dave render - amiable acoustic music

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1. What type of guitars do you use during gigs?

  • My first baby: 1972 Guild D-25; mahogany face (a rarity!), sides and back.
  • My second baby: 1991 Martin HD-28; classic Martin dreadnought of spruce top, rosewood sides & back, and scalloped bracing.
  • “JC”: 2005 Black Takamine EF381 12 string; solid spruce top, laminated mahogany sides & back.
  • My newest baby: 1998 Taylor 512ce; cedar top, mahogany sides & back, killer Fishman Matrix Electronics. I acquired this jewel in a most unique way. In March (2006) I received an unexpected box from my high school best friend, Lee. This is the guy who I learned to play guitar with, who taught me “Stairway to Heaven,” and who has quite a guitar collection. In the box was the beautiful Taylor without any note of explanation. I was flabbergasted! When I finally spoke to him on the phone, he said he had recently traveled across state lines to by a $350 million dollar power ball ticket. On his drive back as he was dreaming of all the ways he’d spend his winnings, he was reminded of “My Name is Earl” (the TV show) and wanted to show his appreciation to his friends and relatives for their support over the years. THEN he decided he didn’t need to win the lottery to accomplish this goal, and he mailed me the guitar. I was touched, honored, and humbled by this strong gesture of our friendship!


2. Why so many?

a. I'm very attached to all of them.

      "This ol' guitar taught me to sing a love song.

      It showed me how to laugh and how to cry.

      It introduced me to some friends of mine, and brightened up some days.

      It helped me make it through some lonely nights.

      What a friend to have on a cold and lonely night."

                                  (John Denver)

b. They are tuned differently, for different songs. One is tuned very low so I can hit those Neil Young high notes without squeezing my legs together real tight (something my wife discourages).


3. When you take your glasses off, does the nose and moustache come off with them?

Ah, the nose-and-glasses rub. I've been getting this since I can remember. It's the family joke - my brothers-in-law almost wore those nose-moustache-glasses masks to my wedding. When my son was just learning to talk, my wife help up one of those masks and said "who's this?" He said, "Daddy" without blinking an eye.


5. When you perform, you have a picture displayed with your name on it. What is the drawing on the picture.

You'll have to figure that one out for yourself - see #4 for a hint.


6. How did you ever learn so many songs?

I'm OLD! Seriously, some of them date back to my high school band days. There are so many great songs out there, I just keep learning them.


7. How do you remember all the words.

a. They just get ingrained in my brain.

b. When I learn a new song, I memorize the lyrics over and over on long bike rides. They really come in handy to get my mind off peddling up a long hill!

c. I have a cheat-sheet on my amp that sometimes reminds me of the lyrics I MOST forget.

d. I don't - sometimes I repeat the first verse when I can't remember the second. Ever notice (I don't think so)?

d. I don't! I screw up like everybody else.


8. Are you a songwriter?

Not really, though I wish I was. I've written only four songs, all back in the 70's. I've tried to write, but find it very difficult. I think you need to be pretty intuitive to be a songwriter, but I'm not.


9. Do you perform full-time?

No, though performing is my real job and the day job just pays the mortgage. During the day I work for the NYS Dept. of Health in the Cancer Services Program.


10. Who are your influences.

I learned to play and perform in the 70's - cut my acoustic teeth on Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, John Denver, Logins and Messina, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and of course, the Beatles. I was also heavily influenced by a lot of rock bands that have a strong acoustic base; the Who, Jethro Tull, Boston, Heart, and Led Zeppelin. My performance mentor was Randy Mauger, an Albany singer-songwriter who really encouraged me to buy a PA system and begin performing more regularly. He also taught me a lot about sound engineering, marketing, and performance (thanks, Randy!)


11. What is your musical background?

I started out in grade school as a drummer. In 7th grade I was a founding member of “The Epics,” a Beatles/soul band who performed in the Chicago area for seven years. The band’s guitarists, John & Bill, taught me guitar during our breaks, and I eventually got good enough to play and sing two Epics tunes (the Beatles’ “I Need You” and the Byrds’ “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”). When the band broke up in 1970 as we all went off to college, I missed playing their guitars. I dropped the drums (too hard to schlep around), bought a cheap, pawn-shop guitar and started teaching myself.


At Loyola there were many coffeehouses, and my friends cajoled me into performing solo one night. Though I was terrible, I got “hooked on the applause” and have been performing ever since. Throughout my career I’ve played in a number of acoustic duos and trios.


One other milestone in my career that I need to mention is performing at the “Cracker Box” in Piermont, NY. This dive of a neighborhood bar is responsible for me stretching my style to include rowdier rock and country. Up until this time I was a mellow folk singer. Being a biker bar, my James Taylor/Simon & Garfunkel finger-picking didn’t go over so well. So my survival instinct kicked in and I added a lot more up-tempo, rowdy tunes to my repertoire. After my three-year stint there, I was a more well-rounded performer!


12. What music are you currently into?

I listen to a lot of bluegrass and contemporary folk these days. I'm also getting more into Jazz.


13. What songs do you LOVE?

Songs I never tire of and which I usually play every performance:

Piano Man - Billy Joel

Take It Easy - Eagles

Breakdown - Tom Petty

Is She Really Going Out With Him - Joe Jackson

Mrs. Robinson - Simon and Garfunkel

Norwegian Wood - Beatles

Tiny Dancer - Elton John


14. Any songs you HATE?

Though I don't hate them, I'm tired of playing what I call "The Big Five"  - songs that ALWAYS get requested. Cover up the next line and try to guess them - I'll bet you can.


Brown-eyed Girl, American Pie, Margaritaville, Puff the Magic Dragon, Sweet Home Alabama


When I used to perform at the Rolls Touring Company (a Troy pub that had acoustic music 7 nights a week), they had a sign next to the stage prohibiting musicians from performing these songs! Though I first cringe with these requests, I later usually enjoy playing them because everyone STILL loves them.


15. Most musicians hate requests. Why don't you?

I get twice as much enjoyment out of playing someone's request as playing some song I picked. I know they are going to love it, and others hopefully will too. When I first started performing, I didn't circulate a songlist. It was always hit or miss with my picks - sometimes I could hold the crowd and other times not. My songlist has really has made both my audience and me a lot happier.