Tommy Marsh and Bad Dog are a Ventura, Calif-based band presently making their mark on the SoCal blues scene with tight playing and a very popular Wednesday night Blues Jam featuring special guests each week at The Tavern in Ventura. You can catch them live this weekend with shows on Friday night at Whale’s Tail in Oxnard and Saturday night at Amigos Surf Cantina in Ventura. All Access Magazine Publihser Debra Stocker recently interviewed front person, guitarist-vocalist, Tommy Marsh. Here’s how it went.
AAM: What was the driving force behind your desire to form Tommy Marsh and Bad Dog? TM: In my life MUSIC is the driving force and so when I moved to Ventura a couple years ago I needed an outlet for this. My new adventure here on The Gold Coast needed a solid soundtrack and so I started looking for the right ingredients… Fortunately for me Ventura County is packed to the top with outstanding musicians and I found a variety of supernatural talent to join me in my quest for blues perfection…
AAM: Why do you play the Blues, and not, say, rock or jazz?
TM: The Blues is for me the PERFECT vehicle to express all of my varied emotions. Many other types of music allow you to vent one or two… the Blues allows me to explore even the deepest darkest feelings I have and there is no question that these feelings, for me, need to be explored… developed…. and shared. There is so much emotional power in The Blues and that is what draws me over and over…
AAM: Ventura seems to have a really thriving live music and entertainment scene. What’s your take on that?
TM: My take is that Ventura’s music scene is going to be the next Austin or Seattle. I know that that is a strong statement but I am completely serious. The entire community is just about ready to bust a move into the Music Destination category and mark my words it is going to be huge. There are a group of local visionaries working on this from every angle, from Marketing to venue development. This team of local business people is working with the city leaders to make this happen. I am freaking stoked about being a part of it.
AAM: Who are some of the musicians, past and/or present, that have inspired you?
TM: The list is long. I grew up listening to the Southern bands and guys like Gary Rossington, Ed King, Hughey Thomason, Dickey Betts and Duane Allman were my influences. But there are so many others.. Buddy Guy, Albert King, BB King… the biggest influence on my music and playing however has got to be Warren Haynes. He has it all… What I heard Gov’t Mule’s album Dose I was hooked. I listen to Gov’t Mule every day.
AAM: How’s your weekly Blues Jam going?
TM: HOLY CRAP… That about says it all. The Ventura County Blues Society has been so amazing and the response has been truly unbelievable. The amount of talent that comes in on any given Wednesday night is overwhelming. I am so honored to be the facilitator of this event. We have had so many great players come in as my guest since we started this thing in May of this year.. John Marx, Tex Nakamura of the 44s, Shari Puorto, Theresa Russell, Alastair Green, Ray Jay, Francesca Capasso, Dave Widow, Donna Greene and so many others…
AAM: If you could change three things in the live music scene here in Southern California, what would they be?
TM: I have really only worked in Ventura County since moving here and I am so busy that I am not sure I would change anything at all in Ventura.. BUT I have heard many things about the scene in LA. I guess the reason Ventura is thriving is because the scene is not being controlled by the music business, it is being nurtured by the fans and allowed to grow as it will, without pre-set boundaries. There are so many clubs with live LOCAL music and I wouldn’t change a thing.
AAM: Let’s look into a crystal ball. Where do you see Tommy Marsh and Bad Dog at five years from now?
TM: My band is an amazing collaboration of truly master level players and I would like to spread out the effective area in which we perform. I would like to see us doing more Fairs and Festival-type shows. We should have 2 Cds of original material by then and I have a very good feeling that we will bust out into a larger sphere of opportunity by that time. Thank you for taking time to visit with me about what me and the Boys are doing. Best of luck to you in all your endeavors.