by Chad Cooper - May, 2009
Ian Moore is known as a guitar prodigy. The 41-year-old former Austin resident has even been given the title of the "Roy Orbison of the 21st Century."
When did you first discover music?
It was really over time. My first instrument was the violin. There was a string project in Austin, actually those projects are all over, but they teach kids how to play string instruments. I started and received a lot of positive attention when I played. Because of a hand injury, I didn't start playing guitar until I was 16 but I knew then I wanted to be a musician.
Oh yeah. I wish I could go back because it was so funny. During the summer, our family would go to Wisconsin and I had an older friend there who was a DJ. He was playing a show, it was the 1980s and back then it was mostly New Wave music but I got up in the middle of his set and started playing some Buddy Holly with my violin. The funny thing was I was wearing one of my dad's Indonesian coats. He collected Eastern artifacts. Remember the "Synchronicity" video by the Police? It looked like one of those jackets. Yeah, it was like a wizard jacket. What a great debut.
Outside of Jimi Hendrix, who were some influences?
Early on, Buddy Holly more than any. There was the Beatles but with a guitar there's Benny Freeman, Albert King, Jerry Butler, Aaron Neville, Leroy Brothers in Austin. I was a big record collector so I could go on and on. And Richard Thompson. I try to find inspiration everywhere because I didn't want to be just some other guy wailing away at an instrument. He was one of the greatest that ever lived. People look at Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and Steve Ray Vaughn with all the flashy stuff but Richard does all of that without you knowing. He slices and dices. He's mind-blowing.
As a singer-songwriter, do you adapt to the ever-changing industry?
I don't really think about the music industry going into a project. I've adapted some but I'm always writing. There was a moment when the music industry, as a whole, was behind in my career. I like the artists who speak their minds and do their own thing. The main thing I try to do is get better - better melodies, better singing and interesting production. I want to leave a good body of work.
Hanging out with Bob Dylan must have been cool.
Oh yeah. Sitting backstage with him talking about the Beatles was pretty big but a bigger moment in my career was playing the final show with the Rolling Stones in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl in 1996. It was sold out and it was a real sense of how far I've come. It was exciting and scary at the some moment.
What is Austin groovy?
It's a liberal city and artists love freedom. It has changed some but there's still a ton of places to play and the standard is very high. If you don't deliver something interesting there, you won't get another gig so that makes musicians stay on top of their game.
You are about to record another album. What's left?
I feel like I haven't really done anything. As a guitar player, I feel like I have just discovered my voice. Music is a never-ending template.
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