Holiday 2012 en Eight Is Enough: Justin Stone’s Rocktopus Eight-Neck Guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>Many guitarists have often wondered, How can I play eight different string instruments during a song? </p> <p>By many, we actually mean one guitarist, specifically Justin Stone, who conceived his eight-neck Rocktopus guitar while absent-mindedly scribbling on a scrap of paper. </p> <p>“I drew a cross and thought to myself that a guitar with four necks would be pretty cool,” Stone says. “Then I drew an X over the cross and thought that an instrument with eight necks that were each different kinds of stringed instruments would be even more incredible. Right away, I thought of an octopus wrapping its tentacles around it, and the ideas kept snowballing.”</p> <p>The Rocktopus, which Stone describes as “a functional piece of art,” consists of three electric guitars (tuned to E, D and F), an electric 12-string, bass, cello, five-string banjo and acoustic guitar attached to a central body. “Connecting eight 45-degree-angled wedges — two of which are hollow — to fit perfectly together as a single body was the biggest challenge,” Stone says. “The octopus is carved out of wood and encrusted with rainbow abalone shell and steel suction cups.”</p> <p>Because the Rocktopus weighs 40 pounds and is six feet in diameter, Stone waits for special occasions to assemble it. </p> <p>“Playing it isn’t difficult,” he explains, “but the setup is. It takes about three hours to affix the necks, put on strings and stretch them.” Perhaps someday Stone can hire the Octomom’s brood to tend to the Rocktopus.</p> <p>More details about the Rocktopus can be found at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><em>Photos: Neil Zlozower</em></p> <p><em>It Might Get Weird: Guitar World goes inside the minds of some of the world’s most creative custom-guitar builders.</em></p> Holiday 2012 It Might Get Weird Justin Stone Electric Guitars News Features Gear Magazine Thu, 02 Jan 2014 15:10:55 +0000 Chris Gill Hole Notes: The Acoustic Stylings of the Late Jerry Garcia <!--paging_filter--><p>Jerry Garcia is best known as the lead guitar player and primary singer/songwriter of the Grateful Dead. Though they are regarded as pioneers of the “jam band” genre that rose to prominence in the late Sixties, the Grateful Dead, unlike many of their counterculture contemporaries, never faltered with the changing times. </p> <p>Up until Garcia’s passing in 1995, they toured tirelessly, followed on the road by their loyal Deadhead fans for months—or years—on end. The Dead (as the surviving members rechristened themselves in 2003) still thrive, honoring Garcia’s memory with shows that feature superpickers like Jimmy Herring and/or Warren Haynes playing in Garcia’s place. This month, I want to honor Jerry with an examination of his funky bluegrass- and folk-tinged acoustic passages, all of which take place in open position. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>Garcia’s bluegrass influences—he was a huge fan of Doc Watson and Arthur Smith—inform his tasty picking on “Ripple” (American Beauty), which inspires FIGURE 1, a passage comprising melody (notes coinciding with accent marks, “>”) and strums of fragmented open G, C and D chords. Garcia really cut his teeth on this style in the early-to-mid Sixties with Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers and Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions (the latter of which morphed into the Grateful Dead in 1965). In this example, as you hold each chord shape, alternate-pick swing eighth notes, hitting the strings in the prescribed rhythm. The majority of non-open-string melody notes can be fretted with the middle finger. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>In 1972, Jerry released his first solo album, Garcia. Many of the album’s tracks, including “Bird Song,” which informs FIGURE 2, found a permanent home in the Grateful Dead’s set lists. “Bird Song” showcases Garcia’s funky, syncopated approach to playing, as its groovy strums (bars 1 and 3) and single-note riffs (bars 2 and 4) indicate. (Note that most of these riffs are derived from arpeggiated C, G and D chords.) To cop the intended feel of this passage, play with a “bouncy” 16th-note swing feel, and be sure to heed the 16th-note rests (don’t play each time you see the symbol that first appears during beat three in bar 1). </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>Though the traditional blues “Deep Elem Blues,” similar to what’s shown in FIGURE 3, had been a Grateful Dead concert staple since 1966, they never recorded it until their live acoustic release, Reckoning, in 1981. Played on the bottom three strings, this riff is essentially a supercharged blues boogie pattern—a guitaristic adaptation of “boogie-woogie” blues piano accompaniment, coupling a root-fifth power chord with additional tones (usually the sixth and flat-seventh). </p> <p>These are played on higher strings in alternation with the chord’s fifth. Garcia takes this framework and funks up the joint with a slinky 16th-note groove, squeezing out numerous variations as the form unfolds (refer to the original recording). For another classic “Jerry” interpretation of this track (and “Ripple”), check out Almost Acoustic, the first of a pair of releases by the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band. </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="/grateful-dead">Grateful Dead</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Hole Notes Holiday 2012 Jerry Garcia 2012 Blogs Lessons Magazine Tue, 02 Apr 2013 14:11:01 +0000 Dale Turner Black Veil Brides: "We Knew We Wanted to Make This Wild Concept Record" <!--paging_filter--><p>For their upcoming third full-length album, <em>Wretched and Divine: The Story of The Wild Ones</em>, Black Veil Brides turned their writing process upside-down. Instead of composing the music and then adding vocals as they did with 2010’s <em>We Stitch These Wounds</em> and 2011’s <em>Set the World on Fire</em>, the band crafted vocals and vocal melodies first, then encapsulated them with a variety of riffs and leads.</p> <p>“We knew we wanted to make this wild concept record, and that required us to write the story first,” explains guitarist and violinist Jinxx. “It was stressful, because in the past we’ve always had everything thoroughly demoed before we went into the studio.” </p> <p>Black Veil Brides started recording Wretched and Divine with John Feldmann (Papa Roach, Escape the Fate) at his home studio in L.A. on July 4, but after two weeks of preproduction, Jinxx and co-guitarist Jake Pitts split off from the main compound. They used a Kemper profiling amp to replicate the tones from Feldmann’s studio and wrote and recorded the rest of the guitars at Pitts’ home studio in Los Angeles. </p> <p>“We only had three months to make the album, so being in two locations at once let us work twice as fast,” Pitts says. </p> <p>The process forced the guitarists to be spontaneous and remain flexible and even-keeled, since Feldmann and singer Andy Biersack often changed vocal passages midstride. “I’d get calls at 2:30 in the morning from Feldmann saying, ‘We need a different kind of guitar solo,’” Pitts says. “I’d be like, ‘Okay, when do you need it?’ and he’d always say, ‘Right now!’ ”</p> <p>Both guitarists agree that the unusual work method paid off in the album’s epic, cinematic songs, which include vulnerable string-embellished ballads, euphoric, harmony-laden anthems and more. “We even used horns and a children’s choir,” Jinxx says. It’s the most diverse and satisfying album we’ve done.” </p> Black Veil Brides Holiday 2012 Interviews News Fri, 11 Jan 2013 15:41:28 +0000 Jon Wiederhorn Interview: Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry Discuss Their New Album, 'Music From Another Dimension!' <!--paging_filter--><p>"It seemed to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Joe Perry is discussing the title of Aerosmith’s new album, <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> “We were just throwing titles around and that came out. The name floated around for a long time, really, before there were any songs. But I think it led us to touch on a lot of different types of music—different ways we could attack rock and roll than Aerosmith has in the past.”</p> <p>The first album of new, original Aerosmith material since Just Push Play in 2001, <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> lives up to its name in many ways. It’s an epic disc that includes 15 massive tracks, many of which exceed the six-minute mark and feature ambitious song structures that include pre-choruses, pre-pre-choruses, post-choruses, codas, strange interludes and overdubs up the yin-yang. And of course there’s no shortage of killer guitar solos and crunchy, classic rhythms as only Aerosmith can bang ’em out. </p> <p>A special deluxe edition of <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> is laden with even more tracks and videos to boot. Throughout the whole shebang, the sound attains a kind of psycho-acoustic intensity and blockbuster cinematic grandeur. Monster ultra-compressed bass frequencies squoosh across the stereo field like some seismic eruption, and guitars whoosh and whiz past your head like alien spacecraft.</p> <p>“We really wanted to give it the feel that you were in the room with the band,” Perry says. “Especially with headphones on. That’s how you get your best sound and have an intimate kind of experience. But loud, and rocky! I think there are a lot of different atmospheres on the record.” </p> <p>“It truly is music from another dimension,” insists Steven Tyler, Aerosmith’s over-the-top lead singer, Perry’s longtime “toxic twin,” lifetime musical collaborator and frequent sparring partner. “It’s from us and it’s from our alter-egos and psyches and our greatness and our fucked-up-ness. It’s just really a piece of who we all are.” </p> <p>Tyler himself has always been quite a piece of work, and so, in a way, is <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> The album skews schizophrenically between schmaltzy over-produced Tyler ballads and plenty of the bone-crunching hard rock hookiness that’s been Aerosmith’s most glorious asset ever since they first came out of Boston in the early Seventies. And perhaps more than any other member of Aerosmith, it is Joe Perry who carries that classic rock tradition with all the requisite attitude and swagger. At age 62, he remains very much the archetypal rock guitar god. </p> <p> “Joe Perry?” Tyler demands. “If you want to hear rock and roll at its finest, just listen to Joe’s song ‘Oh Yeah’ on the new album. Then go listen to ‘Out Go the Lights.’ I haven’t heard anybody do anything like that in a while. Put that up against anything on Rocks or Toys in the Attic. I think it stands up.”</p> <p>“We made the record that I hope people have been waiting for,” Perry says. “All these years, they’ve been saying, ‘Why don’t you make a record that sounds like the old stuff?’ But like anything that’s been around for 30 years, the classic Aerosmith stuff has acquired a certain patina. You can’t just instantly recreate that. You can’t go back. But you can certainly take that influence and use it when you’re doing new music. And that’s what we did.” </p> <div style="font-size:14pt;font-weight:bold;width:300px;float:left;margin:0 20px 20px 0px;"><em>"Whatever the reason we were fighting, it was the dumbest shit on the planet." — Steven Tyler</em></div> <p>But <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> is an album that came very close to never being made at all. The band was hobbled, literally, by a series of injuries all too inevitable for men entering or already in their sixth decade of life and still pounding rock and roll stages. Joe Perry underwent knee replacement surgery in 2008. Brad Whitford suffered a nasty knock on the head in 2009 that required surgery to relieve pressure from internal bleeding. That same year, Tyler fell off a stage, broke a shoulder, got addicted to painkillers as a result and had to undergo yet another stint in rehab. Then, in 2010, Tyler brained Perry with a microphone onstage. Rock and roll is a rough game indeed. </p> <p>There was a point circa 2009 when it looked like Tyler might quit or get kicked out of Aerosmith entirely. He seemed to be distancing himself from the band via a variety of side and solo projects, most notably a two-year run as a judge on American Idol. But then all of this is nothing new for Aerosmith. Perry quit the band in 1979 and Whitford walked out in 1981, both eventually to return to the fold. Drama, among other barely controlled substances, is what has always fueled Aerosmith. </p> <p>“How fucking amazing is it that we came up with this great album after so many years?” Tyler says, certainly with no sense of false modesty. “Is it because we haven’t been in the studio for a while? Or is it because we fought, and everybody in the band laid their dumbest shit on the table for a few years? Whatever the reason we were fighting, it was the dumbest shit on the planet, and maybe that tumultuous moment caused the electricity in the studio when we did get together. I’ll tell you, when we laid down [the lead track] ‘Legendary Child,’ I looked at Joe and said, ‘Joe, we’re back.’ It was a very epiphanous moment. It was like we stepped out of the Record Plant in 1974 and, instead of stepping onto the street, stepped right into the studio here.” </p> <p>Still, as far as Joe Perry is concerned, <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> should have gotten made way sooner than it did. “By all rights, this album should have come out three years after <em>Just Push Play</em>,” he says. “But we’ve been touring constantly over the past decade. We tried to make this record three times—literally, officially, as far as record company accounting is concerned. And then there was a third time when we sat around the table and said, “Yeah, let’s get started on a record. Let’s talk to some producers…’ But it never came to pass.</p> <p>“So it took a while to get everybody rollin’, everybody onboard, everybody feeling right about it. The upside of that was we had started to stockpile a lot of material. And that’s usually the backbone of a new record to start with.” </p> <p>Perry discloses that bassist Tom Hamilton’s bonus track contribution, “Up on the Mountain,” dates back to the <em>Nine Lives</em> period, circa 1989, as does Perry’s composition “Something.” “Or at least the guts from those songs were from around then,” Perry says. And then there were a couple of riffs that I used to pull out of the hat live when we’d be onstage jamming. Every song has its own story of how it developed and where it came from. The opening riff from ‘Legendary Child’ dates from around the time of <em>Pump</em> [1989]. I had just gotten one of the first Korg guitar synths at the time when we were working on that album. I remember picking it up and that riff came out—the opening anthemic kind of riff.” </p> <hr /> <p>But Perry bristles at the suggestion, made by some, that <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> is an album of leftovers, retreads and reject riffs. “That certainly wasn’t the case,” he says. “Those ideas were part of the overflow that happens with every record. Every song on the new album was recorded fresh. All the basic tracks were recorded last summer at our studio in Boston.” </p> <p>That would be Aerosmith’s own Vindaloo Studio. But work was also done at the Boneyard, Perry’s home studio in nearby Duxbury, Massachusetts. “I wanted to do a lot of the guitars there,” he says, “I have certain pieces of old equipment that we don’t have at the other studio, and I really like the guitar sounds I get at the Boneyard.” </p> <p>Indeed, the Boneyard is a guitarist’s dream studio, endowed with not only the finest analog recording equipment but also all the best in vintage and cutting-edge contemporary guitar gear. “Originally,” says Perry, “I just wanted to build a place where anything I laid down on guitar would be technically as good as it could possibly sound. That evolved to where I have all kinds of stuff lying around. I have a little collection of old Maestro stuff, the old Gibson effect boxes. It’s so easy to plug any of that stuff in.” </p> <p>But there’s more behind the album’s massive sound than just primo vintage guitar gear. It was recorded using the Endless Analog CLASP system. The acronym stands for Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor. Basically it enables the user to sync vintage analog 24-track tape machines to Pro Tools, hitting the analog tape before the signal is digitized. </p> <p>“So you get that tape warmth that everyone craves, wants and remembers so well,” Perry notes. “It’s almost like using the tape machine as a piece of outboard gear. The signal chain literally goes from the microphone to a vintage mic pre right into the tape machine, and then right from the tape machine into the computer. So when the computer gets it, it’s getting that actual tape warmth in the analog sound. And, of course, when we mixed the album down, we mixed down to a half inch [Ampex ATR] analog tape machine.” </p> <p>Even the greatest gear, however, is only as good as the human being(s) running it. And in this instance too, Aerosmith had the best. Legendary record producer Jack Douglas (John Lennon, Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, Slash’s Snakepit) had produced some of Aerosmith’s most revered albums, including <em>Get Your Wings</em>, <em>Toys in the Attic</em>, <em>Rocks</em> and <em>Draw the Line</em>. Douglas has been in and out of the Aerosmith fold ever since then, and he reunited with the band in 2004 for their blues cover album, <em>Honkin’ on Bobo</em>. </p> <p>Still, Tyler claims credit for talking Douglas into producing <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> by claiming that it will be Aerosmith’s last album—an assertion that neither Tyler nor Perry will confirm when the point is pressed. Still, the move was magnanimous of Tyler. Douglas is one of the few people on earth who can face down Aerosmith’s notorious mouth that roared. </p> <p>“The other guys really love Jack more than I do,” Tyler concedes. “Because Jack puts them together in that space of drums, bass, guitar and…I mean I love him dearly but he gives me so much shit that I fight with him constantly. And that’s why the album is produced by me, Joe and Jack.”<br /> Douglas is also the narrator heard on the album’s <em>Twilight Zone</em> pastiche opening and closing. Perry credits the producer with pushing the band in a way they hadn’t been pushed in quite some time. </p> <p>“Jack’s attitude is, ‘Get in there and play it again, and give it some more this time!’ There was none of that thing where the producer or engineer says, ‘Okay, we got two pretty good takes. I can put something together.’ It was like, ‘Do another take, another take…let’s get the great take.’ And that’s from old-school analog recording, where you couldn’t edit as readily. And the other part of that is that we approached this new record with an attitude of, ‘How is this song going to go down when we play it in front of an audience that’s never heard it before?’ When we worked on records in the Seventies, that was always the perspective. And I think it’s something that’s different than a lot of the records we did in the late Eighties and Nineties.”</p> <p>Early sessions in the Boston area then gave way to recording, overdubbing and mixing in L.A., principally at Swing House studios. The move was essentially undertaken to accommodate Tyler’s <em>American Idol</em> schedule—a minefield of a topic if ever there was one. The drama went public in early 2010 when reports hit the media that Aerosmith were auditioning new lead singers, although both Perry and Brad Whitford say that not one single audition ever took place. </p> <div style="font-size:14pt;font-weight:bold;width:300px;float:left;margin:0 20px 20px 0px;"><em>"Steven went off to audition for Led Zeppelin. I didn’t find out about that until actually three or four days after he got back." — Joe Perry</em></div> <p>“Oh, we never,” Perry avers. “There were no auditions. The farthest it ever got was probably a conference call with the three other guys in the band talking about different options of what to do about Steven’s time with <em>American Idol</em>. We weren’t really sure what our options were going to be. I thought about reviving the Joe Perry Project. But on the other hand, Aerosmith was sounding great and we wanted to be able to go on playing live. So we said, ‘Maybe we should think about bringing somebody else in to fill the spot until Steven gets back.’ And that was about as far as it got. Then the rest of it kind of snowballed in the press. It’s as simple as that.” </p> <p>For those who need a recap, Perry was aggrieved that he had to find out about Tyler’s <em>American Idol</em> deal via the internet, along with all the punters. And when Tyler got wind of alleged auditions to replace him, he also got pissed off. </p> <p>“On the other hand,” Perry pushes back, “Steven went off to audition for Led Zeppelin. I didn’t find out about that until actually three or four days after he got back.”</p> <p>Relative peace was restored when it turned out that Tyler’s <em>American Idol</em> schedule allowed him sufficient time to go into the studio with Aerosmith and finish off the album. The singer could effectively have his cake and eat it too. For which, to his reckoning, his bandmates should be grateful. </p> <p>“No one in the band wanted me to do Idol,” he says. “I was taking another job, et cetera, but I would imagine it was the kind of thing that saved their lives.” </p> <hr /> <p>Like it or not, he has a point. Coming up in the early Seventies, Aerosmith just missed out on the era when great rock bands like the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, the Kinks, the Yardbirds and their peers had to do hokey mainstream TV variety shows—sandwiched, quite literally in some cases, between a mouse puppet and a tap dancer. But now that rock no longer dominates the music market as it once did, Aerosmith are indeed quite lucky to have a member with a willingness, and indeed a genuine talent, to shuck and jive on the 21st century equivalent of The Ted Mack Amateur Hour. Perry, for his part, acknowledges that it’s a different world these days. </p> <p>“Classic rock means bands that have our heritage,” he says. “They have songs that were big in the classic era, from the Seventies and Eighties or whatever. But for it to be brand new, there’s not really a slot for that. ’Cause there are so few of us out there. Some of the new album sounds fresh and new—and it is. And it certainly echoes back to some of the early stuff. But there’s no playlist for that kind of stuff.” </p> <p>So can one blame Tyler for playing the pop game? Rock music in the 21st century has become a subset of pop, which in turn is a subset of “entertainment,” which itself is a subset of “content.” And while an Aerosmith, ZZ Top or Bob Dylan will long be able to claim their little slice of the pie, the overall taste is quite different these days. Let’s just say there are a lot more corporate GMOs in the batter. Tyler is simply a guy with a clear sense of that, coupled with some strong survival instincts. While reality TV was never much of a stretch for aging rockers, Tyler is one of the people who made it okay for legitimate rock stars to do TV’s variety talent show format. </p> <div style="font-size:14pt;font-weight:bold;width:300px;float:left;margin:0 20px 20px 0px;"><em>"Some of the new album sounds fresh and new—and it is. And it certainly echoes back to some of the early stuff." — Joe Perry</em></div> <p>“I wasn’t sure about Idol either,” he admits. “But I jumped in with both feet, and if I get in trouble, I’m already in the market. I’m not one of those guys that goes, ‘Oh, I’m afraid of that market.’ I wanna be in everything. So I took Idol, and it turned out to be a great thing. And it brought Aerosmith’s catalog out after some cheap shots from some of the band members that what I did is like Ninja Turtle or something. [Perry indeed made an unfavorable comparison between <em>American Idol</em> and the <em>Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles</em>.] “But it worked out to be great.”</p> <p> But still, where does one, um, draw the line? Some of the ballads on <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> impart a clear sense that Tyler has perhaps been listening to a little too much of that <em>American Idol music of late. Ballads, of course, have always been a part of the Aerosmith package from day one. We entered the era of outside songwriters and formulaic power ballads during Aerosmith’s post-rehab comeback of the Eighties with albums like <em>Permanent Vacation</em>. But some of the ballads on <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> cross outside the rock domain entirely, no matter how many guitar overdubs the band piles on. “All Fall Down,” penned by pop tunesmith Diane Warren, is particularly painful. One must usually enter a supermarket or dental office to hear songcraft of this caliber, although usually the singer is a little better at hitting the high notes. </em></p> <p>“I definitely took a major left turn on ‘We All Fall Down,’ ” Tyler says. “And I did on ‘What Could Have Been Love’ and ‘Another Last Goodbye.’ ”<br /> In recent years Tyler seems increasingly to be operating in his own private universe, one that crosses over into Aerosmith’s reality only on occasion. For instance, his bandmates didn’t find out about his duet with country star Carrie Underwood on “Can’t Stop Loving You”—one of the album’s better ballads—until after the vocals had been cut. The tune’s country flavor had been a sore point from the start, according to Tyler. </p> <p>“It kind of irked some of the people in the band,” he says, “and some of the guys wanted me to re-sing it. But I thought, No, I wanna leave it like that. I’d always seen the song as a duet; it was kind of fuckin’ obvious. So I called up Carrie. I’d worked with her a lot on awards shows and things like that. Carrie was just about to leave L.A., but I said, ‘Come on over, quick.’ She came over that night and sang it within an hour. I didn’t even have time to mention anything to the band. Of course, that came with its own luggage.” </p> <p>“Can’t Stop Loving You” is one of several ballads on <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> that Tyler co-wrote with longtime Aerosmith collaborator and song doctor Marti Federiksen. Quite a few of them boast the kind of saccharine pop/R&amp;B chord modulations that tend to induce nausea in nine out of 10 rock fans, but to the rest of the world scream, “...and the Grammy goes to....” Tyler, in fact is already fantasizing about a Grammy night duet with Adele. </p> <p>“My vision was to sing with Adele at the Grammys and do ‘All Fall Down’ or ‘Another Last Goodbye,’ ” he says. “Because they’re very much like that, but also very much Aerosmith. So we’ll see how all this shit flies in today’s world.”</p> <p>The corrupting influence of Hollywood, however, has always been sweetened by its sunny allure. There are worse things in life than a sojourn in L.A. While in town to work on the Aerosmith record, Perry also had an opportunity to connect with old friends, do a bit of networking and showbiz glad handing of his own. </p> <p>“It was great just knowing that Slash and Waddy Wachtel are right down the road and I can see them, and talking with a lot of the movie soundtrack people,” he says. “L.A. was just an inspiring kind of place to be. It felt like going to Paris in the Twenties and Thirties. Everybody’s there. Everybody’s hanging around. Everybody’s talking about music. So it was a very creative time. The album would have taken on a different flavor otherwise. I’m not saying better or worse. But for me L.A. was, and is, a very creative place to be.” </p> <hr /> <p>Working in L.A. enabled Tyler to rope in several celebrity cameo appearances on the album, including a backing vocal contribution from Julian Lennon on the song “LUV XXX.” It also brought Perry in close proximity to the area’s many high-end luthiers and boutique amp guys. Perry is particularly fond of Echopark guitars, made by SoCal luthier Gabriel Currie.</p> <p>“What Gabriel does is rummage around old furniture shops and find old wood,” Perry explains. “Literally, antique furniture pieces that are unfixable. He’ll find some wood that’s 150 years old and build a guitar around that. He built a few guitars that I ended up using on the record, and he’s building some more new ones for me. His guitars aren’t that fancy looking, but he starts from the inside out. He starts with the sound of the wood itself. </p> <p>Once he’s got the guitar together, he’ll go to his pickup winder and they’ll talk and put together the right pickup for it. There have been a couple of times where he’ll walk into the studio with a guitar case, open it up, and all I’d have to do is give it a little tune-up tweak and plug it right in and use it. He’s a real artist.”</p> <p>Being away from the Boneyard did put Perry a little outside of his comfort zone when it came to having ready access to vintage guitar gear. “I came out here to L.A. with basically my road gear,” he says. “So I had to borrow a few of those more esoteric pieces.” </p> <p>L.A.’s network of music equipment rental facilities came in handy, as did a few local friends like actor Johnny Depp. The actor ponied up a gorgeous Thirties-era Gibson L00 parlor guitar from his own drool-worthy vintage collection. It is heard on the track “Freedom Fighter,” to which Depp also contributed backing vocals.</p> <p>“Johnny knows Jack Douglas from way back when,” Perry explains, “back when Johnny was in bands in Florida. And so there are some mutual friendships going back a ways. And Johnny’s a musician. There’s no two ways about it. He’s a musicologist. He loves blues. He’s got one of the finest acoustic guitar collections of anybody I know. And that’s where I got that old Gibson acoustic. I went around the usual places looking for one, and I couldn’t find one that had the right sound. So I called Johnny up and asked him if he had something I could borrow. Let’s just say he has very good taste in acoustic guitars.” </p> <p>Perry estimates that “Freedom Fighter” might be the album track with the most guitar overdubs. But despite the disc’s massive sound and highly polished production, Perry says that the guitar overdubs weren’t really that excessive. </p> <p>“‘Freedom Fighter’ was originally going to be a hard rock acoustic song. We built up some acoustic guitar tracks with the acoustic capoed at different frets and everything. But it just didn’t deliver the drive and energy that I felt the song needed. So we ended up putting on some more electric guitar stuff. I know I put a lot of overdubs on that one. But then a lot of stuff was left out of the mix because we didn’t need it. We tried to have one guitar do the job, when, say, in 1995, we would have put down six guitars.”</p> <p>Depp’s L00 is also heard on the deluxe-edition bonus track “Oasis in the Night,” a rare Perry ballad, penned by the guitarist as a Valentine’s Day present for his wife, Billie. The track may not be Grammy material, but its Zeppelin-unplugged feel will appeal more to rock fans. “Maybe you could put it out there that I don’t have a built-in dislike of ballads,” he says. “That was kind of the reputation I had back in the Seventies. But I’ve come around. Ballads have become something of an acquired taste.” </p> <p>Perry also seems to have made his peace with <em>American Idol</em>. He performed “Legendary Child” with Aerosmith on the program and also played “Happy Birthday” for Tyler on air, a Kodak moment if ever there was one. But the guitarist also acknowledges a debt of gratitude for the program for helping keep Tyler in fighting form during album sessions in L.A. </p> <p>“Sometimes Steven would go right from the set of American Idol into the studio,” he says. “And he would be cranked up from doing live TV. So that had some benefit to it—he was already all warmed up.”</p> <div style="font-size:14pt;font-weight:bold;width:300px;float:left;margin:0 20px 20px 0px;"><em>"This definitely isn’t the last Aerosmith record" — Joe Perry</em></div> <p>“<em>Idol</em> is a seven-hour show,” Tyler adds. “I took the energy from having my way with whatever I said on the air and being in front of 30 million people a night, and I’d bring all that to the studio. And it was magical. I’d leave Idol at seven o’clock or so, and I’d go to the studio and we’d work until 12 or one or two. Plus, I was staying at the Sunset Marquis [West Hollywood’s rock and roll hotel of record]. So I’d go back there and write some lyrics. It was a labor of love and something I hadn’t done in nine years. And when I sat down to write lyrics, I realized what was missing. That little piece had been missing from my life.”</p> <p>And so a kind of equilibrium was restored—once again—in the Aerosmith camp. “It’s like a family,” Perry says of the group. “Disagreements and misunderstandings are a natural thing. The main thing is, we’re a band and we’re always gonna be a band. It’s not gonna break up. So there’s only one way to go. You gotta deal with the misunderstandings. Live with whatever new paradigm there is.”</p> <p>Obviously, not every song on <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> will be to everyone’s taste, but in the final analysis Perry says he’s pleased with the album’s mix of styles and sounds. “At the end of the day, with everybody throwing in a riff here and there, it kind of balanced things out,” he says. “It’s almost like for every ballad there’s a hard-hitting rocker. To me, it kind of feels well balanced.”</p> <p>But will <em>Music from Another Dimension!</em> indeed be the last Aerosmith album, as some of the advance hype and Tyler’s semi-coherent hints have alleged? Tyler remains cagey on this point. </p> <p>“You never know,” he says. “Might be.” </p> <p>But Joe Perry certainly isn’t ready to hang it up. “No, this definitely isn’t the last Aerosmith record,” he states. “But one thing I know is you can’t plan things out and say, ‘This is how it’s gonna happen.’ All you can do is make your best plans and hope for the best. I look at every record, and every performance, like, you know, a lot of things can go wrong between now and the next one. We go day to day. We’re setting up the next leg of the tour we’re currently doing and planning on going out on the road next year and doing a world tour. And who knows after that? We may carve out time to do another record. The way the band has been feeling, how we’ve been playing and writing, it’s felt like it hasn’t felt in a long, long time. This band’s really in a good place.”</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="/aerosmith">Aerosmith</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/joe-perry">Joe Perry</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Aerosmith Holiday 2012 Joe Perry Ross Halfin 2012 Interviews Features Magazine Thu, 10 Jan 2013 16:23:34 +0000 Alan Di Perna, Photo by Ross Halfin Asking Alexandria's Ben Bruce: "It’s Time for Us to Move Upward" <!--paging_filter--><p>“A lot of bands in our genre are happy where they’re at, and that’s fine,” says Ben Bruce, guitarist for British metalcore unit Asking Alexandria. “But it’s time for us to move upward and bring our fans into a new realm.”</p> <p>Bruce and his band may have lofty goals for their upcoming, and still untitled, third studio album, but they’ve also dug deep into their experiences to compose the new material. “Lyrically, it’s a lot more mature than anything we’ve done before,” Bruce says of the record, which Asking Alexandria tracked with producer Joey Sturgis at the Foundation Recording Studios in Indiana and NRG in Hollywood. </p> <p>“It’s not so much about partying and fucking random girls and doing drugs and stuff," he continued. "We’ve actually taken the time to write something that’s truly meaningful to us. The last two records were great, and we loved them, but we were different people then. We were a lot younger and had less experience. When you compare the albums, it will definitely show how much we’ve grown.”</p> <p>Bruce confirms that, as previously reported, the sound of the material falls somewhere between Slipknot and Mötley Crüe. “There’s a lot of heavy riffage on this record, whereas in the past we relied more on rhythms and breakdowns,” he says. “So in that respect it’s very much like old Slipknot. But then the choruses and a lot of the bridges are more rock-based, which is our Mötley Crüe side.” </p> <p>That said, Bruce is quick with a warning: “The album is by no means a regurgitation of the Eighties. If kids buy this record thinking it’s going to sound like [Mötley Crüe’s 1987 effort] <em>Girls, Girls, Girls</em>, it doesn’t fucking sound like <em>Girls, Girls, Girls</em>. It sounds like Asking Alexandria.” </p> Asking Alexandria Ben Bruce Holiday 2012 News Thu, 10 Jan 2013 15:06:51 +0000 Richard Bienstock Talkin' Blues: Rhythm and Touch <!--paging_filter--><p>A blues phrase is made up of three ingredients: what you play (the notes), when you play (rhythm) and how you play (your touch and sound). When players focus mainly on the what—scale patterns, arpeggios, picking technique and so on—the result tends to be a solo with lots of notes in constant motion, but if you change your focus to the when and how, you can deliver a breathtaking solo while barely moving your fretting hand.</p> <p>Exhibit A is “The Freeze,” a late-Fifties track by electric blues titan Albert Collins that delivers two minutes and 14 seconds of spine-tingling intensity with barely any melody at all—just four short riffs (similar to FIGURE 1) repeated over a stuttering one-chord groove. How does he do it? In terms of rhythm, Collins maximizes the sense of anticipation and forward energy by starting all phrases before the bar line, specifically on the and of “three” (“one-and, two-and, three-and, four-and…”). </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>The first two phrases end just before the downbeat, leaving you teetering on the edge of a rhythmic cliff, while the next two land more comfortably on the beat. Taken altogether, the four phrases create classic call-and-response symmetry. The defining quality, though, is Collins’ touch: he snaps the strings ferociously with his bare finger, grips each note like it’s the single most important task in life, and then gives you a couple of bars to think it over. The silence is as important as the notes. Equally important is the use of decorative embellishments to the notes—specifically the use of grace-note hammer-ons, string bending and vibrato—which really make the notes sing.</p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>Even more rhythm-centric is the tenor sax solo on Wynonie Harris’ 1947 rendition of “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” similar to FIGURE 2. The bulk of the solo consists of just two notes—C, the root note, and A, the sixth, which becomes the ninth when played over the five chord, G7—but their syncopated energy perfectly complements the song’s message. More minimal still is Joe Houston’s 1954 shuffle “All Night Long,” where he pumps nothing but roots and octaves through his saxophone for six full choruses while varying only the rhythm, along the lines of FIGURE 3. These two examples demonstrate how effective the use of repetition can be to make a melody really stick.</p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>In the end, it’s not a question of how many or few notes you play but rather how well you manage to convey your message to the audience. Burning licks have their place, but sometimes just that one note hit just that one way tells the whole story. </p> Holiday 2012 Talkin' Blues Blogs Lessons Wed, 09 Jan 2013 15:36:40 +0000 Keith Wyatt Q&A: Born of Osiris Guitarist Lee McKinney on the Band's Upcoming New Album <!--paging_filter--><p><em>In our Holiday 2012 issue, we caught up with guitarist Lee McKinney to get a status update on the new album from Born of Osiris.</em></p> <p><strong>What’s the status of the new album?</strong></p> <p>We’re still in the process of writing and arranging, but we’re set to record in February. We’ve been writing since we finished recording [2011’s] <em>The Discovery</em>, so there’s definitely plenty of material. We’re sending the songs that we’ve completed back and forth with our team and getting everyone’s ideas and input to see how they can grow. Hopefully, the album will come out right around summertime.</p> <p><strong>What gear will you be using?</strong></p> <p>As far as guitars go, I’ll be using all of my Ernie Ball Music Man guitars. I have an original BFR, a JXI and a JP12. I’m waiting on a six-string Koa BFR with a roasted maple neck to arrive from Music Man any day. I plan on having six-, seven- and possibly even eight-string material on this next album. For amps, right now I plan on using my Axe-Fx II and going direct in. You never know though: I might mic up some of our Orange cabs or see if Engl will send me some cabs to try out.</p> <p><strong>What’s your favorite song on the new album?</strong></p> <p>The one we’re calling “Mindful.” I think it’s structured really well, and it’s seen many forms before it reached its current one. It has a lot of energy, great melodies and of course the heavy BOO style.</p> <p><strong>What about this record will surprise people?</strong></p> <p>I think our focus on structure will be the most surprising factor. The first album really had no repeating parts, and it was all over the place. As time goes on, we’ve focused on structure more and more. These songs are much more organized and thematic. </p> <p><strong>What album are you most looking forward to hearing in 2013?</strong></p> <p>I’m really hoping Karnivool puts out a new album next year. I know they’ve been writing, I’m just hoping they can record and release something soon. They’re definitely my favorite band of all time, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.</p> Born of Osiris Holiday 2012 Interviews News Wed, 09 Jan 2013 15:30:50 +0000 Guitar World Staff Review: Framus Mayfield Legacy <!--paging_filter--><p>Solidbody sensations like the Panthera Studio Supreme, Diablo and Earl Slick signature model have introduced a generation of players to the heirloom-quality instruments of Germany’s Framus company. But players who are new to the brand, especially in the United States, may not realize that Framus originally achieved worldwide notoriety for the hollowbody electrics that were faithfully played by legends such as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jan Akkerman, Charlie Mingus and the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman, to name a few. </p> <p>The exquisitely crafted, all mahogany Framus Mayfield Legacy recalls this hollowbody heritage, blending old-world mahogany/P-90 tones with unerring, modern playability. Although it’s unclear whether Superfly soul icon Curtis Mayfield inspired this beauty’s design, there’s no question that Framus’ Mayfield Legacy draws from the deepest tone wells and truly captures the spirit of the player. </p> <p><strong>FEATURES</strong></p> <p>Were it not for the obviously modern locking Sperzel Trim-Lok tuners, I’d almost swear that the Mayfield Legacy is a vintage semi-hollowbody guitar. A tobacco-brown burst enriches the mahogany’s naturally muted coloration, and while Framus does not boast about the mahogany’s often-unique figure, all of the Mayfield Legacy guitars that I’ve seen display an exceedingly rare 5A-quality ribbon grain on their laminated tops and backs.<br /> In keeping with tradition, Framus has given the guitar a maple center block. This works in harmony with the mahogany to widen the tonal palette and reject feedback, making the ML more adaptable to high-gain rigs. Aged-white binding is perfectly applied to all seams, and the black pickguard is aligned and leveled with the same care for fit and finish. </p> <p>The Mayfield Legacy has a glued-in mahogany neck with a true C-shaped profile that is somewhat thicker and less tapered than many vintage guitars from the Fifties and Sixties era, providing a uniform feel and excellent tuning stability with heavy-gauge strings. String benders will also enjoy the ML’s short, 24 3/4–inch-scale length. Framus’ onsite Plek machine perfectly finishes each of the 22 jumbo frets, and it ensures ideal slotting of the Graph Tech Black Tusq nut and a faultless 1:1 radius-to-string-height ratio. </p> <p>The Bigsby B7 vibrato differentiates the Mayfield Legacy from its stop-tail predecessors. Unlike a tremolo or whammy system, it’s the only piece of guitar hardware that can create those soothing, long-wave pitch rolls—think of a slow-spinning Leslie cab with a hint of reverb. Electronics consists of vintage-output, soap-bar-style Seymour Duncan SP90-1 pickups, a three-way toggle and dedicated volume and tone knobs. The neck pickup is reverse wound and features reverse polarity so that the pickups are humbucking when combined. </p> <p><strong>PERFORMANCE</strong></p> <p>The Mayfield Legacy is, in a word, dramatic. The energetic acoustic resonance and sweet overtones were inspiring, even when I was tuning it for the first time. I spent long hours playing the guitar, switching between a Fender Tone-Master head and my Mesa Mark V combo, and I never heard a nasal tone, thanks to the guitar’s all-mahogany construction. </p> <p>While the Mayfield Legacy is amply warm and harmonically complete, I was surprised by its brightness and quick-pop attack. It’s layered tonal presentation separates notes and overtones in ways that would be impossible for a solidbody to achieve, but its projection was never what I would call “cavernous.” These qualities, along with the Duncan SP90-1s, allowed me to crank up the gain and enjoy touch-sensitive crunch and grind. Some shredders may even be drawn to the Mayfield Legacy’s ability to clearly define sweep arpeggios and quell acoustic interference. </p> <p><strong>THE BOTTOM LINE</strong></p> <p>If you appreciate flawless fit and finish, and can afford the luxury, the all-mahogany semi-hollowbody Framus Mayfield Legacy will reward you with a lifetime of hollowbody bloom and stout, solidbody-style harmonic definition.</p> <p><strong>LIST PRICE</strong> $7,617<br /> <strong>MANUFACTURER</strong> Warwick GmbH &amp; Co Music Equipment KG, <a href=""></a></p> Framus Holiday 2012 Electric Guitars News Gear Tue, 08 Jan 2013 16:34:59 +0000 Eric Kirkland In Deep: Applying Modes to Improvised Solo Ideas, Part 2 <!--paging_filter--><p>In <a href="">last month’s column</a>, we explored a variety of ways to apply a modal approach to improvisation, with specific focus on minor tonalities and building from lines based on the E minor pentatonic scale (E G A B D) to ones based on the E Dorian mode (E Fs G A B Cs D), as well as E Dorian’s “parent” scale, D major (D E Fs G A B Cs). </p> <p>We also broke things down to the D major scale’s five-tone subset, D major pentatonic (D E Fs A B) and its relative minor equivalent, B minor pentatonic (B D E Fs A). In this edition of In Deep, I will shift the focus from minor to major with an exploration of one of the most commonly used major modes, Mixolydian. </p> <p>The broad appeal and usage of the Mixolydian mode is based on the prevalence of dominant-seventh chords in such a wide variety of musical styles, specifically blues, rock and country. If you are familiar with the major scale, understanding Mixolydian will be very easy, as there is only one scale degree that differs between the major scale and the Mixolydian mode. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>FIGURE 1 illustrates the A major scale played in fourth position, with the intervallic structure indicated beneath the notation. The A major scale consists of the notes A B Cs D E Fs Gs. Intervallically, this scale is spelled 1 (root), ma2 (major second), ma3 (major third), 4, 5, ma6 (major sixth), ma7 (major seventh). Mixolydian differs from the major scale in the seventh scale degree: in Mixolydian, it is lowered one half step from the major seventh to the dominant, or “flatted,” seventh, (“f7”). FIGURE 2 shows A Mixolydian in fourth position, again with each note’s harmonic function indicated. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>The best way to get a handle on A Mixolydian in this position is to drill on it, playing it up and down many times, as shown in FIGURE 3. As always, begin slowly, with care and attention to precision, so that the sound and attack of each note will be even, smooth and consistent. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>Another great exercise is to play the notes of the mode in descending pairs, as depicted in FIGURE 4. Here, I begin on the A root note, the first scale degree, and then play G, the next lower note in the scale. This is followed by B, the second scale degree, followed by the next lower note in the scale, A. This pattern then continues all the way through to the highest notes of the mode available in this position. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>Once you have a handle on this exercise, try the one shown in FIGURE 5, which is the inverse of FIGURE 4. Starting on the highest root note in this position, I follow it with the next higher note in the scale. I then begin one note lower and repeat the process, and then carry this formula in a descending manner through the rest of the scale degrees of A Mixolydian in this position. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>Most of you are probably well familiar with scale exercises based on groups of three, four, five, six or more notes. FIGURE 6 offers an exercise played in eighth-note triplets based on A Mixolydian. In each three-note “cell,” a scale degree is played and followed by the next lower scale degree, then a return to the original starting note. The formula ascends one scale degree at a time through A Mixolydian in fourth position. FIGURE 7 is also based on eighth-note triplets, but the melodic shape of each cell differs from FIGURE 6 in that each eighth-note triplet consists of three scale degrees that progressively descend. It begins B-A-G, followed by A-G-Fs, G-Fs-E, Fs-E-D, etc. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>A very cool way to create a “Mixolydian” sound is to alter the minor pentatonic scale by one note. FIGURE 8a illustrates A minor pentatonic (A C D E G), as played in fifth position in ascending and descending form. If we switch the minor third of A, C, to the major third, Cs, the result is a five-tone scale known as A dominant pentatonic, illustrated in FIGURE 8b. Play this scale up and down many times in order to memorize the fingering. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>FIGURES 9–11 offer three different runs that utilize the A dominant pentatonic scale as its basis. Throughout FIGURE 9, I approach the major third, Cs, from below by using either a slide or a hammer-on. At the end of bar 1 into bar 2, I introduce the notes of an Em7 arpeggio (E G B D) as a melodic superimposition over A7, working back into an A Mixolydian sound with the ascending chromatic tones B-C-Cs. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>Another twist on the superimposed arpeggio approach kicks off FIGURE 10, as the notes of an Fsm7 arpeggio (Fs A Cs E) are played in descending order, followed by an ascending Em7 arpeggio (E G B D). This in turn is followed by more conventional A dominant pentatonic phrases that clearly related to the A7 “home” chord. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>A great exercise for memorizing any scale is to play it up and down a single string across the entire length of the fretboard. FIGURES 12a and 12b offer two noodle-y legato licks based on eighth and 16th notes that descend the high E and B strings, respectively, with a liberal use of pull-offs used in combination with descending finger slides. </p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>One of the most prevalent uses of the Mixolydian modality in both blues and R&amp;B/soul is the incorporation of harmonized two-note phrases based on either thirds or sixths. Just as drilling the A Mixolydian mode up and down one string reaps many rewards, so does applying the approach to two-note pairs of thirds and sixths up and down a pair of strings. FIGURES 13a and 13b illustrated harmonized Mixolydian thirds in the key of A on the high E and B, and the B and G, strings, respectively. FIGURE 14 shows A Mixolydian played in sixths on the high E and G strings. Try moving the harmonized thirds and sixths to other adjacent and nonadjacent string pairs to gain a fuller understanding of A Mixolydian all over the fretboard. </p> Holiday 2012 In Deep Blogs Lessons Tue, 08 Jan 2013 15:33:52 +0000 Andy Aledort Clutch Guitarist on New Album: "The Most Intense, Riffy, In-Your-Face Experience Yet" <!--paging_filter--><p>“It surprises me that we’ve come up with such a hard-hitting album at this point in our career,” Clutch guitarist Tim Sult says of the band’s 10th studio album, <em>Earth Rocker</em>. “I think it’s definitely, song-wise, the most intense, riffy, in-your-face experience yet.” </p> <p>Clutch formed in Maryland more than 20 years ago as hardcore stoner-rock group, but over the years they’ve incorporated a diverse range of influences into their music, including psychedelic jam, blues and southern rock. Throughout all of their musical explorations, Sult’s tough, wiry riffs and heavy blues picking have been an important part of their sound. This time out, his guitar work is front and center. “We’ve kept it really simple and straightforward,” he says. “Lots of guitars. Right in your face.”</p> <p>For <em>Earth Rocker</em>, due out in March on the band’s Weathermaker Records, Clutch reunited with producer Machine, with whom they worked on their 2004 rocker,<em> Blast Tyrant</em>. But Sult dismisses the assumption that Machine (whose credits include albums by Lamb of God, Suicide Silence and other metal and hardcore acts) instigated the new disc’s aggressive direction. “It just kinda happened,” he says. “We just happened to write all these heavy songs.”</p> <p>The straightforward, aggro vibe of the new material is also mirrored by Sult’s minimalist gear choices. “I’ve kept my whole setup pretty simple for this album, just a [Marshall] JCM 900 and JCM 45,” he says. “And I really just played one guitar, my Les Paul Junior with P-90 pickups.” </p> Clutch Holiday 2012 Interviews News Tue, 08 Jan 2013 15:31:13 +0000 Ed Leonard Interview: Gary Clark Jr. Discusses His New Album, 'Blak and Blu' <!--paging_filter--><p>If you went to a music festival this past spring or summer, chances are pretty good that you saw Gary Clark Jr. perform. </p> <p>From Coachella and Lollapalooza to JazzFest, the Newport Folk Festival and even Metallica’s Orion Music Festival, Clark appeared at more music festivals in 2012 than any other performing artist this year. </p> <p>Of course, chances are pretty good that if you saw Clark you’ve also already become a fan of the young singer/guitarist from Austin, Texas, who is earning rave reviews for his distinctive blend of blues, soul, hard rock and R&amp;B that defies categorization. </p> <p>By playing to new and diverse audiences at nearly every major music festival imaginable, Clark has steadily built a devoted following nationwide and made the release of his first full-length major-label album, <em>Blak and Blu</em>, one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. </p> <p>Although he already released several acclaimed independent albums and EPs over the past eight years, <em>Blak and Blu</em> presents Clark at the top of his game, capturing fresh and fiery studio performances that benefited from all the hours he’s clocked doing live gigs over the last few years.</p> <p>“I came into the studio with a lot of attitude from playing live,” Clark says. “The band we used for the album was different from my live band, but I’ve played with [drummer] J.J. Johnson before, so he was familiar with the kind of energy that I was going for. We just had a good time and cut loose.” </p> <p>Part of the challenge of making <em>Blak and Blu</em> was finding a producer who not only was adept in the various styles of music that characterize Clark’s music but also could give him the bold, modern sound he wanted to capture. The solution was to form a team consisting of Clark, Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Dave Matthews Band) and Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Mastodon, Maroon 5), who also played bass on the album. </p> <p>“Mike’s name came up as a possible producer,” Clark explains. “I was already familiar with the work he had done with Dr. Dre, Eminem and 50 Cent, so I thought it would be great to work with him. Mike really took things where I wanted to go, especially on the tracks where I wanted things a little more funky, and even on the things that I wanted to be really heavy and hypnotic. He made a big difference in how the album sounds sonically. His musical taste is all over the place, like mine, so he was very enthusiastic and always encouraged me to try different things.”</p> <p>While Clark is often described as a blues artist, <em>Blak and Blu</em> reveals that he’s less of a staunch purist and more of an adventurist who is redefining the genre for a new generation in a manner similar to Jimi Hendrix in the Sixties. “Most of the songs I do are very different from the typical I-IV-V blues thing,” Clark says, mentioning his song “You Saved Me” as one example. “That’s funky soul with a heavy rock vibe. At first I wasn’t sure whether I should do a song like that on this album, but Mike said that I might as well give it a try. I used my Epiphone Casino through a Drop Tune pedal, a Super Fuzz and an Analog Man Astro Tone pedal to get that tone, which sounds like butter to me.”</p> <p>Another fine example of Clark’s unique sound is the album’s title track, which is driven by sampled loops and electronic R&amp;B beats with only a subtle taste of guitar. “Most of my songs start out as being very aggressive and guitar driven,” he says. “But when I’m at home I usually sit around and make beats, and I don’t play guitar that much. When I was growing up I was into guitar players, and I was always jamming to rock and roll. </p> <p>But at the same time I was listening to hip-hop, so I soaked up how those productions sound and how sampling works. It’s a really cool way of flipping things up and putting your story over it. When I wrote ‘Blak and Blu,’ I wasn’t sure if it would fit in with the rest of my live set, but I decided to do it anyway. It’s not guitar heavy, but I snuck in some slide guitar. I loved the melody, and I knew that if I didn’t record it this time it was going to haunt me. I just needed to put it out there so I could move on.”</p> <p>However, guitar plays a dominant role on the rest of <em>Blak and Blu</em>, from the massive fuzz-tone riff that drives “Numb” to his raunchy rockabilly-style solo on “Travis County.” Most of the songs are Clark’s original compositions, with a few previously featured on his independent albums (with very different arrangements), but Clark also included a tribute to Jimi Hendrix’s “Third Stone from the Sun,” which segues into a slinky, funky cover of Little Johnny Taylor’s “If You Love Me Like You Say” (best known for the version that Albert Collins recorded in the Eighties).</p> <p>Clark previously quoted the melody of “Third Stone from the Sun” in his live performance of “When My Train Pulls In,” featured on last year’s <em>The Bright Lights</em> EP, but he says that he initially intended to introduce his interpretation of the Hendrix classic the way it’s heard on <em>Blak and Blu</em>. </p> <p>“I don’t know why I decided to throw that Hendrix riff in at the end of ‘When My Train Pulls In,’ ” he says. “I actually meant to introduce this version of ‘Third Stone’ first, but that’s not how things worked out. I’ve been playing ‘Third Stone’ with ‘If You Love Me Like You Say’ for a while now. I’m really into productions where the whole vibe will change through the song, which is something I’ve developed from playing live. I’ll just yell out to the guys in the band, ‘Let’s do it like this!’ and they’ll switch right into it. We thought it was a crazy idea to throw those two songs together, but it worked.”</p> <p>Although Clark’s live sidekick guitarist, Zapata, did not play on <em>Blak and Blu</em>, his presence is felt throughout, namely in the way that he influenced Clark’s newfound passion for effect pedals. Clark’s current pedal board consists of a Teese Real McCoy Custom wah, Analogman King of Tone overdrive, Analogman Astro Tone fuzz, Fulltone Octafuzz and Analogman ARDX20 dual analog delay. </p> <p>“I’m obsessed with fuzz pedals,” he admits. “I wasn’t all that familiar with fuzz before, but Zapata is on it. He’ll bring new pedals over to my house or to rehearsals to show me. Every now and then he’ll make suggestions about what he thinks I should use. I strayed away from distortion for a while, but now I’m back into it in a big way, and I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different distortion and fuzz pedals.”</p> <p>To record the album, Clark mainly relied on his favorite Epiphone Casino although he also played Elizondo’s Gibson ES-335 on a few tracks. His main amp was the Fender Vibro King that he uses onstage. While he occasionally employed several fuzz pedals at once to generate the luscious distortion tones heard on songs like “Numb” and “You Saved Me,” most of the special effects came from Clark’s fingers, like the Tom Morello–inspired “record scratching” sounds heard on “If You Love Me Like You Say.” “Next Door Neighbor Blues” showcases Clark at his stripped-down best, accompanying his singing by stomping out the rhythm on a kick drum and plucking and sliding on an acoustic resonator guitar.</p> <p>With the release of <em>Blak and Blu</em>, the upcoming 2013 festival season and a guest collaboration with Alicia Keys on her upcoming <em>Girl on Fire</em> album, Gary Clark Jr. is going to be nearly impossible to ignore over the next year. As exciting as the upcoming prospects sound, Clark wonders how he can top the year he just enjoyed, which culminated in his performance at the White House for the “Red, White, and Blues” concert in honor of Chicago’s blues pioneers.</p> <p>“It was an honor to be invited to the White House,” Clark says. “When I looked to my right and left on that stage I was surrounded by legends. I never thought that I’d ever be standing onstage next to B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, and then I’d look out in the audience and see the President of the United States. That was a really special moment for me.”</p> <p>Although Clark spent nearly a decade as Austin’s greatest “undiscovered” treasure, he thinks that he finally hit the national spotlight at exactly the right moment, when his craft was perfected and audiences were truly hungry for the style of music he offers. “It feels strange to be getting this much attention after all of these years of being unknown,” he says, “but it’s good timing. I’m grateful for the way that things have worked out. I don’t think that I could have planned things any better than what’s actually happened.”</p> Gark Clark Jr. Holiday 2012 Interviews Features Mon, 07 Jan 2013 17:52:35 +0000 Chris Gill, Photo by Justin Borucki Review: Electro-Harmonix Superego Pedal <!--paging_filter--><p>If you consider yourself a staunch traditionalist, play only the blues or neoclassical shred, and think The Edge’s playing sounds weird, turn the page now. On the other hand, if Radiohead, Sonic Youth and David Torn are on your iPod’s playlist, read on. The Electro-Harmonix Superego is a category-defying effect pedal that falls into a foggy region between reverb, sustainer and synth engine and generates some of the most mysterious and ethereal textures ever to emanate from a guitar. Offering simple but powerful controls and an effect loop, the Superego delivers a seemingly endless variety of textures, keyboard-like tones and soundscapes that will inspire adventurous players for a lifetime.</p> <p><strong>FEATURES</strong></p> <p>Basically, the Superego samples a brief snippet of sound and “freezes” it. Once it’s done this, you can sustain the sound infinitely, glide from one sound to another, or layer it with other sounds. How the Superego responds depends primarily on the mode selected: Latch, which provides infinite sustain; Momentary, in which the effect is active only when the pedal is down; and Auto, in which the Superego detects each new note or chord and sustains and decays it automatically.</p> <p>While the Superego can create some impressively complex effects, it is exceptionally simple to use. It has controls for speed/layer, glissando, dry level and effect level, and a three-position mini switch for selecting modes. In addition to mono 1/4-inch input and output jacks, the Superego features effect-loop send and return jacks for expanding the Superego’s capabilities with additional stomp boxes or processors. </p> <p><strong>PERFORMANCE</strong></p> <p>The Superego opens up an entirely new sonic territory, so the best way to use it is to dig in and experiment. With Latch mode, you can hold whatever sound is played at the moment the effect switch is engaged, then improvise over it with a dry signal. If you press down on the footswitch again, an additional sound is layered on top of the previous sound. The number of layers, from one to infinity, can be selected with the speed/layer control. In Momentary mode, the speed/layer control adjusts the attack and decay of the “frozen” sound. In Auto mode, each new note, chord or sound played automatically sustains and decays at the speed determined by the speed/layer knob, as long as you aren’t holding down the footswitch. </p> <p>The Superego sounds great on its own, but it really becomes mind blowing when tremolo, delay, phasing, flanging, vibe, pitch shifting or combinations of effects are patched into the loop. The send jack can also function as an effect-only output, transforming the main output into a dry-only output when nothing is patched into the return jack.</p> <p><strong>THE BOTTOM LINE</strong></p> <p>The Electro-Harmonix Superego provides a lifetime of inspiration, exploration and truly musical effects for guitarists who want to boldly expand the sonic capabilities of their instruments beyond traditional sounds.</p> <p><strong>LIST PRICE</strong> $283.60<br /> <strong>MANUFACTURER</strong> Electro-Harmonix, <a href=""></a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Holiday 2012 Effects News Gear Mon, 07 Jan 2013 15:25:04 +0000 Chris Gill Review: Dean Rusty Cooley Signature RC7X Wraith Seven-String <!--paging_filter--><p>Seven-string players generally fall into one of two categories: those who use the low B string primarily to create crushing bass chunk, and shredders like Rusty Cooley, who deftly apply their extensive musical vocabulary and virtuoso technique to the guitar’s full, extended range. Cooley’s contributions aren’t limited to awe-inspiring musical prowess—his recent work with Dean Guitars has advanced the art of seven-string construction and resulted in some of the style’s most playable and tonally balanced instruments. Newest among these collaborative creations is the Dean Rusty Cooley signature RC7X Wraith, an import accompaniment to his USA models that offers custom graphics and inlays, high-end components, effortless playability and a street price under $1,100. </p> <p><strong>FEATURES</strong></p> <p>Wide, unwieldy necks are the chief deterrent for most would-be seven-string players, but the Wraith’s refined, three-piece maple neck feels completely natural and unimposing. Enhancing this comfort is one of the best out-of-the-box setups that I’ve encountered. The strings ride just a hair above the extra-jumbo frets, with no buzzy notes or dead spots anywhere on the ebony board. As a result, this guitar is ideal for sweeping and two-handed fretboard styles. Strategic contours at the neck heel and behind the lower horn allow uncompromised access to the highest frets, and whammy tricks galore are made possible via a recessed and back-routed Original Floyd Rose.</p> <p>The Wraith’s design also creates proper seven-string tonal balance. Bolt-on construction combines with the ebony’s bright nature to increase the attack speed and punch, which is especially beneficial for legato and low-end definition. By eliminating the active EMG 707s’ tone pot on the Wraith, Dean has maximized output and treble presence, and the neck pickup’s slanted installation extends the high-frequency curve commensurate to the instrument’s additional bass potential. </p> <p><strong>PERFORMANCE</strong></p> <p>The RC7X Wraith rings rather than rumbles through its alder body, thanks to increased mass at the headstock, neck and bridge. Chords are intensely rich, and single notes are round rather than percussive. This makes it well-suited to jazz fusion and even advanced country styles. Deep-rooted double-stops and thunderous walking bass lines add new dimensions to contemporary composition. Increasing the amp’s gain further reveals the EMGs’ harmonic potential and impressive sustain, almost begging the player to shred at maximum velocity. Tearing into this beast at full gain is a truly wild experience, and the guitar sounds balanced and defined during even the fastest Cooley-style sweeps and transitions.</p> <p><strong>THE BOTTOM LINE</strong></p> <p>The fast and affordable Dean Rusty Cooley signature RC7X Wraith is sure to fascinate shred-happy Cooley devotees or players who simply yearn for a seven-string that’s balanced and effortless to play. </p> <p><strong>LIST PRICE</strong> $1,890 (with deluxe hardshell case)<br /> <strong>MANUFACTURER</strong> Armadillo Enterprises, Inc., <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/deanwraith.jpg" width="620" /></p> Dean Dean Guitars Holiday 2012 Electric Guitars News Gear Fri, 04 Jan 2013 15:31:37 +0000 Eric Kirkland Review: DigiTech 5th-Generation Whammy Pedal <!--paging_filter--><p>DigiTech has introduced several new generations of the Whammy pedal since the first version was discontinued, in 1993. </p> <p>Despite the new features and improvements introduced with each new model, Whammy connoisseurs still consider the original the one to own. That sentiment may change, thanks to the new fifth-generation Whammy pedal. </p> <p>Its sound quality rivals that of the original Whammy, and it has a wide variety of cool new features that will earn the pedal its own new generation of fans, who will likely consider this DigiTech’s best Whammy pedal yet.</p> <p><strong>FEATURES</strong></p> <p>The fifth-generation Whammy offers all of the same Whammy, harmony and detune effects found on the original version and adds effects for 4th Up and Down, 5th Up and Down, and Dive Bomb. Whereas previous Whammy pedals (with the exception of the Whammy DT) provided monophonic pitch shifting, the new Whammy is polyphonic, allowing you to pitch bend and harmonize full chords with no glitching. Should you want the original glitching effects (which some guitarists consider a feature rather than a bug), the pedal features a Classic/Chords switch that lets you select monophonic or polyphonic modes. </p> <p>Other upgrades include true-bypass switching, a MIDI input (for selecting and controlling the different Whammy effects with an external controller) and nine-volt DC power, which makes the new Whammy more pedal-board friendly as it can be powered by a multiple-pedal DC power supply (just make sure it has a high current output as the Whammy needs at least 265mA). The only feature missing is the dry-signal output found on previous versions.</p> <p><strong>PERFORMANCE</strong></p> <p>The fifth-generation Whammy is about a third bigger than the original Whammy, but it maintains a relatively small footprint. The treadle is also larger and more comfortable to use, as it swivels from toe up to an almost flat position instead pivoting from toe up to a somewhat uncomfortable toe-down position like the original. </p> <p>With 10 Whammy, nine harmony and two detune effects, the new Whammy offers plenty of creative inspiration. The polyphonic pitch-shift setting sounds incredibly smooth and realistic, particularly on the octave up/down harmony effect, which allows guitarists to transition between realistic 12-string guitar (toe down) and chunky bass tones reminiscent of a Hamer 12-string bass. Classic mode sounds as rich and thick as an original Whammy, but it doesn’t glitch quite as dramatically (which most players will embrace as an improvement). </p> <p><strong>THE BOTTOM LINE</strong></p> <p>The fifth-generation Whammy accurately duplicates the original Whammy’s quirks and qualities while providing new features and effects that undeniably make it DigiTech’s best Whammy pedal ever. </p> <p><strong>LIST PRICE</strong> $249.95<br /> <strong>MANUFACTURER</strong> DigiTech, <a href=""></a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> DigiTech Holiday 2012 Effects News Gear Thu, 03 Jan 2013 16:01:35 +0000 Chris Gill Interview: Soundgarden's Kim Thayil on Alternate Tunings, 'King Animal' and More <!--paging_filter--><p>When the members of Soundgarden—singer and guitarist Chris Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron—reunited in 2010 after more than a decade apart, making a new album was the last thing on anyone’s mind. According to Thayil, the band reconvened only to address some outstanding business matters. But musical connections can have a powerful allure. Within a short time, they picked up their instruments and began booking scattered live dates, including a headlining appearance at 2010’s Lollapalooza and, the following year, a full-scale summer shed tour. </p> <p>As it turns out, the live shows were only a harbinger of bigger things to come. Says Thayil, “If you get the four of us in a room together, we’re not just going to whip out ‘Outshined.’ We’re more inclined to plug in and start pulling out some new riffs.”</p> <p>The result of that inclination is the new <em>King Animal</em>, Soundgarden’s first album of new material in 16 years and a worthy addition to the band’s storied catalog. Indeed, all the characteristics that contributed to establishing Soundgarden as one of the most successful and forward-thinking hard rock acts of the Nineties are firmly in evidence on the new record: Pile-driving riffs juxtaposed against jerky, odd-metered rhythms; finely honed melodies that are dirtied up with all manner of guitar dissonance, feedback and squeals; the use of unorthodox altered tunings to conjure atypical melodies and tonal colors; and, of course, Cornell’s distinctive feral wail. </p> <p>That the band was able to seemingly pick up right where it left off doesn’t appear to surprise the now 52-year-old Thayil. “For the most part when I write songs I’m thinking, What would Chris’ voice sound like on this? What would Matt play on the drums? What would Ben do?” he says. “And I think the other guys feel the same way. We all envision and are very aware of each other’s styles and think about the band collectively when we’re writing.” </p> <p>And so while in the leadoff track, “Been Away Too Long,” Cornell sings, “You can’t go home,” Soundgarden appear to have found their way back. “The whole thing started as a business concern, then moved to a performing thing and, finally, to us being a creative unit again,” Thayil says. “Which has been really great.” </p> <p>The guitarist recently sat down with <em>Guitar World</em> to talk about how <em>King Animal</em> came to be. He also took time to consider Soundgarden’s trailblazing history, discuss the gear that has helped to shape his distinctive sound and reveal just what he’d been doing all those years when the band was broken up.</p> <p><strong>Soundgarden have been back together for a few years now, but it wasn’t until recently that there was talk of recording new material. </strong></p> <p>I think when we first got back together the interest was only in attending to aspects of our legacy—things like merchandising, our online presence—that didn’t exist. And there were some legal and financial issues we had to address as a partnership. In the time since the band had split in 1997, there had been quite a change in the music industry. Our record company, A&amp;M, was bought by Universal and was pretty much turned into a back-catalog label. Our management was downsized, and became, like, a voicemail and a P.O. box. And the band was broken up. So there was no label, no management and no band to pay attention to any of our affairs. </p> <p><strong>You reformed in order to change that? </strong></p> <p>We wanted to work things out. I think it was in January 2010 that we restarted our fan club, put up a web page and began to develop a web site. We were working on merchandising deals for T-shirts and posters and some of our records, and making them available online. Then we started in on the social media stuff. Because we had no e-presence. And all the rumors and interest that was generated from that led to offers for us to play live. So it was just a matter of time before we got in a room together to jam. And that was fun. It went well. So it was, “Let’s play a show.” We did a few shows and then we played Lollapalooza. And through performing and rehearsing, we naturally jammed and improvised and introduced riffs and ideas to one other. That stimulated the interest in writing and recording together. And now here we are. </p> <p><strong>A stylistic hallmark of Soundgarden’s music—and one that is very much present in the new material—has always been the band’s tendency to write and play in altered tunings. Where did that interest initially stem from?</strong></p> <p>Well, the whole drop-D tuning thing was probably popularized in Seattle as a consequence of our success. And we couldn’t be stagnant and just stay there, so we started playing around with other tunings. We liked the fact that what we were playing didn’t sound like what our friends and peers were playing. So we started introducing things like open slide tunings into our songs. Then we had what we called the “digga digga” tuning, which was drop-D with the A string dropped to G. That really took off for us around [1991’s] <em>Badmotorfinger</em>. And also the [low to high] E E B B B B tuning that Chris and Ben used on [1994’s] <em>Superunknown</em>. [This tuning can be heard on <em>Superunknown</em> cuts like “My Wave” and “The Day I Tried to Live.”]</p> <p><strong>I recall that the song “Mind Riot” from <em>Badmotorfinger</em> was recorded with all six strings tuned to varying octaves of E. </strong></p> <p>Chris came up with that. And I believe it came from a conversation he had with [Pearl Jam bassist] Jeff Ament. Jeff said to Chris, “Hey man, wouldn’t it be crazy if someone did a song where every string was tuned to E?” Well, that wasn’t a completely uncommon tuning. It was done well before us. But Chris was like, “That would be weird!” And he came up with “Mind Riot.” But I think Jeff had said it as a joke. </p> <p><strong>You mentioned earlier that you felt the drop-D tuning that was so prevalent in grunge music came from you guys. </strong></p> <p>Well, there weren’t a lot of bands doing the drop-D thing properly. That all kind of came from us. Because, in the beginning, the big Seattle bands were probably us and Green River, and then Mother Love Bone. The fact that Alice in Chains and Nirvana started using it was because we used it. </p> <p><strong>How did you come to discover the tuning?</strong></p> <p>There was a conversation between me, [Melvins singer and guitarist] Buzz Osborne and [Green River singer and future Mudhoney frontman] Mark Arm in Mark’s apartment in the U District [the University District in Seattle] in ’85 or ’86. We were just sitting around listening to records, and Buzz was telling us about Black Sabbath. He said, “Hey, you know on this song Tony Iommi uses this tuning where he tunes his E string down to D.” And we were all like, “Really?” All I knew of altered tunings back then was slide guitar tunings, like what the country guys used. And I knew Sonic Youth was experimenting with a lot of tunings. I was not aware of the Melvins using drop-D, but I’m sure they were. </p> <p>But what I was most aware of was Buzz letting Mark and me know that Sabbath did it. So I went and started playing around with that. And I wrote the song “Nothing to Say,” and Chris wrote “Beyond the Wheel,” and we became married to that tuning. I remember that the Alice in Chains guys at the time were more like a glam-metal boogie band, and one day I ran into Jerry [Cantrell] at a D.O.A. concert, and he says to me, “Man, I love that song ‘Nothing to Say.’ What are you doing there?” And I told him, “Well, it’s in drop-D tuning.” And Alice in Chains became a different band almost overnight!</p> <p><strong>Another trademark of your guitar approach is your use of feedback and squalls as melodic and lead devices. You can hear it on songs like <em>Badmotorfinger</em>’s “Jesus Christ Pose” or, on the new album, “A Thousand Days Before.” </strong></p> <p>From our earliest days we were known as a band that would leave a lot of space for squealing and humming. Our very first recording was “Tears to Forget,” which appeared on the Deep Six compilation album. I remember that at the end of the session we had an extra track left, and so I did a whole track of just feedback from beginning to end. Then we mixed it into the song. And that was unheard of at the time, at least among us guys. I remember people saying, “They wasted a whole fucking track with Kim just fucking around!” Then when we rerecorded the song for Sub Pop [for 1987’s Screaming Life EP] we did the same thing. [laughs]</p> <p>In general though, my sound is largely a result of the guitar I play, the Guild S-100, which I’ve been using since I was 18. It’s very microphonic. If you pick beneath the bridge or above the nut, the sounds are quite loud acoustically. That facilitates making weird noises. And I couple that with a few pedals. In the early days it was usually wah and chorus, but now I’m using delay a little more. On the new album I had a T-Rex delay pedal, and you can hear it on things like “Worse Dreams” and the intro to “By Crooked Steps.” So those effects help to accentuate and augment the kind of squeals I get from the Guild. </p> <p><strong>Is the Guild still your main guitar today?</strong></p> <p>Yes. Though on the new album I also used a couple of [Gibson] ES-335s. One in particular was a Trini Lopez that belonged to [King Animal producer] Adam Kasper. Like the Guild, that guitar has a long space between the bridge and the tailpiece where the strings can resonate pretty well. And you can also play behind the nut, so you can get a lot of weird sounds. And it’s semihollow, so it’s also sensitive to feedback. For amps, I was using mostly the Mesa/Boogie Electra Dyne. I also had a Mesa combo, a Tremoverb, I think, that belonged to Matt [Cameron].</p> <p><strong>Your partnership with Chris Cornell stretches back more than a quarter century. What was it that first attracted you to him?</strong></p> <p>I think it was how easily we wrote together, though back at the beginning of Soundgarden he was mostly writing on drums. But Chris, [original Soundgarden bassist] Hiro [Yamamoto] and I found it really easy to rehearse for a few hours and come up with a whole handful of ideas and at least one new song. We were able to be prolific. In all my previous bands I had been the primary songwriter, but in this band it was definitely very collaborative, at least initially. The collaborative nature kind of diminished after Hiro left, though we still write in different combinations. That leads to songs like “Jesus Christ Pose” or, on the new album, “By Crooked Steps.” </p> <p><strong>During the years that Soundgarden was inactive, Chris formed Audioslave and released a few solo albums, and Matt joined Pearl Jam. You kept a pretty low profile.</strong></p> <p>Are you asking what was I doing all that time? I considered myself semi-retired. I liked reclaiming my life. Because I didn’t need the money; I still don’t need the money. I like being creative, but I didn’t want to have to worry about publishing. I didn’t want to deal with contracts and managers and lawyers and accountants. And once you say, “Kim Thayil’s making a record,” it becomes, “We need a contract, we need a lawyer, we need a manager. And hey, what about a tour?” So I was like, “You know, I’m just gonna go have fun with my friends. I’m going to play music recreationally.” And every once in a while I’d go in and record on a friend’s project or help out a producer like Adam Kasper or Steve Fiske. Whenever Steve does a Pigeonhead record, I’m there. When Adam Kasper was working on the Probot record [with Dave Grohl], I came in. That’s fun for me. There are no expectations, and I’m able to just live my life and not be “rock star guy.” </p> <p>But then after a few years of that I did start to think, Shit man. All those damn solo records you were talking about making! You ever actually gonna record those? [laughs] Now we’ll have to wait and see.</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="/soundgarden">Soundgarden</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Holiday 2012 Soundgarden Interviews News Features Wed, 02 Jan 2013 20:37:44 +0000 Richard Bienstock