Category Archives: Guitar World Interviews
Shortly after Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord died in 2012, Whitesnake vocalist—and former Deep Purple frontman—David Coverdale reached out to guitarist Ritchie Blackmore about the possibility of working on a project together in Lord’s honor.
Although both musicians were on different pages creatively at the time and couldn’t come to an agreement, the two former Deep Purple members were able to find closure, bury the hatchet on past grievances and move on.
Then Coverdale’s wife, Cindy, suggested that David pay tribute to Lord with Whitesnake. Now Whitesnake is about to unveil Purple, a new studio album that puts insanely good spins on Mark 3 and 4 Deep Purple classics and tastefully pays tribute to one of the pioneers of progressive rock.
Purple, which will be released May 19, also marks the debut of Whitesnake’s new guitarist, Joel Hoekstra, who recently replaced Doug Aldrich. Hoekstra’s resume includes Night Ranger, Trans Siberian Orchestra and Broadway’s Rock of Ages.
These days, Whitesnake includes Coverdale (lead vocals), Reb Beach (guitar), Hoekstra (guitar), Michael Devin (bass) and Tommy Aldridge (drums).
I recently spoke to Hoekstra about Purple and what it’s like being a part of Whitesnake.
What’s it been like to work with David Coverdale?
Working with David has been great! He’s rock royalty with all of these great stories about working with Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore. He really understands music and was very gracious in the studio in allowing us to play what we wanted to play. Now, we’re gearing up for the other aspect—playing these songs live. You talk about songs that lend themselves well to live performance? These songs were written in live performance. It’s going to be exciting.
How did the Purple project begin?
The project actually began before I was even in Whitesnake. Shortly after Jon Lord passed away in 2012, David reached out to Ritchie. He just wanted to touch base with Ritchie and thank him for helping to jump-start his career. The two of them then went into discussions about doing something together in memory of Jon, but [as I hear it] they were on different pages. It was David’s wife, Cindy who then suggested that David do it with Whitesnake. It was a great concept and a total honor for me to be a part of.
Let’s discuss a few tracks from Purple, starting with “Lady Double Dealer.”
That was actually my audition for Whitesnake. I remember when I went out to Reno to meet the guys, that was the song they pulled up. They asked me what I would do for a solo. So I laid down a solo and then in the next section they started taking about a harmony solo and asked me to come up with something. So I wrote the solo that actually ended up making the record. Afterwards, they pretty much said, “Well, dude, come jam with us! Let’s do this!”
You can read the rest of my
Interview With Joel Hoekstra By Clicking Here!
We always love talking to Richie Kotzen. This time, we decided to talk tone.
Kotzen played a huge part in developing the Tech 21 Signature RK5 Fly Rig, which happens to play a major role in how he gets his signature sound.
While Kotzen primarily uses his RK5 live in conjunction with his standard amp rig, this compact unit embodies an entire rig on its own. At its heart is the all-analog SansAmp, which makes it possible to go direct to a PA or mixer. For effects, you have the essentials: a reverb, a delay with tap tempo, a powerful boost and Kotzen’s Signature OMG overdrive.
Below, we discuss the RK5, the Winery Dogs his new solo album and more.
GUITAR WORLD: How did your relationship with Tech 21 begin?
They had sent me a few of their delays and other pedals to try out. I took a liking to the delay and started using it as my primary one. During tours with my band, I found myself doing these fly gigs where I would fly in, do a show or two and then fly out. I really wanted something compact and easy to deal with.
What I wound up doing was combining their delay pedal with the overdrive I was using at the time and then added a foot-switch mechanism for my amp and put it all into one little box. It was crude and wasn’t always super reliable, but I showed it to Andrew Barta at Tech 21 when he was in LA and he agreed it was a great idea. It took a good six months in developing until it was exactly right.
Was there a lot of trial and error involved in the process?
The delay was simple because I already knew what I wanted. The overdrive was a little trickier. I learned a lot about circuits by comparing things but relied a lot on my ears. It went through several variations until Andrew came up with a design that’s just right. I can put that pedal in front of any amp and still get a good sound.
You can read the rest of my
Interview with Richie Kotzen by Clicking Here!
Mötley Crüe recently announced the details of their final round of North American dates.
The tour—Crüe’s last, ever—will conclude on New Year’s Eve in their hometown of Los Angeles, the same city where they began their career more than 34 years ago.
Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee first announced plans for their two-year-long Final Tour last year, when they signed a “cessation of touring” document. It was an agreement that solidified the end of their touring career.
To celebrate their legacy and thank their fans, Mötley Crüe are offering exclusive VIP packages for their final tour dates; these packages include opportunities to meet the band and offer up-close-and-personal views of the show from a newly designed stage setup.
In addition to accumulating worldwide album sales in excess of 80 million units over the course of three decades, Mötley Crüe also have garnered three Grammy nominations, four best-selling books and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
I recently spoke with guitarist Mick Mars about the final Mötley Crüe shows, new music and more.
GUITAR WORLD: With these last few tour dates in LA being announced, has it begun to sink in that this is the last go-around for Mötley Crüe?
Yes, absolutely. This is it. We’re done after this one. I think ending in LA is kind of like coming full circle. Although the place we actually started in, [the Starwood] is torn down and the venues we’re playing now are a lot bigger than when we started! [laughs].
What will you miss about not touring with Mötley Crüe?
It’s a bittersweet thing, but all four of us are still in business together as a corporation. So we’ll still see each other. And even though I may not see the guys on stage, I’ll still be touring myself.
What were some of the challenges the band faced coming up in the LA scene?
From what I recall, a lot of the LA bands that were going around at the time were trying to copy Quiet Riot, who were already signed. So it really came pretty easily for us because we came out with a different look and sound. We were something that was different.
You can check out the rest of my
Interview with Mick Mars By Clicking Here!
Twenty-five years ago, two long-haired blond twins set the world on fire with their debut album, After the Rain.
At a time when glam metal was giving way to grunge, Nelson touched a nerve with the album’s hook-laden title track and “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection,” a Number 1 single.
Today, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson are still going strong. They perform full-band shows as Nelson, pay tribute to their father with their Ricky Nelson Remembered shows and take part in all-star Scrap Metal performances across the country.
While Nelson’s upcoming album, Peace Out [set to be released May 19] might be considered the rock band’s swan song, it might also be their best album, ever. Peace Out is an infectious collection of songs showcasing the maturity of the songwriting as well as Gunnar’s guitar prowess.
Next year, Gunnar and Matthew will begin a new duo project focusing on guitars and vocals. So if Peace Out truly is the end of the rock version of Nelson, Gunnar and Matthew are certainly going out in style.
I recently spoke with Gunnar about Peace Out and his gear and got his thoughts on the 25th anniversary of After the Rain.
GUITAR WORLD: How does Peace Out compare to some of Nelson’s previous records?
Honestly, if I were to recommend a Nelson record to someone who has never heard the band before, it wouldn’t be our first record [After the Rain]. It would be this one. This one features the best of the songwriting, guitar work and vocals. Most of all, the theme of the record is positive, and that’s what this band is 25 years in. When most everyone else is trying to be tough and rock, we want to make people feel good about listening to music.
You can read the rest of my
Interview with Gunnar Nelson by Clicking Here!
10,000 Light Years Ago is the superb new studio album by legendary Moody Blues bassist John Lodge.
It’s Lodge’s first album of new solo material since 1977’s Natural Avenue.
The album contains some of Lodge’s most personal songs and even features guest performances by former Moody Blues members Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder.
I recently spoke with Lodge about the new album and some highlights from his career with the Moody Blues.
GUITAR WORLD: It’s been quite a while since your last solo album. What spawned this project?
I’ve been thinking about making an album for a few years now. It was based on a thought process I had where the future is always in reach but the past is gone forever. But I didn’t want to make an album that was retrospective. I wanted to make one that was about who I am today.
How would you describe the album as a whole?
I always look at the song “10,000 Light Years Ago.” When I wrote that song, I knew that’s what the album was going to be called. Then when I looked at the lyrics, it really told me what I wanted to write about. Standing there fearlessly and thinking about what’s going on in the world. To me, it’s an eclectic collection of songs that all end up 10,000 light years ago. Everything from the past has made me what I am today.
Let’s discuss a few tracks from the new album, starting with “In My Mind.” How was that song conceived?
I remember I had a flute line going through my head along with chords that kept getting bigger and bigger. I wanted the keyboards to create this audio/visual universe and for the guitars to run through it all. Then I wanted it all to easily come back down into a very easy, close lyric and twelve-string playing away and then building back up. It was a visual image in my mind.
You can read the rest of my
Interview with John Lodge by Clicking Here!
For his new album, A Fool to Care, Boz Scaggs once again teams up with producer Steve Jordan and puts his distinctive spin on a host of classic songs—plus a handful of new originals.
The album, the follow-up to 2013’s Memphis, features a guest appearance by Bonnie Raitt, who duets with Scaggs and adds her characteristic slide guitar to “Hell to Pay.” The song, which Scaggs wrote himself, is a knowing indictment of corruption on a personal and political level.
I recently spoke with Scaggs about his new album, recording with Duane Allman several decades ago—and about his 50 years in the music biz.
GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe your new album, A Fool to Care?
That’s an enormous question. It took four days to record and probably 50 years to conceive. When we started talking about doing this album, we considered a theme being the music I was inspired by [when I was] growing up. That led to some discussion about the material. We really wanted to focus on music out of Louisiana and Texas, but then we started talking about other songs we like. Guys like Curtis Mayfield came up. Then the interest broadened and we started picking them out of the air.
There’s a song by the Band on there and others by the Spinners and Al Green. Then there were a few songs that a friend of mine wrote and one I wrote one myself. It’s all styles of music that I love. We had an open ticket to do anything we wanted to do. If it felt good, we took a swing at it.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Boz Scaggs by Clicking Here!
Modern rock/electronica band Seek Irony arose out of Tel Aviv, Israel’s burgeoning music scene.
But it wasn’t until founding members—and brothers—Kﬁr and Rom Gov relocated to Austin, Texas, that things really began to change.
Shortly after their arrival, the brothers welcomed several new band members, including Berklee-trained guitarist Alex Campbell.
As evidenced by the band’s recently released debut album, Tech N’ Roll, Campbell’s arrival takes Seek Irony to a different level altogether. “Devil in Me” and “Skin 2 Skin” reflect dark themes while still tastefully showcasing the band’s ability to combine electronic elements with inspired, hard-rock riffs.
Seek Irony features Kfir Gov (vocals), Rom Gov (drums), Mikael Oganes (synths), Adam Donovan (bass) and Alex Campbell (guitar).
I recently caught up with Campbell to ask him about Tech N’ Roll, gear and more!
GUITAR WORLD: How did you get involved with Seek Irony?
Back In 2013, I was doing a solo band while I was on a break from school. I was unsure if I was going back to Berklee and ultimately decided to audition for the band. I went down and met Rom and Kfir, and we really hit it off. They gave me music to learn; I auditioned, got the gig and have been full time ever since.
How did you approach recording for the band’s new album, Tech N’ Roll?
Rom and I come from a Dream Theater world in our approach to our instruments. My focus was to maintain that understanding on the guitar and translate some of that into the new music. It’s driven and heavy and a good mixture of hard rock and electronica.
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Interview with Alex Campbell by Clicking Here!
Human, the new album by Three Days Grace, is the first to feature new vocalist Matt Walst, who happens to be the brother of TDG bassist Brad Walst.
Besides bringing a familiar face to the band, Matt’s arrival heralds a new-found dynamic; Human introduces heavier, darker shades to the band’s songwriting and sound. New tracks like “I Am Machine” offer inspired, hook-laden riffs while “Painkiller” tackles more personal topics from a unique point of view.
Human, which will be released March 31, reunites Three Days Grace with producer Gavin Brown, who was at the helm for the band’s platinum-selling self-titled debut in 2003.
Three Days Grace also includes guitarist Barry Stock and drummer Neil Sanderson. We recently tracked down Stock to discuss the new album, his gear and more.
GUITAR WORLD: What was it like reuniting with Gavin Brown?
Gavin is awesome because he brought us back to the past. When he’s with us, it’s almost like having a fifth member of the band. He really has an ability to see inside of us and pull out these really deep feelings. He’s also great at making it not just about the lyrics but more like a conversation. He really gets involved in the music and creating sounds, and it was a blast working with him.
How would you describe Human?
Human is the perfect title for this record because there’s been a lot of inner-struggle and loss in the last few years. We’ve had a few people close to us pass on and some addiction and personal issues. This record is really about the last few years of our lives.
What was the writing process like?
We did a lot of writing for this album while we were on the road. It was all about gathering riffs, melodies and vocal ideas. Then we would all get together in a room and start throwing all of the ideas around. It started from there. Songs can come from anywhere. Whether it’s a cool riff, a chorus idea or even just an emotion.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Barry Stock by Clicking Here!
Justin Hayward—whose career has spanned a staggering 50 years—has played a huge role in modern music history.
Whether it’s his tasteful guitar playing with the Moody Blues or as a solo artist, or his endless catalog of classic songs—including “Nights in White Satin” and “Question”—Hayward is a true living legend.
Hayward recently assembled a five-DVD package, The Ultimate Collection, which can be yours when you make a pledge to PBS. Included is Spirits…Live, a DVD taken from a recent tour in support of Hayward’s 2013 solo album, Spirits of the Western Sky.
Also included are Justin Hayward Live at San Juan Capistrano and Justin Hayward Live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, both of which have been long out of print. Hayward rounds out the collection with two more DVDs, Watching and Waiting and The Story Behind Nights in White Satin, both of which are exclusive to PBS.
I recently caught up with Hayward to discuss the PBS project, his music, guitars and, of course, the Moody Blues.
GUITAR WORLD: How did this PBS project begin?
It really started with Red Rocks in 1992 when a promoter, who assumed [the Moody Blues] had always played with orchestra—when actually, we had not—pitched the idea to PBS about having us perform with the Colorado Symphony. We had never played with an orchestra before, so we decided to give it a go. Then during my recent shows with Mike Dawes and Julie Ragins, a few people from a big PBS station in Minneapolis came down to see it and loved it. They put together this idea, and I really liked it. It’s been a lovely relationship.
In addition to your Spirit’s…Live show, there’s a DVD in the package called Watching and Waiting. What can you tell me about that?
Watching and Waiting came out last November. I did quite a lot of songs on that tour that I had never done before. Even things the Moodies had never done that I had written. They worked well in this acoustic format and were really lovely.
You can read the rest of my
Interview with Justin Hayward by Clicking Here!
You could call Steve Hackett’s new album, Wolflight, a rock record, but it’s so much more than that.
Besides its healthy doses of rock, R&B and jazz, the album, which will be released April 7, reveals the Influence of 19th-century composers and features some unusual instrumentation, not to mention a healthy dose of Hackett’s inspired guitar work.
“Love Story to a Vampire” uses tension to describe an unresolved domestic drama, while “The Wheel’s Turning” finds Hackett recalling nostalgic childhood memories.
Musicians on Wolflight include Hackett’s longtime collaborators Roger King (keyboards), Gary O’Toole (drums) and Nick Beggs (bass), along with Yes bassist (and Squackett bandmate) Chris Squire on “Love Song to a Vampire” and drummer Hugo Dagenhardt on “Dust and Dreams.”
I recently spoke with Hackett about Wolflight and Genesis, as well as his plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his first solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte.
GUITAR WORLD: It’s been nearly four years since your last solo album, Beyond the Shrouded Horizon. Why such a long wait?
For the past few years, I’ve been actively involved in bringing back to the viewing public the Genesis dream that was. It’s taken up so much of my time that I had to put new stuff on hold for quite a while. The effect of that allowed me to concentrate my mind on what it was I’d like to do outside the confines of Genesis. I think that helped create a more broad based album than before.
What can you tell me about Wolflight?
Although the influence of world music is very strong, it’s essentially a rock album. Having said that, there are many guest appearances of things that go well beyond just the guitar, bass and drums. There’s a fair amount of orchestra; instruments such as the tar [from Azerbaijan], in this case played by Malik Mansurov, who kicks off the title track.
We’ve also got some duduk played by Rob Townsend, who normally plays sax with me as well as whistles and flutes. Along with Malik, we’ve twinned the tar with a digeridoo, which is played by Sara Kovacs. All of this is in addition to electric and acoustic guitars. I really wanted to mix things up and felt the genres that normally don’t get mentioned would be rich seas to plunder. There are even moments where there are hints of flamenco and French chanson as well as rock, pop, blues and jazz.
You can read the rest of my
Interview with Steve Hackett by Clicking Here!