I know. I thought the same thing. When it comes to Billy, Alphonso and T. - those guys are largely responsible for the way I play. They influenced me tremendously early on. All three of them in their different situations - Alphonso with Weather Report, Billy with Mahavishnu, T. with the Dregs and all of their solo albums. I was also coming right off of being really Hamp-notized, you know what I mean? After working with Hampton who said, "Okay, you know all of this 'respect' music now so drop that crap and play." That was where he was coming from. He'd rather hear you play garbage than to just regenerate the same thing you've been playing for the past ten years. When I joined Jazz Is Dead, I was trying to behave myself in the beginning and not go too "out" because I thought those guys might think I was insane.
It was unbelievable, man. I never could fit into a real country band because my style leaned too much towards jazz and rock. If I got into a jazz group I was too country and for a blues group I played too many notes. So I never fit into any "normal" category and then when I got with Bruce, it was exactly what he was looking for. I'd finally found a place I could fit into. He didn't really tell us what to do, he just offered us a palette for it.
He'd say, "I don't care if you play on one string or if you're playing on the floor, but if you are sayin' something, play as long as you want. You don't even need a guitar, just get a broom. As long as you're sayin' something." So needless to say, sometimes we'd play too long and not really say anything but we were trying (laughs) and he offered us that medium. - Jimmy Herring
( Jimmy talks about one of his approaches. - Ed)