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June 19, 2007

Todd Sharp interview

Dave Reddy gets this exclusive interview with ex Rod guitarist Todd Sharp. Todd tells all about the time he spent working with Rod & what he has done since he left Rod’s band.

posted by Thomas Stadelmann

SMILER: Todd I heard that you have just been on tour with Eddy Mitchell how did it go?

We are still touring. We started in March and we finish at the end of July. It is going great. It is almost all in France so I have had a great opportunity to get to know the France and the French better. You know they make very very good bread here, and the Dairy products…..Tres tres bien! Oh you probably want to talk about the music? It’s a gas – literally. Half the Band is American and half French. I’m having a ball. Eddy is a great guy and a tremendous singer. He has been making records and doing films in France since 1962 so he is an institution here. We just did a live DVD & CD. The band is great and my French is improving.

SMILER: Apart from Rod Stewart I know you have worked with Mick Fleetwood & Bonnie Raitt who else have you worked with?

Hall & Oates, Christine Mcvie, Delbert McClinton, Carlene Carter, Richard Marx, Jimmy Barnes, Bob Welch, and now Eddy Mitchell – those are the people that I have toured or worked with extensively. There are a number of others that I have done a record or a session or a gig here and there - actually Bonnie Raitt is one of those. We are sort of old friends but I only did one session with her.

SMILER: When you joined Rod’s band on the Out Of Order tour in 1989 how did you land the job with Rod?

I used to know Carmine Rojas from back about 1976. We were both hanging around New York City at the time. I was playing with Hall & Oates and Carmine (we used to know him as Pee Wee back then) was with Labelle. We were buddies and we used to jam once in a while. I ran into him at a show in LA around 88 where I was playing with David Crosby – ooops there’s another band I was in for a little while. Anyhow, Carmine and I re-acquainted after losing track of each other for many years that night and then he called me to ask if I was interested in playing in Rod’s band shortly thereafter. Carmine was Rod’s band leader through the Out of Order and Vagabond Heart years.

SMILER: Did you do any work in the Studio with Rod?

Just a few things – I have been known on occasion to specialize in playing on tracks that never get released and in the case of my recording history with Rod - that seemed to be the case. There are a few tracks though on Storyteller that I played guitar on. One is “This Old Heart of Mine” and I don’t remember what the other one is.

SMILER: How did you find Rod’s audiences compared to other artists/bands you have worked with are they more reserved or do you find there more active?

Rod has about the best audience there is. Delbert McClinton has a hell of a good audience but Rod’s is about 40 times as big on any given night and they dress a lot better and many of them are women often throwing their underwear at you. This is a good thing as a performer – as long as it’s women’s undies. The thing is that Rod is such a fantastic entertainer as well as a singer that he really fires up the house and it is always a real thrill to be on stage with him. I don’t know that I’ve ever worked with anyone that lit up a room like Rod does.

SMILER: what was Rod like to work with?

Well I guess I just covered about half of that in the last question but otherwise I would have to say that he was a lot of fun. Rod taught me a lot actually – probably more that I realized later than while I was working with him. He has a different sort of set of priorities than most musicians I have worked with and I admire his sense of humour and the way he seems to have fun with all of it. He is old school though – he was never too worried whether I might play certain guitar things just so. I think he sort of figured – these guys know what to do – and he would always give you plenty of rope. I’m not sure that I didn’t hang myself with it a few nights but it all just kind of went along with his trusting me I guess or more aptly – us, as a band. Rod understands an audience better than anyone I have ever worked with and let’s face it he was born to be in the spotlight so – there aren’t many people I can think of that are more exciting to play with in that respect.

SMILER: Do you ever keep in touch with any of the guys who were in Rod’s band when you work with Rod?

Oh yeah – I work with Rick Braun all the time and we are still very close friends, I see Chuck Kentis now and then and Dave Palmer, I talk to Jeff Golub regularly, I seem to have lost tabs on Rojas but I’m sure I will see him again. Carmine & I go back 30 years now. I worked with Tony Brock on a Jimmy Barnes project but that was a while ago. I haven’t spoken with Nick Lane in a while but I would love to. Jimmy Roberts is another guy I haven’t talked to in a while – What a great player he is. He and I used to play blues in a bar in Huntington Beach before either of us worked with Rod. I moved to Nashville about 12 years ago so I lost regular contact with a few people – but I always loved all the guys in Rod’s band and most of us still stay in touch.

SMILER: Whilst you where growing up who where you idols? & do you still listen to them now?

I grew up in the mid sixties – 70’s and my idols were many. I was lucky to have some great mentors in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. My parents were both musicians and they were always very inspirational to me. They are gone now. I grew up on – Hendrix, Clapton, Jeff Beck (and that skinny singer with the big nose I can’t remember his name), Freddie King, Chuck Berry, Albert Collins and Albert King. Those were my guitar heroes. There were many others too – like The Beach Boys, Beatles and Stones of course, Ray Charles, Rod & the Faces, Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Raitt, Booker T, Randy Newman – it’s a long list. I guess I have really been very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with so many of the great musicians that were just a few years ahead of my era. I also had the opportunity to work with Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton while we were recording Christine Mcvie’s solo record in 83 – they were both big influences on me.

SMILER: Apart from the Guitar are there any other musical instruments you play?

Air guitar and also air drums.

SMILER: What would you say is your personal highlight in your musical career so far?

That’s a hard question – it all adds up you know? I am a lucky man to have worked with and around so many good people. I am quite proud of my last CD. I spent 5 years playing in Delbert McClinton’s band and that was a real well oiled machine by the time I slipped out of it. We made 2 really good records – "Nothing Personal" and "Room To Breathe".

SMILER: Rick Braun & Jeff Golub who worked with Rod the same time you did some solo work when the left Rod’s band did you ever do any solo work?

I had a record out 4 years ago “Walking all the Way” on WannaPlay records (you can get it at and another one on MCA “Who AM I” in 1986. I do a record every 15 years – like clockwork.

SMILER: If an opportunity came along to work with Rod Stewart again would you?

Probably would yeah.

SMILER: Where can SMILER members catch up on the latest news on you with? Do you have a website?

Wait, wait for it...

Todd Sharp was interviewed by Dave Reddy on May 17/05/07

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