John Tesh Interview
(Intelligence for Your Life)
As co-host of "Entertainment Tonight", John Tesh reports the entertainment
news. Now, John Tesh is entertainment news with the release of "Tour de France" (private
music), his debut album.
Q. I would think a guy with your schedule, would want to relax.
Instead, you're in the studio making a record. What's your motivation?
A. We tape the show in the morning. My day starts at about 8 a.m. and I'm finished
by 1 p.m. The recording studio is about 7 blocks from Paramount where we produce
the show. So, I'm in there 8 or 9 hours a day. It's great. It's really E.T.
that gives me the opportunity to be able to that.
Q. Since you were a musician first, did you have some kind
of plan formulated where you would try and gain fame in the broadcasting
field, and use that success to try and cross over into the music business?
A. It would seem that way, except, you'd be surprised with a record co. Something
like that can be a liability, because the general public, would think you can't
do anything else, or you're using some kind of notoriety to gain entrance into
the record racks. The people at Private Music, by listening to the music, knew
that wasn't the case. It's difficult. It's a real, I don't want to say teaching
process, but that's what it is. You have to make people aware that there's
something else there. There's precedent to all this. Take a look at somebody
like. I'm not the musician he is Dudley Moore, who happens to be a brilliant
piano player. Sometimes you get, I guess you could say, side tracked into things
like television and radio, (laughs).
Q. Now if this album takes off, and you get concert tour offers,
and film score projects, what will happen to your TV. job?
A. My priority is really the music. I enjoy what I'm doing there on 'Entertainment
Tonight.' That does give me a lot of opportunities. But, the music has always
been the priority. And, they've made it very easy for me to do both. They know
how important it is. They give me time off. For example, when I recorded this
record, it wasn't recorded while I was doing 'E.T.' I took a good bit of time
off to do it. But, that's a good question.
Q. When the 80's began, many musicians feared the synthesizer
would put them out of work. Has that happened?
A. I do think that a few musicians have been put out of business. With this
album, I tried to use a lot of acoustic instruments, especially guitars,
and a sax player as well. String players will always sound like string players.
It's difficult for a synthesizer to sound like that, But I do think that
drummers have had a hard time with all of this. Although I used drum samples,
computer samples of drums on this record, but I had a 'live' drummer playing.
I think you can tell. This so called 'new age' music, all the plinking and
plucking and sleigh bells and everything - that stuff just drives me nuts.
That's a lot of just synthesizer stuff.
Q. When you see a group or an artist gain popularity off of
a gimmick, like makeup or theatrics, does that make you mad, as musician?
A. It doesn't bother me if the music is good. I think that' Thomas Dolby, his
name has helped him a lot. Videos are gimmicks, right? His whole 'Blinded With
Science', or 'Blinded By Science', the whole video thing was a gimmick. Yet,
he is a brilliant musician. I think he's proved that with his second and third
albums. The 'Kiss' thing bothers me. What bothers me more than anything is
a the rip-offs. Bands like Kingdom Come, which is a direct, rip-off of Zeppelin.
As long as you can deliver. Those bands just burn themselves out, if there's
no music there.
Q. Are you successful because you're talented, ambitious,
lucky or is it a combination?
A. I think it's a combination. I would probably put ambitious and lucky right
up there. I think we all possess a good measure of talent, it's what you do
with it. I consider myself talented in a couple of different fields. I happen
to be a pretty good writer of the spoken word, and I'm a good announcer and
musician. I've decided that my future is in music, and it's what makes me the
happiest. I get a real thrill when I hear my music on the radio, or if my music
moves somebody. Watching myself on television doesn't really do anything for
Q. Is fame what you thought it would be when you were just
A. You can ask anybody who really knows me, my wife, or my mom; I'm a very
insecure person, and I've never considered myself famous. It's very difficult
for me to get pleasure out of anything I do. I think it's only because either
I don't think it's great, or I just think I can do better. The more I learn
about production and the way it relates to production, the more I learn I'm
just scratching the surface.
Q. Since you have a great speaking voice, can you sing?
A. Yeah. I really have four of five cuts of music I did about five or six years
ago that I sang on. We did some demos for Capitol. Part of the reason we
decided not to put a cut with singing on it was that, I wanted to be considered
a musician, and not a singer. I think maybe down the line we may do something
like that. I just thought that would be a little much right away.
Q. Being so recognizable from the TV. exposure. does that
present a problem for you when you try to go out, to say a restaurant?
A. We don't go out. Probably the most we go out is when we visit Julie's (his
wife's) parents or go to visit my mom. Julie is an actress and she works very
hard. I get up real early in the morning and go to work, and then I'm in the
studio, and then I'm home at night crashing. We really don't have a social
life. We spend some time on the weekends playing volleyball just to loosen
up. You notice it in the smaller towns. The worst thing is if someone wants
to hit you in the face when you're playing volleyball, just because you're
on television, (laughs). That's a bad way to be recognized.
Q. Are you tired of the whole Hollywood entertainment scene?
Does it give you any pleasure anymore interviewing celebrities?
A. I worked for network sports for six years, and I got to interview Jimmy
Connors and John McEnroe and all those guys. Those guys tired me out, because
they were over interviewed. It got to be too much after awhile because they
weren't that interesting, or didn't want to show me an interesting side of
them. The Hollywood people are a little more friendly. I was surprised, 'cause
I would of thought the other way around. I thought it would've been different,
in that they would be really snooty. When Bette Davis invites you to her house
to do an interview with her, that's exciting to me. There's a lot of little
kid in me. I did an Eric Clapton interview not long ago, and in the middle
of the interview I had to stop because I was so nervous when I was asking about
'Layla'. That was a song I grew up with and knew all the words to and all the
chords. I'm like shaking my head, and Clapton goes, 'What's wrong Jon'? And
I said, I can't believe I'm sitting here talking to you.
Official Website: tesh.com
© Gary James All Rights Reserved