Interview with Regi "The Teacha" Wooten Continued

Posted on February 6, 2011


The feedback I received  from the 1st interview spoke of what a blessing he is as a teacher and/or friend. There is a very good chance I would find myself on his long list of students if I weren’t 1,000  miles away. The 2nd half of the interview will cover Regi’s philosophy on what he calls the “Holy Trinity of Music”, music education, opening for Dave Matthews and his inspiring opinion on the influence of the internet and the music business. At the end of this article you will find ways to contact Regi if you are interested in connecting with him or purchasing his cd’s or instructional dvd’s.

JS-Can you tell me one of your most memorable stage moments?

Regi-Some of my best moments were when we toured with Dave Matthews. It was really very high class, it was a huge tour. I mean, he tours with 12 tractor trailors, 12 buses and no crowd was less than 50,000. It was just really nice being on that level. That’s the level I want to be on anyway. He had access to all kinds of technology. There were more people working for him than for the president.

JS-What does it feel like to play in front of 50,000 people?

Regi-Well it’s different, there’s an energy that goes on. You look out as far as you can and never see the end of the people. I’ve played in front of some big crowds but Dave Matthews has some crowds bigger than I had ever seen. My eyes are good, I looked out as far as I could see and couldn’t see the last guy. It was really neat.

JS-Can you tell me a bit about your thoughts on music education?

Regi-The way that our family learned, we learned a little bit different, the way we play is more well rounded I think. Most players, musicians tend to pick one way of playing. Like if you get a blues player, he just plays blues…….There’s 3 ways of playing, they tell us this in music class. There’s melody, rhythm and harmony. That’s the holy trinity of music. Melody, which means single lines and notes like classical music, violins. Then you have rhythm, which is like r&b, people dancing. Then you have harmony which is jazz, which is basically about a bunch of weird chords, right? You’ve got those 3, that’s the 3 ways you can play. Melody, rhythm and harmony. But the way we learned, we learned all 3 of them….That’s why I tap on the guitar like a heavy metal player. I want to be the best player I can possibly be, I know all these weird scales….Victor’s the same way, he can do all that stuff on the bass. We also play rhythms, Victor slaps on the bass. I do all these funky things on the guitar, like an R&B band, like Flea and The Chili Peppers. So, we do that and we also do harmony, meaning [we] also play jazz…..Play Chick Corea, which is heavy jazz, one week.

A lot of players today just play one way. A lot of jazz players just play jazz and the heavy metal players, which is the melodic stuff, only play heavy metal. Rhythm guys, the R&B, the dance bands can only play rhythm. It’s good to be well rounded.

JS-Will you be touring with your brother this year?

Regi-Yeah, in February or March, we’re doing a short tour, we go to Moscow. I’ve never been to Russia before. Then in March or April we play South America. I think we do two fall USA tours, probably around 15 days each.

JS-I also teach and there are times when I have to explain to my students why I believe it is helpful for them to learn certain things. I tell them to not just do it because I say to but because it really is useful. I say it’s like going out to eat or to a friends house for dinner and they serve a dish that you really like. You bite into it and taste all the flavors. If you are familiar with what different ingredients can do then you can duplicate it. It’s the same with music, when you hear a song, you can recognize certain scales, rhythms and techniques being used because you’re familiar with those ingredients.

Regi-Exactly, yes that is true. Those ingredients they’re in there, you just have to learn about them.

JS-You can teach just about everybody, I’m guessing.

Regi-Yeah, well I’ve been teaching a long time so I’ve pretty much seen all the personalities. There’s ways you can inspire, that’s what I have to be good at….You have to come from a wide angle approach. I teach a lot of students and the kids [may not] want to learn music, they would rather watch cartoons. So, I started watching cartoons with them and we came from that angle.

JS-So you met them where they were at.

Regi-I meet them where they’re at because I’m not teaching them at school, I need them to come back. In my business I can’t fail anyone because I need them to come back. So, I come from all kinds of angles and I’ve been doing it for awhile so I’ve kind of met everybody. That’s why I have a lot of students, a lot of people are just coming back to hang out.

JS-Do you ever hit any plateau’s in your playing and learning and how do you handle them?

Regi-No, I don’t ever hit a plateau. My only plateau is time….I actually have more stuff that I want to develop it’s just a matter of having the time to do it. I think Victor would say the same thing.

JS-What are your thoughts on the internet and how that has effected music, playing and teaching?

Regi-I like the internet, technically I think it made learning easier. To me it’s just a modern day encyclopedia as far as finding information….It’s a great communication device. Technology has helped out with learning quite a bit but it doesn’t guarantee you’re going to get better but it’s nice to look on the internet and see these things.

As far as the music industry, a lot of people think that it actually hurt the music industry but I don’t think it has. A lot of people say this is because you can see the artists for free on Youtube and stuff like that….. A lot of record companies are folding now, there’s not as many record stores as there used to be. If you look at basketball, basketball is growing, it’s going international, it’s part of the Olympics…A lot of artists and record companies are blaming the internet but I blame the record companies. My philosophy, my take is the reason all those sports are growing is you can see those athletes on Youtube. See what I mean?…You can see Koby Bryant or Lebron James, you can see anything you want on Youtube but then at the same time basketball is growing on television and the reason is because we’re seeing the best guys. People wanna see the best. The reason the Olympics are so big, it was held in China last time, it was huge and now they’ve branched out, they’ve expanded, they’ve got the winter olympics and then they have these qualifying olympics, ya see, it’s just growing and growing. You can still see these people on the internet [but] it’s because people want to see the best but what happens in music is we’re not seeing the best artists. We don’t really know who the best people are.

JS-It’s true.

Regi-It’s a popularity contest. People don’t know, they don’t understand. The audience doesn’t know but nature doesn’t care, it’s still just dropping. The industry just keeps getting smaller and smaller. The record deals that people are getting now are minute compared to the way it used to be…To me it could easily be changed if they would go back to the way it was. Like when I came up they would have the talent scouts go out and sign the best guys. The reason that we have Elvis is because somebody went out and found him and said this guy is the best. Hendrix, they found him in New York, James Brown, they found him in jail. I mean, the Temptations, they found them in the cornfields, Janis Joplin, they found her. They said, we’re looking for the best, we need someone to build our company. They found the best guys and the people went to them.

Nowadays you could be the best but you might not even make it. A lot of times they’ll shut people out because they are a threat to the artists they already have signed up. So, it’s opposite now, you’re not seeing the best artists anywhere. You’re not seeing the best dancers, singers, you’re not even seeing the worlds best looking artists. It’s that who you know thing. If you can go out there and fraternize with a certain person then you have a chance. To me that’s what’s killing the music industry, not the internet.

We don’t have that quality control in the entertainment industry that we need. Anythime you bring that quality control, it will always raise the industry because everyone’s DNA will react to it. That’s what happens in sports or anything, even poker championships but the music market is diminishing.

JS-Do you remember that song we had about 25 years ago, it was from USA for Africa and they played the video all over the world at the same time one day, I think it was at 11am where I was.

Regi-Was it “We Are The World?”

JS-Yes, “We Are The World”. That was so nice how it brought so many millions of people together for one moment. It’s amazing how music could do that. It seems that people are a little more seperate these days. We don’t have those big stars pulling us together.

Regi-Meaningful stars.

On that note, I would like to send out another very heartfelt Thank You to Mr. Regi Wooten for his time and inspiration.

Regi’s website

Contact Regi on Facebook!/profile.php?id=1211504681