Who or what you inspired to play guitar?
It was the idea of being in a band. It seemed like the coolest thing in the world.
What was the first song you mastered on the guitar?
I believe it was Dio's "Rainbow in the Dark."
What was your first gig?
The father of the bass player in my first band ran a Boy Scout troop and he let us play at this big Scout party. We played all originals, and though it was pretty heavy stuff and couldn't have been very good, people actually seemed to like it. Even the little kids.
How about your best gig with Disturbed?
Last November we made our first trip to London, and the club sold out. People were singing along to every song and jumping up and down, and it just blew me away that so many people in a different country were so familiar with our music. It was just way beyond my expectations, which made it a real charge.
And your worst gig?
Playing on rented gear without a soundcheck is a nightmare, and we usually have to do that at those big radio shows. We recently did one in D.C. with lots of great acts, including Moby and Fuel. There were thousands of people cheering and my amp cut out on the first song. Bad scene.
What has been the most surprising aspect of success?
Watching our fan base grow and the album take off over the past year has been an overwhelming, amazing experience. After a year on the road, we're all still the best of friends, and hopefully that can continue. I live with the singer and bass player, and when we're home we still go to the same shitty bars we've always gone to, but now everyone wants to talk to us. You always hear, "Don't let success change you," and I don't think we've changed at all, but some peoples' perceptions of us have changed. I keep saying, "Treat me the same way you did a year ago."
Any fashion tips for guitarists?
Be individual, be an original and do whatever you're comfortable doing.