Interview: Marc Rizzo - A Freak of Nature on the Guitar

Interview: Marc Rizzo – A Freak of Nature on the Guitar

By Andrew Catania

Young, talented, super human, the next age music sensation, Marc Rizzo, has managed to make himself a household name at the young age of 27, with a myriad of music awards and accolades to his name, and bagging in tremendous praise from the critic’s camp. This is a sure sign that he’s definitely going places and adding more on his acclaim and well-established fame as he progresses in his career.

Interview: Marc Rizzo - A Freak of Nature on the Guitar

He started off by co-founding Ill Niño, the famous American metal band that comprised of the initial founding squad which included Jorge Rosado from ‘Merauder’, Marc Rizzo for the guitar, Christian Machado on bass, and Dave Chavarri as the drummer. Since then, he has been a vital part of a number of bands, groups and joint ventures that include Cavalera Conspiracy, Soulfly, Misfits, Coretez, Committee of Thirteen, coupled with a number of guest appearances and solo feats.

As much as he cherishes being part of Ill Niño once, he’s equally contented that he moved on for good. And this is evident from his extensive music credentials and career profile as we cast a bird’s eye view of his career, discography, and the rig rundown. The chronology of his career is a strong validation of the mastery and expertise that he holds, with the riffs, shreds, and chords of his signature Flamenco.

Being extremely busy these days with multiple projects in the pipeline and planning future tours, it was quite a feat getting the ‘shirtless guy with a backpack’ for a brief music canvass, but it turned out to be absolutely worthwhile as we managed to gain first-hand insights from him about his musical endeavors, the instruments he’s playing, and future aspirations.

Bright, witty and meticulous as he is, we share the quizzy-conversation as it played out as an informative and thrilling treat for the readers and his fan base. Read on.

How would you define yourself as a guitar player?

Marc:  I am just a huge fan of all styles of guitar playing. I started playing guitar in 1986 as an 8-year-old kid so all the 80’s shredders and thrash stuff really is my style of playing.

What was your defining point in your musical career?

Marc:  I think signing with Shrapnel Records back in 2005 was my biggest achievement.  It really inspired me to practice more and work harder to become a better guitar player.

How did you get into shredding and how was your learning process?

Marc: I just love guys like Satriani and Malmsteen.  I studied with many teachers that were knowledgeable in that style.

You were part of two great acts: Ill Niño and current lead guitar player from Soulfly. Tell us about the effect these experiences have into your playing.


Marc:  I think both bands have been cool opportunities for me that I always gave 100% to live and on recordings.

How is Marc Rizzo’s solo music so different from the Soulfly concept and why?

Marc:  My solo records are different from Soulfly because I am writing instrumental music where I am trying to make the guitar be the voice and try to be more melodic but at the same time heavy. Then my acoustic songs are much more open for other audiences to enjoy that do not like metal.

Regarding your solo albums: what musical challenges did you face?

Marc:  My solo records are fun to make. I record all my guitars and bass. And it really is great to be able to have the guitar be the main focus. The challenge is playing these intricate songs live because it takes much more concentration to perform my solo songs live in concert.

How’s Marc Rizzo’s creative process?

Marc:  My creative process is all improvising on the spot. I like my writing to be natural and go with what comes out naturally.  I love to improvise.

Regarding your gear: how did it evolve through your career?

My gear has evolved to simplifying everything. I just use my Washburn guitar through Peavey 6505. A Boss delay pedal and crybaby wha and that’s it really. I am more concentrating on technique than gear.

Tell us about your musical interest into joining Dead by Wednesday

Marc:   DBW is a great project with a great melodic singer. It’s great to work with them.

What can we expect from your new solo release Downside Up?

Marc:  My newest solo record will be I hope this year. It’s my favorite record I ever recorded with my favorite producer Zeus. It has some of my best riffs, solos, and songs I ever wrote. My drummer Anthony Devizio is amazing and shines all over the record. I think I finally made a record that instrumental guitar fans will love and also the Soulfly fans will love. It has tons of catchy melodies and heavy brutal riffs. I am very excited to release this record and tour for this record. My solos live show will be intense playing my new songs!! it is great to see fans slam dancing to my instrumental music!!

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