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Guitar Hero's Marcus Henderson: The Guitar World Interview

Guitar Hero's Marcus Henderson: The Guitar World Interview

by Jeff Kitts

To celebrate the upcoming release of Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the ’80s for the PlayStation 2, Guitar World had the pleasure of interviewing Marcus Henderson, the California-based metalhead who records the majority of the rip-roarin’ guitar parts for the highly successful video game franchise. Watch the video and read the full interview, and be sure to check out his monstrous gear list at the end of the text interview.

For more information about Marcus, check out


GUITAR WORLD Where did you grow up?

MARCUS HENDERSON I grew up in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area in the late Seventies, and we always had these weird babysitters around—you know, the guys with the mustaches and the funny little cigarettes—and we’d get real excited about the rock they’d bring into the house. Before long my brother and I both had pretty killer record collections and I just got really into the guitar through bands like AC/DC and Boston and Led Zeppelin.

GW When did you start playing guitar?

HENDERSON When I was 14. I had been skateboarding for years, and when I started playing guitar I would catch shit from friends of mine who felt I needed to pick one or the other. They’d be like, ‘C’mon, let’s go,’ and I’d be like, ‘Nah, you guys go ahead—I’m gonna rock out here for a while.”


GW What were you playing in your formative years?

HENDERSON I was out of tune for a good year and a half and had no real idea what the hell I was doing. [laughs] It wasn’t like I had some mystical guitar guardian angle come down and give me all the information I needed—I pretty much had to figure it out myself, and that just comes with being an inquisitive guy. I’m super analytical about everything and really curious about the guitar, so I figured I would just answer the questions myself if nobody was gonna be there to direct me. So I didn’t have guitar lessons early on—I pretty much just fumbled around playing power chords. There were two kinds of music that I liked back then, punk rock and heavy metal. Punk rock was more my skill level as a guitarist, and heavy metal was a little beyond my abilities. I used to be real into Racer X—I loved listening to Bruce Bouillet and Paul Gilbert just go crazy. I used to fantasize about being able to play that fast, but then I’d put on a Circle Jerks album and just rip it. So at some point my ambition and my skill level started to meet, and I just kept trying to improve.

GW Did you ever get into the theoretical aspects of guitar playing?

HENDERSON I’m really weird with the way I approach and analyze things, and for some reason I don’t like taking the magic out of things. I don’t like delineating things that grab you emotionally. To me, music is one of those things that is actually


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