The existence of the soul within often reflects on the accomplishments on the outside. Tony MacAlpine unearthed the alchemy of soulfulness in the mirth of music from when his fingers played with the keys of the piano at the age of 5.
Strumming through the cords as a solo, rock instrumentalist, pianist, and guitarist, Tony MacAlpine has artfully succeeded in coalescing the elements of jazz, hard rock, metal and classic beats on both, guitar and keyboard – crafting melodies as sinful as they are virtuous.
The dominating dazzle of neoclassical rock, the Hartford graduate, released his debut masterpieces – Edge of Insanity and Maximum Security in the late 80’s. But Tony’s teeming talents stretch beyond abysmal. In mid-1986 his thuds as a heavy metal guitarist in M.A.R.S drove flocks of frats wild, uncloaking an all new side of this innovative rock star.
A more commercially inclined endeavor in the hard rock led to the manifestation of Eyes of The World in the 90’s, but with the strike of realization, Tony resumed his passion for instruments and consecutively crafted magnum opuses as renowned as Madness, Premonition, Evolution and Violent Machine. Truly outshining his work, Tony sealed the decade of success with a blockbuster album Master of Paradise where he contributed with his authentic vocals as well.
The sweep trapping trickster was compelled to join aboard a hiatus when he revealed a health scare in the last couple of years. After the release of Concrete Gardens, MacAlpine was pummeled with the revelation of a colon cancer, marking a pause to his musical accomplishments.
But like an unstoppable tornado, the legend has stormed back into the realm of harmonies with his album, Death of Roses.
Is this EP part of a set?
TM: it’s the start of we have another. It’s an ep we have a set of songs coming out shortly to complete the whole process of this writing of 14 songs.
What made you split the EP’s up?
TM: I’m composing some material that I would say is descriptive exposure to a particular style that I’m unveiling now. I mean the next songs are something from a different era. They’re all part of the same suite, but they’re flavor and a different type a whole different approach. So I didn’t want to put the two on the same record because you said that your records are connected, so that’s why I chose to separate them.
Where did you find Nasser Abdalla?
TM: Nass played in a band that opened for me a couple of tours ago. He caught my attention back then and when it came time to find players I gave him a call. He was all ready for it.
You have tour dates for September and October. Do you have any plans to tour Europe?
TM: I delayed the European tour when I was sick, and the instability of situations going on in Europe happened at once. I’m doing fine now. Trying to book this tour came about we just realized that it’s just not a safe environment right now. So we’re going to wait and see what happens.
Are you 100% healthy now?
TM: Yeah, everything is fine. I’m doing great, and I’m happy to be out there and healthy just working again.
How did you creatively coming up with the music for Death of Roses?
TM: Each record that I do is an exposee of where I’m at. And so at least five months or a year before when the record comes out, I’ve moved on to some other things that I find musically interesting, but I play lots of music. I play lots of piano music. I play music from many different genres, and so my influences are very far and wide. But the problem is with music that you become known for if you’re a solo artist you know you can’t just keep changing you don’t know the direction as soon as you feel like you know you need to you have to kind of bring things along at a slower pace because you know people build up a certain listening to your memory. And for them to be able to play when he records they want to hear something that they think reminds them of your style. Even so, your style might be evolving. It’s important for an artist to do things slowly. So I mean there’s so much stuff that I do, but just having the right combinations of musicians is one of the things that makes it whether or not it’s you know plausible or not. And that mix of musicians is here now. Obviously piano was my first instrument, so I’m employing lots of keyboards live now on this thing, and then we have not spent a lot of different guitar parts. We do a lot of guitar parts to be together. So it’s this music this whole thing is more of a freedom of sounds, and when the listeners get down, they get to more of your adventure instead of a songwriter that from one direction. So that’s really what it is. It’s just a combination.
Has your rig changed?
TM: It’s always evolving. Live now I’m using Hughes and Kettner Core Blades which are all tube heads with all of the processing built inside of the head. So it’s a real simple setup but very consistent. I also I also use the Hughes and Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40 which is the same idea of that it’s a better amp and a much smaller package about the size of a lunchbox. Everything’s evolving, the guitars are. I’m using an extended range seven string. Even as guitars with various EMG setups you know the guitars are active and have one passive guitar.
Did you recover your gear that was stolen in Texas?
We got all the guitars back except one. I didn’t get the TV back or the floorboard. That’s easily replaceable. All of the Ibanez guitars are back. I had some friends in Mexico that went to a guitar swap and they some them there. They brought them back for me.
Do you have a signature guitar coming out?
We’re working on something. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. So unless I come up with something that I think is a must for all players to have I don’t know if I’m going to do it, but we’ll see what happens regarding a future.
Any advice for aspiring guitarists?
Music is its art, and an artist is fostered by practicing and confidence. And one of the things that you really must come to the realization is whether you love you know the sacrifices you have to make because it’s a huge one. You know the time that it takes to write practice songs and cause the other bands and do that type of thing is it’s the rewards are not as great as many we think. You know they come along in time and so just really make sure that this is something you want to do and work extremely hard at it and love it.
In his 31-year career, Tony MacAlpine has redeﬁned instrumental hard rock, jazz-fusion and heavy metal for generations of progressive-minded music fanatics. Whether as a solo artist, or with the progressive supergroup PSMS (with Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan and Derek Sherinian); the ahead-of-its-time metal fusion band Planet X (with Derek Sherinian and Virgil Donati); the Grammy-nominated jazz-fusion group CAB; or in the band of another guitar hero Steve Vai, MacAlpine has continued to evolve and set the bar exceedingly high. On September 1, Tony will release his new album Death of Roses (SunDog Records) – his ﬁrst album since his battle with cancer. The album will be available digitally through major online retailers like iTunes, also available on CD, download, and a special 24-bit WAV edition directly from Tony’s website at www.tonymacalpine.com
The 7-track album is the ﬁrst in a projected 2-part release. Death of Roses continues Tony’s ongoing evolution with hook-laden melodies, breathtaking solos, complex rhythms and crushing 7 and 8-string guitar riffs, complemented by his own equally exceptional keyboards. This is built atop a formidable rhythmic foundation laid down by Hungarian drum sensation Gergő Borlai (Scott Henderson, Gary Willis, Hiram Bullock), and returning bassist Pete Grifﬁn (Generation Axe, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, Zappa Plays Zappa) who also played on Tony’s previous album Concrete Gardens. Says Tony of the band: “Pete is one of my favorite bass players and his contribution to Death of Roses is as rock-solid as it is intricate. Through Pete’s recommendation, I was thrilled to discover Gergo’s playing. He blew me away with his work on the album. He’s unquestionably innovative, and I look forward to getting even deeper with these guys on tour.” “With Death of Roses I focused on composition and layering,” says MacAlpine. “When I was sick and in treatment, I found myself unable to play, and the chemo gave me tremors in my hands and arms. The seeds of this record were planted during my recovery when I started building the compositions in my head. Fortunately, with healing and practice my faculties returned with a vengeance, and I set about recording this album, and its forthcoming companion.” During his illness in late 2015, his fellow musicians banded together for “A Beneﬁt for Tony MacAlpine” at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, featuring performances from Steve Vai, Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, John 5, Zakk Wylde, Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt, Tom Morello, Richie Kotzen, and hosted by Eddie Trunk. The show also combined with an auction featuring items donated from a who’s who of rock royalty.
“The outpouring of support I received from my fellow musicians and crew, fans, endorsements, and the music community at large was overwhelming, and it moved me greatly. It served as a huge inspiration for me to get back in the saddle. This album is possible because of their help, and I dedicate it to them.” Death of Roses was mixed by LA-based Brazilian producer and engineer Adair Daufembach, and mastered by Seva David Ball. “Adair and Seva both did great work on my last album Concrete Gardens, and they’ve outdone themselves again on Death of Roses.” As with any true artist, Tony remains driven by the desire to discover new ways to express himself through the music. “I’ve been releasing music for the last three decades, and in light of my recovery from recent health issues, I feel re-energized. I have so much more to say as a musician, and I hope you’ll join me for the ride.” Death of Roses Tracklisting:
1. Chrome Castles 3:37
2. Electric Illusionist 3:36
3. Synthetic Serenity 4:57
4. Death of Roses 4:08
5. Axiomatic Jewels 4:17
6. Entropy 4:10
7. Shundor Prithibi 5:20
Total Time: 30.05
Tony will be touring North America in September/October with Gergo Borlai on drums, Pete Grifﬁn on bass, and Nas Abdalla on guitar. Innovative Venezuelan 14 & 16-string guitarist Felix Martin will be supporting on all dates. VIP Ticket upgrades available at http:// www.tonymacalpine.com/tours
Sep 01: San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick
Sep 06: Denver, CO – Be On Key Psychedelic Ripple
Sep 08: Kansas City, MO – Prohibition Hall
Sep 09: Omaha, NE – Wired Pub & Grill
Sep 10: Saint Paul, MN – Amsterdam Bar and Hall
Sep 11: Des Moines, IA – Lefty’s Live Music
Sep 13: Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club
Sep 14: Chicago, IL – Reggies
Sep 15: Detroit, MI – Token Lounge
Sep 16: Niagara Falls, NY – Hard Rock Cafe
Sep 17: Toronto, ON – The Garrison
Sep 18: Montreal, QC – Cafe Campus
Sep 19: Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle
Sep 21: Boston, MA – Sonia
Sep 22: New York City, NY – DROM
Sep 23: Philadelphia, PA – Voltage Lounge
Sep 25: Raleigh, NC – The Pour House
Sep 26: Charlotte, NC – The Rabbit Hole
Sep 27: Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
Sep 28: Memphis, TN – RockHouse Live
Sep 30: McKinney, TX – The Guitar Sanctuary
Oct 01: Houston, TX – Acadia Bar & Grill
Oct 02: San Antonio, TX – Jack’s Bar and Live Music Venue
“Music transcends the need for words when the story lies deep within the instrumental movements themselves.” Al Joseph was born in Highland Park, IL the first son of a Southern Caribbean father and Southern Baptist mother. When he was seven, the family moved to Scranton, PA where Al’s musical prowess began to emerge. His Dad, Al Sr., brought home a drum set so Al and his two younger brothers could start their education in the musical traditions of their culture. With what would become a characteristic demonstration of natural talent combined with dedication and commitment, Al diligently practiced for hours upon hours every day.
Motivated out of desperation, Al’s father Al Sr. presented him with his first student guitar, and the rest is history. Excelling at music, sports and academics, Al attended Penn State University where he walked on to play at the Running Back position but soon his passion for guitar won out, and in his characteristic pursuit of excellence, he hung up his cleats, turned in his books, and transferred to Berklee College of Music in Boston to peruse his professional music career. Al’s quest to give a “voice” to his exploration and expression strained against his cultural milieu as he found resonance with Progressive Metal and inspiration from Creed, Rage Against The Machine, P.O.D, Pillar, Pantera, and Sevendust.
From the lyrical texture of Jimi Hendrix, BB King, George Benson, Albert King to the overall musical prowess of Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Andy Timmons, Steve Vai, and Greg Howe, Al formed his style and openly pays homage. Al began his professional career as the lead guitarist and singer for the Progressive Metal band, “The Great Gamble.” Their debut album “Book One” caught the attention of Jan Cyrka, legendary artist and founder of Jam Track Central. Jam Track Central works with some of the world’s best guitarists and teachers to provide its members with a depth and range of guitar playing knowledge and technical understanding.
The JTC catalog includes original artist jam tracks, online lessons and full album backing packages covering many music genres including rock, metal, blues, fusion, and jazz. The artists and teachers are highly respected world-renowned players including Guthrie Govan, Alex Hutchings, Andy James, Jack Thammarat, Marco Sfogli, Kiko Loureiro, Jeff Loomis and much more. After their very first meeting, Jan invited Al to join the Team. In 2013 JTC released Al’s debut solo instrumental album, “Out In The Open.” Speaking to a new generation of Progressive Metal music connoisseurs, “Out In The Open,” received instant international recognition.
In 2016 Al relocated to Los Angeles, California and began work on his second Solo Album All of Creation with JTC, which is now available on iTunes and all other platforms. Featuring some of the world’s most fierce shredders from guitar to violin, “All of Creation” keeps its roots firmly planted as it intones the voice of the Millennials.
I spoke with Billy to discuss The Winery Dogs new Live CD/DVD and unreleased EP coming out on August 4th, 2017 and his current and future plans.
Congratulations on your new Winery Dogs Disc, it sounds great, you guys always sound great vibes [Thanks a million] I was going to ask you, was it the band’s idea to put out the live DVD or was it more like the record company?
BS: Well as far as with the Winery Dogs when we put things out, it was pretty much our decision. We had done one on the first tour, but we got kind of, at just launching the band and starting out and our first shows, there are a billion details to deal with. So what somebody managed to sneak into the deal was, they’ll be recording the first or second show you ever do in your lives, for a DVD. We thought of it when we got home was ‘Oh my God! We hadn’t even played the song live yet at all’ we had never performed it yet. So now we going to shoot the DVD, so ‘well, ok, here it goes, ’ and it came out pretty good though. At one point, I think one of us started the wrong song or mixed up one song with another, but we left it in, with mistakes and all, pimples and all, we left it together, and it did well, and people enjoyed it. So we thought ‘well next time we do it we will have something to do with not only when we do it but also where we do it’ because of the audiences in Japan, we love them, but sometimes they are a little sedated. They just sit quietly and watch, you know, rather than being up and jumping up and down.
So ironically, the next tour that we did, after we had already booked the DVD shoot in Chile, the audience in Japan went crazy, they were out of their minds, it was hilarious. So I thought ‘Oh man we shouldn’t have done Japan again, ’ but we just spread it around a little bit. Fair enough, so we did the Santiago, Chile and the audience was spectacular. Any place in South America or Mexico, they are always fantastic and almost everywhere that we play the audiences always have a degree of that kind of enthusiasm. We did a show in Paris, and you could not fit another person in the building unless you would have cut them into pieces and stuff them in, (Chuckle) it was so crowded, and they went out of their minds. It was a fantastic duo. There were so many shows we thought ‘oh, we wish we had video taped that one.’ So, fortunately, Santiago was the show, and at the end, we said ‘thank goodness we decided to do the video here, ’ and we got I believe, an incredible night captured very well.
You guys have always sounded tight band just being a 3-person band. Was the Winery Dogs an idea that Eddie Trunk threw at you guys just to line you up or was that more of a collaborative effort of you and Mike and Richie to do it?
BS: Eddie was certainly impetuous for us to find Richie because of Mike and me, we wanted to do a band, and we talked with John Sykes. We did a couple of meetings, and there were a few demos, and I knew right away from the beginning that the chemistry just was not there. John’s a lovely guy and a fantastic player, but we weren’t all on the same page. So we bid him a friendly farewell, all good, and then Mike said to me ‘do you know any singing guitar players?’ And I said ‘well, Jeez, let me think about it.’ And I don’t know why I didn’t think of Richie because I go up and jam with him when he plays here locally and we’ve worked together a lot. I did a tour with him in Japan in 2000 something, opening for the Stones, five shows in Japan, so I’ve played with him a lot, I know him a lot, he’s a dear friend. And I don’t know why it just blanked out on that and so Eddie Trunk said ‘you guys should get Richie Kotzen.’ Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? So sure enough, we got in touch with him, went over and had a little meeting, and here we are The Winery Dogs. So yes, Eddie certainly was instrumental in helping the band get together and also on top of it, as he does with so many bands, he’s such a great supporter of music and bands and players. He’s enriched musicians and the musical community significantly, with support and help and promotion and he’s a dear, a dear friend of ours, and we love him completely.
When you guys did your first album, did you demo it before you played it? Or did you guys just go in there like Mr. Big and it was done in like six days?
BS: It was done quickly. We did it in Richie’s studio, so he knew the studio well. And no, we didn’t demo anything. It was just kind of, once we knew what the song was and had played it through and had an idea of it, we may lay down several versions of it, but just so we had an idea of it so we could make sure and learn it and know it so that when we had to record it, we could perform it and record it, as opposed to trying just to try to remember it and record it. When you’re performing it, it’s way different than trying to remember something and manage to get it down on a recording. When you’re performing it, you’re free to move and move around musically and relax with it and experiment with it a little bit. You always get some special magic moment, and we did, we got a lot of special magic moments on that first record. So Lean Into It, Eat Em and Smile and the first Winery Dogs records are my top three that I’ve ever been involved with.
Did you guys do anything different with Hot Streak?
BS: We did pretty much the same thing except we did the drums in an external studio, well a lot of stuff we did in the external studio. I think Richie’s was in the middle of construction and this thing and we decided to go to an outside studio, and that was a lot more mics and a lot more rooms and a lot more drums. When you leave, especially for Richie, when you leave your house and go somewhere to record, it’s a different vibe than when you’re sitting around in your house, and then you go to another room to record, because the phone isn’t ringing or people aren’t showing up, and you’re really concentrating more. We needed it too because we wanted it quick, and we wanted to move fast because for that type of pressure which brings about better music and also not to just spend unlimited cash in a studio when you don’t have to.
In the old days, that was kind of how it was you know. You didn’t have unlimited cash, you went in, you’d do your songs, they’d hit record, you’d be done, and that would be it. So the spirit of that is what we always try to get and so Hot Streak was very much like that.
How is it different working with Richie Kotzen who also sings, say versus working with Paul Gilbert on Mr. Big?
Well, they’re two separate people so two different finger prints, and DNA. It is a whole different thing in many ways, and then again, there are similarities. I mean, it’s just two completely different styles of playing, and Richie is quite an accomplished singer, as good a lead singer act as it gets, honestly. And Paul has his world of supreme talent and ability that’s in his direction, Richie goes to his leadership and so I never really think about it, too much about the differences, but they are of course great talent.
Now regarding your playing, you have played with all the superstars, Steve Vai, and just about everybody. With the Winery Dogs live DVD out is there any talk of touring? Are you going to have to juggle the Winery Dogs and Mr. Big?
We did that on a ship one time. We did it on one of the Monster Rock Cruises. I did the Winery Dogs and Mr. Big, I did double duty, and it was cool, so I managed to pull it off. But no, right now we’re going to finish off this year with Mr. Big, and then we’ll decide what our schedule will be for Winery Dogs, how, when, where, what, and probably start writing at the end of the year.
For Winery Dogs I think we’re doing something smart up front, in my humble opinion anyway, not to be self-aggrandizing, but we’re not going just to do album tour, album tour and album tour. After Hot Streak we traveled all over the world, we had a great run. We said you know what? Let’s take some time and get inspired so that we come back; it will be fresh and new again. Pretty much like those first two records, because we were still learning each other and learned things about each other and coming up with ideas that were fresh. So when you spend 4 years together, 3 or 4 years together, it’s great to back off and then when you come in again it’s all fresh and new, we’ve all lived lives, Richie is off doing his thing now, Mike’s off doing his thing and I’m doing Mr. Big and a bunch of other stuff.
When we get back together again, we’ll have a whole big vocabulary of stories to tell as well as musical ideas that mean something to us rather than just forcing it out because the schedule says it’s time for a record and I think that’s a wise thing that we’re doing in the Winery Dogs, approaching it in that fashion. So I believe that we’re going to wait until the end of this year to start writing and I’m always writing anyway. So I’ve always got a couple of pieces of music that I’m working on that ‘this might work for Winery Dogs or ‘this might be a Mr. Big thingy’ or whatever. So we’re always at it.
Would you ever consider doing a solo album at this point in your career?
BS: I’ve done three, and I have the foundations for another one, but it’s just a matter of being able to get the time. And I think, who knows, at the end of this year when we’re writing for the Winery Dogs I just might be able to slip it in. I use the ear of a good buddy of mine on drums, he’s just a spectacular player, and hopefully, he’ll be done touring at that time too, and we’ll put something together. But yeah, I probably will again.
You are such an accomplished bass player, is there anything more that you would like to accomplish with the instrument that you haven’t?
BS: Yeah, lots more. The adventure never ends, I mean I’m still learning every day, some new thing. I just want to do more; I want to play better, I want to play stylistically broader, I want to go back and revisit things I used to play years and years ago that I haven’t played for a long time, visit them and rehabilitate my ability to play them. I’ll go back and listen to things I played on the record, and I have no idea how I did that. So to relearn it again is like learning it brand new, all over again. So it’s always exciting. I don’t know what 100% would be, but I think I’m at 5% or 6% of what I’d like to accomplish on the instrument.
And then I hear some classical pianist yesterday on the classical radio where some 14-year-old girl from China sits down and goes through a Rock Mononoph, with blistering, mind blowing expertise and ability and I think to myself, who do I think I’m kidding? That’ is a real musician, so those are the people that I listen to inspire me when I hear something (unclear) I think man, I’m barely a beginner. And that’s not a false sense of modesty, it is true, underneath, there is no limit to how good you can get and I will relentlessly pursue it as long as I breathe.
That brings up the YouTube questions that I ask. Do you think the streaming services of YouTube have cheapened making music? I guess it seems like the mentality is everyone wants something for free now when you guys go ahead and work your butts off on an album?
BS: I don’t think so; I believe that it’s a way for music to reach more people than ever before. I know many people sit down with YouTube and you scroll through, scroll through, scroll through, find great stuff, get inspired by it, play, listen, go out and see that band or that musician play live because we all know you can’t download a live performance. You can see a video or see it whatever, but there’s nothing like being in a room with people of liked minds and watching real performers that do it on stage, and that will never change. The virtual reality goggles or whatever else, it will never be like that. Maybe in a Thousand years, it might be, but I think we’ve got a good 400 or 500 until it starts to encroach upon that.
So, I don’t mind it; I think it’s a great thing; more music for more people in more ways. Yeah, there’s not much money in the record business anymore, but that’s ok. I’ve never been money motivated; I didn’t become a musician to get rich. I became a musician because I love playing music and there were girls. So that was, but no, in fact, that is probably half true with most players in the world. But anyway, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m glad that there are more ways for more people to get more music. I’m quite an ‘aficionado’ of my iTunes, and I’ve got everything on my hard drive, at any given moment I can find anything from anywhere, somewhere in my collection. I’ve got about 2T of music in my music collection, and it’s glorious to sit down on Saturday night with a glass of wine and a bunch of friends and start scrolling through things and listening and inspiring, and it’s a great thing. So no, I’m not opposed. I was an early adaptor of all things digital, from the very beginning. So especially with recordings, digital recordings and the ease of it, and no longer being a slave to the tape machine and its idiosyncrasies, anybody with a laptop now can make a record that’s as good or better than what you could do in a 10 Million dollar studio in the 70s or the 80s. So it’s evened the playing field in a lot of ways.
And similar to desktop Publishing, when that first began everyone was bemoaning the idea that ‘wow, there are going to be so many writers, writing so many books, we’ll have like thousands of great books every year. We won’t even know what to pick from’. No, the same amount of books, good books were written before desktop Publishing and after it. Sure enough with music, everybody that has got a laptop has the equivalent, again, to a Ten Million dollar studio back 30 years ago. You would think everybody would be putting out these amazing records, but no, the same amount of good music comes out, just about every year, the same number rises to the top, and it’s pretty even. So I think that the digital recording revolution levels the playing field and it gives everybody a chance. But it’s interesting to see that there’s still that same amount of talent out there, as there was before that too. So I think it’s a fair representation and you’ll see the hits and likes of any particular piece of music or whatever, how popular it gets. People are getting good at tracking down the things they like and finding it and pursuing it, and the digital revolution will spread it everywhere.
You just did a reunion with Talas?
Three days ago. Yeah, we posted it all over the slide footage. There’s footage of me with the GoPro camera on my headstock, and it’s all over the place. But it was the Version 2 Talas. There were 2 Talas (unclear) of the three piece band, mostly in Buffalo and then the four piece band that went on and toured quite a bit more in the USA. Most people know the 4-piece Version for which we just had a reunion for the first time in 32 years, but we’ve had a few reunions with the Buffalo Version, back in Buffalo, starting in ’97 that we did a few through the years, but they don’t play anymore (the guys in Buffalo), so we got together with Version 2, did a benefit for the fire department near Rochester New York, and we had a spectacular time.
I know you’ve been asked these hundreds of times but, is there any word from David Lee Roth about a reunion?
BS: Haven’t heard, I’m ready if he decides to do it. I’m willing to go, I would love to play with him in any capacity, so it’s really up to him, it’s his thing, it’s his decision, and I respect him for that. I would be forever grateful to date for having him bring me to LA, start a band with me, Eat ‘em Smile. He’s still my hero and playing with him in that is like getting my Ph.D. in showbiz 101, and it was an incredible experience. So I sure hope we do it some day, who knows? I haven’t heard a thing, but I always try to be an optimist.
I know with the Winery Dogs, and you’re playing out with Mr. Big till the end of the year, is there anybody that you have not worked with that you’d like to?
BS: Amazingly, not actually. The only guy I had such a passion for is Paco De Lucia, a favorite guitarist but he passed away a few years ago and also Rory Gallagher who died long ago. He was one of my all time favorites. So, I’ve been lucky to play with most of everybody that I wanted to. Of course, there’s a lot more guys out there that I’m sure our paths will cross, but I’m very very lucky, and I’m supremely grateful for everything that has happened to me in music, life, and career. And playing with some amazing musicians have certainly been many of the high points.
Well, Billy, you’re a fantastic player yourself.
BS: That’s very kind of you, thank you. I’ll try to live up to that.
How do you feel when someone says you’re one of the best bass players today?
BS: Well, I am of course grateful and appreciative. In my mind, I do view things differently though. I am the one that’s on the inside looking out so I’m always thinking about that mistake or that something I can’t do or slumming that one part of that one song and so I’m always climbing another mountain and not looking back at any moment, but I may have climbed intentionally or inadvertently. I, of course, appreciate it, and there are so many incredible musicians on every instrument, so it’s hard to pick best. It’s like which is better, blue or green? It’s a different color, it’s a different thing, so I understand that, but for someone to make that kind of statement, it being in an email or a comment or to me in person, I, of course, appreciate it, more than I can express and I’m very grateful for that.
And it also inspires me to do better because I want to make sure that if somebody feels that way about me, I keep my game level. Well, you can’t ever keep it level; you’ve always got to be improving it. Because the world moves ahead and if you’re not moving ahead of it then you’re dropping behind. So I’m always working. Yesterday at my rehearsal room with no air conditioner, no window, it was hot and sweaty, but I was playing bass, and I had a riot, and it was great. And today I’ll do similar and work at, work stuff out and come up with new things.
I’ve got a recording session coming up in a few days with some impossible licks on it. See, unfortunately sometimes when people think highly of you, they throw things at you that they’re sure you can do, but they’re impossible. So there’s a baseline in this song by Japanese artists that I just spent the better part of the morning learning the first 5 seconds of it, and so I’ll be hitting it again for a few more hours then I’m going to record it on the 26th. They expect me to walk in, sit down and rip through it and so my reputation precedes me, unfortunately. So I have to work twice as hard on this to make sure and get it right. I know they’ll be videotaping and filming and everything too, so I‘ve got to know my stuff when I walk in there, it’s a tough one. There’s another side to that.
Do you have any performances planned with Steve Vai?
BS: No no, but Steve and I are good friends, anytime he needs me, he gives me a call, I’m happy to play anytime, any how. When we get together, it’s like we’ve never left. We get to jam. I went up and jammed with his band when he came to LA a couple of months back (unsure) got up with him and played a show. Or played a song rather and it’s always cool. Yeah, Steve’s the greatest, and I love him very much. He’s like a brother to me, and we have some musical things in common through the years.
Now, just in closing, I know you’ve got Mr. Big for the rest of the year. Do you have anything surprising in the works that you can’t talk about, but maybe you can hint at or is it just Mr. Big?
BS: Well without the band, I’m involved with what’s called the Fell, and it’s the guys from Smashmouth, and we have quite an incredible record that accidentally happened. He called me last summer; I was just sitting around ‘Hey, my name is Mike, and I used to play with Smashmouth, and we just did a soundtrack, could you come down and lay some bass on it?’ ‘I was like sure.’ We talked, I played some bass, it sounded great. Cool, few more, a couple more ‘could you do a few more?’ ‘Yeah sure.’ Then he said ‘well you know what, I’m thinking about maybe doing a record. I’ll pay your studio time, or if you want you to be on the record we could do like that’. I said ‘Hey I’ll save you some money; you don’t have to pay me. If there’s a record, we’ll deal with that, and if not, we’re cool’. So sure enough, a year later, this album sounds great, and we put out one single and video, and it was exploding all over the place.
So a good problem to have now is how do I squeeze that into the schedule also. But I’d rather have that problem than not have enough work and not have enough things to do and the more bands that I’m associated with means, the more likely I am to be performing live on stage for more nights, and I live to play live. So this is another opportunity for me to play and so I’m very pleased that more of those are on the way and I want to make sure there’s interest on it.
An accomplished solo artist with his signature style, a competent band member, an enthralling session player, a master producer, and a crackerjack bitten by the travel bug – Tony MacAlpine is a name that rhymes and resonates in perfect unison with the modern techniques and contemporary trends of the guitars and music acoustics of the present age.
His style is unique, majorly inclined towards classical, rock and fusion. Holding a substantial expertise on his instruments and chords, he sure knows how to squeeze the tones and carve out music planes, in rock as well as metal domains, through guitars and keyboards alike.
Born on 29th August 1960, Tony set his hands on a piano at the age of 5 and moved on to explore and ace the intricacies of guitar chords by the time he was 12. Having started playing at such a young age, it came as no surprise that Tony MacAlpine was introduced as an emerging music sensation in the Guitar Player magazine in an article by Mike Varney in 1984.
Having started learning the tidbits and intricacies of the chords, keys, and strings, Tony MacAlpine made a brisk and promising start to his professional career in the 1980s, launching his debut studio album ‘Edge of Insanity’ featuring Billy Sheehan and Steve Smith in 1986. A year later, he teamed up with George Lynch, Deen Castronova,Atma Anur, and Jeff Watson to produce ‘Maximum Security’ in 1987. Both records received a tremendous applause from the music enthusiasts and critics alike. Not looking back since, he has progressed to ace his domain and has produced some records and releases, solos and joint ventures, to extend his music profile.
Tony MacAlpine is known for the variety of his fusion techniques. He possesses this magical tendency to play complex shreds and pulls. One of his most famous techniques is the eccentric modification of sweep picking into sweep tapping, which he manages to pull through a perfect blend of his skills. Once influenced by the neoclassical metal genre, Tony MacAlpine explored and tapped into a variety of, not only experiencing it through his fingers, but leaving his signature mark on them before he finally landed in to play and ace the rock metal domain.
Besides his natural brilliance and learned expertise, the credit for the nuances and variety of his techniques can also be accredited to the equipment and instruments that he plays. From the Kramer, BC Rich, Mason Bernard, Peavey, Washburn Mercury Series, Carvin, and Ibanez guitars to DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan pickups, and from GHS and Ernie Ball Strings to Peavey, Rockman, and Hughes and Kettner amplifications, Tony MaCalpine’s fingers have befriended an extensive myriad of instruments over time, and a chronology of his releases and discography clearly indicates his passion for experimenting with new equipment and chords.
Some of the most notable highlights on his professional career include ‘Eyes of the World’, ‘Premonition’, ‘Madness’, ‘Evolution’, ‘Chromaticity’ as a solo, ‘Universe’ Live from Oz’, ‘Moon Babies’ with Planet X, ‘Cab Saga’ with the CAB, ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Edge of the World’ with Mark Boals, ‘Live at Astoria London’, ‘G3: Live in Denver’, and ‘G3: Live in Tokyo’ with Steve Vai.
Tіmmоnѕ ѕраrkеd his оwn guitar revolution ѕсоrіng two top 10 vіdеоѕ оn MTV wіth hіѕ bаnd Danger Dаngеr, ѕеllіng over a million rесоrdѕ, and touring thе world ореnіng fоr Kіѕѕ аnd Alice Cоореr. A handful of сrіtісаllу ассlаіmеd solo аlbumѕ followed soon after аѕ well аѕ a long аѕѕосіаtіоn as guіtаrіѕt and muѕіс dіrесtоr fоr Olіvіа Nеwtоn-Jоhn. Often rеfеrrеd tо аѕ “The Kіng Of Tone,” Tіmmоnѕ scored another glоbаl success in 2011 wіth his еmоtіvе interpretation of Thе Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’ аlbum еntіrеlу arranged for guіtаr. Never оnе to sit still, Timmons also rесоrdеd fоur аlbumѕ wіth wоrld rеnоwnеd drummеr Sіmоn Phіlірѕ (Toto, Thе Whо, Jeff Beck) аnd рlауеd thеm lіvе асrоѕѕ muсh оf the world.
Fans wіll be еxсіtеd tо learn thе nеw Andу Tіmmоnѕ Band album was released in August 2016.
Trаvіѕ Lаrѕоn Band: With ѕіx ѕtudіо аlbumѕ аnd twо full-length performance DVDs, thе аwаrd-wіnnіng Trаvіѕ Larson Bаnd is firmly rooted as оnе оf іnѕtrumеntаl music’s рrеmіеrе acts, having worked оn rесоrd wіth Stеvе Lukаthеr (Tоtо), Vісtоr Wооtеn (Bela Fleck), Dаvе LaRue (Jое Satriani, John Petrucci, Dixie Drеgѕ), Vіnx (Stіng, Hеrbіе Hаnсосk) аnd hаvіng ѕhаrеd live bіllіng wіth Tеd Nugent, UFO, Stеvе Morse (Deep Purрlе, Dіxіе Drеgѕ), Ronnie Mоntrоѕе, and The Arіѕtосrаtѕ to nаmе a fеw. Travis Lаrѕоn Band’s 2011 rеlеаѕе ‘Sоundmіnd’ еаrnеd accolades as Guіtаr Plауеr Mаgаzіnе Editor’s Top Thrее and their recent CD/DVD расkаgе ‘Shіft Happens: Lіvе’ earned a five ѕtаr rеvіеw іn Progression Mаgаzіnе.
Timmons also has a Signature, Ibanez. Thіѕ sweet-looking аldеr bоdіеd guіtаr features a double cutaway design wіth a bеvеlеd еdgе оn thе lоwеr bоut to make іt еаѕіеr tо access frets thаt give уоu thе most squeal арреаl. The guіtаr also fеаturеѕ аn AT 1-ріесе mарlе neck with KTS TITANIUM rоdѕ tо еnѕurе lоngеvіtу аnd a Wіlkоnѕоn WV6-SB Brіdgе wіth a whаmmу bаr. Hеlріng сарturе аnd ѕhаре уоur tоnе аrе DіMаrzіо Thе Cruiser рісkuрѕ at thе nесk and mіd роѕіtіоn, a Dimarzio AT-1 brіdgе рісkuр, a 5-way pickup selector, аnd Vоlumе, Neck & Middle, & Bridge Tоnе соntrоl knоbѕ. A hardshell саѕе is іnсludеd fоr when уоu’rе nоt rocking out of your ѕhеll wіth this Ibanez оrіgіnаl.
Nесk tуре: AT 1-pc Maple nесk wіth KTS TITANIUM rоdѕ
I caught up with Andy just as he was getting back from his latest tour.
How’s your tour going?
Man! We just got home basically. We did three weeks in the states, and then we just got back from two weeks in Southeast Asia. So I’m happy to be sitting in my office right now and just getting back from Goodwill, the post office, and the city dump you know, I’m getting stuff done here.
The city dump
Yes, this is rock star stuff man! When you’re traveling, these are the things you miss doing. Some grounded normalcy you know away from the craziness that is touring. No, but we had a great I guess it’s been about five weeks of gigs and getting out there and playing the new record. It’s been remarkable. Nice to get the new record out there. The response has been good. Home for the holidays and we’re getting out there again next year
Yes I like your new album
Thank you, man! I appreciate that
I’ve always wanted to ask you. Are you going from like they always considered Danger Danger hair metal or terms like that
No that’s accurate
I always wanted to ask you-you were a University of Miami grad. You graduated with your degree, and you went from hair metal to your style of playing is I believe it’s one spectrum to the other it shows as an artist you know
Well, that’s the thing I should clarify that I did not get a degree from Miami. I was there for two years it was my third and fourth year of college I started off as a traditional major at the University of Evansville where I grew up in Indiana but then transferred down there. I would have had about a year to go to graduate, and it was clear that you know I got so much information and grew so much the time I was in Miami, but I was ready to get out and make money instead of going further into debt with student loans. I got an offer to join a band at the time with Steve Bailey on bass and Ray Brinker on drums, and we moved to Texas. That’s how I ended up in Texas in the mid-80’s. I grew up as a straight-edged rock & roll guy in the 70’s playing KISS and Rush and Foghat and REO Speedwagon and kind of all the arena rock of the 70’s but we got into jazzier stuff and hence my path down to Miami and yes it kind of came full circle when I got the opportunity to join Danger Danger . It was at a time where I probably would have been happier to get a call from Miles Davis to take Mike Stern’s place, but you know what I mean. But I was equally as glad to get this opportunity to join a band that was signed to a major label because that was certainly particularly at that time, not so much now but at that time that was kind of the holy grail of the music business to be in a band and signed to a major label. So these guy’s they already kind of had things kind of in motion and so all I had to do was hop on the train mainly and was happy to do it man like I said the Andy Timmons Band had already started in 1988 and it was actually the demo’s that I recorded with my first band that got the attention of some of these other bands so, yes it took me on a detour indeed from where now but it was a great experience. I call it my music business education primarily
Well, it helped me to define what I want and didn’t want I had to find myself. I was in my 20’s and still trying to figure it out
When you were growing up how did you get involved with the guitar?
I’m the youngest of 4 guy’s. So I was the youngest brother all four years apart. My oldest brother was 12 when I was born in ’63, so there was always music around the house, and they all played a little bit of guitar. So there were always acoustic guitars around the house, and I had a toy plastic guitar from 4 years old on so it was something I was always enamored with and I loved the sound and liked the look of it. You couldn’t keep me away from it basically, even when I wasn’t supposed to be grabbing my brother’s guitar’s I was you know taking full advantage when they weren’t in the house. Just trying to figure out you know how to make noise and how to watch them play the chords and know how to do it when they weren’t around. That grew from there I certainly took it more seriously as years went on than they did. They were always kind of hobbyist and could play a little bit, but they detained going any further with it. That certainly was my inspiration from day one. Music in general and all the 60’s rock & roll and just try to learn how to play
Who were your influences growing up?
By the time I was learning by ear after you get past all the Beatles and the 60’s stuff which still is my favorite era of music Ace Frehley and Ted Nugent were my teachers and Alex Lifeson you know I’d put the records on. You know like now there is such a welcome of information at everybody’s fingertip’s with the internet even going back 15 -20 years ago cassette tapes and VHS tapes and your favorite guys showing you how to play back then you didn’t have that. There was maybe you were lucky to get a chord book from the diagram company that would show you where to put your fingers. But it was up to you to find a teacher which I didn’t have or put your records on and figure it out, and that’s what I did from the age of 5-16. But in my early teen’s it was that 70’s rock so the KISSAlive record was literally how I played. I learned how to play that and the first Ted Nugent record 2112 and All The World’s A Stage that was how I learned. It was years later that I realized that when I started encountering students that wanted lessons from me and I realized they’re just getting everything from written transcriptions and or ever they weren’t developing their ear and that’s the biggest asset of a musician is their ear’s and being able to recognize what is happening. So kind of unknowingly I eventually took lessons and learned how to read and all that but it was the formative years of having no choice than to dig it out and earn it you know on my own through listening. That was my biggest asset and still is to this day.
During your teenage years did you have a band that you started?
Yes. My first gig was my 8th- grade graduation dance in 1976 and the core of the band myself and drummer Glen Gore. The band was called Thunder Road, and it was this trio bass, guitar, and drums. We didn’t have a singer but we still got the gig and all we played was KISS, Rush and Foghat and Nugent and maybe a couple of the pop hits but we were pretty much power trio. That drummer and I worked together for the next seven years we worked in a band called the Taylor Bay Band. We became local heroes from where I grew up in Evansville IN we made a record and we were getting radio play and all that. So it was a tough decision when I decided to leave for Miami in ’83 we were you know I was sending tapes out to record labels and getting a very positive response, but it was a situation where I didn’t feel the rest band was quite as motivated as I was. They were all older I was a kid in the group so they were all getting married and you know, and real life responsibilities were taking hold, so I decided to move on down to Miami to continue my path. It was a great band really, and we created some terrific tunes and could have easily been signed back in the day and gone a different route, but it just wasn’t meant to be. It was a wonderful way to grow up because I was gigging on the age of 13 three nights or four nights a week eventually and as any musician knows you’ve got to get out. Out of your bedroom, you know you’ve got to get out there and play and get in front of people. You know for me the stage fright took a long time and I still get nervous before gigs you just learn how to channel it into a positive energy, but it means you care it means you want to do well. So that band Taylor Bay from ’76 to ’83 I was gigging. Those were my guy’s you know
Wow! That’s awesome. How did you get hooked up with Ted Colby and all those guys’?
It was through Buddy Blaze at Kramer Guitars. I had gotten a call from Buddy Blaze this was sometime in 1988, and the guys’ from Bad English were looking for a guitar player. It was Johnathan Cain, Ricky Phillips, and John Waite singer for the Babys. And Neal Schon had done demo were with this group but decided he was going to go on his own and do a solo record for Columbia. So Ricky was a Spector endorser who was made by Kramer so they reached out to all their companies and said hey we’re looking for a bluesy kind of rock guitar player who can help you recommend? So, Buddy, he didn’t know me at the time, but he’s from the Dallas area where I was living at the time, and he got ahold of a journalist friend of his asked David Hoffman who was up and coming, and my name came up. And so through Buddy, I sent a tape to the Bad English guys’ and flew out to San Fransisco, auditioned, got the gig. You know, they had been auditioning all these big name guitar players, and I got the gig. They said hey we’d fly you out to LA for a month and we’ll see how it goes. During that week Neal Schon changed his mind and said basically hey I’d like to redo the group, while I was out there rehearsing with the band. And so they broke it to me in a way like well we’re going to spend a week with Neal now, and we’ll let you know. It was pretty easy to see that you know things were going well. Ok, they could have half of journey or some unknown kid from Texas. So as history would show that didn’t pan out. Buddy Blaze also knew the guys’ from Danger Danger, and they were looking for a guitar player, and they had been signed to Epic and already had been done with the record and were looking for someone to join the band and do the videos and tour. So they sent my tape to Bruno whom likely heard flew me out to New York to play with the band. I think I went on two different occasions to audition and got that gig you know. So that’s just kind of the way it worked out, but it was after getting the gig with John Waite and Johnathan Cain so. And a very funny aside is that Bad English record and Danger Danger came out the same day on the same label. So something was in the works there you know. So anyway that’s the little story in a very Reader’s Digest version.
If you had to choose between doing Bad English and Danger Danger looking back, without Bad English releasing you, what would you choose before
I didn’t make the decision Bad English did. You know it’s funny though the decision I did have to make though is that I got an offer to join Tower of Power at the same time I got the Danger Danger offer. I’m not sure if you are aware of Tower of Power but very cool Oakland-based funk rock band. They made a bazillion records over the years. I chose Danger Danger over that thinking that it would be better and bigger exposure. It would have been a whole different path. You can’t go back and say oh could of, would of, should of. I’m pleased with my experiences in the band. The band had a lot of fans, so that was certainly my introduction onto the world stage. You know after the group I started putting out my music, and it was certainly different. It was a little rock based, so it appealed to some of those fans anyways. I did have to spend a bit of time you know on the credibility front where you know if that makes sense as far as Danger Danger did not have a credible reputation as far as on the musician front. Very lumped in with the hair bands and that type of attitude. So I had to kind of overcome that stigma that might be attached to that. You know what I mean as far as being a little bit more beyond you know what the capabilities of a typical hair band player might be. So I took the good with the bad and certainly have no regrets, but I won’t say that that was easy to step out of that particular shadow
Was that your first solo album in ’94?
Yes, Ear X-Tacy would have been the first solo record. In fact, some of the recordings on that album were recorded before I joined Danger Danger. There’s a song called It’s Getting Better which is the first track I ever did with my band in the studio. That survived and made the record, and there were recordings I were doing while in Danger Danger like Cry For You and Carpe Diem you know these songs were being recorded when I had time off from Danger Danger. I’d fly out to Texas and play with my guys. And you know we all figured that we were just recording demos. The demos came out so well you can’t replace that so we just kind of kept it. When Danger Danger folded at that time I came back to Texas, and we recorded like Electric Gypsy and Farmer Sez and Turn Away and that flushed out that first record. But yes that was indeed the first solo record
And that’s what you’re talking about having to come from a band that wasn’t musically thought about having any music and stuff
It certainly wasn’t the same respect that I was hoping to garner you know being that my heroes at that time were like Eric Johnson and Satriani and Vai, Steve Lukather and those guys.
Right. So you came out with Ear X-Tacy in ’94 and kind of established
When you still did, I Still Have The Best Name Ever did you find it easier after putting out a second record that people were accepting you as a serious musician with immense talent?
You know, it’s hard for me to be exacting about it because how do you measure people’s opinions? But I do think I heard from a lot of people if they only would have heard from that band they would have been surprised you know that kind of record from that type of guy. There was the NAMM show in ’93 that preceded of that record in 1993 that played at the NAMM show back when I was in a group with Simon Phillips and Gerald Veasley we backed up Satriani and Vai and Shawn Lane and Paul Gilbert while in between playing with some of the music that I would later do with Simon Phillips which is a whole different level of ability than Danger Danger. I mean that would be kind of a pivotal point as far as people having an awareness of ok this guy is not just this particular rock & roll thing there are all these other elements you know. So I kind of think Ibanez made an effort to try to set me apart from the pack you know they saw the potential for what I was going to do after that band. And even in spite of being in the band, that’s what I was being told by the A & R guy we don’t like your band but we like you and your playing, but we want to work with you. So a kind of interesting way to go about it but yes I think things like that and exposure in some of the guitar magazines. You know even because of some of my experience with major labels I didn’t even send my solo records to the major labels. I put it out on my own but still got it reviewed in the magazines and just sold on-line, and it just worked out great, and I’m still doing it until this day but now it’s a lot easier to get better distribution with all the independent companies like CD Baby or Tunecore that want to distribute your music. You don’t need the major labels especially these days. But back then I was bucking the trend. Steve Vai was the first guy to come on with Favored Nations when he developed Favored Nations I was one of the first people he signed you know he had me in mind. I think I might have been one of the first three artists he signed. It was the perfect thing because he was one of the first guys to come along as a labeled entity to say ok it’s a 50/50 split after expenses artists and labels share equally. That’s what kept me from pursuing labels after the Danger Danger thing I saw how fucked everybody got and they were without exception. I said this is not why I play music. I want to control what I play, how I play, and what I record. I want to own it. Because we recorded the third album for Epic called Cockroach that basically when we got dropped from Epic it made it impossible to regain the rights to that record and I thought why in the world would you work so hard on something and have it not belong to you? So that was my takeaway education to Danger Danger. Own your work and don’t bow down to what anybody else’s demands are. You’ve got to make the music that is in your heart you know that’s the bottom line. So that’s what I’ve been able to do ever since is make decisions based on not business or finances just what do I want to do? And therefore I’ve got a much happier existence since then.
Wow! Yes, I did not know that about Cockroach. That’s interesting
Yes, Bruno and Steve finally got the rights to release that like ten or so years later. I was thrilled for it to come out. I was proud of that record. I thought it was a good record. You know there’s all this history with Ted leaving the band and getting Paul Laine to come in, and both versions of the album were great. I’m glad they were finally able to get the rights to release it. It killed the band for the label to do that; there’s no doubt.
With your varied background I mean you’ve done sessions with Paula Abdul, Paul Stanley. You’ve done the G4 Experience with Paul Gilbert. Is there a particular favorite of those I mentioned that stick out more to you than the other?
Well for me it’s always just been a loving ability to do all those things. I mean my favorite thing is my music and band of course, but I played with Olivia Newton-John for 15 years as her music director and guitar player but also being in Simon Phillips’ group. It couldn’t be more at the opposite end of the spectrum as far as the chops that it takes to do, but they’re equally as defining and I’m equally proud of both. I guarantee there are not many rock players that can do Simons gig and there are not many rock players that can do Olivia’s concert and do it well. Not that I’m patting myself on the back it’s just the way it is. It’s a pretty short list of guys that can do that. And I think for me that’s been a huge part of my ability to keep busy. You know after Danger Danger folded you’ve got to pick up your pieces and make a living right? I’m able to get a guitar and fit into almost any situation because of a lifetime of really loving all styles of music and not being an elitist in any way. There are some jazz players that are very elitists about oh man it’s got to be jazz or heavy metal guys that it’s got to be metal. I love it all equally, and I love the process of learning and the process to try to assimilate most organically and authentically really and to be able to play these different styles. It helped me make a living all these years and so it’s a lot of fun for me and very rewarding when I can get into some of these situations that are very diverse. But to try to play what’s right and what’s appropriate, you know musically at that time. Believe me; it’s not about when we shred this up what’s going to make her sound great? The same with Simon, you know. It’s what’s going to be appropriate for this piece of music. And that’s great advice for anybody wanting to be a professional musician and maybe outside as a solo artist in a particular band. Just be interested and be open to playing a lot of different things. If it’s truly in your heart, you know.
Yes, your versatility is amazing
Thank you! Thank you, man!
There are few people that can go from Olivia Newton-John to Kip Winger to Paula Abdul to Paul Stanley and then go with Vai back to Gilbert
Let me say, talk about somebody tell me the stigma of the hair band thing with Kip Winger. This guy is easily by far the most talented guy I’ve ever worked with, and I’m including anybody I’ve ever worked with there are a lot of great guys on that list and girls. But this guy is just a brilliant dude and for him to get bashed the way he did and that band of all bands they were the one band that could play. Nothing against every other band in that genre but come on man, these guys were just freaking bad ass to the bone. Every one of them was just basically virtuoso on their instrument and so to watch a guy like that just get beat down. In television, metal bands are making fun of him in concert. You know this takes a toll on a person but for him to rise through that. That first record he made This Conversation Seems Like A Dream was easily one of the top three or four favorite things I’ve ever done. That was incredible to be a part of that was a great record, and he has gone on and writing more music, he’s writing more catchable music. He’s writing for the New York Ballet. There are a few notable names out there that I won’t mention. I raise a huge middle finger to them. Kip is a talented guy. You’re getting the brunt of my frustration about that.
That’s ok! I think the Beavis and Butthead show did a number on Kip.
That was a huge thing. There was another notable group that threw darts at his picture. I know it hurt the guy. I’m proud of him rising above the shit. The stuff he’s done on his own and with Winger is amazing. We have some stuff on the back burner that was going to work on when we get a chance. That will continue my friendship with Kip. He’s one of the deepest cats that I know.
When you’re writing, do you write the lyrics first or the music?
It depends on the song. Sometimes the melody or figure out the harmony. The songs on my new album are about specific events that have happened to me. I’m very proud of my new record.
With your new record, as a player myself, you take me out of my comfort zone from what I usually listen too. The technical aspect of your new album is amazing.
Ok good! That’s a big compliment! Don’t get me wrong I still think the world of the shredders. I recently just saw Yngwie play for the first time in the last two years and it was one of the best performances I’ve seen. My shredding days aren’t over. There might be another Ear X-Tacy record in the future. I just want to continue and grow as a player.,
What’s your rig these days?
Mesa BoogieLonestars. I prefer 2 2×12 combos 2×12 rectifier cabinets. JHS AT Signature Exotic BB Pre Amp, Kiley, Timeline echo sound, Carl Martin GNI multi fuzz, Dunlop expression pedal.
Your signature guitar is the AT-10P
My main guitar is the at-100. The AT-10p is an Indonesia made a version of at100. The original AT-100 came out in 1994 and will have the 9th set of frets being put on. So, hopefully, it will carry on. I was skeptical about doing a lesser expensive of my AT-100. They opened the plant and-and copied the specs. They nailed it. We just had two weeks, and Southeast Asia and I must’ve signed at least 30 of them. One of my best stats is my 83 Squier. The USA made guitars can be great. So can overseas be made.
What are your plans for 2017?
I’ll be staying home for the first few months with my family. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends touring extensively. What I’ll be doing is putting up a website where I provide content and people will pay a monthly subscriber fee. Doing a playthrough of all of my songs. It will have all kinds of content. I’ll still be promoting my new record. I’ll be doing a special at NAMM with Tony McAlpine and others.
Here’s my first featured artist from my ReverbNation campaign.
In 2008 LoNero released their first CD “Relentless” and coined the genre “Guitarcore.” From that moment on, they have defined what that genre is. Unlike most instrumental artists, who’re songs emphasize solos and arpeggios, LoNero’s music features illustrated verses, choruses, and emphases on melody and structure. Apple and QuickTime did a month-long promo for “Relentless” and helped build LoNero’s fan base from the ground up. This album features the song “Loose” which has been licensed by Discovery Channel, MTV video Music Awards, “That Metal Show,” BBC and much more.
2010 saw the release of “J.F.L.”, a stripped down instrumental rock and roll album produced by Grammy Award winning engineer Michael Rosen. This album had influences of punk with the songs “Fat Tat” and “Good Luck” and was a more straight ahead approach to Guitarcore but still had the definable LoNero sound.
In 2014 LoNero were handpicked by guitar legend Tony MacAlpine to be the primary support for his first solo U.S. tour in 10 years. That tour went so well that LoNero were asked again to be main support on a second U.S. tour in 2015. Traveling from coast to coast and into Mexico, LoNero proved they could hold their own even with the best.
In 2017, LoNero released their most advantageous album to date, “The Defiant Machine.” TDM is a thematic instrumental powerhouse focusing on war throughout the last 100 years. With old speeches from Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, and George W. Bush intertwined with piano interludes, blistering guitar harmonies, solos and seamless time changes, TDM is unlike any instrumental album to date. The album features the song “Burning of Ideals (a date which will live in infamy), a 12-minute epic auditory journey. This song was recently chosen to be included in Guitar Player Magazine’s first compilation CD coming out summer of 2017 with distribution and promotion by Universal Music. Rounding out the theme for TDM, all photos for the album artwork were shot aboard the historical and legendary U.S.S. Hornet aircraft carrier. The same ship that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule which carried the first men to walk on the moon and one of the most decorated war vessels to ever sail the seas.
At the end of the day, LoNero is four guys that want to create music their way. Not by following a mold, but by breaking the mold. To harken back to the days when music was a journey and not just a product to sell. When music was the complete package and not just bits and bytes on a computer.
Bill Lonero – Lead/Rhythm/Harmony Guitars
J.R. Manalili – Rhythm/Harmony/Lead Guitars
Mike McKaigg – Bass
Will Sharman – Drums
LoNero uses: Dunlop, Furman, Vigier, Straptight, EMG and Dr. J pedals
An overview of the post-1980s music scene hint at some promising names that made their marks in music sphere and have emerged as the worthy descendants of the exuberant rock and metal shredding legacy that has become a characteristic hallmark of the decade.
Nili Brosh is one such name who has bagged prominence and fame at a young age, accomplishing new heights and paving her way to the top with zeal, zest, and fervor.
Young, passionate and exceptionally talented – Nili Brosh stands at the forefront, among the cohort of modern musicians and is leading the modern era of rock and heavy metal music.
Born on August 13th, 1988, in Rishon LeZion region in Israel, Nili Brosh has established a strong repute as a master guitarist and a professional songwriter. Her interest in music stemmed from her brother who was already into music and guitars. Having learned the basics of the instrument, she decided to pursue her passion as a profession and got herself enrolled at the Berklee College of Music. During her academic pursuits, she got an opportunity to test her skills on a variety of guitars and playing techniques and also partnered to perform with the institute’s top notch guitar instructors.
Her extraordinary talent and brilliance landed her a job at her alma mater, right after her graduation. Fresh Bachelors in Music, Nili Brosh became the youngest member of Berklee faculty for summer programs at the tender age of 19. This in itself is a tremendous recognition of her exceptional brilliance and talents.
Aside from rendering her services in the teaching capacity, Nili has also sought to focus on setting up her personal portfolio. She set up her YouTube Channel and started to broadcast her work to the world. Her first video post bagged over 180,000 million views, and each new video update fetches immense appreciation and applause from her fandom and rock and metal enthusiasts from across the globe.
Performing with premiere instructors, maestros and top-notch band and musicians, and also due to a consistent and tireless haul of intense jamming sessions, Nili’s style has evolved, matured and refined a great deal over the course of the time. Having established a strong reputation of a skilled musician over time, Nili has become one of the most sought after guitarists in the modern music industry. This has also provided her with numerous opportunities to establish partnerships and engage herself in associated acts with credible musicians of the post-1980s era.
Her career profile entails multiple cynosures to her claim. She has been into successful partnerships with renowned musicians, including Andy Timmons, Stuart Hamm, Joey Molland, Guthrie Govan, Pat Travers, and Terry Ilous.
Aside from that, she has also played for Seven the Hardway, Tony McAlpine and The Aristocrats as the lead guitarist, for The Iron Maidens as the guest solo guitarist and also for Ethan Brosh Band. She has also been touring across continents with Tony McAlpine. Additionally, she has two solo albums along with a multitude of endorsements for Inspire Guitars, Ibanez Guitars, EMG Pickups, Xotic Effects and Peavey Amps.
Nili Brosh is a 28-year-old guitarist from Israel. She specializes in heavy metal and hard rock music. When Nili was 12 her and her family moved to Boston where she began studying the electric guitar, she then went on to study the discipline at Berklee College of Music. She got into the hard rock and heavy metal genre due to her brothers who were always playing music. This opened her up to all types of music that were created before her time. She soon became one of the college’s youngest faculty members and began to teach at the summer guitar program. Nili started posting videos on YouTube that received incredible attention for her superior playing skills.
Her YouTube page began like any other, with a few followers and a small fan base. Her first video showed a great nimbleness in her fingers and the skill level was insane for that of an 18-year-old. Soon her video was to become viral and to this day has racked up just under 200,000 views on YouTube. Over the next four years, people spoke more and more about this rising talent and she began to attract a lot of followers. She was soon a professional guitarist and instructor after teaching at Berklee Summer Camp since she was 19.
Nili has releasedtwoalbums to date. The first one was called Through the Looking Glass and was released in 2010 which also features guitarist Andy Timmons as a guest soloist. When Tony MacAlpine auditioned Nili, he was so amazed by her skills he contacted Nili and asked her to take part in one of his solo bands along with the bass guitarist Bjorn Englen and drummer Aquiles Priester. This dream team ended up touring America and Europe. This is where she began to work on her latest album A Matter of Perception which was released in 2014.
No one knows what the future holds but she plans to continue touring and creating albums with amazing talent other than herself.