5 Questions: Musician and Luthier Norm Burns

Norm_Burns Norm Burns

Normand Burns was born in the desert and raised in a cornfield. The middle child of a Beatles loving mother and a Led Zeppelin loving father, Norm Burns has found himself planted in the north side of Chicago. He is a US production Luthier for Lākland Basses, crafting custom instruments for artists like Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath, Ben Kenney of Incubus to most recently Colin Greenwood of Radiohead. He began playing music in his early teens beginning with the Euphonium and moving onto guitar. At the tail end of his high school education and into college he pursued jazz performance and theater acting, eventually abandoning both for the call of duty that is Rock and Roll. He is currently the bassist for Chicago rock outfit Blood People and is a
multi instrumentalist and vocalist for an 80s tribute band called Zan Normen under his alias Normie Lee Hoth. He loves Ribeyes, Tequila and Fiction.  


1.What’s been keeping you up at night?

Recently, Nicotine. A lack-there-of anyways. I’ve been “trying” to quit. And Music. Always, every night. Whether it be a new song I’m working with my band, a concert i attended, a build at work, effects pedals or a song I heard buying a Red Bull in a Walgreens. Sometimes it’s me picturing my hands and trying to visualize my previous performance, the good and the bad. I’ve had nightmares where I’m at work and I drill through a bass. I usually don’t realize it never happened till i get to work the next day and remember that particular instrument doesn’t exist. Often it’s simply a song. It’s hard to sleep when the second you close your eyes ‘Love You Inside Out’ by The Bee Gees creeps into your brain and says “Get up, let’s go.”

2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?
I’ve been obsessing over the new single ‘Works Every Time’ by this band Mini Mansions. The first time I listened to it I didn’t really care for it. But then like clockwork, I’m awake at four in the morning and trying to figure out the time signature without waking my girlfriend. I love it. It’s got a pop swagger with a darkness to it that separates it from other songs in that world. I also just watched the Documentary ‘Three Identical Strangers’. It’s was such a wild ride. I laughed, I was uncomfortable, tears were formed and fought. Highly recommend.


3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
My Band Blood People have been gearing up for our performance at Riot Fest on Friday the 14th! [Editor’s note – this interview was obviously written welll be fore publication. Apologies to Norm and Blood People for the delay.] We are also recording our forthcoming EP. This is by far the most fun I’ve had playing music. I really believe we have a great dynamic. Everyone is energized. There is a sense of electricity in the air and we are doing our best to capture it. We just released our newest singles ‘Shapeshifter’ and ‘Great Reactor’. We recorded them with Steven Gillis at Transient Sound and are continuing to work with him. He is very insightful and able to pull the best out what we present. We all are very proud of the tracks and can’t wait to release the rest. We are ready to sonically attack.


4. If you could add anyone, alive or dead to your team, who would it be?
I’d like to pick one alive and one dead. Alive: Stephen King. For a guy who has brought so much fear into my life, I feel he truely is a fearless writer. I think his advice would in turn be fearless, and fortune favors the bold. Dead: Bon Scott. If you ever need to get moving, just play the album ‘Powerage’ as loud as possible. I challenge anyone to be in a bad mood after listening to ‘Rock N Roll Damnation’. The man was lightning personified. A wild animal. Every good team needs a real monster.


5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called?
Hopefully either “Who The Hell Was That?” or “Just Normin’ Around”

Editor’s note: Beginner Guitar HQ has published an updated, comprehensive guide on how to choose the best bass guitar for beginners. You can download it here.