Vincent "The King" : guitar; Tracy: piano; Koya Hisakazu : bass; Stephene : drums
Live at The Wan Chi Street Party with Tommy Chung on 12-1-2003
Vincent Lam : Guitar & vocals
Tommy Chung : Guitar & vocals
Stephane Wong : Drums
Koya Hisakazu : Bass
Tracy Cheuk " Keyboards
Tomiyama : Harp
A quiet moment
Helter Skelter is one of the best Blues acts in Hong Kong. Vincent Lam is one of the most promising and exciting Blues player in Hong Kong. Not only does he have the looks he can also play some of the most searing and soulful Blues. Vincent shares his music with us here :-
I used to only listen to heavy metal bands of the time, like Guns n Roses, Metallica, Pantera, Sepultura, Machine Head, etc. My favourite guitar hero is Slash, and I realised after a while that it was because he was so soulful. My friend once said of Slash that he has this ability to play all the right notes. I had read in magazines that it was because of his blues background, and it was then I realised that everything came from the blues. So naturally, I started going back – first through Eric Clapton and B.B. King, to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter, Albert Collins and Buddy Guy, then to Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf, and finally to T-Bone Walker and Robert Johnson.
So here I am…
Even as of today, I try to keep things simple. I keep to the Pentatonic and major scales whilst listening to a little more jazz – from Les Paul to Kenny Burrell – hoping to someday be able to add jazz licks where appropriate.
My advice to those that are new to the blues is to listen to the ‘masters’. Personally, I would recommend listening to people with very different and unique styles to start off with. Guitarists such as Albert King, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan to name but a few. Try to familiarise yourself with their licks and techniques, and try to come up with something of your own.
When picking up the guitar, the first thing a lot of people want to learn nowadays is how to do all the lightning fast licks, rock god sweeping & tapping, quick jazzy runs, etc. But it’s the real tasteful licks that are full of the musician’s feel and emotions that make a blues song. Imagine playing on-stage with the soulful B.B. King. Going “diddley, diddley, diddlely” is meaningless because B.B. King will shut your ass up with one “BING!”
One of the things that make you a distinctive guitarist is your ‘sound’, so your equipment and set-up is very important. If you have a lot of money to blow, make sure you spend it wisely rather than trying to amass as many different looking guitars as you can or buy all the latest gizmo’s and effects!
My Number One guitar is a honey-sunburst Les Paul Standard. I replaced both pick-ups with Seymour Duncan’s – a Jazz model in the neck position and a JB model in the bridge position. This is my most loyal and trustworthy axe, but it has gone through hell because I tend to abuse this guitar when I play it – I beat it, drop it and spill beer all over it. But if, one sunny day, I don’t feel very confident with an upcoming show, this is the guitar I instinctively pick up because I know it so intimately.
I use only Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings, gauged 011-048, and always 1.14mm picks. The action on the guitar is quite high because I like to really dig into the fret-board.
The less pedals you go through, the better your tone, so I only use two pedals. One is the Boss DS-2 Turbo distortion pedal that gives my Number One a nice, warm crunch. Since I started off as a rock player - and I still am in many ways - I still prefer a pedal that gives me a bit more bite. I also use a Vox Wah-Wah pedal. I love this effect – I always have and I always will. If you use one, try to resist the temptation to senselessly step up-and-down on it just to make it go “wah-wah-wah-wah”. If you learn how to really play it, you can add a lot more colour to your songs or solos.
Someone once told me that the more you play a guitar, the better it will sound – you can’t just leave it in the corner and not play it. While that is true, I believe that for my Number One, it was the beer I spilt on it over the years that did it. Beer makes everything better. Try watering your plants with it too.
As a musician, you can only grow by being in a band and interacting and ‘communicating’ with all the other musicians and instruments that make up the band. Being in a band has its own book of etiquette, and everybody has a different interpretation so I’ll skip straight to the next part.
Once you and your band feel comfortable enough, playing in front of an audience is a MUST. Seeing the crowd’s reactions is the only accurate way to gauge your own performance, and hence, it is the only way to improve. In a band situation, learn to listen to the band and the overall song rather than just yourself. Many bands make the fatal mistake of engaging in a ‘war of volumes’ with one another which, at best, makes the band sound really unbalanced, and at worst, sends a hearing disability lawsuit your way.
Lastly, and most importantly, relax and immerse yourself in the music. Let the band and the music carry you through the song rather than trying to take-over the song all by yourself. This way, you can really feel and enjoy the music rather than stumbling under the stress of trying to sound perfect on-stage or impress your girlfriend with your cool stage-look…"
The Helter Skelter web site :-
One time I met Vincent at 48th Street drinking an orange juice. I asked him why he was drinking orange juice. He said he was ill. If you drink orange juice at a Blues bar, you are bound to get ill, won't cha?