Interviews en Weezer's Rivers Cuomo Talks New Album, 'Everything Will Be Alright in the End' <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the all-new November 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus our cover feature on Jeff Beck and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, not to mention features on Eddie Van Halen/MXR, George Thorogood, the guitar pick revolution, Nita Strauss and Black Veil Brides, plus gear reviews (Epiphone, Zoom, Gretsch, TC-Helicon, Mesa and more) and lessons by Marty Friedman and Steel Panther's Satchel, <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=WeezerExcerpt">check out the November 2014 issue of Guitar World!</a></em></p> <p><strong>Weezer Heads Prevail: Unfazed by perennial reports of rock’s death, Weezer carry on with Everything Will Be Alright in the End, their ninth, and latest, studio album.</strong></p> <p>“Rock is dead. Guitar is dead.” </p> <p>Weezer’s ninth studio album, <em>Everything Will Be Alright in the End</em>, opens with these two dire statements, both uttered before the opening riff of “Ain’t Got Nobody” kicks in. </p> <p>“All those voices you hear on the record are the voices that we’ve heard in our lives and in our careers in recent years,” explains Rivers Cuomo, Weezer’s primary songwriter, lead guitarist and vocalist. </p> <p>Thankfully, it seems that Cuomo and the rest of the band—guitarist Brian Bell, drummer Patrick Wilson and bassist Scott Shriner—chose to ignore the naysayers whispering in their ears. “Ain’t Got Nobody” is unabashedly rocking and guitar driven, and if anything, <em>Everything Will Be Alright in the End</em> sounds more like a rebirth for Weezer than a last gasp. </p> <p>Hard-edged numbers like the declamatory “Back to the Shack” and the pounding “I’ve Had It Up to Here” are arena-ready anthems, while more emotionally raw numbers like “The British Are Coming” and “Foolish Fathers” feature the plaintive yowl that turned the band’s second album, 1996’s <em>Pinkerton</em>, into a celebrated emo-rock cult classic years after its release and initial commercial failure. </p> <p><em>Everything Will Be Alright in the End</em> also marks the return of producer Ric Ocasek, who previously worked with Weezer on their 1994 self-titled debut (known by fans as the Blue Album) as well as on their also-eponymous 2001 comeback (dubbed the Green Album). The band spent three three-week stretches with the Cars frontman at Los Angeles’ storied Village Recorder studios, and according to Cuomo, this third-time collaboration was a charm. </p> <p>“Recording this record felt like much more of a creative process than making the first album,” he says. “Because when we made that record, we’d been playing the songs for a year and a half in the clubs and there had been several rounds of demos. It felt like the songs were pretty much done and there wasn’t room for much more creativity once we got into the studio. </p> <p>"And then when we made the Green Album, I didn't want to hear from anyone. This time, there were a lot more unfinished parts, and there was a lot more work left to be done, so it was wonderful to have this amazing creative talent sitting there right next to us in the trenches.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><Strong>EXCERPT: A lot of the lyrics on the new record seem to explore Weezer’s relationship to their fans and how that relationship has evolved over the years.</strong></p> <p>We’ve gone through many different phases. Even when we made our second record, <em>Pinkerton</em>, I already had a feeling like, Well, we’ve established this amazing style on the first record, but already I want to do something different. And I assumed that everyone was going to come along with me. </p> <p>But a lot of the fans of the first album were not fans of the second album, so then it became this whole issue of, What am I supposed to do here? I have this instinct to try all of these different things and to go off in all of these crazy directions, but at the same time, you can’t really take for granted this amazing connection that happens between us and an audience. I mean, we were really lucky to have that kind of experience on our first record and touch the heart of an audience in such a profound way. And you can’t really take that lightly and just say, “Well, maybe let’s do a hip-hop album next time.” </p> <p>And ever since then, we’ve related to the question of how to find balance in different ways. At times we’ve rebelled and said, “Well, we’re not going to care about anything we’ve done or what anyone’s saying around us; we’re just going to go off and do whatever’s striking us at the moment.” And that was definitely a big part of our process—figuring out how to balance all of the different things that we value. </p> <p><strong>Did you approach songwriting any differently for this album? Some of the tracks have really expansive arrangements. </strong></p> <p>I wrote a lot of the more exploratory music on piano, and the foundation of the song would be one long extremely emotional jam—a rough outline of the emotion—that I would record on a Dictaphone. I’m not very good at piano, and that limitation can be a strength for me, as I don’t have muscle and finger memory and playing habits like I do on the guitar. </p> <p>Also, the piano is wonderful because you’ve got two hands that have equal power to do rhythm, melody and counterpoint, so they can both go off and do whatever they want. Counterpoint is my absolutely favorite part of music, so that was extremely liberating. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Does the formal musical training that you received in college come into play when you’re devising the contrapuntal movement?</strong></p> <p>In those moments of composition, it’s all very much flow and not doing things because I was taught them in counterpoint class. But I think there’s a part of my brain that is at least aware when I’m doing parallel or contrary or oblique motion. So part of my mind is watching the process as it’s happening. </p> <p>And I do feel that while I have a natural instinct for counterpoint—a real enjoyment of it—I also have learned a lot in school and from books as well by playing contrapuntal music on both piano and guitar. I have some good books of Bach keyboard music transcribed for guitar, and there’s always a nylon-string guitar hanging on the wall in my house and a bunch of classical guitar books to grab. I kind of do that just for fun. </p> <p><strong>It also sounds like you’re really having fun playing lead guitar on this record. There’s an almost subversive nature to the way that you pepper the solos on songs like “Ain’t Got Nobody” with dissonant phrases and chromaticism. </strong></p> <p>The trick for me was how to make it sound new and not cliché. Rock guitar has been around for decades now, and there are so many strong traditions, and so much of it is just burned into my fingers. So, nine times out of 10, when I pick up the guitar to jam something, it sounds pretty cliché. </p> <p>One way that I get around that is, before I even pick up the guitar, I record myself singing the guitar solo, and then I go back and I learn it on guitar. I sing things that I would never think to play with my fingers. On the solo to “Ain’t Got Nobody,” which I really love, it actually took me a long time to learn how to articulate what I had sung, and I ended up doing some really nontraditional, non-guitaristic things. </p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from the all-new November 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus our cover feature on Jeff Beck and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, not to mention features on Eddie Van Halen/MXR, George Thorogood, the guitar pick revolution, Nita Strauss and Black Veil Brides, plus gear reviews (Epiphone, Zoom, Gretsch, TC-Helicon, Mesa and more) and lessons by Marty Friedman and Steel Panther's Satchel, <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=EVHMXRExcerpt">check out the November 2014 issue of Guitar World!</a></em></p> <p><em>Photo: Emily Shur</em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/1114_Gib%26Beck.jpg" width="620" height="805" alt="1114_Gib&amp;Beck.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/weezer">Weezer</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> November 2014 Rivers Cuomo Weezer Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:17:00 +0000 Tom Beaujour Melvins Guitarists Buzz Osborne and Paul Leary Talk New Album, 'Hold It In' <!--paging_filter--><p>It’s not often you get to work with one of your heroes, but for Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne, that’s exactly what happened.</p> <p>Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary joined the Melvins for their new album, <em>Hold It In</em>, which will be released October 14. Also joining Osborne, Leary and drummer Dale Crover for this 12-song Melvins outing is Butthole Surfers' bassist JD Pinkus. </p> <p>Osborne says <em>Hold It In</em> is a refreshing piece of fiction in a boring world of "fact and bullshit." If Leary’s outside-the-box approach to guitar playing and Osborne’s passion for songwriting are anything to go by, it’s definitely best to just let it ride. </p> <p>The Melvins will kick off a round of U.S. tour dates October 15 in Sacramento, California. Osborne, Crover and Pinkus will be the touring roster for this run of dates.</p> <p>I recently spoke with Osborne and Leary about the new Melvins record. I also asked Osborne about his Nirvana connection.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe <em>Hold It In</em>?</strong></p> <p><strong>OSBORNE</strong>: It's a good cross-section of a lot of things we've done as well as some things we've never done. It's the first Melvins record I played on where I didn't write a majority of the material. That was a little different than what we normally do. Paul is also one of my favorite guitar players, and I've thought about doing something like this with him for a long time.</p> <p><strong>LEARY</strong>: For the most part, it’s a little fresher and an amalgam album. I wrote three songs on there and we’ve also got Jeff Pinkus, which provided another Butthole element. </p> <p><strong>Buzz, what was it like working with Paul and Pinkus?</strong></p> <p>They're both really good players. Paul is a completely out-of-the-box guitarist that I've admired for the better part of 30 years. They handled it perfectly and are avant-garde to the highest degree.</p> <p><strong>Paul, what was it like working with Buzz and Dale?</strong></p> <p>Most of my recording experience has been as a producer or with the Butthole Surfers. It was refreshing to be with a group of people who were just as anxious and happy to come up with ideas as I was. It was a whole lot of fun. </p> <p><strong>Let’s discuss a few tracks from <em>Hold It In</em>. "Brass Cupcake."</strong></p> <p><strong>OSBORNE</strong>: That was a song I wrote. I had the idea to let Paul do his amazing vocal work on the middle part of it. His thumb print is all over it.</p> <p><strong>"You Can Make Me Wait."</strong></p> <p><strong>LEARY</strong>: I was stuck sitting in traffic when the idea for that song came to me. I’m usually a "cart before the horse" guy who comes up with the music first. In this case, I had the lyrics in my head and then the music came later.</p> <p><strong>"The Bunk Up."</strong></p> <p><strong>OSBORNE</strong>: That was a song I started writing a while ago. I came up with the beginning riff, and the middle part is a lot of Paul. I played the basic guitar parts and left an empty space for him to do whatever he wanted.</p> <p><strong>"Eyes On You."</strong></p> <p><strong>LEARY</strong>: I usually keep the TV turned on in my studio, and one day there was something on the news about surveillance. I had my guitar plugged in recording at the time and the words just started coming out of my mouth. </p> <p><strong>How do you come up with your ideas for song titles?</strong></p> <p><strong>OSBORNE</strong>: I've been a list maker for years, even before I was a musician. I was always writing things down and kept long lists of things that would make good album titles and things like that. I’m constantly thinking in terms of songwriting.</p> <p><strong>Buzz, what can you tell me about your connection with Nirvana?</strong></p> <p><strong>OSBORNE</strong>: We were all friends long before music ever happened. I was the one who introduced Cobain and Novoselic to music of that nature and took them to their first punk rock shows. I also knew Dave [Grohl] when he was in a band called Scream and told him that Nirvana was looking for a drummer. </p> <p>But there's always the good and the bad. The good part is knowing that the things we were involved with had impact on a global level. But the bad part of it (and the thing that overshadows all of it) is the fact that he's dead. </p> <p>So it's hard for me to look at it through rose-colored classes and say, "This is amazing!" I don't feel that way. If you can find the upside to drug addiction and death, let me know. When I think of him [Cobain], I don't think of it in an MTV way. I think of it in real terms. We were there when they played their very last show. I knew what was going on with him and everything that was happening. It was all bad.</p> <p><strong>What excites you the most about this new Melvins album?</strong></p> <p><strong>LEARY</strong>: I haven’t really written or performed on an album like this in a long time. It seems like it’s been forever. I’m excited to see what people think about it. </p> <p><strong>OSBORNE</strong>: The main thing I want to make sure people understand is that this is not a “project." It’s as much a Melvins album as any I've ever done. After the better part of 30 albums, for us to put out a record that's this advanced sounding at this point in our career is crazy. I also can't say enough about how impressed I am to have done a record with Paul Leary. He's one of my all-time favorite guitar players. It's a dream come true. </p> <p><em>For more information, following the Melvins on <a href="">Facebook</a>.</em></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> Buzz Osborne James Wood Paul Leary The Melvins Interviews News Features Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:31:43 +0000 James Wood ‘The Tiger Speaks’: Guitarist Jim Peterik Talks New Book, Ides of March and Survivor <!--paging_filter--><p>Most rock biographies tend to follow a similar pattern. The artist’s road to redemption is paved with tales of debauchery, drug abuse, marital infidelity and a trashing hotel room or two.</p> <p>Although Jim Peterik’s story doesn’t really follow that path, it's even more special. </p> <p>For instance, did you know the founder of such bands as the Ides of March, Survivor and Pride Of Lions was already playing shows alongside Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin as a teen? Or that Peterik’s original role in Survivor was one of dual guitarist and lead vocalist? </p> <p>Peterik’s new book, <em>Through the Eye of the Tiger: The Rock 'N' Roll Life of Survivor's Founding Member</em>, discusses all of that and much more in a look back at the life and career of one of rock’s best songwriters.</p> <p>With the help of writer Lisa Torem, Peterik reveals stories from his almost 50 years in music. Like the time the Ides of March stole the show from Led Zeppelin or when Peterik unwillingly ceded control of Survivor and took on a diminished role in order to achieve a greater good.</p> <p>There are revelations of his encounters with Hendrix, Sammy Hagar and Brian Wilson; making studio magic with the late Jimi Jamison (one of rock’s greatest voices) as well as the challenges he faced becoming a husband and father. Oh, and then there’s the little matter of a how a phone call from Sylvester Stallone turned into “Eye of The Tiger." </p> <p><em>Through the Eye of the Tiger</em> is more than just the memoir of a songwriting legend. It’s a classic rock and roll story that’s told through the eyes of someone who has lived through it all.</p> <p>I had the pleasure of speaking with Peterik about his new book, career and his amazing guitar collection.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: What made you decide to write a book at this stage of your career?</strong></p> <p>It's a good time in my life. I'm feeling good and have a lot of stories to tell. Certainly, there are a lot more stories ahead of me and quite a few stories behind me that I wanted to get out. </p> <p><strong>Did you find it difficult having to recall certain events in your life?</strong></p> <p>Absolutely. When I planned on writing the book, I was wondering who was going to want to read it. There’s no conflict in my life. I wasn't a drug addict or had tour groupies. The whole “rise, fall and redemption” is fascinating but I didn't have any of that. But as I started writing, I soon realized that there really was a lot of conflict in my life that I had just buried. I had always lived in a cocoon of creativity. But when you strip away the shield - I went through a lot of shit. It was painful to talk about Frankie [Sullivan] and the conflicts we had and recalling the troubles in my marriage. </p> <p><strong>Were you worried about what others might think of your revelations?</strong></p> <p>You've got to take a chance. I haven't heard from any other parties and I'm not sure if any of them have read the book or not. All I know is I was honest about my feelings. This is my truth.</p> <p><strong>Most people from the Eighties generation know you as the keyboardist for Survivor, when the fact is you were always a guitarist and frontman. How difficult was if for you to make that transition?</strong></p> <p>That was the big conflict. In the Ides of March, I was the frontman who played guitar and talked to the crowd. Being relegated to keyboards (which I love) was a support position. I learned early on that there was room for only one guitar player in Survivor, and it wasn't me. It was a hard pill to swallow but there was always a greater good. No matter what my personal feelings were at the time, it was a hell of a band and we were making great music.</p> <p><strong>What are some of your best memories of working with Jimi Jamison?</strong></p> <p>I remember when we were doing the video for “The Moment of Truth” [from <em>The Karate Kid</em>]. We were in this park and all of these Japanese tourists started coming up to Jimi because they all thought he was Wayne Newton. We were all cracking up. The chemistry between us was so good. I remember he and I used to go on radio stations and just crack up the disc jockey. We had a lot of wonderful moments like that. He was really one of a kind.</p> <p><strong>Can you tell me about the time you met Jimi Hendrix?</strong></p> <p>When I met him, he was toward the end of his life and didn't really have the energy he had early on in his career. We both had shared a locker room and I remember shaking his huge hand and watching his show. It was a thrill to shake the hand of the master.</p> <p><strong>What's your song writing process like?</strong></p> <p>Every day I'm writing down ideas, hooks, things that cross my mind and things I hear people say into my journals and idea banks. For example, “The Search Is Over” actually started as a news event I had heard. "The search is over for the missing..." Once I heard it, I wrote down "The Search Is Over." The trick is to stockpile these ideas until the time is right to take them out of storage. </p> <p><strong>Let’s talk a little about your guitar collection. How many guitars do you have?</strong></p> <p>182. But who's counting? [laughs]. </p> <p><strong>Which one is your crown jewel?</strong></p> <p>In terms of value, it's probably my '58 Flying V. There were only 93 made in the original Korina. It's a beautiful instrument. But then I have certain guitars that mean more to me than the actual value. Like my '69 Goldtop Les Paul that I played "Vehicle" on. Then there’s my '56 Telecaster, which is my go-to Tele. I also have a '54 Sunburst Strat that just rips! It's an amazing instrument. I’ve also got a '65 Candy Apple Red Strat, which is probably the best-sounding guitar I own. The treble pickup sounds like a humbucker. Sometimes Strats can be kind of thin, but this one is loud and full. </p> <p><strong>What would you say has been the biggest highlight of your career?</strong></p> <p>Believe it or not, it would probably be that Ides of March show with Led Zeppelin in Winnipeg. We proved to ourselves that night that we were the real deal. We took terrible conditions, the shittiest PA and mics, and just killed. We got standing ovations after every song. It was amazing. The headline the next day read, “The Kids From Berwyn Steal the Show." I always go back to that for inspiration.</p> <p><em>For more about Peterik, visit <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> James Wood Jim Peterik Survivor Interviews News Features Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:10:37 +0000 James Wood Nita Strauss, Alice Cooper's New Touring Guitarist, Gets Into the Act <!--paging_filter--><p><strong><a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=NitaInterview">This interview is from the all-new November 2014 issue of Guitar World:</a></strong></p> <p>As the newest guitarist in Alice Cooper’s touring band, Nita Strauss has some large shoes to fill. </p> <p>The 27-year-old Los Angeles native, who assumed the post this past spring following the departure of virtuoso Orianthi, is the most recent in a line of esteemed six-stringers that have played alongside the rock legend. </p> <p> “Alice has had this ridiculous lineup of guitar players,” Strauss says. “Guys like Al Pitrelli, Reb Beach, Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner. To get to be one of the names on that list of players, I still can’t believe it.”</p> <p> Strauss, however, can more than hold her own in this lineage. A self-taught player, she picked up the guitar at 13 after watching the “head-cutting” finale scene in the 1986 movie <em>Crossroads</em>, in which Ralph Macchio’s character battles Steve Vai in an epic guitar duel.</p> <p> “As soon as I saw that, it was like a switch went off in my head,” Strauss says. “After that, it was Vai, Vai, Vai, all the time.”</p> <p> Today, her approach, which mixes arena-rock flash with technique-heavy fretboard acrobatics and searing speed, has made her an in-demand player within guitar circles. </p> <p> And her résumé is incredibly diverse: Strauss has, among other endeavors, logged time with Los Angeles deathcore act As Blood Runs Black, performed with Jermaine Jackson on a run of stadium shows in South Africa, tackled video-game music with the band Critical Hit, played with rejuvenated Eighties hair metalers Femme Fatale and acted as the in-house guitarist for the Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons–owned LA Kiss arena football team.</p> <p> Prior to landing the Cooper gig, Strauss was best known for her work in the Iron Maidens, an all-female tribute act to the British metal masters. Strauss, who handled the rhythm and lead parts originally played by Maiden guitarist Dave Murray (her stage name in the group: Mega Murray), says her three years with the Maidens “has been so much fun. They’re pros, and they give the music the respect it deserves.”</p> <p> The Iron Maidens, in a roundabout way, also helped prepare her for a summer with shock-master Cooper. Says Strauss, “Before the first show with Alice, the guys in his band were giving me all these warnings, like, ‘Be careful, because this is the part where the Frankenstein monster comes out…’ But I just said, ‘Yeah, I know how that is. With the Maidens we have an ‘Eddie’ onstage!’ ” She laughs. “Granted, the Eddie is person-size and the Frankenstein is 20-feet tall. But, you know, other than that it wasn’t such a huge adjustment.”</p> <p><em>Photo: Chris Casella</em></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/alice-cooper">Alice Cooper</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Alice Cooper Nita Strauss November 2014 Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:05:13 +0000 Richard Bienstock Eric Johnson and Mike Stern Discuss Their ‘Eclectic’ New Album <!--paging_filter--><p>What do you get when you combine two bona-fide guitar heroes in their respective genres — and then have them go toe-to-toe with each other? You get <em>Eclectic,</em> a new album by blues/jazz/rocker Eric Johnson and jazz master Mike Stern. </p> <p>Recorded at Johnson’s studio in Austin, Texas, <em>Eclectic</em> — which will be released October 27 — is a tasty collection of songs highlighting the strengths of both guitarists. It features an infectious rhythm section consisting of drummer Anton Fig (<em>The Late Show with David Letterman</em>) and Johnson’s regular bassist, Chris Maresh.</p> <p>Stern’s body of guitar goodness spans more than four decades. His career includes partnerships with such artists as Blood, Sweat &amp; Tears, Billy Cobham, Miles Davis and Jaco Pastorius.</p> <p>Johnson’s playing has often been compared to that of Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck. His six-string wizardry earned him a Grammy award in 1992 for his instrumental hit, “Cliffs of Dover,” which came in at Number 17 on <em>Guitar World</em>’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitar solos of all time. </p> <p>Johnson and Stern will support <em>Eclectic</em> with an Eastern U.S. tour beginning in November. You can check out all the dates below.</p> <p>I recently spoke with both guitarists about their new album. Johnson also gives a bit of advice for properly playing “Cliffs of Dover.”</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How did this collaboration begin?</strong></p> <p><strong>STERN</strong>: I've known Eric for years and always dug his playing. Every time I saw him, I’d tell him that it would be great for us to do something together. Finally, I was doing this record called <em>Big Neighborhood</em> and had the idea of doing something with him. </p> <p><strong>JOHNSON</strong>: We had so much fun working on that record that one day the Blue Note Club in New York called and asked us if we’d like to do a joint gig together. So we put together a band, rehearsed and learned music. We ended up doing a two-week tour out of that and got offered to do a record and a few other tours that are now slated to happen.</p> <p><strong>How would you describe <em>Eclectic</em>?</strong></p> <p><strong>JOHNSON</strong>: It’s a pretty honest record. We cut most of the record live and pretty much set everything up in one room. </p> <p><strong>STERN</strong>: The thing I like about Eric’s playing and the thing I always try to do is to play from the heart. That's the most important thing about music, and there’s certainly a lot of heart and soul on this record.</p> <p><strong>Let’s discuss a few tracks from <em>Eclectic</em>. "Benny Man’s Blues" (which you can hear below).</strong></p> <p><strong>JOHNSON</strong>: Mike was saying we should have an up-tempo blues piece for the record, which I thought was a cool idea. While I was figuring out what to do, I started thinking about some of those old Benny Goodman records where there’s just a couple of chord changes, but it still has that blues vibe.</p> <p><strong>STERN</strong>: That's a really cool track with a Texas-swing feel to it. I originally didn't know how Eric wanted to do it, but once Anton started playing the back beat, I immediately got where he was coming from.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>"Hulabaloo."</strong></p> <p><strong>JOHNSON</strong>: It has a crazy rock/swinging Sixties vibe to it. It started off with a “show review”-type of riff and then evolved from there.</p> <p><strong>"Tidal."</strong></p> <p><strong>JOHNSON</strong>: That song is an homage to Wes [Montgomery]. I actually wrote that song earlier and put it on iTunes. I brought it into our rehearsals and we started re-arranging it. I actually like it a lot better the way it is now. It’s a pretty cool thing.</p> <p><strong>"Wherever You Go."</strong></p> <p><strong>STERN</strong>: I had a ballad kind of feeling when I wrote that song. The vibe is usually what starts it and gives it inspiration. Eric got it right away and what he plays on it is so beautiful.</p> <p><strong>Eric, I have to ask you about “Cliffs of Dover." When you think about that song, what comes to mind?</strong></p> <p><strong>JOHNSON</strong>: In a way, I think that song was kind of a gift. It’s one of those songs that just came to me really quickly. I don’t know why, but one day I just sat down and had the whole song finished in five minutes.</p> <p><strong>Do you have a bit of advice for someone attempting play it?</strong></p> <p><strong>JOHNSON</strong>: There are a lot of different ways to approach it. Just to actually play it is not really that hard, but to play it in its best way is a bit of a challenge. It favors certain string positions to sound clean and they’re not the easiest, most readily accessible ways to go to. </p> <p><strong>What’s your current setup like?</strong></p> <p><strong>STERN</strong>: I keep it simple. I've got a Signature Yamaha Tele. I usually run it through two amps set in stereo. I also use a Yamaha SPX-90 to fatten the sound up a little bit more and give it more air. My pedals include a BOSS DD3 and a Super Overdrive that Robert Keely modified to help warm it up. </p> <p><strong>JOHNSON</strong>: I play Strats mostly, through some manner of Fender amps for a stereo chorus sound. I also use a little 18-watt amp that Bill Webb built. For effects, I use a TC Electronic stereo chorus, fuzz phase and a Belle Epoch echo pedal by Catalinbread. I also use a TunnelWorm flanger by Mr. Black.</p> <p><strong>What are you most looking forward to about the release of <em>Eclectic</em> and this new collaboration?</strong></p> <p><strong>STERN</strong>: There were some new things I did on this record like singing and writing words to my songs and some of the ideas were really spontaneous. Now we get to go play it live and are very excited about it. We’re both so lucky to be able to do what we do.</p> <p><strong>JOHNSON</strong>: I’m turning my attention to creating more spontaneous, live music and being able to paint a picture with my performance. If you want to go back and overdub to fix a note or two, that’s fine. Just be sure to keep it to a minimum and continue to paint that big picture. That’s where all the vibe is. </p> <p><em>For more about Johnson, visit <a href=""></a>. For more about Stern, visit <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p><strong>2014 Eric Johnson/Mike Stern Tour Dates</strong></p> <p>06-Nov-14 Birchmere Alexandria VA<br /> 07-Nov-14 Westhampton Beach P.A.C Westhampton Beach NY<br /> 08-Nov-14 Keswick Theatre Glenside PA<br /> 09-Nov-14 Webster Hall New York NY<br /> 11-Nov-14 Wilbur Theatre Boston MA<br /> 12-Nov-14 Boulton Center Bay Shore NY<br /> 13-Nov-14 Infinity Hall Hartford CT<br /> 14-Nov-14 Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry NH<br /> 15-Nov-14 Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry NH<br /> 16-Nov-14 Infinity Hall Norfolk CT<br /> 18-Nov-14 Narrows Center for the Arts Fall River MA<br /> 19-Nov-14 Rams Head On Stage Annapolis MD<br /> 20-Nov-14 Newton Theatre Newton NJ<br /> 21-Nov-14 Beacon Theatre Hopewell VA<br /> 22-Nov-14 Harvester Performance Center Rocky Mount VA<br /> 23-Nov-14 Carolina Theatre Durham NC</p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eric-johnson">Eric Johnson</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Eric Johnson James Wood Mike Stern Interviews News Features Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:52:45 +0000 James Wood Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee of Rush Choose 22 Songs That Inspired Them Most <!--paging_filter--><p>In this interview from 2009, Rush’s guitarist — Alex Lifeson — and bassist — Geddy Lee — choose 60 minutes' worth of the music that is closest to their hearts, essentially putting together the ultimate Rush-approved "mixed tape."</p> <p><strong>ALEX LIFESON:</strong></p> <p><strong>“SINK THE BISMARCK”</strong> Johnny Horton, <em>Greatest Hits</em> (1990)</p> <p>I fell in love with music because of this song. It was the first single I bought. I was around 11 years old, which was about a year before I started playing guitar. </p> <p>It’s a song about the Bismarck, a German battleship that sunk during World War II. It’s a very thematic, rousing song. I think I mowed two lawns or something to make enough money to buy it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH” </strong> Buffalo Springfield, <em>Buffalo Springfield</em> (1966)</p> <p>This was the first rock song that had a big influence on me. I remember hearing it on the radio in my dad’s car when I was a kid. Buffalo Springfield were unlike the other bands of the ‘San Francisco sound’; they were more country sounding. Stephen Stills and Neil Young trade leads on this one. </p> <p>I like Young’s very fast vibrato and edgy, truncated playing style, particularly on his soloing, whereas Stills’ sound is sweeter and smoother. This is still one of my all-time favorite songs. In fact, Rush did a version of it on our covers tribute EP, <em>Feedback</em>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“SHAPES OF THINGS” </strong> Jeff Beck, <em>Truth</em> (1968)</p> <p>This is another song we covered on <em>Feedback</em>. Jeff Beck has a tone like no one else, maybe because he doesn’t play with a pick very much. He also has a very strong left hand and can move the strings almost effortlessly. </p> <p>He’s still cranking it out today, but he doesn’t put out albums as often as I’d like; he works only when he feels like it. Before <em>Truth</em>, Beck was an integral part of the Yardbirds, and their recording of this song is great. But this version, with Rod Stewart’s voice on top, adds a whole new element to the song. </p> <p>It sounds tougher, bigger and beefier.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“MY GENERATION” </strong> The Who, <em>The Who Sings My Generation</em> (1965)</p> <p>Pete Townshend is one of my greatest influences. More than any other guitarist, he taught me how to play rhythm guitar and demonstrated its importance, particularly in a three-piece band. </p> <p>His chording and strumming always took up the right amount of space. The first time I heard this song was in the basement of Rush’s original drummer, John Rutsey. John had two older brothers, both of whom were music fiends, and they always had whatever new album had just come out.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“ARE YOU EXPERIENCED” </strong> Jimi Hendrix, <em>Are You Experienced</em> (1967)</p> <p>This was another record I heard for the first time at Rutsey’s place. What attracts me to this song is all the backward stuff. It sounds so alien but so right and perfect. </p> <p>Hendrix was a natural genius who played many beautiful styles. Talent as great as his doesn’t come through life very frequently. Hendrix was one in a billion.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong> “ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER” </strong> Jimi Hendrix, <em>Electric Ladyland</em> (1968)</p> <p>This is one of the most beautiful songs and arrangements ever recorded. Hendrix took a Bob Dylan folk song and turned it into a symphony. The acoustic guitar on this song [<em>played by Dave Mason</em>] has such beautiful compression. </p> <p>It doesn’t slap you; it caresses you. This song grabs your heart and sails away with it; it sounds unlike anything anyone has ever done. That was the magic of Hendrix: even if you copied what he recorded and tried to play like him, it could never be the same.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“HOW MANY MORE TIMES” </strong> Led Zeppelin, <em>Led Zeppelin</em> (1969)</p> <p>Of any guitarist, Jimmy Page was my biggest influence. I wanted to look, think and play like him. Zeppelin had a heavy influence on Rush during our early days. Page’s loose style of playing showed an immense confidence, and there are no rules to his playing. </p> <p>I met Page at a Page/Plant concert in Toronto in 1998. I was acting like a kid, all googly eyed. I was freaking out and my hands were shaking. I was so thrilled to meet him because his work meant so much to me.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“KASHMIR” </strong>Led Zeppelin, <em>Physical Graffiti</em> (1975)</p> <p>This is an absolutely brilliant song, an all-time classic. ‘Kashmir’ has such a wonderful, exotic Middle Eastern feel to it — it’s like no other song of its era — and <em>Physical Graffiti</em> is a mind-blowing album. </p> <p>In a roundabout way, ‘Kashmir’ influenced ‘A Passage to Bangkok’ [<em>2112</em>], which has a similar sort of odd-tempo arrangement to the verses.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“(I CAN’T GET NO) SATISFACTION” </strong> The Rolling Stones, <em>Hot Rocks, 1964–1971</em> (1972)</p> <p>This was the second single I bought. One summer when I was 12, I went to Yugoslavia to visit my relatives. I took one record with me — this one. I played it for my relatives because I wanted my cousins to hear it. </p> <p>The Stones had that bluesy, dirty, bad-boy image, which I much preferred to cleaner-sounding bands like the Beatles or the Searchers. The Stones were more dangerous than other bands of the Sixties. It looked like they had more fun than the Beatles — like they stayed up later.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“COMFORTABLY NUMB” </strong> Pink Floyd, <em>The Wall</em> (1979)</p> <p>David Gilmour is so well respected, and while he’s often overlooked among guitarists, I think people who appreciate rock guitarists regard him as one of the best. </p> <p>He’s a brilliant player and has such passion and feel. You can sense he’s a smart man: you can hear how he puts it all together and how it fits, which is a real testament to his songwriting. He’s such a bluesy player, to boot. My eyes water whenever I hear this song. </p> <p>Pink Floyd have such incredible arrangements; their songs are rich and complex but not particularly complicated. They can take as long as they want to tell you a story, but it’s always interesting.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>“IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT” </strong> U.K., <em>U.K.</em> (1978) <p>Allan Holdsworth has an amazing, out-of-this-world liquidity. What a genius! His fingers are constantly moving. Pulls make up the bulk of his playing; I don’t think he does much picking. </p> <p>I was listening to Holdsworth around the time of <em>Moving Pictures</em> [<em>1981</em>], and you can indirectly hear his influence on my playing on ‘YYZ.’</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“THIRD EYE” </strong> Tool, <em>Ænima</em> (1996)</p> <p>Adam Jones is a fabulous guitarist and songwriter, and Tool are such a powerful band. You know it’s Tool when you hear them, because they’re intensely dynamic, yet heavy, even when they’re playing is light. I listened to this album over and over; I don’t do that very often. </p> <p>Tool have an interesting, intelligent approach to song construction and lyrics. It’s just too bad we don’t hear from them more often.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“AH VIA MUSICOM” </strong> Eric Johnson, <em>Ah Via Musicom</em> (1990)</p> <p>I’ve never heard anybody with a better tone than Eric Johnson! He played with us on a couple of tours and I’d watch his performance most every night. </p> <p>There’s a smoothness to his playing that is so elastic. Eric is very accurate and articulate but soulful at the same time. If anybody could come close to playing like Hendrix, he could.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>GEDDY LEE</strong></p> <p><strong>“THICK AS A BRICK” </strong> Jethro Tull, <em>Thick As a Brick</em> (1972)</p> <p>In my view, this is the first truly successful concept album by a British prog-rock band. They even brought a flute into heavy rock music. How dare they! [<em>laughs</em>] </p> <p>Their music is so brilliantly written and well put together, what with its hard-to-play parts and odd time signatures, not to mention the great guitar sounds of the totally underrated Martin Barre. </p> <p>And I love how, no matter what influences they brought into the music, from classical to folk, they always did it in a rock context.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“TIME AND A WORD” </strong> Yes, <em>Time and a Word</em> (1970)</p> <p>I didn’t know who Yes were until a friend loaned me this record. I was totally amazed. I’d never heard a band like this, and I’d never heard a bass player placed so upfront in the mix. </p> <p>Chris Squire had such a driving, aggressive sound, and it made this such a pivotal, influential song for me. Squire’s melodies were brilliant, and they were definitely out there. </p> <p>But they were always essential to the skeletal forms of those songs; he never wandered off out of context. His lines help hold the songs together.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“HOW MANY MORE TIMES” </strong> Led Zeppelin, <em>Led Zeppelin</em> (1969)</p> <p>I saw them in Toronto at a little place called the Rockpile. We were in the second row, and when they played this song it just blew me away. It reaffirmed for me all the creative potential in blending hard rock with progressive music. John Paul Jones was the unsung hero in that band. </p> <p>What bass player of that period didn’t know how to play that riff? I still jam to it sometimes at soundchecks.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“I AIN’T SUPERSTITIOUS” </strong> Jeff Beck, <em>Truth</em> (1968)</p> <p>If I had to pick a favorite guitarist of all time, it would probably be Jeff Beck. I mean, was there a better guitar sound ever? I think this was the first great Jeff Beck ‘moment,’ the first time when you’d hear something and know that it couldn’t be anybody but him. He was such an amazing pioneer, and just an incredible stylist. </p> <p>The notes he squeezes out of that thing with a whammy bar, a volume control knob and his fingers are simply incredible.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>“OVER UNDER SIDEWAYS DOWN” </strong> The Yardbirds, <em>Roger the Engineer</em> (1966) <p>Jeff Beck again, playing one of the most unique guitar lines ever. It’s really hard to play that thing — it manages to grab something essential from the Eastern quarter-tone style without just being imitative of Indian music. </p> <p>And it’s the hook to a pop song — back when pop, particularly in England, could be a platform for experimentation and innovation. Beck, Page, Clapton and some other Brits really discovered a totally new sound. </p> <p>They figured out how to get a pop angle on the blues by electrifying it, and it became a profound way for guitarists to speak through music.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“WATCHER OF THE SKIES” </strong> Genesis, <em>Foxtrot</em> (1972)</p> <p>This is a very strange, ominous tune from very early Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. The time signature was completely odd — it was a little like Yes, but darker and much more theatrical. </p> <p>The music wasn’t about people stepping out and doing bluesy solos; they were taking a high level of musicianship and weaving it into the guts of the song, playing with layers of melody, odd time signatures and strange guitar riffs. What fascinated me was how these intricate parts all supported one another — and the song.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>“3/5 OF A MILE IN TEN SECONDS” </strong> Jefferson Airplane, <em>Bless Its Pointed Little Head</em> (1969) <p>A great live record, where the band takes some risks and really changes the arrangements, especially rhythmically. Jack Casady, one of the truly great, underrated bass players, is the star of this record. </p> <p>His tone was very different from other American bassists; it was edgier, and his riffs were really challenging — they aggressively pushed the songs along. I like when a bass player gets a little pushy and won’t keep his place. He steps out of line, but in a great way.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“SPOONFUL” </strong> Cream, <em>Fresh Cream</em> (1966)</p> <p>‘Crossroads’ was the song you had to learn to play if you were in a band. Clapton just flies through that song. But for me, ‘Spoonful’ was more about Jack Bruce’s great voice and adventurous playing. Bruce, like all the bass players I’ve mentioned, wasn’t content to be a bottom-end, stayin'-the-background bassist. </p> <p>He’s playing a Gibson bass obviously too loud, to where it’s distorting the speakers. But it gave him this aggressive sound and a kind of spidery tone, and I love everything about it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“MY GENERATION” </strong> The Who, <em>Live at Leeds</em> (1970)</p> <p>What an amazing guitar sound on this album! And [<em>Pete</em>] Townshend even plays a few solos, which he usually never does. Was there anybody better at expressing themselves through power chords? </p> <p>I just loved that record, and I know Alex did, too. Every time we jammed as a young band we would wind up jamming parts of that record.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Can't get enough Rush? <a href=";cPath=5&amp;products_id=13&amp;;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=60MinutesWith">Check out Guitar Legends: Rush, which is available now at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></p> <p><em>Photo:</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/geddy-lee">Geddy Lee</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/rush">Rush</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> 60 Minutes Alex Lifeson Geddy lee GW Archive Rush Interviews News Features Sun, 28 Sep 2014 15:06:48 +0000 Guitar World Staff Talking Gear and 'Juice' with John Scofield <!--paging_filter--><p>He’s played with jazz legends from the past and jam heroes of today; he’s burrowed into the roots of bebop and blazed new territory in the world of funk; he’s a fearless soloist as well as a cool cat to have on your team. </p> <p>His name is <a href="">John Scofield</a> — and for all he’s accomplished in his career, he’s simply a nice guy to talk music with.</p> <p>Scofield’s latest project is a reunion with buddies John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood, the avant-garde jazzbos he first worked with on 1998’s <em>A Go Go</em>. Their 10-track studio release, <em><A href="">Juice,</a></em> is a mix of originals and covers, infused with the unique global funk jams the MSMW collaborative have come to be known for. </p> <p>Here are some thoughts from Scofield on gear, going out and — most importantly — how to get back.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Well, John, 30-plus years down the road and you’re still coaxing new sounds out of that ’81 Ibanez AS-200. I’d almost say that one’s a keeper.</strong></p> <p>Yeah! [laughs] Hey, I feel like a traitor to my country because I’m supporting a foreign-made guitar … but what the hell? [laughter] It’s a beautiful guitar, man. I like semi-acoustics. I had a Gibson 335 before that, which I still have. I just really dug that Ibanez when it was given to me in 1981.</p> <p><strong>Who gave it to you?</strong></p> <p>Ibanez. I was on tour in Japan and at that point, both Ibanez and Yamaha were being really aggressive about getting all the American artists they could get to play their instruments. I had my 335 with me, and it had really gone through some changes; it was playing really weirdly. Back then, I didn't know how to do neck adjustments … I wouldn't trust myself to do it, you know?</p> <p>That’s when Ibanez brought me this brand-new AS-200 to try, and I said, “Man, this plays great and feels great … it feels a lot like my 335.” I began playing it on that tour. When I got home, I had the Gibson adjusted, but I’d been playing the Ibanez for a month and was used to it … and I’ve been playing it ever since.</p> <p>Sometimes I’ll play the Gibson, which I really like, too. They're just different animals; there’s something about that Ibanez that I’ve just grown accustomed to. I can really get something out of it, you know?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Have you experimented with pickups over the years, or is she still pretty much stock?</strong></p> <p>I actually have two Ibanez AS-200s, two old ones. I changed the pickups on one of them and put some Voodoo Humbuckers on. But the main one I play still has the original pickups, which are, like, the loudest pickups known to man. </p> <p><strong>Is there a warning label on them?</strong></p> <p>There should be! [laughs] I’ve never played a louder pickup … it’ll blow up amps, you know? [laughter]</p> <p><strong>Speaking of amps, what was your go-to for the <em>Juice</em> sessions?</strong></p> <p>I used one amp for the whole record: my Vox AC-30. It’s a reissue from the late Nineties that I modded out a little bit. I changed one of the speakers so they’re mismatched, which is what Matchless does. I have a Matchless amp I really like, too.</p> <p><strong>What did you put in for the second speaker?</strong></p> <p>Another Celestion, but a different wattage. One’s a 30-watt and the other’s a 15. It’s exactly the same setup as the two speakers in the Matchless 2x12 combo.</p> <p><strong>You usually have a pretty impressive array of pedals by your toes, but even when you tap into them, you really have a light touch. I mean, every now and then you go a little bit apeshit — in the nicest of ways.</strong></p> <p>[laughs] Thanks!</p> <p><strong>But you don't rely on a lot of effects, which is something I appreciate.</strong></p> <p>You know, I started off just playing … and that’s still the main thing I do. It’s really nice to have — especially in the jazz/funk area like on <em>Juice</em> — some of the effects to get different things happening. </p> <p>It’s kind of like, if you’re going to play an hour of music, after a while you’re looking for something else besides the regular guitar tones. It’s fun now and then … but yeah: the main stuff I do is my guitar.</p> <p><strong>When the four of you get together, are there any ground rules as to who’s going to play traffic cop?</strong></p> <p>You know, there are certain tunes that definitely have arrangements … and then there songs that have an arrangement, but we’ll start with some free stuff.</p> <p>Sometimes we’ll say, “Let's start completely free and just see where it goes — and then we’ll start segueing into this tune.” It's not like we're totally playing “anything goes” in that we have a game plan. It seems to help that we have both structure and no structure — it helps to keep it from being boring.</p> <p>Even in the free stuff, I notice that John, Billy and Chris are all really good at shifting gears quickly. Right when you think, “This needs to go somewhere else,” they’ll dramatically go there as a group. They have an ESP-type ability, which is pretty cool.</p> <p><strong>What are some key elements of your playing that you think have changed over the years?</strong></p> <p>Oh, man … [laughs] You know, when I listen to stuff I recorded when I first started playing, it’s things like … like the way you get out of a phrase that I didn’t know how to do. I didn't know how to get the note to stop ringing; how you let the last note you hit fade out; how you come off of it.</p> <p><strong>To take a breath — like a horn player.</strong></p> <p>Exactly. You need to let the space happen … and when you come back in, you need to get back in the groove and really be part of the rhythm section. Put yourself into the rhythm section, you know? Don't play over it — put yourself in there.</p> <p><em>A former offshore lobsterman, Brian Robbins had to wait a good four decades or so to write about the stuff he wanted to when he was 15. Today he’s a freelance scribe, cartoonist, photographer and musician. His home on the worldwide inner tube is at <a href=""></a> (And there’s that <a href="">Facebook</a> thing too.)</em></p> Brian Robbins Ibanez John Scofield Interviews News Features Fri, 26 Sep 2014 20:43:08 +0000 Brian Robbins King Crimson Return, Play First Gigs in Six Years <!--paging_filter--><p>Fans of progressive rock had reason to rejoice this past summer when Robert Fripp, the guitarist and bandleader of the legendary progressive rock band King Crimson, dramatically announced he was coming out of retirement and the group was “returning to active service.” </p> <p>True to his word, after a six-year hiatus, the U.K. band returned to the U.S. in September for a sold-out tour featuring a new lineup. </p> <p>At seven members, it is the largest configuration of the group ever assembled, featuring three drummers, along with veteran bassist Tony Levin, saxophonist Mel Collins, new vocalist/guitarist Jakko Jakszyk and, of course, Fripp.</p> <p>Last week in New York City, the unit played an intense and swinging set featuring songs from several different eras of the band’s 40-year history, including knockout versions of “Starless,” “Larks’ Tongue In Aspic, Parts One &amp; Two” and “21st Century Schizoid Man.” </p> <p><em>Guitar World</em> recently caught up with Jakszyk to discuss his role the reconstituted group. A veteran prog rocker, who at one time played in the King Crimson cover band called the 21st Century Schizoid Band, is obviously thrilled to play in the real deal. So much so, he commissioned a special guitar made by Paul Reed Smith to commemorate the event…but more on that later.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Fans of the band were a little surprised when it was announced that King Crimson was touring. We were under the impression Robert Fripp had retired.</strong></p> <p>The band was also surprised when we got the call! I think it might’ve had to do with a record he and I worked on together called <em>A Scarcity of Miracles</em> back in 2011. It wasn’t a Crimson album, but Robert referred to it as a "Crimson ProjeKct." Five of the current seven members are on that album, and I think he enjoyed it. Also, I think he had to just resolve an ongoing litigation with Universal Music, which went on for ages and used to trouble him on a daily basis. I can’t speak for him, but those are my observations. </p> <p><strong>Why have three drummers in the band?</strong></p> <p>Why, indeed! I have to admit, when Robert first started talking about using a drum trio, I thought he was mad. I couldn’t see how it was going to work. Then he explained he wanted the drums to be in front and the band on risers behind them! That made me even more concerned. I had all kinds of worries about how we would monitor the sound. But when we set up for the first time, and we saw how cool it looked, we all got excited. It took a little time, but eventually we figured out how to monitor the band using in-ear headphones. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Isn’t it odd for the singer to be behind the drummers?</strong></p> <p>Exactly! But there is something very egalitarian about the arrangement. Usually the singer is the frontman—he’s the guy that’s the focus of attention. By putting him and featured soloists in the back, suddenly the audience’s attention shifts to the music and all of the musicians rather than one guy. In a way, the current version of Crimson feels more like an orchestra. It’s a real group.</p> <p><strong>How were you able to coordinate the drum parts?</strong></p> <p>A lot of credit has to go to Gavin Harrison, who really worked hard on arranging and writing out the parts. But all three have done a great job. They actually spent a lot of time rehearsing separately from the band. </p> <p><strong>So Fripp wasn’t so crazy after all.</strong></p> <p>He sees things in a way no one else can.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Tell us about your cool <em>In The Court of the Crimson King</em> PRS guitar.</strong></p> <p>When I was asked to join Crimson, I really wanted to make a statement of intent. So, I asked the guys at PRS if they were up for making me a guitar that looked as special as it played. Together, we took the iconic artwork of Crimson’s first album and created a version that would fit on the PRS shape. <a href="">The photos don’t do the guitar justice—the finish looks like porcelain.</a></p> <p><strong>What amp are you using? It’s clear that under this unique stage setup, a 100-watt 4x12 amp would be overpowering and pretty impractical.</strong></p> <p>I use a Kemper Profiling Amp. One of the editors at <em>Guitarist</em> magazine in the U.K. turned me on to them. They're really flexible, easy to use and they allow me model the variety of sounds I need to compliment all the different eras of Crimson. </p> <p>But I have to tell you this funny story that happened while we were first putting the show together. I’m required to perform some of the parts Robert played on the original albums, so I need to mimic his sound. One day while we were rehearsing, we were playing a song and Robert stopped me and complimented my sound. He asked me what I was using and I told him it was a preset on the Kemper—it was called “Early Fripp”!</p> <p><em>Brad Tolinski is the editor-in-chief at </em>Guitar World.</p> Brad Tolinski Jakko Jakszyk King Crimson PRS Guitars Interviews News Features Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:39:00 +0000 Brad Tolinski Guitarist Elliot Easton Discusses The Empty Hearts, The Cars and His Signature Gibson Tikibird <!--paging_filter--><p>Even though the Empty Hearts feature members of Blondie, the Cars, the Chesterfield Kings and the Romantics — and even though their name was chosen from Little Steven Van Zandt's super-secret list of unused band names — this is no cynically constructed supergroup. </p> <p>Featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Clem Burke, guitarist Elliot Easton, bassist Andy Babiuk and lead singer/rhythm guitarist Wally Palmar, the Empty Hearts have parlayed a combined lifetime of rock into their self-titled debut. Their new album is a raucous collection of tunes shaped by Fifties American roots rock, Sixties British Invasion and Seventies garage-punk. </p> <p>I recently spoke to Easton about the Empty Hearts, his signature Gibson Tikibird and the 30th anniversary of the Cars’ <em>Heartbeat City.</em></p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: When did the idea for the Empty Hearts begin?</strong></p> <p>The germ of the idea started with Andy [Babiuk]. The Chesterfield Kings weren’t doing anything and Andy called me up and said, “What do you think about doing a band with me, you, Clem Burke and Wally Palmer from the Romantics?” </p> <p>I wasn’t doing much at the time so I told him that if he could get it together, I was in. Andy is such a great organizer and motivator and put everything together. We found that we liked each other’s vibe and enjoyed each other’s company. Everything about it really felt good. </p> <p><strong>How would you describe the album?</strong></p> <p>It’s a reflection and celebration of all of our influences that went into making us the musicians we are. Recalling those early days of innocence when you played music for the sheer joy of it. We really wanted to make a record that reminded us of why we got into music in the first place. You hear some Who, Beatles and our garage rock influences. It’s all stuff we loved as kids starting out.</p> <p><strong>What was the recording process like?</strong></p> <p>Most of this record was made with the four of us interacting with each other on the studio floor. I think when you have four people playing together all at once, it adds a fifth element. When you have overtones of guitar chords mixing in with the cymbals, it generates a live-vibe kind of atmosphere.</p> <p><strong>Will the Empty Heart be touring to support the new album?</strong></p> <p>Yes. One of our main goals is to be a touring band. We’ll be going to Japan in October and warming up with a few shows on the East Coast. Even though everyone in the group comes from a known band, we’re still new and have to establish ourselves. This first bunch of gigs is to get over that first hump and have people understand what we’re all about. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>What can you tell me about your new signature Gibson Tikibird?</strong></p> <p>My relationship with Gibson goes back to 1979 when I had a Signature SG from the Gibson Custom Shop. This time around, I worked with Gibson USA to do a signature model that was a little more affordable. It packs a lot of bang for the buck. It’s a reverse Firebird with ’57 classics instead of the mini-humbuckers. It also has four switches: a coil cut for the neck pickup; coil splitter for the treble pickup; an in phase/out phase when both pickups are on. The fourth switch is a blower switch, which bypasses all of the wiring on the guitar and just sends the bridge pickup to the jack full-on. </p> <p>I specified a cool custom Firebird color from the Sixties called Gold Poly Mist. The last personal touch was a little Tiki instead of the Firebird stamp on the pickguard.</p> <p><strong>The Cars' <em>Heartbeat City</em> album turns 30 this year. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about that album?</strong></p> <p>The first thing that comes to mind when I think about that album was working with Mutt Lange and how meticulous he was as a producer and how honored it was to make it with him. I remember we were in London for the better part of a year making that record and can honestly say I did more tuning then I did playing [laughs]. He would have me re-tune after every pass and every take. </p> <p><strong>Can you tell me more about your experience working with Mutt?</strong></p> <p>He just had endless energy and was there for us 100 percent. That’s the thing I marveled at. He wasn’t just meticulous with me, though. One morning I was relaxing and watching TV in the living room of the house we had rented. Ben [Orr] was getting ready to go into the studio to work on some bass, and I remember wishing him luck as he left. </p> <p>As the day went by, I did a few things and later that night I found myself stretched back out on the couch watching TV. That was when Ben finally came home. I said, “Hey man! How’d it go today?” Ben said, “Well, we're starting to get a sound” [laughs]. I learned a lot from making the record with Mutt. It made me an even tighter, better player in the studio. I put that album up there with our best work.</p> <p><strong>What excites you the most about the Empty Hearts?</strong></p> <p>I’m really looking forward to getting the music out in front of people, writing more songs and albums and watching this band become even tighter. I really like being in this band. There’s no drama. Just a lot of joking and laughing and having a good time. It reminds me of why I got into the music in the first place and how much fun those garage bands were. </p> <p>Rehearsing in a friend’s basement and playing just for the sheer love of it. We don’t feel like we have to prove anything anymore. We just want to have a great time playing music that’s been encoded into our DNA. </p> <p><strong>The Empty Hearts 2014 Tour Dates:</strong></p> <p>10/16 Londonderry, NH Tupelo Music Hall<br /> 10/17 Ardmore, PA Ardmore Music Hall<br /> 10/18 Brooklyn, NY The Knitting Factory<br /> 10/19 Cranston, RI RICPA - Park Theatre<br /> 10/22 Tokyo, Japan Billboard Live (2 shows)<br /> 10/23 Tokyo, Japan Billboard Live (2 shows)</p> <p><em>For more about the Empty Hearts, visit <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> Elliot Easton The Cars The Empty Hearts Interviews News Features Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:14:23 +0000 James Wood Flyleaf Guitarist Jared Hartmann Discusses the Band’s New Album, ‘Between the Stars’ <!--paging_filter--><p>Flyleaf have consistently dominated the active, alternative and mainstream rock charts since their eponymous, self-titled debut was released in 2005. </p> <p>With the arrival of new vocalist Kristen May and the band’s new album, <em>Between the Stars</em>, which was released September 16, that trend is continuing.</p> <p>Produced by Don Gilmore (Pearl Jam, Linkin Park and Avril Lavigne), <em>Between the Stars</em> is Flyleaf’s fourth studio album. It delivers 12 hook-laden tracks that are deeply rooted in guitar-based rock. </p> <p>Guitarist Jared Hartmann’s hypnotic riffs are tastefully executed, creating a surreal landscape of infectious melody that takes the listener on a sonic journey. Flyleaf is Kristen May (vocals), Jared Hartmann (guitars), Sameer Bhattacharya (guitars), Pat Seals (bass) and James Culpepper (drums).</p> <p>I recently spoke with Hartmann about the new album and his musical upbringing.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe the sound of <em>Between the Stars</em> as compared to previous Flyleaf albums?</strong></p> <p>It's going to be a little different than some of the other Flyleaf records. Obviously, it will be different because we have a new singer [Lacey Sturm amicably left the band in 2012], but it’s also going to be a bit different musically as well. </p> <p>We used a lot of keyboards on this album to add some interesting elements to a few of the songs. We'll see what people think! There’s something that's similar to our previous albums but it’s also going in a new direction.</p> <p><strong>How did you connect with Kristen?</strong></p> <p>After Lacey decided to leave the band, we started looking for singers and someone suggested that we check out Kristen. Her band, Vedera, had recently broken up, so the timing was perfect. So Kristen came in, knew all of the songs and was cool to hang out with. She’s the perfect fit.</p> <p><strong>What was the writing process like for this album?</strong></p> <p>We were just getting to know Kristen and decided to do a few writing sessions where we all got together for a week and wrote songs. The more we wrote together, the better those sessions became. These songs are from those writing sessions.</p> <p><strong>How does a Flyleaf song usually begin?</strong></p> <p>It depends. Songs can come out from a bunch of different ways. Sometimes I'll come up with a riff or a few heavy guitar ideas and sometimes it might be a near finished song. Sameer pretty much had “City Kids” written and Pat pretty much had “Blue Roses” complete before we went in. There are so many writers in this band with so many different ideas. Every song has its own unique story</p> <p><strong>What was it like working with Don Gilmore?</strong></p> <p>It was a great, collaborative experience. Don’s really hands-on and was a natural part of the process. He’s very laid back but is really into the music. </p> <p><strong>What’s your setup like these days?</strong></p> <p>I use Paul Reed Smith McCarty guitars that I run through a modded Marshall JCM800 and a Diezel Einstein. </p> <p><strong>Did you always know music would be your calling?</strong></p> <p>Growing up, I was around music a lot, but it wasn’t something I originally had a passion for. All I wanted to do was play video games [laughs]. But once I got to middle school, my parents wanted me to play an instrument. I remember going to the signups for band wanting to play drums — because I thought it was the coolest thing there. That didn’t work out so I moved on to the sax, trumpet and then clarinet, but nothing seemed to fit. </p> <p> Finally, my mom said, “Well, why don’t you play guitar?” I decided to give it a try and took a few lessons. It was around the same time Sameer and I became friends. Once we hit high school, we started getting music into more and going to see bands. That’s what inspired me and made me realize that music was something I could do. I started playing all the time and it quickly turned into a passion.</p> <p><strong>Can you tell me the origin of Flyleaf?</strong></p> <p>Coming up, we were all in different bands. Sameer and I were in a local band together, Lacey was playing acoustic in coffee shops and James used to play keyboards in a band and then switched over to drums. We all knew of each other and at different times our bands broke up. That was when Lacey and James got together and started writing. Then Lacey called me and invited me to come in and play guitar with them. I brought Sameer along and everything just clicked. A few months later we got Pat and from there, we hit the road.</p> <p><strong>What excites you the most about this next chapter of Flyleaf?</strong></p> <p>Completing the new album is great but I’m also looking forward to getting back out there to interact and connect with people again. That’s the most exciting part of it. </p> <p><em>For more about Flyleaf, visit <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p><strong>Flyleaf Tour Dates</strong></p> <p>FRI 10/3 Lubbock, TX Jake's Backroom<br /> SAT 10/4 San Antonio, TX 210 Kapones Live<br /> SUN 10/5 Corpus Christi, TX House of Rock<br /> TUE 10/7 Houston, TX Scout Bar<br /> WED 10/8 Baton Rouge, LA Varsity Theatre<br /> THU 10/9 Atlanta, GA The Loft @ Center Stage<br /> SAT 10/11 Carrboro, NC Cats Cradle<br /> MON 10/13 Washington, DC Rock &amp; Roll Hotel<br /> TUE 10/14 Cambridge, MA TT the Bears<br /> THU 10/16 New York, NY Gramercy Theatre<br /> FRI 10/17 Philadelphia, PA District N9ne<br /> SAT 10/18 Portland, ME Asylum<br /> MON 10/20 Pontiac, MI The Crofoot<br /> TUE 10/21 Chicago, IL Subterranean<br /> WED 10/22 Milwaukee, WI Rave Bar<br /> FRI 10/24 Lawrence, KS Granada Theater<br /> SAT 10/25 Colorado Springs, CO Black Sheep<br /> SUN 10/26 Denver, CO The Summit Music Hall<br /> TUE 10/28 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex<br /> THU 10/30 Seattle, WA El Corazon<br /> FRI 10/31 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre<br /> SAT 11/1 San Francisco, CA Slims<br /> TUE 11/4 Los Angeles, CA House of Blues<br /> THU 11/6 Anaheim, CA House of Blues<br /> FRI 11/7 San Diego, CA House of Blues</p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> Flyleaf James Wood Jared Hartmann Interviews News Features Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:33:00 +0000 James Wood Ace Frehley Visits Guitar Center in Hollywood — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley recently dropped by the very-fun-to-visit Vintage Room at Guitar Center Hollywood. </p> <p>While he was there, he chatted (on camera) about what it feels like to play music, his musical beginnings and his relationship with Gibson, the Les Paul and a whole lot more. </p> <p>Below, you can check out the video that chronicles his visit.</p> <p>Frehley's new solo album, <em>Space Invader</em>, was released last month.</p> <p>If you're into this sort of thing, check out these three official Guitar Center clips, all of which were posted earlier this year:</p> <p>• <a href="">Slash Visits Guitar Center in Hollywood</a></p> <p>• <a href="">Video: Metallica's James Hetfield Visits Guitar Center in San Francisco</a></p> <p>• <a href="">Video: Metallica's Kirk Hammett Visits Guitar Center in San Francisco</a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ace-frehley">Ace Frehley</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Ace Frehley Videos Interviews News Tue, 23 Sep 2014 18:29:01 +0000 Damian Fanelli Eddie Van Halen on How He Created His Signature Sound Using MXR's Phase 90 and Flanger Pedals <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the all-new November 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus our cover feature on Jeff Beck and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, not to mention features on Weezer, George Thorogood, the guitar pick revolution, Nita Strauss and Black Veil Brides, plus gear reviews (Epiphone, Zoom, Gretsch, TC-Helicon, Mesa and more) and lessons by Marty Friedman and Steel Panther's Satchel, <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=EVHMXRExcerpt">check out the November 2014 issue of Guitar World!</a></em></p> <p>Earlier this year, in preparation for the 40th anniversary of MXR, its parent company, Dunlop Manufacturing, took a survey to learn how guitarists perceive the pedal maker. </p> <p>One of the questions asked was, “Which player do you associate the most with the MXR brand?” The respondents chose Eddie Van Halen more than 60 percent of the time. Notably, the runner-up received fewer than half as many mentions. </p> <p>That result is, in part, due to MXR’s EVH Signature Series pedals, the EVH90 Phase 90 and the EVH117 Flanger, which became perennial best-selling MXR products upon their introductions in 2004 and 2007, respectively. But MXR pedals have remained an essential element of Van Halen’s sound since his band’s debut album was released in 1978. </p> <p>The swirling textures of a Phase 90 are heard on classic tunes like “Eruption,” “Atomic Punk,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love,” “Everybody Wants Some!!” and “Drop Dead Legs” as well as new songs like “Outta Space” and “Stay Frosty,” and Van Halen’s distinctive and innovative use of the Flanger made an indelible impression on guitarists through songs like “Unchained,” “And the Cradle Will Rock…” and “Hear About It Later.” In addition to those two tone-enhancing mainstays, Ed has also relied upon pro-quality MXR tools like the Six-Band Graphic Equalizer and Smart Gate to keep his onstage tone full, aggressive and noise-free. His current onstage pedal board even includes an MXR Analog Chorus, which he uses for songs like “Pretty Woman” and “Little Guitars.” </p> <p>In celebration of MXR’s 40th anniversary milestone, it made perfect sense for <em>Guitar World</em> to talk with the company’s most influential player about how his MXR pedals have influenced him throughout the last four decades. </p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Did you use any pedals when you were a kid and learning to play?</strong></p> <p>A wah-wah was probably the first pedal that I ever tried. I probably borrowed it from a buddy. But I was from the school of plugging the guitar straight into the amp, so I didn’t use any pedals at first.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>How did you discover MXR pedals?</strong></p> <p>A really good friend of mine named Terry Kilgore and I were the so-called gunslingers in Pasadena back in the mid Seventies. We jammed together and would trade licks and have a lot of fun. We weren’t competitive at all. I went to one of his band rehearsals once, and that was when I first saw a Phase 90. </p> <p>He used to play a lot of Robin Trower stuff. He used the Phase 90 with the speed control set around the 2 o’clock setting to get more of that fast, swirling sound. I decided to pick one up for myself. I was into Robin Trower too, but we didn’t play any of his songs, so I used it with the control set between 9 and 10 o’clock. I still use it the same way today. I just locked into that one setting, and I’ve used it ever since.</p> <p><strong>Why do you prefer the slower speed setting?</strong></p> <p>I thought it sounded unique. I never heard that before. It didn’t sound like the phase shifters made by other companies, where the phase sweep is more heavy and pronounced, almost more like a flanger. The Phase 90 produces a very light change of the sound. It’s not an over-the-top effect. It’s very subtle. </p> <p><strong>You tended to kick on the Phase 90 during your solos.</strong></p> <p>I did that in the early days because it would make the solo pop. Suddenly it became a different sound, which helped me stand out in the mix, because back then, in the club days, we usually had lousy P.A. systems and lousy sound guys. It didn’t boost the signal, but it made it pop out so the solo was more audible. It enhanced the tone.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>What led you to the MXR Flanger?</strong></p> <p>Obviously, I liked the Phase 90, so when MXR came out with the Flanger, I said, What the hell? I loved their stuff. Their pedals are built like a brick shit house, and they make great sounds, so I started putzing around with the Flanger too. I always use the same setting for everything, from the intro to “And the Cradle Will Rock…” to “Unchained,” with the exception of the setting I used on the intro to “Outta Love Again” and “Bullethead.” </p> <p>I set the three knobs on the left between 11 o’clock or 11:30, and the last knob on the right [regeneration] is all the way up. I might fine-tune the speed a little to match it to the tempo of the song, like on “Unchained” where the sweep goes perfectly with the riff. I was just goofing off and experimenting. It wouldn’t have sounded good to use the flanger all the way through. The riff just needed a little bit here and there. It’s a cool, tasty little tidbit that I threw in there to draw attention to the riff. </p> <p><strong>How did you decide to place the Flanger in front of the Phase 90 in your signal chain?</strong></p> <p>I have no idea! I think I just liked having the Phase 90 in the middle between the Flanger and the microphone on the stage. </p> <p><strong>How did these pedals influence your songwriting?</strong></p> <p>One good example is “And the Cradle Will Rock…” I had written that intro riff on the electric piano, and the guys thought that it needed something. I just hooked up the Flanger and pounded on the low keys. It was a great sound, and it worked. There wasn’t any rocket science to it. Even the Flanger on “Unchained” was totally by accident. </p> <p>For some reason I just thought that the Flanger sounded good there. The way it goes from the sweep up to the sweep down wasn’t planned. My normal setting just happened to fit the tempo of the song. I kicked it in and out, and when I heard the way the Flanger swept up and then down, I thought it sounded cool. Nothing I’ve ever done is really all that thought out. I’d just wing stuff, and if it sounded cool I would do it again.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Do you remember how you came up with the intro to “Atomic Punk”?</strong></p> <p>That basic idea for that sound originally came from “Light Up the Sky,” which I had written before “Atomic Punk,” even though “Light Up the Sky” appeared on our second record. After the guitar solo there is a drum break, and you can hear me rubbing my palm on the low E string. One day I decided to try that with the Phase 90. It was an interesting sound, and it turned into a cool song. I’ve never really ever heard that sound from anyone else, neither before nor after I did that. After the solo, I actually also used the Flanger for a quick bit. </p> <p><strong>How did those pedals become an essential part of your sound?</strong></p> <p>They enhance the sound of what I’m playing. In certain spots I would use them if I needed them. It wasn’t a set thing; I’d just wing it, and nine times out of 10 it would work. I have to have an idea for a song first, then I’ll putz around and add or take away things. It’s like making a steak: you have to have the steak first, then you can make it better by adding a little seasoning, but not too much because you want to taste the steak, not the seasoning. </p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from the all-new November 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus our cover feature on Jeff Beck and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, not to mention features on Weezer, George Thorogood, the guitar pick revolution, Nita Strauss and Black Veil Brides, plus gear reviews (Epiphone, Zoom, Gretsch, TC-Helicon, Mesa and more) and lessons by Marty Friedman and Steel Panther's Satchel, <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=EVHMXRExcerpt">check out the November 2014 issue of Guitar World!</a></em></p> <p><em>Photo: Neil Zlozower/</em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/1114_Gib%26Beck.jpg" width="620" height="805" alt="1114_Gib&amp;Beck.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eddie-van-halen">Eddie Van Halen</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Dunlop Manufacturing Eddie Van Halen MXR November 2014 Effects Interviews News Features Gear Magazine Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:33:16 +0000 Chris Gill Jeff Beck and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Discuss the Rocking Relationship Between Guitars, Cars and Everything in Between <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the all-new November 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus new Gibbons/Beck photos by Ross Halfin, not to mention features on Weezer, George Thorogood, MXR &amp; Eddie Van Halen, the guitar pick revolution, Nita Strauss and Black Veil Brides, plus gear reviews (Epiphone, Zoom, Gretsch, TC-Helicon, Mesa and more) and lessons by Marty Friedman and Steel Panther's Satchel, <a href=";utm_source=email&amp;utm_medium=daily_enews&amp;utm_campaign=GWNOV14">check out the November 2014 issue of Guitar World!</a></em></p> <p><strong>The Surreal Thing: As they prepare to hit the road together for a summer tour, Jeff Beck and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons wax philosophical on the rock and roll relationship between guitars, cars and everything in between.</strong></p> <p>It’s a hot, sunny California day as Jeff Beck and ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons stroll through the lush courtyard of Hollywood’s swanky Sunset Marquis Hotel. </p> <p>Ripe for caricature, they are perhaps two of the most distinctive-looking performers in rock history. Beck, with his much-imitated rooster shag haircut, and Gibbons, dressed in full hipster Wild West drag, look almost disconcertingly the same as they have for the past three or four decades. </p> <p>If we hadn’t invited them ourselves on the eve of their first tour together, it would be easy to mistake them for a mirage from one of those surreal ZZ Top videos that dominated MTV in the Eighties. </p> <p><em>Surreal</em> is actually a word that pops up quite often in conversations with both musicians over the next few days. It’s certainly a fitting adjective to describe aspects of their music. </p> <p>Since Beck’s stunning 1965 debut with the Yardbirds, he has thrilled and confounded guitarists with his exciting and often avant-garde approach to the instrument. His playful and imaginative take on Willie Dixon’s “Ain’t Superstitious” from <em>Truth</em>, his 1968 album with Rod Stewart on vocals and Ronnie Wood on bass, certainly rivaled anything Jimi Hendrix was creating at the time. </p> <p>And his consistently innovative work on tracks like “Going Down” (1972), “Blue Wind” (1976),” “Where Were You” (1989) and “Hammerhead” (2010), which won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, continues to push the limits of what can be done on a Fender Stratocaster without getting arrested.</p> <p>And anyone with even a passing knowledge of ZZ Top knows how strange they can be. Comprised of Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard, the Little Ol’ Band from Texas has defied any civilized notion of what traditional rock musicians should look and sound like. Yet, their wonderfully skewed take on the blues has helped them sell somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million albums, and they continue to play the world’s biggest concert halls.</p> <p> Gibbons, in his inimitable deep Texas drawl, concurs that surreal is indeed the word of the day. “One of the highest compliments that ever came my way was sent from [guitarist] Jimmie Vaughan,” he says, chuckling. “He said, ‘Oh yeah, Gibbons is out there.’ But if there’s actually an ‘out there,’ guess what? We’ll go out there and find Jeff Beck!”</p> <p><strong><a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=GibbonsBeckExcerpt">Enjoy this excerpt from our interview with Gibbons and Beck. For the entire story, pick up the November 2014 issue of Guitar World.</a></strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Billy, what does Jeff Beck mean to you? What is his importance as an artist?</strong></p> <p><strong>BILLY GIBBONS</strong> Before Jeff and ZZ Top embarked on this tour, I received a phone call from the production office asking about design preferences for our backstage passes. The reply was simple: “Well, there’s a juicy guitar image fitting to go on the ZZ side of the pass, and there awaits a superb geetar view for Jeff’s side as well.”</p> <p>On one side, we chose a view of the infamous, Pearly Gates, my fine ’59 Les Paul ’Burst, and on the other side, we landed an image of Jeff’s magnificently battle-scarred 1954 Fender Esquire used with the Yardbirds. When you’re using the word importance, one can easily find it in the guitars that Jeff Beck and I pounded the sides off long ago. Jeff’s guitar certainly stands as a pivotal piece, marking the point where bravery stepped in with a willingness to experiment, moving the six-string expression far outside any previously proven lines. The visual impact of that beat-up war club is still meaningful and forceful to the extreme. </p> <p><strong>Jeff, what do you find cool about Billy and ZZ Top? </strong></p> <p><strong>JEFF BECK</strong> Just think about how people went for Billy’s sound and the band’s image. ZZ Top went completely against the grain of all one would expect iconic rock to be. That’s what I love about them—they are this wonderful quirky backfire. Billy’s tone is great, and so are his songs. You wouldn’t really expect these bearded guys to write all these great tunes about cars and girls. </p> <p><strong>Both you and Jeff introduced a surrealistic element into the blues. In Jeff’s case, his versions of “I Ain’t Superstitious” and “Going Down” wink at traditionalism. ZZ Top often references the blues, but they also have a little irreverent fun with the genre. How important is it for you to let your audience know that you are self-aware? You know: “I’m not from the Delta, but I still love this music and there’s a way to modernize it.”</strong></p> <p><strong>BECK</strong> When you are taken with any music with inner gusto, you don’t think too much about it—you just have to have it! </p> <p>For example, I was playing in a blues band before I joined the Yardbirds, and I was really into Bo Diddley, who made the best use imaginable out of playing one chord. His outrageous jungle rhythms were so powerful and hypnotic, he didn’t have to change keys. We basically took his idea of the one-chord vamp, and while the band played, I would just slack all my strings and then really pull on them to make the most ridiculous and surreal sounds with slap echo so that people would just look up.<br /> It wasn’t premeditated. </p> <p>I just wanted the audience to look at me and listen! I did all kinds of outrageous things like that at the time, like taking two guitars and have them feedback against each other, and it was that kind of attitude that eventually got me the job with the Yardbirds. They didn’t want someone to play a beautiful slide guitar solo, or someone that sounded like Earl Hooker. </p> <p>They wanted someone that would hold an audience. I had something no one else had, and however crude or outrageous it was at the time, it worked. It wasn’t all that calculated. It was just my way of saying, Here I am. Ultimately, I had to tone some of it down when I joined the Yardbirds, because we were going on television playing pop singles. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Billy, how important is it for you to add a little touch of the “untraditional” to your traditional blues?</strong></p> <p><strong>GIBBONS</strong> This position was being prodded in a discussion in Memphis, Tennessee, with a dear friend, Waltaire Baldwin. We came up together in Houston and kept our friendship for a long time. Waltaire is a poet. Gave me a John Lee Hooker disc when we were 12 and then showed me how to draw blues harmonica. </p> <p>Waltaire and I were in deep contemplation at 89 Union Street Saloon, sitting atop a table right near the corner window, overlooking the Mississippi. We both agreed that although we never picked cotton, didn’t grow up on plantation, it did not necessarily prevent creating an honest attempt making the truth of the blues a backbone of interpretation. The one ZZ tune that really captures this thought is, “My Head’s in Mississippi.” </p> <p>Although it ain’t the Thirties, all that hard-rhythm shuffle boogie coupled with a surrealistic Howlin’ Wolf’s delivery creates a subdued assembly of visual pictures. The great Memphis guitarist and producer Jim Dickinson once remarked, “Oh yeah, you guys are doing what I like. You’ve become a Salvador Dali—the Dali of the Delta.” Once you get that far along, the point’s made!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>What is the cosmic connection between the appreciation of an automobile and a guitar?</strong></p> <p><strong>GIBBONS</strong> It’s a big question, but a good one! What’s really the wicked connection is that they can be loud and fast; yet, they can also be quite elegant. While I was in Spain visiting Nacho Baños, the noted authority on early Fifties blackguard Fenders, we spent more than a day and a night—make it days and nights—talking about automotive elegance and the connection with the unchanged beauty of that original Fender. Call it the Telecaster, the Esquire, the Broadcaster or call it the No-caster—it’s become one of those timeless things.</p> <p><strong>BECK</strong> Guitars and cars offer experiences that are both quite amazing. The other day I was thinking, Why are there so many people in cars? It’s because it’s such a pleasure to have that experience, regardless of where you are going. It’s almost habit forming. You want to control your movement, but at the same time your brain is going at an unnatural speed and you’re putting yourself in danger. </p> <p>There’s that element of excitement every time you turn the ignition. It’s not that you’re just driving from point A to B—you’re enjoying every second of being in control of your life…or avoiding death! Listening to great rock and roll music also gives you this exhilarating sense of awareness similar to what you have when you are driving. </p> <p>There are other more obvious connections. Hot rods are cool looking and rock and roll is cool looking, and they both came of age at the same time in the Fifties. If America never created anything else, thank you very much for the hot rods and rock and roll!</p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from the all-new November 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus new Gibbons/Beck photos by Ross Halfin, not to mention features on Weezer, George Thorogood, MXR &amp; Eddie Van Halen, the guitar pick revolution, Nita Strauss and Black Veil Brides, plus gear reviews (Epiphone, Zoom, Gretsch, TC-Helicon, Mesa and more) and lessons by Marty Friedman and Steel Panther's Satchel, <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=GibbonsBeckExcerpt">check out the November 2014 issue of Guitar World!</a></em></p> <p><em>Photo: Ross Halfin</em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/1114_Gib%26Beck.jpg" width="620" height="805" alt="1114_Gib&amp;Beck.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/billy-gibbons">Billy Gibbons</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jeff-beck">Jeff Beck</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Billy Gibbons Brad Tolinski Jeff Beck November 2014 ZZ Top Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:34:29 +0000 Brad Tolinski Dear Guitar Hero: Paul Gilbert Discusses String Skipping, His Picking Attack, John Petrucci and More <!--paging_filter--><p><em>FROM THE GW ARCHIVE: Paul Gilbert answered readers' questions in 2010.</em></p> <p><strong>I’m a big fan of your guitar tone. What do you consider to be the key element to your sound? — Thomas Hartley</strong></p> <p>I first began having success picking on a guitar that wasn’t plugged in. I was picking really hard so I could hear it acoustically, and when I plugged into an amp, I was surprised that it didn’t sound very good. I discovered that the way I attack the string really affects the tone. Modifying your picking attack—for clean tone, distortion and playing on an acoustic—makes a huge difference in the sound.</p> <p><strong>With solos and shredding becoming popular again, do you think the younger players are falling into the trap of flash over substance? — Lorne</strong></p> <p>Well, I’d probably have to listen to more young players. [<em>laughs</em>] Actually, I’ve done a lot of teaching lately, and I’m really impressed with the kids that are coming in. In general, their technique is genuinely good. I’m pleasantly surprised by that.</p> <p><strong>Have you ever thought about doing a traditional blues album? — Pauly</strong></p> <p>I did a bluesy album [<em>Raw Blues Power</em>, 2002] with my uncle, Jimi Kidd, who was a huge influence on me when I was younger. But traditional blues? I don’t know. I like some of the really dirty traditional blues, like John Lee Hooker. But for that stuff, those guys are out of tune and the bars go too long, and you hear the bass player change a second later than the other guys. That stuff really gives it its down-and-dirty feeling. I think I’d have to start drinking a lot more to really do it right. [<em>laughs</em>] I don’t know if it’s possible. When you say “traditional” I take it seriously enough to know probably not to go there! [<em>laughs</em>]</p> <p><strong>How did you develop your string-skipping and legato playing over the years? — Anthony Padilla</strong></p> <p>The legato playing that I do is very intuitive, and I learned it through a lot of good accidents. I used to sit around and play to Eddie Van Halen, doing it wrong and coming up with my own patterns. The string-skipping stuff involved taking those same patterns and translating them into string-skipping licks. It was quite easy, thanks to the way I pick, which is mostly outside pickin. It was such a great discovery: suddenly I had a new bag of licks, and with very little effort.</p> <p><strong>Is it true that you used to pick using only upstrokes? Did reggae players influence your approach? — Jeff Dunne</strong></p> <p>The upstrokes came from lack of knowledge rather than from reggae. I started playing by ear at age nine. I had no idea how to play, and for some reason upstrokes felt good. I was talking to Scott Henderson, the amazing fusion guitar player, and he said an interesting thing about the architecture of the guitar: that it is essentially six separate instruments. Because each string is tuned differently, they all have a different feel, they’re in different places, and you have to learn the notes on each one. </p> <p>That may be simplified, but some of the art of learning guitar is to learn each of those six instruments, and that’s how I started, unwittingly. I spent two years learning the low E string before I finally took a lesson and a teacher taught me how to tune the other five. It was a grueling way to learn. [laughs] Chords sound so much better! But that’s how I learned: a lot of upstrokes on that E string, and learning every Led Zeppelin riff I could that way.</p> <p><strong>You are often lumped in with shredders like John Petrucci. Considering your opinion of your own style, would you prefer to be put in a group with him or someone like Jimmy Page or Randy Rhoads? — Enrique Angeles</strong></p> <p>I think as a fan and as a listener: Jimmy Page and Randy Rhoads are where I was coming from. John is certainly a great guitar player, and some of the Dream Theater stuff is killer. And where we’ve ended up is similar: our styles have crossed paths, as far the kind of picking we do and our modern shred tone. I’ve done some tribute gigs with Mike Portnoy, and he said John’s influences are really different than mine. </p> <p>Apparently, John was really into progressive rock, like Rush. I love Rush, but at the same time, I have a feeling I went a lot deeper into the pop music of the Beatles, Todd Rundgren and Cheap Trick. It would be a huge honor to be in either category. But I’ve gotta say, if I look to my right, I’ve got a big poster of Jimmy Page hanging on my wall.</p> <p><strong>Do you think you’ll ever get back with your old Racer X buddies for another album or tour? — Ryan</strong></p> <p>On this tour that’s coming up, I’m actually bringing Bruce Bouillet, the other guitarist for Racer X. It’s really exciting, because he’s been producing underground for awhile. We’re certainly doing some Racer X songs on my tour. But yeah, if we’re all feeling some heavy metal, it’d be great doing another Racer X record.</p> <p><a href="">Brad Angle Google +</a></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/paul-gilbert">Paul Gilbert</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Dear Guitar Hero GW Archive Paul Gilbert Racer X Interviews News Features Mon, 08 Sep 2014 14:38:26 +0000 Brad Angle Guitarist Jack Pearson: From Jazz to Jam, a Humble Genius <!--paging_filter--><p>Go ahead. Ask guitarist Jack Pearson about his tours of duty with the Allman Brothers Band and Gregg Allman’s solo band. </p> <p>Ask him about jamming with jazz greats like Jimmy Raney, Mundell Lowe and Jimmy Smith. </p> <p>Or about sharing the stage and/or studio with the likes of everyone from bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs and the late Vassar Clements to modern-day bluesman Keb Mo’ and the hard-rockin’ Gov’t Mule—not to mention leading his own ensembles as well as his body of solo studio work.</p> <p>Ask Pearson about all that, and you know what he will most likely do? He’ll probably shrug his shoulders, smile, and say in his soft Southern drawl, “Yeah, well … some folks would say, ‘That Pearson boy just can’t keep a job!’”</p> <p>The fact of the matter is, 54-year-old Pearson has made—and continues to make—some incredible music. His fluency in an array of styles, combined with his easy-going attitude, make him a picker’s picker, the kind of musician other musicians admire and dig playing with.</p> <p>One recent recorded example of Pearson’s talents is his performance on the <em>All My Friends: A Tribute to Gregg Allman</em> CD/DVD set released earlier this year. As part of the house band for the evening, Pearson backed an all-star cast of performers (as well as Allman himself) on a selection of songs from Allman's career, both as a solo artist and with the Allman Brothers Band. </p> <p>Teamed up with Audley Freed (another guitarist who doesn't get anywhere close to the credit he deserves), Pearson paid homage to Duane Allman and Dickey Betts at various points in the evening, channeling and quoting some of their iconic licks while retaining his own particular voice.</p> <p>If one had to pick a single example of what Pearson is all about from that evening, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” would do the trick (Watch the video below). While current-generation country star Eric Church guests on vocals, working himself up into a televangelist-style lather, Pearson simply stands in place and blows the roof off Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. He puts a unique spin on the mid-song break (Betts was on slide for the original, post-Duane), then takes off on a flight path of his own on the outro.</p> <p>The solo is powerful, yet tasteful; Pearson takes his time building the beast, making his final statement with the slide from somewhere around the bridge pickup on the treble string. As amazing as it is to listen to, you absolutely gotta watch the video: Pearson looks like he’s waiting for the bus while everyone else in the Fox Theatre is picking their jaw up off the floor.</p> <p>And the topper on the cake? He was playing an off-the-rack Squier Bullet. That pretty much sums up Pearson in a nutshell.</p> <p>I recently had a chance to talk to Pearson about some of his practice habits, his musical influences and his new online venture, the <a href="">Jack Pearson Guitar Academy.</a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Jack, when you’re home, are you most like to pick up an acoustic guitar or an electric and an amp?</strong></p> <p>Well … [laughs] when I’m home, I don't plug in and rock out; I usually sit at my table and play quietly unplugged—or with my acoustic. </p> <p>An electric guitar has to respond unplugged. Like that Squier Bullet I played during the Gregg tribute show? I never plugged it in at the store, but I knew it would be a great guitar. I just played it acoustically. It had the most response and vibrated great … had a lot of sustain. I’ve had a couple friends play it and they didn’t see any big deal about it—but the low notes are really tight and the high notes have a certain quality.</p> <p><strong>How about practice time during an average week?</strong></p> <p>Oh, it depends; I sure don't get to do it as much as I want to! [laughs] I try to play every day and try to practice every night. When I come home from a gig, I’ll usually sit and play for an hour or two.</p> <p><strong>After you’ve been playing at the gig?</strong></p> <p>Well, you know … you’ve been playing, but you don't always get to play what you want to. And I’m always trying to learn something new; studying different things. I’m still working on it … I’ve been working on it for over 40 years! [laughs]</p> <p><strong>Was there any one person or any one musical moment that inspired you to play as a boy?</strong></p> <p>I wanted to play before I could even reach around a guitar. My mama said she had to buy me a toy guitar at the store because I wanted one so bad.</p> <p>I do remember seeing my oldest brother play—he was 18 years older than me. He came over to visit—he was married by then and had a couple of kids of his own—and he’d bring his guitar with him. He was in the bedroom playing and I just knew right then I wanted to do that.</p> <p><strong>For me, I’ve got one brother, 14 years older than me. When I was little, my chore was to sit on the bed alongside him and turn the pages of the Johnny Cash songbook at the right moment … or else.</strong></p> <p>Well, there you go. [laughter] My brother showed me what he knew; he was always pulling out a record and saying, “Here, boy—learn how to play this.” He gave me a chart of the fingerboard and he made me memorize the notes, which is something he never did. I remember him telling me, “I didn't learn this, but you need to.” </p> <p>I’d been playing guitar about a year when my brother brought me a slide, my first slide. He told me, “I don't know how to do this, but you need to know how.” His name was Stanley. He died in 2008.</p> <p><strong>I’m sorry, Jack. What a gift he gave you.</strong></p> <p>He sure did. I remember him writing out a chart for me to learn the fingerboard; did that for every key. That’s something I stress that to the younger musicians: “You need to know where the notes are on the neck.” That goes right back to that first lesson with my brother. </p> <p><strong>And what younger folks need to realize is, that was back in a time when you couldn't stop and restart a song you were trying to learn by clicking a mouse …</strong></p> <p>No, no, no! [laughter]</p> <p><strong>You were sitting there with a record player, picking the needle up and dropping it back down.</strong></p> <p>I went through a lot of copies of records—several versions of my favorites. I'd try to be as careful as I could and not scratch them … it was devastating if I scratched a record back then. Things weren’t as disposable as they are now, you know? I used to watch the TV and if there was a guitar player doing something, I'd run to my room and get my guitar and try to learn it. </p> <p><strong>And there wasn’t even a lot of that to watch.</strong></p> <p>People are spoiled now. I mean, I am. [laughter] </p> <p>I go on YouTube and I get to watch Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt and everybody like that. I never saw Django until a couple of years ago, you know? I’ve got stacks of LPs and CDs of him … he’s still one of my favorites ever. But getting to see him play; see his hands and how he held the guitar? I don't know … it means a lot to me. </p> <p><strong>Which leads us to your Jack Pearson Guitar Academy, where folks can go to watch, learn and digest at their own pace.</strong></p> <p>We worked on the design for two years. One thing that took a long time was setting up the search engine so that people could type in what they were looking for—say, something about their right hand or left; a dominant 7th or I-VI-II-V chord changes. If you do a search, it’ll bring up videos that have that in it.</p> <p><strong>Super. That’s a very handy feature. I know some of the clips I’ve watched have been a mix of all sorts of things.</strong></p> <p>For instance, some of the videos are just me practicing because people have asked me how I practice. I don't know if anybody else does that, but I wanted everybody to see it. Private lessons are expensive … and guitar players usually don't have any money. [laughter] One of my goals for the website was to have it be so that people could afford to learn, you know?</p> <p><strong>And folks subscribe to your Guitar Academy lessons, correct?</strong></p> <p>Uh-huh. And once you subscribe, you have access to everything in here … and there’s a ton of stuff. We're adding things every week. It's loaded. At this point, I’m adding stuff that’s variations on things I put up earlier. It’s really just me explaining the way I play.</p> <p><strong>One of the things I enjoyed was the easy-going vibe of the videos. It’s like the viewer’s just sitting there in the living room with you, hanging out. There are technical things to learn, but you have a nice way of doling it out.</strong></p> <p>Every video’s different. Sometimes I’ll play for two or three minutes and then I’ll talk about what I just played. But what you said is what I wanted to do: have it feel like we're just sitting around. </p> <p><strong>It's great that you’re putting this out there, Jack.</strong></p> <p>Well … you’ve got to pass some of it along. Like my brother did for me all those years ago.</p> <p><em>A former offshore lobsterman, Brian Robbins had to wait a good four decades or so to write about the stuff he wanted to when he was 15. Today he’s a freelance scribe, cartoonist, photographer and musician. His home on the worldwide inner tube is at <a href=""></a> (And there’s that <a href="">Facebook</a> thing too.)</em></p> Brian Robbins Jack Pearson Interviews News Features Sun, 07 Sep 2014 22:32:14 +0000 Brian Robbins