The following interview was conducted via email in July 2008.
(Interviewed by Ronny & John)
1. At what age did you first become interested in music and who were your influences at the time?
Dave McMurray: I started playing clarinet when I was 5 years old. My father listened to a lot of jazz and soul music, so there was always music in the house. My older brother wanted to play the saxophone, so of course I wanted to play the saxophone too. He became a lawyer…I became the musician. My main influences at the time we’re Cannonball Adderly, King Curtis, & Junior Walker. Later John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, and Grover Washington Jr became great influences.
2. We understand you play a variety of instruments. What instruments do you play and why did you settle on the saxophone?
I play all of the saxophones, clarinet, flute, and keyboards. The tenor saxophone is my main instrument. The saxophone was hipper than the clarinet. That’s my voice.
3. What type of saxophone do you use most when recording and performing live?
With Kid Rock I play the tenor saxophone. It’s fits with rock and roll better than the other saxes. It has more guts and feeling.
4. How many albums have you released so far in your career and who have been some of your favorite musicians that have collaborated with you?
I’ve released 5 albums, so far. I’ve collaborated with Don and David Was, from Was (Not Was). Also pianist Bob James and bassist Marcus Miller. I also had George Duke play on a couple of songs. I’ve also played with Albert King, Herbie Hancock, Bonnie Raitt, BB King, & Chaka Khan. I love playing all different kinds of music.
5. What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
One of my biggest moments was headlining 2 concerts in England. We played at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, and in Manchester. I brought my Detroit group of musicians. Both shows we’re sold out. It got great reviews.
6. When did you first meet Kid Rock and how did talk begin into going on the road with the Twisted Brown Trucker band?
I played on the last 2 Kid Rock albums. While recording “Roll On” he said, imagine you we’re playing on the show and the spotlight was on you. When the CD was released he called me to do the David Letterman show. After that I continued playing. It’s been a great experience.
7. When you first joined the Twisted Brown Trucker band did you find it hard adapting to play the saxophone on different styles of music from Rock, Country and Hip Hop?
I’ve always loved all different kinds of music. The biggest challenge has been to fit in with songs that didn’t have sax on it. Not to overplay, but to add something meaningful to the songs. It’s such an excellent band, and the songs are so well constructed, that I don’t want to force the saxophone into any songs. It’s a fun band.
8. What is your favorite Kid Rock song and why?
Of course “Roll On” is one. “Devil” is a great groove. “All Summer Long” is a natural. I love “Cocky” and “Bullgod”. Kid Rock is a master at constructing songs.
9. What advice would you give to someone who has just begun learning the saxophone? What can they do to stand out from the crowd?
Listen to as much music as possible…and don’t stop playing. Sometimes it’s frustrating to practice, but it does yield improvement. Don’t be afraid to stand away from the crowd. Create your own style. In my opinion, a style is a combination of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Play to your strengths and improve your weaknesses.
10. What are some of your hobbies outside of music?
Music is actually my life. I think music 24 hours a day.
11. What is your opinion of the current world jazz scene? Has the genre evolved much during your time on the scene?
Jazz is always expanding, because it incorporates all different styles of music… but smooth jazz radio is very restricting. It’s kind of like background music. There are a lot of great jazz records that can’t get played, because they don’t fit that format. That has to change. The world, outside of the US, seems to have a greater appreciation for jazz.
12. What do you want music fans to remember most after hearing you perform?
I try to always live and play with passion and feeling. You don’t have to think technically about what I play. I want you to feel it.
13. Finally, do you have any upcoming projects you would like to mention to our visitors?
My new CD “Sax, Beats, & Meditations” will be out at the beginning of the year. I’m looking forward to that….and more KID ROCK shows.