No matter where in the world he takes the stage, no audience can ignore Yiannis Papadopoulos or his innate wizardry on guitar. As the lead guitarist for Creed lyricist and frontman, Scott Stapp, the award-winning Papadopoulos is providing the pulsating power and spirit behind the artist, declared one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time. Stapp is now embarked on a worldwide tour for his chart-topping, critically acclaimed third solo album, “The Space Between The Shadows.” Their collaboration goes more profound than the setlist they craft for the stage, and Yiannis Papadopoulos is a believer in loyalty, hard work, practice, and holding onto big dreams.
Yiannis Papadopoulos grew up in Athens, Greece. For the determined young boy with talent in his blood, he dreamed that music would carry him across the world to live a dream of his own. He never had to look far for inspiration on guitar. His father and uncle were his favorite performers as a child, and he remembers being taught the basics of chords, positioning, and technique on the instrument as early as age 4.
A few years later, by the time he was eight, Yiannis Papadopoulos had added several other artists to his list of favorites. Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Bon Jovi became prominent on the young Papadopoulos’ playlist, and he recalls “having the chills” with every song as he envisioned his future of playing “big guitar riffs and beautiful, meaningful melodies and solos.” Nothing comes without the heart for the artist, and his heart fills every touch of his fretboard.
Throughout his youth, Yiannis continued honing his skills and absorbing the lessons from all the guitar masters he admired, along with playing at every opportunity. He holds a degree with honors in guitar, harmony, and counterpoint, yet as he entered into early adulthood, his parents pushed him to pursue a more stable field of study at the University. The dutiful son earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in accounting and finance and the other in financial economics. No matter how much his efforts pleased his family, his rock ‘n roll dream still consumed his heart as his life’s calling.
I spoke with Yiannis while he was in Clearwater, Florida, waiting to perform with Scott Stapp.
What’s new with you?
YP: We’ve been on the road for about three and a half, four months, promoting the new album The Space Between The Shadows. So far, everything has been great. The crowds have been very welcoming and very passionate, enjoying the new songs. They know the lyrics, they’re headbanging, giving us the energy to perform and give them back a great show.
I’m glad Scott Stapp is doing well
YP: I’m a Scott Stapp fan, He’s in the best shape, sound better than ever. Putting on an excellent performance nightly. He’s bringing 110% every night to his live show. It’s inspiring for the band too to keep up with that.
How about your solo career? Anything in the pipeline?
YP: I have a side project with George Kollias from the band Nile and a Michael Evdemon, a bass player from Greece. It’s a trio band. We’re almost done composing our first album. It’s in preproduction process, and hopefully, we’ll get it out next year. It’s very melodic. It has shred parts in it, technical ideas too but it doesn’t lose its musicality. Music, to me, needs to touch the soul. It’s good to be impressive but needs to be balanced too, so it doesn’t lose its essence.
I’ve been working on my solo album for quite a few years. I have written out some songs; it’s a strange mixture of things. I’m not the traditional shredder who does just minor scales and harmonic minors. I like to add some fusion to keep the element alive with feeling. It’s going to be very interesting. One of my songs has been out for a while Castle Black. It was my entry for the Guitar Idol competition.
When did you start playing guitar?
YP: My Dad started teaching me at four. At 7-8, I enrolled in a music conservatory. I have a degree in classical guitar, theory, harmony, and counterpoint. Harmony sounds are boring. Growing up with my idols like Slash, Steve Vai, Yngwie, and others changed the way I played. I’ve written two books.
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What do you think is missing from today’s guitarists? Most are using YouTube vers a traditional teacher?
YP: Excellent question. There’s a ton of information available. You have many sources to find everything you need. That’s the problem; there’s too much information available. They’re quite a few players that are self-taught and they never took the time to sit down and learn theory/Harmony and sometimes when they teach they don’t explain things correctly. We need to take the time and sit down with our books along with our instruments If you’re trying to explain something to someone that isn’t the academic way or the correct way it might confuse the student rather than helping. If students need to learn something, make sure you go to somebody that can help and know what they’re talking about.
That’s why we’re recycling the same scales and not producing anything new. People are afraid to go out and learn new stuff. Take the time and sit down with a book rather than their instrument. Once we step outside the box, we can see a million possibilities and a whole new approach.
Check out Yiannis on tour with Scott Stapp.
Yiannis’s talent is showcased at the following links:
Free improvisation with the Orchestra:
Recent TV appearance at Fox and Friends:
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