Interviews http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/147/0 en The Bottle Rockets’ Brian Henneman: Rickenbacker Romance and Amplifier Angst http://www.guitarworld.com/bottle-rockets-brian-henneman-rickenbacker-romance-and-amplifier-angst <!--paging_filter--><p>Maybe you go way back with Brian Henneman: back to Illinois in the Eighties and the yeeeeeeeee-haaaaaaaa thrash-twang cowpunk-and-scorched-brimstone of Chicken Truck, perhaps? </p> <p>Or maybe you remember when Brian worked for Uncle Tupelo in the early Nineties: the roadie who would humbly come out for the encore, strap on a guitar and take the top of everyone’s head off with his lead breaks on a thundering cover of Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer” … and then start lugging stuff out to the van.</p> <p>And while we’re at it, how about the role Henneman played in alt-country history that rarely gets acknowledged? A lot of the snarl, growl, chug and crunch you hear on Wilco’s debut album — 1995’s <em>A.M.</em> — was courtesy of Henneman. (He was listed as a “special guest” for those pre-Jay Bennett sessions.) Put an ear to the greasily chicken-picked “That’s Not the Issue” or the Crazy Horseness of “Too Far Apart”: pretty cool, eh?</p> <p>But never mind past glories and overlooked genius: The easiest way to dial into the music of Brian Henneman is to sit down with some Bottle Rockets — his main focus for the last 20-plus years. You could spend a lot of time trying to categorize their music — anything from rock ‘n’ twang to Americana punk — but in the end, you’re better off just listening and enjoying. </p> <p>An excellent crash course in the Rockets would be Bloodshot Records’ recently released two-disc bundle that combines the band’s first two albums with a slew of neat previously unreleased music. Altogether, there are 11 albums in the Bottle Rockets’ catalog so far — 10 studio and one live — with a new one simmering.</p> <p>Behind Henneman’s insightful lyrics and shoot-from-the-bluejeaned-hip riffs lies a total guitar nerd, one who still part-times in his hometown guitar shop when he’s not on the road and will talk gear for as long as you have time to spare. I had the chance recently to ask Brian about reuniting with the one that got away, the lifespans of parakeets and the recipe for Instant Keith Richards.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Brian, in most photos I’ve seen of late, you’re brandishing a Rickenbacker … it looks to me like the two of you are going steady.</strong></p> <p>Yep, a Rickenbacker 360 … love it!</p> <p><strong>I’ve heard you refer to it during shows as your “new favorite guitar.” It sounds like you’d been pining for one for awhile.</strong></p> <p>Oh, yeah, 20 years, man. [laughs] I had one 20 years ago, but in those days I was too broke to keep it, you know? It was one of those deals where the house payment came due and the Rickenbacker had to go.</p> <p><strong>I think everybody has a “one that got away” story.</strong></p> <p>You got that right … and I’d been wanting one again ever since. [laughs] I’ve always loved the sound of a Rick. Tom Petty: he’s always played them. And Roger McGuinn, of course. I’m a huge, huge, huge Roger McGuinn fan. </p> <p>So I finally bit the bullet and got myself one again. I’m old enough and wise enough now to get exactly the one I wanted; in the color I wanted; with every feature I wanted … and it cost a lot of money, but I figure it’s going to be the last guitar I buy in my life. [laughs]</p> <p>I’ve got enough of ‘em. I’m full of guitars. [laughs]</p> <p><strong>Tell me what you like about the 360.</strong></p> <p>For one thing, I’m using a capo on a lot of the new songs, and the Rickenbacker is the best frigging capo guitar ever. The neck is really evenly shaped and it doesn't pull strings out of tune.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JwXkGJo9m2g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>It seems like you’ve got a handle on the beast, as far as coaxing different tones out of it in the course of a set.</strong></p> <p>You know, I haven't really played my other guitars much since I got the Rick.</p> <p><strong>At the same time, John Horton — your picking partner in the Bottle Rockets — might work through a number of guitar voices during a show.</strong></p> <p>Oh, yeah, sometimes a Strat; sometimes a Flying V or a Firebird … John plays all kinds of stuff. The thing is, the Rickenbacker balances out with all of them … it always stands out from anything John wants to play.</p> <p><strong>Have you ever tried a combination that didn't balance out?</strong></p> <p>Ha! Good question! Yeah, one time we tried playing with two Stratocasters at the same time … and that did not work. [laughs]</p> <p><strong>Anybody get hurt?</strong></p> <p>Oh, man … We kept turning up because neither one of us could hear each other. At the end, we were so fucking loud … and we still couldn't hear each other.</p> <p><strong>But you’re still going to keep your Tele's handy, right?</strong></p> <p>I’ve got a Tele on my kitchen table here right now. (laughs)</p> <p><strong>Is it your <a href="http://www.crestonguitars.com/guitars/brian_hennemans_oat">Creston Tele — good ol’ Oat?</a> That’s my idea of total guitar porn …</strong></p> <p>Isn’t it? [laughs] Yeah, Creston Lea builds a frigging awesome guitar … the one you’re talking about is actually my best Tele. My other one is a total frigging mutt: The body is like, from 1951 or something. There are no original parts except the body. And that’s a really good guitar, too, except it’s kind of flimsy and old funky and doesn’t like to stay in tune. So the Creston is the go-to Tele for any kind of real, live road use.</p> <p><strong>I know your amp of choice for a long while was a Fender Blues Junior. Do you still have that?</strong></p> <p>The Blues Junior is a frigging great amp. I used that thing for five years and it was just a killer amp. It finally just died of old age; they're like … like parakeets, you know?</p> <p>So when it died, there was this amp at the guitar shop I work at — Killer Vintage in St. Louis — called a Buster. It’s made by Louis Electric and is a lot like a Tweed Deluxe with a stronger power section.</p> <p>So then I was at the crossroads: Do I get this thing for, like, the price of five Blues Juniors? Or do I just keep getting Blues Juniors until I die? Just wear ‘em out and replace ‘em?</p> <p>You know, I’m figuring my life span versus a Blues Junior’s would be about, oh, three more or so … something like that. Which would’ve been cheaper than the Buster … but I went ahead and got it anyway. It's a fucking killer amp.</p> <p><strong>And that’s what you’re using now.</strong></p> <p>Well, no … You see, I got the Buster before I got the Rick … and it's the best amp in the world for a Telecaster. You are Keith Richards when you plug into it, you know?</p> <p>But the Rickenbacker didn't sound as good out of the Buster. It’s too dirty for the Rick. So then I was going through all this shit to try to get the Rick tone I wanted …</p> <p><strong>And ended up with …?</strong></p> <p>A ’74 Fender Deluxe Reverb, which is perfect for the Rickenbacker. I still have the Buster … and maybe I should’ve stuck with the Blues Junior! </p> <p><Strong>I have one myself. All I’ve done is swap out the stock speaker with an Eminence Cannabis Rex and a new set of tubes. I’m playing a Classic Series Fifties Esquire through it with one of Jim Weider’s Big T bridge pickups. I love the thing. </strong></p> <p>Cool, sounds like a great combination. The Blues Juniors are the perfect size and the perfect volume. Look: I got five years out of mine. If I got five years, you’ll have yours the rest of your life. [laughs]</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="http://brian-robbins.com/">brian-robbins.com</a> (And there’s that <a href="https://www.facebook.com/BrianRobbinsWords">Facebook</a> thing too.)</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/bottle-rockets-brian-henneman-rickenbacker-romance-and-amplifier-angst#comments Brian Henneman Brian Robbins The Bottle Rockets Interviews News Features Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:17:30 +0000 Brian Robbins http://www.guitarworld.com/article/22000 Judas Priest's Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner Talk New Album, 'Redeemer of Souls' http://www.guitarworld.com/judas-priests-rob-halford-glenn-tipton-and-richie-faulkner-talk-new-album-redeemer-souls <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Dan Auerbach's off-beat guitars, Eric Clapton and his new J.J. Cale tribute album, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the August 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p>When <em>Guitar World</em> sat down with Judas Priest guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner and frontman Rob Halford in New York City earlier this summer, there was a palpable sense of excitement and confidence in the air as we talked about Priest’s new return-to-form album, <em>Redeemer of Souls</em>. </p> <p>It felt like a fresh beginning for a group that, just a few years earlier, had seemed on the verge of imploding.</p> <p>In December 2010, more than 40 years after the group’s formation in Birmingham, England, Judas Priest had announced that their Epitaph World Tour would be a farewell jaunt. </p> <p>When, a few weeks later, Rob Halford said in an interview, “I think it’s time,” and asked fans to “not be sad” and “celebrate and rejoice over all the great things we’ve done,” the heavy-metal community took it as a sign that the mighty Judas Priest were finally hanging up their studded leather belts. </p> <p>With the internet abuzz over the uncertainty of their future, Judas Priest went into damage control mode and quickly issued a statement that read, in part, “This is by no means the end of the band. In fact, we are presently writing new material, but we do intend this to be the last major world tour.” </p> <p>For much of their career, the band members’ comments about Judas Priest’s future probably wouldn’t have caused much of a stir. But in today’s 24/7 feeding frenzy known as the internet, it’s a very different story.</p> <p>“It does make you choose your words carefully,” Halford says. “With today’s speed of communication, you’ve only got to get one word wrong and the whole place blows up. In retrospect, there probably should have been a different way to project the whole Epitaph experience.”</p> <p>Some additional turbulence shook the Judas Priest camp in April 2011 when longtime guitarist K.K. Downing announced that he was leaving the group just two month’s ahead of the Epitaph tour. The band wasted no time announcing 31-year-old British guitarist Richie Faulkner as Downing’s replacement. Faulkner’s debut with the band took place on national television on May 25, 2011, when Judas Priest performed live during the season finale of <em>American Idol.</em></p> <p>After the completion of the 120-date Epitaph tour in May 2012, Judas Priest took some much needed time off to regroup and begin work on a new album. They made a few public appearances, and a couple of best-of packages found their way into the marketplace, but otherwise things were fairly quiet on the Priest front.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/shwOv_J7QGo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Then, this past April, the band announced a July 15 release date for <em>Redeemer of Souls</em>, its first album of new material since 2008’s poorly received conceptual double album, <em>Nostradamus</em>. Wisely, the group issued a free stream of the title track alongside the announcement. From its opening chugging riff to Halford’s distinct voice intoning, “It’s time to settle the score,” to Tipton and Faulkner’s searing solo trade-offs, <em>Redeemer of Souls</em> makes it clear that Priest has not only survived the past few years’ unrest but also regained the fire in their belly that had been missing for quite some time.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD EXCERPT: Back in 2010–2011, there was a lot of speculation that Judas Priest were on the verge of disbanding. But with Redeemer of Souls and new tour dates on the horizon, it seems as though the band has a renewed sense of energy.</strong></p> <p><strong>Rob Halford:</strong> I think it’s very natural for a band that’s had a long career in rock and roll to become a little bit philosophical. That’s just human nature, and we weren’t afraid to talk about it. But I don’t think we ever said specifically “This is the end.” It was probably the “Farewell Tour” that gave people that impression. We probably should have called that something different. We called it that because it was our way of saying that this is the end of the big, massive world tours. We’re still going to go out and play, but it’s not going to be these big two-year schleps, which are grueling for any band.</p> <p>But there’s definitely a change in tone around the band these days, and a lot of that is because of this guy right here [points to Faulkner]. Richie has brought something to this band that is very infectious and vibrant, and I think you can sense all of that great feeling coming through in these new songs.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jq8kwk8288A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Glenn, did you feel that there was a negative vibe swirling around the band during the Epitaph tour?</strong></p> <p><strong>Glenn Tipton:</strong> I don’t know if it was a negative vibe around us as much as it was a little bit unsure of what the future held for Judas Priest. For me, the Epitaph tour was one of the most satisfying and gratifying tours we had ever done. It was a grueling task to go out and play for two and a half hours every night, but to play a song off every album brought out a lot of sentimental feelings, and I think we all rose to the occasion.</p> <p>But you’re right in the sense that there was a little bit of uncertainty around the band—what we were going to do next, that kind of thing. And it wasn’t until we started writing the album and really getting into the meat and potatoes of it that we realized, Hold on, this is going to be more than just another album—there’s something special going on here. And that starts to breed enthusiasm. You look forward to the future. You look forward to playing these songs onstage. So I think the band has evolved since the Epitaph era into a different way of thinking. We’ve never been more content, and we’re excited about the future.</p> <p><strong>Halford:</strong> In light of the Epitaph experience, if and when the final note is played, we certainly won’t be announcing it. I think it’s just going to happen one day, and that’s probably the nicest way to do it. You take very small steps back until you’re done, and I think it’ll be that way for us. But the fact that Priest’s music will live forever, the way Beethoven and Bach’s music lives forever, that really is the most incredible accomplishment that you can dwell on and feel proud of.</p> <p><strong>After the Epitaph tour, did you feel as though there was unfinished business within the band? Like there was more to accomplish?</strong></p> <p><strong>Tipton:</strong> I think we’ve always felt that way. We’ve never been satisfied with one record—we’ve always wanted to do another. It’s the same with touring: you know that at some point you’re going to want to go out and do another tour. Even with this record, we recorded 18 songs. I mean, where did that come from? So there’s plenty left in this band.</p> <p><strong>Richie, what was it like for you around the time of the Epitaph tour? Was it disappointing to join a legendary band like Judas Priest and suddenly have people speculating about the group’s demise?</strong></p> <p><strong>Faulkner:</strong> When I came onboard and was welcomed into the family, I was very aware of where the band were in their career. Not that I wasn’t already aware of it, since I’m a fan of the band, but it certainly wasn’t something I was going to pass up just because there’s a chance that the band was coming to the end of its career. And maybe if there was any sense within the band of winding down, maybe I’m the one who’s keeping them going. And some people out there might not like me for that, but what was I going to do? Not join the band? Sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns. And as a result, here we are with 18 new studio tracks and a new Judas Priest album. </p> <p><strong>Were you involved in the songwriting for <em>Redeemer of Souls</em> from the get-go?</strong></p> <p><strong>Faulkner:</strong> From day one, it’s always been a family of creative people. It’s not one or two people calling the shots and you just show up, play a gig and go home. From the rehearsals to picking the set list to the stage production, it’s a very inclusive process, and that transcends right into the songwriting for the album.</p> <p>Priest have always had the vocalist and the two-guitar-player writing team, and it was the same this time. I was taught to write metal songs by these guys. When you're 14 or 15 years old, you listen to <em>Screaming for Vengeance</em> and use that as a model for writing songs. So, for me, when you’re now in the studio writing songs with these guys, you don’t have to put on a different hat or write songs you wouldn’t normally write; it comes from your heart, because it’s what you’ve been brought up with. So it was a very organic and intuitive experience for me to write songs with these guys.</p> <p><em>Photo: Jimmy Hubbard</em></p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Dan Auerbach's off-beat guitars, Eric Clapton and his new J.J. Cale tribute album, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the August 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</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="/judas-priest">Judas Priest</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/judas-priests-rob-halford-glenn-tipton-and-richie-faulkner-talk-new-album-redeemer-souls#comments Judas Priest September 2014 Interviews News Features Magazine Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:24:09 +0000 Jeff Kitts http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21873 Jacky Vincent of Falling In Reverse Discusses Joe Satriani's 'Surfing With the Alien' — The Record That Changed My Life http://www.guitarworld.com/jacky-vincent-falling-reverse-discusses-joe-satrianis-surfing-alien-record-changed-my-life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Falling In Reverse guitarist Jacky Vincent chooses and discusses the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Joe Satriani</strong><br /> <em>Surfing With the Alien</em> (1987)</p> <p>“<em>Surfing with the Alien</em> inspired me to become a musician and want to learn guitar. </p> <p>"My dad had the CD in his collection before I was even born. As a young kid I would pick it out and play it, and I have vivid memories of attempting to learn ‘Crushing Day,’ ‘Midnight,’ ‘Always with Me, Always with You,’ ‘Surfing with the Alien’ and ‘Satch Boogie.’ It meant so much to my development as a player because it was the album that introduced me to the guitar and songwriting techniques I use today. </p> <p>“<em>Surfing with the Alien</em> made it apparent to me early on that you didn’t even have to have a vocalist to create an incredible and enjoyable album. </p> <p>"It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be the player I am now, or probably even be a musician at all, without this album being available to me when it was. The guitar tones, songs and soloing on the record remain some of my favorites to this day.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lCGCG_N2b30" 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="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/jacky-vincent-falling-reverse-discusses-joe-satrianis-surfing-alien-record-changed-my-life#comments Falling In Reverse Jacky Vincent Joe Satriani July 2014 The Record that Changed My Life Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:32:16 +0000 Jacky Vincent http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21929 Kiss Guitarist Tommy Thayer Discusses 'Montrose' — The Record That Changed My Life http://www.guitarworld.com/kiss-guitarist-tommy-thayer-discusses-montrose-record-changed-my-life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Montrose</strong><br /> <em>Montrose</em> (1973)</p> <p>“I came of age in the early to mid Seventies, and in that era, the most influential album to me was the first Montrose record. </p> <p>"I still remember the first time I heard it. It was actually at a party at my house. I had these older brothers and sisters, and we would have these huge parties when my parents were out of town. </p> <p>"We’d have kegs and hundreds of people there. So this guy brought the first Montrose record out and put it on. When I heard 'Rock the Nation' into 'Bad Motor Scooter,' I was like, ‘Oh, my god. I love this!’ It was so powerful. People that grew up in the Sixties might scoff at that and say it’s derivative or second generation…and it is. But I was 13 years old when I heard it, and it blew me away. </p> <p>"There’s no doubt that Ronnie Montrose was one of the quintessential hard rock–blues guitarists of all time.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/x8T_PQoTC30" 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="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/kiss-guitarist-tommy-thayer-discusses-montrose-record-changed-my-life#comments July 2014 Kiss Montrose The Record that Changed My Life Tommy Thayer Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:55:32 +0000 Tommy Thayer http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21925 Brandon Kinney Talks Songwriting and Getting His Start In Nashville http://www.guitarworld.com/brandon-kinney-talks-songwriting-and-getting-his-start-nashville <!--paging_filter--><p>When Brandon Kinney arrived in Nashville 20 years ago, he knew he wanted to work in the music industry. What he didn’t know was that he would find his niche crafting songs for other artists, and he certainly didn’t expect to become one of Music Row’s most in-demand songwriters.</p> <p>It was a long, slow road from student at Belmont University to publishing deals with Sony ATV, Love Monkey Music and Tom-Leis Music. </p> <p>Along the way, Kinney worked day jobs, made inroads via colleagues who were already signed and even signed a recording contract as a solo artist. In 2005, Lonestar gave him his first hit when they recorded “You’re Like Coming Home.” His phone started ringing, and in 2009, “Boots On,” a co-write with Randy Houser, became BMI’s second-most-performed song of the year. </p> <p>Since then, Kinney has been on a winning streak, landing cuts and writing hits for numerous country artists — Randy Travis, Willie Nelson, Jake Owen and Luke Bryan are a few of the names who have recorded his songs. In 2012, “Outta My Head” became a hit for Craig Campbell and was the second-longest-charting song in Billboard history, holding steady for 54 weeks.</p> <p>Kinney was at the Sony offices for a writing appointment when he took some time to discuss songwriting, Nashville then and now, and what he has learned since signing his first deal.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: What attracted you to the guitar, and when did you begin writing songs?</strong></p> <p>My dad bought me an electric guitar, but we traded it in for an acoustic pretty quick because, starting out, I wasn’t as much into playing licks or lead parts, and I thought that’s all the electric guitar was for. I said, “I’m going to get an acoustic so I can actually play a song.” I didn’t know anything about playing guitar. </p> <p>My interest in music was probably infused in me from birth, because my parents used to turn the radio to a country station and put it in my room by the crib, so that when they had friends over I wouldn’t wake up because I could deal with the noise. They said I was dancing all the time when the radio came on. I just loved music. My mom played piano in church and she would get me up to sing at evening services. </p> <p>I was playing football, loving football, and I was also into bicycles. I got a head injury from a bicycle accident and it put me out of football completely at the start of my eighth-grade year. My dad played guitar a little bit when he was a kid, and he showed me how to play “Wipeout.” I was bummed out because I couldn’t play football anymore, so he said, “Why don’t we get you a guitar?” We got a guitar and I stayed in my room for hours every day. </p> <p>That’s all I wanted to do. That probably went on for a month and a half before I started getting interested in writing. I looked at the credits on Paul Overstreet’s record and noticed that there were other writers on there with him. One night, around 1:30, I couldn’t sleep, and this lyric and melody popped into my head. I got up and wrote it in about 30 minutes. I didn’t have a recorder because I wasn’t planning on writing anything. I was not prepared. I was afraid I might forget it, so I played it about a thousand times. I stayed up until probably 3 or 4 in the morning trying to remember it. The next morning I played it again and I played it for both of my parents. They loved it. And I got a recorder.</p> <p><strong>Were you attracted more to lyrics or melodies, or was there a difference?</strong></p> <p>I’ve never separated the two. I loved song lyrics, but I looked at it as a whole thing. I wasn’t focused on just writing a good lyric. I wrote what came from the heart the first time, and I thought, That rhymes and that’s cool. But there was no focus primarily on one or the other. To me, it was one vehicle. </p> <p><strong>When did it become obvious that it was time to move to Nashville?</strong></p> <p>My dad always encouraged me to be an artist. He thought I needed to be up there like George Strait! I didn’t do much in high school to let people know that I was even interested in music, besides playing in church. I went to Jacksonville Junior College in Jacksonville, Texas. I played a talent show there and people seemed to be into it. I put my guitar away for a while and didn’t write because I’m so one-track-minded that I couldn’t make my grades and write songs and play guitar at the same time. I thought I maybe wanted to be a pilot or an engineer. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to sing and write songs, but I didn’t understand that you can get a publishing deal and write songs for somebody else to record. I hadn’t gotten that far in the process. </p> <p>When I went to Belmont [Kinney relocated to Nashville in 1994], I was thinking more about sitting at a console and recording, because I’m not a great guitar player. I play enough to sing my songs. I got here and I started meeting other people who wrote songs. I took publishing classes and I realized you can actually do this for a living. That’s when I started leaning toward it as a career. I was just doing it because I loved it and I got a little attention! It was fun. I wanted to be an artist, too, but there are too many talented singers here that can’t get it going and I didn’t want to fall into that, so I focused on writing. </p> <p>When I graduated, I started plugging songs for a company out of San Antonio. I did that for a year and half. I didn’t get my first writing deal until 2001. Between 1997 and 2001, I drove a Coca-Cola truck and worked for a cell phone company to make ends meet. It allowed me to come to Music Row and do some writing with my buddies. One of them that I had gone to college with had gotten a publishing deal, so he could do demos and they were pitching his songs. I was able to keep my foot in that door until I signed my first deal and was able to quit my day job.</p> <p><strong>What was the music scene like in Nashville when you arrived?</strong></p> <p>It was rocking! Garth Brooks was there and country music was hotter than it had ever been. It was a money-making machine. They were signing all kinds of artists, a lot of songwriters had deals, and it seemed there weren’t any hard times at all, but then again, I was still in school, so I wasn’t in the middle of it. It was still somewhat hard to get in, but I got my internships, and nearly every act seemed to be doing good and selling millions of records. Around 1997 or 1998, it started slowing down. I remember people saying, “It’s about to make a turn. It’s going to be coming back to traditional pretty soon.” I think some of them are still saying that. It was a good time to come in. It’s still good times; sales are picking up for some artists. But I don’t think we’ll ever see it like the early ’90s again.</p> <p><strong>Has downloading affected country music the way it has affected other genres?</strong></p> <p>That has been part of the problem. It has affected a lot of people. One of my buddies had 6 million plays on Pandora and he got under $600 for all of those plays. There’s Pandora and downloading, and they’re starting to find ways to monitor that, but you still have the pirates and all of that stuff going on where they’re getting it for free, and legitimate companies are not paying what they should.</p> <p><strong>You toured after releasing your album. What did you learn from performing live and how have those lessons helped you as a songwriter?</strong></p> <p>I opened for Sara Evans, so her crowd was a little tamer. She played a lot of theaters, so there were a lot of women and the boyfriends of the girls that wanted to be there. I thought that it was going to be a disaster, because my music was more for the beer-drinking crowd with a weird sense of humor. I put songs on my record that nobody else wanted to cut because they were afraid to cut them, and rightfully so! In that situation I learned that you can’t judge the crowd and say, “They’re not going to like this.” You’ve got to throw it out there and see what happens. They like to have a good time. You can’t play ballad after ballad, and tearjerker after tearjerker, because people come there to escape their normal life and you don’t want to bring them down. So I tried to keep it upbeat, keep them laughing, and keep them feeling good. </p> <p>When I write for other artists, I’m picturing them onstage and thinking, What is going to get the crowd into this? It’s not just the lyrics or the melody; sometimes it’s the production, so when I produce a demo that my publishing company is going to pitch to an artist, I think, What’s going to get the crowd fired up? What’s going to make the artist feel cool and look cool? That’s pretty much what I pulled from touring. What was good about being onstage is that I got to witness what worked and what didn’t, but at the same time, every artist is different. There are artists who can sing ballad after ballad, but they’re not singing to 18- to 25-year-olds who are drinking beer and wearing bikini tops. It’s probably an older crowd. If you’re writing for an artist who gets their sales from that audience, then you play it safer and you write deeper stuff. But when somebody’s drunk, they don’t want to get too deep. </p> <p><strong>At what point did you feel that you “got it” as a songwriter — that you understood the craft and had the material to take to audiences?</strong></p> <p>I’ve always had an idea, but in the past four years I feel more confident than I’ve ever felt. I feel like this is my time. Before, especially when I was in my artist deal, I was writing a lot of funny songs. People loved them, but nobody would record them because they were a little bit too quirky, and they were afraid that listeners would going to get tired of hearing them. I’ve dialed in a little bit more in the past four years. That’s a long time to wait, but I’ve hit and missed since 2001. I’ve been more consistent in dialing in what I want to say. I never really cared before. I just said, “Well, this sounds like a hit,” or “I’m just going to write my song and not worry about it.” Now it’s “What do these guys want?” I’ve buckled down more and I’ve grown a lot as a writer. They say that the best way to get good is to write with someone who’s better than you, and I’ve tried to do a lot of that and learn from them.</p> <p><strong>Your songs have positive, upbeat lyrics and melodies. Are you happy by nature, or are happy songs just more radio-friendly?</strong></p> <p>I’ve always been that way. Any time I’ve tried to write a “downer” song, it brought me down and I said, “Screw it, I just want to go home.” I like to have fun. I was raised around goofy people. Everybody was always cracking jokes and having a good time. We had our serious moments, but I always seemed to thrive a little bit more when I could laugh or get to rocking. I enjoyed Merle Haggard and all that stuff, I listen to that too, but I don’t want to listen to downer songs all the time. When I write, if I’m going to sit here for six or seven hours, I can't sit here depressed, trying to find out what this song needs. </p> <p>“Outta My Head” was kind of a sad song, but it was still upbeat, it had some passion to it, and it was fun to write. As long as I’m having fun in the writing session, I think I write a better song, and that’s why I stick with those topics. I have my share of leaving songs and all that, but it’s rare that I ever write a song where I’m sitting at the house, on the couch and drinking, because I know that an artist is not going to want to self-loathe all the way through the song. Nobody wants to do that in front of a crowd unless it’s a killer song. If it’s a killer idea, I’ll do it because I get excited about it, but most of the time I like to keep it upbeat. </p> <p><em>Photo: Stephen Gilbert</em></p> <p><em>Read more of Brandon Kinney’s interview <a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/brandon-kinney-writes-the-songs-that-make-the-whole-country-world-sing">here</a></em></p> <p><em>— Alison Richter</em></p> <p><em>Alison Richter interviews artists, producers, engineers and other music industry professionals for print and online publications. <a href="http://www.examiner.com/music-industry-in-national/alison-richter">Read more of her interviews right here.</a></em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/brandon-kinney-talks-songwriting-and-getting-his-start-nashville#comments Alison Richter Brandon Kinney Interviews News Features Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:44:29 +0000 Alison Richter http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21962 ‘Museum’: Former White Lion Vocalist Mike Tramp Talks New Music, Guitars and Touring http://www.guitarworld.com/musuem-former-white-lion-vocalist-mike-tramp-talks-new-music-guitars-and-touring <!--paging_filter--><p>For former White Lion vocalist Mike Tramp, it’s no longer about filling arenas, selling T-shirts or playing the old songs. Today, Tramp focuses on one main thing: following his heart. </p> <p>It’s why he’s spent the better part of the past two years touring the world with just a guitar, playing everywhere from sports bars to small hunting lodges deep in the Pennsylvania wilderness, places where Tramp says he feels right at home.</p> <p>And although there have been glimpses of Tramp’s inner-self in his White Lion past (“When the Children Cry” comes to mind), perhaps there's no better reflection of Tramp’s soul than his new album, <em>Museum</em>, which will be released August 18.</p> <p>From the Seventies vibe of songs like “Down South” to his own frustration (“Trust in Yourself”) and personal healing (“Better”), Tramp’s pain, love and frustration are on full display. Listening to <em>Museum</em>, one quickly discovers the bloodline that is Mike Tramp. There’s no makeup or make believe. Just plenty of truth. </p> <p>I recently spoke to Tramp about his new album, gear and the satisfaction he gets from his vagabond touring lifestyle.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe this new album as a whole?</strong></p> <p>It's a true reflection of me as a songwriter and about not being controlled by the “image” anymore. It’s knowing that the guidelines, doors and walls that surrounded White Lion back in the Eighties just don’t exist for me anymore. I’ve taken a step to try to create something that's recognizable and has connections to my past, but is still part of the future.</p> <p><strong>Why the title <em>Museum</em>?</strong></p> <p>I fell in love with music when I was growing up in the late Sixties and Seventies, back when so many bands would just record an album and not worry about whether or not it would fit in with the other songs they’ve done before. I remember being in the studio and saying, "This is like being inside of a museum in its own time." These are displays of songs that represent who I am.</p> <p><strong>How did you approach writing for this album?</strong></p> <p>Anytime I sit down with a guitar, I’ll write a song. I might not finish it, but it's always in my head and in my hands. I've left myself open and free to go into the studio and start the song and see where it's going to take me. There are no barriers anymore. For this album, there were songs I specifically wrote from a different point of view, one of them being “Down South." </p> <p>It started as a guitar riff I had written years ago on electric. Originally, I was thinking it might be along the lines of an AC/DC riff. I remember I asked Soren Andersen (co-producer) to give me a beat loop for the song, and the second he did that, I wrote the rest of the song. I used that same formula for "Slave," another guitar-oriented track. Both songs started from the riff.</p> <p><strong>What can you tell me about the song “Trust in Yourself”?</strong></p> <p>I was raised a casual Christian. When I came to America in the Eighties and was introduced to some of ways people were using religion as a tool and watching how the government was able to get away with all kinds of things, it really turned me off. All of the things that control human beings; where bit by bit people started giving up their own judgment of life. If you can't find trust in yourself, then it doesn't feel right to my soul.</p> <p><strong>What was the recording process like?</strong></p> <p>When Soren and I get together, it's like two people at each other's houses, ordering pizza and watching movies. It's that kind of environment. We think so much alike and at the same time we think opposite, so we’re able to create these really great songs. It's a great process and I treasure every moment.</p> <p><strong>Will you be touring in support of the new album?</strong></p> <p>Yes, I'll be starting a European tour next month once the album is released and I'll be back in the U.S. sometime next March.</p> <p><strong>What are some of the differences between the way you tour now as opposed to the way you did when you were with White Lion?</strong></p> <p>With White Lion, I remember sitting on the tour bus while we were pulling in and I remember having to find the dressing rooms in the back of the arenas. Now I’ll pull up to the venue and walk in the front door. Sometimes it might be a sports bar or a dive out in the middle of the woods, but I'll go in and meet the club owner, have a beer, set up and play. It's a completely different world and feels like I'm visiting old friends. </p> <p><strong>Tell me a little about your setup.</strong></p> <p>I play Martin guitars exclusively. I've grown up with them and now have four great ones I use. I've also added just a little loop and a keyboard pad to my sound to help fill it out and give some of the old White Lion songs a little bit of a beat. I've found a happy medium and I'm excited to take this new music out there.</p> <p><strong>Over the course of your career, is there one memory that stands out above all others?</strong></p> <p>There would probably have to be one from each decade. Although I played Madison Square Garden with White Lion and AC/DC, the memories of that experience are hard for me to remember. But then I played a hunting cabin out in the hills of Pennsylvania and it's something I'll never forget. Lately, the highlights are musical because I'm so proud of these songs and the production. In the end, I think the overall highlight for me will be from being able to identify, adapt and change with the times.</p> <p><strong>A lot of artists have started to form “super group” side projects with other musicians for an album and tour. Do you ever see yourself taking part in something like that?</strong></p> <p>You can never say never. I do get offers from time to time, but right now I don't feel there's anything I could do better than what I'm doing right now. It certainly would have to be a collaboration with other people who feel the same as I do. It’s got to be for musical satisfaction. Some people think you only want to go back to that one and only place, but I already have those albums. When you want to hear a young Mike Tramp in his prime, you listen to <em>Pride</em>. To hear the next step, you listen to <em>Freak of Nature</em>. Now there are the solo albums where I'm dealing with the issues affecting me. They're all different chapters of my life.</p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href="http://gojimmygo.net/">GoJimmyGo.net</a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/JimEWood">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/musuem-former-white-lion-vocalist-mike-tramp-talks-new-music-guitars-and-touring#comments James Wood Mike Tramp White Lion Interviews News Features Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:26:47 +0000 James Wood http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21971 Dear Guitar Hero: Buddy Guy Discusses Muddy Waters, Fender Strats, Touring with The Rolling Stones and More http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-buddy-guy-discusses-muddy-waters-fender-strats-touring-rolling-stones-and-more <!--paging_filter--><p><em>He’s been called the greatest living guitarist by Eric Clapton, he’s played with blues legends like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and his new double album, </em>Rhythm and Blues<em>, is a powerhouse set with guest shots by Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Gary Clark Jr., Beth Hart and Keith Urban. But what </em>Guitar World<em> readers really want to know is....</em></p> <p><strong>What’s the most important thing you learned from Muddy Waters? — Marc Merriwether</strong></p> <p>That you should play music for the love of it, not for the money. It’s 57 years since I first arrived in Chicago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and when I came here I didn’t have the slightest idea that I would be good enough to play guitar with Muddy or even make a record. I was working as a custodian at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. </p> <p>But I come up to Chicago, and the next thing I know, Muddy was asking me to play. And I found out that the money Muddy was making wasn’t much more than I was making working day jobs at LSU. But here’s Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson…and they were having so much fun just playing. And I learned that they were playing for the love of music, not the love of money. </p> <p><strong>What are you driving these days? — Butch Teagarden</strong></p> <p>I’m into classic cars, man. I got a ’55 T-Bird, a ’58 Edsel and all them old cars. I got a lot of what they call “vintage” cars. Eric Clapton can spot one of them a mile away and then asks me how much I want for it. Eric talked me into buying a Ferrari about 20 years ago. </p> <p>I read that they had caught him driving one in Europe, and I think he was doing 170 miles an hour. The cops couldn’t catch him. They had to tell ’em to stop him in the next town. I asked him about it and he said, “Man, you must get a Ferrari. It sits down.” But that damn thing … You know, when you get to my age, there isn’t a lot of room inside a Ferrari. It’s like a prop plane. Even them big jumbo planes, if you go into the cockpit to see the pilot, he don’t have much room to move around or cross his legs and stuff. And every time I get in a Ferrari, I feel like I’m flying a plane. </p> <p><strong>Your string bends have always been awesome. What gauge strings do you use? — Paolo Sandoval</strong></p> <p>I was using very thin strings in the early days, when I made my first record, “Sit and Cry and Sing the Blues,” in 1958. I laugh about it now because they’d break so easily, being so thin. But they were real easy on your fingers. The thing is, I couldn’t always afford new strings when they broke. I’d go play a gig at night and I didn’t have but one string and could not afford another one. So I had to get heavier strings. </p> <p>Later on guys like Hendrix and Stevie Ray were using the really thick haywire strings, which would cut the tip of your finger if you bent them in the B.B. King style. B.B. King used to put glue on the tips of his fingers to protect the skin and keep them from bleeding. So right now I’m using an 11 for my first string, a 13 to 14 for the second, probably a 16 to 18 for the third. And for the wound strings I think I start around 28 and go up to 35 for the fifth string and maybe 40 for the number-six string. </p> <p><strong>What was it like opening the Rolling Stones in the Seventies? — Idriss Moussaka</strong></p> <p>In 1970, me and Junior Wells opened a whole tour for the Rolling Stones throughout Europe. And when you open a show for them, some fans are gonna look up and say, “That’s not the Rolling Stones!” Sometimes the few people there who knew us—two or three maybe—were okay. </p> <p>But the rest of the 40, 50 or 60 thousand were saying, “Who the hell is this?” A lot of people weren’t ready for me and Junior back then. But I kept saying to myself, “Well, they got us out here. Play a few licks and maybe you’ll sell a few more records next time you make one because somebody saw you with the Rolling Stones.” But it was exciting. And even today I get people right now coming up and saying, “I didn’t know who you was till I saw you on a stage with the Stones.”</p> <p><strong>How and when did you first know that that Fender Stratocaster was the guitar for you? — Doug Polanski </strong></p> <p>I saw the late Guitar Slim play when I was still very young. That was the first time I saw a Strat. He had a 100-foot cord coming in the door, playing “I Done Got Old.” And I’m saying, “Is that a guitar? What the hell is that?” Later on, I played with a guy named Big Poppa [Tilley]. He had a little three-piece band, two guitars and drums, and he played a little harmonica. And he bought a Strat for me to play in his band. </p> <p>That was the first time I got to play one. When I first came to Chicago, I had a Gibson Les Paul, but I was so in love with the Strat. So when the Les Paul got stolen, I got my first Strat, a ’57. One reason why I fell in love with the Strat back then was that acoustics and other guitars weren’t built so solid. If something happened, they could crack easy and all of that. Back then I couldn’t afford a new guitar if something happened to mine. </p> <p>And I found out the Strat has a steel rod in the neck and it was a solid piece of wood, so if you drop it you might scratch it, but you couldn’t hurt it. That’s what made me fall in love with it. Plus, Leo Fender had that tone and that sound on it, man. So I got hooked with that experience. </p> <p><strong>How did you like recording “Messin’ with the Kid” with Kid Rock on your new album? — Peter Brown </strong></p> <p>We had a great time. “Messin’ with the Kid” was the biggest record by my late musical partner, Junior Wells. And I always said, “You know, I’m waitin’ on Kid Rock to do this song.” He laughed when I told him, and said, “Man, I’ll come in and do it. I never thought of that.” I told him, “I beat you to it.” Kid Rock and I go back a long way. He’s into the deep blues. </p> <p>He was there when they honored me at the Kennedy Center awards at the White House last year. He said, “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Every musician you know of, even some of the hip-hoppers, are into some of the things we did way back then. </p> <p><strong>What is the real origin of the polka dots on your Strat? — Mia Sanderson</strong></p> <p>Well, I’m the oldest boy in my family. There were five of us: three boys and two girls. And when I left Louisiana for Chicago 57 years ago, my mother had a stroke and didn’t want me to go. She wasn’t even able to walk or talk right anymore, but she got to where she could understand a few things and I could understand her. </p> <p>And I wanted to make her feel good, so I say, “Well, I’m gonna go to Chicago and make more money than I’m making here, and I’m gonna be sending you money back and you’ll see how well I’m doing. I’m gonna drive back down to you in a polka-dot Cadillac.” I knew I was lying to her. And when she passed away in 1968, I said to myself, “You lied to your mama and never got a chance to tell her you were lying.” That bothered me. </p> <p>And one day I said to myself, “You know what? I’m gonna see if Fender will make me a polka-dot Strat.” At first they said they couldn’t do it, but then they hired a guy who said, ‘We can do it.’ They made me one or two, and then they tried it out at the NAMM show. </p> <p>They made 100 or 200, just to see what would happen, and they let me know the 200 were gone before they even got there. These days, I think I own about seven or eight of them. But I got some sons and grandsons come up to see me now. And sometimes I open up a case after they leave and the guitar is gone!</p> <p><strong>“Poison Ivy” is a track you originally cut for Vanguard Records in 1968. What made you want to revisit it on <em>Rhythm and Blues</em>? — Mike Mulcahy</strong></p> <p>Did I record it before? I don’t remember that. I know I would sing it in person. But I wanted to do it on my new album to honor the late Willie Mabon, who had a hit on Chess Records with “Poison Ivy” [in 1954]. When we got in the studio we were doing mostly new songs, but I wanted to honor a few people like Willie Mabon, Junior Wells and Guitar Slim by doing some of their songs. </p> <p><strong>What do you think of the new young generation of blues guitarists? — Bob Andres</strong></p> <p>I think they’re great. Gary Clark Jr., he’s a young man who plays on my new album. I’m really pulling for him, because it takes young people to keep the blues alive. Like another young guy I’m promoting—Quinn Sullivan. When I first met him, he was seven and he was playing as well as Eric Clapton, me, B.B. King or Jeff Beck or any of those guys. </p> <p>How did he learn all that at seven years old? Here I’m 77 and I still haven’t found some of those notes! He just turned 14 and we got a CD coming out on him soon. You know, we don’t get much airplay on the blues anymore, for some strange reason, until some young kid come along. That’s what happened with the British guys, like the Stones and Clapton. They opened the door. And Stevie Ray and all of them. Youth is the one to keep the blues going. That’s what makes the world go ’round, and that is what we need for the blues. I know it would put a big smile on Muddy’s face.</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="/buddy-guy">Buddy Guy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-buddy-guy-discusses-muddy-waters-fender-strats-touring-rolling-stones-and-more#comments Buddy Guy Dear Guitar Hero GW Archive October 2013 Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:13:33 +0000 Alan di Perna http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19129 Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee of Rush Choose 22 Songs That Inspired Them Most http://www.guitarworld.com/rush_60_minutes_with_alex_lifeson_and_geddy_lee <!--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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KecIdlEAKhU" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/DIoKr9VDg3A" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0pzMjZSchFg" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/uswXI4fDYrM" 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="//www.youtube.com/embed/k66ED403Al8" 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="//www.youtube.com/embed/z_L4RtU1iRg" 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="//www.youtube.com/embed/NBqbuGgt0Us" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/sfR_HWMzgyc" 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="//www.youtube.com/embed/3a7cHPy04s8" 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="//www.youtube.com/embed/y7EpSirtf_E" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/hMu7XUc9OcI" 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="//www.youtube.com/embed/7zV78IgXzB0" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/bVdb9KHfFKM" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/u9bk2MrMGaA" 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="//www.youtube.com/embed/AaYUSokuRTo" 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="//www.youtube.com/embed/NBqbuGgt0Us" 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="//www.youtube.com/embed/SYlWNb9tmtk" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/MLv7viCMGo8" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/57HicYcY4Ow" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/E2tr-UctURQ" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Y-lRmVOGw3M" 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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/uY9sDk6NyQY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Can't get enough Rush? <a href="http://secure.nps1.net/guitarworld/index.php?main_page=product_info&amp;cPath=5&amp;products_id=13&amp;utm_source=guitarworld.com&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: rush.com</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> http://www.guitarworld.com/rush_60_minutes_with_alex_lifeson_and_geddy_lee#comments 60 Minutes Alex Lifeson Geddy lee GW Archive Rush Interviews News Features Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:38:11 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/964 Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth Discusses Camel's 'Moon Madness' — The Record That Changed My Life http://www.guitarworld.com/mikael-akerfeldt-opeth-discusses-camels-moon-madness-record-changed-my-life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Camel</strong><br /> <em>Moon Madness</em> (1976)</p> <p>“I was already in my twenties when I first heard it. I was working at a record store in Stockholm at the time, and one of my co-workers, who was in his early forties, suggested I check out Camel. </p> <p>"I bought a couple of their albums on second-hand vinyl, including <em>Moon Madness</em> and <em>The Snowgoose</em>, and took them home on a lunch break. I was floored by <em>Moon Madness</em> and especially by Andy Latimer’s guitar playing. It was just what I’d been looking for—finally, someone to copy! I had always leaned toward hard-rock players like Blackmore, but this was something new. It was so heartfelt and emotional, and every note felt like it served a purpose. </p> <p>“I was also amazed by the compositions, as well as the solos, and of course, Latimer’s guitar tone. One of the best guitar solos is in a song called ‘Lunar Sea.’ It’s long and fantastically executed. He really builds it to a splendid climax. That solo that has highly influenced me. In fact, there’s a song on our new album, <em>Ghost Reveries</em>, called ‘The Baying of the Hounds,’ and my solo on it definitely has Andy’s sound and his way of building up the drama of solos. </p> <p>"Also, on our new track ‘Beneath the Mire,’ there’s a unison part played by me on guitar and by keyboardist Per Wiberg on the Moog synthesizer, and it sounds very Camel-esque. You listen to that and you think, Well, it’s Camel!”</p> <object width="620" height="365"><param name="movie" value="//www.youtube.com/v/sAgE5L3tPhM?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed src="//www.youtube.com/v/sAgE5L3tPhM?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620" height="365" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object><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="/opeth">Opeth</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/mikael-akerfeldt-opeth-discusses-camels-moon-madness-record-changed-my-life#comments Camel July 2014 Mikael Åkerfeldt Moon Madness Opeth The Record that Changed My Life Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:01:51 +0000 Mikael Akerfeldt http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21931 Kenny Wayne Shepherd Discusses Muddy Waters' 'Hard Again' — The Record That Changed My Life http://www.guitarworld.com/kenny-wayne-shepherd-discusses-muddy-waters-hard-again-record-changed-my-life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Kenny Wayne Shepherd chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Muddy Waters</strong><br /> <em>Hard Again</em> (1977)</p> <p>"<em>Hard Again</em> is not just one of the greatest blues albums of all time, it's one of the greatest albums of all time. It came out the year I was born, in 1977, on Blue Sky Records. Johnny Winter produced and played guitar on it. </p> <p>"It's packed with great blues musicians: James Cotton on harmonica, Pinetop Perkins on piano, Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith on drums and 'Steady Rollin'' Bob Margolin on guitar as well. When I was three years old, my dad took me to see Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. That was my first concert and my introduction to the blues. So even though I was young when I discovered <em>Hard Again</em>, I was already a fan. </p> <p>"My dad was a DJ who did the morning show at a local radio station when I was growing up. I would drive into work with him in the morning and hang out until it was time for me to go to school. Then another DJ who had the overnight shift would take my dad's car and drive me to school... only we would pull around the corner—I was 13 years old at the time—and the guy would jump out of the driver's seat and we would switch places. He would let me drive my dad's car to school. And the first thing I would do is put on this Muddy Waters record and crank it up, man. Every single day, on the way to middle school."</p> <p>"That album changed me in a lot of ways. It has a lot to do with my interest in blues music. But also I decided that, if I was gonna sing, I wanted to sound like Muddy Waters. But I couldn't do it when I was young. That's one reason why I shied away from singing for so long and just focused on the guitar. </p> <p>"So that album definitely changed my life, because for as long as I can remember listening to it, it's been my favorite album and it's made me want to play the blues. It inspires me every time I listen to it. It makes me want to run and pick up a guitar and start playing."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ZoVO9zZTJ10" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/kenny-wayne-shepherd-discusses-muddy-waters-hard-again-record-changed-my-life#comments undefined Interviews News Features Magazine Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:16:39 +0000 Kenny Wayne Sheperd http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21927 A Clean and Sober Ace Frehley Discusses Kiss' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Debacle and More http://www.guitarworld.com/clean-and-sober-ace-frehley-discusses-kiss-rock-and-roll-hall-fame-debacle-and-more <!--paging_filter--><p>This year started off innocently enough for Ace Frehley. </p> <p>Just one week prior to Christmas 2013, the former Kiss lead guitarist learned that he and his comrades in the original Kiss lineup—Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss—were finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after 15 years of eligibility (and 15 years of outcry from the Kiss Army). </p> <p>A cause for celebration, no doubt—and a golden opportunity for the four founding members of the legendary rock band to perform onstage together again for the first time since October 7, 2000, the final North American date of their Farewell Tour.</p> <p>And then, somehow, it all imploded. In the weeks preceding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 10 in Brooklyn, New York, Kiss became the primary focus of every public and private discussion surrounding the event after they announced that there would be no Kiss performance—let alone a Kiss reunion—that night. </p> <p>To make matters worse, the band members seized every opportunity to lambast one another in the press on a seemingly daily basis, effectively rendering what was supposed to be a triumphant reunion performance loaded with all the blood-spitting, fire-breathing, makeup-running pageantry that fans had been clamoring for all these years into a pitiful non-event. </p> <p>“I was like, Jesus Christ, after 40 years of support you can’t give the fans 10 minutes?” says a still worked-up Frehley over a cup of black tea at <em>Guitar World</em> headquarters in New York. “The fans wanted it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wanted it. But Gene and Paul didn’t. It’s sad. They definitely lost some fans because of this decision.</p> <p>“I think the reason they didn’t want to get together with the original members was because they’re afraid of history repeating itself. When we did <em>Unplugged</em> in 1995, you saw what happened: because the fans were so excited about me and Peter playing with those guys, they had to scrap their last record [with then-current members Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer] and do a reunion tour [with Frehley and Criss in 1996]. Although at this point I don’t think Peter could do a two-hour show and a full tour. But I still got the chops. I definitely blow [current Kiss guitarist] Tommy Thayer off the stage.”</p> <p>It’s obvious that Frehley is fired up, and with good reason. With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame fiasco behind him, the clean-and-sober Spaceman is able to focus on the things in life that make him happy, like living in San Diego with his pretty, blond 47-year-old fiancé Rachael Gordon, writing books, working with Gibson on various signature guitars and recording new music. <em>Space Invader</em>, his first record since 2009’s top-notch <em>Anomaly</em>, is due out in a few weeks, and Ace couldn’t be more excited. </p> <p>“I haven’t had a drink in more than seven and a half years, and I feel great now,” says the 63-year-old guitarist. “I’m writing great songs and I’m singing great, and I’m super excited about this new album. It’s gonna be even better than <em>Anomaly</em>. I played some tracks for a couple of guys I was considering using for mixing, and the first thing out of their mouths was, ‘God, your voice sounds like it did on your 1978 solo record.’ Unlike some other people, whose voices aren’t maybe what they used to be. Not to name names, or anything.” </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/qGvz7FdUzOc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Your love affair with alcohol during Kiss’ heyday—and, well, all through the Eighties and Nineties—is well documented. Do you miss it? Are there days when you want a drink?</strong></p> <p>No. I haven’t had the urge to drink in a long time. And I don’t miss the hangovers, I don’t miss the smells, the late nights at the bars, or the people. I was hanging out with some pretty shady people in my heavy-drinking-and-coke years. I was in some situations that really could have gone sideways. I was just lucky. And you have to realize that my fans used to emulate my behavior when I was a crazy man—“Ace is a party animal, let’s go get loaded!” Then they’d go crash their car, and I’d feel terrible. </p> <p>Now it’s turned around. And when someone comes up to me and says that they haven’t had a drink in six months and that they’re doing well because I am, that makes my day. Maybe that’s one reason why God has kept me alive. By all rights I should have died a half dozen times already, so every day above ground I’m thrilled. </p> <p><strong>Did you think Kiss would ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?</strong></p> <p>I knew that [the Hall] had to buckle to popular opinion. It was only a matter of time. We were first eligible 15 years ago, so I knew it would happen eventually. I mean, how can you exclude Kiss, one of the biggest American rock groups in history? Even though we didn’t perform, I’m still thrilled to be in it.</p> <p><strong>Where were you when you found out that you were being inducted?</strong></p> <p>I was at home in San Diego and got a call from my manager. Then, about a week later, I got the “congratulatory” call from Paul and Gene. And I could tell that there was some hesitancy on their part about the whole thing. I was asking them if we were gonna play, and Gene avoided the question by saying, “Well, we’re just looking forward to getting the four of us up there together and celebrating…whatever.” It was a noncommittal congratulatory call.</p> <p>Then, about a week later, I was told that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame absolutely wants the four original members to reunite, and I said, “Great, I’ll do it.” And there was silence from Gene and Paul. And finally it was shot down. The next thing I heard is that Paul and Gene wanted to perform with the current Kiss lineup [with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer]. And I said, Well, that’s kind of a slap in the face. I mean, they’re not even being inducted. I have to sit through a Kiss cover band when I’m receiving an award? I don’t think so. </p> <p>I also heard at one point that they wanted me to perform in makeup with Tommy at the same time. I really didn’t want to be onstage with Tommy, but I said I would do it, as long as I got to play the bulk of the songs and that I could wear the <em>Destroyer</em> costume. Then a few days later [it was], “No, we’re not gonna play at all.” It was almost like they were trying to bait me, so that if I said no to anything they would just blame me for there being no performance. I was almost going to boycott the whole thing.</p> <p><strong>The weeks leading up to the induction ceremony were filled with all sorts of public drama. A lot of negative comments were hurled back and forth in the press between the four original members of Kiss. Why do you think Gene and Paul are always so quick to disparage you publicly?</strong></p> <p>I don’t know. I think they’re just cranky. For years, when I was fucked up, Gene used to say that I was a drunk and a drug addict and that I was unemployable. Kick a guy when he’s down, right? But they can’t do that anymore, so it’s like they’re scratching their heads trying to come up with new ways to insult me. The most recent thing was that I’m anti-Semitic, that I’m a fucking Nazi. That’s just below the belt. Next I’ll be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. And my fiancé is Jewish! My whole life I’ve worked with Jewish people in all different capacities—my accountants, my attorneys, people on the road. Jesus Christ, I can’t believe the stuff that comes out of their mouths. But the truth is that I don’t want to be negative. I just want to keep everything light and be happy. </p> <p>Paul has been so goddamn cranky lately. I mean, what’s wrong, Paul, aren’t you happy? I know they must be frustrated because people are always writing about how Ace was the real guy or Ace was the real deal. It’s gotta rub them the wrong way. They would like nothing more than for me to start drinking again, start taking drugs again and end up as a bum on skid row. But that’s not gonna happen.</p> <p>Anybody who says anything bad about me is foolish, because a lot of people like me. You’re gonna make enemies when you put down Ace Frehley. And that’s because I’m a straight shooter—I tell it like it is. Gene is that way too. He’ll sit across from you in a room and say this or that and tell it like it is. Whether you like it or not, he lays it out, right to your face. Paul will tell you one thing, then walk out the door and stab you in the fucking back. That’s Paul Stanley. And now he’s trying to take credit for the fucking Kiss logo? Unbelievable. I designed the logo—all he did was draw straighter lines. </p> <p>And you know, I told Paul to wear the star on his eye. Do you know what his makeup was before he put the star on his eye? It was a round circle. He looked like the dog from the Little Rascals [Pete the Pup, a.k.a. Petey]. It told him it looked kinda silly and that he should put one star on his eye. But do I go around taking credit for that? No. I let him say he designed it. Who cares, you know? Let’s not be petty.</p> <p>You would think that if Gene and Paul had half a brain, they would realize what’s going on and start saying good things about Ace. I mean, keep bad-mouthing me. No one’s gonna show up at your fucking tour this summer.</p> <p><strong>Let’s talk about your upcoming solo album, <em>Space Invader</em>. It’s been five years since <em>Anomaly</em>. Why the delay?</strong></p> <p>I don’t know. [laughs] I’m not disciplined, and I can only create when I’m in the zone. I get preoccupied with other things—moving, family stuff, whatever—and then years go by. I had two record labels courting me, and I decided to go with E1 Music because of their reputation in the business and because they offered me more money. And when someone writes you a check, you gotta make the record! [laughs] The truth is, I work better when there’s a deadline. And I usually have to extend the deadline. But the end result is usually quality.</p> <p><strong>Do you enjoy the whole process of writing and recording?</strong></p> <p>Yes. I’m actually enjoying writing and recording more than ever, because I’ve become a lot more comfortable with Pro Tools, which means I can edit my own solos now. And that’s just fun. I prefer having an engineer there, but if there’s not one around, I can do my own editing and not have to depend on anyone else. Vocals too. I can do it all myself.</p> <p><strong>Which is quite different from recording with Kiss in the early Seventies.</strong></p> <p>With Kiss we used to do a slave reel. We’d mix down on two-inch tape, 24 tracks. [Producer] Eddie Kramer would mix down a stereo track of drums, and he’d give me a whole reel just to do solos. And Eddie was great at editing tape. But the flexibility you get nowadays with Pro Tools is just night and day compared to those days. Digital editing is a dream.</p> <p><strong>What was the songwriting process like for <em>Space Invader</em>?</strong></p> <p>You know, all my life I’ve never had a formula for writing songs. Sometimes it starts with a guitar riff, sometimes it’s a lyrical idea or just a melody. Sometimes I wake up with an idea. There’s no rhyme or reason. Sometimes I write on an acoustic, sometimes on a bass. There’s a song on the new album called “Into the Vortex.” It’s a riff song, but I wrote it on a bass guitar. Why? Because I write differently with a bass guitar in my hand than an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. When I feel creative, I just sit down and start playing. </p> <p><strong>Did you write differently in the early days of Kiss?</strong></p> <p>Yes. I wasn’t as structured as I am now. Even though I’m not really structured—I’m at least cognizant of what’s going on. [laughs] Back then it was more hit or miss—and when I hit, I hit big. You know, I go back and listen to my 1978 solo record, and it still holds up. My whole body of work that I’ve created over the years has withstood the test of time. I know that I still have the goods. And when this record gets released, everybody’s gonna say, “Well, Ace did it again.” </p> <p><strong>Were there things about <em>Anomaly</em> that you wanted to change with <em>Space Invader</em>?</strong></p> <p>I know that everyone is hoping that this album is heavier than the last one, and it is. I’m also doing an instrumental this time, called “Starship,” that isn’t slow. It’s a departure from the “Fractured Mirror” style. It’s more fast paced and has a lot of transitions in it. </p> <p><strong>You cover the Steve Miller song “The Joker” on the new album. How did that come about?</strong></p> <p>It was the record company’s idea, to be honest. And I was a little resistant when it first came up. But then I thought back to my 1978 solo record, when Eddie Kramer’s assistant said to me, “Why don’t you try this song?” And it was “New York Groove.” At first I said, “I don't want to do that,” and it turned out to be my biggest hit. So maybe history can repeat itself. </p> <p><strong>Where was <em>Space Invader</em> recorded?</strong></p> <p>I did most of the recording at my friend’s studio in Turlock, California, called the Creation Lab. Turlock is in the middle of nowhere—it’s like a farming community—and that’s why I loved it. I have Attention Deficit Disorder, and there are absolutely no distractions when working at this place. You record for eight or 10 or 12 hours, then you go back to the hotel and go to sleep. You wake up and go back to the studio. </p> <p>There’s nothing else to do there, which means it’s the perfect place for me to record. Plus, I like working with the least amount of people, and this studio is great because it’s quiet and there aren’t all kinds of people walking through. I did most of this record with just me and a drummer, Matt Starr. For a couple of songs I brought in Chris Wyse from the Cult to play bass. </p> <p><strong>What guitars and amps are you using on the album?</strong></p> <p>I’m using a big variety of guitars. I have 35 or 40 different guitars hanging on the wall, and I just grab different ones. There’s a seven-string on one song, a Dobro, some 12-string acoustics… Sometimes I get the urge to use the double-neck. I like flexibility. The more variety, to me, the better. As for amps, it’s basically the same stuff I used on Anomaly: Marshalls and Voxes and Fenders. </p> <p><strong>The “Budokan” Les Paul replica guitar you did with Gibson in 2012 was a huge success. Are you planning another signature model?</strong></p> <p>I remember when I first did that deal and I went to the Gibson office to sign a bunch of the guitars, I said to [Gibson senior VP] Rick Gembar, “How are they selling?” And he said, “What do you mean, ‘How are they selling?’ They’re already sold. They were already sold before we put them out. Ace, anything you do turns to gold.” </p> <p>That was a good feeling. I’m trying to figure out what to do next. I keep asking people what they think, and some say to do the three-pickup black Les Paul; some say to do the first one I had, the sunburst Standard. But I don’t have to make that decision today, so I’m not worrying about it. But Gibson does an amazing job with these guitars. I don’t know how they make guitars that look 30 or 40 years old, right down to the screws and scratches and little details.</p> <p>I’m working on a design for a new amp right now that I think is just going to be too cool. I can’t talk about it yet because I haven’t finished the prototype. I also have a prototype guitar in the works that’s gonna be revolutionary. But that deal’s not done, so I can’t talk about that either. Amp and guitar—both completely different from anything else on the market. I’m always coming up with new ideas. I invented an electric guitar, like, 20 years ago. [laughs] My father was an inventor. It’s in my blood. I also have an idea for a really cool clock. But I can’t even talk about it because it’s so brilliant.</p> <p><em>Photo: Jimmy Hubbard</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="/ace-frehley">Ace Frehley</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/clean-and-sober-ace-frehley-discusses-kiss-rock-and-roll-hall-fame-debacle-and-more#comments Ace Frehley July 2014 Kiss Interviews News Features Magazine Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:14:02 +0000 Jeff Kitts http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21338 Michael Amott of Arch Enemy Discusses 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols' — The Record That Changed My Life http://www.guitarworld.com/michael-amott-arch-enemy-discusses-never-mind-bollocks-heres-sex-pistols-record-changed-my-life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Michael Amott of Arch Enemy chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Sex Pistols</strong><br /> <em>Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols</em> (1977)</p> <p>“I grew up with my parents’ record collection, and they listened largely to classical, along with some jazz, blues, Motown, Stevie Wonder and David Bowie. </p> <p>"I had a good foundation. When I first found my own music, it was Kiss. They were massive in Scandinavia. I wasn’t playing guitar yet, but I loved their music and image—especially <em>Destroyer</em> and ‘Detroit Rock City,’ with the harmonized guitar. </p> <p>"Later, when I was about 11 and had started playing music, my friend came over one day after school and said, ‘Mike, we’re gonna be punks now.’ And I was like, ‘Okay! What’s that?’ He showed me a magazine with a picture of the Sex Pistols and played me their first album, <em>Never Mind the Bollocks</em>, on cassette tape. I loved it! And we started a band that day.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ooIz_Di2w3g" 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="/arch-enemy">Arch Enemy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sex-pistols">Sex Pistols</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/michael-amott-arch-enemy-discusses-never-mind-bollocks-heres-sex-pistols-record-changed-my-life#comments Arch Enemy July 2014 Michael Amott Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols Sex Pistols The Record that Changed My Life Interviews News Features Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:30:18 +0000 Michael Amott http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21901 Orianthi Discusses Santana's 'Sacred Fire: Live in South America' — The Record That Changed My Life http://www.guitarworld.com/orianthi-discusses-santanas-sacred-fire-live-south-america-record-changed-my-life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Orianthi chooses (and discusses) the record that changed her life.</em></p> <p><strong>Santana</strong><br /> <em>Sacred Fire: Live In South America</em> (1993)</p> <p>“There’s just so much wonderful soloing throughout that entire concert—really inspired soloing—and that inspired me to want to play electric guitar. I had been playing since I was six, but I was studying classical guitar and just strumming at that point. </p> <p>"When I was around 11, my dad took me to see Santana live, and then I got <em>Sacred Fire</em>, and everything changed for me. My dad is actually an amazing guitarist, and he always had an incredible record collection, which is how I discovered things like Jimi Hendrix and Santana. I’ll always be grateful for that.</p> <p>“Everything about that album and the concert, which I had on video tape, changed my life. The band was amazing; the energy of the crowd was incredible. It’s just a really special performance. I actually wore out the video from pausing it so many times because I was trying to learn all of his solos.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lPekBJ47BnM" 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="/orianthi">Orianthi</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/carlos-santana">Carlos Santana</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/orianthi-discusses-santanas-sacred-fire-live-south-america-record-changed-my-life#comments July 2014 Orianthi Santana The Record that Changed My Life Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:35:47 +0000 Orianthi http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21890 Crown the Empire Guitarist Bennett Vogelman's 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide — Warped Tour http://www.guitarworld.com/crown-empire-guitarist-bennett-vogelmans-2014-summer-tour-survival-guide-warped-tour <!--paging_filter--><p><em>In this new feature from the August 2014 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, the guitarists of Avenged Sevenfold, Morbid Angel, Trivium and other metal acts tell how they'll beat the heat and tame the crowds on the season's biggest tours.</em></p> <p><strong><em>TODAY: Crown the Empire Guitarist Bennett Vogelman — WARPED TOUR</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Your sweatiest concert ever?</strong></p> <p>The sweatiest concert we ever played was at the Speak Easy Lounge in Lake Worth, Florida, on our first headlining tour. It was so hot, you could literally see everyone’s perspiration in the air. We walked into the venue before our set and within maybe 30 seconds, we were completely drenched in sweat. By the end of the set, all of us could barely breathe.</p> <p><strong>Tips for playing in extreme heat?</strong></p> <p>The obvious one is to make sure that you have water onstage for each person. Wear short sleeves, and depending on how hot it is, you might want to tone down how intense you play onstage—which is something we never do.</p> <p><strong>One item you’ll carry with you at all times this summer?</strong></p> <p>My phone and a water bottle. That’s about it.</p> <p><strong>Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?</strong></p> <p>Basically, the deal with outdoor shows is there are no lights in the afternoon, so you have to make up for it with how you interact with the crowd. You also have to account for any weather that you might encounter, like rain, lightning, thunder, wind and dust storms. Plus, with some outdoor shows, you’re really far away from the crowd because of the barricade, which makes it a little hard to get up close and personal with the fans.</p> <p><strong>Primary gear you’ll be playing this summer?</strong></p> <p>Right now we’re actually looking into switching over to running things all digital. We'll have a computer that runs a standalone guitar plug-in—probably Line 6’s POD Farm—that emulates a guitar tone very similar to the one used on the actual song.</p> <p><strong>Tips for winning over a tough crowd?</strong></p> <p>That’s tricky. We’ve had our fair share of tough crowds over the last few years, and it’s really a different animal every time. What we normally do is make sure we’re confident. We’re at that show playing it for a reason, and understanding that helps keep our morale high, even when the crowd sounds like crickets chirping. We talk to the crowd and tell them we need to see more action and then make sure we give it our all so the crowd sees we’re not just fucking around up there. </p> <p><strong>Highlight of your band’s set list?</strong></p> <p>For me, it’s either playing “Makeshift Chemistry,” which has a lot of energy to it, or doing our “wall of death" during “Children of Love.”</p> <p><strong>Advice for a band just starting to play live?</strong></p> <p>The most important thing for me is making sure you’re playing your parts as solidly as you can. We do a lot of choreography live, and we’ve had to learn how to play and move around aggressively at the same time. Play the songs correctly first, go crazy second.</p> <p>Check out the video for "Makeshift Chemistry" here: </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PoMJ0VkGG1c" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/crown-empire-guitarist-bennett-vogelmans-2014-summer-tour-survival-guide-warped-tour#comments 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide August 2014 Bennett Vogelman Crown the Empire Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:55 +0000 Jeff Kitts http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21712 Miss May I Guitarist Justin Aufdemkampe's 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide — Mayhem Fest http://www.guitarworld.com/miss-may-i-guitarist-justin-aufdemkampes-2014-summer-tour-survival-guide-mayhem-fest <!--paging_filter--><p><em>In this new feature from the August 2014 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, the guitarists of Avenged Sevenfold, Morbid Angel, Trivium and other metal acts tell how they'll beat the heat and tame the crowds on the season's biggest tours.</em></p> <p><strong><em>TODAY: Miss May I Guitarist Justin Audemkampfe — MAYHEM FEST</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Your sweatiest concert ever?</strong></p> <p>It was in Louisville, Kentucky, at this place called Uncle Pleasant’s, back in 2010. The show was amazing and there were a lot of people inside this small place, so the combination of the heat outside, the heat coming off people inside, the lights, and the fact that the ceilings were eight feet high just trapped the heat. I specifically remember, about mid set, I was so hot that I thought I might pass out. I ran out of water about halfway through playing, so I just had to tough it out. After we played the last note, I darted for the back door. I was beyond dizzy at that point and getting outside was such a godsend.</p> <p><strong>Tips for playing in extreme heat?</strong></p> <p>Sometimes when it’s really humid outside and there’s a lot of condensation, wrapping your in-ear monitor pack and guitar wireless pack in plastic can help protect them from moisture. If those things go out, I can’t hear what I’m playing or my guitar signal will go out.</p> <p><strong>One item you’ll carry with you at all times this summer?</strong></p> <p>Sunglasses. I get headaches if I squint for too long. The combination of a headache and being dehydrated is the worst feeling, so sunglasses and a water bottle are a must in the summer heat. </p> <p><strong>Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?</strong></p> <p>One of the biggest problems I ran into playing on Warped in 2011 and 2012 was the dust getting into my gear. I really like my guitar rig and guitars to be clean. Almost every day there was some sort of dirt on both of them, and it’s something you cannot help. The wind carries it, and it can be a real pain in the ass for you or your tech. </p> <p><strong>Primary gear you’ll be playing this summer?</strong></p> <p>I recently started playing EVH 5150 III heads, which I’m falling in love with more and more with every tour that passes. I’ll be running a pretty standard pedal setup at the front of the stage as well: a Boss TU-3 tuner into a Maxon OD808 Overdrive pedal to an ISP Decimator noise-reduction pedal and after that to a Boss DD-7 Digital Delay. All of these are in my guitar chain and run straight into my head. We’ll be using Orange cabs too. We’ve been using them for a couple of years, and they’re really the only things in my rig that have stayed the same. As far as guitars, I’ll be using the Charvel San Dimas Style guitars for all of the festivals this summer. </p> <p><strong>Tips for winning over a tough crowd?</strong></p> <p>Sometimes it’s as simple as one song or one thing your singer says between songs that gets a crowd going. When I went to shows as a kid, it always made me more comfortable when I saw the guitarist moving around onstage. It let me know that I could just let loose and have a good time. So now, at every show, I give my all for the fans that have paid to see our band play, but even when playing in front of the worst crowds, I try to move around as much as possible. Playing in front of a bad crowd actually fuels me. </p> <p><strong>Highlight of your band’s set list?</strong></p> <p>My favorite songs to play are “Hey Mister,” “Refuse to Believe,” “Our Kings,” “Relentless Chaos” and “Echoes.”</p> <p><strong>Advice for a band just starting to play live?</strong></p> <p>Just go up there and have as much fun as possible. I was so nervous at Miss May I’s first show seven years ago, which was also my first show. I kept thinking, Do I remember my parts? What am I going to look like in front of people? Am I going to mess up? I ended up having one of the best experiences of my life. When I walked offstage, I said to myself, I could do this for the rest of my life. </p> <p>Check out the video for "Hey Mister" here: </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ZUaQtfnMzdw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Photo: Julien Esteban Pretel</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/miss-may-i-guitarist-justin-aufdemkampes-2014-summer-tour-survival-guide-mayhem-fest#comments 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide August 2014 Justin Audemkampfe Miss May I Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:18:16 +0000 Jeff Kitts http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21717