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Meet Buddy Mohmed of Buddy Mohmed & American Bedouin in Oak Cliff

Today we’d like to introduce you to Buddy Mohmed.

Buddy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started playing guitar at about 12 years old; my step-father had an old Kay arch-top with f-holes, that I would mess with. Not being able to afford an instrument of my own, I would hang out at music stores – mostly Watkins Music on Jefferson, in Oak Cliff – and play on the guitars that I could not afford and dream of being a ‘pro’ musician.

I would also peruse libraries/book-stores for music theory and guitar method books. I powered through on my own, even though I did not understand much of it. In 10th grade at Sunset H.S., I was sitting out back of the campus, in the ‘Pecan Grove’, skipping class and smoking weed with the other ‘Hippies’, when someone announced, in a panicked voice “TEACHER!”

It was the band director looking for me, because someone told him I could ‘improvise’ jazz solos, and he needed someone to play ‘solos’ in his Stage Band. That led me to enroll in Orchestra to learn to read music, which led to bass-violin, which led to a career in symphonies, great jazz and R&B bands, theater, Cirque, leading my own bands, and a career as a professional musician.

I started the band ‘American Bedouin’ to more fully express myself as an artist. I have been lucky to have some great musicians record my music. I came up with the name because I am a born, raised, trained, American musician, from a family of immigrants, so I was also listening and learning music from other cultures – specifically Arabic, but also ‘Gypsy’, Greek, Latin, African, etc., so I use the Arabic word ‘Bedouin’ to describe my style as ‘nomadic’, i.e., ‘All Over the Map’.

Has it been a smooth road?
Hahahaha! lemme’ count the struggles:
Couldn’t afford instruments – my first ‘real’ guitar was a Tele that my best friend gave me when he ran away to join the Hare Krisna (ISKON), I was 16; High School graduation ‘present’ was my mom co-signing so I could buy, on ‘credit’, a Suzuki plywood bass. (I used that bass to become one of the youngest players in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra!)

Didn’t have ‘lessons’ until after I graduated H.S. I’m an old, so, I had to wear-out LPs lifting and placing the ‘needle’ on crappy ‘record players’ to learn songs. AND, it was rare for me to actually see an expert/master instrumentalist ‘up close’. No YouTube! or even ‘video’

Lots of ‘rejection’; bunches and bunches of ‘judgment’ that I wasn’t good enough.

Playing music/performing on stage is fraught with insecurities, fears, and many failures.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
American Bedouin is known for ‘World Jazz’ (I sometimes, tongue in cheek, call it ‘Texanese: combination Texan and Lebanese;-), we combine international music with jazz harmony and improve.

American Bedouin has played music festivals and theater. We were ‘Off Broadway’ accompanying a one-man show ‘Down a Long Road’. I personally relocated to Montreal Ca and created the bass-player Clown role for the Cirque du Soleil show ‘Corteo’, and toured with the show for 2 years.

Our music is really ‘all over the map’; we will go from a Thelonious Monk to Mohamed Abdul Waheb to Jimi Hendrix.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Right now, the music business is very tough in every city in the World! (except for Beyonce & Jay Z and John Williams)

Dallas is, I believe, in the ‘2nd’ tier of music cities, NY and LA being ‘1st tier’. There are lots of gigs here; however, the pay is getting worse all of the time. (Of course, pay for ‘local’ gigs in NY and LA also sucks.) I’m doing more and more ‘solo’ gigs for that reason). I really don’t know what can be done to ‘improve’ the artistic scene. Dallas is a very commercial minded city, so creative/new music suffers. If you believe in what you do as an artist, you must keep doing it, regardless.

For the more ‘commercial’ gigs (cover/show/casual bands/gigs), I think we need what we’ve always needed: Unity and Collective Action among musicians to increase pay (and parking!) As long as there is a band/musician that will do the same gig at a substantially reduced rate with more pandering, there will be a race to the bottom.

Unionize! (I am a member of AFM Local 72-147)

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Junko Painting

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