Gery Tinkelenberg, aka imperfect i, is a musician, born in Holland, who grew up in Oakland, California's Telegraph Avenue/Temescal neighborhood, and still lives in Oakland today.
Self-released and independent, much of his music is lo-fi home recordings, and when able to swing it, Gery creates hi-fi quality recordings/albums with other musicians.
All of his music (songs with words and wordless music) is a fusion in every sense of the word – not the genre – a fusion of whatever he has sponged up over his lifetime comes out. Raised in the Bay Area during the 60’s and 70's in Oakland, which was and is very eclectic, there are influences of every genre in his music.
Gery doesn’t try to write like anything or any genre in particular – it is just natural and organic – because he was and is exposed to so much and so many different elements, they just come out automatically – i.e., he doesn’t sit down to try to write a “Latin” song – he isn’t trying to convey anything in his music – all the different influences naturally come through.
Gery's wordless music is songs with an instrumental melody. A songwriter can make the mistake of trying to fit words into a song and it can be futile task because some songs are not meant to be that way. Some songs have an instrumental melody and some just have reference points (riffs). If you like Bill Frisell, Brian Eno, and Robert Fripp, you will like his experimental wordless music.
His love/hate relationship with music - (but much more Love!) - can sometimes feel like a burden, like at 2:30 in the morning when a melody or idea comes into his head – he gets up and starts working on it – something inside will not let the music pass by - he had a dream about what turned into his song “Brontosaurus Burger” and woke up, got up, and turned it into a composition. When a song or composition is wanting to get out, and he doesn’t know it, it makes him feel restless, dissatisfied, wanting something, unfulfilled – and when it comes out, centered and fulfilled.
Currently Gery is holed up in his place writing songs ... they are percolating inside him and working their way out. His realization is that his best work comes independently and spontaneously, unrestricted by time signatures, chord structures, or even other musicians.
Gery is also currently working on a new CD, a selection from many songs that have been coming out over the past few years not yet released. Sign up for the mailing list and stay tuned!
Influences (in writing and playing):
When Gery was a very young boy back in Holland, Gery’s grandfather used to play a guitar song, a 45, called Raunchy by Bill Justis. It was the first time he heard guitar and Gery would ask his grandfather to play it continuously, over and over. It was his first musical awakening and it was the guitar that inspired him.
Next was I want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles – that got everything started. Gery was very fascinated with the whole British explosion, The Searchers, bubble gum music of the 60’s, and The Ventures.
His first instrument was the congas, because of Santana, in his junior year of high school. He was strongly influenced by the congas and guitar, by the rhythms of Santana and Latin music in general. He was turned on to Santana because Carlos Santana was so melodic. Santana's Michael Shrieve's was also a big drum influence.
With his innate love of music, he knew he wanted to be part of music, and the easiest and quickest way to start playing was through a rhythm instrument and so he could participate in a band quicker. It was a stepping stone so he could get into a band experience right away – and his friend needed a drummer, so he joined his band.
There was always a guitar in the house growing up, but it wasn’t until an electric guitar came into the house that he got fired up about playing the guitar. When he heard the electric guitar, and as soon as he met the electric guitar he said to himself, “Fuck it, I am a guitar player now.” He traded in his congas for an electric guitar and amp. When it was there it was like magic – electric guitar is his first love of guitar.
During the same time, the guitar player that inspired him pick up the guitar and really learn his licks was Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page in 1968.
Back in the 60’s when he first heard of this guy, Jimmy Hendrix, at first he thought to himself “this is not music?” … because Hendrix twisted Gery’s mind so much, but as he started to play guitar he got it, and understood why it was so important, because Hendrix stretched the boundaries of guitar and he opened up all possibilities of guitar playing – Hendrix influenced so many – nowhere could you escape it – though Gery never really felt influenced by him, per se, but was in complete admiration of Hendrix.
Writing influences of different classical and jazz musicians got him even more interested in writing, in that there was a lot more going on there and so much to learn, musicians like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Arnold Schoenberg, atonal music which was expanding the boundaries of rhythm and melody, and in jazz, John Coltrane and Gabor Szabo’s Breezin', and strange music.
In regard to strange music, Gery has always been attracted to that kind of music because it’s so liberating. This kind of music challenges the tyranny of the pop song structure, which, ironically, is a structure/form with which Gery is very comfortable. Listening to music so different really opens up creative possibilities. Music with undefined time signatures and twelve tone melodies make you aware of the infinite possibilities of music. Music from other countries is a good source for expanding our boundaries, like gamelan music from Indonesia, music from Mali, music from Tibet, etc. And, of course, all the so-called avant-garde in jazz and classical and electronic music. Sometimes, it has felt like being a kid in a candy store.
Fortunate to grow up exposed to and learning music in the Bay Area, there was so much music at his disposal – everywhere there was music of all kinds. Growing up the Bay Area was extremely significant. This was and is a place where all kinds of music were and are heard: blues, bluegrass, psychedelic, funk, soul, experimental, jazz, latin, rock of all kinds, country, reggae, world, classical, klezmer, folk, hip-hop, Argentinian, and everything in between…
His biggest rock and funk influences are: Santana, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Neil Young, Led Zepplin (Communication Breakdown), Doobie Brothers, War (Slippin’ into Darkness), James Brown, Steely Dan (Do it Again, Reelin’ in the Years) and their later stuff, in terms of their songwriting, very much, especially their Aja album. Also, Tower of Power was huge in the Oakland and Berkeley area during the 60’s and 70’s, and a huge inspiration for Gery.
Other significant musical influences are William Ackermann (What the Buzzard Told Suzanne) and Brian Eno (Two Rapid Formations).