Tim Rose is a musician and friend whom I met back in the mid/late nineties while his band, The Sun Sawed In 1/2, were in Los Angeles, CA playing a show. Tim and I bonded right off the bat!
This interview is a spotlight on Tim Rose and his life in music with The Sun Sawed In 1/2, his personal thoughts on being a musician in our time, and, well…. a little bit more.
Thanks so much for reading!!!
🍂 ALL KINDS OF CREATIVE 🍂
MFP: So Tim, I’d LOVE to start off with when you first got into music and what really inspired you at that time.
Tim: When I was in 7th grade I was really into KISS. They were the coolest band I had ever heard; we all wanted to own everything they produced from the records to joining the KISS army. My brother and I got together with neighborhood kids and made fake guitars and put on shows for the neighbors as we lip-synched. It was, however, my grandmother who insisted on buying me some “decent” music to listen to instead of this “clown” music. She bought me the Beatles red greatest hits album. It changed my life.
MFP: I saw one of your childhood films and you were like, in 8th grade. What was that all about?
Tim: Our friend, Andy decided to make a documentary on super 8 of our first band, Rio. We loosely based it on the history of the Beatles. I was a cinemaphile since my early childhood owing to my mom taking me along to the movies to see adult themed movies she wanted to see instead of getting a sitter. I always dreamt of being a filmmaker. Recently, with the Adobe suite, I have been able to make my own videos and edit them.
MFP: Nice! Does that include you creating your own music videos, as well? If so, where can our readers see your work?
TIM: My music video for our song, “Elephants into Swans” is available, as well as my work with the non-profit, The Answers Project (set up to preserve indigenous tribes around the world) also viewable on youtube.com.
MFP: You are also another kind of creative! You did the artwork for the album Hula by Nushu (a band I was in 😍). What other music albums have you done artwork for?
Tim: I can’t really remember them all. I have done all of the Sun Sawed in 1/2 albums as well as my solo album, Fresh Mowed Lawn, and work for Ken Kase, The Funky Butt Brass Band, a Left Banke tribute album that we also performed on, and about a dozen others.
MFP: On top of all of that, you also design some very lovely websites! Any that you’d care to share with us here?
Tim: My personal site showcases my 20+ years of working in design and advertising. However, I’m very proud of the site for The Answers Project. This charity means so much to me as it afforded me the opportunity to travel the world and live with and interview tribal elders from Borneo to Ecuador.
MFP: Did, or do you take any schooling or classes to support your art and music (film, art, instruments, etc)
Tim: Yes, I graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My father was a photographer and art director. He taught me many things. I also traveled the world with National Geographic photographers when I ran the Starbucks art program. I learned so much from them.
…and now I present to you, from St Louis, MO……
🎵😎THE SUN SAWED IN 1/2😎🎵
MFP: What got you interested in starting a band? Seems you started really young.
Tim: My dad had a reel to reel Sony and an acoustic guitar. We used to play it with a quarter as a pick and make up songs even before we knew how to play. The 6th grade kid across the street had a drum kit. The rest happened organically.
MFP: Are you a self-taught musician?
Tim: Yes. I took all the Beatles songs and put them on the reel to reel tape. Then I went to sleep with my guitar each night and figured out how to play every one of them.
MFP: Who are your musical heroes and why?
Tim: My primary heroes are the typical Beatles and Brian Wilson. I had the fortune of meeting Brian several times owing to my friendship with Probyn Gregory and Jeff Foskett. That was fantastic. For the guitar, Pete Townsend is my hero. I wanted to play with the same wanton energy as Pete.
MFP: What do you LOVE and NOT love about the music industry at this particular time?
Tim: What I suppose I love is the idea that anyone can make music at home at any time. What I don’t love is the idea that most of it isn’t easy to access. Commercial pop sounds unlistenable to me for the most part. I never thought I would be nostalgic for disco, 80s hair metal or 90s hip hop. I hated those things at the time but they sound so much better than the 808 autotune rap today.
MFP: I know everyone LOVES this question but I still must ask, how did you come up with the name The Sun Sawed In 1/2?
Tim: After band practice, my brother saw a newspaper kiosk in our town of St. Louis. It was the tabloid, the Sun. The headline was “Sawed in 1/2” He said, “Now there’s a surreal name that no other band will have.”
MFP: Your lead singer, Doug Bobenhouse. How did you and Doug originally meet, and was he that perfect singer that you were looking for?
Tim: Our first singer, Chip left after our first year together. Doug was a kid who had come to see us several times. I know he was eager to play with us. He took me outside and sang “Rosemary” by Lenny Kravitiz. I said, great, you’re in.
He had a powerful and clean pop voice. It took him awhile to get used to my writing and took him longer to get the knack of performing, but that can be said for all of us. We literally all learned together.
MFP: How do you write your Music? Your lyrics? Do you have a muse?
Tim: I get into a trance by writing for hours and pay zero attention to what I’m doing. I record all of the improv and then spend weeks digging through and culling the good parts. Then I got back as a sober editor and piece it together. The lyrics are mostly whatever I was singing stream of conscious at the time with some polishing. My muse is the inner hurricane of my own brain.
PLEASE ENJOY THIS QUICK INTERMISSION WITH A RUNDOWN OF ALBUMS BY THE SUN SAWED IN 1/2 EARLIEST TO LATEST.
The Happiness and other short stories (1992)
Hot Feet for Monkey God (1993)
Mind Flip (1995)
Fizzy Lift (1997)
Elephants into Swans (2013)
MFP: So aside from album releases by The Sun Sawed In 1/2…..
Tim: We did a cassette tape with Chip (The Sun Sawed In 1/2’s first singer), that shall never see the light of day. I put out a solo album “Fresh Mowed Lawn” which I recorded in 2004 in Vienna, Austria with jazz pros and the Vienna Symphony.
Fresh Mowed Lawn
MFP: You’ve also toured with The Sun Sawed In 1/2. Is there anything you might want to share here today about lessons learned or great takeaways through your personal experiences?
Tim: It was hard. Internally, there are the same group of guys who all have different ideas and patience. Externally, it is difficult to book, deal with club owners, do the radio interviews, party every night and perform.
My biggest lesson was to take care of the internal relationships more. Most bands implode from within. Only Doug, my brother and I were able to see it through all the way. We went through many drummers, keyboardists and secondary guitarists along the way. However, there is no bad blood and I am still in touch with everyone who took the time to bring our dream alive.
MFP: If you could go back in time with The Sun Sawed In 1/2, what would you do differently?
Tim: Practice more and realize we were not as great as we thought we were. In our youth, we thought we were world class. We didn’t push it as hard either as musicians or as performers as we could have. I always thought the strength on my end was the songwriting. I worked very hard on writing songs I would be proud of. My guitar playing was nothing stellar. I would have also worked harder on the arrangements.
⭐️CURRENT CREATIVE PROJECTS⭐️
MFP: What are you currently creatively working on these days?
Tim: Doug (Bobenhouse) and I got together in July this year and played some new material at his home in Chicago. We now can work with Logic and share ideas. I also recorded Bonnie McCoy and her husband Marcus. I co-wrote three songs with them that are totally different from the power pop of the Sun. Bonnie is the great grandniece of Memphis Minnie. She is a legendary blues singer.
🐍 FUN QUESTION’S TIME!!! 🐍
Over, Under, Sideways, Down!
MFP: What new and/or old music are you listening to these days?
Tim: The new bands I like tend to sound either a lot like bands I liked in my childhood or bands that are totally crazy. I’m digging Babymetal, Lucius, The Staves, The Struts, Foxygen, Fleet Foxes, and The Lemon Twigs. I still discover new music by old bands through Spotify by digging through their deep catalogs. Lately, I’ve been into The Stylistics, Carole King, Pilot, and the Zombies.
MFP: What is the strangest record/cd in your music collection that might leave your friends scratching their heads about?
Tim: Possibly Babymetal. I also have a thing for Crystal Gayle.
MFP: What are your other talents (cooking, woodworking, fixing cars, knowing stuff, etc…)
Tim: After living in Italy for four years, cooking has been a passion. I also like filmmaking, art direction, and especially travel. I’ve been to 39 countries and have a laundry list of more I can’t wait to explore.
MFP: Nice! So what is your favorite food to make?
Tim: I love making quality Northern Italian food such as risotto, farinata, gnocchi, and pumpkin-filled pastas.
MFP: Mmmm…I’ll be right over!!! (haha) So what feeds your Spirit? What revitalizes you?
Tim: Meeting people from other cultures and learning what feeds their spirit. Learning something new every day.
MFP: FABULOUS! One last question before I let you go: What advice would you give a young musician today?
Tim: I would say, sadly, the same thing that was told to me by my elders, make sure you have a backup plan. Make music for yourself and be happy with what you do. If someone else digs it, great. But make the music for your own soul foremost.
MFP: Beautiful, Tim. Thank you so much! 🧡🧡🧡
***SERVICES/CONTACT TIM ROSE***
Timothy Rose Creative Direction Website
Tim is a Creative Director and runs a consulting business where he helps to build and champion brands. Visit Timroseltd.com to find out more.
To my blog readers and followers,
***Thank YOU for taking the time in reading our lovingly co-created content. I’m always excited to peek in to the minds of other creatives and to share it with others. PLEASE feel free to leave comments or questions at ANY time below!
Love Love Love,
Mychols Fabulous Playground
“Starting To See” MUSIC VIDEO
(Lisa Mychols makes a special appearance!)
*LIVE PERFORMANCE VIDEOS*
*IN THE STUDIO WITH KEITH OLSEN*
*THE ANSWERS PROJECT*
***Photos used by permission