‘I Can Destroy’: Paul Gilbert Talks New Album, Gear and Great Guitar Escape

Paul-GilbertIt’s a question every artist has to grapple with: If you’re not pushing yourself creatively, how can you grow?

That’s exactly what Paul Gilbert tackles—with fervor—on his new solo album, I Can Destroy, which will be released May 27.

On the album, which was produced by Kevin Shirley (whose credits include Mr. Big’s 2011 album, “What If”), Gilbert cuts a wide swath of styles and textures. There’s the full-frontal assault of  “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal,” the jazz-blues lament of “One Woman Too Many” (which also features Gilbert’s patented Makita drill-bit riffery) and the gut/heart punch of “I Am Not the One (Who Wants to Be with You).” Its playful title references the ubiquitous Number 1 hit Gilbert enjoyed as lead guitarist for Mr. Big.

I recently spoke with Gilbert about I Can Destroy, this year’s Great Guitar Escape, his current setup and more.

How would describe I Can Destroy in terms of its sound—and maybe even how it relates to some of your previous solo albums?

The album sounds like an electric brontosaurus, dropped from a 40-story building, landing on a giant sheet of aluminum foil, plugged into a 200-watt Marshall, in the key of F#! [laughs]. Seriously, there are three guitar players on the album—Tony Spinner, Freddie Nelson and myself. So we could do lots of three-part guitar harmonies. It was great to have a big band so I didn’t need to do overdubs. Tony and Freddie are also great singers, so we included lots of vocal harmonies, and whenever the bridge was too high for me, Tony would save the day.

How did you approach writing for this album?

I turn complaining into music! I’m thinking I might have invented a new style. I call it “cantankerous rock.” If you look at songs from my last few albums, you can see how I’ve been building up to this. “Get Out of My Yard” is certainly a cantankerous title. “Atmosphere on the Moon” [from Vibrato] was about being so misanthropic that I ask today’s young scientists to fabricate an atmosphere on the moon so I can escape their dreadful auto-tuned music here on Earth. “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal” from the new album certainly sends a cantankerous message. But these are all lyrics, and guitar players usually care more about the guitar. Actually, I do too, but it’s a lot easier for me to write a meaningful guitar riff if I have a lyric to give the song some structure.

What was it like working with Kevin Shirley on this project?

It was very similar to when I worked with Kevin with Mr. Big. Only with this record, we recorded about twice as fast. We recorded my songs so quickly that I started to run out of them. That gave me the chance to do one cover—Ted Nugent’s “Great White Buffalo.” Overall, when I work with Kevin I know he’s going to steer me in the best direction to make the album sound great and rock.

I’d like to ask you about a few songs from I Can Destroy. Maybe you can tell me what inspired them, how they were written—or whatever comes to mind. Let’s start with “Everybody Use Your Goddam Turn Signal.”

I lived in Los Angeles for around 20 years. I love the place, but the driving can wear thin. I recently moved to Portland, Oregon, where I can walk and ride my bicycle everywhere. I’m hoping my misanthropic tendencies will relax a bit from being a pedestrian. Musically, I like that the riff swings. I love that the word “goddamn” is sung with big, beautiful harmonies. And I like making the turn signal sound with my guitar by picking muted high strings. The solo is a trade-off with me first, then Freddie and then Tony. The original performance had a much longer solo, but I cut it shorter for the album. Live, I’ll probably make it long again.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Paul Gilbert by Clicking Here.

Model Kristy Ann Spillane Discusses Dancing With The Reading Stars, Career

Photo by: Thomas A.

Photo by: Thomas A.

Philadelphia-area model, Kristy Ann Spillane is about to add another entry into her arsenal of talent. Already in demand for her flexible versatility as well as an innate ability to conform to many different genres in the world of modeling, the beautiful Spillane will soon showcase her dance moves and help raise money for a worthy organization at the same time.

This month, Kristy and her husband, Mike will compete in “Dancing With The Reading Stars” – a completion to raise money for The Yocum Institute For Arts Education.

The Yocum is an organization that provides quality programs, scholarships and outreach services throughout Berks County, PA.

Kristy has also started a Go Fund Me campaign where friends and fans can help raise money for the institute.

For the past seven years, Kristy Ann Spillane has been one of the most in-demand models. From being a painted lady at the Playboy Mansion to making the covers of magazines and billboards. She’s also appeared in several movies in addition to her commercial and website work.

I recently spoke with Kristy about Dancing With The Reading Stars, her modeling career and more in this exclusive interview.

How did Dancing With The Reading Stars come about for you?

The Yocum Institute contacted us. A couple that my husband and I know are on the board and had danced in the competition last year. They felt that we would be a good fit to dance in this year’s competition. The competition is a fundraiser to raise money for the institute.

What can you tell me about your Go Fund Me campaign and how the funds be used?

 All of the money is going to the Yocum Institute. Yocum is an art institute in Wyomissing, PA that organizes and runs programs throughout Berks County. The purpose of Dancing with the Reading Stars is to raise the money necessary to support their on-going operations, scholarships, productions and outreach programs.

What can you tell me about the competition itself?

There is only one competition on April 22, 2016 at Stokes Castle in Reading, PA. There are eleven other couples competing and the audience will be judging the night of the event. There will be two sets of winners: the couple that raises the most money and the couple that obtains the most popular votes the night of the event.

Photo:

Photo: Robert Patterson

Let’s talk a little about your modeling career. Was modeling something you always wanted to do?

I think every girl fantasizes about it, but I didn’t think it was in the cards for me. I remember I was bartending in Boston when I was approached about posing for a sexy bartender magazine. The photos turned out great and things just took off from there!  

What inspires you the most about modeling?

I like to become whatever character I’m portraying in the shoot. I love all of the aspects from the wardrobe and hair and make-up to the set, props and final image. My fans motivate me and I really enjoy traveling and feeling beautiful during the shoots. 

What are your long-term goals with modeling?

I would eventually like to get into the fitness aspect of modeling and eventually compete in fitness shows. I’d also love to explore acting.

Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?

I’m constantly planning shoots and submitting to magazines. I also have trips to Utah and L.A. coming up for some pretty amazing photo-shoots.

Is there a bit of advice you’ve learned along the way that you can pass on to aspiring models?

Always hustle, constantly network and get your name out there and avoid getting caught up in the drama that the industry brings with it.  

Photo: Robert Patterson

Photo: Robert Patterson

What are you most looking forward to about Dancing With The Reading Stars?


It can be nerve racking to be dancing in front of close to 1000 people, but we’re looking forward to showcasing all of our hard work and having fun because all of the money is going to a great cause!

‘Change of Fortune’: David Pirner Talks New Soul Asylum Album, Gear and Grave Dancers Union

SoulAsylumChange of Fortune, the new album by Soul Asylum, is a record that’s nearly four years in the making.

It was recorded at a time when the band had been touring non-stop—not to mention going through lineup changes that included the departure of founding member Dan Murphy.

But the wait was worth it. Soul Asylum loyalists will be happy to know the group’s sound—and Pirner’s knack for storytelling—are front and center on Change of Fortune. Pirner and company have delivered a refreshingly honest album that happens to be a (welcome) sonic punch in the nose.

Soul Asylum is David Pirner (guitar/vocals), Michael Bland (drums), Winston Roye (bass) and Justin Sharbono (guitar).

We recently spoke to Pirner about the new album, his gear and more.

How would you describe the sound of Change of Fortune and how it relates to some of Soul Asylum’s previous albums?

Over the years, you really start to understand how the sound spectrum spreads itself out between the high end and low. I specifically remember sitting in a restaurant in Germany in the mid-Eighties. They put on our record “While You Were Out” and we all just looked at each other and were like, “There’s no fucking bass drum on this record! What the fuck?” [laughs]. There’s more low-end on this record than any other Soul Asylum record. I can really feel the power of Michael Bland and Winston Roye. I’m a low-end junkie and that was a goal worth achieving.

You’ve mentioned that this record is also one of your most honest. How so?

I’ve always liked the idea of having fewer people looking over my shoulder and being left to my own devices. It’s something I’ve always been chasing down. To that effect, the players in this band can play anything and are so open-minded and up for a challenge. I think that was a big part of it. To push the envelope about what the band can do.

How did you approach songwriting for Change of Fortune?

It was pretty much the same way I always do it. A seed usually happens: either a phrase or a melody or a chord progression. I’m looking at a piano and acoustic guitar right now and I also have a Pro Tools studio in the basement. Between those three things is where the seed comes from, and I’ll start recording and see where it goes. But it’s still fun sometimes to just walk into a practice space with an acoustic guitar, start playing something and having everyone else join in.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Dave Pirner by Clicking Here!

Ana Popovic Previews Her New Three-Album Project and the Experience Hendrix Tour

AnaPOn May 20, guitarist Ana Popovic—who, as we know by now, can play the hell out of the blues—will unleash Trilogy, an epic new three-album set.

The new package is unique because it will highlight Popovic’s tasteful shredding and soulful voice in three different elements: blues, jazz and funk.

Growing up in Serbia under the Milosovic regime, Popovic had to fight for her right to be blue. A battle in which she has obviously triumphed. She’s performed at blues and jazz festivals worldwide, sharing the stage with a veritable who’s who of blues legends.

We recently caught up with Popovic to discuss the Trilogy project—which includes guest appearances by Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph and more—plus her role on the Experience Hendrix tour, her gear and more.

How did the idea for Trilogy begin?

I’ve actually had this idea for a few years. There’s always been a little bit of everything on my records: blues, jazz and funk. Fans had always been coming up and telling me how much they loved my sound. They’d tell me they would often make compilation playlists from all of my records. One would say, “I made a set of blues songs for me and another set of jazz songs for my wife.” I thought that was an interesting idea.

Then last year, we had a big incident where our touring van was stolen with all of our gear in it. We were in the middle of a tour and it was through the tremendous support of the fans that we were able to get back on the road. I was so touched by how much they had helped us that I wanted to do something in return. I wanted everyone to have a lot of music but not have to buy three records. I wanted to approach the music from different sides. I’m giving three different sounds of my music to them: three different producers, three different bands and three different recording studios. As a guitar player, that was the biggest goal.

How did you approach writing for this project?

The first official demos for the project began in March of last year. Some of ideas for this album are from a long time ago, because I never give up on the song. I bring ideas to every session, and if it doesn’t match with the band that’s recording it, I’ll leave it. But I’ll never give up on it. I’m always planning and figuring out how they should be done and would always make notes to go with them—Is this jazz? Is it blues? What drummers or producers can I use? Everything was well thought out, and I gave myself a lot of time.

Read my complete
gw_logoInterview with Ana Popovic by Clicking Here!

Lita Ford Talks New Memoir, ‘Living Like a Runaway’

LitaBookLita Ford’s new memoir, Living Like a Runaway, is jam packed with stories of a truly eventful—and impressive—rock and roll life.

In the autobiography, Ford details her years as a teenager with the Runaways, getting caught with a young Eddie Van Halen in a bathroom, her battles with management and trysts with guys like Nikki Sixx, Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore and Glenn Tipton.

She even devotes ample space to her turbulent marriage and how she subsequently lost access to her sons through parental alienation. Simply put, Living Like a Runaway is a story of life and love from the reigning Queen of Metal.

I recently spoke with Ford about the book and her new album, Time Capsule, which is a collection of previouly unreleased material from the Eighties. You can check out our full interview below.

What made you decide to write a book at this stage of your career?

I really wanted to tell my story. As a female in the music industry—a man’s world—trying to become successful, I wanted to document it, and I wanted to be able to leave something behind so people would know what was going on inside of my life. The hurdles I had to jump and the things I had to do to be where I’m at today and to hopefully carve a path for others.

What was the writing process like?

At first, it was difficult trying to get a co-writer who could follow me. Because there’s so much crammed into my life, it was sometimes hard for me to get the point across. But I didn’t want the book to come out in any other shape or form. It had to be true and it had to be real…and we did it.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Lita Ford by Clicking Here!

‘All I Ever Wanted’: Actress Ashley Watkins Discusses Emotional New Film

Ashley Watkins

Ashley Watkins

With a resume that encapsulates the realms of horror, drama, comedy and dance, actress Ashley Watkins has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most versatile artists. Her beauty equally matched by talent and an innate ability to draw emotion from the human connection.

Watkins will soon be seen in the Markiss McFadden and Mason Troy film, “All I Ever Wanted” – a gritty new drama about family, hope and forgiveness and how they all come together when we need them the most.

Inspired by real-life events, “All I Ever Wanted” represents Troy’s first foray into the writing world and promises to be a story that touches the heart and soul.

I had the chance to speak to this amazing actress about her new film and more in this exclusive interview.

What was it that attracted you to the project and story of “All I Ever Wanted”?

Markiss McFadden is one of the most focused and motivated entrepreneurs I know. He’s an actor, director and producer all in one and is super-talented. So I already knew going in that working with him would be amazing. Then after the first day of shooting, I got to meet Mason Troy. We went over a really deeply connected scene together and that’s when I realized just how important this story was to him. I’m not sure how true this story was to his past but he feels it. He’s lived it. The story, the emotion, the human connection. I instantly connected with that.

How would you describe the story of “All I Ever Wanted”?

It’s a story about Mason’s character, Ace, who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and for years got stuck in this world of selling and dealing drugs. Ace wakes up one morning and realizes everything he has he doesn’t really own. It’s all drug money. He realizes that he has this inner talent and wants to do other things. He also wants to rekindle his relationship with his sister and stepfather. It’s the story of the coming together of all of those things.

Ashley Watkins & Mason Troy

Ashley Watkins & Mason Troy

What can you tell me about your character, Rose?

Rose is Ace’s sister and is a little more difficult. She grew up depressed and had a lot of social issues. She was also bullied in school and had anxiety attacks. She’s incredibly smart and someone who once had a great relationship with Ace but is struggling with her own demons. 

What was the filming process like?

Being on set with Markiss each day was just what I imagined. He was an absolute professional. And because he’s also an actor, he was so aware of what was needed. Working with Mason was also amazing. This was his first film where he wrote, produced and acted, which was huge. After we had finished filming I remember telling him not to worry if he heard any quirks about the film. I said, “You’ve just completed a film. Just the fact that you created and completed a film and that it’s right here, right now is bigger than anything.” We were all taken into a piece of Mason’s world and brought into it in such a beautiful and vulnerable way.

There’s an interesting musical scene in the film. What can you tell me about it?

Yes! There is a scene where I am singing. My character, Rose used to play the guitar so Ace buys her one and pushes her into going to sing at an open-mic night. She does and it actually becomes a window into Ace’s world and reflects what she’s trying to do for him. He’s trying to tell her that she’s got talent and needs to do what she needs to do — and she’s doing the same for him. It’s a beautiful moment.

Is there a message people can take away from watching “All I Ever Wanted”?

Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone stop you, control you or tell you that you’re not capable of doing something. 

What other projects are you currently working on?

I recently finished filming “The Young Pope”, which is a HBO series that stars Jude Law and Diane Keaton. I can’t say what it’s about but it was a dream role that I’ve wanted to film ever since I was a kid.

Photo by: CA Photography

Photo by: C.A. Francis Photography

Have you ever given thought to getting on the other side of the camera at some point – writing or directing?

I’ve been asked about that a lot of times. Being on the other side is a craft of its own. After a few more years of experience I think I’d be able to transition over. Right now though, I like to become the characters and live through them. But when I do decide I want it to be a project that is dear to me. Much like the way Markiss and Mason have done in telling a story of their own. When an actor and director can get to the same level of connection, creative thinking and understanding, it’s a beautiful thing!

‘We Are Twisted F***ing Sister’: Jay Jay French Talks New Documentary and Final Tour

TwistedSister621The New York club scene in the Seventies was unlike any that had ever existed before.

First of all, the drinking age was only 18, which meant that kids as young as 15 were getting served with fake ID’s.

More to the point, it also was a time when thousands of loyal fans routinely went out to see one of the greatest live rock bands of all time, Twisted Sister.

Directed by Andrew Horn, We Are Twisted F***ing Sister is a new documentary that captures Twisted Sister’s rise from bar band to international super-stardom. Recounted directly with rare concert footage and photographs, as well as interviews with the band, management and some of their biggest fans, the film is the never-before-told story of the 10 grueling years leading up to Twisted Sister’s breakout success.

The film, the first-ever documentary of the band, opened in Los Angeles February 15. It will open in New York this Friday, February 19, and there’s a one-night-only event scheduled for Chicago’s Music Box Theatre February 22.

On February 23, the film will be released on DVD, Blu-ray, VOD and digital formats with two hours of bonus material and director commentary.

Twisted Sister consists of Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda and Mark “The Animal” Mendoza. Drummer A.J. Pero died in 2015.

I recently spoke with French about the new documentary as well as Twisted Sister’s plans for 2016.

I’d like to start off by asking you about the recent passing of David Bowie, who played a big role in your early years. How influential was he to you and your music?

He was a huge influence. Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust changed my life. They altered my world and changed me from a Grateful Dead hippie into a glitter guy. Where the Beatles gave me my dream, Bowie gave me direction and took me to the stars. I cut my hair off and dyed it blonde because I wanted to be Mick Ronson.

Everything just sort of hit at the same time after that. I used to see the New York Dolls every Sunday at the Mercer Arts Center. One night, Bowie was there. Then Bowie played Carnegie Hall on September 28, 1972, and I said, “That’s it, I’m sold!” That’s when word went out and I soon got a call from someone who told me some guy he knew had told him I wanted to be in a glitter band. That band was Silver Star, which changed its name in February 1973 and started performing under the name Twisted Sister.

How did the idea for the Twisted Sister documentary originate?

It came about through a consonance of coincidences. I was being interviewed by the director, Andy Horn, for another documentary on the life of a German-born performance artist named Klaus Nomi. It just so happened that Klaus and Twisted Sister had crossed paths one night in the early Eighties when Klaus opened up for us at a nightclub in New Jersey. The reaction of the crowd to his performance was very negative and a complete disaster. So they wanted to discuss that night with me.

When Andy came over, I asked him how much he knew about Twisted Sister. He admitted he didn’t know much, so over the next few hours of talking I overwhelmed him with the story about Klaus and other historical facts. That’s when he said, “Whoa! This is another story that needs to be told!” That’s how it evolved.

You can read the rest of mygw_logoInterview with Jay Jay French by Clicking Here!

Bangles Guitarist Vicki Peterson Discusses the 30th Anniversary of ‘Different Light’

BanglesWhen the Bangles released their sophomore album, Different Light, in 1986, it represented something of a departure from the guitar-driven, Sixties-oriented sound the band had been known for.

With its eclectic mix of radio-friendly pop, dance and Motown groove, Different Light would go on to become one of the year’s biggest albums, yielding the hits “Walking Down Your Street” and “If She Knew What She Wants,” plus the Prince-penned “Manic Monday.”

The album also gave the Bangles their first Number 1 song, the quirky yet strangely infectious “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

Below, Bangles guitarist Vicki Peterson recalls the making of Different Light and the tidal wave of success that followed. We also discuss her current work with the Bangles, the Psycho Sisters and Continental Drifters, gear and more.

When you look back at Different Light with 30 years of perspective, what comes to mind?

Different Light was a really important record for us and transitional in some ways. We had started out as a very raw garage band, and the first full record that we did with Columbia had more of that Sixties, guitar-rock sound. Different Light has some songs that kind of veered away from that. In some ways, it was a little uncomfortable, but new things always are.

What prompted that change in direction?

We were trying to feel our way through growing up as a band, and that started happening with that record. It was a band decision. Instead of staying in one spot musically and working directly from that Sixties, guitar-based platform, we launched into other things. David Kahne (producer) did a lot to take any ideas we had and was musically creative as an arranger. He was actually the one who brought us “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Vicki Peterson by Clicking Here!

Rival Sons Guitarist Scott Holiday Talks New Music and Black Sabbath Tour

RivalSons-ScottHolidayLegendary rockers Black Sabbath kicked off their final tour earlier this month. And the band that was handpicked by Ozzy to join Sabbath on the road for this momentous trek? Long Beach, California, rockers Rival Sons.

Rival Sons–Jay Buchanan (vocals), Scott Holiday (guitar), Michael Miley (drums) and Dave Beste (bass)—are part of Sabbath’s North American, Australian and European dates; they’re also headlining a few shows of their own along the way.

The band is still riding high on its latest release, Great Western Valkyrie: Tour Edition, which includes an extra disc of bonus tracks and rarities. Rival Sons also plan to release a new album later this spring.

I recently spoke with guitarist Scott Holiday about Rival Sons’ upcoming tour with Sabbath and more.

GUITAR WORLD: What goes through your mind when you think about opening for Black Sabbath on their last-ever tour? 

We’ve been touring for years now and have had a chance to tour with many of our heroes and other great acts, and it’s been an honor. But a tour like this is something you really hope comes around if you’re a band. ANY band. It’s surreal. And the way we got it was probably the best thing.

How did it all come about?

Usually, tours like this happen in the back office between agents and managers. But Ozzy, Sharon [Osbourne] and the Sabbath establishment didn’t do it that way. We had been nominated for Album of the Year by Classic Rock magazine and were asked if we’d like to perform at the awards show. We’ve done it a few times before and it’s such a great gig. The room is filled with your heroes and fans, and we jumped at the opportunity. So we played a few songs and had a really great response. Then as we were leaving the stage, I could hear Sammy Hagar, who was hosting and is a good friend of the band, say, “I hope Sharon and Ozzy saw that!”

Turns out, they did see it. They had been in the front row and ended up coming back and meeting us a little bit later. It was an amazing feeling. They gave us huge accolades and were very excitingly telling us how much they had enjoyed the show and pretty much proposed the tour to us on the spot. Our manager was there and people began talking immediately. That’s really how it happened.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Scott Holiday by Clicking Here!

3 Doors Down Guitarist Chris Henderson Talks Gear and New Album, ‘Us and the Night’

3DDIt’s hard to believe it’s been nearly five years since Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum rockers 3 Doors Down released their last album, Time of My Life.

But fans who’ve been clamoring for new music from the Mississippi rockers are about to get their wish granted—in true guitar-driven fashion.

3 Doors Down recently announced their sixth album, Us and the Night, which will be unleashed March 11. The album’s first single, “In the Dark,” was released January 15, and you can hear it below.

Us and the Night, which was produced by Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Train, Faith No More), showcases the robust riffs and hooks that’ve helped make 3 Doors Down one of rock’s most instantly recognizable bands. That said, it also emphasizes a new groove and swagger.

3 Doors Down—Brad Arnold (vocals), Chris Henderson (lead guitar), Greg Upchurch (drums), Chet Roberts (guitar) and Justin Biltonen (bass)—are planning a huge summer tour in support of the album.

We recently caught up with Henderson to ask him about the new music, his gear and more.

Did the band try to go in any particular direction when recording Us and the Night?

Every time we’ve recorded a record as a band we’ve always made some sort of conscious decision of where we wanted to go or not wanted it to go. Instead of doing that, this time the strategy we took in the pre-production phase of writing the songs was to push left really far until it started to become a little bit uncomfortable.

Then once we got to that point, we’d let it organically fall back into a rock song. Although it’s not the same, this record is more like Seventeen Days and The Better Life than any of the records we’ve made after those two, in my opinion. It’s got modern elements along with some of those rock elements, and I think we kind of molded both of those together. At the end of the day, it’s got all of the elements of a 3 Doors Down record.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Chris Henderson by Clicking Here!

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