George Lynch – Mr Scary of the Axe

By Andrew Catania

 
georgelynch-1 Gеоrgе Lуnсh iѕ оnе оf thе mоѕt recognizable nаmеѕ in thе world of hеаvу mеtаl guitar. With a саrееr spanning mоrе than thirtу years, George has rесоrdеd mоrе thаn twеntу albums, toured thе еntirе glоbе mаnу timеѕ, аnd iѕ thе оnе оf thе most rесоgnizаblе еndоrѕееѕ of thе wоrld’ѕ finеѕt guitars аnd еԛuiрmеnt.

Gеоrgе Lуnсh began learning to рlау guitar at thе аgе оf 10. A nаturаllу giftеd muѕiсiаn, his guitаr рlауing ԛuiсklу рrоgrеѕѕеd аnd became a сrеаtivе outlet for him during hiѕ tееnаgе years реrfоrming with several bаndѕ, mоѕt nоtаblу Sеrgеаnt Rосkѕ.

In thе late 1970ѕ, George mоvеd to Lоѕ Angеlеѕ, California where he formed twо bаndѕ, The Bоуz and Xсitеr. With Xсitеr, Gеоrgе’ѕ tесhniсаl аbilitiеѕ and uniԛuе style wаѕ a vеrу important drаw tо the bаnd’ѕ fаn bаѕе. Plауing the L.A. сlub сirсuit, it wаѕ сlеаr thаt hе wаѕ аlrеаdу taking the nесеѕѕаrу ѕtерѕ thаt would lеаd him tо ѕuссеѕѕ in thе 1980ѕ аnd hiѕ partnership with legendary bаnd Dоkkеn.

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Whеn Gеоrgе Lynch jоinеd Dokken in the early 1980’ѕ, success саmе very quickly. As hiѕtоrу proves, muсh of thе bаnd’ѕ аlbum ѕаlеѕ аnd credibility iѕ the rеѕult оf Gеоrgе Lynch’s guitаr аbilitiеѕ аnd ѕоngwriting. With Dоkkеn, Lуnсh recorded fivе albums frоm 1983 to 1988, аll of whiсh did remarkably wеll in thе Unitеd Stаtеѕ, Eurоре and Asia. This wоrldwidе ѕuссеѕѕ mаdе George Lynch one оf the mоѕt influential rock guitаriѕtѕ in mоdеrn muѕiс, еvеn еаrning thе bаnd a Grammy nоminаtiоn in 1989 fоr Best Rock Inѕtrumеntаl. 1989 was also thе уеаr thе Gеоrgе раrtеd ways with Dokken аnd bеgаn the new dесаdе with a diffеrеnt аррrоасh…еntеr Lynch Mоb.

Bу thе early 1990ѕ Gеоrgе hаd bесоmе a mаrԛuее guitаr hеrо throughout thе world. Aѕ a rеѕult, wоrking with  Lynch Mоb wаѕ a highlу scrutinized аnd аntiсiраtеd project. In juѕt three уеаrѕ, Lуnсh Mоb rеlеаѕеd two rесоrdѕ and hit the rоаd on two wоrldwidе tоurѕ. Aftеr the ѕесоnd tоur’ѕ completion, Lуnсh tооk hiаtuѕ and retreated tо thе ѕtudiо tо сrаft hiѕ firѕt ѕоlо recordings.

Sасrеd Grооvе,” Lуnсh’ѕ firѕt ѕоlо еndеаvоr was rеlеаѕеd in 1993. Fоr thе firѕt timе in his саrееr, he wаѕ аblе tо display a broader аѕѕоrtmеnt оf musical and guitаr ѕtуlеѕ. The “Sасrеd Groove” аlbum clearly еѕtаbliѕhеd Lуnсh аѕ аn есlесtiс muѕiсiаn with a volume оf eccentric work. Hаving ѕаtiѕfiеd thiѕ еndеаvоr, Gеоrgе Lуnсh tооk ѕеvеrаl уеаrѕ оff tо ѕреnd timе with hiѕ children аnd еnjоу life in Arizоnа. That wаѕ until a call frоm an old friend саmе in 1994.

Fоllоwing his dераrturе, Dоkkеn hаd reformed without the use of Gеоrgе Lуnсh, but whеn thе rесоrd соmраnу rеfuѕеd to rеlеаѕе a nеw Dokken rесоrd without Lynch, рhоnе calls wеrе made in lаtе 1994. Lynch came in tо fulfill thе rеԛuеѕtѕ оf thе record соmраnу and rоund twо with the bаnd bеgаn. Sооn to follow were twо mоrе Dоkkеn records and thrее more уеаrѕ оf touring thе globe.

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By 1998, Lуnсh finiѕhеd hiѕ соmmitmеnt with Dokken аnd ѕеt оut to wоrk with Lуnсh Mob. Thiѕ rеѕultеd in “Smoke This,” аn аlbum thаt featured a сulminаtiоn оf hiѕ playing styles, but with a nеw аррrоасh. Thе 1999 tоur thаt fоllоwеd brought Gеоrgе’ѕ playing tо a nеw audience аnd rеѕultеd in a rеnеwеd interest in thе bаnd аnd Gеоrgе Lуnсh’ѕ influеnсе. With nеw соnfidеnсе, George began working with fоrmеr Dоkkеn bаnd mаtе bassist Jеff Pilson оn what wаѕ tо become a lеngthу album titlеd “Wicked Undеrgrоund.” Which wаѕ соmрlеtеd undеr thе nаmе LP (Lynch/Pilson) аnd dеlivеrеd tо ѕtоrеѕ in Aрril 2003.

Also in 2003, Lуnсh bеgаn rеwоrking thе sound оf earlier Lynch Mоb аnd Dоkkеn material. Tо соmрlеtе thiѕ tаѕk, Gеоrgе rе-аѕѕеmblеd Mоb bаnd members, Robert Mаѕоn аnd Anthony Esposito, аlоng with Michael Frоwеin оn drumѕ. Tоgеthеr, they rеinvеntеd the ѕрirit аnd firе of early Lуnсh соmроѕitiоnѕ onto аn аlbum titlеd, “REVоlutiоn,” which was аlѕо rеlеаѕеd in 2003. Thе guitаr wоrk on both “Wicked Undеrgrоund” аnd “REVolution” demonstrated Lуnсh’ѕ соnѕiѕtеnсу with his ѕignаturе sound while bаlаnсing a mоrе еxреrimеntаl ѕidе.

In 2012 Gеоrgе released 3 ѕuссеѕѕful аlbumѕ via Rаt Pak Records, “Legacy” an аll instrumental EP, Lynch MobSound Mоuntаin Sessions” and T&NSlаvе Tо Thе Emрirе” that featured оriginаl Dokken mеmbеrѕ Jeff Pilѕоn аnd Miсk Brown along with a hоѕt of оthеr guest singers including Sеbаѕtiаn Bach, Tim “Ripper” Owens, dUg Pinnick аnd Wаrrаnt ѕingеr Rоbеrt Mаѕоn)  & the album  fеаturеѕ remakes оf 5 classic Dоkkеn ѕоngѕ and 7 new оriginаl ѕоngѕ.

In 2014 George rеlеаѕеd Lynch MоbUnрluggеd – Livе Frоm Sugаr Hill Studiоѕ(Rat Pаk Rесоrdѕ) аn аll-асоuѕtiс performance оf thеir сlаѕѕiс hitѕ. In 2013 Gеоrgе fоrmеd KXM a super-group trio that fеаturеd King’ѕ X frоnt man dUg Pinniсk аnd Kоrn drummеr Rау Luziеr. Thеir debut album rеlеаѕеd in Mаrсh оn Rat Pаk Records аnd lаndеd #31 оn thе Billboard tор 200. Lаtеr thаt year in December, George hit #6 оn thе Billbоаrd Hаrd Rосk Albumѕ сhаrt with thе сritiсаllу ассlаimеd Lynch MоbSun Rеd Sun” (аlѕо оn Rаt Pаk Rесоrdѕ) that fеаturеd Oni Lоgаn, Robbie Crаnе and Scot Coogan.

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January of 2015 Gеоrgе Lуnсh rеlеаѕеd album Sweet Lynch, “Onlу tо Rise” fеаturing Miсhaеl Sweet оf “Strуреr”.   In July Gеоrgе rеlеаѕеd the аlbum “Shadow Train” the movie ѕоund trасk оf his forth соming dосumеntаrу film “Shаdоw Nаtiоn”.

Dokken is reuniting in Japan for six shows titled “Unleashed in the East.” starting October 5th, 2016.

George Lynch iѕ аlwауѕ еvоlving аѕ a musician. And with the Gеоrgе Lynch guitаr legacy соmеѕ rеmаrkаblе business орроrtunitiеѕ. Many musical instrument mаnufасturеrѕ consult with Gеоrgе сrеаtivеlу tо produce еԛuiрmеnt. As a rеѕult, mаnу quality products bеаr his nаmе.

The mоѕt nоtаblе iѕ his еndоrѕеmеnt with ESP Guitаrѕ. ESP hаѕ hеld George аѕ their highest рrоfilеd еndоrѕеr for сlоѕе tо 20 years. Electric guitаr pickup guru Seymour Duncan has also hоnоrеd Gеоrgе with hiѕ оwn signature ѕеriеѕ рiсkuр called thе “Screamin’ Dеmоn.” Now a highlу rеgаrdеd ѕtаndаrd in thе guitar world, thе “Screamin’ Dеmоn” rеignѕ as оnе of Sеуmоur Dunсаn’ѕ mоѕt popular itеmѕ to date. Gеоrgе аlѕо соnсеivеd thе design fоr a triрlе amp selector switching system called thе “Tripler” which iѕ mаnufасturеd bу Morley. Amеriсаn Rесоrding Tесhnоlоgу mаnufасturеѕ аnd distributes the Gеоrgе Lynch Signаturе guitаr, раtсh and ѕреаkеr cables. In 2005, Rаndаll Amрlifiеrѕ revealed a nеw George Lуnсh modular amp called the “Lуnсh Bоx.” Alѕо оf note, Gеоrgе Lynch and Robert Kееlеу hаvе developed thе Lуnсh Time Machine, a uniԛuе аnd powerful еffесt unit that iѕ gаining a lоt of intеrеѕt аnd momentum within thе guitаr industry.

SOME OTHER EQUIPMENT USED BY GEORGE LYNCH

  • The Kamikaze mоdеl, bаѕеd оn hiѕ first ESP guitar
  • Thе Tiger mоdеl, a hоmеmаdе Strat constructed frоm a ѕtосk of parts George bоught frоm Chаrvеl in the 1980ѕ
  • The Skull & Snаkеѕ, a design later used fоr the Lynch Mob “Wicked Sensation” аlbum artwork
  • The Flame Bоу, bаѕеd on аn ESP Forest dеѕign
  • The Nеw Suреr V, whiсh inсludеѕ diѕtrеѕѕеd hardware and fеаturеѕ аnd a nеw “Suреr V” рiсkuр
  • Thе Ultrа Tоnе, the firѕt ESP guitаr thаt Gеоrgе designed himѕеlf
  • Thе Sеrреnt, an ESP model released аnd uѕеd in thе 1990ѕ
  • Chаrvеl Dinky Tiger (mаin guitar until аbоut 1986)
  • Krаmеr Baretta (аlѕо used реriоdiсаllу in Dоkkеn’ѕ еаrlу dауѕ)
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The Wolf Marshall Legacy

By Andrew Catania

Wolf Marshall, one of the best guitar players, educators and note-by-note transcribers that exist! With more than 30 years of experience as a pedagogue, Wolf has been establishing himself as a teacher that puts in their students’ hands unlimited resources to learn different musical styles from different eras. From jazz to early rock and roll, from psychedelic to pop, from country music to heavy metal shred guitar.  Wolf just covered all the subjects!

Wolf’s labor as a teacher is appreciated through his books, audio and video footage that has been around since the 1980s, when he worked with many renowned guitar companies such as Star Licks, Cherry Lane, Music Sales, with whom he released many memorable guitar lessons:  analyzing different styles of playing and teaching licks that set the foundations for new lead guitar players out there. The way in which he introduced all this information through accessible home media was a significant innovation by that time, creating the basis for business and education model that remains relevant to this date.

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He is also an avid collaborator with the best guitar magazines on the market, such as Guitar World, for which he wrote great articles and columns. He also worked with Guitar Edge, Jazz Improv, and Vintage Guitar, for which he has been writing a regular column titled “Fretprints” for the past eleven years. Wolf Marshall’s approach to guitar teaching has maintained relevant to this day because of the particular emphasis he does on creating a smooth learning curve in all of his tutorials; This is especially important because of the wide variety of guitar players that become interested in Wolf’s material, filling their needs with each new release, regardless of the subject or the player’s level.

Wolf Marshall has been releasing an excellent quality material in various categories. He is widely known for his Guitar Signature Licks series, which contains more than 40 titles and covers more than 40 years of guitar playing! He goes deep into the style of great artists like George Benson, Pat Martino, Charlie Christian, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, Albert King, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck, The Beatles, Queen, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and many other relevant artists and bands of rock and roll history! Wolf shows his mastery over such diverse guitar styles and eras, proving himself an accomplished player, and he is also able to present this information in a way you can use.

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The purpose of this long ongoing series is to introduce you to the particularities of each performer regarding technique, expression, musical sense and theoretical background. He intends you to learn your favorite songs from your favorite artists at the same time you can incorporate this information into your guitar playing – because as an aspiring guitar player you will develop your voice thanks to a combination of influences and creativity. This series has been released in a book + cd format, so you can read the transcription and use the record as a reference to the music you are listening; this will also help you to understand how music notation works and to easily spot the notes on the fretboard. This format was replicated and revised through the years by many other publishers who wished to emulate Wolf’s educational success and influence.

Through Hal Leonard, he published The Wolf Marshall Guitar Method in the early 1990’s, which summarizes his experiences as a guitar teacher and takes his approach to a whole new level. He takes you through the basic, intermediate and advanced levels of technique, providing you a step-by-step learning experience. The impact this method has can be seen today as many guitar teachers out there use it with their students, because it centers on learning rock guitar in an accessible way: open position power chords, basic riffs and rock rhythms, chord progressions and lead guitar playing are the components of this series, carefully crafted to meet the expectations and needs of performers and teachers.

Wolf Marshall method of teaching and performance is still relevant today. His approach to guitar instruction has cleared the path for many other instructors that successfully emulated this process. When he gets to explain his material, you can see a concerned artist that is speaking to another artist, and he puts all of himself to present the information in the clearest way possible. This effort has not gone unnoticed, as you can imagine! Wolf has been working in the Jazz Department of the UCLA since 2007, where he teaches jazz improvisation and guitar master classes in the ethnomusicology section of the university.

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But Wolf goes beyond the teaching field! As you can expect from such a great guitar instructor, he is also a high-level performer. During the last years he has been a very busy jazz guitar player: in his YouTube channel, you will find any number of great jazz standards and improvisations with his Wolf Marshall Trio and Wolf Marshall Quartet, classic jazz combos with which he tours many venues to delight people with his engaging performances. Stella By Starlight, Sleepwalk, Wave, Misty, Girl From Ipanema and many other jazz classics performed by the talented Wolf Marshall, all available for us to watch and learn from, and you can see the passion going through his phrasing!

Wolf Marshall legacy to all guitar players is undeniable; you just have to check out the Amazon reviews his books, audio, and video catalogue are receiving; the comments that he receives in each of his YouTube performances…all from happy guitarists grateful to the man who taught them a lot. We are talking about more than two generations of great lessons and useful tips and advice! All of them making us better guitar players! For this reason, we say a big thank you and wish all the best to Wolf Marshall!

 

Doug Marks – The Metal Method and his Legacy

By Andrew Catania

Doug Marks, a prominent figure in the contemporary rock and metal guitar community thanks to his more than 30 years of experience as a guitar teacher. He developed what would be known as one of the most popular guitar methods of the world: The Metal Method. Doug’s early days as a teacher started doing private guitar lessons in Denver, Colorado as a way to help other fellow guitar players to develop their potential; he also learned from his students’ questions: when he didn’t know about something, he did the necessary research to find the answer, making him grow as a musician and teacher. When he later moved to Los Angeles, his students were interested in keeping in touch with him. They thought that Doug’s method of instruction was excellent, so he was encouraged by his pupils to find a way to give long distance guitar instruction.

By 1982 he was pursuing a career as a heavy metal musician with his band, named Hawk. Doug had the opportunity to work this project with many great musicians that were not so known at the time: Charlie Morrill (ex-Black Night), Teddy Days (ex Hellion), Scott Travis (Judas Priest, Racer X, Thin Lizzy), David Fefolt (Forgotten Realm, Valhalla) and  Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver). Doug managed to release the first Hawk studio release independently in 1986 as his personal project, a solid ten track album with Marks taking the leading guitar role, demonstrating a clean, bright and virtuosic heavy metal sound that was going to support his reputation as a metal guitar teacher.

The Metal Method

To keep in touch with his former students from Denver, and to make his method available to a larger audience, Doug Marks started to develop what was going to be known as The Metal Method. Metal Method Guitar Lessons has founded in 1982 thanks to his students’ questions; this was the way in which the method was shaped from the very beginning, and it owes his success and popularity to the fact that, to this day, Metal Method answers your needs as a guitar player.

The method consisted of a mail-order business in which Doug made his lessons available through audio cassettes and video tapes, where he explained the foundations of guitar playing, from the very beginning, under the assumption that you never picked up a guitar before. This was going to be known as the Basic Course in 1982, and it was the genesis of all. Doug takes you step by step into the paths of heavy metal technique and musical theory in a moderately increasing difficulty that is reasonable regardless of your playing level, avoiding you the pain of getting frustrated with impossible goals and overwhelming information.

The examples are played at different speeds, so you can easily keep up with the music, allowing you to analyze and practice each lesson in a way that you can get the most out of it, without being overwhelmed trying to play them at full speed right away. One of the most successful factors of this course was the fact that you can feel how Doug Marks is talking to you, not to a microphone or recording equipment, but to you as a student, as someone who’s eager to improve! That’s something that was not being offered in the market back in the day: a personal relationship between tutor and student, which is something the Metal Method offers.

The method was successful right from the beginning thanks to the philosophy of great guitar lessons at a lower price, with a high volume of sales. It was expanded into many editions that focused on specific areas of the guitar technique: Speed and Accuracy for Lead Guitar, Easy Guitar Modes, Guitar Mastery Package, Classic Guitar Licks and many others made in collaboration with guitar legends like Michael Angelo Batio: Speed Kills 1 and 2, Star Licks Master Series videos are an example. The Method has grown into a thriving business with plenty of information for all guitar players out there. In Doug’s website, he interacts with the people, answering their doubts and hanging around with them, showing how down-to-earth he is, and proving that he cares about the students and their learning process.

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The Metal Method Legacy

It is amazing how the Doug Marks legacy is evident to this day. Worldwide known guitar masters such as Rusty Cooley or Myles Kennedy have said how important the Metal Method was to them! Doug is right when he states the following on his website: “We’ve been in business since 1982 for one reason – our program works!” The basic course is still going now in his 2016 revision! In the field of guitar lessons, we are always searching for the perfect answer to questions like “how can I play faster?” “How can I approach lead guitar?” “What is the musical theory I should know to play what I like?” and the Metal Method is positively answering these questions to all of us!

The influence of the Method has been around for 34 years already, helping many guitar players out there to achieve the desired improvement in their guitar playing technique. And don’t let the word “metal” fool you: if you are into any other genre like blues, country, jazz, rock, and roll…you will get plenty of advice and useful information from the Method, because of all the resources it has to give to any aspiring artist.

 

Interview with Andy LaRocque – King Diamond’s Main Shredder

By Andrew Catania

andy1Lyricist, composer, music producer and an expert par excellence when it comes to playing the whammy bars, Anders Allhage aka Andy LaRocque is known for his enduring affiliation with King Diamond and his soulful songs and harmonious melodies.

Having kick started his music métier with Swedish Beauty, the favorite Swedish hard rock band that later changed its name to Swedish Erotica, Andy LaRocque then paired up with the former members of Mercyful Fate, for ‘Individual Death Pattern’ by Death and ‘Evilution’ by IllWill.

Since then to date, he has been a part of many critically acclaimed albums and musical feats that bagged tremendous applause and numerous awards from music maestros across the globe.

Andy LaRocque possesses immense knowledge about the most fundamental and the most intricate music conventions. But, rather than following the cotemporary rigging trends of his era, he utilized the treasure trove of his knowledge to blend, complement and evolve his own signature style that speaks for the finest aesthetics and skillful improvisation.

Andy LaRocque’s style of playing the guitar is an exquisite amalgam of neoclassical elements, harmonized with a tinge of modern blue scales and melodic minors, with slight traces of metal and rock and thus creating one masterpiece of style that is a sure depiction of his sheer brilliance and mastery to a core.

However, despite following his unique style, he admits having drawn an inspiration and influence from Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Randy Rhoads.

Currently, he has his hands well set on the Seymour Duncan Pickups, for regular practices and tuning, Line 6 HD 100 MK II for live amps, and a pair of old classic, vintage 4×12 cabs with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers for cabs. He can be found experimenting with instruments and chords in his studio named ‘Los Angered Recordings‘ which he established in Angered Sweden, in 1995. Andy moved the studio to Varberg and renamed the studio to ‘Sonic Train Studios’ where he produces bands as of this date.

We recently caught him up for an interview, right in the midst of his busy round-the-clock routine, where he revealed his upcoming ventures and projects in the pipeline.

Andy, thank you for taking the time to speak with me.  What are you up to these days?  Are you making any King Diamond music or are you producing?

I’m sitting in the studio right now actually and I’m listening to all the potential recorded concerts that we did last fall in the U.S. actually.  Just getting ready and preparing for the upcoming DVD for the live shows with King Diamond.  That’s what I am doing right now.  We recorded all the shows during the Abigail tour in October, November and December last year and I’m just going through everything to check how they sound. It’s going to take me a while because there are a lot of concerts actually to go through.  The release date I do not know yet but it’s, of course, a lot of work just listening to everything first.  That’s what I am doing right now together I’m working with some other European bands in the studio on and off. That is pretty much what I am going to do all this fall.

That was a highly anticipated tour here last fall.  I was hoping I was going to be able to catch the whole Abigail album in its entirety and that was one thing that did not come around here.  

Florida?  Yes, I know.  People often think that “why don’t you play in Florida; why don’t you play here”? It’s a matter of finding the right promoter together with the right venue where we can present the show in a proper way.  We would love to play in Florida again of course because you know it’s been a long time since we’ve played there and we are aware we have a lot of fans down there so hopefully next time around.

You guys have a lot of fans around here you wouldn’t believe the King Diamond shirts I see around here

That’s cool man!!

Just going back to earlier in your career, how did you start playing guitar?  As a child?  Or did you pick it up as.?

I think I was around 12 or 13 years old when I was impressed by the bands that were happening at that time back in the mid 70’s like Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy you know all the bands that were around that time even some glam bands like Sweet and Slade, Marc Bolan, Alice Cooper of course and all that.  I got kind of influenced by them to pick up the guitar.  I think I was about 12 or 13 years old you know when I first picked up the guitar.

What was your first guitar?

Acoustic, Some crap guitar and I can’t even remember the name.  Then Ibanez and then moved on to Gibson, and you know.  I think I was 14 years old when I got my first Gibson Guitar.

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Sonic Train Studios

Did you take lessons or are you self-taught?

Self-taught.

Very nice!

Yes, that’s why sometimes it doesn’t sound the way it should, no limits by theory! (laugh) but I’ve always been the kind of guy that I’m listening to a part where I’m supposed to play solo to and just constructing a song because I don’t really know that much theory with scales and such, you know?  I know the notes but scales and such, I just play what sounds good and I don’t think about it that much really. Make the guitar sing and you know and that’s pretty much it.

 

Did you play any other instruments when you started to pick up the guitar?

No guitar has always been my primary tool, I did a few vocals back in the 80’s you know and also a tiny, little bit of keyboards you know but that’s it.  I still can get around a little bit with keyboards you know I mean playing single notes here and there on albums and stuff that I’m producing in the studio if necessary but the guitar is definitely my primary instrument for sure.

You mentioned some of your influences. Who were some of your big influences before playing?  You said Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath

I think back in the 70’s it was Black Sabbath, Status Quo, a British band, Thin Lizzy and if we go back to the first bands I listened to Status Quo, Slade, Sweet, what else? Black Sabbath of course you know, Blue Oyster Cult, oh man, so many bands and then when I actually started to focus on the guitar it was bands like Rainbow, Michael Schenker, UFO, Ozzy Osbourne with Randy Rhoads, Randy Rhoads was excellent you know still one of my all-time favorite guitarists and bands too, so you know there’s been a lot of influences throughout the years that’s for sure.

When you were still in your teenage years how did you break into the music industry?  

I guess I just fooled around with local bands you know and we practiced and rehearsed like 6 or 7 days or nights a week just to get good and I think I had a good network of friends and people around me in the local music stores around Gothenburg Sweden where I was raised and with that knowing a lot of people I got finally into King Diamond and all the bands prior to that too.  So a really good network at that time was really necessary to be able to get somewhere. Nowadays you can sit in front of a computer and have a great network on the computer with Facebook and everything but that did not exist at that time so you had to be up to date with friends and whatever was around at that time like music stores and other communities you know.

Days of the music stores and I miss them very much

I know man, its crazy!

It is! It is crazy.

How did you end up joining with King Diamond?  How did you guys meet?

It’s a really long story but to make it short me and Mikkey we played in a local band in Sweden before he actually moved down to Copenhagen from Sweden and he hung out with the Mercyful Fate guys , Michael Denner, Timmy and then when King broke up from Mercyful Fate he wanted to start something new, Michael Denner, guitarist and Timmy Hansen, the bass player for Mercyful Fate joined King with his new project only called King Diamond and they were looking for a drummer and they asked Mikkey  and they also for a while had another Swedish guitarist that did not work out in the studio so Mikkey called me just after like a week in the studio and said it doesn’t really work out with this guy we have now so do you want to come down and check this out?  Mikkey knew me from before and he trusted me you know and thought I was going to do good with King Diamond, so I quit my job.  I worked in a music store and quit my job the same day he called me and I took my guitar and my Marshall 50-watt amplifier and I took the train down to Copenhagen and I did an audition in the studio and recorded a solo for Dressed in White which is on the first album Fatal Portraits and after a couple of hours he said, “you’re welcome in the band, you’re in the band”!

Wow! 

Yes, and that’s to make it a short story you know – Very tense, you know, I was 22 years’ old

With each album that he does, what King does is based on a story.  When you first started with him on this story did you have any input on it?  Does he write the lyrics? You write the music?  How did you guys start?   

Initially, he usually comes up with riffs that he’s puzzling together along with the story lines he has in mind to create the right atmosphere, the same thing with the songs I write, it all has to be in the right spot on the album.   It’s a big job putting everything together to make it fit in a story too, and he writes, of course, all the lyrics and comes up with the story and I write maybe I would 35-40% of the music or something like that

andy

 

Ok so you usually start creating a riff for the new songs with Diamond is that usually how it starts?  Are you guys throwing around ideas?

Yes and he’s composing on guitar too and sometimes even on keyboards you know so he creates different pieces that he later put together in the right sequence to make it fit in a story.
Yes, that was going to bring me to my next question.  I’ve read Abigail was one of your favorites.  Is that true?  

Yes, I think the whole album has a very good atmosphere.  We have a very good time in the studio and we’ve been out for a few tours you know before we started recording that album.   So we got to know each other very good and I think in general it’s an excellent album put together in the right way.  You can tell that the band is very tight, creative and we just had a real good time recording that album.

How do you and King share ideas you know with you in Sweden and the other guys in Dallas?

Well it’s mostly me and King that shares the ideas, we send ideas to each other but usually let’s say I have a few songs you know and I send them completely with drum machine and two rhythmic guitars and maybe a bass line and the same with him, he sends it to me and if something needs to be changed we just sit down and talk about it and do some rearrangements but that’s pretty much it because usually when he writes a song that’s the way it’s going to be in the end same for me it’s very small details that usually needs to be changed.

You’ve got a little bit of neo-classical influencing in your playing would you agree with that?

I think I was more into that when I was younger I believe, inspired by some stuff from Schenker but also Yngwie, he’s a great guitarist of course and he influenced a lot of guitarists and of course Richie Blackmore with his kind of classical touch, so I guess I was influenced by that too.

How would you describe your tone?  You try to get?? In the studio and?? 

I hope that people would see me as like a very emotional player you know, I played faster when I was younger of course because your adrenaline is high all the time but I think nowadays I play with more emotion than I did when I was younger for sure.  I think it’s really important with melodies than just fast runs and I still see myself as a rhythm guitar player more than a lead guitarist that’s for sure

what kind of gear, pickups, and amps are you using?

Ok I’m using Dean electric guitars

Are you endorsed by them?
Yes, I am.  Live I am using Yamaha Acoustic Guitars which sounds really good.  On the Dean Guitars I’m using all Seymour Duncan which I think is awesome pickups and I’m using them since I guess the mid 80’s.  Different kinds of pickups but right now most of my guitars I’m using the Trembuck 11 and it’s a Custom Custom I think it’s called and I’m using the 59 pickups for neck position that’s pretty much what I’m using right now.  I’ve been trying all kinds of pickups and I still have some guitars with EMGS and other pickups but you know seems like I’m always returning to the Seymour Duncan’s because they’re so alive you know and very dynamic and I think they’re just great.  For other equipment I’m using Marshall Cabinets and Line 6 POD HD Pro X, rack mounted with a Line 6 pedal board and I’m using two power amps with that and two Marshall Cabinets live and that’s actually the same for the other guitarist in the band Mike Wead, he’s using exactly the same set up and it’s very versatile because I mean you get a really nice tone and people are really surprised when I say I’m using that because they think, “oh really that sounds that good” because you pretty much can get any tone you want from it, we got a few presets with clean sound, solo sound and rhythm sound and it’s so easy to work with and just a Ethernet cord between the unit itself and the floorboard and you have all your presets right there on the floor you know so I’m really happy with that.  Very easy set up really.

Back in 2012, I think it was 2012 when you guys took a hiatus when King was recovering from his health issues I read that you spent most if not all the monies you guy’s made on some festivals I guess in the production upon his return. Is that accurate?

When we got back after King’s health issues which actually lasted from 2007 five or six years we did not do anything at all because of his health.  Then we got back and got some offers from some festivals and we thought OK it’s going to be now or never.  We spent a lot of money actually on making a big production to get out and play festivals that would blow people away, they would see something that they never seen before with us you know, so we built a really big stage with a lot of stage props and nice backdrops and spent a lot of money on the light designs and all kinds of stuff and just make sure we had great people around like sound guys and light designers and you know stage designers and everything.  We came up with something that people haven’t seen in our camp before.  We played bigger stages and just a great show that we haven’t been able to present before 2012.  So I think it was a very good move to do that, we had to do something spectacular.  We’re still this day using a lot of the same things playing around on some really big festivals all over the world actually, so yes very good.

When Give Me Your Soul came out you guys did not tour in support of that because of health issues?  

Yes.  That’s correct because first of all, he had his back problems.  That actually happened while we mixed Give Me Your Soul album and then two years later he has his heart issues so it definitely took some time to recover from that but he recovered quickly I would say and now he’s better than ever, he’s in very good condition.
That is awesome

you guys played festivals in Europe with 10,000 of fans and in the US you have to play smaller venues do you think that metal is more popular in Europe than the US?  If so, what do you say, why? 

It’s really hard to say but it depends on where we play, it seems like the festival thing is really happening over in Europe, I mean there are so many festivals over in Europe and it gathers a lot of people while in the US there are just a few festivals so I would say that’s the big difference.  The places we played in the states were indoor venues and we did three tours in one and a half years in the states and I think all of them were very successful.  It’s just different venues you know but the metal fans are still there that’s for sure.

Do you think that metal scene has weakened in America because they follow fads or trends?  

I don’t know man, I mean when we were out on tour we were doing good so nothing I have noticed, to be honest with you.

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You guys usually sell out everywhere you guys went

Pretty much yes.  I mean the last couple of tours have been successful for us in the US that’s for sure

With your producing you’ve worked with many death metal bands have you produced any other origins of music in your studios?

Any other type of music you mean?

Yes 

I produced some pop stuff too you know all kinds of stuff but 99% has been metal, heavy metal, hard rock or black metal.  So that’s the main thing, seems like people think I am the right guy to do that kind of stuff.  That’s just the thing that has been happening.

How do you consider producing bands do they send tapes?  How do they get to you? 

I think mostly they hear other productions that I’ve done and they think it sounds good and they get in touch with me.  That’s still the main thing you know from mouth to mouth kind of connection sort of stuff, or they see the studio name on an album so if it sounds good they get in touch with me or maybe recommendations by other bands who’ve been in the studio

Do you let groups use your studio?  How does that work?  Do they rent it out?  Do they have you producing it?  

Yes, usually they have me producing it but I have a few other guys here in the studio too that can help, when there’s a lot of things to do here in the studio I call them in, and they can assist in tracking and all that but usually the bands come here because they want to work with me.

During the hiatus that you guys had where are you producing any bands at that time?   

Yes.  That is what I do here all the time actually.  Unless we are not doing anything important with King Diamond I pretty much have the studio booked here pretty much all the time so that’s what I do when we are not out touring with King Diamond, King Diamond is, of course, my top priority.  That’s what I really like to do, a right combination of working with King Diamond out and touring and in the studio, I really enjoy that for sure.  Its two different worlds but still working with music.

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Would you consider doing a guitar solo album like some of a lot of the other guys are

I’ve been thinking of that for many years but I don’t know you know.  I’m so busy doing other things that I think are more interesting than just putting out a solo album so we’ll see man, I’m not going to say never, but right now, I don’t know probably not
(laughter)

Just a couple more questions

Yes man sure

The YouTube issue with them is not compensating artists fairly.  It seems like everybody is putting albums up in their entirety and YouTube is not enforcing their policies.  Do you have an opinion about the YouTube issue that’s being brought up by other artists? 

Of course, it’s, wrong, you know, artists should get paid for their work, unless it’s pure promotion.

You said you’re doing the King Diamond DVD live album.  Do you guys foresee a studio album coming out shortly?

As soon as we’re done with this live thing, and I don’t know when it’s going to be, but we’re talking about starting to compose here later on this fall you know or maybe around New Year’s but it’s impossible to say when it’s going to happen but of course we want to make a new album.  It’s about time too; the last album we released was in 2007 so it’s definitely about time to do that.

My last question is are there any guitarists that catch your eye

Let me see here well you know the last guitar I bought here in the studio as a tool more than anything else was a VGS guitar.  I’m not sure if you heard about that.  It’s a Les Paul type guitar you know made in Germany with EverTune Bridge.  I’m not sure if you know about that?

The VGS yes I have

EverTune Bridge, you tune it once and it stays in tune forever.  That together with a true temperament fretboard makes it just an amazing studio tool.  The right personality is the crazy looking frets you know but it’s perfect in tone on all the frets and the intonation is fantastic.  You can take chords that you didn’t think was possible and it sounds so clean.  I would say that’s one of the best studio tools I ever had.
That’s one thing, except for that, I don’t know.  I was actually in a music store the other day, and I saw a Gibson Rudolf Schenker V.  I’m not sure if you’ve seen that.  It was kind of close to the Vee-guitar that Gibson made in the 70’s you know,

You know, it’s alright.

What musicians are you following these days?

Oh man! What am I listening to?  Oh, that’s a tricky question, man! (laughing) Anything that comes up on the radio.  It’s not like I’m actually looking for new musicians and stuff.  It’s going to be people who ask me have you listened to this and that you know.  But I usually just listen to the whole band instead of individual musicians I think, and I can’t really give you an example.  Whatever people tell me to hear to you know, I’ll check it out and take a listen but I’m not actively following or hunting for new musicians.

I understand with your busy schedule.  Andy that was all of my questions, and I appreciate you taking your time talking to me.  

No problem man! No problem!

 

 

The Many Talents of Warren DeMartini

By Andrew Catania

If you don’t recognize Warren DeMartini’s name, maybe you know the nickname Torch, or Ratt, one of the most successful metal bands in the 1980’s. Born on 1963, he soon developed a taste for music, in particular for the guitar.

When he was 15, he bought his electric guitar, and this was when he took his first lesson. Clearly, he had a gift because, not much time after that, he formed his first band – The Plague.

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While still in high school he joined different bands, and it was in 1979 that he had his first concert. At only 16 years old, he won the “Best New Guitar Player in San Diego” at Guitar Trader on Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

Despite DeMartini, he always kept his music, and different bands close, he still went to college. However, during his first semester, he had the opportunity to work with Mickey Ratt, in Los Angeles. Music has always been his passion, so he dropped everything and went to Los Angeles. At this point, he had no idea Ratt were about to be formed.

Ratt fans simply loved Warren. The way he led the band and he also co-wrote some of the Ratt’s biggest hits like “Dance,” “Lay It Down,” “Round and Round,” and “Way Cool Jr.”  They were a tremendous hit in the 80’s and people still remember them after almost 40 years.

DeMartini’s and Ratt’s fans were very disappointed when the band broke up, and each member followed its direction. In the case of DeMartini, he passed through a couple of groups just before he decided to go solo. He released his work in 1995 and 1996. In the same year, Ratt got back together and still launched two more albums. However, things were not the same neither for the band or the fans. Ratt’s last album, Infestation, was an incredible record.

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Warren as a great guitarist continues to go from band to band.  He also took the time to design the Charvel Warren DeMartini Signature Snake – Ready to Ratt-n-Roll guitar designed to his exact specifications.

With such a bright future ahead, it’s disappointing how he didn’t have a clear shot in his career. Looking back, the only opportunity he had was when he joined Ratt. However, with all the break-ups and reunifications, Ratt lost their mystic.

Considered by many one of the best guitarists in the world, we truly hope to see more of Warren in the future.

 

Sarah Benton Makes Jason Becker Guitar

By Andrew Catania

Sarah Benton, guitar builder extraordinaire, used her creative talent and built a Jason Becker guitar based on a painting by Gary Becker, Jason’s father.  Here’s what Sara said:

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Alright, guys, I can’t keep it a secret anymore…..as you all know (if you are familiar with the Jason Becker story), JB’s father, Gary Becker, is an artist. For about a year, I was trying to come up with a concept for a guitar to capture my appreciation for what JB stands for, along with the amazing family/friends he has supporting him. I found this piece by Gary, and thought to myself “this is it!” I started building with the help of Rafael Barajas@thornguitars and Werner Goertz. I’ve been watching my dream come true over the course of a year, and as I put the neck on the body yesterday, I realized….secret or no secret, I have to share this with the world. (Don’t be mad at me Werner?) Now, the plan is, I am going to present the guitar to Jason around the beginning of next month with this option: he can either keep it for himself, or we can auction it off, and all of the proceeds go to Jason and his family. This has been such an honor and a privilege…..thank you to all the people who have been supporting me through the beginning of my career. More to come in the future! Love you all!Jason Becker #luthier #luthiery #guitar #guitarporn#guitarcraft #woodwork #handpainted#custominlays #art #garybecker #garybeckerart#jasonbecker #iloveyouall #thankyou #me 

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Jason Becker and his family are super people.  Thank you, Sarah, for building such a nice guitar!