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Music Mondays: An Interview With Tone Uriza


Tara Linden

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Tone Uriza at Blues Seduction

This week's featured artist is Tone Uriza, a local blues legend in his home state of Arizona and an active Second Life musician since 2007. 

Check out his website to listen to his music and learn more about his lengthy performance career.

He also plays at his own club, Blues Seduction (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rainy Valley/238/227/21) every Saturday at 7pm SLT.

 

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I found out about Second Life in January of 2007. A friend of mine that played drums in my hometown, Kyle Bronsdon (aka Kyle Beltran in Second Life), sent out an email to all of his musician friends and fans about a virtual club that he had created. He said we could all come and see his avatar perform on our computers. The catch was it required creating a Second Life account. Because some of our peers were technically challenged (mostly baby boomers) most just ignored the email. But I did not. You see, I began studying digital electronics in 1976. From 1980 to 1989 I worked for a digital electronics research and development corporation as a line tech and later as a senior technician for reliability engineering. Needless to say, I used computers on a daily basis for testing line product as well as new designs from engineering. All the while playing music professionally at night. In 1990 I quit my day job and went full-time as a professional musician and sound tech. Meanwhile, I began raising a family and wanted to stay close to home while my wife worked by day as a computer aided drafts person for a missile corporation. Her job required a computer so we got our first PC in 1995. I became fascinated with it and started building and fixing PCs for myself and others. So when Kyle emailed about Second Life I had come to a time when I was not playing in the real world much, so I said yes please to SL. And I was so happy I did. It came very naturally to me as I was also a casual gamer. My experience with sound tech made it easy for me to set myself up with a stream and start playing to a worldwide audience. I left for a short period to take care of health issues, but it’s all good now. I came back in December of 2019 and started getting bookings right away. Soon I was able to set up a club of my own. I like having one as a backup in case I have a cancellation or just feel like playing when nothing is scheduled. One of the great aspects of Second Life is the flexibility. Real world performers and clubs don’t have nearly as much flexibility. I play several venues now on a regular basis, and I have Blues Seduction, which is the name of my club.

Q: How did playing music become a part of your life? 
A: Well that's an easy one. It runs in my family. My dad played guitar, my uncles played guitar, my maternal grandfather played guitar, my mom played piano, and her mom played guitar as well. An interesting fact about my maternal grandfather: he played guitar and sang in the brothels that peppered the Arizona-Mexico border at the turn of the last century. So when I asked my dad for a guitar at 9 years old, he immediately said yes, took me down to Sears, and got me my first guitar. I’ve been playing ever since. That would be 56 years. Well except when I had to have carpal tunnel surgery. LOL.

Q: Are your band members also SL Residents?
A: Only one, but the band was retired a few years back in the real world. His name is Marx Loeb aka Speelo Snook in Second Life. He DJs in SL these days. My friend Kyle is also still in SL and sings/plays piano in his own club, Meatspace.

Q: Blues music has been interpreted in so many different ways, how do you personally describe it?
A: Historically, everyone knows where and when the music came to fruition. But it has transcended history to become a major thread in the fabric of American life. The blues are nothing more than a good person feeling bad and having a musical language or vehicle to communicate that, and possibly rid oneself of the feeling. It can also be a very celebratory type of music, such as the blues from the New Orleans area.

Q: Tell us about the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame experience!
A: The Arizona Blues Hall Of Fame is a virtual place where musicians and supporters of the blues can pay homage to the outstanding achievements of the great players in our state who have used their music and notoriety to promote and preserve the blues heritage. I am humbly honored to be included as an individual player. Additionally, my band The Torpedoes was recently inducted this year.

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: I think that would have to be how much they support one another and care for each other. And it allows all kinds of collaborations by musicians that would have never come together otherwise. But there are so many, it’s hard to name just one. All I know is that I love to play for people and Second Life has been a blessing for my soul. Thank you, Linden Lab.

 

Thank you, Tone!

 

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