Adelitas Way Guitarist Robert Zakaryan Talks 'Deserve This' EP, Gear and More

Las Vegas-based hard rock band Adelitas Way first tasted success after the release of their 2009 self-titled debut album. That album's premiere single, “Invincible,” became an instant top-five Active Rock smash.

Their sophomore effort, 2011's Home School Valedictorian, spawned four more singles, including two Number 1 rock radio hits.

The band's new EP, Deserve This, which was released in March, continues the band's mission of delivering hard-hitting ear candy, including “Filthy Heart," “Harbor the Fugitive,” “I Get Around” and the powerful title track.

Adelitas Way—Rick DeJesus (vocals), Trevor Stafford (drums), Andrew Cushing (bass) and Robert Zakaryan (guitar)—have completed a successful Pledge Music funding campaign for their next studio album and are about to hit the road with Red and Bad Seed Rising, followed by a headlining tour of their own.

I recently spoke to Zakaryan about the band’s new EP, his gear and more.

GUITAR WORLD: What can you tell me about the band’s new EP, Deserve This?

Up until this point, we had always had input from a lot of other people with our albums. It was always a case of we had our ideas and they had theirs. We were never able to do what we really wanted to do. For this album there was no agenda and it was the first time we really had a chance to be ourselves. Everything came naturally. It was a liberating, creative experience.

What’s the band’s songwriting process like?

Many of the songs on the EP began with a riff, and then everyone got together and started jamming on it. Sometimes Rick may have an idea for a song and I’ll try to think of the message he’s trying to convey and play that feeling. But most of the writing is done in the same room with all of our energies having input.

What are some of your favorite songs from the new EP?

I really love playing “Sometimes You’re Meant to Get Used” and “Filthy Heart." I really love the solos in those two songs, and it was fun recording them. Those are my favorites, but I love the whole EP.

What can you tell me about the band’s successful Pledge Music campaign?

Our fans are beyond amazing. It’s incredible when things like that can happen. We’re building something that’s more true to ourselves, and the fans have really connected with it. It’s a pure fan/band relationship!

How did your affection for Gibson Les Pauls begin?

The way I started playing them was a completely natural thing. The more I turned my ear to the way my favorite records sounded and the things I wanted to hear, the more I knew I had to play a Les Paul through a Marshall. When you play the right guitar through the right amp, it’s larger than life.

What’s your current setup like?

I use a Marshall JCM800 and just got a 50-watt Plexi that I used on the song “Harbor the Fugitive." It has a cleaner sound but has a really good bite. It’s almost like clean sustain, and it's the coolest thing. I usually run both heads straight with just a few pedals.

What’s been the biggest highlight of your career so far?

Honestly, the thing that’s excites me the most is when we go on tour and people come out to see us. The energy transfer between us and the audience is just incredible, and the more passionate we are the more people connect. I know what it’s like to go to a show and be inspired by seeing a band, so when people come up to me after a show and tell me the same thing, it’s the coolest feeling in the world. It’s those full-circle moments that make it extra special. The relationship of transferring the metaphysical in us is the most exciting thing.

For more about Adelitas Way, visit

ADELITAS WAY TOUR DATESMay 29th: Diamond Ballroom - Oklahoma City, OK
May 30th: Bourbon Theater -Lincoln, NE
May 31st: Aggie Theater - Ft Collins, CO
June 1st: Summit Music Hall - Denver, CO
June 3rd: Top Deck - Farmington, NM
June 4th: Marquee Theater - Phoenix, AZ
June 5th: Rialto - Tucson, AZ
June 6th: Brooklyn Bowl - Las Vegas, NV
June 7th: In The Venue - Salt Lake City, UT
June 9th: The Whisky - Los Angeles, CA
June 11th: House Of Blues - Anaheim, CA
June 13th: Ace Of Spades - Sacramento, CA
June 17th: DNA - San Francisco, CA
June 19th: Bossanova Ballroom - Portland, OR
June 23rd: Knitting Factory - Boise, ID
June 24th: Knitting Factory - Reno, NV

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James Wood

James is a guitarist and freelance writer who's interviewed some of the biggest names in music. He is the author of four books and his writing credits include work for Guitar World, AXS and Yahoo! as well as for his hometown newspaper where he writes on a variety of topics with both passion and humor. As a guitarist, he's performed everywhere from local bars and nightclubs to some of the biggest stages in front of thousands of music fans.