By Andrew Catania
Acclaimed for his astoundingly fast minor scaling, wide vibratos and rated among the best metal guitarists of the world – Warren Justin DeMartini aka Torch is an acclaimed musician who ruled in the limelight in the music sphere for the entire decade of the 1980s.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, on 10th April 1963, and the youngest of the five brothers, Warren DeMartini’s family moved to settle in San Diego during his early childhood. Two of his elder brothers Bernard and James held a strong affinity towards rock and later ventured into forming their band. His grandmother too was a professional musician and used to play piano for background score for silent movies in her time. So, music was kind of an old legacy that transcended into Warren DeMartini and his brothers.
DeMartini’s first exposure to guitar was when his mother bought him one, at seven years of age. It was a small guitar that went out of tune after a couple of jams. Angrier than aggrieved, little DeMartini demolished the instrument, and it was not until he turned 14 that his fingers came back in touch with the chords. This time it was a Cimar Les Paul copy of an electric guitar.
It was right since his childhood that DeMartini what he wanted to do in life. Music was his lifeline, and rock and metal had become his passion. With a proper instrument in hand, DeMartini delved headlong into the pursuit of his dreams and started to strengthen his grip and refine his skills over the tact and intricacies of heavy metal, glam metal, and hard rock.
DeMartini staged his first concert at the age of 15, with ‘The Plague‘ in an event held at La Jolla High School. Although it was not a huge feat, the concert sure brought DeMartini the exposure that he needed. DeMartini’s name started creating waves in the local music industry and was declared as the ‘Best Emerging Guitar Player in San Diego.’ After graduating in 1981, DeMartini enrolled himself at a local college. Until then, his name had started resonating in the music sphere and eventually landed him an invitation to join Mickey Ratt. He accepted the offer and moved to Los Angeles where he joined the band’s lineup as the lead guitarist, replacing Jake E. Lee.
DeMartini’s role as the lead guitarist paved new ways to success for the band. Aside from rendering his playing skills in the leading capacity, DeMartini also started experimenting on his musical penmanship. He has contributed great lyrics for some albums released by Ratt. Ratt was releasing successive hit records, including for platinum albums. The band ruled the entire decade of the 1980s and disbanded after DeMartini parted ways in 1992.
After bidding farewell to Ratt, DeMartini played for a short while for Dokken and later for Whitesnake. He also set up his solo profile, with an EP ‘Surf’s Up!‘ and a full-fledged album ‘Crazy Enough to Sing to You, and two more albums titled ‘Collage’ and ‘DeMartini. He also played for Dio for some time. In 1997, Ratt was revived, and DeMartini is an integral part of it til this day.