The Obelisk Questionnaire: Tim Otis of High Noon Kahuna

Tim Otis of High Noon Kahuna

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions inteded to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Tim Otis of High Noon Kahuna

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Make sounds with the intention of accentuating, enhancing, or supporting other sounds around me. It all happened very organically. In high school I played guitar… a lot. Then I became very interested in drumming and started jamming on drums about 5 years later. It was a very organic transition from drumming by myself, to free-form jamming (mostly with Matt LeGrow and our brothers), then those free-form jams evolved into Admiral Browning.

About nine years ago I got back into guitar big time. Revisiting old riffs I had, learning new stuff. Exploring tones, pedals, amps, different pickups and stuff like that. Started jamming on guitar with a neighbor who drummed, shortly Paul joined us on Wednesday nights to jam. It was also very organic, we never “constructed” a song as much as we honed free-form jams into songs.

Describe your first musical memory.

My zeroth musical memory is piano lessons as a young kid, I remember not liking my piano teacher at all. Hahah! Beyond that, mom and dad played guitar, bass, banjo, piano and sang at church, so I had early access to instruments, PA systems and microphones. I have several memories of playing with this stuff, learning about it, and singing in musicals as a young person in church. However my favorite thing to do in those days was to hear Rick Dees weekly top forty. I would rush to the radio on Sunday nights when it
aired. It was the highlight of my week as a young kid. Not only tracking where my favorite artists were on the charts (Duran Duran) but I was equally fascinated by some of the side stories Rick would share when introducing a song or band.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

This is a recent one! Our latest High Noon Kahuna recording with Kevin Bernstein at Developing Nations! We went in with about 80% of the songs fully-baked, done, and dusted. We had sketches and rough drafts of the other 20 percent with enough time booked to fully explore and experiment in the studio. It was liberating and wonderful! Out of this freedom we created what I think is one of the coolest tracks on the new album, “Tumbleweed Nightmare.”

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Drumming showed me my limits were mental. When I was at my physical limit, the riffs and music drove me to push past those limits. I can run or workout with weights or kickbox or kayak or ride uphill on a bike, but nothing on earth pushes me to my limit and enables me to break past my limits like drumming and more importantly, being a collaborator in the musical sounds of the band.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Betterment! With any form of art, it starts small, and sometimes it starts bad. As we learn and grow while practicing, our art becomes better. Every time we practice our art is a chance to improve.

How do you define success?

Success, to me, is being happy with yourself, your surroundings, the people in your life, and your work. Society always dangles the carrot in front of us, there will always be something we don’t have. Being motivated and driven enough to keep working hard every single day and on days when the motivation isn’t there, having resiliency to push through the items that need doing, that’s how I’m able to feel successful at the end of the day.

As far as a band setting goes, there are thousands of micro-to-macro successes. Celebrating each one of those can manifest more. Things like, inventing a new part for a song, having a good practice jam, playing a fun show, a successful recording session. Each of these are rewarding and should be seen as successes.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

The bathroom at the Springwater Supper Club & Lounge in Nashville Tennessee. Love that place, many of my good friends have worked there and booked shows there. Have played several amazing shows there and attended some awesome parties and shows there. But, wow that bathroom was bad! All the things you’d expect from a punk-rock bathroom. Few rival it, however the bathroom at the Meatlocker in Montclair New Jersey and the bathroom at the Milestone in Charlotte North Carolina were contenders.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I think everyone who is a true music fan/nerd has developing tastes. I’m thankful that I’ve never reached the end of my musical journey as a fan of music. I’m also thankful for my friends over the years who have showed me new music. As my tastes and preferences evolve I’m thankful that new ideas emerge regularly that challenge my own musical abilities and push me beyond my limits.

As far as non-musical creations, I’ve been getting back into drawing, lettering and calligraphy. There are a few ideas here that I’m working on creating.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Expression. Art allows us to convey our attitudes and emotions on different levels. Art can be beautiful, art can be brutal, art can be beautifully brutal or brutally beautiful. I’m thankful for the ability to express these emotions in ways that resonate in ways beyond just talking about them.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

I’ve been watching every werewolf movie I can find since last Halloween, there are roughly 70 on my list. I look forward to seeing them all. (Suggestions and recommendations welcome!) Some upcoming tattoo work I’m getting. Spending some fun summer time with my wife, hounds, and mother nature.

High Noon Kahuna, This Place is Haunted (2024)

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