Interviews & Features

Tom Griesgraber interview

Chapman Stick virtuoso talks about how Tony Levin inspired him to take up the path of the Stick and more

By David Sands
December 1, 2017

Tom Griesgraber is a master of the Chapman Stick, a unique electric instrument which first tapped its way onto the world’s music scene in the 1970s. A graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Griesgraber actually started out focusing on guitar before moving on to the Stick.His playing has won praise from King Crimson’s Tony Levin, another famous disciple of the Chapman Stick, as well as the instrument’s inventor Emmett Chapman.

Now one of the world’s most respected Stick practitioners,Griesgraber has toured the US and Europe as a duo with drummer Jerry Marotta, appeared at more than eighty shows as an opener and guest for the California Guitar Trio and opened for a long list of artists, including The Tony Levin Band, The League of Crafty Guitarists, The Dixie Dregs, Steve Hackett, Adrian Belew, Al Di Meola, Stanley Jordan, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks, Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather, Muriel Anderson, Tower of Power, Asia, Michael Manring, Tim Reynolds, Jazz Mandolin Project and The Bad Plus. He’s also played several special shows for the Recording Academy including a performance at the 2004 Grammy Awards Show Post Party.

Griesgraber has released seven solo recordings, which taken together reveal a far-ranging musical sensibility that embraces everything from rock and jazz to acoustic and ambient electronic music. He also performs regularly with his group Agent 22 and as a duo with the California Guitar Trio’s Bert Lams.

FGPO’s Jon Liebman sat down with the renowned Stick player at the California headquarters of Stick Enterprises for an engaging conversation about how he made the leap from guitarist to a disciple of the Chapman Stick, upcoming projects and more.

Watch our interview with Tom!