I am a Guitarist, Songwriter, and Singer from Auckland, New Zealand. My music styles crossover from Metal, Rock, Neo Classical, Progressive, Instrumental, Pop and Country Rock.
I am a mostly self-taught shredder who studied Music Education at the University of Auckland. I thought one day if I don’t become a rock star I might be a music teacher in a school. My guitar shred skills were just developing at this stage.
Luckily a fellow student, an excellent pianist with proficient music education, taught me a lot about music theory. Especially scale, chords and the link they have with modes.
I didn’t start playing guitar until I was sixteen. By that, I mean fewer chords and more shred. I wanted to be in the front of the stage…show boating a Stratocaster.
I initially always saw myself as a songwriter. But later in my teenage years, I was turned onto what I call my ‘BIG 3’. Malmsteen, Vai, and Satriani. Up until then I was more into blues and rock and influenced by Hendrix, Richie Sambora, and Eric Clapton. I’m currently going through a stage of listening to Richie Kotzen and John Petrucci again. Amazing what you can still pick up about the instrument from great players.
Technique wise I am influenced mostly by alternate pickers like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Morse, and John Petrucci. Style wise today I enjoy the use of Modal approaches like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani with Neo-Classical touches here and there.
I originally got into music as a drummer. I soon realized that playing the drums wasn’t the best way to express what I wanted to do musically. But still today I can say I can play drums pretty well as a consequence. I think that is where my love of the percussive attack you get from alternate picking, comes from.
As a young shredder and musician, I am from the pre-youtube generation. I was trying to nail Yngwie pieces from books and tabs from the internet back in the 90s when everyone else was into Hootie and the Blowfish. YoutTube would have made it easier back then. I was into the Harmonic Minor Scale, Neo Classical Rock, and Bon Jovi. A bit out of step really in 1995.
I also loved great song writers like John Rzeznik from the Goo Goo Dolls, and he influenced my songwriting and fashion style I have to admit for a while there.
While living in Auckland, I have worked as a musician in top cover Bar Bands (Ultrasound, Nstinct) and Acoustic Duos(LA.Thompson and Dynamic Duo). Also as a solo artist playing Flamenco with loop pedals to sustain my first love.
During my stints in Auckland, I also carried out the odd bit of session work for other New Zealand artists. I have played many numerous events and festivals and have played some of my best gigs for charity benefits and fashion events where I wirelessly strutted the cat walk with models shredding their faces off. I just love to play up for the audience and try to play my ass off as best I can.
As ‘Chris Barclay’ I often play as a three piece band or with backing tracks. I recently played a gig first utilizing acoustic flamenco Phrygian/Neo-Classical arrangements of my more pop work, then a Rock set with vocal, and finished up with my shred oriented Instrumental work. I stole John Mayer’s idea from some of his live work to do three music styles in one show and put my spin on it.
I record and produce my music in my home studio and master my work post production over seas. I like my recordings to sound as live as possible. This makes it more authentic to play live.
It would be fair to say the United States culture influences my music. I love the USA. America has the most fascinating, delicious and paradoxical culture. I love to visit there often and can’t help but be touched by it.
Even as a Kiwi ’Down Under’ it is hard not to be influenced by the United States. My songs ‘I Won’t Fade’ ‘Go Let It Out’ and my Neo Classical instrumental ‘The Freedom Love and Fire Of America’ are all influenced by California and New York.
My songs are also influenced by my personal experiences of loss, love, lust, ambition, triumph, and death.
The death of my mother and my mortality with a diagnosis of Leukaemia in 2003 are themes in ‘Go Let It Out’ and ‘I Won’t Fade.’
‘I Won’t Fade’ won the Guitar Shop TV showcase on June 2013 where I was headlined as a ‘Charismatic Kiwi Virtuoso.’ In this track, I start off very much as a Joe Bonamassa inspired guitarist and then I tried to cram a little of Yngwie, Vai, and Satch in my outro solo. I love my Wah Wah pedal work in that song. The video on YouTube plays homage to many other great athletes and guitar heroes too.
In 2009, My song ‘Open Your Eyes’ featured on ‘Rock 4 Life’ volume 4 to generate money to help research for the liver disease.
In 2016 The Akademia awarded my song ‘Go Let It Out’ best Rock song in February 2016.
One of my biggest highlights musically is having met Steve Vai three separate times. One of these was at the Vai Academy where he remembered me from his time visiting New Zealand. Humbling.
I love Mr. Vai’s style, his guitar genius, but to my biggest surprise, I love his private views on life and the universe.They were so aligned with my own. I could listen to him talk all day. He is like a Guru. His contribution and generosity to the guitar world are awe inspiring.
I play Fender Stratocasters. I love their organic simplicity and strength. I like both single coils and hum buckers for their different charms. I mix it up a little. I think you need both.
I own several American Strats along with a Malmsteen strat. I am changing the pick guard on that one soon to a mirror finish. My favorite two Stratocasters are a 1997 teal custom shop with Texas Special single coils and my trusty 2007 white pearl Deluxe fat Strat.
As far as Amplifiers go, I have always been mostly a traditional Marshall guy. I have owned, rented and borrowed several JCM800s, JVMs, JDMs, and Plexis with 4×12 1960 cabs.
Just recently I reluctantly tried digital modeling amps thinking I would hate them. I have been impressed with the Line 6 Helix and am trying it out live into the P.A directly for my shorter, smaller gigs.
My music can be found on many digital streaming platforms including, iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and Soundcloud.
My goal is to contribute to this amazing guitar culture and to leave my mark in some way as an artist.