Now that the Black Sabbath band has started wrapping up their music career and the final show has been locked in for February 4th, many of us will mourn not having more from the band. However, this is equally pleasing in tandem, that Ozzy Osbourne, the Madman of Black Sabbath who recently turned 68, hasn’t called it a day yet and says that he’s “currently playing around with some song ideas. I have a few things jotted down, and once Black Sabbath is off the road, I will be heading into the studio with my band to get the songs recorded. Once it’s all in the can, you can be sure to see me back on the road again.”
Sounds cool, right!
So now that the big news is out and has enthralled the crazy global fandom of Ozzy – the ultimate Prince of Darkness, apparently, this has become a topic of hot debate about who will play the guitar on his upcoming solo records. Ozzy has stated that Zakk Wylde will be performing with him on his scheduled summer dates
Is Zakk going to continue with Ozzy after the summer tour dates? Or would he be going back to Black Label? Here are our top picks of potential guitarists likely to pair up with Ozzy if Zakk departs:
Acclaimed for his aesthetic and intricately refined techniques, and rendered as one of the fastest guitarists in the US, Rusty Cooley is a virtuosic name in heavy, progressive and power metal genre. Well-known as the king of shreds, Rusty has been casting a spell through his chords since 1985 and has been associated with the Day of Reckoning, Outworld, Austrian Death Machine, the Rings of Saturn and some solos and individual performances. He has been called as the ‘Leading Light of Post-Malmsteen Shred-volution’ by the Guitar Player magazine.
Famous and applauded for his soulful contribution to ‘Nevermore,’ Jeff Loomis is one of the top-notch names that rule the present-age metal genre. Jeff Loomis has proven his mettle as a lyricist, composer, vocalist, bassist and keyboard, drum and guitar player.
Aside from some fruitful associations with Arch Enemy, Nevermore, Fear Tech, Sanctuary, Conquering Dystopia, Experiment Fear, System, and 7 Eyes, Jeff Loomis has skillfully proved his virtuosity in some solos that make a big emblem of his unique classic arpeggios and gradually flowing nuances.
Famous for his former association with the heavy metal band Megadeth that ruled the music world for the entire decade of the mighty 90s, Marty Friedman has now become a mega music sensation in Japan.
His shredding techniques and style still carry that vibrant and signature ‘Megadeth’ essence, however, his personal preferences and music taste have drifted towards contemporary and Japanese pop. This has influenced him to evolve as an ecstatic fusion of eastern and western music, punctuated and infused with thrash metal, progressive rock, and neoclassic genres.
Having emerged on the 80s music horizon with his incredible performances in Alice Cooper’s ‘Hey Stoopid,’ Vinnie Moore has managed to attain the stature of the most influential musicians who defined and shaped the dynamics and tending patterns of the music scene of the 80s and 90s.
Vinnie Moore has had an exciting career from 1986 to date, that is punctuated with his associated acts with UFO, Alice Cooper, Red Zone Rider, along with some hit solos records to his name. Vinnie Moore’s style stems from neoclassical metal, heavy metal, hard rock, and instrumental rock genre.
Jimi Bell, known as “The Giant On The Guitar,” was Ozzy’s second choice to Zakk Wylde. Jimi has had a successful career starting with his band, Joined Forces. He’s currently the guitarist for House of Lords. Jimi’s style of hard rock, the instrumental rock genre would make him an ideal choice for Ozzy.
Jacky Vincent is a famous name in the present-age music industry who is receiving a constant influx of product endorsements and brand ambassadorships, has released his personal hit solo album, is equipped with his signature Dean guitar, and writes a monthly column titled ‘United Stringdom’ in the Guitar World Magazine.
All these feats combined and a roster heavily punctuated with years’ tours in advance – Jacky Vincent, at the young age of 27, has bagged more accomplished feats and accolades to his professional profile than most of his compatriots. This is a sure-tell sign that he is going places, and that the present age celebrity is a burgeoning legend of the future generations.
Jacky Vincent is the present-age music sensation that has exploded onto the musical horizon, jolting the contemporary trends through his expeditious, reverberating, and swift-sweeping playing techniques. His style stems from its core, and this is precisely what accentuates his music’s originality.
His technique is an amalgam of nuances and extremity, with blistering effects and chiming sweeps. Besides that, his true discontentment towards the common trends and humdrum techniques compels him to experiment and play his magic.
His sweep picking, infused with taps that he introduced in his solos, has received a tremendous applaud from the audience’s and the critics’ camps alike. While many of his coevals are still in their learning phase, Jacky Vincent has already mastered his signature technique and has engraved his name in the list of the most promising musicians of the present and the future.
A look back at his career is an innuendo of his extraordinary brilliance. Whatever he has been into, he has come out of it by acing it. Incepting his professional career at the platform of ‘Falling in Reverse,’ a band formed by a controversial musician, was a quite risky feat. It turned out to be just the right decision since the group gained significant prominence in the music industry.
Jacky Vincent’s association with ‘Falling in Reverse’ spans over half-a-decade, from 2008 to 2013, and is punctuated with his contribution as the lead guitarist and backup vocalist. Vincent has managed to infuse his magic that takes ‘Falling in Reverse’ from its initial striving years and landed him at a stature where its hardcore, metal, pop, punk and glam-blended music is blazing through the modern age music spheres.
Last year, the ‘Axe-Man’ of ‘Falling in Reverse’ announced that he was bidding farewell to the band on good terms and with consent, and is intending to focus more on building his solo résumé. His debut solo album, titled ‘Star X Speed Story,’ was released in 2013, under the Shrapnel Records Label.
His portfolio entails three studio albums, titled ‘The Drug in Me is You,’ ‘Fashionably Late’ and ‘Just Like You,’ under the label of ‘Falling in Reverse.’ Aside from working on his solo feats, he is also playing the guitar for the acclaimed ‘Cry Venom.’ Jacky was awarded as the ‘Guitarist of the Year’ in 2012 by the Alternative Press. Jacky Vincent, with all these feats, is a promising talent that is destined to set new milestones and raise the bar for the rest to come. Jacky was gracious enough to sit in the Shreds lounge and answer some questions.
When did you first pick up a guitar? Was there a particular artist that influenced you?
I started playing around age 6 or 7 after I heard Guns N’ Roses and Joe Satriani. My dad had these albums around the house, and he is a great guitar player. My older brother too.
While growing up, did you take any lessons or were you self-taught?
I took lessons as much as I could at school and taught myself Iron Maiden songs when I got home. I was lucky enough to study at music school when I got older.
What was your first guitar?
I had a Tiny 12 fret nylon strings acoustic kid’s guitar that my brother and sister had used before me. My first electric was a tangle wood Stratocaster. It was pretty much my best friend for many years.
What was your practice regime like?
It’s changed a lot over the years. Right now, I split five areas into little 20 min training sessions throughout the day. I will interchange these periodically to introduce new learning material.
As you got older, who were some of your influences?
As I’m getting older, I’m starting to love more blues style players. Andy Timmons is a big one for me lately. My core influences have remained the same. Some of my favorites are Shawn Lane, Alan Holdsworth, Greg Howe, Scott Henderson, Derryl Gabel, Rick Graham, Frank Gambale, Paul Gilbert and Jason Becker. But that list can go on for hours, so I’ll leave it there.
I know Falling in Reverse found you on Myspace, and I watched on your DVD that you were staying in contact with Ronnie while he was serving prison time. Did you play guitar for him over the phone?
Yeah, that’s an actual story. I played some arpeggios over the phone, and he thought we were pranking him, and it wasn’t true ha-ha. I was happy about that.
When you came to the US, Was there any cultural shock coming from England?
I came by myself. It was a huge culture shock coming from a small town to Vegas. But I love America.
You were with FIR from 2009-2015. You have a very diverse fan base. You have your FIR fans, and you have fans of your solo stuff. I’ve heard people say you should be in a heavier band than FIR. What are your feelings about that?
I joined in 2009. I think a lot of people could tell I was influenced by a lot of genres outside of that world. I don’t know about heavier, but I went on to start a fast melodic metal band, Cry Venom. I’m not really into a lot of heavy music. I like it sometimes. But I love the melodic stuff. I listen to a lot of X Japan, Galneryus, Angra, etc.
Your solo album, Star X Speed Story, has received incredible reviews. I haven’t seen one bad one. I gave it 9 out of 10 stars. How does it feel to get praise from such veterans as Joe Satriani, Michael Angelo Batio, Vinnie Moore and others?
It makes me happy when someone gets a kick out of the album. It was supposed to be a fun guitar record.
Your new band, Cry Venom, you say has more of a “power metal” sound to it than FIR. Is this new band going to fit your style of playing better than FIR? Or both bands fit your style?
I’ll be able to express myself a lot more in Cry Venom as I’m the primary songwriter. But my style is pretty free. I’ll jam over anything.
The stereotypes of music, does it bother you that one person might not like another genre of music you play?
In the words of Jimi Hendrix “All I’m going to do is just go on and do what I feel.” I never worried about whether someone would like my music or not. It doesn’t change what I am.
How would you describe your style of playing?
I’d say it’s like Kenny G meets neo-classical ha-ha. I try to sound almost like a futuristic saxophone/synthesizer mix. My goal is to not sound like a guitar at all. I would probably be a keyboardist if I had taken to it like I did with the guitar.
With the praise, you’ve gotten on your playing from veteran players, excellent reviews, I wrote an article calling you the next Yngwie Malmsteen of the new genre of rock/metal guitarists. How does it feel hearing all of that?
That is very flattering! Although I don’t see myself in that league whatsoever. I am a huge lover of Yngwie’s music and playing.
Your Dean Jacky Vincent Signature Guitar, how much input did you have in the development of it?
I told them everything I wanted from scratch. I flew out to Tampa to have the neck shaved down to how I wanted it. I love super Strats, and I was going for that 80s vibe. What amazing guitars Dean makes. I am I love with my JCVX.
Will we see another solo album on Shrapnel Records from you?
The 2nd solo record is definitely in the works. I haven’t spoken to Shrapnel about it yet, but I would love to put it out with them. Being a Shrapnel artist has to be one of the greatest achievements of my life, and what a cool/ influential guy Mike Varney is. I love Shrapnel.
The golden years that defined the transformation of the music industry under the influence of the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Johnny Winter inspired a young Dean B. Zelinsky to gain a sudden interest in rock and roll and more importantly, guitars.
Zelinsky started playing the electric guitar and tapped into his practice to create the perfect guitar in terms of shape, design, and sound. In 1977, the 19-year-old Zelinsky set out to form Dean Guitars – a company that has since revolutionized the instrument.
However, by 1978, Dean decided to sell the company to Armadillo Enterprises because he wanted to branch out on his own. Holding on to Zelinsky’s legacy and focus on creating the perfect instrument, Dean Guitars has embraced the guitar and created a whole range of electric, acoustic and bass guitars for amateurs and professionals alike.
In 2007, Dean began to produce its own artist signature pickups and in 2009, branched out to create amplifiers. The amplifiers were however discontinued shortly after.
Currently, Elliott Dean Rubinson who acts as the CEO of Dean Guitars is managing Dean Guitars. Since the past 35 years since it’s inception, Elliott Dean Rubinson continues to manage the brand as an American based brand that stays true to its heritage. Elliott has been famously known to state that people have recognized that “Dean Guitar” has had more great artists play their guitars than any other company in the world and that acts as a strategic advantage for us.”
One of the key reasons that make the above observation true is the fact that Dean Guitar has been present in the music industry for almost four decades – longer than most companies across the world. It is a rare, homegrown brand that has developed its instruments and story in pace with the musical developments without every dimming in fame. As a result, it is now recognized, as an institute in its own right.
This long established legacy has led to a large number of global rock and roll figures to own and treasure a Dean Guitar. Iconic guitarist and songwriter, Dimebag Darrell Abbott was famously known to have always dreamed of owning a Dean when he grew up when he said, “As a kid, it was always my dream to be with Dean guitars, to play a Dean guitar – to own one some day.”
A decade after his death, guitarists from all walks of life continue to play a Dean. Currently, world idols such as Eric Person, Michael Amott (one of the 100 greatest heavy metal guitarists of all time), Joel Bruyere from Thousand Foot Krutch, the legend Vincent “Vinnie” Moore from UFO, Eddie Veliz from KYNG and Dave Mustaine from Megadeth. Theycontinue to stay loyal to Dean Guitar and inspire millions of young fans to one day own a Dean themselves.
Jacky Vincent is the present-age music sensation that has literally exploded onto the musical horizon, jolting the contemporary trends through his expeditious, reverberating, and swift-sweeping playing techniques. His style stems from its own core, and this is precisely what accentuates his music’s originality.
His technique is an amalgam of nuances and extremity, with blistering effects and chiming sweeps. Besides that, his natural discontentment towards the ordinary trends and humdrum techniques compels him to experiment and play his magic.
Cry Venom employs Jacky’s superior playing with Aleksey Smirnov on vocals, Colton Majors on keyboards, Niko Gemini on bass, and Wyatt Cooper on drums. Vanquish the Demon is a true power metal record. It starts right out of the gate with the first single, “Prelude.” Aleksey’s vocals on “Wolfsbane” are incredible with the timing of the keyboards and drums. “Stronger than Steel” is one of the more aggressive-sounding songs on Vanquish the Demon.
You have twelve songs to indulge yourself in musicianship that doesn’t come around often. Cry Venom is a better outlet to showcase Jacky Vincent‘s superior guitar playing. Welcome to the new age of Power Metal with Vanquish the Demon. 8/10 stars.
What happens when you take World Renowned legendary Guitarist Rusty Cooley, a powerhouse Drummer from India named Jared Sandhy, Singer/Producer/Screamer Brad Lambert , Ace Guitarist Matt Hough, Bassist Sherman Clark and put them together? You have Day of Reckoning. Day of Reckoning was formed by Rusty Cooley after his last band, Outworld had disbanded. Into the Fire Part 1 displays Rusty Cooley’s superior guitar playing. Not finding a drummer up to his expectations, Rusty had to reach internationally to find the talent that is Jared Sandhy. Into the Fire Part 1 is a 5 song EP that starts right out of the box with in your face blistering vocals of Brad Lambert. Lambert shines throughout this 5 song EP. His screaming and melodic singing are outstanding to say the least. You can hear Jared Sandhy’s drumming as the reason Cooley sought him out thousands of miles away. Sherman Clark and Matt Hough contributed their guitar and bass lines that make you break out the air instruments and rock along. While the music charts are filled with garbage, autotuned, pussnuts, lip synching, no talented artists, Into the Fire Part 1 hits you with musicianship that people would dream of. Don’t believe me? Read what some of the top shredders have to say!
“Wow! Amazing Rusty! You’re one sick MoFo! Just super crazy shred bro. Awesome! The new “Day Of Reckoning” sounds great! Rusty’s playing is just insanely over the top and he continues to show the world that super-shred is not dead!” John Petrucci – Dream Theater
“Be sure to check out Day Of Reckoning’s new single, it’s brutal without losing its solid melodic core.” Mark Tremonti
“Dude this is badass. It’s refreshingly METAL, heavy chunky guitars, mean riffs, violent drums… that solo section in the bridge is pants-shittingly cool too. Burly as all hell. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the album!” Dave Lizzio Non Point
“Left to Follow – what a kick ass Fun Rocking song! Mad Energy for days, and instantly catchy in all the right ways. The musicianship is impeccable,And full of fire. This tune was so much high energy Metal fun that I nearly forgot it was undoubtedly going to have a guitar solo. And what a fucking explosion – HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Completely over the top shredding – enough guitar insanity to melt even the most jaded of faces, even after repeated listening’s. Day of Reckoning is UNDENIABLE. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the CD.” Karl Sanders Nile
“There are very few guitarists that can shred with razor-like precision and taste; Rusty Cooley is one of those guitarists.” Paul Riario, Technical Editor, GUITAR WORLD MAGAZINE
“Just listened to your song several times fucking awesome! Seriously. The song is brutal your singer is great! A perfect fit for your music your solo was amazing too! Killer diminished arps and everything before and after that. Congrats!” Michael Angelo Batio
“Fucking Ripping” Phil Demmel – Machine Head
“Day of Reckoning just blew my brains out! Great songwriting-great performance-great production and very INTENSE music!!! These are the elements that make you wanna check a band out, but if you add Rusty Colley in those elements then you need to check them RIGHT NOW! GREAT stuff!!!!” – George Kollias
“A crushing blend of fury and technicality. Stunningly modern and completely unapologetically american sounding. Rusty’s playing is next level and sure enough to have your ears bleeding after one listen.” Mike Schleibaum, Darkest Hour
“Left to Follow from Day of Reckoning is the perfection of 7 string, fast, technical, catchy and punishing metal.” – Jacky Vincent
“Left To Follow” is viciously heavy and intense! Great hook in the chorus. Smokin’ hot solo and searing tones throughout! Day Of Reckoning is well worth the wait!” – Dave Reffett (Guitarworld.com, Revolver.com, Guitaraficionado.com, Solo Artist, Dangerous Guitar, Shredding The Envelope)
“Over the top guitar playing with absolute fire. No surprise it’s Rusty Cooely. I’ve known how incredible and dedicated he’s been for some time, now the world can hear for themselves..” Marzi Montazeri
“Rusty Cooley’s Day Of Reckoning. melodic yet punishing, this collects the elements of all the greats into a single package. A modern masterpiece from a true metal master.” Matt Bachand Shadows Fall
“Don’t let the classy somgwriting, the solid production and awesome vocals fool you – Rusty’s stellar guitar work is the star of this show! Listen at your own peril – this is bound to melt your face” Per Nilsson Scar Symmetry
You think metal and shredding are dead? Don’t be a pussy and order Into the Fire Part 1. Metal and shredding are alive and well!
Available at ITunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and other online music sites.
Cooley and company are hard at work on Into the Fire Part 2!
Jacky Vincent is an English performer who was the lead guitarist and support vocalist of the American post-hardcore band Falling in Reverse from its arrangement until his takeoff in 2015 is and the present guitarist of the rock band Cry Venom. Vincent has one solo collection album titled “Star X Speed Story“, discharged in 2013 through Shrapnel Records.
Falling In Reverse’s previous bass player, Nason Schoeffler, found Vincent through MySpace in mid-2008, Jacky was then requested to join. Vincent is a unique individual from the band. Other than his work with Falling in Reverse he has likewise discharged a performance collection called “Star X Speed Story” under Shrapnel Records. The 13 tracks in length collection are created without anyone else and highlight a couple of different guitarists and also a couple of his band individuals. Vincent was roused by guitarists, for example, Paul Gilbert, Michael Angelo Batio, Jason Becker, Vinnie Moore, Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai.
Vincent joined Falling in Reverse in 2008 as an establishing individual from the band. They discharged their presentation collection, ‘The Drug in Me Is You’, on July 26, 2011, which peaked at number 19 on the Billboard 200, offering 18,000 copies in its first week of offers. Falling in Reverse’s second studio collection, ‘Fashionably Late‘, was discharged on June 18, 2013, which topped at number 17 on the Billboard 200. The band discharged their third studio collection, ‘Just Like You’ on February 24, 2015. On October 30, 2015, Vincent left the band on great terms to concentrate on his solo profession.
In 2016, Vincent framed Cry Venom with bassist Niki Gemini, keyboardist Colton Majors, lead vocalist Aleksey Smirnov and drummer Wyatt Cooper. It is Vincent’s first band since his takeoff from Falling in Reverse in 2015.
Jacky Vincent has already utilized Jackson guitars as his fundamental instruments and claims 1 Dinky and 2 Soloists. Be that as it may, he is presently supported by Dean Guitars. Jacky Vincent now has 2 signature Dean Guitars. One in which is the principle guitar he employments. It comes in purple, has 24 worries, has EMG pickups, and has a Floyd Rose special. The particulars of his mark guitar are recorded on the Dean Guitars site.
Jacky Vincent’s performances are regularly quick. He fundamentally utilizes clear picking blended with tapping in his performances.
He likewise utilizes quick legato keeps running as a part of melodies like “Farewell Graceful” and “Get The Phone” and “Destined to Lead“. Jacky additionally expresses that his greatest impacts were his father, sibling and hair metal groups. Jacky’s sibling made sense of how to tap on the guitar, as clarified in his Alternative Press Interview.
To conclude, Jacky Vincent is the true meaning of a modern day epic musician and guitarist. His playing style, skills, and energy are indeed second to none and always possess the capability to enchant and amaze listeners all around the world.
Lyricist, composer, music producer and an expert par excellence when it comes to playing the whammy bars, Anders Allhage aka Andy LaRocque is known for his enduring affiliation with King Diamond and his soulful songs and harmonious melodies.
Having kick started his music métier with Swedish Beauty, the favorite Swedish hard rock band that later changed its name to Swedish Erotica, Andy LaRocque then paired up with the former members of Mercyful Fate, for ‘Individual Death Pattern’ by Death and ‘Evilution’ by IllWill.
Since then to date, he has been a part of many critically acclaimed albums and musical feats that bagged tremendous applause and numerous awards from music maestros across the globe.
Andy LaRocque possesses immense knowledge about the most fundamental and the most intricate music conventions. But, rather than following the cotemporary rigging trends of his era, he utilized the treasure trove of his knowledge to blend, complement and evolve his own signature style that speaks for the finest aesthetics and skillful improvisation.
Andy LaRocque’s style of playing the guitar is an exquisite amalgam of neoclassical elements, harmonized with a tinge of modern blue scales and melodic minors, with slight traces of metal and rock and thus creating one masterpiece of style that is a sure depiction of his sheer brilliance and mastery to a core.
However, despite following his unique style, he admits having drawn an inspiration and influence from Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Randy Rhoads.
Currently, he has his hands well set on the Seymour Duncan Pickups, for regular practices and tuning, Line 6 HD 100 MK II for live amps, and a pair of old classic, vintage 4×12 cabs with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers for cabs. He can be found experimenting with instruments and chords in his studio named ‘Los Angered Recordings‘ which he established in Angered Sweden, in 1995. Andy moved the studio to Varberg and renamed the studio to ‘Sonic Train Studios’ where he produces bands as of this date.
We recently caught him up for an interview, right in the midst of his busy round-the-clock routine, where he revealed his upcoming ventures and projects in the pipeline.
Andy, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. What are you up to these days? Are you making any King Diamond music or are you producing?
I’m sitting in the studio right now actually and I’m listening to all the potential recorded concerts that we did last fall in the U.S. actually. Just getting ready and preparing for the upcoming DVD for the live shows with King Diamond. That’s what I am doing right now. We recorded all the shows during the Abigail tour in October, November and December last year and I’m just going through everything to check how they sound. It’s going to take me a while because there are a lot of concerts actually to go through. The release date I do not know yet but it’s, of course, a lot of work just listening to everything first. That’s what I am doing right now together I’m working with some other European bands in the studio on and off. That is pretty much what I am going to do all this fall.
That was a highly anticipated tour here last fall. I was hoping I was going to be able to catch the whole Abigail album in its entirety and that was one thing that did not come around here.
Florida? Yes, I know. People often think that “why don’t you play in Florida; why don’t you play here”? It’s a matter of finding the right promoter together with the right venue where we can present the show in a proper way. We would love to play in Florida again of course because you know it’s been a long time since we’ve played there and we are aware we have a lot of fans down there so hopefully next time around.
You guys have a lot of fans around here you wouldn’t believe the King Diamond shirts I see around here
That’s cool man!!
Just going back to earlier in your career, how did you start playing guitar? As a child? Or did you pick it up as.?
I think I was around 12 or 13 years old when I was impressed by the bands that were happening at that time back in the mid 70’s like Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy you know all the bands that were around that time even some glam bands like Sweet and Slade, Marc Bolan, Alice Cooper of course and all that. I got kind of influenced by them to pick up the guitar. I think I was about 12 or 13 years old you know when I first picked up the guitar.
What was your first guitar?
Acoustic, Some crap guitar and I can’t even remember the name. Then Ibanez and then moved on to Gibson, and you know. I think I was 14 years old when I got my first Gibson Guitar.
Did you take lessons or are you self-taught?
Yes, that’s why sometimes it doesn’t sound the way it should, no limits by theory! (laugh) but I’ve always been the kind of guy that I’m listening to a part where I’m supposed to play solo to and just constructing a song because I don’t really know that much theory with scales and such, you know? I know the notes but scales and such, I just play what sounds good and I don’t think about it that much really. Make the guitar sing and you know and that’s pretty much it.
Did you play any other instruments when you started to pick up the guitar?
No guitar has always been my primary tool, I did a few vocals back in the 80’s you know and also a tiny, little bit of keyboards you know but that’s it. I still can get around a little bit with keyboards you know I mean playing single notes here and there on albums and stuff that I’m producing in the studio if necessary but the guitar is definitely my primary instrument for sure.
You mentioned some of your influences. Who were some of your big influences before playing? You said Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath
I think back in the 70’s it was Black Sabbath, Status Quo, a British band, Thin Lizzy and if we go back to the first bands I listened to Status Quo, Slade, Sweet, what else? Black Sabbath of course you know, Blue Oyster Cult, oh man, so many bands and then when I actually started to focus on the guitar it was bands like Rainbow, Michael Schenker, UFO, Ozzy Osbourne with Randy Rhoads, Randy Rhoads was excellent you know still one of my all-time favorite guitarists and bands too, so you know there’s been a lot of influences throughout the years that’s for sure.
When you were still in your teenage years how did you break into the music industry?
I guess I just fooled around with local bands you know and we practiced and rehearsed like 6 or 7 days or nights a week just to get good and I think I had a good network of friends and people around me in the local music stores around Gothenburg Sweden where I was raised and with that knowing a lot of people I got finally into King Diamond and all the bands prior to that too. So a really good network at that time was really necessary to be able to get somewhere. Nowadays you can sit in front of a computer and have a great network on the computer with Facebook and everything but that did not exist at that time so you had to be up to date with friends and whatever was around at that time like music stores and other communities you know.
Days of the music stores and I miss them very much
I know man, its crazy!
It is! It is crazy.
How did you end up joining with King Diamond? How did you guys meet?
It’s a really long story but to make it short me and Mikkey we played in a local band in Sweden before he actually moved down to Copenhagen from Sweden and he hung out with the Mercyful Fate guys , Michael Denner, Timmy and then when King broke up from Mercyful Fate he wanted to start something new, Michael Denner, guitarist and Timmy Hansen, the bass player for Mercyful Fate joined King with his new project only called King Diamond and they were looking for a drummer and they asked Mikkey and they also for a while had another Swedish guitarist that did not work out in the studio so Mikkey called me just after like a week in the studio and said it doesn’t really work out with this guy we have now so do you want to come down and check this out? Mikkey knew me from before and he trusted me you know and thought I was going to do good with King Diamond, so I quit my job. I worked in a music store and quit my job the same day he called me and I took my guitar and my Marshall 50-watt amplifier and I took the train down to Copenhagen and I did an audition in the studio and recorded a solo for Dressed in White which is on the first album FatalPortraits and after a couple of hours he said, “you’re welcome in the band, you’re in the band”!
Yes, and that’s to make it a short story you know – Very tense, you know, I was 22 years’ old
With each album that he does, what King does is based on a story. When you first started with him on this story did you have any input on it? Does he write the lyrics? You write the music? How did you guys start?
Initially, he usually comes up with riffs that he’s puzzling together along with the story lines he has in mind to create the right atmosphere, the same thing with the songs I write, it all has to be in the right spot on the album. It’s a big job putting everything together to make it fit in a story too, and he writes, of course, all the lyrics and comes up with the story and I write maybe I would 35-40% of the music or something like that
Ok so you usually start creating a riff for the new songs with Diamond is that usually how it starts? Are you guys throwing around ideas?
Yes and he’s composing on guitar too and sometimes even on keyboards you know so he creates different pieces that he later put together in the right sequence to make it fit in a story. Yes, that was going to bring me to my next question. I’ve read Abigail was one of your favorites. Is that true?
Yes, I think the whole album has a very good atmosphere. We have a very good time in the studio and we’ve been out for a few tours you know before we started recording that album. So we got to know each other very good and I think in general it’s an excellent album put together in the right way. You can tell that the band is very tight, creative and we just had a real good time recording that album.
How do you and King share ideas you know with you in Sweden and the other guys in Dallas?
Well it’s mostly me and King that shares the ideas, we send ideas to each other but usually let’s say I have a few songs you know and I send them completely with drum machine and two rhythmic guitars and maybe a bass line and the same with him, he sends it to me and if something needs to be changed we just sit down and talk about it and do some rearrangements but that’s pretty much it because usually when he writes a song that’s the way it’s going to be in the end same for me it’s very small details that usually needs to be changed.
You’ve got a little bit of neo-classical influencing in your playing would you agree with that?
I think I was more into that when I was younger I believe, inspired by some stuff from Schenker but also Yngwie, he’s a great guitarist of course and he influenced a lot of guitarists and of course Richie Blackmore with his kind of classical touch, so I guess I was influenced by that too.
How would you describe your tone? You try to get?? In the studio and??
I hope that people would see me as like a very emotional player you know, I played faster when I was younger of course because your adrenaline is high all the time but I think nowadays I play with more emotion than I did when I was younger for sure. I think it’s really important with melodies than just fast runs and I still see myself as a rhythm guitar player more than a lead guitarist that’s for sure
what kind of gear, pickups, and amps are you using?
Ok I’m using Dean electric guitars
Are you endorsed by them?
Yes, I am. Live I am using Yamaha Acoustic Guitars which sounds really good. On the Dean Guitars I’m using all Seymour Duncan which I think is awesome pickups and I’m using them since I guess the mid 80’s. Different kinds of pickups but right now most of my guitars I’m using the Trembuck 11 and it’s a Custom Custom I think it’s called and I’m using the 59 pickups for neck position that’s pretty much what I’m using right now. I’ve been trying all kinds of pickups and I still have some guitars with EMGS and other pickups but you know seems like I’m always returning to the Seymour Duncan’s because they’re so alive you know and very dynamic and I think they’re just great. For other equipment I’m using Marshall Cabinets and Line 6 POD HD Pro X, rack mounted with a Line 6 pedal board and I’m using two power amps with that and two Marshall Cabinets live and that’s actually the same for the other guitarist in the band Mike Wead, he’s using exactly the same set up and it’s very versatile because I mean you get a really nice tone and people are really surprised when I say I’m using that because they think, “oh really that sounds that good” because you pretty much can get any tone you want from it, we got a few presets with clean sound, solo sound and rhythm sound and it’s so easy to work with and just a Ethernet cord between the unit itself and the floorboard and you have all your presets right there on the floor you know so I’m really happy with that. Very easy set up really.
Back in 2012, I think it was 2012 when you guys took a hiatus when King was recovering from his health issues I read that you spent most if not all the monies you guy’s made on some festivals I guess in the production upon his return. Is that accurate?
When we got back after King’s health issues which actually lasted from 2007 five or six years we did not do anything at all because of his health. Then we got back and got some offers from some festivals and we thought OK it’s going to be now or never. We spent a lot of money actually on making a big production to get out and play festivals that would blow people away, they would see something that they never seen before with us you know, so we built a really big stage with a lot of stage props and nice backdrops and spent a lot of money on the light designs and all kinds of stuff and just make sure we had great people around like sound guys and light designers and you know stage designers and everything. We came up with something that people haven’t seen in our camp before. We played bigger stages and just a great show that we haven’t been able to present before 2012. So I think it was a very good move to do that, we had to do something spectacular. We’re still this day using a lot of the same things playing around on some really big festivals all over the world actually, so yes very good.
WhenGive Me Your Soul came out you guys did not tour in support of that because of health issues?
Yes. That’s correct because first of all, he had his back problems. That actually happened while we mixed Give Me Your Soul album and then two years later he has his heart issues so it definitely took some time to recover from that but he recovered quickly I would say and now he’s better than ever, he’s in very good condition. That is awesome
you guys played festivals in Europe with 10,000 of fans and in the US you have to play smaller venues do you think that metal is more popular in Europe than the US? If so, what do you say, why?
It’s really hard to say but it depends on where we play, it seems like the festival thing is really happening over in Europe, I mean there are so many festivals over in Europe and it gathers a lot of people while in the US there are just a few festivals so I would say that’s the big difference. The places we played in the states were indoor venues and we did three tours in one and a half years in the states and I think all of them were very successful. It’s just different venues you know but the metal fans are still there that’s for sure.
Do you think that metal scene has weakened in America because they follow fads or trends?
I don’t know man, I mean when we were out on tour we were doing good so nothing I have noticed, to be honest with you.
You guys usually sell out everywhere you guys went
Pretty much yes. I mean the last couple of tours have been successful for us in the US that’s for sure
With your producing you’ve worked with many death metal bands have you produced any other origins of music in your studios?
Any other type of music you mean?
I produced some pop stuff too you know all kinds of stuff but 99% has been metal, heavy metal, hard rock or black metal. So that’s the main thing, seems like people think I am the right guy to do that kind of stuff. That’s just the thing that has been happening.
How do you consider producing bands do they send tapes? How do they get to you?
I think mostly they hear other productions that I’ve done and they think it sounds good and they get in touch with me. That’s still the main thing you know from mouth to mouth kind of connection sort of stuff, or they see the studio name on an album so if it sounds good they get in touch with me or maybe recommendations by other bands who’ve been in the studio
Do you let groups use your studio? How does that work? Do they rent it out? Do they have you producing it?
Yes, usually they have me producing it but I have a few other guys here in the studio too that can help, when there’s a lot of things to do here in the studio I call them in, and they can assist in tracking and all that but usually the bands come here because they want to work with me.
During the hiatus that you guys had where are you producing any bands at that time?
Yes. That is what I do here all the time actually. Unless we are not doing anything important with King Diamond I pretty much have the studio booked here pretty much all the time so that’s what I do when we are not out touring with King Diamond, King Diamond is, of course, my top priority. That’s what I really like to do, a right combination of working with King Diamond out and touring and in the studio, I really enjoy that for sure. Its two different worlds but still working with music.
Would you consider doing a guitar solo album like some of a lot of the other guys are
I’ve been thinking of that for many years but I don’t know you know. I’m so busy doing other things that I think are more interesting than just putting out a solo album so we’ll see man, I’m not going to say never, but right now, I don’t know probably not
Just a couple more questions
Yes man sure
The YouTube issue with them is not compensating artists fairly. It seems like everybody is putting albums up in their entirety and YouTube is not enforcing their policies. Do you have an opinion about the YouTube issue that’s being brought up by other artists?
Of course, it’s, wrong, you know, artists should get paid for their work, unless it’s pure promotion.
You said you’re doing the King Diamond DVD live album. Do you guys foresee a studio album coming out shortly?
As soon as we’re done with this live thing, and I don’t know when it’s going to be, but we’re talking about starting to compose here later on this fall you know or maybe around New Year’s but it’s impossible to say when it’s going to happen but of course we want to make a new album. It’s about time too; the last album we released was in 2007 so it’s definitely about time to do that.
My last question is are there any guitarists that catch your eye
Let me see here well you know the last guitar I bought here in the studio as a tool more than anything else was a VGS guitar. I’m not sure if you heard about that. It’s a Les Paul type guitar you know made in Germany with EverTune Bridge. I’m not sure if you know about that?
The VGS yes I have
EverTune Bridge, you tune it once and it stays in tune forever. That together with a true temperament fretboard makes it just an amazing studio tool. The right personality is the crazy looking frets you know but it’s perfect in tone on all the frets and the intonationis fantastic. You can take chords that you didn’t think was possible and it sounds so clean. I would say that’s one of the best studio tools I ever had.
That’s one thing, except for that, I don’t know. I was actually in a music store the other day, and I saw a Gibson Rudolf Schenker V. I’m not sure if you’ve seen that. It was kind of close to the Vee-guitar that Gibson made in the 70’s you know,
You know, it’s alright.
What musicians are you following these days?
Oh man! What am I listening to? Oh, that’s a tricky question, man! (laughing) Anything that comes up on the radio. It’s not like I’m actually looking for new musicians and stuff. It’s going to be people who ask me have you listened to this and that you know. But I usually just listen to the whole band instead of individual musicians I think, and I can’t really give you an example. Whatever people tell me to hear to you know, I’ll check it out and take a listen but I’m not actively following or hunting for new musicians.
I understand with your busy schedule. Andy that was all of my questions, and I appreciate you taking your time talking to me.
No problem man! No problem!
Dedicated to the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Guitarist!