Category Archives: Guitar World Interviews
Neal Schon has a lot to be thankful for.
Last year, the longtime Journey guitarist—and the band’s only remaining founding member—celebrated another season of touring and was reunited with his longtime friend and mentor, Carlos Santana, for the Santana IV album and tour.
The new year is already off to a memorable start for Schon. In addition to the assortment of solo-related projects he’s working on, it was recently announced that Journey–whose current lineup includes Jonathan Cain (keyboards, vocals), Ross Valory (bass, vocals), Steve Smith (drums) and Arnel Pineda (lead vocals)—will be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April alongside Yes, ELO, Pearl Jam, Joan Baez, Nile Rodgers and Tupac Shakur.
I recently spoke with Schon about Journey’s induction, his upcoming projects and more.
Did you ever think the day would come when Journey would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
I didn’t really think about it. We were up about 17 years ago, and when we weren’t nominated, I kind of forgot about it. One of the main things that got us in was our fans voting so hard. The fans and the music are the main things for me. They spoke and the Hall listened. It’s an honor to be in there and get the nod for some of the staples and cement we’ve made.Do you see Journey’s induction as a stepping stone for other “classic rock” bands to eventually get a nod?
I really can’t say because I have no clue what the voting process is. Personally, I’d love to see it be more fan-based. A hall of fame is about different artists and bands and the legacies they’ve left. Even if the people deciding don’t care for a certain type of music, the artists that have the credentials and sell millions of records deserve to be there.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Neal Schon by Clicking Here.
Heart’s epic new CD/DVD/Blu-ray, Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, captures the band’s first performance—ever—at the legendary London venue.
The sold-out show, which took place in June, was highlighted by hit after hit—from “Crazy on You” and “Barracuda” to “Magic Man” and “Dreamboat Annie”—plus tracks from the band’s engaging new studio album, Beautiful Broken.
Besides Ann Wilson (vocals) and Nancy Wilson (guitar/vocals), the band that night included Ben Smith (drums), Dan Rothchild (bass), Craig Bartock (guitar), Chris Joyner (keyboards) and, of course, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nick Davies.
I recently spoke with Nancy Wilson about the Royal Albert Hall performance, gear and the stories behind some of the band’s biggest hits.
When and how did the idea for a performance at the Royal Albert Hall originate?
We had been pushing the concept of bringing the band over to the U.K. and doing some shows for some time. That was when someone who had been handling big shows at Royal Albert Hall got wind that we were coming over and asked if we’d be interested in doing a World Symphony show. And we were like, “Uhm, yeah! I think we could manage that!” [laughs]. It all fell together very naturally.
What was the process like in terms of putting orchestration behind the band’s iconic songs?
It was a cool thing because we already had some standard charts from Paul Buckmaster, who worked us on Beautiful Broken. But we didn’t want to give it a pastoral kind of sound. We wanted more of a rock-symphony sound. We came over and had one day with Nick Davies looking over the charts and talking them over. We perused through them together and decided what to add and what take out.
The same day as the show was the only day we actually rehearsed with the orchestra. They’re so insanely talented. Once we got out there and saw how great it sounded in the room, we knew right away it was going to work. That’s when we said, “Ok, let’s go have some fun!”
Read the rest of my
Interview with Nancy Wilson Here!
Glenn Hughes is an elusive artist with an uncanny ability to jam with Stevie Wonder one night and rock out with Disturbed the next. But perhaps no album showcases the real Glenn Hughes better than Resonate, his first solo album of new material in eight years.
With its groove-oriented, Detroit-style sound, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has made the album his fans have been longing for. Tracks like “Heavy,” “Landmines” and “Flow” spotlight Hughes’ limitless swagger, while “Long Time Gone” is acoustic and secretive.
I recently spoke with Hughes about the new album, his gear, Black Country Communion and a some of the more memorable moments of his career.
Resonate is your first solo album in eight years. Why such a long wait?
I’ve written three Black Country Communion albums, a California Breed album and bits and pieces with others artists. As I was recovering from double-knee transplants earlier this year, I was bedridden for a while and wrote this album. But I didn’t go in to write a solo album. I did it for cathartic/therapy reasons. If you know anything about me, you know I’m always writing.
To me, this album is one long song with 12 breaks. It’s a meaningful record because I sing about the human condition and what gets us through. I’m singing about my father’s death and I’m pissed off, but I’m also sensitive and you get to hear that in the tone of my voice in certain songs.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Glenn Hughes by Clicking Here!
Guitarist John Roth first met vocalist Terry Brock in 2009 while working on Giant’s Promised Land record.
The pair immediately developed a musical bond, not to mention the songwriting chemistry that would eventually lead to their infectious debut album, Roth Brock Project.
For Roth—who gigs with Winger and Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas—and Brock (Giant, LeRoux, Strangeways), the 11-song collaboration of thundering guitars and powerhouse vocals pays homage to the inspired songwriting and style of Eighties arena rock while showcasing the talents of two seasoned veterans.
I recently spoke to Roth about the Roth Brock Project, his time with Starship and Winger, gear and more in this new interview.
How did your musical relationship with Terry Brock begin?
In 2009, I did a record with Giant called Promised Land. Dann Huff was the lead guitar player of the band, but he was too busy to do the record. He knew the guitar community, and I got the call to come in and do the record. Terry was the lead singer and he and I did some co-writing for the record and really hit it off.
How would you describe the Roth Brock Project in terms of its sound?
It’s classic, arena rock and roll. It’s got an Eighties vibe but with new gear and new recording technology. I wanted to deliver a record that has the elements of Winger, Starship and Giant. It’s inspired by that kind of sound.
What’s your writing process like?
I’ve written a few songs from musical ideas, but most are inspired when I hear a melody or lyric in my head. I’ll usually hear the chorus in my head first and then write what would go behind it and then move on to the verse and bridge. For me, it really comes chorus first.
You can read the rest of my
Interview with John Roth by Clicking Here.
Peter White released Groovin’, his third album of cover songs, today, October 28. This time around, the guitarist puts his unique spin on timeless tunes from the late Fifties through the early Eighties.
Taking up where White’s previous cover albums—Reflections (1994) and Playin’ Favorites (2006)—leave off, Groovin’ is a nostalgic and adventurous slice of instrumental groove and playful guitar melody.
The disc, which takes its title from the Rascals’ tropical-hued 1967 hit, is chock full of White’s instantly recognizable guitar sound. He applies it the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere,” Stevie Wonder’s “Do I Do,” Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Sleep Walk,” a Number 1 instrumental hit by Santo & Johnny from 1959.
I recently spoke with White about Groovin’, his gear and his time working with Al Stewart on Year of the Cat, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.
There’s a 23-year period of music you cover on Groovin’. Was there a particular theme or concept you had in mind when choosing songs?
There was never any great concept or theme, except for me to remind people that music was really good back then. For this album, I wanted to put together a collection of songs that I really like. They’re all songs with great melodies that work well on the guitar, but I wanted to approach them in a different way. I think if you can take a song everyone knows and give it a spin and make it your own, it really defines you as an artist.
Why did you choose to cover the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere”?
I grew up learning to play guitar by listening to the Beatles on the radio. There are so many Beatles songs I love, but that particular one works so well on guitar. It’s very whimsical with a beautiful melody.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Peter White Here!
Andy Timmons Band’s eighth album, Theme from a Perfect World, is an inspired, guitar-driven affair made up of 10 hook-filled instrumentals that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of guitarists.
Produced by Timmons and his longtime bassist, Mike Daane, Perfect World is the ideal balance of melodic virtuosity and inspired songwriting.
In addition to his solo work—which includes his critically acclaimed 2011 instrumental take on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—Timmons’ resume includes work with Danger Danger, Kip Winger and Simon Phillips.
I recently caught up with the busy guitarist to ask him about Theme from a Perfect World, his gear and memorable moments from his career.
How would you describe Theme from a Perfect World in terms of its sound and how it relates to some of your previous work?
I think it’s a bit of a departure from my last two records [Revolution and Andy Timmons Band Plays Sgt. Pepper]. I remember when we recorded Revolution and I was listening to the basic tracks. I wasn’t feeling inspired, but then I remembered something Steve Vai told me; he said he loved those earlier sessions I did when I was recording songs that just had guitar, bass and drums—ones where you could hear the fingers on the frets and there wasn’t a lot of stuff going on.
That stuck in my mind, and I asked myself, what if I switched gears and did the whole record like that? Just stripping it down to a one-guitar performance and assimilating all of the important elements into one. It became fun and a challenge. That same idea spilled over to the Beatles songs.
This new album is in the direction of the last two records in that we’re still keeping things as natural and organic as possible, but we also gave ourselves the “keys to the kingdom.” It’s given it a vintage kind of feel. I’m very proud of the songwriting and the playing on this record.
Is there a different way you approach writing an instrumental album as opposed to one with vocals?
I don’t find it that much different. Things that have resonated with me a certain way are stored in muscle memory and my melodic ear will always steer me. As a writer and improviser, you’re always trying to create an “in the moment,” but with just music, you’re not confined to any limitation and can go much deeper. And the deeper your connection is to the instrument, the better your ability is to do that.
You can read the rest of my
Interview with Andy Timmons by Clicking Here!
On October 28, Rounder will offer a limited-edition vinyl version of the retrospective. Each of the 1,000 individually numbered copies will include all the music from the CD editions—129 tracks—on 14, 180-gram vinyl LPs.
The set also includes a 56-page booklet full of rare photos and essays by journalist Scott Schinder and Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman, who compiled the collection with producer Bill Levenson.
This retrospective includes classic Allman Brothers Band songs plus a collector’s cache of rare singles and long-out-of-print album tracks. The songs range from Duane’s early recordings with Gregg Allman in the Escorts, Allman Joys and Hour Glass, to his studio work with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Boz Scaggs and Delaney & Bonnie. There’s even a live jam session with the Grateful Dead.
Below, check out our exclusive Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective (vinyl edition) unboxing video—plus a new interview wth Galadrielle. We discuss Skydog, her father’s legacy, her career and more.
What would you like people to take away from this new vinyl package?
The real desire with this package—and also with my book—is to humanize Duane, to take him out of the pantheon of the gods and return him to the mortal world. One where you can actually fall in love with the guitar, work really hard and achieve. The albums hang together really well and there’s a story there about his growth and style strengthening and developing. If you listen chronologically, you can hear him growing and changing. By the end, you hear the full-blown master of improvisational rock guitar.
You mentioned your book, Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman. What made you decide to write it?
I‘ve always been focused on writing and really had a sense of being born into his amazing story. I actually started it in my twenties but backed off because of the scale and scope of it. But when I turned 40, I said that if it’s going to happen, it has to be now. I took the better part of three years doing the research and the next two years doing the writing. It was an incredibly fulfilling and satisfying experience.
Was there a particular moment in your life when you realized the enormity of your father’s contributions to guitar and music?
There really isn’t one particular time that I remember of becoming aware. When I was a child in the early Seventies, they are at the peak of their power playing stadiums. Some of my earliest memories are of being at concerts, but the thing that’s incredible is that the legacy and admiration for my father has only grown during my lifetime. He was a revered guitar player, but a lot a people didn’t know that he played on Layla and all of the other work he did outside of the Allman Brothers Band. Just the depth of his session playing and the incredible way it goes through every genre of American music. It’s an incredible accomplishment for somehow who lived for less than twenty-five years.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Galadrielle Allman Here!
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Bryan Adams performed to a crowd of 70,000 at London’s Wembley Stadium. Adams was in top form that summer night in 1996, and it didn’t hurt that his multi-platinum album, 18 til I Die, had just reached Number 1 in the U.K.
To celebrate the anniversary, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Bryan Adams: Wembley Live 1996 on DVD October 14.
This incredible live performance is packed with Adams’ guitar-driven hits, including “Summer of ’69,” “Cuts Like a Knife,” “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started” and “Run to You,” as well as a storming rendition of “It’s Only Love” featuring Melissa Etheridge.
I recently spoke with Adams about the new DVD, his time working with producer Mutt Lange, his gear and more.
Other than it being the 20th anniversary, what made you decide to release this performance on DVD?
Fans were asking for it. I kept saying there was no film, but then I discovered a box of tapes in my basement and remembered I had filmed it. I’d just forgotten.
What made this particular show so special?
After touring for so many years around the world, this was the high point for all of the songs and albums I’d released in the Eighties and Nineties.
What’s it like to perform at such a high level at Wembley?
It’s so hard to describe now after so long, but it was certainly daunting and quite unbelievable. In the end, your senses take over on gigs and you just get on with it. But walking out there was incredible, and leaving the stage even more so.
What was the vibe like in the band at that point of your career?
The band was in top spirits. We’d been playing a lot of other music on our “b-stage,” so we were not drawn to doing the same songs every night. There’s a Japanese bootleg somewhere out there that has 40 or 50 different cover songs that had been recorded by fans and compiled onto a CD. The quality is poor, but the collection is outstanding.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Bryan Adams by Clicking Here!
It’s been another top-notch year for guitarist Neal Schon.
Besides the fact that Journey—which includes Schon, Ross Valory (bass), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Steve Smith (drums) and Arnel Pineda (vocals)—celebrated another season of non-stop touring, Schon also reunited with Carlos Santana to record Santana IV. The album marked the first time Santana’s classic lineup has worked together in more than 40 years.
We recently spoke to Schon about touring with Journey, reuniting with Santana, the 35th anniversary of Journey’s Escape, gear and some incredible career highlights.
What’s it like to still be performing at this high level with Journey after so many years?
It’s been an amazing ride, and I think it’s all due to a lot of hard work. When we decided to rebuild almost two decades ago, it was a long ride up the hill. Those first eight years were a lot of work, and in many ways it was like paying our dues all over again. We’re grateful to everyone who put in so much time rebuilding, and we still have much more to experiment with musically.
What does the band have planned for next year?
We’ve been playing the greatest hits for a while and know we have to play those songs in order to make fans happy. But our die-hard fans want to hear different material, and we have tons of it. So that’s what’s about to come next year. We’ll be playing our first shows in the Orient where we’ve been asked to play Escape and Frontiers in their entirety. I think it will be fun for everyone to get reconnected with those records. Some of those songs, like “Frontiers,” we’ve never played live. We actually went through it at a sound check recently and it sounded amazing. I’m excited about doing it.
What was it like getting back together with Carlos and the gang for Santana IV?
For me, it was a lifelong dream. Everyone had their own hangups at the time we disbanded, and a lot of us didn’t leave on the right note. I remember when we first got together to test out the idea, we had about eight days of rehearsal and jamming and it was just amazing. Gregg [Rolie], Carlos and I brought in songs, and we went at it in a very organic way and laid it all down. I feel so proud of this record and it’s very gratifying to have helped pull all of these guys back together.
This year also marked the 35th anniversary of Journey’s Escape, an album that saw the departure of Gregg Rolie and the arrival of Jonathan Cain. What was the chemistry like in the band at that point?
Honestly, it was great. Even before we did Escape, we were already at a height, when we put out the Captured. By that point, Gregg had enough of being on tour and wanted to start a family. At the time, the Babys were opening for us. They were a solid unit and I loved [John] Waite’s vocals. I was checking out Jonathan [Cain] and felt that he was such a great player, and I also liked the fact that he strapped on a rhythm guitar and played once in a while. So when Gregg was going to leave I asked him what he thought about Jonathan taking his place. Gregg thought it was a great choice and everyone else in the band agreed. We continued to evolve and even went into some new areas I had never been in before.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Neal Schon by Clicking Here.
Thirty years after the release of his breakthrough album, Tones, guitar legend Eric Johnson is releasing his first all-acoustic solo effort, aptly titled EJ.
Long known for his painstaking approach to making records, Johnson took a more immediate approach for EJ, which will be available October 7. Most of the material was cut live in the studio, with some songs even being sung and played at the same time in the studio. The result is an album packed with honest realism and organic emotion.
Original tracks like “Wonder” showcase Johnson and his 1980 Martin D-45, which was a gift from his late father. Another highlight is “Wrapped in a Cloud,” a six-minute sonic journey that features acoustic bass, cello, drums and percussion. There’s also Johnson’s tasteful arrangement of Jimi Hendrix’s “One Rainy Wish,” plus a burning version of Les Paul and Mary Ford’s 1951 classic, “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise,” which we premiered here last week.
I recently spoke with Johnson about EJ and more. You can check out our conversation below. For more about Johnson, the new album and his upcomning tour, visit ericjohnson.com.
What made you decide to do an acoustic album at this stage of your career?
It’s another side of me that I’ve always dabbled in but never really presented in my records or career. Usually, you’re out doing your thing and get known for something that becomes your main deal and you just go with it. Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting at home in my studio just doing what I enjoy. At some point, I decided to put things out and see what happens.
What was the criteria for choosing material for EJ?
It was a process of elimination. I just got a bunch of songs together and started recording them. Whatever songs I thought had merit or the ones I caught a vibe on, those were the ones I culled down for this record.
Let’s discuss a few tracks from EJ and get your take on them, starting with “Wrapped in a Cloud.”
That actually started out as a demo of just me with one mic on a baby grand piano. If you listen to the intro, it’s literally a dynamic, mono mic hanging off the side of a baby grand piano going into a cassette player. I then overdubbed an acoustic guitar and vocal. It was a funky demo and I really liked the vibe of it. But rather than try to erase and redo it, I decided to use the existing version and transferred it over and started adding more professionally done tracks to it.
You can read the rest of my
With Eric Johnson by Clicking Here!