Category Archives: Guitar World Interviews

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal Discusses His Eclectic New Album, ‘Little Brother Is Watching’

BUMBLEFOOT1 - Photo by Catherine AsanovFor the better part of 20 years, guitar virtuoso Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal has performed at sold-out shows and festivals around the world.

Thal, whose unique guitar work is an undisputed highlight of Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy album (2008), also headlines as a solo act and helps raise awareness for several constructive causes, including the Red Cross, Operation Smile and the Earthquake Relief Fund.

Although it’s been nearly seven years since he’s released a solo album, Bumblefoot is back with Little Brother Is Watching, his 10th full-length solo release.

It’s an inspired collection of eclectic, modern rock that’s packed with tasty guitar work and lyrics about life in the digital age and beyond. The songs, including the album’s title track, reflect a change in perception of who’s watching who, while “Don’t Know Who to Pray to Anymore” and “Livin’ the Dream” focus on self-reflection and the need to question everything.

Although he’s unable to discuss his current Guns N’ Roses status, you can tell in speaking with Thal that he’s at a good place in his life right now, and it’s even more obvious when listening to Little Brother Is Watching.

I recently spoke with Bumblefoot about the new album, his songwriting, gear and another new project, Art of Anarchy.

GUITAR WORLD: What spawned or inspired this new album?

It’s been too long since I’ve done an album. Although I did some one-off singles in 2011, it’s been a while since I did a full collection of music. Due to touring, there was never enough time to dedicate and keep momentum in a studio. Now that I’ve got that time, it was time to make that happen.

How would you describe Little Brother Is Watching in terms of how it relates to some of your previous work?

The foundation for everything I’ve done has been punk and classic rock. That’s what I grew up on. Everything else is icing on that cake. As I got older and with all of the time that’s passed and life experiences, there were more stories to tell. I just got more direct about telling them.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Bumblefoot by Clicking Here!

‘Aerosmith Rocks Donington’: Bassist Tom Hamilton Talks New Film/DVD, Gear and Memorable Moments

When Fathom Events, Cinema 1 and Eagle Rock Entertainment decided to partner up to present a monthly classic music series, they figured what better way to kick things off than by bringing in one of the most beloved rock bands of all time: Aerosmith.

Aerosmith band lineup

Taken from the band’s headlining appearance at last year’s Download Fest at Donington Park in Leicestershire, England, Aerosmith Rocks Donington is a one-night-only concert event that will screen on 300 theaters nationwide 7 p.m. today, Thursday, February 26.

The Donington show once again finds the band at the top of their game. It features a 19-song set that features many of band’s iconic hits, including “Sweet Emotion,” “Walk This Way,” “Dream On,” “Love in a Elevator,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” and “Dude Looks Like a Lady.”

Aerosmith is one of the biggest rock bands of all time. Together, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer have sold more than 150 million albums worldwide in addition to receiving four Grammys and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In addition to releasing a DVD of the live show this spring, Aerosmith also has announced they will hit the road this summer.

I spoke with bassist Tom Hamilton about Aerosmith Rocks Donington, music, gear and some of his most memorable moments.

GUITAR WORLD: How did this live project begin?

It’s something that’s been building for a long time. This isn’t the first time we’ve filmed a show and presented it, but the ability to capture it and have it sound great and have the visuals for it be really strong has gotten better and better over the years.

Our feelings about playing at Donington is what really inspired us. We’ve played there several times in the past. It’s a festival that’s been going on for years and is very historic. So we got together with Dick Carruthers, who’s one of the best rock filmmakers around, and said, “Ok, let’s see how good we can make it!”

As a performer, do you feel a sense of added pressure knowing that this is live and there’s no going back?

Of course. Knowing it’s live always makes your brain concentrate a little more on making it work. We knew going in that we were filming and that we had a great director and great cameras. But we always try to out do ourselves every night, whether we’re recording or not. For us, it was more of an opportunity to make something exciting!

You can read the rest of my gw_logoInterview with Tom Hamilton by Clicking Here!

Micky Dolenz Talks Music, Monkees, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles

MickyDolenz1Fifty years ago, Micky Dolenz’s agent called him about an audition for a new pilot about music and comedy.

It was the beginning of a journey that would take Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork to the world of super-stardom.

Although the show would last only two seasons, the impact the Monkees had on music cannot be ignored. Their first four albums went to Number 1 and included such hits as “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”

The Monkees have sold more than 65 million units worldwide, easily putting them on par with the biggest artists of all time and making a case for their placement in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dolenz has seen a lot of musical history up close, including touring with Jimi Hendrix and sitting in while the Beatles were working on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band album. Dolenz’s 2012 album, Remember, contains an acoustic-driven version of a Beatles song he heard in those sessions.

I recently spoke with Dolenz about the Monkees, his career and a some of his side projects.

GUITAR WORLD: When you first got word about The Monkees, as in the show itself, did you have any idea how huge it would become?

The Monkees was actually the second TV series I had. I had done a show called “Circus Boy” in the Fifties and had gone to school for architectural drafting. My plan was to become an architect when the Monkees audition came along. But when I read the pilot script and went in for the first interview, I remember thinking it might be something special. There were other shows about music at the time and a few other pilots I had been up for, but I remember telling everyone I knew that I really hoped I get this one.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Micky Dolenz by Clicking Here!

Revolution Saints: Jack Blades Talks New Album with Doug Aldrich and Deen Castronova

RevolutionSaintsConsidering their resumes, which read like a who’s who of hard rock and metal, calling Revolution Saints a supergroup is something of an understatement.

The creative trifecta of Deen Castronovo (Journey, Bad English), Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Burning Rain) has put together an inspired collection of songs packed with monster vocals, driving rhythms and (of course) a blistering guitar attack.

Their debut self-titled album, which will be released February 24, also features appearances by Castronovo’s fellow Journey bandmates, Neal Schon and Arnel Pineda.

I recently caught up with bassist Jack Blade to talk about Revolution Saints, Night Ranger and more.

GUITAR WORLD: How did the Revolution Saints project come together?

It was actually the brainchild of the head of Frontiers Records. He really wanted to give Deen a platform where he could be the lead singer. He talked to Deen about it, and then Deen called me up and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. I was immediately on board. Then someone mentioned Doug Aldrich. I’ve always been a big fan of Doug’s. He’s such a great guitar player. Boom! There it was!

The new album has elements from all of your other bands, yet has its own unique freshness. How would describe the new album?

It’s pretty hard rocking. Good, classic hard rock with balls is basically what the whole thing is about. I think when you have individuals like us, you can’t help but be who you are. It is who we are in all of those bands we’ve been a part of. But Deen’s voice is so pure and clean on this album. It’s just wonderful.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Jack Blades by Clicking Here!

Guitarist The Commander-In-Chief Discusses ‘2 Guitars: The Classical Crossover Album’

Commander-Photo by Jeff Xander

Guitar fans might remember seven-string guitarist the Commander-In-Chief from her Zigeunerweisen Op. 20 guitar-duel video, which she made with classically trained guitarist Thomas Valeur.

That video, which was premiered on GuitarWorld.com, was one of the site’s 10 most-watched videos of 2013.

Late last year, the Commander teamed up with another classical guitarist, Craig Ogden, for a new album of guitar-driven goodness—2 Guitars: The Classical Crossover Album—that takes metal virtuosity back to its classical roots.

Ogden, the principal lecturer on guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, was recently featured as one of the top classical guitarists of all time by ClassicFM.

In addition to inspired versions of Caprice No. 24 by Niccolo Paganini (the Italian composer whose music has influenced scores of guitarists, including Yngwie Malmsteen) and an instrumental version of Carlos Gardel and Alfredo LePera’s tango, “Por una Cabeza,” 2 Guitars also showcases the Commander’s vocal skills on an original song, “Let It Go.”

We also should add that the Commander’s Caprice No. 24 video was one of GuitarWorld.com’s 10 most-watched videos of 2014.

I recently caught up with the Commander and asked her about her new album with Ogden, her gear and more.

GUITAR WORLD: What made you decide to do a project like this?

After the guitar duel, I noticed a lot of comments from people asking about the next one. I had only planned on doing one, but everyone kept saying how they couldn’t wait for more. So I thought it’d be cool to do another one.

The piece I found was the massive “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” [by Camille Saint-Saëns]. Once I checked it out, I knew it was going to take me a while to learn. So rather than just doing one piece and video at a time, we decided to instead make an entire album.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with The Commander in Chief
By Clicking Here!

 

‘Work': Bon Jovi Tour Photographer David Bergman Discusses New Coffee Table Book

The first concert I ever attended was a Scorpions show in 1984. I remember this event because, at the time, I was excited about checking out the openers, a young, up-and-coming band called Bon Jovi.

Little did I know I’d also be bearing witness to what would become one of rock’s biggest juggernauts.

Photo: David Bergman

Photo: David Bergman

Tour photographer David Bergman has spent the last three and a half years working as Bon Jovi’s official tour photographer. With carte blanche access, Bergman has been able to travel the world with the band and document their activities—as well as their shows—with his camera.

Bergman has combined a collection of his photographs into one masterful coffee table book that’s appropriately titled Work. The book, an over-sized, 5-pound, 210-page hardcover tome, offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s top touring bands.

In addition to being an in-demand touring and sports photographer, Bergman also runs tourphotographer.com, which lets fans go online and buy high-quality image prints shot at the shows they’ve attended.

I recently spoke with Bergman to find out more about Work and his time spent on tour with Bon Jovi.

GUITAR WORLD: How did this book project come about?

Since the beginning of 2011, I’ve photographed every single Bon Jovi live show, which is quite a lot when you think about it. Last year alone, they did 102 shows on six continents. After every show, I would do an edit and narrow it down to the best of the best from each performance.

Over time, I started to develop this massive archive, somewhere in the range of 800,000 images, many of which no one had ever seen. So I brought it to the band. The idea of doing a book was something we had been talking about for quite a while. They’ve done book projects over the years but nothing quite like this. By the end of this last tour, we decided the time was finally right and started putting it together.

Photo: David Bergman

Photo: David Bergman

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with David Bergman by Clicking Here!

‘Only to Rise’: George Lynch Talks New Album with Michael Sweet, Plus Lynch Mob and Dokken

Sweet-LynchWhen most people discuss potential supergroups, the last combination of artists they toss around are Michael Sweet of Stryper and George Lynch of Lynch Mob, Shadow Train and Dokken.

Yet these two masters of shred have joined forces for Only to Rise, the debut album from their new project, Sweet & Lynch, that will be released January 27.

Joining the Sweet & Lynch adventure are bassist James Lomenzo [Megadeth, White Lion] and drummer Brian Tichy [Whitesnake, Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne].

From the opening notes of the “The Wish” to songs like “Dying Rose,” “Love Stays” and “September,” it’s evident the blend of Sweet’s unmistakable voice and Lynch’s signature guitar tone has yielded exceptional results.

I recently caught up with Lynch to find out more about Only to Rise and get an update on the new Lynch Mob record, Sun Red Sun, and his Shadow Nation documentary and Shadow Train band projects. Lynch also puts to rest any rumors of a Dokken reunion.

GUITAR WORLD: How did the collaboration with Michael Sweet begin?

Lynch Mob and Stryper share an agent, and we’ve done a few tours together. During a few of those dates here and there, Michael and I would hang out and casually start talking about the idea of working together. We enjoyed each other’s company and had mutual respect for each other musically and as people. It was a good fit. So when the opportunity from Frontiers Records came along to do this record, it was an easy decision. Just a handshake and off to the races!

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with George Lynch by Clicking Here!

Joe Lynn Turner Discusses Rated X and the Possibility of a Rainbow Reunion

Rated_XWhen Frontiers Records wanted to put together a supergroup to record an album of classic hard rock music, they looked to Joe Lynn Turner.

Turner, the former lead vocalist for Rainbow and Deep Purple, also a successful solo artist, quickly agreed. Before long, bassist Tony Franklin and drummer Carmine Appice were on board.

Following several unsuccessful attempts at filling the guitarist slot, the band found Karl Cochran, who stepped in to provide some tastefully inspired shredding. With infectious songs like “This Is Who I Am” and “Fire And Ice,” Rated X’s self-titled debut sounds like a band that’s worked together for years as a unit.

Unfortunately, Cochran suffered a stroke during the completion of the album and is still on the road to recovery. I recently spoke with Turner and got an update on Cochran’s condition as well as the Rated X album and the possibility of a Rainbow reunion with Ritchie Blackmore.

GUITAR WORLD: How’s Karl doing?

Thanks for asking. He’s improving drastically. His speech is still a bit impaired and he’s paralyzed on his right side, but he’s able to move his arm up to his shoulder and has some feeling in his hand. He’s not walking with a cane, which is incredible for this type of situation. He’s progressing but we know it’s a long, hard road.

If you don’t know much about Karl, he’s a guitar aficionado. His house is filled with vintage guitars, amps and a workshop. His is a complete guitar world. We’re doing benefits to help pay for his medical expenses. We had a very successful one at the Iridium in New York and are doing a few more. We’re doing what we can because the cost of health care is off the hook these days.

How did the you come up with the name Rated X?

It actually started out as just a project we called Project X. We thought that since we were all ex-members of bands, had ex-wives and all had lived “rated X” lives [laughs], that’s what we should name the band.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Joe Lynn Turner by Clicking Here!

‘The Turn': Live Guitarist Chad Taylor Discusses New Album, Guitars and ‘Throwing Copper’

LIVE_TheTurnIt was a turning point when the band Live took a self-imposed hiatus in 2009.

Lead singer Ed Kowalczyk wanted to focus on a solo career while the band wanted to return to a more ensemble-based format. Unable to resolve their impasse, the band and Kowalczyk decided to go their separate ways.

Enter vocalist Chris Shinn, who over the years had developed a strong rapport with members of Live. Now, after a therapeutic three-year soul search, Live are back with a new singer, album and perspective.

The Turn, Live’s first album in eight years, reunites the band with Jerry Harrison, who produced three of the band’s previous albums — Mental Jewelry (1991), Throwing Copper (1994) and The Distance to Here (1999).

The release of The Turn also coincides with the 20th anniversary of the group’s 8 million selling Throwing Copper, a monster album that yielded the band’s biggest single, “Lightning Crashes,” which was Number 1 at Modern Rock radio for 10 consecutive weeks.

With 20 million in worldwide album sales to go along with a dynamic new lead singer and a redefined focus, Live are ready to enter the next phase of their career.

Live consists of Chad Taylor (guitars), Patrick Dahlheimer (bass), Chad Gracey (drums/percussion) and Chris Shinn (lead vocals/guitars).

I recently caught up with Taylor to discuss The Turn, guitars, the 20th anniversary of Throwing Copper and what he’s most looking forward to with this new version of Live.

GUITAR WORLD: It’s been five years since Live took a hiatus/break. Was the expectation always that you’d one day get back together?

The end of Live 1.0 was open-ended. What we knew at the time was that the chemistry that had been so essential to making Live exuberant, exciting and creative had just dissipated. We were a band that could have probably have used a therapist, but like most men, we just decided that separation was the best idea to try to salvage any kind of relationship we had we each other.

During the time of the break/hiatus the clarity that helped solidify everyone’s future was the fact that Ed [Kowalczyk] made it clear he wanted to make solo music, and we made it clear we wanted to make ensemble music. There’s such a difference in the way you do it. You can hear in the transition of Live through our subsequent records how the band became more focused on the singer/songwriter than on ensemble creativity. In my opinion, the thing that always made Live was our ability to play off of each other. When we lost that, the spirit of the band went away.

Read my complete

gw_logoInterview with Chad Taylor by Clicking Here!

‘Rock & Roll Baby’: Guitarist Malina Moye Brings Hendrix Influence and Blues Power to New Album

RockRollBabyThere’s a seductive passion and feel in Malina Moye’s guitar playing, as evidenced by her insanely good new EP, Rock & Roll Baby, which was released October 14.

From the infectious, funk-inspired single “K-yotic” (which features Bootsy Collins) to her take on the Jimi Hendrix classic “Foxey Lady,” Rock & Roll Baby is a high-octane experience of blues power.

In addition to being an in demand performer on her own, Moye also has taken part in the Experience Hendrix Tour alongside guitar greats Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. She also had the distinct privilege of honoring the Queen of England’s 60-year reign by performing her own rendition of “God Save the Queen.”

I recently spoke with Moye about her new album, her gear and more.

How would you describe Rock & Roll Baby?

It’s an in-your-face combination of Led Zeppelin meets Sly and the Family Stone, with a little bit of Hendrix thrown in. I love real music and the feeling it gives you. As a guitar player, I love the freedom of being able to express who I am in my solos. This is me, and this album is what I’m about.

What’s your songwriting process like?

It varies. Sometimes I’ll be on an acoustic and be messing around with riffs. Other times I’ll hear melody in my head and sing it into my phone so I can go back to it later. Then I’ll pick up my guitar and start putting the pieces together. Music can literally speak to you. It will tell you what it has to say. You just have to be open to it.

Let’s talk about a few tracks off the album, beginning with “K-yotic.” What was is like working with Boosty Collins?

Bootsy is incredible. What I love the most about him is how he’s able to spontaneously come up with ideas. I was messing around on the track, jamming, when the idea of having him on it came to me. I remember I sent the track over to him and said, “Hey, tell me what you think of this.” A short while later, he sends me a new track back with a note that said, “This is what I think of it!” [laughs]. It was hot!

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Malina Moye by Clicking Here!

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