12 QUESTIONS WITH SERGIE LOOBKOFF

Can you give us a brief history of your playing career?
I picked up the guitar a little late in life…at about 20. Before that, I battled the drums in several bands…with limited success. I have to admit that I wasn’t born with any aptitude towards playing music. I remember sitting in Mr. Mirabella’s Spanish class and watching this kid Kevin tapping his aluminum desk with what seemed like the effortless rhythm…and when I tried to emulate it, well, I sucked. So anything by way of my groove or rhythm, which is limited, was acquired with much practice. The reason I bring this up is that when I did turn to guitar, I found something that I found myself practicing for hours on end without feeling like it was ‘work’. I still sometimes get up from my couch and absently realize I just played for 4 hours straight. There are not a lot of things that hold my interest for that long.

What inspired you to start playing?
Truth be told, I would prefer to be an awesome drummer more than anything…but as I mentioned, I wasn’t physically up to the task. I think what lead me to guitar was the ability to practice quietly in my room. Once I started getting a grasp of what was possible with the guitar, I realized that I found a lot of pleasure in writing songs. I have no illusions as to how great these songs are…but you don’t have to be John Lennon to be gratified by what you come up with.

What was your first electric guitar?
A shitty 80′s Kramer – totally lame, cheap metal guitar. But what do you want from me, I didn’t have any money! You would think that I’d have some nostalgic feelings towards it. Maybe want one – just to see it laying around…but no, it plain sucked.

What are your top 5 favorite records?
Just figuring which Beatles album is hard enough, let alone boil down every genre of music. But let’s go with the White Album. For punk, I suppose the first Bad Brains album. Maybe “Where You Been” by Dinosaur Jr., “Evo” by Sonic Youth….and “Reign in Blood” by Slayer? This is a total bullshit answer to an impossible question

What was the proudest moment and/or performance of your playing career?
It’s hard to say. Definitely not the biggest crowds…we’ve done radio shows to 35 thousand people standing in front of us…and plenty of more amazing ones with only a couple of hundred people. I suppose after a live event is over its just an intangible memory…while recorded music is something I can listen to and get a warm, fuzzy feeling. With that said, I’ve made about a dozen albums…I guess there are some moments were I feel a bit of pride with what I came up with…or even just to be a part of something that my bandmate did.

How did you hear about Reverend?
I’m not a gearhead…I have a string of vintage amps, guitars and pedals…and to be perfectly honest, am not searching for the next advance in the field. When we played recently in Detroit, I met Ken and was impressed with how he knew I played a light electric with p90s. (my main 2 guitars are ’67 Gibson SGs.) Since then, I’ve talked a lot of friends that totally know and love the brand.

What Reverend guitar(s)/basses are you using?
It’s a double cutaway (Sensei) with those p90s I mentioned.

What do you like about your Reverend guitar?
Like I said, I have my bias towards vintage standards….what I like about mine is that its light yet has a variety of tones….the pickups sound great and it has a thin, wide neck…which is different than my SGs…makes it easier for solos and especially arpeggios.

What amps and pedals do you currently use?
The main sound for Samiam style music is my 76 Marshall jmp. It’s a beefy distorted amp that feeds back well when you need it, but nothing about it is ‘metal’. It’s a ‘hardrock’ sound that is great for this kind of stuff. As far as pedals, sparingly I use a Big Muff and Dynacomp pedal…mainly from leads and a boost for choruses. In the studio, we use anything and everything available…but that is a different story.

Do you have any unusual hobbies, skills, or pastimes you’d like to share with us? 
I draw a lot and my job is as an art director…graphic design. I have a series of pen and ink drawings that I sell prints of…you can see them at www.slappedtogether.com

Do you have any advice for up and coming players?
I think if you consider practicing a chore…or need to force yourself to put the time in…you might consider doing something else. But if you love playing, just play with as many people as you can. Playing with other musicians is so much more valuable than sitting in your room by yourself or stressing on learning that one solo so you can post a video on YouTube. Making music is fun, and try not to forget it.

Please tell us about any of your current projects, tours, cds, etc. we should know about?
Samiam just released a new record called ‘Trips’ and are currently on a tour of the States and Europe. If you are ever curious, you can hear stuff or find dates at http://samiamfancy.com/