Singer-songwriter and guitarist Moris Tepper has made a career playing behind eclectic and influential artists.
The list includes Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band), Tom Waits and Frank Black. He’ll work with PJ Harvey next year.
But Tepper now is stepping out as a full-time solo artist, undertaking a national tour to promote his debut album, “Big Enough to Disappear.” He plays the Big Dipper on Monday.
He began his career as a teenager, playing guitar for Captain Beefheart. His raw, angular, bluesy style coupled with Van Vliet’s oddball, stream-of-consciousness wizardry, anchored four Beefheart albums, including “Bat Chain Puller.” Back then, Waits tried to recruit Tepper.
“Tom Waits was a huge Captain Beefheart admirer, as can be witnessed in his music,” said Tepper in a recent phone interview. “He gave a call about the time he was doing ‘Swordfish Trombone’ (early ‘80s). He was very interested in capturing the style that Captain Beefheart was using.” But Van Vliet told Waits he couldn’t have the guitarist. So Tepper didn’t work with Waits until 1986.
Playing for such luminaries indicates unique style and talent and earns a musician bragging rights. Yet Tepper clearly has a different agenda. He spent lots of of time taking notes from his masters. Like them, he has a penchant for building songs with the most unconventional and exotic arrangements.
Music starts at 9:30 p.m. The cover is $3. Bring ID.
MEMO: (Albums are available from Candlebone Records, P.O. Box 371511, Reseda, Calif. 91337.)