music: questions for Cory Wong

I paid for a VIP pass to Corey Wong’s upcoming show so I could spend more time with such a great musician. Part of it includes a master class, but I hope I can just ask him questions, including:

What’s the relationship between Starks and Ewing, Frogville, and the greatest damn rhythm guitar break in the last 20 years that you play in Frogville // Airplane Mode live?

A: the bit is “Airplane Mode,” he’s yet to record a version he likes. Cory played that break for us to start, which blew my fragile little mind

Two-part question: Do you ever sing along with your guitar like smooth jazz king George Benson and Theo , and is it true that the only difference between a lead guitar player and a rhythm guitarist is the former sings along with their guitar?

A: (didn’t get a chance to ask)

What is so good about being Pat Metheny, and what’s your favorite Pat Metheny track?

A: His favorite jazz musician. I forgot what Cory said was his favorite track!

Did the scratches on your blue Strat get there because of some Wolverine-type incident where you went into beast mode?

A: (didn’t get a chance to ask)

Are you going to play Even/Uneven in full, and what were you doing between that in 200 and MSP Pt. 1 in 2016?

A: (didn’t get a chance to ask)

When you release on streaming services only, there are no liner notes for tracks unless you release a YouTube video (e.g. who plays trombone in Roll Over?)! Is there a list of credits anywhere on your site?

A: (didn’t get a chance to ask)

What is you favorite Nile Rodgers/ Chic song, and how can it not be “Thinking of You”?

A: (didn’t get a chance to ask)

Did you join Stay Human?

A: He played with Jon Batiste on Minnesota Public Radio’s Live from Here show early this year and they hit it off; he might play with the Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s house band a week each month or so. (And today I learned mandolinist Chris Thile is the host of that radio show, and you can watch Cory Wong collapse to the floor in total fan admiration of Chris Thile and Dave Koz soloing on “Smile Meditation” during Vulfpeck’s triumphant Madison Square Garden’s show.)

Do you always compose songs on guitar, or sometimes on piano?

A: (didn’t get a chance to ask)


He loves Emily King recordings.

He talked about playing quarter-notes to a 120bpm metronome to lock in the rhythm, then switching to 60bpm metronome so it tocks on the 2nd and 4th beat, then down to 30bpm so it tocks only on the 4th beat. So I asked:

Do you ever play three notes to the beat? Do you ever write songs in waltz time?

He’s done a few 12/8 songs, but thinks neither he nor Vulfpeck does a lot of 3/4 6/8 songs.

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