Michael Romeo: “There’s always some Randy Rhoads in what I do, but I throw in a little Van Halen, too”

Michael Romeo
(Image credit: Danny Sanchez)

Mixing mythological and fantasy literature with progressive metal is nothing new to Michael Romeo. Since 1994, the guitar star has guided his New Jersey-based band Symphony X through a series of albums based on the classic works of Homer (The Odyssey), Milton (Paradise Lost) and Dante (The Divine Comedy).

“I always wanted to say something a little more interesting than ‘Let’s get up and party!’” Romeo says. “Some of the themes in classic works are just as relevant today as when they first appeared. Plus, when you’re dealing with heavy concepts, it gives you a roadmap for writing music. You don’t have to just do verse, chorus, verse, chorus. You can do whatever you want and write stuff that’s really big.”

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Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar World, Guitar Player, MusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.