Interviews en Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee of Rush Choose 22 Songs That Inspired Them Most <!--paging_filter--><p>In this interview from 2009, Rush’s guitarist — Alex Lifeson — and bassist — Geddy Lee — choose 60 minutes' worth of the music that is closest to their hearts, essentially putting together the ultimate Rush-approved "mixed tape."</p> <p><strong>ALEX LIFESON:</strong></p> <p><strong>“SINK THE BISMARCK”</strong> Johnny Horton, <em>Greatest Hits</em> (1990)</p> <p>I fell in love with music because of this song. It was the first single I bought. I was around 11 years old, which was about a year before I started playing guitar. </p> <p>It’s a song about the Bismarck, a German battleship that sunk during World War II. It’s a very thematic, rousing song. I think I mowed two lawns or something to make enough money to buy it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH” </strong> Buffalo Springfield, <em>Buffalo Springfield</em> (1966)</p> <p>This was the first rock song that had a big influence on me. I remember hearing it on the radio in my dad’s car when I was a kid. Buffalo Springfield were unlike the other bands of the ‘San Francisco sound’; they were more country sounding. Stephen Stills and Neil Young trade leads on this one. </p> <p>I like Young’s very fast vibrato and edgy, truncated playing style, particularly on his soloing, whereas Stills’ sound is sweeter and smoother. This is still one of my all-time favorite songs. In fact, Rush did a version of it on our covers tribute EP, <em>Feedback</em>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“SHAPES OF THINGS” </strong> Jeff Beck, <em>Truth</em> (1968)</p> <p>This is another song we covered on <em>Feedback</em>. Jeff Beck has a tone like no one else, maybe because he doesn’t play with a pick very much. He also has a very strong left hand and can move the strings almost effortlessly. </p> <p>He’s still cranking it out today, but he doesn’t put out albums as often as I’d like; he works only when he feels like it. Before <em>Truth</em>, Beck was an integral part of the Yardbirds, and their recording of this song is great. But this version, with Rod Stewart’s voice on top, adds a whole new element to the song. </p> <p>It sounds tougher, bigger and beefier.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“MY GENERATION” </strong> The Who, <em>The Who Sings My Generation</em> (1965)</p> <p>Pete Townshend is one of my greatest influences. More than any other guitarist, he taught me how to play rhythm guitar and demonstrated its importance, particularly in a three-piece band. </p> <p>His chording and strumming always took up the right amount of space. The first time I heard this song was in the basement of Rush’s original drummer, John Rutsey. John had two older brothers, both of whom were music fiends, and they always had whatever new album had just come out.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“ARE YOU EXPERIENCED” </strong> Jimi Hendrix, <em>Are You Experienced</em> (1967)</p> <p>This was another record I heard for the first time at Rutsey’s place. What attracts me to this song is all the backward stuff. It sounds so alien but so right and perfect. </p> <p>Hendrix was a natural genius who played many beautiful styles. Talent as great as his doesn’t come through life very frequently. Hendrix was one in a billion.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong> “ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER” </strong> Jimi Hendrix, <em>Electric Ladyland</em> (1968)</p> <p>This is one of the most beautiful songs and arrangements ever recorded. Hendrix took a Bob Dylan folk song and turned it into a symphony. The acoustic guitar on this song [<em>played by Dave Mason</em>] has such beautiful compression. </p> <p>It doesn’t slap you; it caresses you. This song grabs your heart and sails away with it; it sounds unlike anything anyone has ever done. That was the magic of Hendrix: even if you copied what he recorded and tried to play like him, it could never be the same.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“HOW MANY MORE TIMES” </strong> Led Zeppelin, <em>Led Zeppelin</em> (1969)</p> <p>Of any guitarist, Jimmy Page was my biggest influence. I wanted to look, think and play like him. Zeppelin had a heavy influence on Rush during our early days. Page’s loose style of playing showed an immense confidence, and there are no rules to his playing. </p> <p>I met Page at a Page/Plant concert in Toronto in 1998. I was acting like a kid, all googly eyed. I was freaking out and my hands were shaking. I was so thrilled to meet him because his work meant so much to me.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“KASHMIR” </strong>Led Zeppelin, <em>Physical Graffiti</em> (1975)</p> <p>This is an absolutely brilliant song, an all-time classic. ‘Kashmir’ has such a wonderful, exotic Middle Eastern feel to it — it’s like no other song of its era — and <em>Physical Graffiti</em> is a mind-blowing album. </p> <p>In a roundabout way, ‘Kashmir’ influenced ‘A Passage to Bangkok’ [<em>2112</em>], which has a similar sort of odd-tempo arrangement to the verses.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“(I CAN’T GET NO) SATISFACTION” </strong> The Rolling Stones, <em>Hot Rocks, 1964–1971</em> (1972)</p> <p>This was the second single I bought. One summer when I was 12, I went to Yugoslavia to visit my relatives. I took one record with me — this one. I played it for my relatives because I wanted my cousins to hear it. </p> <p>The Stones had that bluesy, dirty, bad-boy image, which I much preferred to cleaner-sounding bands like the Beatles or the Searchers. The Stones were more dangerous than other bands of the Sixties. It looked like they had more fun than the Beatles — like they stayed up later.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“COMFORTABLY NUMB” </strong> Pink Floyd, <em>The Wall</em> (1979)</p> <p>David Gilmour is so well respected, and while he’s often overlooked among guitarists, I think people who appreciate rock guitarists regard him as one of the best. </p> <p>He’s a brilliant player and has such passion and feel. You can sense he’s a smart man: you can hear how he puts it all together and how it fits, which is a real testament to his songwriting. He’s such a bluesy player, to boot. My eyes water whenever I hear this song. </p> <p>Pink Floyd have such incredible arrangements; their songs are rich and complex but not particularly complicated. They can take as long as they want to tell you a story, but it’s always interesting.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>“IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT” </strong> U.K., <em>U.K.</em> (1978) <p>Allan Holdsworth has an amazing, out-of-this-world liquidity. What a genius! His fingers are constantly moving. Pulls make up the bulk of his playing; I don’t think he does much picking. </p> <p>I was listening to Holdsworth around the time of <em>Moving Pictures</em> [<em>1981</em>], and you can indirectly hear his influence on my playing on ‘YYZ.’</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“THIRD EYE” </strong> Tool, <em>Ænima</em> (1996)</p> <p>Adam Jones is a fabulous guitarist and songwriter, and Tool are such a powerful band. You know it’s Tool when you hear them, because they’re intensely dynamic, yet heavy, even when they’re playing is light. I listened to this album over and over; I don’t do that very often. </p> <p>Tool have an interesting, intelligent approach to song construction and lyrics. It’s just too bad we don’t hear from them more often.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“AH VIA MUSICOM” </strong> Eric Johnson, <em>Ah Via Musicom</em> (1990)</p> <p>I’ve never heard anybody with a better tone than Eric Johnson! He played with us on a couple of tours and I’d watch his performance most every night. </p> <p>There’s a smoothness to his playing that is so elastic. Eric is very accurate and articulate but soulful at the same time. If anybody could come close to playing like Hendrix, he could.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>GEDDY LEE</strong></p> <p><strong>“THICK AS A BRICK” </strong> Jethro Tull, <em>Thick As a Brick</em> (1972)</p> <p>In my view, this is the first truly successful concept album by a British prog-rock band. They even brought a flute into heavy rock music. How dare they! [<em>laughs</em>] </p> <p>Their music is so brilliantly written and well put together, what with its hard-to-play parts and odd time signatures, not to mention the great guitar sounds of the totally underrated Martin Barre. </p> <p>And I love how, no matter what influences they brought into the music, from classical to folk, they always did it in a rock context.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“TIME AND A WORD” </strong> Yes, <em>Time and a Word</em> (1970)</p> <p>I didn’t know who Yes were until a friend loaned me this record. I was totally amazed. I’d never heard a band like this, and I’d never heard a bass player placed so upfront in the mix. </p> <p>Chris Squire had such a driving, aggressive sound, and it made this such a pivotal, influential song for me. Squire’s melodies were brilliant, and they were definitely out there. </p> <p>But they were always essential to the skeletal forms of those songs; he never wandered off out of context. His lines help hold the songs together.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“HOW MANY MORE TIMES” </strong> Led Zeppelin, <em>Led Zeppelin</em> (1969)</p> <p>I saw them in Toronto at a little place called the Rockpile. We were in the second row, and when they played this song it just blew me away. It reaffirmed for me all the creative potential in blending hard rock with progressive music. John Paul Jones was the unsung hero in that band. </p> <p>What bass player of that period didn’t know how to play that riff? I still jam to it sometimes at soundchecks.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“I AIN’T SUPERSTITIOUS” </strong> Jeff Beck, <em>Truth</em> (1968)</p> <p>If I had to pick a favorite guitarist of all time, it would probably be Jeff Beck. I mean, was there a better guitar sound ever? I think this was the first great Jeff Beck ‘moment,’ the first time when you’d hear something and know that it couldn’t be anybody but him. He was such an amazing pioneer, and just an incredible stylist. </p> <p>The notes he squeezes out of that thing with a whammy bar, a volume control knob and his fingers are simply incredible.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>“OVER UNDER SIDEWAYS DOWN” </strong> The Yardbirds, <em>Roger the Engineer</em> (1966) <p>Jeff Beck again, playing one of the most unique guitar lines ever. It’s really hard to play that thing — it manages to grab something essential from the Eastern quarter-tone style without just being imitative of Indian music. </p> <p>And it’s the hook to a pop song — back when pop, particularly in England, could be a platform for experimentation and innovation. Beck, Page, Clapton and some other Brits really discovered a totally new sound. </p> <p>They figured out how to get a pop angle on the blues by electrifying it, and it became a profound way for guitarists to speak through music.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“WATCHER OF THE SKIES” </strong> Genesis, <em>Foxtrot</em> (1972)</p> <p>This is a very strange, ominous tune from very early Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. The time signature was completely odd — it was a little like Yes, but darker and much more theatrical. </p> <p>The music wasn’t about people stepping out and doing bluesy solos; they were taking a high level of musicianship and weaving it into the guts of the song, playing with layers of melody, odd time signatures and strange guitar riffs. What fascinated me was how these intricate parts all supported one another — and the song.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>“3/5 OF A MILE IN TEN SECONDS” </strong> Jefferson Airplane, <em>Bless Its Pointed Little Head</em> (1969) <p>A great live record, where the band takes some risks and really changes the arrangements, especially rhythmically. Jack Casady, one of the truly great, underrated bass players, is the star of this record. </p> <p>His tone was very different from other American bassists; it was edgier, and his riffs were really challenging — they aggressively pushed the songs along. I like when a bass player gets a little pushy and won’t keep his place. He steps out of line, but in a great way.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“SPOONFUL” </strong> Cream, <em>Fresh Cream</em> (1966)</p> <p>‘Crossroads’ was the song you had to learn to play if you were in a band. Clapton just flies through that song. But for me, ‘Spoonful’ was more about Jack Bruce’s great voice and adventurous playing. Bruce, like all the bass players I’ve mentioned, wasn’t content to be a bottom-end, stayin'-the-background bassist. </p> <p>He’s playing a Gibson bass obviously too loud, to where it’s distorting the speakers. But it gave him this aggressive sound and a kind of spidery tone, and I love everything about it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>“MY GENERATION” </strong> The Who, <em>Live at Leeds</em> (1970)</p> <p>What an amazing guitar sound on this album! And [<em>Pete</em>] Townshend even plays a few solos, which he usually never does. Was there anybody better at expressing themselves through power chords? </p> <p>I just loved that record, and I know Alex did, too. Every time we jammed as a young band we would wind up jamming parts of that record.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Can't get enough Rush? <a href=";cPath=5&amp;products_id=13&amp;;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=60MinutesWith">Check out Guitar Legends: Rush, which is available now at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></p> <p><em>Photo:</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/geddy-lee">Geddy Lee</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/rush">Rush</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> 60 Minutes Alex Lifeson Geddy lee GW Archive Rush Interviews News Features Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:38:11 +0000 Guitar World Staff Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth Discusses Camel's 'Moon Madness' — The Record That Changed My Life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Camel</strong><br /> <em>Moon Madness</em> (1976)</p> <p>“I was already in my twenties when I first heard it. I was working at a record store in Stockholm at the time, and one of my co-workers, who was in his early forties, suggested I check out Camel. </p> <p>"I bought a couple of their albums on second-hand vinyl, including <em>Moon Madness</em> and <em>The Snowgoose</em>, and took them home on a lunch break. I was floored by <em>Moon Madness</em> and especially by Andy Latimer’s guitar playing. It was just what I’d been looking for—finally, someone to copy! I had always leaned toward hard-rock players like Blackmore, but this was something new. It was so heartfelt and emotional, and every note felt like it served a purpose. </p> <p>“I was also amazed by the compositions, as well as the solos, and of course, Latimer’s guitar tone. One of the best guitar solos is in a song called ‘Lunar Sea.’ It’s long and fantastically executed. He really builds it to a splendid climax. That solo that has highly influenced me. In fact, there’s a song on our new album, <em>Ghost Reveries</em>, called ‘The Baying of the Hounds,’ and my solo on it definitely has Andy’s sound and his way of building up the drama of solos. </p> <p>"Also, on our new track ‘Beneath the Mire,’ there’s a unison part played by me on guitar and by keyboardist Per Wiberg on the Moog synthesizer, and it sounds very Camel-esque. You listen to that and you think, Well, it’s Camel!”</p> <object width="620" height="365"><param name="movie" value="//;hl=en_US" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed src="//;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620" height="365" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/opeth">Opeth</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Camel July 2014 Mikael Åkerfeldt Moon Madness Opeth The Record that Changed My Life Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:01:51 +0000 Mikael Akerfeldt Kenny Wayne Shepherd Discusses Muddy Waters' 'Hard Again' — The Record That Changed My Life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Kenny Wayne Shepherd chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Muddy Waters</strong><br /> <em>Hard Again</em> (1977)</p> <p>"<em>Hard Again</em> is not just one of the greatest blues albums of all time, it's one of the greatest albums of all time. It came out the year I was born, in 1977, on Blue Sky Records. Johnny Winter produced and played guitar on it. </p> <p>"It's packed with great blues musicians: James Cotton on harmonica, Pinetop Perkins on piano, Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith on drums and 'Steady Rollin'' Bob Margolin on guitar as well. When I was three years old, my dad took me to see Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. That was my first concert and my introduction to the blues. So even though I was young when I discovered <em>Hard Again</em>, I was already a fan. </p> <p>"My dad was a DJ who did the morning show at a local radio station when I was growing up. I would drive into work with him in the morning and hang out until it was time for me to go to school. Then another DJ who had the overnight shift would take my dad's car and drive me to school... only we would pull around the corner—I was 13 years old at the time—and the guy would jump out of the driver's seat and we would switch places. He would let me drive my dad's car to school. And the first thing I would do is put on this Muddy Waters record and crank it up, man. Every single day, on the way to middle school."</p> <p>"That album changed me in a lot of ways. It has a lot to do with my interest in blues music. But also I decided that, if I was gonna sing, I wanted to sound like Muddy Waters. But I couldn't do it when I was young. That's one reason why I shied away from singing for so long and just focused on the guitar. </p> <p>"So that album definitely changed my life, because for as long as I can remember listening to it, it's been my favorite album and it's made me want to play the blues. It inspires me every time I listen to it. It makes me want to run and pick up a guitar and start playing."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> undefined Interviews News Features Magazine Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:16:39 +0000 Kenny Wayne Sheperd A Clean and Sober Ace Frehley Discusses Kiss' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Debacle and More <!--paging_filter--><p>This year started off innocently enough for Ace Frehley. </p> <p>Just one week prior to Christmas 2013, the former Kiss lead guitarist learned that he and his comrades in the original Kiss lineup—Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss—were finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after 15 years of eligibility (and 15 years of outcry from the Kiss Army). </p> <p>A cause for celebration, no doubt—and a golden opportunity for the four founding members of the legendary rock band to perform onstage together again for the first time since October 7, 2000, the final North American date of their Farewell Tour.</p> <p>And then, somehow, it all imploded. In the weeks preceding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 10 in Brooklyn, New York, Kiss became the primary focus of every public and private discussion surrounding the event after they announced that there would be no Kiss performance—let alone a Kiss reunion—that night. </p> <p>To make matters worse, the band members seized every opportunity to lambast one another in the press on a seemingly daily basis, effectively rendering what was supposed to be a triumphant reunion performance loaded with all the blood-spitting, fire-breathing, makeup-running pageantry that fans had been clamoring for all these years into a pitiful non-event. </p> <p>“I was like, Jesus Christ, after 40 years of support you can’t give the fans 10 minutes?” says a still worked-up Frehley over a cup of black tea at <em>Guitar World</em> headquarters in New York. “The fans wanted it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wanted it. But Gene and Paul didn’t. It’s sad. They definitely lost some fans because of this decision.</p> <p>“I think the reason they didn’t want to get together with the original members was because they’re afraid of history repeating itself. When we did <em>Unplugged</em> in 1995, you saw what happened: because the fans were so excited about me and Peter playing with those guys, they had to scrap their last record [with then-current members Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer] and do a reunion tour [with Frehley and Criss in 1996]. Although at this point I don’t think Peter could do a two-hour show and a full tour. But I still got the chops. I definitely blow [current Kiss guitarist] Tommy Thayer off the stage.”</p> <p>It’s obvious that Frehley is fired up, and with good reason. With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame fiasco behind him, the clean-and-sober Spaceman is able to focus on the things in life that make him happy, like living in San Diego with his pretty, blond 47-year-old fiancé Rachael Gordon, writing books, working with Gibson on various signature guitars and recording new music. <em>Space Invader</em>, his first record since 2009’s top-notch <em>Anomaly</em>, is due out in a few weeks, and Ace couldn’t be more excited. </p> <p>“I haven’t had a drink in more than seven and a half years, and I feel great now,” says the 63-year-old guitarist. “I’m writing great songs and I’m singing great, and I’m super excited about this new album. It’s gonna be even better than <em>Anomaly</em>. I played some tracks for a couple of guys I was considering using for mixing, and the first thing out of their mouths was, ‘God, your voice sounds like it did on your 1978 solo record.’ Unlike some other people, whose voices aren’t maybe what they used to be. Not to name names, or anything.” </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Your love affair with alcohol during Kiss’ heyday—and, well, all through the Eighties and Nineties—is well documented. Do you miss it? Are there days when you want a drink?</strong></p> <p>No. I haven’t had the urge to drink in a long time. And I don’t miss the hangovers, I don’t miss the smells, the late nights at the bars, or the people. I was hanging out with some pretty shady people in my heavy-drinking-and-coke years. I was in some situations that really could have gone sideways. I was just lucky. And you have to realize that my fans used to emulate my behavior when I was a crazy man—“Ace is a party animal, let’s go get loaded!” Then they’d go crash their car, and I’d feel terrible. </p> <p>Now it’s turned around. And when someone comes up to me and says that they haven’t had a drink in six months and that they’re doing well because I am, that makes my day. Maybe that’s one reason why God has kept me alive. By all rights I should have died a half dozen times already, so every day above ground I’m thrilled. </p> <p><strong>Did you think Kiss would ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?</strong></p> <p>I knew that [the Hall] had to buckle to popular opinion. It was only a matter of time. We were first eligible 15 years ago, so I knew it would happen eventually. I mean, how can you exclude Kiss, one of the biggest American rock groups in history? Even though we didn’t perform, I’m still thrilled to be in it.</p> <p><strong>Where were you when you found out that you were being inducted?</strong></p> <p>I was at home in San Diego and got a call from my manager. Then, about a week later, I got the “congratulatory” call from Paul and Gene. And I could tell that there was some hesitancy on their part about the whole thing. I was asking them if we were gonna play, and Gene avoided the question by saying, “Well, we’re just looking forward to getting the four of us up there together and celebrating…whatever.” It was a noncommittal congratulatory call.</p> <p>Then, about a week later, I was told that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame absolutely wants the four original members to reunite, and I said, “Great, I’ll do it.” And there was silence from Gene and Paul. And finally it was shot down. The next thing I heard is that Paul and Gene wanted to perform with the current Kiss lineup [with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer]. And I said, Well, that’s kind of a slap in the face. I mean, they’re not even being inducted. I have to sit through a Kiss cover band when I’m receiving an award? I don’t think so. </p> <p>I also heard at one point that they wanted me to perform in makeup with Tommy at the same time. I really didn’t want to be onstage with Tommy, but I said I would do it, as long as I got to play the bulk of the songs and that I could wear the <em>Destroyer</em> costume. Then a few days later [it was], “No, we’re not gonna play at all.” It was almost like they were trying to bait me, so that if I said no to anything they would just blame me for there being no performance. I was almost going to boycott the whole thing.</p> <p><strong>The weeks leading up to the induction ceremony were filled with all sorts of public drama. A lot of negative comments were hurled back and forth in the press between the four original members of Kiss. Why do you think Gene and Paul are always so quick to disparage you publicly?</strong></p> <p>I don’t know. I think they’re just cranky. For years, when I was fucked up, Gene used to say that I was a drunk and a drug addict and that I was unemployable. Kick a guy when he’s down, right? But they can’t do that anymore, so it’s like they’re scratching their heads trying to come up with new ways to insult me. The most recent thing was that I’m anti-Semitic, that I’m a fucking Nazi. That’s just below the belt. Next I’ll be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. And my fiancé is Jewish! My whole life I’ve worked with Jewish people in all different capacities—my accountants, my attorneys, people on the road. Jesus Christ, I can’t believe the stuff that comes out of their mouths. But the truth is that I don’t want to be negative. I just want to keep everything light and be happy. </p> <p>Paul has been so goddamn cranky lately. I mean, what’s wrong, Paul, aren’t you happy? I know they must be frustrated because people are always writing about how Ace was the real guy or Ace was the real deal. It’s gotta rub them the wrong way. They would like nothing more than for me to start drinking again, start taking drugs again and end up as a bum on skid row. But that’s not gonna happen.</p> <p>Anybody who says anything bad about me is foolish, because a lot of people like me. You’re gonna make enemies when you put down Ace Frehley. And that’s because I’m a straight shooter—I tell it like it is. Gene is that way too. He’ll sit across from you in a room and say this or that and tell it like it is. Whether you like it or not, he lays it out, right to your face. Paul will tell you one thing, then walk out the door and stab you in the fucking back. That’s Paul Stanley. And now he’s trying to take credit for the fucking Kiss logo? Unbelievable. I designed the logo—all he did was draw straighter lines. </p> <p>And you know, I told Paul to wear the star on his eye. Do you know what his makeup was before he put the star on his eye? It was a round circle. He looked like the dog from the Little Rascals [Pete the Pup, a.k.a. Petey]. It told him it looked kinda silly and that he should put one star on his eye. But do I go around taking credit for that? No. I let him say he designed it. Who cares, you know? Let’s not be petty.</p> <p>You would think that if Gene and Paul had half a brain, they would realize what’s going on and start saying good things about Ace. I mean, keep bad-mouthing me. No one’s gonna show up at your fucking tour this summer.</p> <p><strong>Let’s talk about your upcoming solo album, <em>Space Invader</em>. It’s been five years since <em>Anomaly</em>. Why the delay?</strong></p> <p>I don’t know. [laughs] I’m not disciplined, and I can only create when I’m in the zone. I get preoccupied with other things—moving, family stuff, whatever—and then years go by. I had two record labels courting me, and I decided to go with E1 Music because of their reputation in the business and because they offered me more money. And when someone writes you a check, you gotta make the record! [laughs] The truth is, I work better when there’s a deadline. And I usually have to extend the deadline. But the end result is usually quality.</p> <p><strong>Do you enjoy the whole process of writing and recording?</strong></p> <p>Yes. I’m actually enjoying writing and recording more than ever, because I’ve become a lot more comfortable with Pro Tools, which means I can edit my own solos now. And that’s just fun. I prefer having an engineer there, but if there’s not one around, I can do my own editing and not have to depend on anyone else. Vocals too. I can do it all myself.</p> <p><strong>Which is quite different from recording with Kiss in the early Seventies.</strong></p> <p>With Kiss we used to do a slave reel. We’d mix down on two-inch tape, 24 tracks. [Producer] Eddie Kramer would mix down a stereo track of drums, and he’d give me a whole reel just to do solos. And Eddie was great at editing tape. But the flexibility you get nowadays with Pro Tools is just night and day compared to those days. Digital editing is a dream.</p> <p><strong>What was the songwriting process like for <em>Space Invader</em>?</strong></p> <p>You know, all my life I’ve never had a formula for writing songs. Sometimes it starts with a guitar riff, sometimes it’s a lyrical idea or just a melody. Sometimes I wake up with an idea. There’s no rhyme or reason. Sometimes I write on an acoustic, sometimes on a bass. There’s a song on the new album called “Into the Vortex.” It’s a riff song, but I wrote it on a bass guitar. Why? Because I write differently with a bass guitar in my hand than an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. When I feel creative, I just sit down and start playing. </p> <p><strong>Did you write differently in the early days of Kiss?</strong></p> <p>Yes. I wasn’t as structured as I am now. Even though I’m not really structured—I’m at least cognizant of what’s going on. [laughs] Back then it was more hit or miss—and when I hit, I hit big. You know, I go back and listen to my 1978 solo record, and it still holds up. My whole body of work that I’ve created over the years has withstood the test of time. I know that I still have the goods. And when this record gets released, everybody’s gonna say, “Well, Ace did it again.” </p> <p><strong>Were there things about <em>Anomaly</em> that you wanted to change with <em>Space Invader</em>?</strong></p> <p>I know that everyone is hoping that this album is heavier than the last one, and it is. I’m also doing an instrumental this time, called “Starship,” that isn’t slow. It’s a departure from the “Fractured Mirror” style. It’s more fast paced and has a lot of transitions in it. </p> <p><strong>You cover the Steve Miller song “The Joker” on the new album. How did that come about?</strong></p> <p>It was the record company’s idea, to be honest. And I was a little resistant when it first came up. But then I thought back to my 1978 solo record, when Eddie Kramer’s assistant said to me, “Why don’t you try this song?” And it was “New York Groove.” At first I said, “I don't want to do that,” and it turned out to be my biggest hit. So maybe history can repeat itself. </p> <p><strong>Where was <em>Space Invader</em> recorded?</strong></p> <p>I did most of the recording at my friend’s studio in Turlock, California, called the Creation Lab. Turlock is in the middle of nowhere—it’s like a farming community—and that’s why I loved it. I have Attention Deficit Disorder, and there are absolutely no distractions when working at this place. You record for eight or 10 or 12 hours, then you go back to the hotel and go to sleep. You wake up and go back to the studio. </p> <p>There’s nothing else to do there, which means it’s the perfect place for me to record. Plus, I like working with the least amount of people, and this studio is great because it’s quiet and there aren’t all kinds of people walking through. I did most of this record with just me and a drummer, Matt Starr. For a couple of songs I brought in Chris Wyse from the Cult to play bass. </p> <p><strong>What guitars and amps are you using on the album?</strong></p> <p>I’m using a big variety of guitars. I have 35 or 40 different guitars hanging on the wall, and I just grab different ones. There’s a seven-string on one song, a Dobro, some 12-string acoustics… Sometimes I get the urge to use the double-neck. I like flexibility. The more variety, to me, the better. As for amps, it’s basically the same stuff I used on Anomaly: Marshalls and Voxes and Fenders. </p> <p><strong>The “Budokan” Les Paul replica guitar you did with Gibson in 2012 was a huge success. Are you planning another signature model?</strong></p> <p>I remember when I first did that deal and I went to the Gibson office to sign a bunch of the guitars, I said to [Gibson senior VP] Rick Gembar, “How are they selling?” And he said, “What do you mean, ‘How are they selling?’ They’re already sold. They were already sold before we put them out. Ace, anything you do turns to gold.” </p> <p>That was a good feeling. I’m trying to figure out what to do next. I keep asking people what they think, and some say to do the three-pickup black Les Paul; some say to do the first one I had, the sunburst Standard. But I don’t have to make that decision today, so I’m not worrying about it. But Gibson does an amazing job with these guitars. I don’t know how they make guitars that look 30 or 40 years old, right down to the screws and scratches and little details.</p> <p>I’m working on a design for a new amp right now that I think is just going to be too cool. I can’t talk about it yet because I haven’t finished the prototype. I also have a prototype guitar in the works that’s gonna be revolutionary. But that deal’s not done, so I can’t talk about that either. Amp and guitar—both completely different from anything else on the market. I’m always coming up with new ideas. I invented an electric guitar, like, 20 years ago. [laughs] My father was an inventor. It’s in my blood. I also have an idea for a really cool clock. But I can’t even talk about it because it’s so brilliant.</p> <p><em>Photo: Jimmy Hubbard</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ace-frehley">Ace Frehley</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Ace Frehley July 2014 Kiss Interviews News Features Magazine Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:14:02 +0000 Jeff Kitts Michael Amott of Arch Enemy Discusses 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols' — The Record That Changed My Life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Michael Amott of Arch Enemy chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Sex Pistols</strong><br /> <em>Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols</em> (1977)</p> <p>“I grew up with my parents’ record collection, and they listened largely to classical, along with some jazz, blues, Motown, Stevie Wonder and David Bowie. </p> <p>"I had a good foundation. When I first found my own music, it was Kiss. They were massive in Scandinavia. I wasn’t playing guitar yet, but I loved their music and image—especially <em>Destroyer</em> and ‘Detroit Rock City,’ with the harmonized guitar. </p> <p>"Later, when I was about 11 and had started playing music, my friend came over one day after school and said, ‘Mike, we’re gonna be punks now.’ And I was like, ‘Okay! What’s that?’ He showed me a magazine with a picture of the Sex Pistols and played me their first album, <em>Never Mind the Bollocks</em>, on cassette tape. I loved it! And we started a band that day.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/arch-enemy">Arch Enemy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sex-pistols">Sex Pistols</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Arch Enemy July 2014 Michael Amott Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols Sex Pistols The Record that Changed My Life Interviews News Features Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:30:18 +0000 Michael Amott Orianthi Discusses Santana's 'Sacred Fire: Live in South America' — The Record That Changed My Life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Orianthi chooses (and discusses) the record that changed her life.</em></p> <p><strong>Santana</strong><br /> <em>Sacred Fire: Live In South America</em> (1993)</p> <p>“There’s just so much wonderful soloing throughout that entire concert—really inspired soloing—and that inspired me to want to play electric guitar. I had been playing since I was six, but I was studying classical guitar and just strumming at that point. </p> <p>"When I was around 11, my dad took me to see Santana live, and then I got <em>Sacred Fire</em>, and everything changed for me. My dad is actually an amazing guitarist, and he always had an incredible record collection, which is how I discovered things like Jimi Hendrix and Santana. I’ll always be grateful for that.</p> <p>“Everything about that album and the concert, which I had on video tape, changed my life. The band was amazing; the energy of the crowd was incredible. It’s just a really special performance. I actually wore out the video from pausing it so many times because I was trying to learn all of his solos.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/orianthi">Orianthi</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/carlos-santana">Carlos Santana</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> July 2014 Orianthi Santana The Record that Changed My Life Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:35:47 +0000 Orianthi Crown the Empire Guitarist Bennett Vogelman's 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide — Warped Tour <!--paging_filter--><p><em>In this new feature from the August 2014 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, the guitarists of Avenged Sevenfold, Morbid Angel, Trivium and other metal acts tell how they'll beat the heat and tame the crowds on the season's biggest tours.</em></p> <p><strong><em>TODAY: Crown the Empire Guitarist Bennett Vogelman — WARPED TOUR</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Your sweatiest concert ever?</strong></p> <p>The sweatiest concert we ever played was at the Speak Easy Lounge in Lake Worth, Florida, on our first headlining tour. It was so hot, you could literally see everyone’s perspiration in the air. We walked into the venue before our set and within maybe 30 seconds, we were completely drenched in sweat. By the end of the set, all of us could barely breathe.</p> <p><strong>Tips for playing in extreme heat?</strong></p> <p>The obvious one is to make sure that you have water onstage for each person. Wear short sleeves, and depending on how hot it is, you might want to tone down how intense you play onstage—which is something we never do.</p> <p><strong>One item you’ll carry with you at all times this summer?</strong></p> <p>My phone and a water bottle. That’s about it.</p> <p><strong>Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?</strong></p> <p>Basically, the deal with outdoor shows is there are no lights in the afternoon, so you have to make up for it with how you interact with the crowd. You also have to account for any weather that you might encounter, like rain, lightning, thunder, wind and dust storms. Plus, with some outdoor shows, you’re really far away from the crowd because of the barricade, which makes it a little hard to get up close and personal with the fans.</p> <p><strong>Primary gear you’ll be playing this summer?</strong></p> <p>Right now we’re actually looking into switching over to running things all digital. We'll have a computer that runs a standalone guitar plug-in—probably Line 6’s POD Farm—that emulates a guitar tone very similar to the one used on the actual song.</p> <p><strong>Tips for winning over a tough crowd?</strong></p> <p>That’s tricky. We’ve had our fair share of tough crowds over the last few years, and it’s really a different animal every time. What we normally do is make sure we’re confident. We’re at that show playing it for a reason, and understanding that helps keep our morale high, even when the crowd sounds like crickets chirping. We talk to the crowd and tell them we need to see more action and then make sure we give it our all so the crowd sees we’re not just fucking around up there. </p> <p><strong>Highlight of your band’s set list?</strong></p> <p>For me, it’s either playing “Makeshift Chemistry,” which has a lot of energy to it, or doing our “wall of death" during “Children of Love.”</p> <p><strong>Advice for a band just starting to play live?</strong></p> <p>The most important thing for me is making sure you’re playing your parts as solidly as you can. We do a lot of choreography live, and we’ve had to learn how to play and move around aggressively at the same time. Play the songs correctly first, go crazy second.</p> <p>Check out the video for "Makeshift Chemistry" here: </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide August 2014 Bennett Vogelman Crown the Empire Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:55 +0000 Jeff Kitts Miss May I Guitarist Justin Aufdemkampe's 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide — Mayhem Fest <!--paging_filter--><p><em>In this new feature from the August 2014 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, the guitarists of Avenged Sevenfold, Morbid Angel, Trivium and other metal acts tell how they'll beat the heat and tame the crowds on the season's biggest tours.</em></p> <p><strong><em>TODAY: Miss May I Guitarist Justin Audemkampfe — MAYHEM FEST</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Your sweatiest concert ever?</strong></p> <p>It was in Louisville, Kentucky, at this place called Uncle Pleasant’s, back in 2010. The show was amazing and there were a lot of people inside this small place, so the combination of the heat outside, the heat coming off people inside, the lights, and the fact that the ceilings were eight feet high just trapped the heat. I specifically remember, about mid set, I was so hot that I thought I might pass out. I ran out of water about halfway through playing, so I just had to tough it out. After we played the last note, I darted for the back door. I was beyond dizzy at that point and getting outside was such a godsend.</p> <p><strong>Tips for playing in extreme heat?</strong></p> <p>Sometimes when it’s really humid outside and there’s a lot of condensation, wrapping your in-ear monitor pack and guitar wireless pack in plastic can help protect them from moisture. If those things go out, I can’t hear what I’m playing or my guitar signal will go out.</p> <p><strong>One item you’ll carry with you at all times this summer?</strong></p> <p>Sunglasses. I get headaches if I squint for too long. The combination of a headache and being dehydrated is the worst feeling, so sunglasses and a water bottle are a must in the summer heat. </p> <p><strong>Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?</strong></p> <p>One of the biggest problems I ran into playing on Warped in 2011 and 2012 was the dust getting into my gear. I really like my guitar rig and guitars to be clean. Almost every day there was some sort of dirt on both of them, and it’s something you cannot help. The wind carries it, and it can be a real pain in the ass for you or your tech. </p> <p><strong>Primary gear you’ll be playing this summer?</strong></p> <p>I recently started playing EVH 5150 III heads, which I’m falling in love with more and more with every tour that passes. I’ll be running a pretty standard pedal setup at the front of the stage as well: a Boss TU-3 tuner into a Maxon OD808 Overdrive pedal to an ISP Decimator noise-reduction pedal and after that to a Boss DD-7 Digital Delay. All of these are in my guitar chain and run straight into my head. We’ll be using Orange cabs too. We’ve been using them for a couple of years, and they’re really the only things in my rig that have stayed the same. As far as guitars, I’ll be using the Charvel San Dimas Style guitars for all of the festivals this summer. </p> <p><strong>Tips for winning over a tough crowd?</strong></p> <p>Sometimes it’s as simple as one song or one thing your singer says between songs that gets a crowd going. When I went to shows as a kid, it always made me more comfortable when I saw the guitarist moving around onstage. It let me know that I could just let loose and have a good time. So now, at every show, I give my all for the fans that have paid to see our band play, but even when playing in front of the worst crowds, I try to move around as much as possible. Playing in front of a bad crowd actually fuels me. </p> <p><strong>Highlight of your band’s set list?</strong></p> <p>My favorite songs to play are “Hey Mister,” “Refuse to Believe,” “Our Kings,” “Relentless Chaos” and “Echoes.”</p> <p><strong>Advice for a band just starting to play live?</strong></p> <p>Just go up there and have as much fun as possible. I was so nervous at Miss May I’s first show seven years ago, which was also my first show. I kept thinking, Do I remember my parts? What am I going to look like in front of people? Am I going to mess up? I ended up having one of the best experiences of my life. When I walked offstage, I said to myself, I could do this for the rest of my life. </p> <p>Check out the video for "Hey Mister" here: </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Photo: Julien Esteban Pretel</em></p> 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide August 2014 Justin Audemkampfe Miss May I Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:18:16 +0000 Jeff Kitts John Petrucci of Dream Theater Discusses Rush's '2112' — The Record That Changed My Life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Rush</strong><br /> <em>2112</em> (1976)</p> <p>“If I had to pick a favorite band of all time, it would be Rush. </p> <p>"As a teenager, I was already familiar with the group and its albums like <em>Moving Pictures</em> and <em>Signals</em>. But once I discovered <em>2112</em>, it opened me up to this whole concept that rock music could be bigger than just a tune—that it could be used as a vehicle to tell a story or to transport you to some other world. </p> <p>"The idea of a big piece like that being broken down into numbered sections like they were chapters in a book was just unbelievable to me, and it’s a technique that I continue to use to this day.</p> <p>“I have so much respect for [Rush drummer] Neil Peart, especially as a lyricist. And <em>2112</em> was the first time I heard something where, lyrically, it didn’t have to just be about the typical rock and roll topics, that it could be about something more heady or esoteric, something that makes you think. That really influenced me as a lyricist.</p> <p>“I was also blown away by how a three-piece band could sound so majestic and huge and play in a style that’s inherently rock and roll yet still pushes the boundaries of what they’re doing musically—this idea of being experimental, using different time signatures and not really being concerned about song length and traditional constraints. I can’t tell you how huge of an impact that had on me. <em>2112</em> basically set the course for my musical career and how I approached Dream Theater.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/john-petrucci">John Petrucci</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/dream-theater">Dream Theater</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rush">Rush</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Dream Theater John Petrucci July 2014 Rush The Record that Changed My Life Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:04:35 +0000 John Petrucci ‘Rockabilly Riot’: Brian Setzer Talks New Album, Gretsch Guitars and Future of Rockabilly <!--paging_filter--><p>Following last year’s successful Christmas tour with his 18-piece orchestra, iconic guitarist, songwriter and three-time Grammy winner Brian Setzer entered the studio to get back to his rockabilly roots — with incredible results. </p> <p>Setzer’s new album, <em>Rockabilly Riot: All Original</em>, which will be released August 12 via Surfdog Records, is pure, straight-ahead rockabilly that features 12 new, original songs. Along with his trademark twang and fretboard fire, Setzer is backed by three musicians who are among the best at their craft — Mark Winchester (bass), Kevin McKendree (piano) and Noah Levy (drums).</p> <p>The album, which was recorded in Nashville, was produced by Peter Collins, who handled those same duties for Setzer’s <em>Vavoom!</em> and <em>The Dirty Boogie</em>. The result is a cross-mix of early Stray Cats and Setzer’s solo records, with an emphasis on a fresh, modern rockabilly sound.</p> <p>Setzer first captured the hearts of guitarists everywhere as founder and frontman of Stray Cats, whose signature songs “Rock This Town," “(She's) Sexy &amp; 17” and “Stray Cat Strut” introduced the sound and attitude of rockabilly to a new generation of rock fans in the early Eighties. </p> <p>I recently spoke to Setzer about <em>Rockabilly Riot: All Original</em> <a href="">(which is available now for pre-order)</a>, his early days, guitars and what the future holds for rockabilly music.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe the sound of <em>Rockabilly Riot</em>?</strong></p> <p>To me, it sounds a little bit like a mixture of an album I had called <em>Ignition</em> and the first Stray Cats album. The production of it is straight forward, but it really is songs first. Then I make them into rockabilly just by me playing them.</p> <p><strong>What makes rockabilly so special?</strong></p> <p>It’s based in the blues, which is kind of the basis of it all. Rock and roll, rockabilly, country, swing, jazz — it all started from the blues. Anything that seems to come from something honest works for me. I like to say that rockabilly is like the bad brother who goes out late and doesn’t come back [laughs]. It was probably too risqué for its time and never really gained the traction it should have.</p> <p><strong>Do you consider this album a sequel of sorts to <em>Ignition</em>, considering both have songs about roosters and chickens</strong>?</p> <p>Well, Mark Winchester [bass] says that any song about barn yard animals is fine by him. I guess it was inspired by Mark’s “Rooster Rock." [laughs]</p> <p><strong>Speaking of Mark, you’re joined by some amazing players on this album. Can you speak to what it’s like working with Mark, Kevin McKendree and Noah Levy?</strong></p> <p>It reminds me of watching the All-Star Game in baseball. You know that anything you throw at them, they’re going to catch or going to hit. It’s fun making a record with guys like that, just like it was with Jim and Lee from the Stray Cats or the big band. They’re all top players, so you know you’re going to get a great performance. Once you sit down and play, work on the songs and gel, it all comes together and you’ve got a first-place team.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>What was the writing process like for this album?</strong></p> <p>It’s interesting. When you start writing, you really have to get a spark or something to light the fuse. The first song I wrote for this album was “Vinyl Records,” and the spark was my daughter listening to songs on her iPod. She had the little peas in her ear and I pulled them out and listened and said, “Ah, I really don’t like that. It doesn’t sound good.”</p> <p>That’s when she said, “Well, that’s just because you don’t like the band.” I said, “No, it’s not about the music.” Then I showed her a stereo I had sitting at home. I pulled out an old record and put it on so she could hear what it sounded like. She flipped, and it was a victory for Dad! Now, she and her friends go out and hunt down vinyl records. That was the spark that really got that song going for me lyrically. Musically, I had this riff lying around that I thought was cool. It was just a blues riff in C but it counts down all of the notes in the blues scale. It was something I hadn’t really heard anybody do yet. Once I had those two things, it just kind of snowballed from there.</p> <p><strong>The song “Rockabilly Blues” has an autobiographical theme to it. Was that your intention?</strong></p> <p>Yeah, that’s right. I was just sitting there finger picking a blues/rockabilly thing on a guitar that I’ve had for 40 years. I started thinking about the idea of making it personal and decided to write the song about the guitar and me.</p> <p><strong>What was the recording process like?</strong></p> <p>It was a no-stress record. To go in with Peter [Collins] was like going in with a buddy. We recorded it in Nashville, and what I did differently this time was arrange all of the songs together beforehand. We recorded all of the tracks and arranged them and then I gave the guys a CD and had them listen to it and live with it for a month and half. Then right after our Christmas tour, we all went straight into the studio. It was easier and more fun to have everything ready and then just go in and rock it out. There are no overdubs on this album except for the vocal. </p> <p><strong>What inspired you to first pick up the guitar?</strong></p> <p>The first real inspiration I had was George Harrison. I remember when I first heard the Beatles on a jukebox. At the time, I was so young I didn’t even really know what was making the sound that I liked. Then there was a record store on the corner with a picture hanging up that said “The Beatles." Once I saw George holding his guitar, I said, “Wow! So cool!” That was the first spark.</p> <p>Then later on, after it had cemented itself in place, I was really blown away by Eddie Cochran. I remember in the late Seventies no one really knew who he was. But once I saw his record (the black and white <em>Legendary Masters Series</em>), I knew I wanted to look like him. And after I had heard the songs, that just completed it for me. I said, “That’s it! [laughs]. </p> <p><strong>Did the Stray Cats find it difficult finding its niche in those early years?</strong></p> <p>I remember people used to think, “What the heck are these guys doing?” [laughs]. It’s kind of like Fifties rock and roll, but it’s not. This was the guitar-based, bad-ass cousin of that. But we built it up just like any other band. Whether you were in a blues band or a punk band at the time, everyone had to pay their dues and bang around in the back of a van. There was no instant overnight thing. It was a good learning experience climbing the ropes. </p> <p><strong>What’s your setup like these days?</strong></p> <p>I don’t use pedals. I just use the Roland Space Echo and mess around with the settings. If I want more of a “rock” sound, I’ll just turn the volume up. Then when I want the “billy” sound, I’ll turn the volume down to get it a little more twangy and then add a bit more delay on it. That’s really the only thing that I use. </p> <p><strong>Tell me a little about your guitars.</strong></p> <p>I have three that play really well. I’ve got the Stray Cat Gretsch, another ’59 that is pretty much my main guitar, and then my friends at TV Jones just found me a wicked one. I think it’s a ‘60 model that really just has the stuff. I’ve also got my new line of Gretsch guitars that I always take with me on the road.</p> <p><strong>What first attracted you to the Gretsch?</strong></p> <p>I had always wanted one because of George and Eddie. I just loved their sound and my ear was drawn to that sound rather than to a Les Paul. Back in the Seventies, you couldn’t really find a 6120 because they had stopped making them. But when I did find one and plugged it in, I was smitten. It was exactly what I was looking for. </p> <p><strong>Can you tell me the origin of the Stray Cats song “Rock This Town”?</strong></p> <p>We were all tired of the whole disco era and one night, me and Slim Jim [Phantom] snuck into a bar. I remember we looked at the jukebox and saw that it was all still disco and we were both really pissed off about it. I think that was the spark that got it off the ground and helped me to write something that was rock and roll instead of something that was dominating the airwaves. </p> <p><strong>What do you think the future holds for rockabilly music?</strong></p> <p>If you follow history, it always seems to stick its head above water, sees what the world is like and then goes back under. It had its spike in the Fifties, then the Stray Cats brought it back, and now you’ve got people like Imelda May who are having success with it. I think rockabilly will always be there because it’s so good and just keeps regenerating itself. Whether it’s in the public eye or not, people will always know it’s there.</p> <p><strong><em><a href="">'Rockabilly Riot' is available now for pre-order.</a></em></strong></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/brian-setzer">Brian Setzer</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Brian Setzer Gretsch James Wood Interviews News Features Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:08:46 +0000 James Wood ‘1000hp’: Guitarist Tony Rombola Talks New Godsmack Album and Side Project <!--paging_filter--><p>Multi-platinum hard rock heroes Godsmack are revving their engines for their highly anticipated sixth studio album, <em>1000hp</em> The album, which is set for an August 5 release, is the follow-up to 2010’s <em>The Oracle</em>, which debuted at Number 1 on <em>Billboard's</em> Top 200.</p> <p>Co-produced by Sully Erna along with Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Evanescence), <em>1000hp</em> returns the band to their Boston-based roots. Even the album’s title track pays homage to the band’s journey from playing tiny clubs to packed arenas worldwide. </p> <p>With a new-found thrashed-up “punk” energy, <em>1000hp</em> is really about going back to basics. It's old-school Godsmack, but with a new kind of twist.</p> <p>Coinciding with the release of <em>1000hp</em> — <a href="">which is available for pre-order at iTunes</a> — Godsmack also will headline this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival, which kicks off August 14. Godsmack is Sully Erna (vocals), Tony Rombola (guitar), Robbie Merrill (bass) and Shannon Larkin (drums).</p> <p>I recently spoke with Rombola about <em>1000hp</em>, touring and his blues-based side project, the Blue Cross Band.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe the sound of <em>1000hp</em>?</strong></p> <p>We wanted it to be straight forward and simple. I think that was the theme. There are elements of punk in some of the grooves that Sully brought in, and even in the selection of some of the riffs that I had as well. A lot of it is simpler, with some different feels.</p> <p><strong>What's the songwriting process for a Godsmack album?</strong></p> <p>For me, it all starts with riffs Shannon and I put together and arrange into a demo. We'll bring in a bunch of the material and Sully will go through it to get vibe for the record. He has great vision. He also brought in riffs for the songs "Something Different" and "Life Is Good". Sully's the one who picks the direction for the album and works on the lyrics. I'm more focused on the music. For me, it's all about the guitar.</p> <p><strong>What was it like working with producer Dave Fortman?</strong></p> <p>It was great. We had actually met Dave when we were working on our last album, <em>The Oracle</em>. He has a lot of ideas and was a lot of fun to work with. He's also a guitar player and plays drums, so he was able to give us input and bounce ideas off of us.</p> <p><strong>Do you feel any added pressure being the headlining band for a huge festival like UPROAR?</strong></p> <p>I actually feel less pressure. Whenever you do your own shows, there's always something to worry about because it's just you. With festival shows like this, each one has a similar feel and there are a lot more bands. It's outdoors and feels more like an event with a great crowd. I really enjoy doing them.</p> <p><strong>What's your live setup going to be like?</strong></p> <p>I'm with Diamond now, so I'll be bringing out a Diamond amp I really like, as well as a Diezel Herbert. I usually use two different amps at once for couple of different reasons. First, it gives me added tone and if one happens to crap out, I'll still have a solid amp going for me. I also have a couple McNaught guitars that I'll be bringing out, as well as a Les Paul or two. Not too many effects, though. I pretty much play dry all night.</p> <p><strong>Let's talk a little about your early years playing. What inspired you to first pick up the guitar?</strong></p> <p> Growing up, I had a friend whose mother had this really great record collection. Bands like Black Sabbath, Eric Clapton, Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd. My buddy started playing guitar and taking lessons and within weeks I wanted to do the same. I didn’t take lessons, but I remember he would always show me whatever he had learned. </p> <p>Eventually, he quit but I continued to play. And to this day I pretty much play all day, every day [laughs]. The more you play, the more you discover.</p> <p><strong>Who were some of your early influences?</strong></p> <p>In the beginning, it was guys like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Tony Iommi. Then a little later on I got into all of the Eighties guitarists like Randy Rhoads and Gary Moore when he was doing the blues thing. Yngwie Malmsteen was another guy I looked up to and someone I tried to pick up from as much as could. His technique was much more advanced than mine so I could only learn certain things, but he was still inspiring.</p> <p><strong>How did your side project, the Blues Cross Band, come together?</strong></p> <p>Shannon and I have this jam room we like to go to whenever we're not on tour. Sometimes we'll go in there five days a week and just hang out and play music. He heard me playing the blues one day and thought it sounded cool. So we decided to write a few songs together. Then we wound up getting a bass player and a singer, and the next thing you know we were a band. We just recently did our first shows together. It was a really good experience being able to play with totally different gear and a whole different style of music. I'm having a lot of fun with it.</p> <p><strong>How would you describe the sound of this project?</strong></p> <p>It's more blues/rock. I'm trying to do more traditional stuff: using single coil and keeping the tones traditional and not do too much shredding. It's an even balance. We haven't recorded much so there's still an opportunity to find my voice and how I want to be heard.</p> <p><strong>Is there a particular moment in your career that stands out to you as a highlight?</strong></p> <p>I think it was when the local radio station, WAAF, made a connection with Sully and started playing our music on their own. That's what really got the ball rolling for us. Then there was the time when we got our first gold record. We were doing OzzFest and it was our first big tour playing for huge audiences. To get handed a gold record in the afternoon by record label was a big moment, and proof that we had made it!</p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> Godsmack James Wood Tony Rombola Interviews News Features Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:48:07 +0000 James Wood Eric Clapton Discusses His Star-Studded J.J. Cale Tribute Album, 'The Breeze' — Exclusive Interview <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on the Black Keys, Judas Priest, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the September 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p><strong>Cool Breeze: <em>In this GW exclusive, Eric Clapton pays tribute to his friend and inspiration J.J. Cale and talks about </em>The Breeze<em>, his new star-studded tribute to the late Oklahoma guitarist and songwriter.</em></strong></p> <p>Robert Johnson and J.J. Cale represent the yin and yang of Eric Clapton’s musical influences. On one side is Johnson, the famously troubled Thirties-era Mississippi bluesman who moaned about hellhounds on his trail, spooks around his bed and those lowdown, shakin’ chills. On the other side is Cale, the famously laidback singer-songwriter from Tulsa who penned laconic odes to singin’ whippoorwills, “chugalugging” and shakin’ tambourines. </p> <p>Clapton has covered the music of both men on several occasions throughout his career, taking Johnson’s “Crossroads” to the heights of blues-rock jam-outs with Cream in 1968 and earning massive commercial success as a solo artist with his versions of Cale’s insanely catchy “After Midnight” in 1970 and breezy “Cocaine” in 1977.</p> <p>Yet, when looking back at Clapton’s work as a whole, one can’t help but notice that the Cale-influenced side of the equation takes up a much larger chunk of the pie, which was probably the result of the fact that Clapton actually got to meet and hang with Cale. Their bond lasted from the Seventies until Cale’s death in 2013 at age 74. </p> <p><strong><a href="">[[ Eric Clapton Premieres New Song, "Train to Nowhere," from JJ Cale Tribute Album 'The Breeze' — Exclusive ]]</a></strong></p> <p>Clapton even had Cale’s phone number, something he’s still tickled about.</p> <p>“Nobody had his phone number. You had to be in the inner circle to have that,” Clapton says with a laugh. “I’d call him, and sometimes I’d get his voice mail. Other times, I’d get him on the line and we’d talk for hours. I felt I had some kind of inside track, and that was a wonderful thing.”</p> <p>On July 29, however, Clapton will release a bona-fide tribute to his friend and former collaborator: <em>Eric Clapton &amp; Friends: The Breeze, An Appreciation of J.J. Cale</em>. The album features 16 Cale songs—from “Call Me the Breeze,” “Starbound” and “Lies” to “Magnolia” “Songbird” and “Crying Eyes”—performed by Clapton and a host of guests, including Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty and Don White. Other friends include Albert Lee, Derek Trucks, David Lindley, Doyle Bramhall II and Don Preston, all of whom split up the six-string duties.</p> <p>In the interview below, Clapton discusses Cale and the new album—which happens to be his only tribute album besides <em>Me and Mr. Johnson</em>, his 2004 homage to Robert Johnson. </p> <p><strong>It’s 1969. You’ve left behind Cream’s heavy blues-rock, extended guitar solos, freeform improvisation, high intensity and volume. Then you discover J.J. Cale’s music, courtesy of Delaney Bramlett of Delaney &amp; Bonnie. Before you know it, you immerse yourself in Cale’s “relaxed” Tulsa style, and the Clapton of Cream becomes a thing of the past. Did you see Cale’s music as the embodiment of something you had been seeking? Or were you not even looking for something new?</strong></p> <p>I think I was looking for someone to identify with. A lot of my musical growth and education came from players who weren’t around anymore. <em>The Best of Muddy Waters</em> [1958] was one of my primary sources of education, as well as a lot of the country blues guys who had been gone a long time. But even the Muddy album, which was an electric album—that band, by the time I got to hear that album, was long gone.</p> <p>What I’m trying to say is, if I was looking for something current, there it was. He had the root and the understanding—the knowledge about all the music I loved—in the same way Delaney and Leon Russell did. These guys understood the history of this thing I was attracted to, so it was logical to me that I should keep an eye on them and follow what they were doing. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Sometimes you immerse yourself in your influences to the point that you ignore your own ego and delve into the artist’s style, even including the way he sings and plays. When that’s the case, do you consider it a learning experience or some type of comfort zone?</strong></p> <p>A bit of both, I think. With J.J., for instance, and trying to learn to play some of the Robert Johnson songs…when you put those two things side by side, my intention is always to try and leave my ego at the door and go in and learn everything I can about how they did it. That’s the starting point. That will be the aspiration. And what happens inevitably is that my ego gets back in and I adapt what I’m learning to suit what I want to do. So my will is always present. </p> <p>Robert Johnson was the hardest thing to tackle because, in order to play any of the songs he put on tape exactly as he did it, that’s a life’s work in itself. Any one of his songs, they’re so strategically different in terms of technique and how to sing and play those things at the same time. It’s like master-class stuff. My approach is to get as far as I can and allow my will to come in and take over and make it so that I can play it now and not in five years’ time, because I’m too impatient to have to follow that through to its logical conclusion. And with J.J., it’s the same thing. So what I end up with, even if I’m trying to imitate and emulate, is a version, because my will has twisted me to make it easier for me.</p> <p><strong>How, when and where did <em>The Breeze, An Appreciation of J.J. Cale</em> come together?</strong></p> <p>Right after his funeral service, I flew from California back to Columbus, Ohio, where I have a house, and my wife’s family is there. At some point over the last couple of years, I started putting in a primitive little studio, and we started tracking there. I’d put rhythm tracks together and then I’d overlay guitars, and Walt Richmond came to play keyboards. Then, when we’d built enough with the artificial sounds, we went to L.A. I asked [drummer] Jim Keltner and [bassist] Nathan East to start putting down a proper rhythm section. Then we got some other players, including [drummers] Jamie Oldaker, David Teegarden, Jim Karstein and James Cruce. Then came [guitarists] Don White, Don Preston, David Lindley, Doyle Bramhall II, all to kind of build the sound.</p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on the Black Keys, Judas Priest, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the September 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eric-clapton">Eric Clapton</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Damian Fanelli Eric Clapton exclusive Interview J.J. Cale September 2014 Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:30:27 +0000 Damian Fanelli The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach Discusses New Album, 'Turn Blue' <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Dan Auerbach's off-beat guitars, Eric Clapton and his new J.J. Cale tribute album, Judas Priest, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the September 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p><strong>Black and Blue: <em>Dan Auerbach tells how the Black Keys made their latest hit album, Turn Blue, in the midst of personal hardship, using a handful of guitars, amps and effects and a whole lotta spontaneous inspiration.</em></strong></p> <p>Black Keys guitarist and singer Dan Auerbach is obsessed with arcane, el-cheapo mid–20th century guitars: Teiscos, Nationals, Supros, Silvertones. </p> <p>But that fixation is rivaled only by his passion for collecting vintage vinyl and under-the-radar new music. “Yesterday, I was listening to some dub [reggae] that I have on vinyl,” he says. “And this morning, I was listening to some South American Sixties psych music.”</p> <p>When it comes to current music, Auerbach’s passion for contemporary hip-hop is balanced by a fondness for less mainstream fare, like moody Canadian act Timber Timbre and U.K. retro-pop unit Metronomy. “I love their English Riviera album,” the guitarist raves. “There’s some really amazing plectrum bass playing on it. I just love the record’s experimentation and sonic limitlessness.” </p> <p>In one way or another, these variegated influences find their way into the Black Keys’ own music. Their new album, <em>Turn Blue</em>, takes them further along the ambitious sonic trajectory they’ve been following ever since Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney teamed up with über producer Brian Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Beck, Gorillaz, Norah Jones) for the Keys’ 2008 album, Attack &amp; Release. Like all the Black Keys’ records, Turn Blue’s sound is firmly based in the garage-rock interplay between Auerbach’s bluesy squawk-box aggression and Carney’s flailing frenzy. But over this foundation, the Keys have woven a mesmerizing web of ghostly synths and eerie sonic textures. Auerbach plays bass as well as guitar on the album, and he splits keyboard duties with Danger Mouse.</p> <p>“Anybody can jump on any instrument at any time,” Auerbach says. “There are really no rules when we’re in the studio.”</p> <p>With its stately tempo, lazily strummed acoustic guitar and spectral synth line, the album’s opening track, “Weight of Love,” invites comparison with the classic-rock majesty of Pink Floyd. “We love that kind of music,” Auerbach admits, “so it’s in us to be capable of doing that. It’s just something that we’ve never tried to go for before. But we had the time and that little spark of creativity to start us in that direction, and on a couple of songs we saw it through.” </p> <p>“Weight of Love” also is the most guitar-solo-intensive Black Keys track to date. Auerbach’s psychedelicized midsong magic carpet ride is followed up by a soaring outro excursion to the creative dark side that lurks somewhere underneath his regular-guy, flannel-and-denim Midwestern exterior. </p> <p>“That was all spur of the moment,” he says. “We’d just built that song up, and the end has this massive crescendo where everybody’s really going for it. It really called for a guitar solo, and I just improvised something. Then I put a harmony guitar on top of it. Honestly, it was 20 minutes and done, not something I really labored on very long. Everything on this record happened very naturally.” </p> <p>Auerbach seems to have little or no use for premeditation. He appears to be proud of the fact that he and Carney were completely unprepared when they entered the studio to make True Blue, the heavily anticipated follow-up to 2011’s strong-selling, Grammy-winning and critically lauded <em>El Camino.</em></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>“We didn’t have any songs written,” he says. “We had no sense of what we were gonna do. We just went in blind. The blind leading the blind. We didn’t have any real goal other than to make an album. So we wrote songs every day. We just improvised. I guess the goal was to try to have a song done every day, maybe every two days at the most. And we did.” </p> <p>Sessions for <em>Turn Blue</em> began at a studio in Benton Harbor, Michigan, called the Key Club, where Auerbach and Carney worked on their own. Danger Mouse joined them for subsequent sessions at Sunset Sound in L.A. and Auerbach’s own Easy Eye studio in Nashville. Auerbach also seems to take pride in the fact that he came up with the album’s infectious lead single, “Fever,” during the early sessions in Michigan, without assistance from Danger Mouse, who has served as the band’s co-writer as well as producer on the past few albums. </p> <p>“Fever” exemplifies Auerbach’s formidable strength as a tunesmith—he can write catchy pop hooks that go straight to your head like a sugar rush. The song’s main synth line wouldn’t be out of place in an early Eighties hit by OMD or Depeche Mode. “Fever” is also one of many seriously bass-driven songs on <em>Turn Blue</em>. Throughout the album sessions, Auerbach played a Fender Mustang bass guitar through “a good, old-time transformer D.I.,” he notes, usually employing a pick. “I really like palm-muted pick bass,” he says. “Especially if you’ve got flatwound strings. It’s just classic—a really nice bass sound that kind of sits well in a mix and is really propulsive.”</p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Dan Auerbach's off-beat guitars, Eric Clapton and his new J.J. Cale tribute album, Judas Priest, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the September 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> Black Keys Dan Auerbach September 2014 The Black Keys Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:49:40 +0000 Alan Di Perna Richie Sambora Honors Les Paul with Three Special Live Shows at New York's Iridium <!--paging_filter--><p>While in Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora saw a million faces and rocked them all. </p> <p>But nothing will quite compare to three very intimate live performances he has planned to mark the anniversary of the birth of the great Les Paul, who would’ve turned 99 this past June 9. </p> <p>On July 22 and 23, Sambora will take the stage at <A href="">New York City’s 170-seat Iridium</a>, the famed jazz club where Paul performed weekly for 12 years until his passing in 2009, for a set that will include selections from his solo albums, as well as songs from the Bon Jovi catalog and, of course, a few favorites made famous by Paul. </p> <p>“Les was my good friend, and he was genius,” Sambora says. “When I play the Iridium, I know he’ll be on my shoulder and I’m gonna do my best to make him proud. This show is not about me—this is my tribute to him and that’s how I’m gonna frame it. It’s pretty intense, man. I just hope I don’t get too emotional!”</p> <p>The concerts, which will be taped and aired this fall on Public Television’s <em>Front and Center</em>, will feature the guitarist’s current touring band, including Australian guitar virtuoso Orianthi Panagaris, who graced the cover of the April 2013 cover of <em>Guitar World</em>.</p> <p>“The way I met Orianthi was pure happenstance,” Sambora says. “I was in Maui last year, and Alice Cooper invited me play a benefit on New Year’s Eve. Ori was playing in his band at the time and we started jamming. The chemistry was immediate and combustible. We tore the place apart. </p> <p>“When I decided to do some solo shows this year, my second guitarist had to bow out, and I immediately thought of Ori. She was available and Alice gave it his blessing, and we’ve been touring, writing and working together ever since. Even though she is younger than I am, we’re both influenced by a lot of the same music, and our styles just mesh.”</p> <p>As for Bon Jovi, Sambora is focusing on his own music for the moment and is working on a batch of new songs for an album that will hopefully be released later this year. </p> <p>“I’m having a great time. I get to be an artist again. The framework I was in made it hard for me to go back to my roots and do what I was meant to do—really play the guitar. People think it’s risky to go out on my own, but the real risk is not doing it: the risk of regret, the risk of not expressing myself.”</p> <p>And what will the man be playing as he tips his hat to Les Paul at the Iridium this Tuesday and Wednesday? </p> <p>“Ha! Les Pauls, of course,” he laughs. “I’m lucky enough to have some real nice ones, including an unbelievable white one Les gave me himself.”</p> Iridium Richie Sambora Interviews News Features Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:58:52 +0000 Brad Tolinski Dear Guitar Hero: Albert Lee Talks Gear, Technique, "Cocaine," "Country Boy" and Performing with Eric Clapton <!--paging_filter--><p><em>He’s a veteran breakneck picker and fingerstylist who has performed with Eric Clapton among many others. But what Guitar World readers really want to know is…</em></p> <p><strong>My all-time favorite Albert Lee solo is on Eric Clapton’s live <em>Just One Night</em> version of “Cocaine” [recorded December 1979]. What can you tell me about it? What gear were you using? — Jim Mikmaq</strong></p> <p>I have a fairly fluid technique, and sometimes it runs away with me when I play too many notes. [laughs] I can’t remember exactly what I played, but I’d hazard to guess I played four times as many notes as Eric did on his solo, for good or bad. More than a few people thought it was Eric at the time, but the more you listen to it, the more you hear how different the two solos are. I was using the Gibson Les Paul Custom that Eric gave me. </p> <p>That’s the one he used with Delaney &amp; Bonnie and Cream. He gave me that guitar when we started playing together in ’79. It’s one of my treasures. We were both using Music Man amps, 130-watt heads with large, open-back cabinets with two 12s.</p> <p><strong>What was it like being onstage at the Concert for George, the 2002 George Harrison tribute show at the Albert Hall? How well did you know him? — Lena Sciancalepore</strong></p> <p>It was quite an event and such a large band. There were six guitar players and three keyboard players. At one point, there were three or four drummers, and there was a small string section behind us. It was amazing, not only because it was for George but also just to be in the middle of all that. </p> <p>George and I didn’t hang out a lot, but I’d met him a number of times and he was always very friendly. The first time I met him was at an Eric Clapton gig. At the ends of his tours, Clapton would do a local gig at a church hall just for the fun of it. George came to one of those. We went back to his house and had a jam. Then I ran into him at the first Australian Grand Prix in ’85. He showed me around the pits and introduced me to the drivers, because he was into Formula One.</p> <p><strong>When performing, do you make up your “Country Boy” solos on the spot? [The song was a 1971 hit for his band, Heads Hands &amp; Feet, and was later covered by Ricky Skaggs.] — John Thomas</strong></p> <p>In all the breaks in “Country Boy,” there are certain things I will go to. But even though I start out playing something I’ve played before, it always ends up being different. It’s the nature of my playing. I’m lucky enough to be able to think on my feet and let things take their own course. If I make a mistake, I’ll turn it into something else. None of my solos are planned, but you’ll notice a certain familiarity if you’ve heard me play a number of times.</p> <p><strong>How often do you practice, and do you follow a regimen? — Earl Pobjoy</strong></p> <p>[laughs] Not at all. I’m fortunate enough to have a technique that comes together pretty quickly. I pick up a guitar and everything falls into place, more or less. If I’m not working for two or three weeks, I generally won’t pick up a guitar. I might pick up an acoustic and strum a bit, but that’ll be it. And I generally don’t warm up for gigs. I should, really. I guess soundcheck is good enough. I’m sure that if I were to spend time practicing, I’d come up with some new things.</p> <p><strong>What string gauge do you use? — Mike Caro</strong></p> <p>I’m using .010 to .046, an Ernie Ball Regular Slinky set, except I’m using a .015 instead of a .017. I like to be able to bend that third string. When I started using pre-gauged sets, I used Fender Rock N’ Roll strings, which were .010, .013, .015, et cetera. That’s what I’m using now, but with Ernie Ball.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Were you involved with the unusual shape of your Music Man Albert Lee model guitar? — Pete Canard</strong></p> <p>I didn’t design it. It’s different, but I don’t think it’s weird looking. I see a lot of guitars people play now, and I think, Boy, that thing is ugly. They’ve got ugly horns on them and they look like a battle ax from the Middle Ages or something. I think this one is very cool, because it’s understated but doesn’t have the curves of a Strat-type guitar.</p> <p><strong>How did the Albert Lee/Music Man association come to be? — Gifford Pinchot</strong></p> <p>When I first came to the States with Head Hands &amp; Feet, we were playing in Los Angeles, and our record [“Country Boy”] had been on the radio. Ernie Ball and his son Sterling heard it, liked it and were surprised to find out we were English. They came to gigs, we became friends, and I started using Ernie Ball strings. Sterling’s godfather was Tom Walker, who started Music Man with Leo Fender, so I was showered with Music Man amps in the early Seventies. </p> <p>Leo left Music Man to start G&amp;L, and Ernie ended up buying the Music Man name. They decided they wanted to build a new electric guitar. A number of us pitched in our ideas. Even Steve Morse was involved. The first guitar they came out with was the Silhouette, which I loved. But they also made a prototype, which they tried at the NAMM show, but there wasn’t much interest. They kind of shelved the idea for a while, but Sterling had a nice prototype made up for himself, which was all maple. He told me about it: “You’ll love this guitar when you see it.” I fell in love with it, and he gave it to me. That became my main guitar. </p> <p>At that time, it was called the Axis. I played it for a number of years. They weren’t able to do much with it at that time, because they had limited production and they were starting to make guitars for Eddie Van Halen. So I had to wait until they built a new factory. That’s when they brought out my guitar. They’ve been quite popular. I’m fortunate to have a first-class guitar with my name on it.</p> <p><strong>What amps are you using these days? — Zooey F.</strong></p> <p>I use Fender Tone Masters. In the late Seventies when I joined Clapton’s band, he was using Music Man amps, and he had vents cut in the back of his big cabinets. I thought that was a great idea. I never really liked the idea of a big 4x12 closed-back cabinet. I know it’s supposed to be more efficient, but I just like the overall surround-sound of an open-back cabinet, like you’d get from a Twin. So I had the idea of having cabinets built like Eric’s. The first thing I did when I got my Fender Tone Master was cut ports in the back of them. They work really well. I love the sound of them.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Why and when did you start using B-benders? — Lucy Lepore</strong></p> <p>I was mesmerized in the late Sixties listening to Clarence White bend strings, thinking, How did he do that? It’s too perfect to be a regular string bend! Then I read about the StringBender [the mechanical device invented by White and Gene Parsons that is now known as the B-Bender], but I still couldn’t picture it. On my first trip to the States, we went to see [bluegrass band] the Dillards. I went backstage and met their guitarist, Billy Ray Latham, and he had this Tele with a B-Bender in it. I think his was made by Gene Parsons—one of the originals. </p> <p>I said, “Where can I get one?” He said, “There’s a guy in L.A. making them named Dave Evans.” He was making Tele bodies out of exotic woods. I bought one of the bodies, and he put a humbucker in it. This would’ve been around ’71 when I started playing my B-Bender. Not long after that, Evans kind of disappeared, but I’m glad to say I’m back in touch with him. </p> <p>I loved Gene Parsons’ units, because they were the first. Actually, I have to qualify that, because I saw Carl Perkins play a Gibson Switchmaster in the U.K. He had this little bit of metal he’d attached to the headstock. When he was playing in the first position, he could press this little lever with his thumb and it would raise the second string a whole tone. He could get these banjo bends with his thumb. </p> <p>I have two or three Teles with B-Benders and three of my signature Music Man guitars with B-Benders. You can’t buy them; I had them modified by the factory. Sterling called me recently and said, “Joe Bonamassa wants one of your guitars with a B-Bender in it. Are you okay with that?” I said, “Of course I am!”</p> <p><strong>I know you’ve done clinics for Ernie Ball, but do you offer private or online lessons? — Clarence LeBlanc </strong></p> <p>I’ve had people over to the house once or twice, but I’m not a good teacher. I’m self-taught. I had piano lessons for a couple of years, but there was no one to learn from in 1957. It was just from listening to records. You start out with Buddy Holly solos and go from there. When I do clinics, I show people how I came across things, and I tell them, “This may or may not work for you.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Albert Lee Damian Fanelli Dear Guitar Hero July 2014 Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 15 Jul 2014 20:51:11 +0000 Damian Fanelli