When Timothy Young landed the gig playing guitar for the house band on CBS’s The Late Late Show with James Corden, he faced a serious musical learning curve.
“We wear ear monitors, and the craziest thing to adjust to is how many voices come over telling you to do this and that. The producers are talking to you, saying, ‘We need music now,’ the control booth is telling us when to play––it’s really disorienting,” Young says.
The job also means being a jack-of-all-styles, catering to all musical whims from country and ‘20s-era jazz, to hip-hop and circus music.
Timothy Young got his start working the musical circuit in Seattle while in college. There, he started playing and touring with the guitarist and composer Bill Frisell. Wanting to abandon his side jobs in carpentry and teaching for a full-time shot at music, Young moved to Los Angeles in 2006 where some well-established friends hooked him up with gigs.
Some of those gigs were strange––including playing a mall on a weekday afternoon in Irvine. But Young advises, don’t say “no.”
“That’s fine (turning gigs down) if you live in mom’s basement, but if you have to pay the bills, you have to pay the bills, and it’s not always going to be what you want,” he says. “It’s also helpful, because I learned to work with people. That’s what it comes down to. It’s not just musicians––it’s people, humans and you have to communicate with them. You have to be adaptable and somewhat nice to people.”
The downsides to the job is that The Late Late Show band doesn’t get to play full pieces to audiences; it plays in fragments––short musical segments of jingles, music guests can dance to, or whatever the producer needs. But on the plus side: “I have a steady gig, which is an unbelievable blessing for a musician. I know my schedule through February of next year. That’s impossible for a freelance session guy.”
The guitarist and his band are currently promoting the release of their new album, a mix of rock, bop and even some arty excursions called Tim Young & the Questionaires, on Waxsimile Records, a label headed up by longtime recording engineer Tim Boyle (Rolling Stones, Tom Waits).