The Professor Joe Satriani

By Andrew Catania

For most musicians, just being nominated for a Grammy is a dream come true in itself. However, being nominated for the Grammy Award a total of fifteen times and selling over 10 million albums makes Joe Satriani incomparable to most musicians.

The Midas of all instrumentalists, it would be nothing but fair to say that Satriani truly turns everything he touches to audio gold. Joseph “Joe” Satriani is an American born and bred multi-instrumentalist best known for his career as a rock guitarist.

Influenced by the death of the legendary Jimi Hendrix, Satriani was drawn to the world of guitars at the age of 14. How he started to play the guitar is a narrative made for the history books. He heard of Hendrix’s death on the football field during football practice, walked off to his coach and informed his coach of his decision to quit in order to become a guitarist. He fell in love with the legend Hendrix was and today, he is nothing short of extraordinary himself.

In 1978, Satriani moved to California to pursue a career in music. He started teaching the guitar during this period. His skills on the guitar and fluid communication methods as an instructor led to numerous of his former students achieving unparalleled levels of success. Some of his former students include Steve Vai, Rick Hunolt, Larry LaLonde, Kirk Hammett and Charlie Hunter.

In 1986, Satriani released his first studio album titled Not of This Earth. It drove in successful critical acclaim and led to Satriani recording his second solo album, Surfing with the Alien, the very next year in 1987. It was the first all-instrumental solo album to perform as well as it had and to have become a radio hit since a significant number of years.

The news of his talent spread like wildfire through people who had witnessed his firsthand success. In 1988, a decade after he became a teacher, Satriani was recruited by Mick Jagger as lead guitarist for Jagger’s first solo tour. In 1989, Satriani released his third album Flying in a Blue Dream, inspired by the death of his father who had passed away during the making of the album. In 1992, Satriani released The Extremist, which has proven to become the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful album of his till date.

With one successful solo album release after the next, Satriani soon rose to worldwide fame. In 1993, he was invited to join the incredible Deep Purple as a temporary replacement for Ritchie Blackmore who had just left the band.

With 15 albums released since 1986 and with 15 Grammy Nominations, Joe Satriani is a name recognized across the world, from every corner of the United States to developing nations across Asia. He is considered to have mastered extremely difficult performance techniques on the electric guitar. Influenced by blues – rock guitar icons such as Hendrix and Clapton, he is skilled alternate picking, legato, harmonics and extreme whammy bar effects amongst numerous skills.

The fact that a significant number of his students have achieved critical commercial success is only a reflection of the master’s trade. It’s a pleasure following Satriani’s success and we’re just around the corner – waiting for his first Grammy win because it’s about damn time.

Interview: House of Lords Guitarist Jimi Bell

By Andrew Catania

If you know the House of Lords, then I am confident that you will also know Jimi Bell.  Jimi is a big name in the music industry. And in the music industry, he has worked with the top-notch artists to showcase his talent and worth. Many people call him “a giant on the guitar,” but he does not mind that, and continues performing for the love of his audience.

His very first appearance was in the film “Light of Day,” which starred Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox in 1986. In this movie Jimi Bell, performed both as an actor and played his soundtrack. Later, along with his band, he toured with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

The year 1987 proved to be an excellent year for Jimi, as he was chosen for the auditions of Ozzy Osbourne. In this audition, there were only two finalists, Jimi and Zakk Wylde. And unfortunately, Jimi wasn’t accepted. Jimi joined the Black Sabbath family tree and became a member of the Geezer Butler’s solo band the Geezer Butler Band. In the BLACK SABBATH’s 1992 “Dehumanizer” album, Jimi wrote a track “Master of Insanity,” but they did not give Jimi Bell credit for that record.

He still follows his passion, worked on Cannata’s CD and performed “Harlequin of LightsTamoro, Myslerium Magnum and Watching the World between 1993 till 2013. He had a strong bond with BJ Zampa, who was a drummer for the German-based Rockers Band Thunderhead. BJ recruited Jimi for their record “Ugly Side.” And this proved to be the foundation stone, for many of their future performances. In collaboration with the METAL CHURCH, THUNDERHEAD toured the whole Europe. For the 2001 album on Nuclear Blast, Jimi Bell and BJ contracted with the David Wayne’s Metal Church project.

For the Rob Rock album “eyes of eternity,” in 2003 Jimi participated as a guest soloist. And in 2003, Jimi and Bj allied with the ex-main vocalist Mike Vascara from Obsession & Loudness Band for the “MVP Project.” The album was released in the following year, 2004 in Japan and Europe.

In his entire career, he does not seem to be working for the same person in the long run, except the House of Lords. And in the mid of 2005, Jimi Bell finally joined House of Lords. After joining this band, Bell does not forget his old friend Bj. He recruited Chris McCarvill as a bassist and recommended BJ the position of a drummer. All of them completed the band of James Christian, who was a vocalist. Then this team toured a lot of countries, they continuously wrote and recorded albums. And some of their famous works are “Big Money”, “Cartesian Dreams”, “Come to My Kingdom”, “World Upside Down” and much more.

Beside this, Jimi also worked for the NASCAR, Impact, Wrestling, WWE, and ESPN: each of them is sports giants. He is the mind behind SHREDNECK, and now a day, Jimi Bell is the member of Roberts Guitar, KickAss Cables, Marshall Amps (Europe), Rocktron, GHS Strings, Ovation Guitars, Dean Guitars and EMG pickups.

I recently caught up with Jimi after the last time I saw him was 28 years ago with Joined Forces.

Jimi are you there?

I’m here buddy? How have you been?

Good!  I haven’t seen you in 28 years!

Has it really been that long?  God, man!  I’m old Andrew!

(laughter)

I’m still out there doing it though man, it’s so funny because I’m doing it more now than I did when I was in my younger days I don’t know, you know.  Sometimes you wish it was reversed because I had all the energy and the youth back then but you know, hey I’ll take it when I can.  I’m still you know, it’s just different, if you keep your life on the straight and narrow you can do this stuff that’s what it’s all about

Yes! I knew you were around I just saw your video on Frontier’s and I was like that’s Jimi Bell.

I’ve been with them since 2005

Time flies
!
Yes! I joined the band in 2005 and I go to Europe every year with them, with the exception of last year, I think the singer wanted to take a year off because he had a bunch of family things he was doing, so that’s what we did.  Usually you know, 2015 I was in Tokyo and played the greatest festival in the world and I’ve never been to Tokyo in my life and it’s weird in my late 50’s and I’m seeing all of the world, from my 50th birthday on, it’s so weird

Are you doing the Wacken Festival in Germany with House Of Lords or no? 

No I don’t think we have.  Wacken Fest is usually a little heavier than House Of Lords I believe than a lot of the bands that play at Wacken.  We would be more likely to be at Sweden Rock than the Wacken Festival.  That hasn’t happened yet but we’re very hopeful.  We’ve done a bunch of festivals, we’ve done a bunch in Sweden, we did Hard Rock Hell that was in Wales and I’ve got a bunch of them at the end of my tongue here I can’t remember.  I’ve got a bunch of posters I need to go through here of the festivals that we’ve already done already.  I know we’re doing Hair Metal Heaven in August in the UK.  I’m really looking forward to that one.  That’s a bunch of great bands

It’s insane all these festivals are over in the Europe.  We don’t get to see it.  We get nothing over here.  All we get is like Carolina Rebellion, Rocklahoma.  All the festivals are the same bands usually.
 

You know what it is?  America is a really tight market you know.  Honestly right now, House Of Lords is doing a big push, this year in fact, to get back into the American market because we haven’t been in it for a long time. When the band first got together and Gene Simmons said sign them. They were out with Cheap Trick and The Scorpions, The Nelsons. I mean they did big festivals, did Colosseum tours and everything back then.  Unfortunately the band came in at the later point of the 80’s like in ‘88 and when the Nirvana scene came the Seattle scene and all the music changed, a lot of the hair metal bands all died out except for the one’s that were really intense that were able to maintain like your Motley Crue and stuff like that.  They already had a legacy even with the change of music they were able to maintain but there were a lot of the bands that couldn’t.  You know the ones that stayed, like Poison and the people that were popular-popular, like Whitesnake.  They all managed to hang in there but a lot of them got crushed.  I’m really honored to be in the band.  I got a call from them in 2005,  the singer, James Christian, said he was putting a whole new group together and the record label, of course Frontiers wanted to go back to the usual House Of Lords sound.  I guess what happened year before, not a year before but a record before called Power And The Myth the band had changed up the sound a little bit.  I guess they tried to go a bit more modern and even though it was an excellent record I guess the fans didn’t accept it as much but there’s a lot of great songs on it but the fans didn’t care for it as much as the earlier record they did and then that kind of put a bad taste in their mouth.  But then we got together we came out with the first record World Upside Down it really took off as we went backwards a little bit and tried to make it more melodic rock again and we’ve been on a good roll ever since 

Are you still doing the Connecticut circuit?  Are you still doing Joined Forces anymore?  Any reunions?

Well, we keep going back and forth.  I have done shows with the second version of Joined Forces with Livio and the guys.  Now we finally actually have located Mark Diamond, who’s been out of circulation for a while, on purpose, he chose not to.  He’s a family guy and a regular working guy and chose to be out of the business, he had it with it.  But now his kids are grown up and he’s been wanting to perform on stage again.  Not full-time at all, he just wanted to do a show.  He wanted his kids to see him play.  He wants his teenager’s to know that he’s something else and not just a working dad.  He wants them to see that part of him that they’ve never seen, which I think is totally great.  My daughter has seen me perform everywhere!  She just pops up out of the blue, ever since she was a baby.  She’s shown up at gigs and stuff, it’s kind of funny.  She gets all proud to see me up there on stage and this is something you know that his kids are even aware that he does.  I mean Mark was an icon with Joined Forces.  So we’re negotiating right now and speaking with Mark Franco and Joey you know just back and forth just hashing out some stuff

Awesome!

So you never know.  I have another original project that I’m involved with Maxx Explosion, which is an all original band which has BJ Zampa who is the drummer in House Of Lords, and with me from the beginning and Chris McCarvill.  Now Chris was the bass player for House Of Lords until last year.  He’s been with us since 2005 as well.  In 2007 he had an opportunity to play with Dokken and he took it, which is entirely understandable

Jon Levin was my first interview for my website.

Oh really?

Yes!

Jon is still there.  He’s been with Dokken for years now.  Last year they asked Chris to come back and Chris just thought it was a good move for him at the time and it was.  We wished him well.  We’re still buddies and Maxx Explosion is still together even though he is not in House Of Lords anymore.  We took on a new bass player whose name is Chris Tristram, who was Jack Russell’s Great Whites bass player, so he’s with us now

Was that before or after Tony Montana?  Because Tony Montana is his guitarist now and his version of Great White and then we’ve got the original Great White where they’re recording with Tom Wagner, you know the high influential producer from the 80’s, they’re in Tennessee recording with him 

All I know is that as of a year ago, Chris was the bass player for Jack Russell.  So I don’t know what the change was.  As a matter of fact, Chris has some writing credit on some of Jack’s new album that just got released.  So he was in it up to very recently.  He’s been playing bass for them

Ok.  I’m looking at your website.  I see you all over the place.  I see you with Steve Stevens who I just interviewed, I see you with Joel Hockstra, Reb Beach, EVH, Ronnie James Dio.  Are you still playing at Bleachers in Bristol?  Is it still a dump?

What?  The Alley Cat?

(laughter)
Is it Bleachers or the Alley Cat?

It’s Bleachers now, but it’s nice inside.  Years ago it used to be the Alley Cat.  That’s when we used to walk in there, and your feet would stick to the carpet

Yes, it was disgusting!
It was disgusting but it was a great Rock Room.  There were a lot of disgusting rooms back in the 80’s you remember that! I mean none of them were brilliant but it was a place, it was a different time and nobody cared.  But no, it’s been a real nice looking sports bar.  They made it into a sports bar but at least they have bands in there with in-house sound and everything.  The guy is really into music and we do well there.  I even just performed there with House Of Lords.  We usually do a show there right before we have something to do

Awesome

Before going out on tour we’ll play a show there.  The house sound man there happens to be our sound man, Kevin Parkinson,  he comes on the road with us.  He use to be the sound man for The Sting. Remember The Sting back in the day?

Oh my God! That was at the Agora Ballroom.  I just interviewed the guys from Flotsam and Jetsam and I was going down memory lane with them back in December.  I said do you remember when you opened for them for Megadeth and it was pouring rain in West Hartford and there was rain coming through and Dave Mustaine came up to their guys there and said you’ve got to move your guitars out of there because there’s rain coming down?

He was like, “Oh my God!” we do remember that!

I said yes.  I was like 12 years old.  I was like pre-pube

(laughter)

Andrew, I miss that, I miss that room man!  I miss that place.  That was a great-great room.  Oh my God so many great memories of playing there.  Unbelievable!

Yes, it was amazing what came over there.  Twisted Sister was there

Yes! Even Aerosmith.  I saw Aerosmith and Ted Nugent there.  They had the big stage in the back.  I had a friend, when Joe Perry and Brad Whitford had left the band.  They had gotten two other guys.  One of the guitarists was Jimmy Crespo I forget the other guys name.  They came out with that song Lightening Strikes and whoever was on that record, it was a good record, that’s when I guess Steve was really having a hard time with the drugs  and everything was during that period.  But that was then and he is incredible still, always has been

I could sit here and talk to you for days.  I know WCCC is no longer.  I know Dick Robinson took them online.  How are they doing?

Who’s that now?  CCC?  iRockRadio?

Yes, iRockRadio.  I know you have a lot to do with them.  Are they doing anything?

Mike Karolyi is doing great with that station

Is he?

Yes! Mike Karolyi is doing great.  I’m telling you man it’s a shame what they did to CCC it really is.  First, they had a few changes.  You know Mike always ran that.  They had a great group there, the whole group of everybody that worked there.  Every DJ that was there, everybody involved, it was a real tight-knit organization and they were all great people, every one of them.  You know they had it down.  They would play what they wanted to play and people loved that station man.  I remember one day, I don’t listen to radio much, I don’t listen to music much anyway period you know because I’m always writing and everything but I happened to turn on the radio and I know I had CCC on and they were playing something weird.  It was like a Steve Miller tune or something and I’m going what the heck’s going on here?  And I kept thinking I was getting a cross-station because I know 105 The River had changed their music format.  I figured it was getting mixed signals or something.  It sounded like something was being crossed over and then I found out that Corporate had come in and made them change the format and so they did.  They kept it turned and then all of a sudden I remember them closing down; it was becoming a Christian rock station

Oh yes

Yes, they took over the building and honestly I don’t even know if that thing is still going.  It was and the building I think is up for sale, the old CCC Building. They took all that down, and yes, they had a lot of changes


I could go down memory lane with you just with CCC.   Mike Karolyi was working overnights, this is when Z Rock out of Texas was a satellite and playing the Hair Metal, and everyone wanted to hear, and I would always argue with Karolyi and say you always wonder why your ratings are in the toilet, I was like why don’t you let John Osterland, do you remember John?

Of course, I do!   

You had Metal Shop, the rock station up in Springfield, 102 played metal stuff on Tuesday nights,  I listened to that. I loved Metal Shop.  You just had different things and there’s no rock station in Hartford that’s on the dial.  I mean you’ve got so much now, you’ve got iTunes, you’ve got Spotify, it’s all different

Yes, everything has changed man, it really has.  Listen, I’ve got to tell you, I’m very grateful to still be doing what I’m doing after all these years and be able to do it you know.  A lot of changes have come about throughout my life and it’s just great to be out there and still doing it and making music and putting out records and stuff.  You know House Of Lords is on a huge label, probably the biggest.  Frontiers is a really big name you know for that genre of music. It really doesn’t get any bigger for that.  They have all the bands from that era you know.

They do!

They are a great machine man.  They are a well oiled machine!  When they do a release, they do everything.  They know exactly how they’re going to push a band, they know what to do.  I already have a schedule of releases, you see, I know they’re going to release another song, you know they’re going to release something on the 27th  you know, another tune off the record, things like that. It’s really cool.  It’s good to be a part of it.

  You and Chris Impelliteri are friends, aren’t you?

Very well.  I influenced him you know.  I was a big influence in Chris’ life and he even says it.  Until he heard me play guitar he never played guitar like that.  He was more of like a Randy Rhoads player, he was into that and then he saw me play guitar and it flipped him out.  All he wanted to do was become a speed demon, a speed shredder.  I literally changed the guy’s life.  He’s even said it before in magazine interviews and stuff like that

Wow! I did not know that

Yes, oh yes.  It’s the God’s honest truth, he used to come out and see me play and I literally changed his whole style.  I never gave him lessons but my influence of what I was playing was probably where he always wanted to go but never saw anybody do it yet.  Then he took off with it.  Of course he’s done really well for himself which is great
 

There’s no market here in the USA 

This is what I’m trying to explain to you about House Of Lords.  We want to play the US.  We really do, we’re ready, we’ve been willing.  To get somebody to take us on, to get someone to say alright I’m going to build with you guys in the US, it’s been a really terrible thing.  We just might have hooked up with somebody that’s actually going to do it.  A very reputable agent and I’m waiting to see.  I’m actually going to find out this week if it’s a go but it looks very good.  I’m looking forward to hopefully taking the band and building it in the US at some point.  I’m not expecting it to go to Colosseums or whatever you know what I’m saying but I want to play.  I want to play in the US.

You could play in Orlando at like House of Blues or at Hard Rock.

Absolutely

With a couple of other bands, you know, make it a whole night 

It’s kind of funny because there’s this contest going on for the Monster’s of Rock Cruise down there and our name was put in, and we moved up that contest really far we went up to like the number 8 position out of 100 bands we’re right above Def Leppard right at the moment which was very shocking.  I was surprised.  I mean if you go to my Facebook page you’ll see it.  As a matter of fact, you should vote for us!

(laughter)
What are you trying to extort me to vote for House of Lords?

Yes.  I’m going to extort you like you wouldn’t even believe

Have you worked with Rusty Cooley at all?

Oh, I love Rusty.  I use to talk to him quite a bit. Yes, he’s a friend.  One time somehow we hooked up.  He called me, not personally, not face to face, you know over the internet, and he was telling me he heard about me from a long-long time ago  Much respect for him!  Much respect, a great-great guy too! Real sweetheart of a guy

What do you think of these record labels signing turd bands and leaving the good ones unsigned?

Listen, this is an issue, and I get this now you know, I’m still learning in this business.  I really am, I’m learning.  It doesn’t matter how good you play your instrument it really doesn’t.  It has nothing to do with if you’re the most monster shredder in the world and you’re blowing people’s mind or anything like that.  It all comes down to a catchy song.  You can have a two-note solo in there but these people who are signing bands here and they hear a song they don’t give two shits about the guitar solo because honestly the guitar solo as great as it is to us musicians, because we get off on it as guitarists, it doesn’t make a difference to the average person, it really doesn’t and that’s a sad thing.  I still sit and practice my guitar constantly.  I was practicing when you called.  I’ve put years and years and years into my guitar playing but it doesn’t make a difference on what I play on the guitar because it all comes down to the song.  That’s why you’ll find some of the most popular songs have a melody solo that is recognizable something that the average person can sing.  Like the average person that’s just walking along the street that can sing that guitar solo and is not nothing shreddy about it it’s just a memorable piece.  This is what I tried to do believe it or not on the new House Of Lord record on Saint To The Lost Souls that’s coming out, I actually took the time to work out my guitar solo’s which is something I’ve never done ever in my life. I usually record the songs, you know I write them, I work with the drummer BJ and he helps me rearrange the songs and then we send them down to James and then he’ll either start working on them the way they are or he might move a piece, you know put it into the computer into Pro Tools and move a piece around and then I’ll start doing the lyrics for that.  Anyways, we have a system that we do   What I usually do is I go to BJ’s, play the song, and then we go to the solo section and he’d goes OK you ready to do a solo?  And I’d go yes, and we’ll roll it, do a couple of solos and say yes that was OK.  I’ve done every record except for this last one.  This last record I actually took the time and worked out the solos beforehand and it was a big difference and as a matter of fact I am going to have to do it for every record from now on because it’s really great and I remember them, which is better.  I can remember them because I worked them out you know.  Sometimes I go to play a solo when a record comes out and I go “what the hell am I playing?”  I don’t remember this you know

What do you think about these YouTube players?  Do you think in person teaching is better? 

Look, all these guys are really great players.  The ego thing I can do without.  I’ve never had that and I never will because I keep myself in check because I know for a fact that there is an incredible guitar player a lot younger than me just sitting in his basement and playing right now.  In fact, not even in the basement I see them all over YouTube.  I see these young kids on YouTube that utterly destroy me on guitar playing things that I cannot play.  As discouraging as it is, seeing this and knowing that used to be me and I used to be able to play like all that, it also gives me a kick in the ass type of thing again.  It’s at that time I go, you know what, I’m going to push a little harder now regardless.  I can still do this if I play a little harder you know.  It’s good to see these kids and some are so young.  Oh my God these Asian kids just kill me.  I see this young 8-year-old Japanese girl, oh my God, 8 years old! She’s a monster-monster guitar player and I just go oh my God!  There’s a kid in Italy  Michael Manio or something like that, he plays electric guitar with his fingers like a class guitar, he’s a teenager.  He’s probably the most amazing guitarist you’ll ever see in your life.  Then I see this other guy, I mean what are you going to do?  You know back in the day, back in the Joined Forces day when I came out, honestly there wasn’t anybody playing that style.  Yngwie wasn’t even around then when I came back into town when the first Joined Forces started.  He hadn’t even hit the scene yet.  All the stuff I learned how to play guitar from was from Johnny Winter, Al DiMeola things like that.  That’s where I picked up my style.  There was no Yngwie, there was no Eddie Van Halen that didn’t come out until later you know and so it’s a different learning period, there was no internet. I had to learn everything by ear slow slowing down a record.  Putting the record on speed 16 you know to learn a riff.  Not looking at the internet and having somebody show this to you not by note.

 

Yes, I was part of the whole Joined Forces revolution.  Is House Of Lords pretty much your mainstay now?  Are you still doing your side project in between?   

House Of Lords and Maxx Explosion are my two main projects.  Maxx Explosion has 2 records out and like I said we’re writing the third one even though we don’t have a deal right now but we are writing a third one.  But that band is very good, that’s a trio and it’s a real good trio, really powerful.  And House of Lords for me, it’s a cool band.  It’s a great bunch of guys who’s still well known in Europe.  You know I get to go places I’ve never dreamed of.  I’ve been all over the world.  Places I never thought I’d ever get to see, I’ve got to see them with that band and I’m very grateful

What kind of guitar are you playing these days?  It looks like you’re playing Gibsons I see in your picture.  But are you endorsed by a guitar company?   

I have a guy right down in Jacksonville Florida named Dale Roberts, Roberts Guitars.  He’s a one man operation and he used to be from up here in Connecticut.  He makes all my guitars for me.  He builds guitars and of course I do play and have a bunch of Gibson SG’s and I like the SG body so he asked me if I would play guitar.  I told him well you know I’ve got to be honest I love Gibson SG so if you want to make me guitars it has to look like an SG and feel like an SG and all that type of thing and he does.  He does a great job he makes them exactly the way I want them.  I have the bodies made like the old 60’s SG’s with points, with horns on them and now I’ve recently had the power switches moved on to the pic guard switched and one volume

Isn’t that the guitar you’re using in the latest House Of Lords video I saw?

Yes, I’m using two of them.  They are Roberts Guitars.  One of them is half black and half white, and the other is an all white one.  I switch between, you’ll see them in my guitar solo, I use scenes with them both going back and forth.  They are great guitars I’ve got about 7 of them and another one coming up from Florida he’s just finishing it right now

Are you using Randall Amps?


No, unfortunately I blew them up.  I was using them. I got in touch with the rep and he wanted me to use them and I brought them to a gig.  The first night I had them I blew up the amps  And I’ve used my same Marshall’s all of my life .  I’ve had the same Marshall heads since 1999 or 1998.  I’ve never had a problem except for having to replace tubes and stuff like that so I just said you know what, I’m not going to mess with what I have know.  You get kind of a bad omen when your amp blows up on your very first gig with it 

 Are you endorsed by like a pedal companies, guitar picks, cables?   

Oh yes, I’m a GHS endorse.  Guitar picks no, I change a lot.  I just ended up using as of last year. I started using the little Jazz III picks.  You know the little ones?

 So what are your plans for 2017?  Naturally House of Lords, Maxx Explosion.  Are you going to put out a solo record of sorts? 

Never

You don’t even have one

No.  No desire.  I don’t like instrumentals.  I did do an instrumental on the last Maxx record, a little country type of thing about a minute forty seconds long.  I love country music.  I don’t mean country like ‘hick’ music I’m talking chicken picking like cool guitar country music, that type of stuff.  And I did a solo on the Maxx Explosion Dirty Angels.  It’s the only instrumental I’ve ever written in my life.  I don’t have the desire to ever sit down and do a whole record of an instrumental.  I listen to a favorite guitar player of mine, I can’t even sit through a whole song of an instrumental.  I lose it.  You know any Yngwie instrumentals or anything that gets too long.  I just won’t listen to it.   I’d rather hear a song with singing and then a great short guitar solo. You can understand.  I grew up listening to AC/DC you know with the exception of Deep Purple, you know Deep Purple was my band but I became a huge AC/DC fan and I know a mound of AC/DC songs and my dream band would be like AC/DC with a little more shredding guitar.  You know a guy that sings like Bon Scott or Brian Johnson and then shred the part a bit more and those type of songs I would be the happiest man in the world because I love those big GDH chords you know in the back.  I don’t care if AC/DC uses the same chords over and over again.  I love every one of their songs.  I don’t care, it doesn’t make a shit of difference to me.

Follow Jimi @

http://www.jimibellmusic.com

 

 

 

 

Disturbed’s Guitarist Dan Donegan

By Andrew Catania

Dan Donegan is a prominent name in the present age music horizon who has made a significant mark through his loud and reverberating guitar playing expertise in a short span of time. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he had rarely ever imagined choosing music as a full-time profession and was doing a fairly good job of assisting his father in his construction business.

Right in the midst of routine life that revolved around banging nails and mixing concrete, he put everything at a stop and decided to take the high road. The decision wasn’t actually an out-of-the-blue move on part of Dan, however, it was definitely one immensely risky feat that could have turned out either way. Fortunately, fate bowed down to his plan and here he is – the rock star who is completely rocking his job through the audacious and ecstatic tones that he makes from the chords.

Dan possessed a flair for music right from the start and having mustered a sound knowledge about the intricacies and tacts of strings and chords, he kickstarted his music career with Vandal, an American glam metal band that he cofounded with Bob Johnson, John Sullivan, and Bob Fedderson in 1984. Aside from nurturing his brainchild, Dan also embarked on establishing partnerships and building associations. Dan has set his fingers on the keyboard as well as a variety of guitars and has upskilled his signature techniques by testing his mettle in a variety of genre such as heavy metal, nu metal, hard rock, alternative metal, thrash, and glam metal.

Ever since the launch of Vandal, Dan Donegan has had multiple notable collaborations and associated acts with other bands and music groups. He ventured into forming another association with other Vandal members called Loudmouth where they experimented with their techniques and delivered numerous performances in various shows and concerts.

Meanwhile, Dan had already associated himself with another band called Disturbed that eventually became his prime identity. At a time when Disturbed’s popularity was top of the charts and the band had successfully made it to Grammy’s nominations, Dan’s interest veered off from the stellar performances Disturbed was delivering on tours. He jumbled a couple of lyrics and collaborated with Dan Chandler, Mike Wengren, Jeremy Jayson and Seam Corcoran to complete the lineup and named it as Fight or Flight. The band released its first studio album under the label of Warner Bros in 2013, titled ‘A Life by Design’. In addition to that, Dan has contributed his signature riffs for Art of Dying, a Canadian rock band.

The extensive variety of feats that punctuate his career timeline is also depicted in his preferences. From Ibanez Iceman, Gibson’s SGs and Les Paul Standards to PRS Singlecut, PRS Mark Tremonti, and signature and DD81 models of Washburn in the past, Dan Donegan currently plays a Schecter Solo-6 2010 limited edition and his signature Schecter Ultra Dan Donegan model. His profile entails multiple hit releases such as Better Days (Vandal), Demo Tape (Brawl), A Life by Design (Fight or Flight), and Believe, Asylum, Immortalized, Ten Thousand Fists and The Lost Children with Disturbed. He has bagged multiple nominations, including Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards, Loudwire Music Awards, and Revolver Golden Gods Awards and was ranked as 76th of the ‘100 Most Complete Guitarists of All Times’ by Chop Shop.

Morbid Angel Guitarist Trey Azagthoth

By Andrew Catania 

With his white, pale skin highlighted with sharp, defined features that border on an exotic delicacy resembling a look as ‘gothic’ as it can get – one would be anything but surprised to hear Trey Azagthoth casually mention that he happens to be the lead guitarist for a death metal band.

The significance of his statement comes to life when he mentions the band he plays for, Morbid Angel. Not just any death metal band but the musical equivalent of Jehovah – the band that has been described to be “the most influential and emulated bands in death metal” and been cited as an artistic influence by numerous other musicians and bands.

After Morbid Angel’s launch in 1984 – the band happened to be the first death metal band in musical history to achieve the level of commercial success it did after Giant Records signed up the band in 1992. We’re talking MTV, soundtracks being played on Beavis and Butthead and the release of four consecutive albums that are today referred to as evergreen ‘classics.’

Trey Azagthoth’s role in Morbid Angel is not just limited to that of lead guitarist. He also happens to be an original founding member of the band. Trey Azagthoth and Mike Browning started Morbid Angel in 1984 in Tampa, Florida. It has been a little over three decades since the band first came together and today – after having a total of 20 legendary musicians on board at some point or the other – Trey Azagthoth is the only original member to carry on playing with Morbid Angel. It would be safe to assume that the band maintains its legacy through the years because it has held onto one common element through the years – Trey Azagthoth.

Azagthoth started playing the guitar at the age of sixteen and his art is influenced by as unlikely a source as one would expect – Mozart. As a child, he showed an affinity towards the performing arts and was a classical dancer till he decided to pick up the guitar. He is nothing but a prodigy because despite starting out late in age on the guitar – he has been rated as the number one ‘death metal guitarist ever’ by Decibel Magazine.

Not only is he one of the most influential and revered guitarists in heavy metal, but he is also responsible for being a pioneer in the fast, distorted tone of guitar that today defines death metal. Without him, death metal as it exists today would have been fragments of possibilities and never materialized the way it has. While Azagthoth remains on board with Morbid Angel – we can rest assure that the band will continue to trail blaze it’s way to history.

Follow Morbid Angel @

http://www.morbidangel.com/

John Suhr and Suhr Guitars

By Andrew Catania

Back in the summer of May 1999, Guitar Player Magazine confidently asserted that Suhr Guitarshas a reputation for building exquisitely crafted guitars.” One can’t help but keep in mind the one simple fact that as of the date of this statement – the company had only been in existence for a mere 2 years.

Started by John Suhr and Steve Smith in 1997 in California, Suhr Guitars went on to become a coveted manufacturer of electric guitars and basses, guitar amplifiers and effect units.

The circle of success only seemed to come full circle due to John Suhr’s history of focusing on building guitars. The innovative designer had started his career with humble beginnings as a guitar repairman in Ledgewood, where he was actually fired for taking too long to do a grain and polish on the frets. He then went on to work as a repairman at Rudy’s Music Shop in New York City.

Suhr’s level of intense creativity was inspired by being largely self-taught.  He also credits his success to Bob Benedetto who once told him “If you want to do it, you’re just going to do it. You’re just going to have to start taking apart guitars and figuring it out.” It was this advice that led Suhr to explore building guitars from scratch – using nothing but his own common sense and discarding traditional learning methods such as books.

He created his first Suhr custom guitar in 1984 – 15 years prior to setting up Suhr Guitars. This only exemplifies his early focus on wishing to own his very own guitar company someday. During 1991 -1994, Suhr built over 50 custom guitars, mainly by focusing on amplifiers. He then went on to become a senior master builder at Fender’s Custom Shop in 1995 before taking the plunge as an entrepreneur with Suhr Guitars.

With the help of Steve Smith and his vast expertise in management, software and Computer Numeric Control (CNC) knowledge – the company revolutionized the manufacturing process by using CNC routers to produce guitar necks and bodies instead of using the traditional hand-made method. This left them with the complete control of the manufacturing process since they did not require additional human assistance for production, thereby leaving them with the highest level of control over the quality of guitars produced.

Suhr Guitars seems to remind us of a company that values quality over quantity. Rather than diving into producing hundreds of styles, the company focuses on building a select few guitars that are of the highest quality. All the guitar models are based on four distinct body shapes, each with different series of guitars.

They offer a unique touch of individuality by offering customizations based on customer needs (except for the Pro Series.) The fact that iconic artists such as Reb Beach, Scott Handerson, Mike Landau and Ian Thornley use Suhr guitars is nothing but a reflection of the dedication the company provides towards each guitar they create for their users.

We just have to get us one of those, don’t we?

Check Suhr Guitars @

http://www.suhr.com/

Impellitteri’s Venom Record: A Classic for the Ages

By Andrew Catania

Chris Impellitteri is one of metal’s top guitarists.  Around 30 years ago, the Impellitteri black album was released.  If you talk to a lot of guitarists, they’ll mention the black album is one of their favorites.  I have every single Impellitteri record released.  Some of Impellitteri’s records are only available in Japan and had to be imported.  Impellitteri released their latest album, Venom, via Frontiers Records in 2015.  The Venom album showcases some of Chris Impellitteri’s finest riffs and Rob Rock’s vocals of their 30-year career.  Hopefully, we’ll see a new Impellitteri record in 2017.

 

 

Interview: Guitarist Tara Lynch Discusses Her Upcoming Solo Record Evil Enough

By Andrew Catania

I had the chance to speak with Guitarist Tara Lynch about her upcoming record, Evil Enough and talk about her special guests appearing on the record.

Let’s discuss this album of yours that you have not sent me any sneak releases of.

I mean you know right now I’m being very careful of what I let out right now because this is a real monumental effort on my part and pulling together all these amazing guys to work with me and you know I don’t want to let any cats out of the bag and I’m sure as you can tell I’ve been very careful about that.

Sure! 

So Trustless is pretty much what people are listening to right now and it’s really sort of a rough.  It will be a little more brilliant-sounding when the entire record is done and it’s mastered and you know all that good stuff.  You know really it’s a preview

Let’s take a look at your history here.  I know Trustless, I’ll get to that in a minute.  You started and you were self-taught playing the guitar, we pretty much discussed that.  Tell me how you started picking up the bass, the drum, the piano and you started working with like it like the  ‘ who’s who of guitar ’  Steve Vai and all them.  How did you meet these guys to study and or play with them? 

So basically, it really all started in South Florida where I was a teenager.  I was born in New York and lived there for about the first 9 years of my life and then the next 9 years was spent in South Florida.  During that time I was 11 and I picked up the guitar.  My brother was playing.  I have an older brother who is five and a half year’s older and since I was born I was always very, very, very desperate about music, very into it.  I wouldn’t go out and play with the kids I’d be home listening to the radio and literally writing down all my favorite songs realizing that  there was a loop that was going on and waiting for the time of day when those songs would be played again and I was kind of maniacal like that about music.  So I was just born that way and then by the time I was 11 for a couple of years my brother was threatening to basically pull the life out of me if I went anywhere near his guitar.  By the time I was 11 I was like you know what, the hell with you! So the minute he left the house I would grab that thing and start playing on it and I literally didn’t know what I was doing.  I just watched you know whatever I saw live and we didn’t have the internet, Youtube or anything like that back then so I watched whatever I could see on like King Biscuit and things like that on television and I was a natural, you know.  I was watching him watching this stuff on t.v. listening to everything.  I have a very-very good ear andI play to this day, I play by ear, completely.  So I might as well have my eyes closed because you really can’t show me anything, I’ve got to hear it and then I can reproduce it and that’s basically how it went.  So I picked up his guitar and played it.  He came home one day and caught me, I thought I was going to die and he said, “how the hell did you learn to play like that?”  Completely freaked out, he gave me the guitar and went and bought himself a new one.  Now I had a guitar 24/7 and I have not put it down since. So fast forward to my teen years.  Well, south Florida is full of a lot of music buzz and things like that.  Bands trying to make it Saigon Kick, some other bands from the 80’s that didn’t really go very far but did try and I became friends with a lot of these people. So that really started my knowing of some people in the business and when you meet one you meet ten.  They introduce you to another one, and other one and another one and so on.  You know all of a sudden years later I know a lot of these people  I’ve also met some of them at charity events and things like that but really it’s just through other friends they multiply that way.  So after I was playing for so many years I was already pretty accomplished at the instrument.  I had naturally just decided to pick up bass along the way, on my own, and decided I wanted to get some drums and give that a whirl too and you know, and really it just came naturally.  So after I was already going on these instruments I never took any lessons like I said so basically I reached out to these friends of mine and said, “hey, I’d like to study with you, you know, any tips any pointer’s?”  So I sat with Steve a few times and I wanted to go over the ability to play some drums for my album and I’m not playing on the album,  however, everybody tells me I give the best demo’s they’ve ever heard because I literally basically play the album and give it to the guy’s.  The guys listen to a demo of basically what’s going to be the end result and then put their own shine on it.  But they already know where I want the fills. They already know where I want everything because I just play it all first or program it first.  So I studied with Chad in order to do that on the drums and made sure I was really doing OK, things like that

Wow!  So you cannot read any sheet music at all?  It’s just all by ear?

I can’t read any sheet music at all whatsoever! It’s 100% by ear and I don’t even know maybe I’m kind of autistic or something

(laughter)

I have no idea what’s going on on the neck.  I just listen.  So if somebody says, “go to the E or go to the whatever”  I look at them like a deer in the headlights and if they play to the E then I’m there in 2 seconds, not even 2 seconds, I’m there in 1,000ths of a second pretty much instantly so you have to show me with sound,  not sight and not yelling letters or scale names or anything like that at me because I can’t even tell you what scale I’m playing.  In fact my producer, I was recording some leads just the other day and doing my usual shredding you know, shreddy parts for example and he just whips his chair around from the board and he’s like, “how the hell did you learn to do that if you don’t even know what you’re doing? How did you learn all those scales and things like that?” and I just said, “I just listen!” I mean to me it’s just that way, it’s just natural, I just listen.  It sounds right!  The progression of notes just sounds right.  I just play what to me sounds right within a piece of music.   So when I write my music, I literally play it as I write it, into my system and record it and then just keep doing tracks and layering it up until at the end of the day I have a whole full song


That is amazing! When you started getting into your late teens, early twenties were you in any bands or were you always a solo person?

You know when I was a teenager I played around with a few teenage party bands you know things like that but nothing worth really mentioning it was just for fun.  A couple of paid gigs, you know at restaurants or stuff like that, no big deal.  I played some classic rock you know, I was pretty much jamming out to things like Edgar Winter and stuff like that.  Grand Funk Railroad you know but no I pretty much only have done a solo thing and it wasn’t until probably in my 30’s that I did any shows anywhere and I did  only do a couple of shows,  one at a film festival and these were acoustic sets much like coffee-house sort of shows so again nothing really noteworthy there.  You know I’ve always taken my craft very seriously and yes I have a lot of friends in the business and I hang around that crowd and they come to my house and I go to theirs you know they know what I can do and they know what I’m capable of. So when I finally decided hey I’m going to do this, oh my God was the support overwhelming!  Everybody was like, “oh I’m in, if you want me, I’m there!” because they know what I’m capable of. So that was really just a huge honor and really quite a telling statement to myself you know that I must be doing something right musically regardless of the fact I haven’t played out professionally out at this level and I’m not going to until this album is finished.  So what a testament to my skills I guess as a songwriter by the way, which is first and foremost because lot’s of people out there can play guitar very-very-very  well but a lot of them can’t write

True! 

And I can write and I’m very proud of that

When you started putting people together, when you look at your resume you’ve got on here, I mean you’ve got one of my favorite singers in the whole wide world, Mark Boals.  Vinny Appice on drums, Bjorn on bass, Tony MacAlpine which is one of my top 5 greatest, Derek can play the keyboards, you’ve got Phil, plus you’ve got Brian on drums they just came forward to offer their support. When you started the process of writing these songs do you write the melodies, the lyrics or do you do the music first?

I write the music first then I write the lyrics.  Then I go back and sometimes make adjustments for the lyrics or I adjust the lyrics for the song.  One way or another.  But I always start everything I always start with the guitar period no matter what every single thing begins on the guitar.  I come up with a riff and that riff is the beginning of the main melody of each song that I write, probably what would be the verse then I just build on that

Is Mark sending the vocals back to you?  Are you guys all producing this in one place at your studio? 

Yes, no-no Mark lives in Las Vegas so he came out here to LA to come to my studio to record for me.  I’m fair because I’m co-producing this album.  This is not being produced by one person this is produced by me and fill in the blank you’ve got Derek Sherinian who produced a couple tracks and the rest is being produced by Brent Woods who’s a phenomenon guitarist himself and a sound engineer and a fantastic producer and I’m really enjoying working with him.  It’s very much a co-production.  I’m involved with everyone’s recording.  The only person who recorded without me present was Brian Tichy, because Derek Sherinian was producing at the time and Brian Tichy is someone that Derek brought in, I didn’t know him, that’s it!

Brian Tichy is a great drummer. 

Absolutely!  When Derek went to Brian and basically said you know my friend Tara is going pro, this is who she is and this is what she does and I totally vouch for her.  Coming from Derek Sherinian, of course,  Brian Tichy is going to say, “ say no more, I’m there, I’m done, I’m involved, no problem ”

We talked before about how you get the musicians for your record and how they have to have this superior sound.  You’re missing one name off here that we talked about, VinMan(Vinnie Moore).  Was it scheduled or you guys just… ? 

(laughter)

You know he’s one of my favorite guitarists and I know you guys are BFF’s and I was like, Vinnie Moore’s not in here….

That’s correct because I’m not stupid and let me explain.  First of all, you know Tony MacAlpine is playing on my record.  He’s playing keyboards.  He’s not playing guitar.

Yes 
He’s playing keyboards only.  I am the only guitarist on this entire record so when you hear all those layers of every single guitar part, that’s me.  I will not have anybody else playing guitar on this record,s not at all whatsoever, that’s my instrument, it’s my album and that’s just how it goes. Tony involved on keys.  He doesn’t play anything but guitars.  So that’s why Vinnie’s not on this record, I know plenty of guitarists that could be on this record with me.  This is a predominantly where the album is going to be half and half.  You’re going to have half songs with vocal and half songs with instrumental OK. But even the vocal songs are still very guitar heavy.  So when you look at that, the whole point is I’m a guitarist, not a singer and I write all of these songs and it’s my work on the instrument that has to shine and my delivery of each song it has to be mine because I wrote it and it has to be delivered the way I want to hear it on guitar.  So I can’t have anybody else playing on guitar with me.

That does make sense 

However, Vinnie Moore has been an excellent friend and a great soundboard and has been you know just a real buddy helping me with advice along the way

Vinnie Moore, I just have to say that!


How far along are you with the record right now?  Is it complete?  

OK, right now I would say we are a little more than half way through the recording stage.  The first half took a really long time.  I had a couple of delay’s and so we had to put things on hold for like a month or two here or there.  The other problem was when that happened I then was fighting the schedule’s of all of my guests and so that’s why it’s taking a little longer than originally anticipated.  Because when I was personally delayed, as you know, my husband was involved in a serious accident.  When that happened the people who were scheduled to record during that time I had to move forward.  So February, this month is a very-very heavy recording month  This month alone I’ve had Glen Sobel in the studio.  On Sunday next week, I’ve got Phil Soussan, Vinny Appice is coming in for me.  I have Bjorn Englen in the studio this month.  So February is a like very-very busy month I’m playing catch up for that time.   But still, the album should be released by mid-2017 as planned.  It was originally going to be early, but it’s going to be mid year.

Are you releasing this on your own independent label and not going through a traditional label?

Yes!  Despite offers I’ve received, absolutely correct!

Fantastic! 

I want to retain total control.  After all, why shouldn’t I?

That is very true,  Most musicians don’t have and can’t retain total control because they have to rely on a label to push out their marketing  and with you doing it independently, you retain total control by how everything is going to be done by your own creativity.  I’m looking forward to hearing this record in its entirety.  What is your gear setup?  I’ve seen so many different guitars.  I’ve seen other ones but do you have a certain rig that you’ve been using to record?

Well, you’re recording so many different guitars and so I’m using several pieces right now but on the album, I’ve narrowed it down to three pieces really. I’m using the Ernie Ball Silhouette Special which has been customized.  I’m using a Les Paul, the Paul Kossoff model, it has a great sound it’s great for rhythm.  I’m also using a Dean Burst that Vinnie used for years for rhythm as well.  For all of my leads are coming out of that Ernie Ball Special, it has such an amazing sound and that’s really what I’m hooked on.  As far as rigs are concerned, I’m using a Diesel Head, I’m using a Marshall Head, I’m using a Friedman Head.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with Friedman

Steve Stevens uses Friedman heads.

This particular model I’m using I think is his actually with the ray gun on it and it’s got such an incredible sound.  Again that’s the rhythm, Marshall is for rhythm.  My leads are all coming out of my Diesel.  It’s a blue face Diesel so it’s a rare one and it’s got just a magnificent sound.  I pretty much use a natural distortion that comes out of the heads and I throw on a little bit of delay.  That’s pretty much it.  I’m not heavy into effects.  It’s funny because everybody asks me what kind of cry baby I use or something like that, what kind of Wah pedal and the answer is, I don’t! That’s how I play naturally 

 No wah pedal? 

No.  Absolutely not.  That’s just naturally how I play.  I tend to have this thing where I scoop into a lot of my notes for some reason.  It’s just natural.  I can’t enter a note like everybody else.  I have my own way.  I’m just kind of swooping or sliding right into my notes somehow and everybody thinks I must be using a Wah pedal at times for that sound and really just  “no, just coming out of my fingers, that’s just my style.”  So really, natural distortion from the apps themselves, no distortion pedals and delay, that’s it

 

Are you going to be taking endorsements from companies or are you going to do your own thing?

I’m going to consider that.  I don’t have anything going yet and I don’t plan to for a while.  Because I’m doing so many different things I want to be careful about the way I go in that direction because a lot of times you then have to use that and only that and be seen with that and only that.  I’m not ready to marry myself to a particular brand yet.

Your album’s going to be released, are you going to be doing any video’s for YouTube for your YouTube channel for any of the songs coming out?  Are you going to embrace YouTube?  Do you think YouTube works against itself?  Because I’ve interviewed some guitarists that say YouTube has kind of hollowed the instrument because you have all these teenagers coming up here who are playing 1,000 notes a second.  What is going to be your take on YouTube with this album? 

Well, which is the reason you do not see a lot from me going on on Youtube.  It’s not really where I focus because of exactly what you mentioned.  You know everyone and their mother gets on Youtube.  All these kids from the “ Youtube generation” get on there and basically watch videos like mine, do you know how many people have sent me back their version of 25 seconds of what I do?

I can imagine

It’s unbelievable, really haven’t placed my focus there.  Will I eventually?  Possibly if it’s necessary.  Right now, I’m not really thinking about it a whole lot.  I post some things there.  It’s the same stuff you see on Facebook for example but I’m really relying on a lot of – I have a publicist as you know and he’s placing press releases where you know where he thinks is necessary and a lot of that are different web scenes and publications and things like that.  As far as videos are concerned, everything will go on my website directly and whatever I post on Facebook will end up on YouTube as well.  You know unless you spend advertising dollars on YouTube, nobody is going to see anything and we really haven’t put anything there so that’s something maybe down the road.

With you being a woman in this male predominantly do you find anything more difficult or everybody treats you just the same?    

No, sometimes it can be a little more difficult simply because some of these guys that are meeting me for the first time on the record, not  my guest artists who all know me but you know,  the engineer’s, the runner’s whatever when I walk in there for the first time,  for example,  they automatically think I’m a singer which is amazing.  Someone recently said in fact, this is a great example, it was on one of my posts and I can’t remember which one it was and it really doesn’t matter but  It was a regurgitation of one of the things my publicist put out here where it said “ Female Guitar Shredder Tara Lynch “ blah blah blah blah blah… and someone said, “do they really have to say female?” My answer to that is, “unfortunately, yes!”  Because they see my face on the album cover, there’s a guitar there too.  They automatically think I’m a singer if they don’t literally say, “ female guitarist “ and it’s gotten to the point to where some people think I’m the one singing on track list and they’re like, “you sing so great” and I’m like, “ that is not me, that’s Mark Boals, that’s not me that’s a man,  I’m singing backtrack but that’s it!“

Right

So for some reason, even though you have some phenomenal female guitarists out there doing their things brilliantly, it’s still so few of them that think people think automatically you must be a vocalist if you’re a woman forget any other instrument.   And so yes, I think it’s kind of irritating that we have to put up with the word “female” there for that reason so they understand that this is a guitarists record, this is not a singer’s record, do you understand?

I do! Lita Ford told me when I interviewed her I was talking to her about it, she said it’s almost criminal when you have to do it in this age especially with what she’s gone through after the last 35 – 40 years.  She told me basically that you shouldn’t do that and ever since I have spoken to her, I have taken her advice 100% and I don’t.  And you know I push female artists, you know I post you all the time.  I don’t even put ‘female’ in there I put, “ guitarist ‘Tara Lynch’, her album is coming out this way, she’s got, she’s got these guests “ and that’s how it should be but unfortunately in this day and age we’ve still got people that when the stone age that they have that prehistoric thinking and that’s something you’ve guy’s have got to face unfortunately today with some people but I understand. 

That’s why you see a guitar with me in every picture.  I can’t be photographed without one.  If there’s even one photograph with me without a guitar, people automatically think I am a singer.  If I’m holding a guitar, they think I am Sheryl Crow, they think I’m going to sing with the guitar.  I mean let’s face it, that’s the world we live in. The overwhelming percentage of females out there on the stage are vocalists

That’s true 


 There’s more and more coming out that are playing instrument’s now but now really if you look at the entire music scene as a whole, forget genre, females are dominantly vocalists.  They’re not really instrumentalists so it’s still a very small niche thing that is going on and it may be that way for years to come but I’m hoping that I’ll help break down that barrier.  When I have, you know one thing I’m doing differently although I’m capable of doing a full vocal record, I’m not because I write these lyrics with great thought, this is autobiographical for the diary of the record and a lot of things that I want to say and I want to get out there in my artful way and I wanted man to sing it because in this style of music that I write, personally, I don’t hear a woman’s voice, so I wouldn’t get a woman vocalist to do it either.  And when I wrote the songs,  of course, I wrote them with Mark in mind because he’s got my favorite voice I just love his voice so much.  It’s perfect for the style I write

Absolutely!  Who are you listening to these days in terms of music?

Ghost.  I’m a huge fan of Ghost.  I think they’re absolutely fantastic.  I love everything they’ve got going on

That’s an interesting choice, Ghost! They’re opening up for Iron Maiden this summer. Very nice! 

Yes! I’m so excited about that tour.  That’s going to be a lot of fun.  Yes, they have really done a great job of incorporating all the throwbacks hooks and sounds of the 70s with a modern vibe.  It’s just brilliant work, really!  I’m a huge fan of Faith No More’s  latest record Sol Invictus, that’s fantastic.  I have a very-very large variety of musical taste it’s not just in the metal realm.  But really I’d say the  newest thing that I’ve just absolutely have become hooked on would be Ghost.

What are the rest of your plans for 2017 after you get Evil Enough out? Do you have plans to tour or nothing else to do besides that?  

After Evil Enough is out sort of the press storm is going to happen and then I am going to be meeting with promoters and things like that and figuring out a tour.  I’m probably going to get out on the festival circuit right out of the gate.  I’ll probably start the live shows in 2018 because the rest of 2017 will probably be needed to throw the show together, rehearse, pick who is going to play with me live.  I’m going to try to get some folks from the record of course but I may not be able to get everybody because everybody you know Glen is on tour with Alice Cooper all the time for example.  It really depends on people’s availability.

Mark on vocals?

Mark on vocals I would love to have Mark on vocals absolutely but  again, that depends on his availability.  That is my intention of course.

Fantastic!  That will be great.  We’ll see you out there on the 2018 Tour festival!

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Traditional Versus YouTube Guitar Lessons

By Andrew Catania

Playing an instrument was something sacred in the old days. Those who desired to learn an instrument would tie themselves to the lessons of their teachers. Every day was a new experience for them. From touching the guitar to feeling its essence and regarding its value, the experience was full of inspiration and meaning. Today, with the introduction of YouTube, playing guitar has become something “cool” rather than something that was like worshipping for the old schoolmasters.

More and more musicians are turning their faces towards YouTube for music lessons online. But the real question is, is it as effective?

In the year 2012, it was researched that the top searches on YouTube were related to the keyword “lessons,” and the majority of the lessons related videos that were searched were guitar tutorials. Not only do people view these guitar lessons, but also save and download them.

Why?

The reason is simple: it is free and convenient. You are free with a guitar in hand, you open YouTube and start learning. You don’t understand something, you rewind and replay. You can practice your lessons at 6 am in the morning or 4 am at night. These guitar lessons are for everyone everywhere in the world.

But the question again is, how many times a virtual teacher would tell you that you are holding the strings wrong? Or the way you are learning is not even a shortcut, but ab absolute ditch? Learning guitar online, in my opinion, is like learning how to paint online. Watching someone hold a paintbrush online would not make your hand move like that. Regardless of you how much you try, you just can’t add the color to your canvas like that.

Traditional times for playing guitar:

In the traditional ways of learning guitar, a tutor would come to you, or you would go to the instructor. These sessions involve a lot of other materials like chord diagrams, sheet music and backing tracks that work between sessions. The one-to-one experience has always been the best way to test your ability. While you learn to play the instrument, the teacher observes, criticize, and highlights the weakness and strength, points out the wrong and right gestures and so on. An experienced professional help you practice a million times, the same action till you become a pro at it. Such learning is realistic and goal oriented. Playing guitar with a professor means to know the instrument, not the use of it for playing a single song again and again.

Your mistakes would be addressed and immediately rectified. It is of particular importance when it comes to holding the guitar. Imagine after a year of YouTube learning; somebody tells you that you are holding the guitar wrong? Furthermore, everyone has a particular style of playing. The unique nature of a person is long known to come out through musical instruments. When you learn with a tutor, you can explore the areas of your interest in music. For example, you can keep your focus on learning blues or jazz. Now it is not a song that makes jazz a style, but the technique of the instrument.

Benefits and disadvantages of learning Guitar from YouTube:

Just like the two faces of a coin, there are advantages and disadvantages of learning to play guitar online.

Benefits:

As already state, YouTube gives you access to free guitar lessons. It has cheapened the use and learning of the instrument. The only cost you pay is that of the internet. You have access to millions of videos of a different genre. You can always define for yourself the type of resource and music style you want to opt for. You can save, bookmark and download the music. You can also use the interactive software that would help you master in the fretboard. In short- everything has become simpler and cheaper.

Disadvantages:

To say it out loud, playing guitar online gives you no structure and path. Whatever you try is judged by you alone. By randomly clicking and moving from one song to the other, you learn to quickly- which is never the case when playing an instrument. As someone great once as “nothing worth it comes easy.” The lessons on YouTube are present in a logical and coherent progression, but they do not address your issues. The one who is playing online is an expert; but who would tell you if you have the ability and skill to become one?

I can practice and make a beat from knocking the table with folk, but would that make me a drummer or a music director? No. Many times, criticism is what pushes you across the path of “average” to professional. What you are looking for a YouTube video is leisure time learning. But if the music is your goal and guitar your passion than YouTube probably is not the way.

Grammy Award Winning Billy Idol Axe Slinger Steve Stevens: The Interview

By Andrew Catania

Grammy award-winning guitarist Steve Stevens career spans over 35 years.  Always sharply dressed, Billy Idol’s axe man has done everything from the Top Gun Anthem, Atomic Playboys record, playing with Vince Neil and Michael Jackson.  One thing Steve Stevens isn’t is underrated.   He has amazing talent on the guitar.  Stevens work on the guitar can be put up against many names such as Vai, Malmsteen, Gilbert, and others.  I had the pleasure to speak with Steve to discuss his current and future plans.

Are you rehearsing for Billy Idol or are you doing solo stuff?

I start rehearsals in ten days for a solo Euro tour then I head straight into rehearsals with Billy Idol so it’s a little bit of both

Are you doing a tour this summer with Billy?

We do a Vegas residency at the Hard Rock.  We did that all last year and we’re resuming up in March we do that for four months out of the year.  Then we’re heading down to South America to do Rocking in Rio and as well in South America,  we have dates with Aerosmith so it’s a little bit of both

Wow! You’re all over the place

Yes! You’ve got to stay busy man!

I’ve been reading.  Have you been doing some writing with Ozzy?

Yes.  I did a session.  The rhythm guitar player in Billy Idol is Billy Morrison, one of Ozzy’s best friends so he asked me to do some writing with Ozzy and we spent about a week working on some tunes and I haven’t heard anything so I guess he’s really happy with them so yes, I did some writing and recording with him

Out of curiosity if he called you and asked you to step in and do some solo stuff would you do it?

Well,  that’s what it’s for, for his next solo record so yes, of course! If it’s recording I would as far as touring I’m really dedicated to Billy Idol.

Solo album, do you have anything coming up?

After I do this solo tour in Europe, the singer I’m bringing with me is Franky Perez who is in Apocalyptica now and he and I have done some recording and stuff so we’re talking about doing a project together.  I don’t know if you call that a solo record but it would be a full-on album and we’d tour behind it.  That would be really cool!  He’s one of my favorite singer’s and he’s kind of an undiscovered gem at this point so you know I’ve done the instrumental thing and I’m a song guy you know.  I love guitar solos within the context of a song so it would be really cool to do something more of a band project rather than a solo record

I was going back into your history because I’ve listened to you since going back to elementary school how and I sound really old now but I was reading when you were on tour with Vince Neil you were trying out some Eddie Van Halen equipment back when you were touring with them opening for Van Halen.  Is it true that Eddie Van Halen sent you a truck full of Peavey’s at the time and some of his Music Man Guitars?

Yes, he did.  Funnily enough from what I understand he did the same thing for Jerry Cantrell.  When I started the tour with Van Halen and Vince I was bringing out my vintage Marshall stuff with me.  You know that stuff sounds great but it’s not road worthy and Ed kind of came over to me at sound check and said, “Hey man why you bringing that stuff on the road?” you know.  He said why don’t you play through my gear?  I said great!  So he arranged for the next sound check you know I played through his stuff.  He had all the Peavey stuff happening and I really liked it and I played one of his guitar’s and said,”oh this guitar is really nice, it was a black one!” and he said, “take it!” Then a couple of day’s later a truck shows up with a whole Peavey backline and I started using it from then on.  That’s like the ultimate in generosity I mean I was kind of shocked you know. I played those amps for many years.

What are you using?  To get into my next question in terms of gear?  I know you switched guitar endorsements.  What are you using for gear now in terms of guitars and amps and pedals?

I have a signature guitar with a company called Knaggs out of Maryland and Joe Knaggs was the head of the custom shop and PRS and I had one PRS that I really liked and I found out Joe had built that guitar so we started a dialogue and they sent me one of their guitar’s and I said well it’s not exactly what I would play and he said well I’ll build you anything you want and they’re just amazing guitar’s you know I’m getting spoiled now because I basically have a guitar company at my beckon call you know.  We’re now on the third version of the guitar it’s the SSC – Steve Stevens Classic. You know and it’s a handmade instrument and we’re starting to get other people playing them. I mean I couldn’t be any happier with the company they’re just the most awesome makers and people as well.  It’s nice to keep an American company and help with their business.  There’s only about fourteen guy’s there that work the whole company and everything is made right there in Maryland so I’m really happy with them. Then I have a Friedman, Dave Friedman signature amp that I’ve played Friedmans’ for about ten years now and Dave said if you’re really happy with the amp why don’t we make it available to the public?  So that is now available as well.

Very Good! Are you endorsed by any of the pedal companies?

I have a signature pedal coming out with J. Rockett.  I just approved the casings and I’ve been using their pedal’s for a couple of years now and it’s kind of an interesting take on it because I have been using on my signal chain you know I have a boost pedal which I was using at theArche J. Rockett Archer which is kind of their take on a Klon I guess but I was always having to put an EQ pedal afterwards to kind of create a curve or whatever and I said is there any way we can combine those two into one pedal and that’s what  we’ve done it’s basically a Klon with an eq post gain stage, I have the prototype right here and it’s really worked out really well for me.  So that will be available I think in stores in about three weeks.

Was it at NAMM by chance or did you approve it before NAMM happened?

I approved it before NAMM.  I think they had the prototype there.  The thing I’d like to point out is that part of the proceeds for my signature guitar goes to MusiCares. it’s a division of the Grammy’s that helps musician’s help get sober and put’s musician’s into treatment and also the J. Rockett pedal, 20% of the proceeds go to Children’s Cancer Fund so there is some good coming out of what I am doing as well

Well I might have to go onto Knaggs website and add you to my collection

Alright!

I’ll get to that in a second.  When you were growing up I was reading a folk musician inspired you, his name was Phil Ochs

Yes, Phil Ochs and he was a protest singer.  He happened to come from my neighborhood Far Rockaway in Queens.  There is a really cool documentary I think it is on iTunes about Phil’s life and at the time he was as well known as Bob Dylan a hell of a lot more outspoken against the Vietnam War and he was our local hero and his sister was my first guitar teacher

Wow!  So when you picked up your first guitar was it some cheap knock-off?  How did you start playing guitars even though he influenced you?

 
Yes, my dad actually got the guitar it cost $15 with a music book. It wasn’t for me you know it’s just my dad always loved music, didn’t play but he saw this guitar package at a department store and brought it home and little by little I kept dragging it into my room and I have an older brother, he’s like five years older and some of his friends played guitar and they told my parent’s, “you know he’s making a hell of a racket but it’s in time, he’s got rhythm”  so they arranged for Phil Ochs‘ sister to give me my first guitar lessons and I actually played only folk music for quite a while because I didn’t get an electric guitar until I was 13 and I started when I was 7 1/2 so that is why I have a strong affinity for acoustic music

Wow! When you started playing were you self-taught or did you have lessons?  

No,  I had lessons but Phil’s sister was my teacher but I was just picking and when I developed an ear enough I was just picking up things from the radio or my brother’s record collection or what not you know.  I had a real problem with teacher’s back then but now it’s entirely different but that back then guitar teacher’s in my neighborhood were kind of fuddy-duddy kind of trying to teach me whatever, old standards and I wanted to learn The Who and The Stones and stuff so I had to take it upon myself to learn that stuff

What was your first band that you got into?

Well like I said when I was 13 I got an electric guitar and I joined my first neighborhood garage band.  The guys were about four years older than me and you know we just started playing whatever was popular at the time.  So yes, I got into my first band I guess when I was 13 or 14.

Wow! When you were growing up and were playing in your garage band who were some of your influences back then?

Obviously,  Led Zeppelin was huge, Hendrix and The Stones and all that kind of stuff.  There was a local radio station,  FM Radio was just getting going.  I mean I’m dating myself here

(laughter)

WNEW in New York had a show every Friday called Things From England where they played the English British imports for two hours and a lot of what was done then was the early Prog-Rock.  It was the first time I heard Yes and Genesis and ELP and for some reason I went crazy for that stuff because you know in my house we shared music you know as a family and I appreciated classical and jazz and all this stuff and when I heard Steve Howe you know play all those styles within the context of a band,  it’s kind of like a light switch went on and I went wow you can use all these influences you don’t just have to try and play blues or whatever as much as I liked Clapton and all that it was for me I loved all those other guitar player’s who had all those other influences as well.

Very Nice!  How would you describe your guitar playing?  Do you have one style?  Are you a multiple combination of styles?  Because you go from one extreme to the other.  Atomic Playboy is over here.  You played with Michael Jackson over here.  Emmy award winner with the Top Gun soundtrack.  I mean you have encompassed a lot of different things.


To me, it’s all music but I will say that one of the things we tried to do with Billy Idol, I think that once I met Billy I really started to develop a style.  In the context of a Billy Idol record you have  Rebel Yell, Eyes Without A Face, Flesh For Fantasy, these are all different, texturally different guitar things as well as stylistically.  I think it was a conscious decision to A:  Play what’s best for the song.  I know that sound cliche but it is true.  If you’re in a band with a singer, that’s your job first and foremost and then to try and develop a style that would make me identifiable quickly.  I always wanted to be one of those guitar player’s where you hear 8 bars and go “yes, I know who that is!”  So that took a bit of time to develop you know.  I kind of hinted at it on the first Billy Idol record and I think you know the last track we recorded for that album was White Wedding and that was the beginning of us stylistically.  So you know I have got to give credit to Idol for doing that he really helped me develop a guitar style because we took all these different influences that obviously came from the Punk- Rock background but also great American Rock and Roll.  You know he loved The Doors and Credence and we kind of like created a different kind of gumbo with all these different styles. Also our producer Keith Forsey he came from the dance music background,  he worked with Giorgio Moroder, so I think if you take all these different influences and you mix them all together you kind of have what became my guitar style

With Billy Idol do you guy’s share the doing lyrics and the and melodies?  Does one do the other?  Is it a band effort?  How does that work?  You’ve guy’s have been together for 35 – 40 years

35 we’re not 40 yet!!

 
I remember when I was 10 and I first saw you with your cool hair and I was like, “this is awesome!”

Yes, it is whatever get’s the ball rolling.  Very rarely do I have anything to do with the lyrics with Billy.  On occasion, I will suggest a title like Blue Highway or something but any singer worth his salt is going to want to sing his own words.  So usually I’ll start with a riff or some words, you know Billy plays guitar so it starts really innocently with two guy’s you know sitting in a room with guitar’s and just hammering out idea’s and seeing what sticks

Steve Stevens

Wow! When Vince Neil came calling you for his solo band did you have any say the melodies with his Exposed Album?  

To a certain extent, for the Vince record I was already signed to Warner Brothers so I was an artist on their label and then they signed Vince and I was living in New York and he’s obviously an LA guy so I flew out to meet him and we rehearsed and I loved Dr. Feelgood record and thought  yes this could be a good opportunity you know to kind of play some heavier guitar stuff. You know it was pretty natural. There was like no like grand scheme, it was a pretty natural thing to do. Let’s continue to do what Vince Neil is known for, write good songs and keep it heavy and that’s what I contributed

I read an article in the Hartford Courant, I grew up in Connecticut just like you, I read an article that when you guys came with Van Halen to the Thames River Pavilion up near Groton that when you went back to Billy Idol after Vince Neil you said the crowds were getting smaller and smaller and smaller was that true?  Was that accurate what they said?  

No.  No, I don’t know about that.  That’s kind of a misquote.  I think they were talking about the Vince Neil tour because what happened was that record came out just as grunge was happening and Nirvana was huge and you know it was hard to get the label behind the record you know even though the record out of the box sold 350,000 copies which were looked at then as a failure.  I mean now people would kill for them kind of numbers but as the record labels do, they go where the dollar signs are and you know it was suggestions like why don’t you guys put on flannel shirts and Doc Martens and it was like well who the fuck do you think you signed?  You know?

(laughter)

So yes we started playing smaller venues and the writing was on the wall as far as that audience and all of the bands that made their career’s in the 80’s were experiencing that you know.

When Atomic Playboys album came out you said, “ the better the guitar sound,  the fewer notes you have to play”

Yes! I still believe in that.  There’s a guitar sound, I mean just think of Angus or someone like that.  Angus’ guitar just sounds so great that you know you want to give air to that sound and if you are just all the time filling it up with a million notes you’re not really utilizing the strength of the sonic capabilities of the guitar.  I mean I love guy’s that can play fast. The guy’s I love, it’s interspersed with maybe not so many notes,  that’s when it’s really effective.  Too much of a good thing is never a good thing!

(laughter)

That’s true!! Is it always in pursuit of the ultimate tone with you?

Yes! Absolutely! Still is. You know tone is a huge part of it and I think you know I have a pretty good electronics background.  I Actually, when I got the gig with Billy Idol a couple of weeks before that I had gotten hired by Electro-Harmonix to be a product tester and help develop pedals and they held auditions at the music store on 48th Street and they put a bunch of pedals’  in front of you and each guitar player had to come in without seeing them before and configure them and do a demo but they lost my number and the week that I got the gig with Idol they placed an ad on the back page of the Village Voice looking for me so I had to call up Mike Mathews,  the guy who owns Electro-Harmonix and I said you know I’d love to come work with your company but I just got a record deal with Billy Idol.

(laughter)

so I think it’s because of that love of electronic’s and gear you know I had a really gifted guitar guy in New York called Henry Yi who helped me kind of tone -in my guitar sound and develop and open up Marshall’s and all this kind of stuff.  I love exploring with that.  I love soldering and pulling guitars apart. I have four Sears Craftsman cases of just guitar guts and bits and all this kind of stuff and I love getting in there and doing all my own guitar repairs and stuff.  I just love doing all that stuff so yes I’m definitely in pursuit of a great guitar sound

 

That is awesome!  After Whiplash Smile you played with Michael Jackson on Dirty Diana do you think that was one of your career highlights?  

It certainly raised my profile you know.  I remember as popular as the Billy Idol videos were on MTV the day after Dirty Diana aired I believed it actually aired on Entertainment Tonight as well as MTV.  I was living in New York and I went out for a walk or something and I’ve never been stopped by so many people, people running out of McDonald’s to come get my signature, I was like what the fuck is this?  And I go, “oh it’s that video! “ So yes it raised my profile in that regard and one of the things I was adamant about when I spoke with Quincy Jones was that it was in my deal that Michael would be in the studio when I recorded and also if there was a video to be filmed that I would be in the video

Fantastic! That is awesome!  Do you improvise any of your playing?

I improvise most of my playing.  Especially solo’s you know.  I’m not really good working out solo’s you know we’ll run tape or whatever and I’ll just kind of hone it in.  You know I hear melodies a lot of times in my head just based on the vocal melody and that’s kind of what I have in my head at the time I’m soloing so I want to do something that is in some way connected to what the singer is doing and you know depending on the artist I am working with they’ll have suggestions.  Billy always has good suggestions as far as solo’s and things and I like getting that feedback from people, it’s part of making music.

How does it feel to have your name come up with guy’s like Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai, Yngwie?  Your name is right in there with the top ten guy’s that play.  Some people consider it shred, you know, heavy metal, hard rock guitar.  Your name is always in there with the top 10 names.

 Yes!  I guess that is cool you know!  It’s certainly not a bad thing.  I see people say that a lot of times I am kind of like underrated or something like that and I kind of go well that’s not really true because  I won a Grammy, not to be boastful or anything like that, to me I am not underrated or anything.  To me,  I’m like whoever likes me likes me and I think that is one of the things about it is that it is Billy Idol so true Billy Idol fans know who I am I think sometimes if you’re in a band or something then people know the guitar player better. I’ve always like a bit of anonymity it’s never bothered me.  I would be really uncomfortable with the level of fame that someone like Billy Idol has where you can’t go out without being recognized.  I like the fact that people that know me, well ok, they might ask for an autograph but by and large,  I live my life like any other citizen and I dig that!

I know I saw your T-shirts on your website and I’m like, “I don’t have these Steve Steven’s shirts!”

(laughter)

Neither do I!

(laughter)

I’ll wear a Billy Idol T-shirt but I will not wear a Steve Steven’s T-shirt! I’m a little bit too humble for that one man

In terms of your plans for 2017, I know that you’re going out with Billy Idol.  I know that you’ve got your solo thing.  Do you have any American dates coming up?  Any artists that you play with?

I work with an All-Star band named Kings of Chaos.  Matt Sorum and Robert De Leo from Stone Temple Pilot’s and Billy Duffy and Billy Gibbons.  It’s kind of a rotating cast of character’s

Wow!

Yes! You know first and foremost it’s huge fun.  To be on stage with other great guitar players and we all respect each other and we all kind of all sit around and talk guitar and shop and all that without the ego thing it’s just a great gig so I’ve got some more Kings of Chaos shows coming up.  We’re going to go into the studio and do some recording.  So that’s like icing on the cake for me to be involved in a band like that.  So after I take my solo band to Europe, we’re starting to talk about doing some American dates so we’ll see how we can fit that in.

Awesome! And with Billy are you recording with him or are you guy’s going to be going out to do some tour dates aside your Vegas residency?  
As I said we do this Vegas residency and that is like three or four month’s and then in August we go to South America and do a couple Aerosmith shows and you know he and I have talked about doing some new music together.  You know we’re trying to fit that in.  He’s got a busy schedule going, he’s got a radio show happening now you know he had his book come out as well so I think he’s looking at other things to be involved in other than just touring and recording.  What was great about the last record we did was that it was largely autobiographical because it was done at the same time as the book so we kind of seen how it’s good if you’re going to do a record it’s good to do a theme about it and a purpose behind it rather than let’s just slap a bunch of songs together you know.

That is awesome!  Now you and Josie, you guys go out on the road together.  You guy’s just pack up home together and you’re pretty much on the road.  Is that the case?

Yes! I mean it really works for us and you know usually you hear about musicians’ wives being the Yoko Ono of a band or something but she is so not that person.  When she’s out there she wants to work with us.  She does our meet and greet’s. She’ll do whatever it takes to be part of the band and she can really hang with the band.  For some reason,  she’s just one of those girls that can really hang with the musician’s in the band and everyone loves her.  I don’t recommend it for everybody but in our case,  it really works and I love having her.  You know I’ve been around the world for 35 years since I’ve toured and done all that so for me it’s great to share it with my wife and I’m one of those guys that will just stay in a hotel room and just go to the venue and I never see anything so she’s always arranging for us to go to museum’s and see architecture and all that.  Stuff that grumpy old me will never see.

Josie has been super nice to me via e-mail getting this together.

Great!

She seems like a very special person and you are an incredibly talented guitarist. I can see your Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction for you at some point down the road.  I know The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t have that credibility

You know I was happy to see that Yes was finally inducted this year so I wish that it would have happened while Chris Squire was alive cause he was the founder of that band.  He was the soul of that band I got to know Chris really well and it gives me hope that Yes will be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame so I am not going to slag the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at all!  A lot of my good friends are in it and I’m happy for them so

My last question for you, what do you think about the state of Rock & Roll and Hard Rock and Heavy Metal?  I know got asked a couple times but it just seems like the music industry has no idea what it’s going to do

Well, I’m old enough to have seen trends come and go and you know when I was really young the record companies had all these kind of teeny- bop artists that they could, you know record companies love to control the artist! They love to be able to like cultivate the image and give the artist the song’s that they have their songwriters that they like and that is kind of where the business is at and that is why pop music has permeated to the business right now because that’s what they can control.  For many years when I was a kid,  the Vietnam war was happening so music had a message behind it if you think of how political things were everything from Black Sabbath and Hendrix and all these things. People were making records with a purpose and I think unfortunately the world is a pretty dangerous place right now and I think the next generation is kind of waking up to hopefully make music that means something rather than it just being  about product you know because myself, and guy’s my age we didn’t pick up the instrument thinking about our bank accounts, we picked it up because we wanted to express ourselves musically and play rock & roll and didn’t want to conform to you know maybe what our parent’s had conformed to.  So you know I’d say anybody who wants to pick up a guitar or wants to be successful in the business you’ve got to want to do it for more than just making money because that’s not the reason.  It’s nice if you make money doing it.  You know if I stopped making money and playing guitar tomorrow, I’d still do it.  I’m not going to go, that’s it! No more guitar! So I think that’s got to be the motivation.  
Is there any guitarists out there that catch your eye?

Like a new guitar player?

Yes

I guess Guthrie Govan is incredible! I mean and he seems to be doing projects that are really making him happy you know.  I like Mastodon they’re a cool heavy rock band I’m sure there are other people I am forgetting.  There’s a bunch of like newer acoustic players that I don’t even know the names of but just the other day I was watching some things so there’s definitely newer players that are just killing it!

Awesome! Well, Steve,  you have been a gentleman for taking all my questions

My pleasure!

 

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Shawn Lane’s Legacy

By Andrew Catania

Shawn Lane was an American musician who had a short but illustrious career which ended suddenly with his untimely death in 2003.

Shawn released 2 studio albums Power of 10, recorded live in 1993, and The Tri-Tone Fascination released in 1999. He also worked in collaboration with a number of musicians including Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash among others.

Although having formally studied the piano since the age of eight, he soon mastered the guitar and became one of the renowned guitarists known for his exceptional speed while playing guitar.

Shawn had a struggling time in his initial years trying to make a mark in the music world. One of his best-distributed works which were 1993’s released Power of Ten wasn’t very successful in the market. For many years, Shawn spent his time playing piano and guitar in the small clubs of Memphis, his hometown. In his struggling days, he only got work at few studio sessions for artists such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings’ the Highwaymen.

The last decade of Shawn’s life was more eventful and brought him the much-desired success. He did tremendous work with Swedish bassist Jonas Hellborg and the duo created exemplary work in mystical and improvisatory music. Shawn gained recognition for his work and soon became popular in many parts of Europe, US, and other parts of the world.

One of the qualities which formed a great fan following for Shawn was his talent of playing high-speed guitar. Many of the speed-obsessed guitarists were thoroughly impressed by his effortless virtuosity and versatility in playing guitar. With an incredible technique, Shawn’s work was remarkable with a unique grace and ease of playing music.

Shawn Lane, undoubtedly, was an extraordinarily gifted musical talent who had to struggle in his quest of seeking the truest, most pure musical expression during his lifetime. His musical career was not an easy road and he saw a lot of setbacks in life. Shawn’s life came to a halt abruptly when he suffered a lot of pulmonary complications and succumbed to this life threatening disease on September 26, 2003, at the age of 40.

Shawn Lane will always be remembered as a brilliant guitarist who was doing something different, unique and true to himself in his own unique style. He will remain as one of the biggest musical inspirations for the future generations.

 

http://shawnlane.com/