent the last few years obsessing over Los Straitjackets and The Damned. A lot of British stuff. Hard rock, Bowie, Iggy Pop and always The Ramones. Obscure local releases by my friends and colleagues in Iowa takes up a good amount of listening time. And then I have to review a lot of my own mixes and demos to try to remember them to finish them or perform them live is probably the bulk of what I listen to. Also IPR.