Interviews http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/147/0 en Dog Camp: Richie Kotzen and Mike Portnoy Discuss the Winery Dogs' Immersive New Camp for Musicians http://www.guitarworld.com/dog-camp-richie-kotzen-and-mike-portnoy-discuss-winery-dogs-immersive-new-camp-musicians <!--paging_filter--><p>If you've ever wanted to get up close and personal with three of rocks' most talented musicians, here’s your opportunity. </p> <p>Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy — better known as the Winery Dogs — have announced Dog Camp, their first-ever immersive program for aspiring musicians of all ages and levels.</p> <p>The event is set for July 21 to 25, 2014, at Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, New York.</p> <p>Attendees will be able to take part in instrument specific clinics and will learn about songwriting mechanics and the music industry. They'll even get to enjoy intimate performances by the Winery Dogs.</p> <p>If you’re a guitarist, bassist or drummer, there’s a course path for you to follow. But Dog Camp promises to be a deeper experience; the campers will be living, hanging out and jamming together. You’ll also be able to ask the hosts as many questions as as you want — and Kotzen, Sheehan and Portnoy will initiate one-on-one and group sessions to help you realize your goals as a player.</p> <p>I recently spoke to Kotzen and Portnoy about Dog Camp and what’s next for the band.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: What was the reason behind the inaugural Dog Camp?</strong></p> <p><strong>Kotzen</strong>: It was something that was brought to our attention by our manager. Billy and I have done our fair share of clinics and have also participated in Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. The idea of being in a position where you can actually sit and talk and play with people who are buying your records or are listening to what you do is inspiring.</p> <p><strong>What will a typical day be like?</strong></p> <p><strong>Kotzen</strong>: There will be a lot of one-on-one time and in groups. We’ll also have opportunities to play together, but not just cover songs. I really want to address improvisation and being able to unlock yourself and play with other people. </p> <p>I also like getting involved in what I call “concepts." Asking yourself, “Why am I learning the instrument and what are my goals and objectives?” Then we can start talking about how you can get there. For me, I use the guitar as a creative outlet to express myself; my biggest ongoing goal is to make the connection between me the person and the music that you hear.</p> <p><strong>Portnoy</strong>: We plan to do a lot of things individually and collectively. The "collectively" being the Winery Dogs doing special intimate shows and situations where the three of us will be open to question-and-answer sessions and playing unique things people won’t normally get at a traditional concert. </p> <p>Individually, we’ll be doing classes where we talk about our instruments, the business and industry and jamming with fellow musicians and campers. It’s going to be a very unique experience.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/IhClnCPoLeU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>What would you like campers to take away from this experience?</strong></p> <p><strong>Kotzen</strong>: The feeling of growth and knowing that you’ve learned something. This camp is an opportunity to share ideas and music and to grow as a musician and as a person. We may be the ones being asked the questions, but sometimes during the reveal I’ll gain a new found perspective on myself. I’m really looking forward to that.</p> <p><strong>Portnoy</strong>: I think it’s important for campers to remember that making music is not just about playing a drum solo in your bedroom or concentrating solely on technique. It’s about communicating with other musicians. For me, the interest is getting into it with other musicians and talking about it in a band scenario.</p> <p><strong>What can you tell me about the new <em>Special Edition Winery Dogs</em> compilation?</strong></p> <p><strong>Portnoy</strong>: <em>The Winery Dogs Special Edition</em> is a two-disc CD set that has a re-issue of the album on the first disc. The second disc contains 10 live tracks from Japan, including several covers and unreleased songs. It also has an expanded booklet with live shots. </p> <p>We also have the <em>Dog Treats</em> box set, which, in addition to the <em>Special Edition</em> set, includes a bonus disc of all of the demos we did in 2012 (before the album), a DVD with the music videos and interviews, a big booklet with my studio diary from the making of the record and little “treats” like a dog patch and dog tag.</p> <p><strong>Mike, why did you decide to include a studio diary?</strong></p> <p><strong>Portnoy</strong>: I’ve always been a stickler for detail and documenting things and organizing facts. When I was doing the studio diary, I wanted to get very specific about how a song came together. It’s interesting to read it and see the history behind every song. Like which ones came from Richie or which ones we came with on the spot or which songs morphed from other songs and demos. It’s a cool insight into not only the making of the record, but also the very beginning of the relationship of the guys in the band.</p> <p><strong>Can you give us an update on your tour plans and new Winery Dogs music?</strong></p> <p><strong>Portnoy</strong>: We’ll be out on the road April to August and plan on getting the follow-up album out in 2015. We’ve already written one new song that’s going to be in the live set.</p> <p><strong>You’ve all been involved in other bands and projects over the years. What do you enjoy most about being in the Winery Dogs?</strong></p> <p><strong>Kotzen</strong>: I really enjoy the notion of being in a band where everyone is able to share the load. It’s kind of like being on a really strong basketball team in the sense that you have three guys who are all capable of putting up points instead of just relying on one guy. That’s my favorite aspect of all.</p> <p><strong>Portnoy</strong>: For me, it’s about working with Billy and Richie. They’re musicians I have the utmost respect for and am a huge fan of. Stylistically, I enjoy being able to play something that is straight-up classic rock. I love prog and am the ambassador to prog music for this generation, but my musical taste is very broad. Every once in a while, it’s nice to get into Zeppelin, Who and Beatles mode, and I get to do that with the Winery Dogs.</p> <p><Strong>For more information on Dog Camp, visit <a href="http://winerydogcamp.com/">winerydogcamp.com</a>. For more about the Winery Dogs, visit <A href="http://www.thewinerydogs.com/">thewinerydogs.com</a>.</strong></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> <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="/richie-kotzen">Richie Kotzen</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/dog-camp-richie-kotzen-and-mike-portnoy-discuss-winery-dogs-immersive-new-camp-musicians#comments Mike Portnoy Richie Kotzen The Winery Dogs Videos Interviews News Features Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:38:15 +0000 James Wood http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21018 Guitarist Rob Cavestany Looks Back at the Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Death Angel http://www.guitarworld.com/guitarist-rob-cavestany-looks-back-rise-fall-and-rebirth-death-angel <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the May 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Zakk Wylde &amp; Joe Satriani, John Frusciante, how to build a pedal board, a complete finger picking lesson, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Line 6, Ibanez, Strymon, G&amp;L, Ernie Ball and Orange, <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-may-14-zakk-wylde-joe-satriani/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=ZakkJoeExcerpt">check out the May 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p><strong>Blood Sacrifice: <em>In 1990, Death Angel were poised to be as big as Metallica until a horrific accident brought their ascent to a halt. Guitar Rob Cavestany looks back at the group’s rise and fall, and the rebirth that has brought them hard-won success.</em></strong></p> <p>Sitting in his home studio in Oakland, California, on a bright, breezy afternoon this past January, Cavestany appears to have come through Death Angel’s tribulations having regained a bit of his youthful optimism. </p> <p>The 45-year-old guitarist looks fit and nonchalantly rocks a timeless thrasher look that includes a full head of long black hair, a sleeveless shirt and tattooed arms. He’s also beaming with smiles and, in charming Cali fashion, is <em>hella stoked</em> to explain how a group of teenage cousins won over the Eighties Bay Area thrash scene, imploded, rebuilt and now—30 years later—sound better than ever. </p> <p>We’re soon joined by Cavestany’s six-string wingman, Aguilar, and his affable black lab, London. Over a plate of fresh fruit and cheese (the latter a particular favorite of London’s), Cavestany begins the Death Angel story at a familiar place for many budding rockers who came of age in the Seventies.</p> <p>“Kiss were the main reason why we got into music,” he says between sips of beer. “We had posters all over and we worshipped them. The original lineup of Death Angel were all cousins, so we would give lip-sync performances at family functions.”</p> <p>The jump from lip-syncing to really playing came after Cavestany and Dennis Pepa’s mothers took the boys to Kiss’ 1979 performance at the Cow Palace, outside of San Francisco. Witnessing the larger-than-life set lit a fire under the 11-year-old Cavestany, who made the decision then and there to play an instrument. He started off on drums, but it wasn’t until he picked up his father’s old acoustic guitar that he found his calling. He soon graduated to electric guitar and began exploring even heavier music.</p> <p>“When I started to play guitar, at the very first it was Sabbath, Zeppelin and AC/DC,” Cavestany says. “Then came Priest, Maiden and Scorpions, then Accept, Tygers of Pan Tang, along with Eddie Van Halen, and Randy Rhoads of course, who would have to be my all-time hero.” </p> <p>By 1983, when Cavestany was all of 15, Death Angel—at that time a four-piece featuring Galeon, Gus and Dennis Pepa, and Cavestany on both vocals and guitar—cut their first four-song demo, Heavy Metal Insanity, which reflected their classic metal and NWOBHM inspirations. Cavestany credits his discovery of Metallica as being the turning point when Death Angel’s style evolved into the manic thrashing sound they would become known for. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/GS2x1nqJgkY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>“Seeing Metallica play was the next thing after we saw Kiss, when we’re all like, Oh shit! We’ve got to change our style. We’ve got to get heavier and faster,” Cavestany says.</p> <p>Metallica would play a pivotal role in the Death Angel story in more ways than one. After attending a Metallica in-store signing, the guys unexpectedly hit it off with Kirk Hammett. Over the next few years, as Death Angel continued to gig and refine their sound, they would pass their boom-box demos to the guitarist whenever they would run into him at local metal shows. Their persistence paid off when Hammett agreed to produce their second batch of songs, which would become their 1986 <em>Kill as One</em> demo.</p> <p>“Kirk was really nice and always really supportive of us,” Cavestany recalls. “Eventually he heard enough potential to get himself involved, which was very major for us.”</p> <p>Kill as One benefited from Hammett’s production insights as well as the addition of singer Mark Osegueda (another of Cavestany’s cousin), whose style gave the music a fresh thrash flavor and edge that was missing from the old-school sounds on Heavy Metal Insanity. Kill as One became popular among the tape-trading scene, and Death Angel scored key gigs opening for bands like Slayer. Soon, indie label Enigma approached the group with a contract for a full-length record.</p> <p>“I’m sure the novelty is what first got people’s attention,” Cavestany says with a laugh. “Like, These guys are way young, they’re all cousins, and they look like small Chinese girls going crazy onstage!”</p> <p>Riding a wave of youthful exuberance and unwavering confidence, Death Angel blazed through the recording of the songs that would become their debut album, 1987’s <em>The Ultra-Violence</em>. Tracked in three days and mixed in two, their fierce debut confirmed that these kids weren’t a novelty—this was serious thrash on par with many of the older more experienced bands of the scene. It had the speed of early Metallica, the unhinged quality of Slayer and the brazen attack of Anthrax. </p> <p>“We didn’t really second-guess too many things that we were doing,” Cavestany says. “We just went at it relentlessly. We thought it was amazing. Now if I try to play along to that CD, I almost can’t do it because we are so out of control. [laughs] It’s so off, and everyone’s crazy. But it’s got that rawness.”</p> <p>While Death Angel may have managed to get a full-length pressed and catch some people’s attention, they certainly weren’t living on easy street. The guys were still toiling at their day jobs and relying on their families’ support.</p> <p>“I was working at Tower Records when <em>The Ultra-Violence</em> came out,” Cavestany recalls. “And my dad was my main roadie for the first couple of years, buying me equipment and driving me around. Our families couldn’t understand the kind of music we were trying to play, but they were proud of us. My grandmother would come to our shows, and my mom would be there wearing her Death Angel shirt.”</p> <p><em><strong>For the rest of this story, plus features on Zakk Wylde &amp; Joe Satriani, John Frusciante, how to build a pedal board, a complete finger picking lesson, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Line 6, Ibanez, Strymon, G&amp;L, Ernie Ball and Orange, <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-may-14-zakk-wylde-joe-satriani/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=ZakkJoeExcerpt">check out the May 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></strong></em></p> <p><em>Photos: 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="/death-angel">Death Angel</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitarist-rob-cavestany-looks-back-rise-fall-and-rebirth-death-angel#comments Death Angel May 2014 Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:53:58 +0000 Brad Angle http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20948 Guitarist and Berklee Professor Scott Tarulli Discusses His New Album, 'Anytime, Anywhere' http://www.guitarworld.com/guitarist-and-berklee-professor-scott-tarulli-discusses-his-new-album-anytime-anywhere <!--paging_filter--><p>As a Berklee College of Music professor, Scott Tarulli is well versed in all things rock, blues and jazz (His friends know he also happens to be a closet Dio-loving metal head). </p> <p>His new album, <em>Anytime, Anywhere</em>, features a treasure trove of hooks and catchy songs; it also happens to feature special guests including bebop slide guitar legend David Tronzo, bassist Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta. I recently caught up with Tarulli to discuss the new album.</p> <p><strong>What was it like working with David Tronzo on the song "One Year"?</strong></p> <p>Dave is a great guy, and we've known each other for years but never got a chance to play music together. </p> <p>I've always been a big fan of his, and the song "One Year" on my new album was perfect for him. It was a great session. He came in and the band sat in a circle and we tracked it live. No fixes or overdubs. It came out to be a great dialogue between us. It my favorite track on the album.</p> <p><strong>You’re a very active sideman. What gear do you use for your projects, as compared to session work?</strong></p> <p>I do a good amount of live and studio work as a sideman. For my music, my live rig is strictly an Orange OR50 head through an Orange 2x12 or 4x12 closed-back cab. I love my Music Man Silhouette guitars. I have those stocked with Seymour Duncan pickups. I use Xotic pedals like the BB, AC and RC for boost/gain tones, and then various vintage modulation pedals. I also use the MXR Carbon Copy delay, and I also have a Mike Battle Tube Tape Echo.</p> <p>As for sideman work, it really comes down to the artist and genre. I'm more likely to play old Fender, Vox or Marshall amps in the studio for other artists, and Telecasters, Gibsons, etc. Most of the sideman work I do is classic-sounding tones and textures, so I stick with that kind of gear. I use pedals for effects, and that totally depends on the gig.</p> <p><strong>How might an album go down that you get hired for?</strong></p> <p>If the artist/producer wants the band to play live, there is usually a rehearsal, but I find a lot of what I get called for is coming in to add textures, rhythm parts and leads to existing tracks. I usually show up with various guitars and amps and hear the stuff for the first time in the session. Then it’s all about hashing out ideas to give the song shape. I am a big fan of that type of guitar playing, the old Philly soul records, Beatles albums, James Brown and even pop albums. I always loved how theses great guitar players brought the songs to life with tiny parts or groove. But basically, I think about intonation, tone and taste when I show up. The studio can get tense at times. Keeping the vibe light and not taking life so serious is a big help in the recording process. </p> <p><strong>Some of the songs were tracked totally live without fixes or overdubs. On some you added overdubs to pan out the arrangements. Can you discuss this approach?</strong></p> <p>Yes, I was so lucky to have players on board who were great listeners and great players. I have to admit, I was nervous I might hate a solo I played in a take. There are a few tunes I redid solos on, but songs like "Awake," "One Year" and "1 AM" were totally live, including the solos. Even if I didn't think the solo was perfect, It was hard to change because the band was gelling. In the end it was more important to keep the band's vibe rather than replace the solo for demonstration purposes.</p> <p><strong>You also worked with Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel. Paul McCartney, David Foster, Hall &amp; Oates), and Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper, John Lennon). That must have been pretty amazing.</strong></p> <p>Working with Jerry Marotta and Tony Levin was a dream come true. I met them while doing a singer songwriter album at Jerry's Dreamland studio in Woodstock, New York. He was producing the album and we hit it off as players and as people. Tony was also on this album; I ended up going out to Dreamland and tracking two songs for my album ("1 AM" and "Last Time"). The basics were tracked live. It was surreal for me sitting across from Tony and playing live with them. These two have been heroes of mine for decades. I've also seen them on big stages while growing up. And let me tell you, they couldn't be kinder people.</p> <p><strong>Who are some of your other influences?</strong></p> <p>I picked up the guitar at 12 because of Buck Dharma's solo on "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" from Blue Oyster Cult's live album. Also, REO Speedwagon was so cool to me. That is when <em>Hi Infidelity</em> came out. Then I was totally into Joe Satriani, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Ozzy and Richie Sambora. I still am. But then I got into soul albums and went into a heavy jazz phase. I guess if I had to name big inspirations, I'd say Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix, Cornell Dupree, later-era John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Jeff Beck, Steve Lukather, James Burton and anyone who played guitar on all of the wonderful pop albums I love.</p> <p><strong>You told me the album was written and recorded a little over a year after your divorce. How did this affect the writing?</strong></p> <p>Yes, there were huge changes in my life while writing and tracking this album. So the performance and the songs are a product of that part of my life. I'll never relive that era again, and this album is a snapshot of how I felt, what I was or wasn't eating, what I was drinking and the sleep I never got. I think you hear it all in my playing. </p> <p>To be honest, the year was crazy, almost a blur. But it makes the album that much more special to me. I chose the sequence of songs very carefully. It’s meant to be heard in one sitting. I reference melodies throughout the album and connect it that way. And there is a shape to the album. Life in real time.</p> <p><em>For more about Tarulli, visit <a href="http://www.scotttarulli.com/">scotttarulli.com</a>.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitarist-and-berklee-professor-scott-tarulli-discusses-his-new-album-anytime-anywhere#comments Dave Reffett Scott Tarulli Interviews News Features Fri, 11 Apr 2014 19:26:22 +0000 Dave Reffett http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20997 Dear Guitar Hero: Stray Cats' Brian Setzer Talks Gretsch Guitars, Joe Strummer, Vintage Cars, Jazz Lessons and More http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-stray-cats-brian-setzer-talks-gretsch-guitars-joe-strummer-vintage-cars-jazz-lessons-and-more <!--paging_filter--><p><em>He revitalized rockabilly with the Stray Cats and revived swing and jump blues with the Brian Setzer Orchestra. But what </em>Guitar World<em> readers really want to know is …</em></p> <p> <strong>Your playing style is so incredible and immaculate. Did you start with any jazz guitar training or did you just learn how to play “Stairway to Heaven” like the rest of us? — Jon Rubin</strong></p> <p> [laughs] I’m not saying I didn’t play it. Hell, we all played it; it’s a classic. But I did take guitar lessons for about 10 to 12 years, with two different teachers. </p> <p>I took my first lesson when I was eight years old. I went through the Mel Bay books. Back then in Long Island, New York, there were mostly jazz players. </p> <p>So my first teacher was actually a saxophone player. After that I studied with this other jazz teacher, Ray Gogarty. He took me further into the jazz world: advanced chords, a little bit of the modes, scales and standards.</p> <p> <strong>I seem to remember reading that one of the cars on Stray Cats’ <em>Built for Speed</em> album cover was yours. Is that true? — Eric Smoot</strong></p> <p> Yeah, the ’56 Chevy on the cover of <em>Built for Speed</em> was mine. That Chevy actually got stolen from a parking spot years ago. I wish I still had it. I came back from doing what I was doing, and the car was gone. It broke my heart. </p> <p><strong>What first inspired you to play guitar? — Molly McAllister</strong></p> <p> I was a little kid, like six or seven years old, when the Beatles came out. I remember hearing their music and I couldn’t imagine where that sound was coming from. </p> <p>Then I saw a picture of the Beatles, and George [Harrison] had an electric guitar, and I was like “That’s it!” It was that sound—the sound of George’s guitar—that first captured me when I was really young. It all goes back to that sound.</p> <p><strong>What led you down the rockabilly path? — Steve</strong></p> <p> The real defining moment for me was when I heard [Gene Vincent’s] “Be-Bop-A-Lula” on the jukebox. Back in 1976 or ’77, we had this club in Manhattan called Max’s Kansas City. There was always punk music blasting, but for some reason one day “Be-Bop-A-Lula” came on the jukebox. It was as if a hand came across the bar and grabbed me, like, “Listen to me! Listen to how cool I am!” </p> <p>There was just something about the raw, back-to-basics sound that fit perfectly with the urgency of the punk movement I was in back then. To me, rockabilly music paralleled punk’s energy and feeling, but the players were much better. I’m telling you, I still remember Cliff Gallop’s solo coming out of the speaker. I went, “What the heck is that? Who’s playing this?”</p> <p><strong>I really dig your hair. What is your secret ingredient? Are you a Murray’s Pomade man? — Joe Barrios</strong></p> <p>[In radio-announcer voice] You’ve heard of Dapper Dan? Well, I’m a Murray’s man! [laughs] As my dad used to say, “You’ve got to train your hair.” And then once you’ve got it trained, you comb it in the position, throw in a little bit of Murray’s … and you’ll be a Murray’s man, too. [laughs]</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zk_WpqVFYZg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>What attracted you to using Gretsch hollowbodies as your main guitars? — Jeff Osgood</strong></p> <p>The first reason I wanted to play a Gretsch guitar is because Eddie Cochran played one. Believe me, when I was growing up, nobody knew who he was. I just stumbled across this record and I thought he looked cool. I had no idea he was that good. </p> <p>But once I popped on the record, it was exactly the guitar sound that I wanted: somewhere between a Fender and Gibson. To me, if you play a Fender straight through the amp without any effects, it’s a little thin sounding. And a Les Paul didn’t twang enough; it was just always on 11, you know?</p> <p>The Gretsch was right between those two. It had that twang, but you could really make it sing if you wanted. I guess it just fulfilled the sound I was hearing in my head.</p> <p><strong>I know you co-wrote some tracks with [late Clash singer and guitarist] Joe Strummer for your <em>Guitar Slinger</em> album, and I heard that you were friends with him, as well. Can you share any good stories? — Cole Slaugh</strong></p> <p> Oh, I’ve got a lot of great memories with Joe. Joe and I would spend the summers together because we were good friends and we both had children. So we’d throw the kids in the pool and have a good time. Joe had a very good, dry sense of humor, you know, and some of the things he would say were just…</p> <p> Well, let’s say he was very good at making fun and making light of a situation. If you were wound up or you were aggravated about something, Joe would say a couple words, and then you would laugh and realize how silly the whole thing was. He was a great guy, and a genius of our time.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jV13bGmH7Fo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Which classic rockabilly artists would you recommend I check out to better understand the style? — Jimmy Vomvas</strong></p> <p> The definitive rockabilly album for me was Elvis Presley’s <em>The Sun Sessions</em>. Boy, oh boy. That probably has everything you need all wrapped up right there. Also pick up the first two Gene Vincent records: <em>Blue Jean Bop</em> and <em>Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps</em>. As a guitar player, you have to hear Cliff Gallup play with Gene Vincent and Scotty Moore play with Elvis Presley.</p> <p><strong>I love your live sound. But I’d like to know how you control feedback at stage volume. I have had this issue with hollowbody guitars in the past. — Eric A. Nay</strong></p> <p> I’ve actually never had any problems with the [Gretsch] 6120 with FilterTron pickups. The feedback that I get is kind of friendly feedback. It’s like a note, not a squeal. I love what happens on a hollowbody guitar when you’re too close to an amp. That sound comes back through the guitar and vibrates the body, like an old jalopy or something. That’s the most magical feeling to me. Once you figure it out, you can kind of control all of those feedback notes.</p> <p><strong>You’ve got an amazing sound. What is your main amp-and-effect setup? — Billy Wilson</strong></p> <p> I just use a ’63 Fender Bassman and a Roland Space Echo. I mean, my amps have been worked on, but they’re not modified—rather de-modified. Over the years people have put in the wrong tubes, cables and speakers. I try to get the Bassmans back to stock, and I like to use Celestion Vintage 30s for the speakers. I think they’re better matched to the power of the amplifier head.</p> <p> <strong>I’ve always been impressed by your right-hand picking technique. Could you give me any advice on how to refine mine? — Greg Terzian</strong></p> <p> Well, first of all, anyone that tells you “This is the only right way to do it” is wrong. Any way you feel comfortable fingerpicking…if it works for you, then do it. There’s not a wrong or a right way. </p> <p>When I fingerpick, I tuck my pick under my index finger; I’ll slip it down when I use the guitar pick, and then I tuck it up, and use my thumb, second, third and fourth fingers to fingerpick. I’ve never heard of anyone doing that, and I don’t know if you could call it correct, but that’s what works for me.</p> <p><strong>Do you ever get bored playing rockabilly-type stuff? If not, how do you keep your playing fresh within that style? — Justice Edwards</strong></p> <p> I always mix in new things, new influences. There are so many different styles you can play in that genre. I mean, I’m a rockabilly guitar player, but I’m influenced by all American musical styles, like jazz, blues, country and rock and roll. So the way to keep from getting bored from playing one particular genre of music is to mix in other styles.</p> <p><em>Photo: David Bowman</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="/brian-setzer">Brian Setzer</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-stray-cats-brian-setzer-talks-gretsch-guitars-joe-strummer-vintage-cars-jazz-lessons-and-more#comments 2011 Brian Setzer Dear Guitar Hero July 2011 Stray Cats July Interviews News Features Magazine Thu, 10 Apr 2014 19:06:29 +0000 Brad Angle http://www.guitarworld.com/article/11071 Derek Trucks Discusses Leaving the Allman Brothers Band: "At Some Point, You Have to Step Away" http://www.guitarworld.com/derek-trucks-discusses-leaving-allman-brothers-band-some-point-you-have-step-away <!--paging_filter--><p>In January, Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes issued a joint statement that they would no longer tour with the Allman Brothers Band after this year. </p> <p>Though Gregg Allman said in an interview that the guitarists’ departure would likely mark the end of the band, which is currently celebrating its 45th anniversary, the band has not released any official statement and their future plans remain unknown. </p> <p>I spoke with Derek as the band was beginning their March run at New York City’s Beacon Theatre. They played 10 of 14 shows before postponing the final four because Allman was unable to perform after an illness he said was bronchitis. They have not yet announced when the shows will be played.</p> <p>This weekend, the Allman Brothers Band will appear at <a href="http://www.waneefestival.com">Florida’s Wanee Festival</a>, along with the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gov’t Mule and many others. I'll be speaking there Saturday, discussing my new book <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250040493/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=1250040493&amp;link_code=as3&amp;tag=alanpaulinchi-20">One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band.</a></em></p> <p><a href="http://alanpaul.net/2014/04/warren-haynes-on-why-he-decided-to-leave-the-allman-brothers-band/">Click here to read an exclusive interview with Warren Haynes on his thoughts on leaving the Allman Brothers Band.</a></p> <p><strong>Why did you decide to leave the Allman Brothers at the end of this year?</strong></p> <p>It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I want to see the legacy end as it should — at the top. I don’t want to see Joe Montana in Kansas City or Muhammad Ali at the end of his career. It’s a rare thing to be able to go out on top and in great shape, and I think it would be great, but it’s ultimately not up to me, but to the original members, if they will continue.</p> <p><strong>Right. And people are waiting for a statement that hasn’t come, which would seem to indicate that Gregg, Butch and Jaimoe have not made up their minds about the future.</strong></p> <p>I‘m hoping that if it continues, it’s because it’s supposed to and not for personal reasons. I think from Duane until now, the band has given everyone so much and at some point you have to honor the legacy with real dignity.</p> <p>I was watching Leonard Cohen receive an award in Spain and I was struck by acceptance speech, with him talking about how everything has an end but you need to recognize and honor it and treat it with dignity. He said that if you have the ability to treat the end with real dignity and beauty, that’s what separates things. I thought that was apropos to our situation.</p> <p><strong>I understand what you’re saying, but also understand why it’s hard to stop something that is still working very, very well.</strong></p> <p>Yes, but at some point, you have to step away. With all the ups and downs of the band, it’s been an amazing, unique story — as you know as well as anyone! And if you can go out the right way, it keeps the story amazing to the end. It might be a hard thing to do, but to me, it’s the right thing to do.</p> <p><strong>Why did you and Warren elect to make your announcement together?</strong></p> <p>I think it’s more powerful that way. The information was leaked out in January on the Jam Cruise, and it was going to come out one way or the other that I had decided not to tour with the Allman Brothers after this year, and I just wanted to get out in front of it</p> <p>I was really happy that Warren decided to be with me, but that was, of course, up to him. It all happened really quickly; information travels quickly these days. I was leaving for a tour and I started getting these emails asking questions and basically saying, “We’re going to run with the story. Do you want to comment?” </p> <p>Obviously I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I just decided to jump on it.</p> <p><strong>The statements by you and Warren were very eloquent. Did you really write them in response or did you have them ready?</strong></p> <p>Thanks. We wrote them in response. I spoke to [Tedeschi Trucks Band singer] Mike Mattison who has a great way with words and helped me craft my statement. Then I sent it to Warren. I didn’t want to implicate him at all if he wasn’t ready. Half an hour later, he called me and said, “Do you mind if we change the first paragraph from I to 'we' and I add my own statement?”</p> <p><strong>Can you just explain a little why you have decided to do this now?</strong></p> <p>Really, it’s more time at home and more time focusing on one project. Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve never had the opportunity to go full steam on one project. I love all the amazing opportunities, but it’s going to be great to wrap my head around one and see what we can do.</p> <p>I’ve been in the Allman Brothers for 15 years, and the whole time I’ve also had my solo career and it’s been wonderful but very busy, and frankly I’ve missed a lot of my kids growing up. I’ve never been home for one of my son’s birthdays. It’s March 6 and I’ve been at the Beacon every year. I want to jump on the last remaining years I have with my kids before they are fully grown up. We’ve managed it really well and been very fortunate to have family close by to help out, but it’s time to simplify and refocus on my own band and my family.</p> <p><strong>Anyone with a family can understand that desire. On the other hand, the Allman Brothers have toured less and less and it doesn’t seem like a huge time commitment.</strong></p> <p>Right, everyone thinks that, but there’s also travel, rehearsals, the difficulty of scheduling. And even if it’s “only” three or four months a year dedicated to the Allman Brothers, that means you start the year with eight or nine instead of 12 and it gets chopped up pretty quickly. I don’t think I’ve had a month at home since I joined the Allman Brothers, and I’m ready for that. </p> <p><strong>The band has done a remarkable job for 45 years at finding great new players to replace seemingly irreplaceable members.</strong></p> <p>Yes, and who knows what will happen next. I would never bet against an Allman Brothers' resurrection. There have been a few times I thought it was over, and we came roaring back.</p> <p>There’s something about the storyline that sets it apart. You have to give back to the institution and even though it may seem counter–intuitive, it may be that the best way to do so is walking away. I respect the band and the music as much as anyone does, and it’s been amazing being a part of it, but I also feel like sometimes you have to step back from it and think what’s best for the legacy of the group. </p> <p>Warren and I and a few of the other guys in the band have had long heart-to-hearts about this and really believe we have the chance to go out and throw down. Going out with guns blazing, giving it everything you’ve got, is a lot better than limping across the finish line. No one wants to see that happen. If I were writing the story, that’s how it would go. But a lot of people are in a lot of different places personally and musically. </p> <p><strong>You seem very calm and at peace with your decision.</strong></p> <p>Honestly, I feel like a weight has been lifted because it’s something I’ve been contemplating for a long time. You can only mean it at 100 percent as long as you mean it at 100 percent. I’m not an actor, and when I play it’s got to be full on. If I feel like it’s the right thing to do, it’s easy to do.</p> <p>My feeling always is, if you can continue to put your heart in for the right reason and keep roiling then you should do so. Now I feel much as I did when I put my solo band aside in favor of [Tedeschi Trucks Band]. Some people didn’t understand why I would do that, but I just thought it was time. </p> <p>And from the first day of rehearsal, it feels really fresh and new and honest, maybe in a way it hasn’t since the 40th anniversary. I’m excited about getting on stage every night and playing every show like it’s the last show. You try to have that feeling every time you go on stage, but it’s 100 percent different when it really might be true that It could be the last time you play this particular song with this particular band — so make it count.</p> <p><em>Photo: Dino Perrucci</em></p> <p><em>Alan Paul is the author of the best-selling book </em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250040493/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=1250040493&amp;link_code=as3&amp;tag=alanpaulinchi-20">One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band.</a></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/derek-trucks">Derek Trucks</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/allman-brothers-band">Allman Brothers Band</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/derek-trucks-discusses-leaving-allman-brothers-band-some-point-you-have-step-away#comments Allman Brothers Band Derek Trucks Dino Perrucci Interviews News Features Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:48:57 +0000 Alan Paul http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20984 Voices Carry: Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Discuss Their New Band and Album, 'The Both' http://www.guitarworld.com/voices-carry-aimee-mann-and-ted-leo-discuss-their-new-band-and-album-both <!--paging_filter--><p>Aimee Mann is an Oscar-nominated singer/songwriter and bassist who has scored hits as a solo artist and with 'Til Tuesday. </p> <p>Guitarist Ted Leo is a Midwestern punk rocker who’s established a reputation for musical genius as a solo act and with his band, the Pharmacists. </p> <p>Now, both artists have joined forces and are calling themselves the Both.</p> <p>Their self-titled debut album, which will be released April 15, speaks to the friendship and mutual respect Mann and Leo share. From the hook-laden harmonies and Bronze Fonz references of “Milwaukee” to the social messages of songs like “Volunteers of America," <em>The Both</em> is an album with the DNA of Mann and Leo strongly imprinted on it — and one refreshingly unique and engaging debut.</p> <p>I recently spoke with Mann and Leo about their new album and collaboration.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How did the Both begin?</strong></p> <p><strong>Mann:</strong> Ted was opening for me on my last album and tour, and the music he was playing really piqued my interest. I remember while he was playing I’d often start thinking to myself, "You know, I really want to play bass on that song!" and after a while, I asked him if I could sit in. We started playing and having so much fun that it led to the idea of writing some songs together that eventually became this record.</p> <p><strong>What was the process like writing for the album?</strong></p> <p><strong>Leo:</strong> Generally, one of us would come up with a theme either musically or lyrically and then we’d kick it back and forth. We’d usually start over email and then get together on video chat or in person and put it together. We’re both deeply a part of the songs we’ve written together.</p> <p><strong>Tell me a little about the song <a href="https://soundcloud.com/superegorecords/milwaukee">"Milwaukee"</a> [Check out the music video below] and the reference to the Bronze Fonz.</strong></p> <p><strong>Mann:</strong> Ted and I were in Milwaukee taking a walk after sound check when we came upon the Bronze Fonz [a sculpture depicting Henry Winkler, the actor who played Arthur Fonzarelli on TV's <em>Happy Days</em>]. It’s a commemorative sanctuary that misses on so many marks. Originally, I wanted to send Ted a piece of music and wrote some words about the statue just to be funny, but as I was working on it I started becoming attached to it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/VqSYzOXkthg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Ted, what are some of the differences between your solo career and working with Aimee?</strong></p> <p><strong>Leo:</strong> The act of setting out to write with someone as a collaboration is something I’ve done from time to time, but not in as pointed a way or for a more specific goal as having this band with Aimee. I’m still learning as a musician from this project, and because we’re doing it together I’m able to focus on locking in with someone as opposed to being the driving force. </p> <p><strong>Aimee, you were quoted as saying that being in the Both makes you feel like you’re part of a rock band for the first time. Why do you feel that way? </strong></p> <p><strong>Mann:</strong> Even though it’s mostly just the two of us, when Ted and I play live it really feels like a band and a shared experience. ‘Til Tuesday was a band, but it often felt like I was driving. This feels more like a co-drive.</p> <p><strong>Did you always aspire to be a bass player?</strong></p> <p><strong>Mann:</strong> I started out on bass and played it in ‘Til Tuesday and the Young Snakes. Bass also was my main instrument when I was going to Berklee. When I do my solo shows, it’s more convenient for me to play acoustic guitar and have my producer, Paul Bryan, play bass. He’s a fantastic bass player. For this project, it’s been really fun to play bass again in such a stripped-down capacity. There’s something very satisfying about it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oObYxyp5zbE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Ted, when did you start playing guitar?</strong></p> <p><strong>Leo:</strong> I was in bands as a singer before I started playing and didn’t really pick up guitar until I was about 18. At this point, though, it’s become another appendage. Working in a three-piece with a bass player as interesting and amazing as Aimee also allows me to step out as a guitar player in a way that I haven’t done before. I feel that I’m playing a more free-er form of guitar than I have in the past. </p> <p><strong>Can you tell me the origin of the song "Voices Carry"?</strong></p> <p><strong>Mann:</strong> I had heard someone use that phrase and wrote it down because I thought it sounded interesting. The subject matter was a friend of mine who was talking about a girl he was seeing. He would tell me how she was very affectionate whenever they were alone together but as soon as they got in public she acted like she didn’t even know him. That’s what I wrote it about.</p> <p><strong>What are you most looking forward to with this project?</strong></p> <p><strong>Leo:</strong> We’ve both been doing this so much over the course of our careers, but thankfully, some things never change. The album is finished and about to be released and the tour dates are booked but haven’t yet begun. All that’s left now is the anticipation of getting out there and going to work. It’s trepidatious and exciting!</p> <p>For more information, visit the Both's <a href="http://www.the-both.com/">official website</a>.</p> <p><em>Photo: Christian Lantry</em></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/voices-carry-aimee-mann-and-ted-leo-discuss-their-new-band-and-album-both#comments Aimee Mann James Wood Ted Leo The Both Interviews News Features Wed, 09 Apr 2014 18:08:52 +0000 James Wood http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20982 Pepper Keenan on the Upcoming Down EP, ‘Down IV—Part Two,’ and the Possibility of Reuniting with Corrosion of Conformity http://www.guitarworld.com/pepper-keenan-upcoming-down-ep-down-iv-part-two-and-possibility-reuniting-corrosion-conformity <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Guitar World</em> recently caught up with Down guitarist Pepper Keenan to discuss the group’s upcoming EP, <em>Down IV—Part Two</em> (on sale May 20), the departure of longtime guitarist Kirk Windstein, and the possibility of a reunion with his Keenan’s former band, Corrosion of Conformity.</p> <p><strong>When did you start working on the upcoming <em>Down IV—Part Two</em> EP?</strong></p> <p>We were touring a lot, and we did a bunch of killer shows in Europe and the band as a whole was very excited about where we were heading. And then we had some issues with Kirk [Windestein] and him wanting to focus more on Crowbar—and that happens sometimes in bands, you’d be a fool to deny it. </p> <p>We were just going in separate directions, and that’s okay—I mean, we only wanted the best for Kirk, but Down wasn’t going to waste one second, and he understood that. But I understood where Kirk was coming from—Crowbar is his baby.</p> <p>So, during that period, me and Jimmy [Bower, drums] and Pat [Bruders, bass] were just in the jam room constantly, coming up with ideas and running them past Phil [Anselmo, vocals] to make sure that we were all on the same page. And then basically our ace in the hole became Pat. </p> <p>He had been in Crowbar all these years, but he never really had a chance to write much of anything. And he started coming up with some amazing ideas, and that took some of the pressure off of us. We do it pretty old-school—just beatin’ it out in the jam room.</p> <p><strong>What are some of the pros of doing four consecutive EPs?</strong></p> <p>Usually when you do a full length album, the record company throws it out there and maybe you get a couple of months out of it—but we wanted to do something that would stretch that out for a couple of years. Down likes to tour a lot, and doing the EPs will allow us more freedom to do that and get more music out to our fans more frequently.</p> <p>Plus we have different types of songs in this band, and doing EPs will let us bring out some of those songs that didn’t fit on an album before. Like the next EP will probably have more campfire-type, acousticy songs. It’ll give us an opportunity to show a different side of Down without having to do another whole album, or take those few acoustic songs and jam them into full album. We just like the idea of splitting the material up into four EPs and making it work to our advantage.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/IWuNhdINTJo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>From a songwriting perspective, what did it mean to lose Kirk Windstein?</strong></p> <p>I knew we were losing something, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I just knew that something was going to be gone. I’m pretty prolific when it comes to riffs and songs, so it wasn’t that much of a concern—but Kirk and I had been doing this together for 20 fucking years, so that aspect of it was gone. </p> <p><strong>How did your stage manager, Bobby Landgraf, come to be Kirk’s replacement in the band?</strong></p> <p>We were gonna go on a nationwide search for guitar players and all that, but sometimes that ends up biting you on the ass. The truth is we’re really not the easiest band to get along with—we kind of have our own language and way of doing things—so we wanted someone we knew we could hang out with, and Bobby was right there. After we got him in the game, everything started rolling. It reinvigorated us to have some new blood in the band.</p> <p>We’re happy as clams right now. Everybody’s heads are clear—nobody’s stumbling around, and we’re ready for the next couple of years for sure. </p> <p><strong>The new EP isn’t a huge departure from the first one.<strong></strong></strong></p> <p>No, it isn’t, but that was kind of the intention. I think it’s really gonna shift on the third and fourth EPs. The first one we just kinda ham-fisted it out, and the second one has a little more trickery going on—the riffs aren’t quite so simple and easily digestible, and at the end there’s this little acoustic thing that I think is gonna fly into the third EP. There’s some really crafty guitar stuff happening on this EP that we’ve never ventured into before. </p> <p><strong>Your last recording with Corrosion of Conformity was 2005’s <em>In the Arms of God</em>. Are you open to reuniting with C.O.C.?</strong></p> <p>I talk to Woody [<em>Weatherman, guitar</em>] and Mike [<em>Dean, bass</em>] about it often, and it’s definitely on the radar—but those guys are fully capable of doing it as a three-piece on their own for now, and they have been for a while. It’ll happen sooner or later, but only when I could give C.O.C. the utmost respect and attention that it deserves. But the truth is, doing both of those bands full-time is too much.</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="/down">Down</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/pepper-keenan-upcoming-down-ep-down-iv-part-two-and-possibility-reuniting-corrosion-conformity#comments Down July 2014 Interviews News Features Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:26:12 +0000 Jeff Kitts http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20968 Mastodon Look to 'Rosemary's Baby' and 'The Shining' as Inspiration for New Album http://www.guitarworld.com/mastodon-look-rosemarys-baby-and-shining-inspiration-new-album <!--paging_filter--><p>Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds bursts out of the control room at the Cabin studio at Dark Horse Recording, his perpetually windswept hair framing a thousand-yard stare.</p> <p>“I’m recording the last vocal for the album,” he says, pacing to keep his mood revved up. </p> <p>Behind the wooden door, producer Nick Raskulinecz is listening to the playback of the song, one of the tracks for Mastodon’s forthcoming album. </p> <p>A few minutes later he pops out and calls “ready,” and Hinds submerges for another round, leaving drummer Brann Dailor in the studio’s lounge watching the 1969 horror film <em>Rosemary’s Baby</em>, an edgy thriller about the arrival of the antichrist. </p> <p>Dailor explains that psychological horror flicks—including the bloody ax-fest <em>The Shining</em>—have helped fuel the sessions for the album, which is due in June. But so has the Cabin’s bucolic character. Located in Franklin, Tennessee, the studio looks like a dwelling in <em>The Hobbit</em>’s Shire, with its rustic natural wood walls nestled into a verdant hollow bordering a corral. Later, Hinds shows a photo of himself petting a boney old horse.</p> <p>But as usual, there’s nothing rustic about the new album Mastodon are creating. The Atlanta-based post-metal group’s sixth studio disc promises to be another ambitious soundscape of sharp-elbowed, cascading and orchestral guitars courtesy of Hinds and Bill Kelliher, driven by the locomotive thrust and hairpin meter shifts of Dailor and bassist Troy Sanders. </p> <p>Together, they work in support of the big, bold, upfront vocal melodies that distinguish Mastodon from most other bands that stake their reputation on whipping up teetering avalanches of heavy, adventurous rock and roll.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/S0OSFygAaAE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Like 2011’s <em>The Hunter</em>, the new disc steps away from the concept album strategy that fueled Mastodon’s first four releases <em>Remission</em>, <em>Leviathan</em>, <em>Blood Mountain</em> and <em>Crack the Skye</em>. </p> <p>“The songs are loosely based on the personal experiences and traumatic events that happened to each of us, taking the last year of our lives and translating that to a record,” Kelliher says.</p> <p>Although Hinds says he’s done the lion’s share of the new album’s songwriting and singing, Kelliher also had a heavy hand in the tunes and kick-started the disc when he and Dailor convened in the practice studio he built for the group in Atlanta to begin cutting demos. </p> <p>Notes Hinds, “This is the first time we recorded an album in its entirety in our practice pad before we went into the studio, and that gave us a vision of where we were really going.”</p> <p>During the extensive pre-production process, Raskulinecz—who has worked with the Foo Fighters, Evanescence, the Deftones and Danzig—delivered a combination of inspiration and tough love. Kelliher explains, “Nick listened to what we were doing in our studio and said, ‘You’re not ready yet! You’re Mastodon! I want some fucking Mastodon heaviness! I’m coming back in two weeks and you better be ready.’ And when we were hitting our mark, he would run around the room like a maniac, totally into it.”</p> <p>The result can certainly be called fucking Mastodon heaviness, with numbers like “Cold Dark Place” and “Northside Star” delivering a wallop while showing the group’s maturity. This is the second album Kelliher has recorded since becoming sober, and Hinds showed support by not drinking during the sessions.</p> <p>Dailor, who delivers his first lead vocal in “The Weight,” and Raskulinecz began tracking by themselves at the Cabin in early December. Next came Sanders, followed by the tag team of Hinds and Kelliher. </p> <p>Both guitarists hauled their road heads and cabinets into the studio and dove into the trove of effects and pedals that lie around the Cabin like rats on a tramp steamer. Key to their work on the album was the Axe-Fx guitar processor, with its ability to emulate hundreds of vintage and modern amps, cabs, stomp boxes and studio effects.</p> <p>With so many toys on offer, Hinds and Kelliher were inclined to stack up layers of six-strings, but Raskulinecz kept them in check. “Sometimes there would be just our two basic guitar tracks on part of a song, and Nick would say, ‘Okay, that’s done,’ ” Hinds says. “He has a real sense of when it’s necessary to add lots of guitars to beef things up and when spare is already heavy enough.”</p> <p>Adds Kelliher, “This album is another step in the evolution of our sound. Each of our records have taken us to a different place.”</p> <p>But Hinds won’t feel he’s necessarily reached that location until he hears the final mixes. </p> <p>Mastodon had to bolt for an Australian tour right after he finished that last vocal track, and Raskulinecz will be sending the band mixes while they’re Down Under. “I never get that sense of completion until I’ve heard the finals,” Hinds says. “What I’m looking for is what I’m hearing in my head, and you don’t describe that. You have to play the song. You have to actually hear it.”</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="/mastodon">Mastodon</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/mastodon-look-rosemarys-baby-and-shining-inspiration-new-album#comments Brent Hinds Mastodon May 2014 Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:54:12 +0000 Ted Drozdowski http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20934 John Frusciante on His Latest Solo Effort, 'Enclosure,' and Why His Days Onstage are Behind Him http://www.guitarworld.com/john-frusciante-his-latest-solo-effort-enclosure-and-why-his-days-onstage-are-behind-him <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the May 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Zakk Wylde and Joe Satriani (our cover stars), Death Angel, how to build a pedal board, a complete finger picking lesson, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Line 6, Ibanez, Strymon, G&amp;L, Ernie Ball and Orange, <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-may-14-zakk-wylde-joe-satriani/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=JohnFruscExcerpt">check out the May 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p><em><strong>Inner Flame: Former Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante keeps the home fires burning with his latest solo effort, <em>Enclosure</em>, and tells why his days onstage are behind him. </strong></em></p> <p>Since leaving the Red Hot Chili Peppers—for the second time—in 2009, John Frusciante has remained largely absent from the mainstream public eye. </p> <p>But that doesn’t mean the guitarist hasn’t been busy writing, recording and releasing new music. In fact, his output in the past few years has been staggering in both quantity and scope. </p> <p>It encompasses full-length solo albums (2012’s experimental and electronic <em>PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone</em>), genre-mashing EPs (2012’s <em>Letur-Lefr</em> and 2013’s <em>Outsides</em>), one-off compositions distributed as free downloads (the 10-minute guitar solo piece “Wayne”), collaborations (with, among many others, singer—and his wife—Nicole Turley, and At the Drive-In and the Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez), and even production work (for Wu-Tang Clan–affiliated rap act Black Knights).</p> <p>But no matter what project he is pursuing these days, the common thread is that Frusciante is always, in one form or another, making music. Which is not quite the same thing as playing music.</p> <p>“What’s important to me is being in the creative process,” he says. “I used to be really frustrated when I was in a rock band with everybody’s obsession with being done at the end of the day. I don’t think that should be the goal, like, ‘Oh, great, now we’re finished. Now we can go on to the more important task of promoting ourselves or getting out onstage.’ To me, being in the studio and recording and being creative—that’s its own reward. And the best things that happen come during the process, not after the process. So I’m glad I get to live in the studio and immerse myself in music.”</p> <p>And, apparently, finish projects on his own schedule. In this regard, Frusciante’s latest offering is <em>Enclosure</em>, a 10-song effort that he wrote and recorded mostly in 2012, at the same time that he was producing the Black Knights record Medieval Chambers. Like his past few solo releases, <em>Enclosure</em> finds Frusciante delving further into his fascination with electronic sounds. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JNiNhAYDyyA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Your solo music encompasses many different sounds and styles. For those who only know you from your work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it’s pretty outside what they’re used to hearing from you.</strong></p> <p>When you’re in a popular band, you tend to do what you think the audience of that band will respond to. But my tastes have always been very different from that style. But [in the Chili Peppers] I was aiming at writing things I knew Anthony [Kiedis] would want to sing over and Flea would want to play bass over and Chad [Smith] would sound good playing drums over. </p> <p>So you get into a situation where you’re aiming your musicality in a direction that’s for the audience of the band and the members of the band and the managers of the band and the record label of the band. But the music that I make now, it’s not directed at any specific audience or any specific business interests or anything like that. I specifically don’t make music in order to make other people happy; I make music that makes me happy. So I understand how from the outside [the music I’m making now] would be surprising based on what I’ve done before. But for anybody who knows me they know I’m doing exactly what I want to do.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/0YLPJQtvJU8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>You also write and perform all of the backing instrumentation, which tends to consist mostly of synthesizer, drum machines and samples. What led to your interest in electronic instruments?</strong></p> <p>As far as electronic instruments, you just have to understand that the reason I learned to play all these instruments is I believe in my own vision of music, and I didn’t want to just contribute to a piece of music like I did when I was in a band. I want to create a piece of music by myself. So I want to play drums the way I want drums to sound and play synthesizers the way I want synthesizer to sound. And I want to use samples because I feel they’re the strongest and most powerful instrument in the world. So that’s the reason these are the instruments I play, because as a musician I desire to hear my complete vision realized.</p> <p><strong>Do you plan on playing your own material live at some point?</strong></p> <p>Ummm…no. I don’t think being an entertainer is what I was born to be. I think it’s something that I adapted to and something that I forced. But I don’t feel like it’s who I really am. Flea and Anthony and Chad to me are natural-born entertainers. I’m not. It’s not what I was put here to do.</p> <p><strong>You’d prefer to make your music in the studio.</strong></p> <p>Yeah. Going up onstage to me just seems like…it’s a parade. You’re sort of using your physical presence like a prop or something. It’s not really a musical endeavor. And I think all these generations who have come since MTV came on should remember music is not a visual thing. It’s a sound. It’s a disturbance of air molecules. It’s not a face somebody makes or an outfit somebody wears. </p> <p>Now what we think of as a real musician is someone who we see up onstage hitting his instrument and doing his gyrations and making his faces. But I think people should remember that it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when the most powerful musicians in the world were composers. They weren’t even there when you were hearing the music. They spent their time in isolation, writing. </p> <p><em>Photo: Neil Zlozower/atlasicons.com</em></p> <p><em><strong>For the rest of this story, plus features on Zakk Wylde and Joe Satriani (our cover stars), Death Angel, how to build a pedal board, a complete finger picking lesson, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Line 6, Ibanez, Strymon, G&amp;L, Ernie Ball and Orange, <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-may-14-zakk-wylde-joe-satriani/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=JohnFruscExcerpt">check out the May 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></strong></em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/MAY%202014%20COVER%20GW.jpg" width="620" height="805" alt="MAY 2014 COVER GW.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/john-frusciante">John Frusciante</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/john-frusciante-his-latest-solo-effort-enclosure-and-why-his-days-onstage-are-behind-him#comments John Frusciante May 2014 Interviews News Features Magazine Thu, 03 Apr 2014 15:54:36 +0000 Richard Bienstock http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20914 Dear Guitar Hero: Johnny Winter Talks Gibson Firebirds, Muddy Waters, "Highway 61 Revisited" and More http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-johnny-winter-talks-gibson-firebirds-muddy-waters-highway-61-revisited-and-more <!--paging_filter--><p>He’s an albino blues guitarist who’s jammed with Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman. But what <em>Guitar World</em> readers really want to know is …</p> <p><strong>How old were you when you started playing blues? — Gene E. Levi</strong></p> <p>I was probably around 12 years old. I started out playing ukulele, but when I was around 10, my father encouraged me to move to guitar. </p> <p>He thought I’d have a better chance for success with the guitar, and he was right! I found a great teacher who was into Chet Atkins and country music who got me into playing with a thumb pick, which I still use today. </p> <p>But my life really changed when I heard Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. They wiped me out! I never heard nothing like that before. After that, I started buying every blues record I could find and learning licks every chance I had. I couldn’t get enough of the blues.</p> <p><strong>Before you signed your first major record deal, you spent quite a few years playing clubs. What was the roughest or worst club you ever played? — Billy Houston</strong></p> <p>We played a lot of bad places, but I remember this club in Galveston, Texas, back in ’65 that was particularly nasty. This huge drunk guy kept staggering over to me and demanding that I play “Midnight Hour.” I told him, “Man, we already played it twice.” </p> <p>He said, “Well, I didn’t hear it, and if you don’t play it I’m gonna rush the bandstand and tear up everything!” True to his word, he started charging me, so I took off my guitar, grabbed it by the neck and swung it like a baseball bat and hit him in the head and knocked him completely out! It was a good thing, too, because he was big.</p> <p>I spent a lot of time playing the Louisiana club circuit, and in many ways it was rougher than Texas. My band had to play behind chicken wire, because people used to throw things at us. Even if they liked what you were playing, they’d still throw bottles at you just for the fun of it. There’s a scene in the Blues Brothers movie that shows what that was like. Most people think John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd made that up, but bands played behind chicken wire all the time. </p> <p><strong>Freddie King, Albert Collins, T-Bone Walker and so many other great blues players have come from Texas. Was it something in the water? — Charles Whitehouse </strong></p> <p>When you come from a place where there are a lot of great players, it forces you to get good real fast. There’s a gunfighter tradition in Texas—you gotta be better than the other guy, or else you’re finished.</p> <p><strong>You’re one of the great innovators of slide guitar. What kind of slide do you use, and what finger do you use it on? Also, do you have a favorite slide song? — Alex Williams</strong></p> <p>I was practicing in New York City at S.I.R. Studios and a guy made me a slide by hacking up some drum hardware. He made me just one, and I really like it, so I’ve never lost it. I wear my slide on my little finger, and through the years I’ve played primarily in open A or open E. These days, I tend to favor open E, especially live, I think partly because I’m too lazy to carry another guitar around. </p> <p>One of the greatest slide guitar performances I’ve ever heard is Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night (Cold Was the Ground).” The way his slide mimics his vocals and vice versa always gives me the chills. It’s maybe the deepest blues performance I’ve ever heard.</p> <p><strong>You’ve played some left-of-center guitars through the years—a Gibson Firebird, a Fender Mustang and a Lazer made by Mike Erlewine. Can you tell me what you liked about each of those guitars? — “The Mack”</strong></p> <p>They were all just really good guitars. I was initially attracted to the Firebird because I liked the way it looked, and when I played it I discovered I liked the way it sounded, too. The Firebird is the best of all worlds. It feels like a Gibson, but it sounds closer to a Fender than most other Gibsons. I was never a big fan of humbucking pickups, but the mini-humbuckers on the Firebird have a little more bite and treble.</p> <p>People always ask me about the Lazer. When I first bought one, I thought I was just going to use it as a travel guitar. But the first day I plugged it in, it sounded so good I wanted to use it for a gig that night. It had .010s on it, and I’m used to .009s, so I tuned it down one whole step to make it easier to play. I kept thinking that I would switch back—but I just never did. I like how it sounds, and the bonus is I break fewer strings. </p> <p><strong>You produced and played on several albums with the legendary Muddy Waters. What did you get from that experience? — Warren Waterman</strong></p> <p>Muddy just had such extraordinary presence and naked emotion in his voice and slide guitar playing, especially on a slow blues. When I worked with him, I was amazed at how fast he worked. You had to stay on your toes and know what you were doing, ’cause he never wanted to do more than one or two takes of a song. Luckily for me, Muddy always nailed it in one or two takes.</p> <p>That attitude sort of rubbed off on me. In many ways, I’m pretty similar. I’ve discovered if you have to do more than a few takes, all the life goes out of the performance. </p> <p><strong>You just released a really great box set of your work, <em>True to the Blues</em>. In the liner notes Eddie Van Halen calls “Be Careful with a Fool” one of his favorite songs. I can understand that—it’s pretty damn fast! What are some of your favorite moments? — Ray Lauerman, Jr.</strong></p> <p>I liked my version of B.B King’s “Be Careful with a Fool” too. It’s a great song, and I think I did a pretty good job of it. I played a lot of fast licks on that one, but I wasn’t trying to show off. Speed is just something that always felt right to me. I was playing what I heard in my head.</p> <p><strong>Can we expect a new album anytime soon? It’s been a while. — Mark Jenkins</strong></p> <p>We’re in the process of mixing a new one, and it should come out in April. I think it’s gonna surprise a lot of people. I’m calling it <em>Step Back</em>, and I invited some of my favorite guitarists to play with me on a bunch of tracks, including Billy Gibbons, Eric Clapton, Joe Perry, Mark Knopfler and Joe Bonamassa. I don’t want to give too much away, but for example, Eric joins me on the Bobby “Blue” Bland classic “I Don’t Want No Woman.” </p> <p><strong>One of your signature songs is your cover of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61.” What inspired you to play that one? — Dale Showler</strong></p> <p>I’ve always been a big Bob Dylan fan. You can’t be my age without loving Bob Dylan. We’d been doing the song in clubs for quite a while, but I didn’t play it with a slide until I recorded it in the studio. It worked out real well.</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="/johnny-winter">Johnny Winter</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-johnny-winter-talks-gibson-firebirds-muddy-waters-highway-61-revisited-and-more#comments Dear Guitar Hero Johnny Winter March 2014 Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 02 Apr 2014 19:01:28 +0000 Brad Tolinski http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20919 Blues Powerhouse: Guitarist Mike Bloomfield Gets the Recognition He Deserves with New Box Set http://www.guitarworld.com/blues-powerhouse-guitarist-mike-bloomfield-gets-recognition-he-deserves-new-box-set <!--paging_filter--><p>On June 16, 1965, a young man sporting a Jewfro walked through the rain on New York’s Seventh Avenue to Columbia Studio A, a white Telecaster slung over his shoulder like John Henry’s hammer. </p> <p>Once inside, he wiped down the wet guitar, sat on a folding chair and played his way into history. </p> <p>Until then, few people outside of his native Chicago had heard of Michael Bloomfield. </p> <p>A little over a month later, after that session’s first single, “Like a Rolling Stone,” was released, he was nearly as well known among musicians as the tune’s writer, Bob Dylan. Bloomfield’s roiling fills and lightning-strike licks in Studio A had put the high-voltage in Dylan’s first electric album, <em>Highway 61 Revisited<em>. </em></em></p> <p>Just a month after that LP appeared, Bloomfield’s reputation was etched deeper with the release of <em>The Paul Butterfield Blues Band</em>. </p> <p>On that debut by his hometown outfit—Chicago’s first integrated blues band signed to a major label—Bloomfield played guitar with the authenticity and intensity that Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Peter Green, Jimmy Page and the other young guns of British blues aspired to attain. Clapton himself observed, “Mike Bloomfield is music on two legs.”</p> <p>Bloomfield was 22 when he arrived on the music scene, blazing a path for guitarists that burned through the strata of multiple elements—jazz, country, world music, atonality—while staying faithful to his beloved blues. And while the legacy of Bloomfield’s artistry is still embedded in the muddy terra firma of American music, his influence is virtually uncelebrated today. </p> <p>The new three-CD-plus-DVD box set <em>From His Head to His Heart to His Hands</em>, curated by Bloomfield’s friend and playing partner, rock and roll legend Al Kooper, aims to correct that.</p> <p>“I’m trying to replicate what <em>King of the Delta Blues Singers</em> did for Robert Johnson in 1961,” says Kooper, referring to the 1961 compilation that rescued Johnson’s recorded legacy from obscurity. </p> <p>“A lot of people didn’t know about Johnson because so many decades had passed since he recorded, and yet when that album came out, English kids like Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton were swept up by it. I want to do the same thing—catch people who don’t know what Michael sounded like or maybe don’t even know his name. </p> <p>“I loved Michael’s music for the intellectualism of what he played, which is why I came up with the title. I think his music started in his head and then went to his heart before he played it. That’s what’s so great about it.”</p> <p>Kooper spent a year going through tapes from the Columbia Records vaults, Dylan’s archives and other sources, including his own collection, to make the case for Bloomfield’s enduring greatness. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/U7Egi3OnceY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>The set begins with three previously unreleased demo recordings from Bloomfield’s 1964 audition for the legendary record producer John Hammond, whose signings—which included Billie Holiday, Charlie Christian, Aretha Franklin, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Ray Vaughan—spanned several generations. (Hammond was also the driving force behind the <em>King of the Delta Blues Singers</em> compilation.) </p> <p>The songs from Bloomfield’s 1964 audition feature him playing acoustic Delta blues and an absolutely stratospheric high-torque country rag inspired by the great Kentucky-born picker Merle Travis. In all likelihood, those recordings would be lost if Kooper and Hammond hadn’t become neighbors years after the session. One day Hammond surprised Kooper with a two-track reel-to-reel copy, which is now the only one in existence.</p> <p>Another gem comes at the set’s opposite bookend: a live recording of Bloomfield reunited onstage with Dylan at San Francisco’s Warfield Theater in 1980, months before his death from an overdose on February 15, 1981, at age 37. Sitting in on “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar,” Bloomfield exorcises blitzing chromatic lines, quivering bends, warbling fingerpicked triads and keening slide from his head, heart and hands.</p> <p>There are demos Bloomfield recorded with his own group after he was signed by Hammond, tracks from <em>Highway 61</em> with the vocals peeled off to reveal the underlying brilliance of his playing, and roaring cuts from the Butterfield Band and Bloomfield’s own eclectic flower-power-era ensemble, the Electric Flag. </p> <p>His celebrated 1968 <em>Super Session</em> and <em>Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper</em> recordings are well represented, and Bloomfield’s slide guitar on Janis Joplin’s “One Good Man” is like a blade to the heart. The final recording, a gorgeous fingerpicked solo acoustic live take called “Hymn Time,” brings the performances full circle. </p> <p>It’s here that the DVD <em>Sweet Blues</em> takes over. An hour-long documentary directed by Bob Sarles, the film expands on the music with interviews featuring Dylan, Kooper, Elvin Bishop, Electric Flag vocalist Nick Gravenites, Bloomfield’s ex-wife Susan Beuhler and others. </p> <p>Bloomfield himself serves as narrator, with Sarles using sections of a sprawling tape-recorded interview with the late guitarist to propel the narrative of his career—from his apprenticeship playing in Chicago clubs with Muddy Waters, Big Joe Williams and his other blues heroes to the sessions and festivals that were part of the apex of his popularity.</p> <p>In the 16 years spanning the CDs, Bloomfield’s electric tone darkens and expands as he shifts his preference from Telecasters to Les Pauls and swaps the roles of bandleader, sideman and solo performer, playing like a champion every step of the way. The consensus among Bloomfield’s friends is that by age 16 or 17, his six-string style was fully formed.</p> <hr /> <p>Reached by phone at his northern California home, 75-year-old Gravenites says that he was just learning to play blues when he first met Bloomfield at the Fret Shop, a folk music store near the University of Chicago campus, “but Bloomers—I called him Bloomers, I don’t know why—already knew it cold. </p> <p>"He played like all of the older black guys he idolized. He was an authentic stylist as a teenager.”</p> <p>Five years later, when Kooper met Bloomfield at the <em>Highway 61 Revisited</em> sessions, Kooper says he wondered, “How can a guy my age play so good? I was taken aback. I had brought my guitar hoping to play on Dylan’s record, but when I heard Michael warm up, I put my guitar away.” Instead, Kooper played the album’s barebones organ tracks—his first shot at the Hammond B-3, which became his signature instrument.</p> <p>Despite his deep blues grounding, Bloomfield was an omnivorous listener, and that had a profound impact on his playing. He shared his fascination with Bulgarian vocal choirs and intense jazzmen like Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus with Kooper. </p> <p>Those fascinations are reflected in the sweeping, cinematic passages of their <em>Live Adventures</em> album, cut in 1968 at promoter Bill Graham’s legendary Fillmore West, as well as the cluster bombs of chromatic notes Bloomfield would inject into his solos in concert. </p> <p>“Live, everything he played was golden,” Kooper recalls. “My guess was that he was intimidated in the studio by producers. I wanted to get great playing out of him, so my premise with the recordings we made was ‘let’s go in and jam and it’ll be fun.’ ” Both <em>Super Session</em> and <em>Live Adventures</em> were hits, reaching numbers 12 and 18, respectively, on <em>Billboard</em>’s album chart.</p> <p>Bloomfield’s picking technique also came from a varied base. He could use a flatpick on a whim but preferred the organic tone generated by plucking strings with his fingers or thumbnail, or by using his index finger’s nail as a pick. He reserved fingerpicks or thumb picks for lap steel and resonator guitars. Unlike Clapton, Beck, Jimmy Page and Duane Allman, he also preferred running his Les Pauls and Telecasters through loud, clean amps with plenty of headroom and minimal breakup, for a more open tone.</p> <p>Kooper describes his musical relationship with Bloomfield as symbiotic—“We never had to discuss a thing we played. We’d just start and it would all be there.” Gravenites, for his part, spent a decade of his 20-year friendship with Bloomfield sharing the stage and studio. Yet, both say Bloomfield’s overall approach to guitar was subjective, idiosyncratic—a code they ultimately never cracked.</p> <p>“I could never make heads or tails of his technique,” says Gravenites, who, like 69-year-old Kooper, continues to perform. “I called it ‘the Cloaking Device.’ It was like he was part Romulan. We’d be having a conversation. Everything about the music we were about to play would be perfectly clear, and then he’d start to play and the Cloaking Device kicked in. I’d watch his fingers moving everywhere and have no idea what the hell he was doing.” </p> <p>The excellent 1979 album <em>If You Love These Blues, Play ’Em As You Please</em> provides some hints. In the liner notes Bloomfield explains his amp and guitar choices for each of the tracks, provides the genesis of each number, and lists the keys and further salient details for the songs. </p> <p>The 2004 CD reissue also includes acoustic guitar duets Bloomfield recorded with Woody Harris. Combined, these 31 tracks trace many veins of Bloomfield’s roots, from African-American work songs to Appalachian spirituals to T-Bone Walker swing to primal country, and his playing is absolutely inspired. </p> <p>Bloomfield was an entirely self-made—and unlikely—bluesman. In 1943, he was born into a wealthy Jewish family whose fortune was based on his ex-boxer father’s invention of the flapper-topped sugar dispenser, the institutional coffee brewer, revolving pie displays and other restaurant staples. His mother was a Wrigley’s Spearmint gum model. School and Michael didn’t mix, but to his father’s dismay, he loved guitar.</p> <p>At age 14, Bloomfield’s passion for Elvis Presley and guitarist Scotty Moore as well as the other Sun rockabilly cats led him to recordings by bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, who, he soon discovered, were regularly playing in his own town. After that, it was on.</p> <p>Bloomfield chased down the potent first-generation electric Chicago blues players in urban nightspots where few white people ventured. His youth and nervous energy made him stand out as much as the innate talent he displayed when he got onstage. Often, he couldn’t contain his enthusiasm, leaping up with the likes of Magic Sam or Buddy Guy, plugging in, hitting notes and asking to sit in, all at the same time.</p> <p>Even as an adult, “Michael was always on 10,” Kooper says. “He was funny and smart and always very much in the moment.” </p> <p>“Michael was a special character,” Gravenites concurs. “He’d say exactly what was on his mind to anyone without any concern for repercussions. If he didn’t like what you were playing, he’d tell you to get in line. But he was also very kind and generous with people.” </p> <p>Bloomfield also suffered from chronic insomnia and bouts of depression. He spent many nights awake playing guitar in his formative years. As his playing developed, Bloomfield became interested in older bluesmen with acoustic roots. Hired to book the Fickle Pickle coffeehouse, he scheduled nine-string guitarist Big Joe Williams, mandolinist Yank Rachell, guitarist Sleepy John Estes and pianist Little Brother Montgomery specifically so he could play with them. </p> <p>He and Williams became close and recorded together several times. He also got his first pointed taste of the volatility of some of the older bluesmen when Williams stabbed him in the hand during a disagreement.</p> <p>During July 1966—the same month that Cream played its first unofficial gig in England—Bloomfield, harmonica demon Paul Butterfield, guitarist Elvin Bishop, pianist Mark Naftalin, drummer Billy Davenport and bassist Jerome Arnold released the second Paul Butterfield Blues Band album, <em>East-West</em>. </p> <hr /> <p>Many consider that recording Bloomfield’s crowning achievement. His playing on the disc is knotty, dramatic and unpredictable, his sonorous tone snaking in all directions, from needling staccato licks to burnished metallic slides to warm wail-and-moan bends to dark sustained notes singing with his B.B. King–inspired vibrato. </p> <p>On the band showcase “Work Song,” Bloomfield’s melodies climb through scales like free-jazz saxophonist John Coltrane’s, balancing chromatic ascents and descents with radically slurred bends and off-the-beat accents. </p> <p>The tune “East-West,” a 13-minute exploratory fusion of blues and Indian modality that showcases Bloomfield and Bishop, flipped the switch for long-form rock improvisation. Thus Bloomfield ran neck and neck with Clapton in transporting blues guitar into the psychedelic era.</p> <p>So the question raised by Kooper’s quest to elevate Bloomfield to Robert Johnson–like status remains: Why don’t more people know about this profoundly talented six-string genius?</p> <p>“First of all, he didn’t dress up,” Kooper says. “All those guys—Clapton, Page—they dressed like rock stars. In the set’s booklet, there’s a photo I chose of Clapton and Bloomfield backstage at the Fillmore. It’s like a sight gag. Clapton’s in sartorial and hair-and-moustache splendor, and Mike’s just wearing a plain denim shirt and a vest. They couldn’t look more different.</p> <p>“Second, he was done with the music business by the time he was 34,” Kooper continues. “He had done it all—dealing with the crooked promoters and record labels—and said, ‘Enough of this shit.’ ”</p> <p>Gravenites agrees. “Back then the music business was packed with thieves,” he says. “I don’t mean crooked accountants and rigged books; I mean they were a bunch of gangsters who’d break your fingers to get a penny out of a jukebox. When we started out, we were launched into a sea of ugly.”</p> <p>There’s also, of course, Bloomfield’s premature death, which forever pre-empted any second winds or late-career comebacks. “People who say they were surprised by Michael’s death didn’t really know him,” Gravenites contends. </p> <p>“Michael had died in every major city in America—New York, Chicago, L.A., Detroit, San Francisco—but he was revived every time because he was with junkies who knew what they were doing. </p> <p>Around heroin, he always wanted to be first on the bag, and he always took too much. It didn’t work out sometimes, so he’d OD. That was Michael. A crazy guy.</p> <p>“But I never thought of him as a junkie,” Gravenites continues. “He’d junk up for a while and then he’d stop. Michael was a genius. And comical. He was like Lenny Bruce or something. He was very well read and could talk intelligently about all kinds of topics: art, poetry, history. I’m lucky enough to still be alive. And having been his singer and his friend, I look back on those years—his generosity, his humor, his intelligence, his amazing musical vision—and they’re beautiful memories.” </p> <p><em>Photo: John Siveri/Getty Images</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="/mike-bloomfield">Mike Bloomfield</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/blues-powerhouse-guitarist-mike-bloomfield-gets-recognition-he-deserves-new-box-set#comments March 2014 Michael Bloomfield Mike Bloomfield Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 02 Apr 2014 18:55:13 +0000 Ted Drozdowski http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20508 Tom Scholz Releases Boston's Last Recordings with Brad Delp, 'Life, Love & Hope,' an Album 11 Years in the Making http://www.guitarworld.com/tom-scholz-releases-bostons-last-recordings-brad-delp-life-love-hope-album-11-years-making <!--paging_filter--><p>Boston’s Tom Scholz has a musician’s soul and a scientist’s obsession with the phenomena of sound and music. </p> <p>Those qualities have helped him and his long-running group create some of the most lavishly layered, hooky guitar rock of the Seventies and beyond. The guitarist was a senior product design engineer for Polaroid in the Seventies who spent his off hours tinkering meticulously on a set of demo recordings in his home studio. </p> <p>Those demos resulted in Boston’s self-titled 1976 debut, which took radio by storm, fast-tracked by hits like “More Than a Feeling,” “Peace of Mind” and “Smokin’.” The disc went on to sell 17 million copies. Boston followed it up two years later with the best-selling <em>Don’t Look Back</em>.</p> <p>Subsequent albums have taken considerably longer to complete. Boston’s new album, <em>Life, Love &amp; Hope</em>, was a staggering 11 years in the making, but it is a bold reaffirmation of the epic production values that made Seventies rock the apotheosis of what we now call classic rock. Its tracks are awash in chunky phalanxes of stacked rhythm guitars deployed with razor-sharp precision, richly sustained leads that reach for the sky in glorious melody, celestial clouds of background-vocal majesty, classically tinged keyboards… </p> <p>In short, it’s the whole high-calorie, big-rock tour de force. </p> <p>Although <em>Life, Love &amp; Hope</em> is only Boston’s sixth album in 37 years, you’d be wrong to assume Scholz spends little time in the recording studio. He lives there. But when he’s in there, he sweats the details in a big way, piling up guitar tracks and constantly tweaking, reshaping and re-recording song arrangements. </p> <p>He accomplishes much of this through the labor-intensive practice of splicing analog multitrack tape. In almost every respect, Scholz still does things the way they were done during rock’s Seventies heyday.</p> <p>“Part of the difficulty in the studio is agonizing over what to leave out,” he says. “It’s very time consuming, and 99 percent of what I record, nobody else hears but me.”</p> <p>Just as Scholz influenced the aesthetic of classic rock, he also helped countless rock guitarists to get fat, creamy analog amp tones out of a little black box he designed called the Rockman. Scholz’s device reinvented the way guitarists think about recording, making it possible to attain monster guitar sounds without a speaker cabinet. Needless to say, he used his Rockman gear on <em>Life, Love &amp; Hope</em>, along with an enviable arsenal of vintage guitar and recording gear.</p> <p>As Boston’s guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, songwriter and producer, Scholz has plenty of work to do on the new album. But Love, Life &amp; Hope also brings to light his final recordings with former Boston lead singer Brad Delp, who committed suicide in 2007. Saddened, but undaunted, Scholz doesn’t sound like he’s going to give up on Boston anytime soon. But, of course, we just might have to wait another decade for the next album.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RIXG86g30to" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>I’ve heard that you were deliberately writing songs in the classic Boston vein for this new album.</strong></p> <p>I think some of the songs are definitely in the classic Boston sound and style. On one or two of them, I even went back to my first Marshall amps, which were used on the first two albums, just because they seemed right. But I never sit down and reference my current guitar sounds or mixes to the first Boston album or any other album. For some reason, though, that’s where my brain seems to go. But at the same time, some of this record is a pretty wild departure. I definitely did some experimenting and took some chances. </p> <p><strong>Keyboards figure more prominently on this record than on some of Boston’s earlier work. But then piano is your first instrument, right?</strong></p> <p>It is. And I ended up going back there for a lot of songs on this album, although I didn’t deliberately set out to do that. There are many places on the album that feature piano. The instrumental “Last Day of School” was originally a piano song and a very difficult part to play, by the way, so I spent a lot of time perfecting it. And once I got it onto tape, I started hearing guitars, so I began laying in all these guitar parts. And it somehow ended up being dominated by the guitars, so now you can hardly hear the piano stuff that I had to work so hard to perfect!</p> <p><strong>Who are your big songwriting influences?</strong></p> <p>Rachmaninoff, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. [laughs] But I will also say I have a great appreciation for Joe Walsh and Jimmy Page, and an enormous regard for Jeff Beck’s guitar-playing style and some of those earlier bands that had great harmonies, like the Hollies. </p> <hr /> <p><strong>And like all prior Boston albums, you recorded this one with an all-analog signal chain. Why is that? </strong></p> <p>Analog sounds so much better. I frankly can’t listen to digital audio for more than a few hours without really starting to hate what I’m listening to. Even decent 24-bit digital resolution really irritates me after a while. So I need something that I can listen to for months on end, thousands of plays. </p> <p>And analog is still the bill for that. My primary tape machine is a 3M M79, the one I’ve been using since 1977. I do a lot of rearranging on tape, so I needed a machine that would handle splices really seamlessly, and the M79 is it. I know it’s considered a little extreme that I record on this analog gear. My repair tech refers to my studio as an archeological dig. </p> <p><strong>And your guitar signal chain is all analog, naturally. </strong></p> <p>Yes, I’ve got the same two Les Pauls I’ve played all along. They’re both from 1968 [<a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/more-feeling-gibsons-tom-scholz-replica-les-paul-looks-sounds-and-feels-real-deal#slide-1">see sidebar</a>]. I got one in the early Seventies and the other one when I got my album deal. I paid $300 for one and $350 for the other, both secondhand. And they sound and feel almost identical. </p> <p><strong>So those guitars are all you played on the record?</strong></p> <p>That’s it. Those are really the only two guitars I own and use. I have a Jackson with a tremolo tailpiece that I keep around for once in a blue moon if I want to do a little something with a tremolo bar. But that’s very seldom. And I have a couple of acoustics and my Gibson EB-0 bass with a Fender Jazz pickup in it. The action is like a half inch off the neck, but I love the thing. </p> <p><strong>What about amps?</strong></p> <p>I saved a bunch of the Rockman stuff when I got out of the [equipment] business in 1995, and it’s still my primary amp. But I also have and use two of the old Marshalls that I used early on with Boston. And I also have a Mesa Triple Rectifier that I love. Great amp. I used that on a few songs on the album too. So it’s about 33 percent each: Rockman, Marshall and Mesa. </p> <p><strong>What does the Rockman do for you that nothing else does? </strong></p> <p>I gotta say, I love the Rockman sustain, and therefore I use it a lot for lead parts, especially things that are above the lowest octave on the guitar. But the thing about the Rockman that makes it so important to me is I can make changes between sounds on the fly. There’s no way you can do that as effectively with any standalone amp. </p> <p>Well, I’ll make one slight modification to that statement: I used to have a gigantic setup of gear designed to make a vintage Marshall head switchable between a large assortment of sounds. But the support gear to do it was just ridiculous. Not just power soaks and things like that, which were all switchable, but also all sorts of signal-conditioning equipment. </p> <p>And the Rockman basically has all of that stuff built into it, so I can go from clean sounds to wild distortion very smoothly. Or I can change to all sorts of wildly different tones. The unit I used for the album is a Rockman head with programmable EQ, switchable delay units, choruses and so forth. There were very few of those made, but I snagged a few of them. And it’s all completely analog, so it’s a warm, beautiful sound, and it lets you do things that are impossible without a whole studio full of gear, basically. </p> <p><strong>What’s the maximum number of guitar tracks on any given song on this album? And which one has the most?</strong></p> <p>Most of them have an unconscionable amount, but typically eight to 10. Normally there will be at least two guitars playing any rhythm part. Sometimes four. On “More Than a Feeling,” for example, the last chorus is a very heavy chorus, and the guitars are doubled up and slightly detuned.</p> <p><strong>Some of the songs on this record go back to before Brad Delp passed away in 2007. </strong></p> <p>Yes, absolutely. We started in 2002. </p> <hr /> <strong>Is this some of the very last stuff you worked on with him?</strong> <p>Well, yes, two of them are. We made some changes to the song “Someone” in 2002. And we started working on “Sail Away” in 2003. We did the bulk of it, then I made some arrangement changes, and we went back and did some more work on it in 2005. And the other song with Brad, “Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love,” was begun either in late 2000 or early 2001. That one we worked on for 11 years.</p> <p><strong>So with Brad gone now, does that mean that there can’t be another Boston album after this?</strong></p> <p>No, not at all. Brad sings on three of the songs on this album, but other people sang the other eight. </p> <p><strong>What are your thoughts on why Seventies rock is so enduring? How do you account for it?</strong></p> <p>I don’t know. I don’t think anybody expected it to be. But I gotta tell you, it was some of the best rock and roll ever. I look at the various decades, and the Seventies really had it. It could be argued that it started in the late Sixties, but a lot of those bands hit their high point in the Seventies. </p> <p><strong>So do you lament the demise of the rock album as an art form? </strong></p> <p>I do, and the demise of the music business in general. It’s become such a bad bet economically that I think most artists can’t afford to do a full-production rock album these days. It was a major decision for me to do another one, in terms of time and money. I thought, </p> <p>You’re going to spend years of your life working on this, and what for? There’s no more music business as I knew it anymore. But I thought, Well, it’s back to a hobby again. [laughs] That’s how it started out for me, so now I guess I’m back to that. </p> <p><strong>What was it like for you in 1976, when this hobby of yours started selling millions and millions of records?</strong></p> <p>I was incredulous. After I finished the album, I went back to work at my day job at Polaroid. I never expected anything to happen with the album. I was told nothing would happen by so-called experts in the music business. They said that disco was the coming thing and my album was just a long shot. </p> <p>Really, all I was hoping was that some of my songs would get on the radio in the Boston area and maybe I could go out and play a few gigs. So you can imagine what it was like when the draftsmen and engineers at Polaroid started running into my office yelling, “Your song is on the radio! Your song is on the radio!”</p> <p><strong>Did it kinda fuck with your head when it all went massive? </strong></p> <p>Not really, because I was 29—almost 30—at the time when that happened. So I was pretty settled in. I was a working stiff. It wasn’t like some kid star who doesn’t know which end is up. So I just felt like, Well, cool!</p> <p><em>Photo: Trent Bell</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="/boston">Boston</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/tom-scholz-releases-bostons-last-recordings-brad-delp-life-love-hope-album-11-years-making#comments Boston March 2014 Tom Scholz Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 02 Apr 2014 18:19:45 +0000 Alan Di Perna http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20373 Ax Men: Zakk Wylde and Joe Satriani Riff on Their Craziest Concert Moments, Jimmy Page and the State of Rock Guitar http://www.guitarworld.com/ax-men-zakk-wylde-and-joe-satriani-riff-their-craziest-concert-moments-jimmy-page-and-state-rock-guitar <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the May 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Death Angel, John Frusciante, how to build a pedal board, a complete finger picking lesson, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Line 6, Ibanez, Strymon, G&amp;L, Ernie Ball and Orange, <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-may-14-zakk-wylde-joe-satriani/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=ZakkJoeExcerpt">check out the May 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p><strong>Ax-Men: <em>Guitar superheroes Zakk Wylde and Joe Satriani team up to riff on their craziest concert moments, Jimmy Page and the state of rock guitar in 2014.</em></strong></p> <p>It’s difficult to imagine two human beings more different than Joe Satriani and Zakk Wylde, even just in terms of physical appearance. </p> <p>Satriani is slight and slender, with a clean-shaven face and head. Wylde is big and hairy, with full beard and black-leather biker garb encasing his paunchy frame. </p> <p>As the two men stand side by side before a white backdrop inside a San Francisco area photo studio, the contrast is even more dramatic. To a stranger viewing the scene, the guitars they’re holding would be the only clue to why the hell they’re posing together. </p> <p>Not surprisingly, the inner man matches the outer in both cases. Satriani has always been an introspective guitar hero. He broods long and hard on the creative processes behind the records and concerts that have placed him at the vanguard of virtuoso rock guitar playing for the past three decades. </p> <p>On the other hand, it’s hard to conceive of Zakk Wylde ever experiencing anything like moments of introspection, let alone being familiar with the term. His abundant store of energy is direct outward, mostly in the frenzied flurry of rapid-fire guitar notes that have made him a metal guitar icon. His conversation is, oddly, like his guitar playing: it comes in nonstop verbal torrents heavily peppered with off-color jokes and personal references that only a Wylde fan could understand. </p> <p>Riffing on his Catholicism, he rattles off the names of his guitar heroes as if they belonged to some ecclesiastical hierarchy—Saint Rhoads, Pope Page, Father Vai… And like all true rock and roller outsiders—especially one from New Jersey—Wylde is an advanced master of the fine art of inserting the f-word into every sentence whether it fits or not. </p> <p>And while Satriani and Wylde seem so different as people, they are nonetheless brothers-in-shred and good friends of many years. So when <em>Guitar World</em> suggested that they meet up to share stories and insights from their many years of fretboard glory, they were happy to oblige. Wylde paused en route to a business meeting with iTunes to make the date, and Satriani valiantly rose from a sickbed, where he’d been battling an exceptionally nasty cold recently. </p> <p>At the end of day, all agreed that it was well worth the effort to get together and compare notes on life at the pinnacle of rock guitar mastery. </p> <p><strong>Can you remember the first time you heard one another’s playing?</strong></p> <p><strong>ZAKK WYLDE</strong> I’d just gotten my gig with Ozzy when I first heard <em>Surfing with the Alien</em>. And I thought, Wow…great melodies, great chops. Just awesome songs. Whenever I hear Joe playing, it kind of sounds like Billy Gibbons if Billy Gibbons had Al Di Meola’s fucking technique. ’Cause it grooves like Billy, but it’s got this insane technique. But aside from how ripping it is technically, there’s that blues in there all the time. And that’s what it’s like with a real player, like Joe. You know where they’re coming from, but they put their own unique spin on it and make it their own thing. </p> <p><strong>JOE SATRIANI</strong> I first heard Zakk probably around the same time, when he started playing with Ozzy. What a shock! The years between 1978 and 1987 were a decade of solid teaching and club work for me. So I was getting exposed to the next generation of guitar players who were starting at a higher level than I did. Higher expectations. Zakk was one of the first players I heard where I was like, “Wow, this bumps it up to a new level.” That was exciting, because the musicianship and the showmanship were both there. You have to have that, because it’s rock and roll. </p> <p>And what a tough gig Zakk had! He had to follow the legend of Randy Rhoads and Ozzy’s history with Black Sabbath. Zakk’s a multi-instrumentalist as well, and his technique on electric guitar translates beautifully to acoustic. That’s a very important indicator of the power he has, which I noticed right away.</p> <p><strong>Joe mentioned teaching guitar, which you did as well, Zakk, right?</strong></p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> Yeah, before I started playing with Ozzy. Teaching’s great, man. But I also had normal jobs like working in a gas station and in a [supermarket] produce department. I didn’t plan on doing that for the rest of my life, but I had no problems with it because I was doing it to save up for a Marshall amp or a Les Paul or some other piece of gear. But when I taught, it was definitely cool when there were students who would practice and had a passion for the instrument. Not all of them did. But when you had a student who’d come to a lesson and could play all the scales you taught them last time, it was really rewarding.</p> <p><strong>How did teaching feed into your own playing? </strong></p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> It pushes you—especially with the advanced students. They learn all the shit and you gotta have something new to show them the next week. They know all the diatonics and all the pentatonics, so now we start breaking out the diminished scales.</p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> And your job is to crystallize musical concepts—put them into a couple of sentences. ’Cause maybe the kid’s showing up for 30 minutes or something.</p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> But then, Jimmy Page always used to say, “The reason I love the guitar is because they didn’t teach it in school.” And I get that. But I always say, if you get a car with a stick shift, eventually you’re going to learn to drive it by yourself. But before you blow through about three transmissions, usually it would be pretty cool if somebody just showed you how to do it. Eventually, sure, you can learn how to play “Stairway to Heaven” by yourself. But you’ll learn it a lot quicker if somebody shows you where to put your fingers.</p> <p><strong>Apart from obvious names like Hendrix and Page, do you have any guitar heroes in common?</strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Pete Townshend is one of my heroes, because he’s another guy who brings it all. He can play great, write great songs, and he puts on an amazing show. Quite crazy. I was just reading Pete’s autobiography [2012’s <em>Who I Am: A Memoir</em>] and I learned something I never knew before, and that was that he used a G string that was the same gauge as his B string. So when he did his double-stop bends, both strings would move at the same degree. That hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s an old blues player’s trick, but no one had suggested it to me before.</p> <p><em>Photo: Kevin Scanlon</em></p> <p><em><strong>For the rest of this story, plus features on Death Angel, John Frusciante, how to build a pedal board, a complete finger picking lesson, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Line 6, Ibanez, Strymon, G&amp;L, Ernie Ball and Orange, <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-may-14-zakk-wylde-joe-satriani/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=ZakkJoeExcerpt">check out the May 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></strong></em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/MAY%202014%20COVER%20GW.jpg" width="620" height="805" alt="MAY 2014 COVER GW.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zakk-wylde">Zakk Wylde</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/ax-men-zakk-wylde-and-joe-satriani-riff-their-craziest-concert-moments-jimmy-page-and-state-rock-guitar#comments Excerpt Joe Satriani May 2014 Zakk Wylde Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 02 Apr 2014 16:33:31 +0000 Alan di Perna http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20907 Kiss Co-Founder Paul Stanley Talks New Autobiography, 'Face the Music: A Life Exposed' http://www.guitarworld.com/kiss-co-founder-paul-stanley-talks-new-autobiography-face-music-life-exposed <!--paging_filter--><p>Paul Stanley has risen to international fame playing the role of the Starchild in Kiss. </p> <p>However, in his upcoming autobiography, <em>Face the Music: A Life Exposed</em> (HarperOne), the guitarist discusses two other roles he has played that have affected his life as much if not more: the Phantom of the Opera and family man. </p> <p>The market for rock autobiographies has been fertile lately, and many tend to follow the same formula of addiction, conflict, conquests on the road and business deals gone bad. </p> <p>Stanley’s book takes a more unique path as he opens up about nagging feelings of emptiness, even as the band was at the height of their Seventies mega-stardom. He also is candid about his relationship with Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons. </p> <p>We recently had the opportunity to talk to Stanley about <em>Face The Music.</em></p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: All of the other original members of Kiss have written books. What made this the right time for you?</strong></p> <p>I never saw writing a book. I think, just by nature of what they are, autobiographies are fatally flawed. Most of the time they tend to be grandiose in their perspective because someone is writing about themselves. I had no desire to do that. Honestly, I’ve looked at most autobiographies and thought they should have been on soft tissue paper on a roll and they would serve a better purpose. Just to write about real or imagined victories or successes or achievements isn’t what I wanted to do. </p> <p>When I finally realized I could write a book that could be inspirational, that could show that everyone has obstacles and even the people we might look up to and aspire to be have been through their own trials and tribulations and can succeed, that was intriguing. The idea of writing a book my children could read to understand what I've been through to be where I am was what really made me do a 180-degree turn. </p> <p>I didn’t want to write a book about Kiss. I wanted to write about my life. I wanted to write about somebody who faced a lot of adversity and obstacles and thought they knew how to resolve them and found out I wrong. I was fortunate enough to achieve the success I thought was the answer, and then I was fortunate enough to roll up my sleeves and figure out what it really took to find contentment and happiness. </p> <p>The book has a happy ending. Otherwise, I couldn’t have written it. People have told me it’s a great book. If I were still stuck in the middle of it, I wouldn’t have written it. </p> <p><strong>Everyone has written the book about their rock star life. Yours takes the reader on a journey. You had a goal, you had obstacles as a young man. What I found most interesting was that even when achieving success, there was discontentment and isolation.</strong></p> <p>I think that’s the beauty that can be passed along to other people. How other people perceive you doesn't affect how you perceive yourself. No matter what you achieve and what you hide from others, you can never hide it from yourself. True happiness and true contentment in life have to come internally. That may be a cliche, but it was certainly never more glaring than in my life. Once you realize you're still unhappy, you either start medicating yourself or start figuring out what’s next. </p> <p><strong>In the book, you can see how the arrival of your first child, Evan, brought about a change in your outlook. It seems your family brought you a real sense of contentment.</strong></p> <p>I think it is eye opening that if we choose to be great parents it’s because we move ourselves from the center of the universe and give it to the people we love around us. Having children can be incredibly healing, and it also can make us better people because we are supposed to lead by example. If we set a good example, we live better lives. I found a lot peace and a lot of joy in being a parent. </p> <p><strong>Whether or not you're a fan of Kiss, the father angle makes it an interesting read.</strong></p> <p>I would think somebody is going to do themselves a disservice if they don't read the book just because they don’t like the band. It is not a book about the band. It’s a book about a person who, although on the surface might seem very much unlike the reader, I’m very much the reader. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/drqPRbBPRfI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>One of the things you discuss is your role in <em>The Phantom of the Opera</em>. Can you talk about throwing yourself into that challenge? Obviously everyone knew you as the Starchild and the voice of Kiss.</strong></p> <p>I think you have to remember I stepped outside of character to be in a rock band. I was a shy, insecure, unpopular kid. Innately when I saw the Beatles and even before that with Elvis Presley, I had this epiphany that that's what I wanted to do. I didn’t play guitar. I hadn’t written a song before in my life, but I think so often we lose sight of our potential because as kids we believe we are capable of everything and that gets beaten out of us by people who fail. </p> <p>The same thing happened to me with <em>Phantom of the Opera</em>. I had seen it in London in 1988, and while I was watching it I had that same thought. I had never done musical theater. I had no idea what went into it. Ten years later I found myself auditioning for the part and getting it. So at that point I got thrown into the deep end of the pool. Don’t wish for something unless you are ready to get it. At that point my determination was to be great. Not to denigrate something, but to do it justice. </p> <p>The stakes were high and interestingly when I watched <em>Phantom</em> in London. I never connected the dots and never saw how much of it was me, somebody hiding behind a mask and incapable of really giving. I only learned and connected those dots as I was doing the show. It was eye opening for me and also very freeing.</p> <p><strong>Anyone who is familiar with the story and looks at the first half of your book can see there's a parallel with his character and your character.</strong></p> <p>Absolutely.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KgN5hJqxjPE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>In the book, you mention your guitar playing and realizing your strengths and limitations. Was your pursuit songwriting because you felt that was your strength?</strong></p> <p>I always saw myself as a very solid guitar player, but we should never fool ourselves because we lose time and we can’t bring that back. If we do a hard assessment of ourselves we can better plot our course. I didn’t feel I could be the gunslinger guitar player I loved, but I also knew I could be a pretty consummate rhythm player, which is an art in itself. Some people see rhythm guitar as what a lead player does before he’s good enough to play lead. And there are others that are great lead players that are not able to play rhythm. They learned to run before they could walk. </p> <p>As I played, I found myself more to the rhythmic elements like Pete Townshend or Keith Richards or even Jimmy Page, who is a brilliant rhythm player. I had no aspirations to go beyond that. My guitar playing worked as a vehicle and a foundation for my songs. I became a better guitar player as time went on and I also became a better songwriter. </p> <p><strong>It was interesting to read how you came full circle in your relationship with Bill Aucoin [original Kiss manager]. Was that closure something that helped you in your road to where you are now?</strong></p> <p>It was incredible. It was something so special to reconnect with Bill in a way where we could resolve old tensions but also revel in our lives now. It was so fulfilling and perhaps in many ways that was what I was looking for with the band reunion, but that wasn’t to be.</p> <p>With Bill I was blessed to become very close to him, and he was somebody in the formative years of the band was pivotal. We could have never made it without him. He is somebody whose importance can’t be overstated. The bitter sweetness of becoming good friends and having him come to art shows and concerts, even when he was very sick, was more than poignant. It was an incredible addition to my life. </p> <p><strong><em>Face The Music: A Life Exposed</em></strong> will be available in hardback and e-book April 8 from HarperOne Publishing. Stanley and Kiss will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame April 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. They've also announced their 40th anniversary tour with Def Leppard. You can find more about Stanley at <a href="www.PaulStanley.com/">PaulStanley.com</a>.</p> <p><strong>Paul Stanley Book Signings:</strong></p> <p>Monday, April 7 Barnes &amp; Noble, Tribeca, NYC 6:00 PM<br /> Tuesday, April 8 Barnes &amp; Noble, Staten Island, NY 7:00 PM<br /> Wednesday, April 9 Bookends, Ridgewood, NJ 6:00 PM<br /> Wednesday, April 16 Barnes &amp; Noble, The Grove, CA 7:00 PM<br /> Thursday, April 17 Warwick's, San Diego (La Jolla), CA 7:00 PM<br /> Friday, April 25 JCC, San Francisco, CA 7:00 PM</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 class="field-item even"> <a href="/paul-stanley">Paul Stanley</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/kiss-co-founder-paul-stanley-talks-new-autobiography-face-music-life-exposed#comments John Katic Kiss Paul Stanley Interviews News Features Wed, 02 Apr 2014 15:08:20 +0000 John Katic http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20911 Guitarist Chris Garza Gives Update on New Suicide Silence Album http://www.guitarworld.com/guitarist-chris-garza-gives-update-new-suicide-silence-album <!--paging_filter--><p>For their third album, 2011’s <em>The Black Crown</em>, Suicide Silence guitarists Chris Garza and Mark Heylmun messed around with eight-string guitars and used Fractal Axe-Fx amp simulators, Apple Logic, Pro Tools and drum machines to create songs that were both brutal and contemporary. </p> <p>Yet for all its savagery, <em>The Black Crown</em> lacked a human touch.</p> <p>So for their as-yet-untitled follow-up—the first Suicide Silence studio record since the death of vocalist Mitch Lucker in 2012—the guitarists went back to basics. They put away their gizmos, dragged out the Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifiers and cabinets they used for their 2007 debut, <em>The Cleansing</em>, and wrote on seven strings.</p> <p>“We jammed everything out together in my parents’ garage, which is where we started out,” Garza says. “It felt much more real than writing with computers, and we were able to capture the power of everyone’s collective emotions.”</p> <p>While working on the new album with producer Steve Evetts, Suicide Silence decided to release a CD and DVD of a December 16, 2012, tribute concert in memory of Lucker. </p> <p>Titled <em>Ending Is the Beginning: The Mitch Lucker Memorial Show</em>, it features the group playing its songs with various vocalists, including Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Machine Head’s Robb Flynn. In addition to giving the band more time to fine-tune the new album, the tribute concert release creates a smooth transition between the Lucker-fronted lineup and the current band, which features ex–All Shall Perish vocalist Eddie Hermida.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/P5hImIVSIKM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>“Doing the memorial show was very therapeutic,” Garza says. “It was a healthy distraction. Because there was so much to plan out the whole month before the show, it helped with the grieving process.”</p> <p>After the concert, the members of Suicide Silence took some time off before moving forward again in September 2013 with Hermida. Working together again was comforting, and the guitarists quickly bashed out a batch of songs that are angry and impulsive, yet structurally more complex than most of their past material.</p> <p>“There is a lot riding on this record,” Garza acknowledges. “But we’ve been so focused. We look at it as an opportunity to do what we love and make something that Mitch would have been really proud of.”</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="/suicide-silence">Suicide Silence</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitarist-chris-garza-gives-update-new-suicide-silence-album#comments April 2014 Suicide Silence Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 01 Apr 2014 20:41:56 +0000 Jon Wiederhorn http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20908