DaLawn Simpson / THE JAUQO III-X REALITY
DaLawn Simpson recalls practicing guitar to records played on stereos with
varying speeds. He says practicing to vinyl made him listen - and sensitized
him to a variety of sounds and tempos - some generated by the actual vinyl
itself. "Experiencing music on vinyl definitely influenced the way I play.
Sometimes the record would be warped - or I'd spin it backwards - or play it
at 16 speed," says Simpson. While scratchy overtones and warped records
likely annoyed most, it ignited Simpson's passion for experimentation with
tone and melody.
Simpson started playing guitar in the early 1980s because he'd heard that
girls were attracted to boys who played in bands. "I may have started
playing for that reason, but I very quickly became almost more interested in
playing the guitar than I was in getting girls!" Almost more interested, he
Influenced heavily by 70s R&B radio and artist's Chic, Funkadelic, and Rick
James and 80s artists The Police, Prince, The Time, Patrice Rushen, Chaka
Khan, Minnie Ripperton, Slave, and Chicago House music. Then rock started to
catch his ear; Living Colour, Heart, Billy Idol, Jimi Hendrix, Pat Benatar,
Motley Crue and David Lee Roth. The 90s introduced him to Seal, Slayer,
Sade, Cannibal Corpse and Wes Montgomery. But it was Swedish Death Metal
band Entombed and a chance meeting with guitarist Alex Hellid that helped
define his current sound philosophy.
"Alex introduced me to the concept and possibilities of lower guitar
tunings, and that did it. I dropped my tuning from standard Eb to C natural,
and that was it. That conversation opened my eyes to new options for the
voicing of the guitar," explains Simpson.
By this time, Simpson owned all the equipment necessary for a full band to
rehearse without having to bring anything - but no one to play with. "The
people I wanted to work with were already in bands, so this left me with
time to experiment. I began to experiment with bass cabinets, which allowed
me to create a deeper sound - and leave the traditional ear splitting guitar
range behind. Simpson typically plays through a Madison Divinity head into a
2X10 and 1X18 cab, an Ashdown 210 combo or a Carvin Quad X Preamp with a
Madison power amp.
Today Simpson uses a nine-string guitar (C#F#BEADGBE) to create
trance-inducing ambience in one phrase, and destroy it in the next. He finds
the radio program Starstreams and college stations with abstract play lists
broaden his palette even further. Currently listening to: Afropop, Putamyo,
World Music and Dub. For the past 12 years, he's played in various projects
led by noted avant funk fusion and multi-string bassist, JAUQO III-X, and on
several recordings, including III-X's controversial debut CD, The Low C#
"DaLawn is very creative and inventive and not afraid to be himself in any musical setting."
- JAUQO III-X, leader of The JAUQO III-X Reality The JAUQO III-X Reality