/ DVD Lesson
Guitar One magazine, Jan 2007
CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SAMPLE FROM DVD LESSON (*MOV file)
How did you come to create your own style and sound?
There are so many elements that make up the vibe in anyone's playing. The sound, their choice of amps, guitars, pickups, the style of music, the way they write, the rhythm, the placement of notes on a beat, whether being lagging or rushed, the phrasing, modality, the way ya work the string with vibrato, your fingertips, angle of the pick. And of course rhythm and dynamics. One thing I think a lot of people neglect regarding their rhythm is dynamics—like throwing in accents when you’re doing a run... (leads into multimedia examples of dynamics)
What’s your live setup? How much did you have to change it?
Man, I’m all about keeping it simple. Plug ‘n play. One amp with a few settings, a few guitars, that’s it. Didn’t change anything, other than using a stack instead of a combo. Even for the first shows we did in NYC I used my combo.
What’s it like going from clubs to stadiums in terms of how you play?
Feels no different – you’re still playin’, doin’ what ya do. Ya definitely get more exercise, more room to run. But the approach, the playing’s all the same. Listen to the drummer, let him lead, groove with him, and just have fun, whether it’s 15 people at a local gig or 150,000 at an outdoor festival, you’re still you - just be yourself, and don’t ever fucking forget how lucky you are to be healthy and able to do what you love. You’re given the position to make people happy, so give ‘em all you can. Yeah, it sounds kinda cheesy, but it’s the truth. Without happiness, nothing in a person’s life means anything. You get to make people happy – do it.
Do you get nervous?
No. The key to everything in life is *faith* - faith that all will be ok, no matter what happens. You have to be willing to let go of all feelings that ya need to be in control - just let the moment happen. When you truly have faith and trust and acceptance of your place in the world, you're free.
Was it tough to add in all the "rock star" BS of running around the stage, etc., while playing?
It aint BS, haha - the intensity and energy of the music and the audience - you'll fucking explode if you don't run and move. After every show you're covered in bruises and ya have no idea how ya got them. I got a chunk missing out of the side of my thumb, a black and blue on my wrist and shredded skin around a fingernail - that means we played Florida yesterday. If ya don't bleed, ya didn't really play a show.
Does you find yourself having to "hold back?"
Sometimes I need to hold back, because I'm singing more backing vocals now, and it's hard to take a long sprint and stop dead to sing without taking a breath for half a minute. Sometimes, I'm just closing my eyes and listening, other times I'm running around - don't think about it, just go with whatever ya feel. Oh, do ya mean musically? Well, the song is what matters, not yourself, you have to do what's right for the song. Ya can't act like you're the focal point of the music throughout the entire song, stepping all over vocals and grooves. Be the best support - that doesn't mean playing more, it often means playing less and being more profound when ya do play. It's the space in-between that gives meaning to the moments you play. Don't be afraid to explore that space. The next time ya jam, instead of thinking about what you'll play next, experiment with *when* you'll play next. And since we're talking about "space, the final frontier", haha, keep in mind, the song is Kirk - you're Spock. Spock didn't pull a power trip - be the best Spock you can be, don't try to be Kirk.
Where does it go from here?
What will happen with your solo career? Normal?
All is cool with the solo stuff, not giving up on my own thang. One band can’t be everything for everyone – you gotta have a place where you can fill any voids, ya know? I love playin’, but I also love singing and writing weird little songs, and recording - with GnR, my own band, and producing in the studio, it’s all good.
28 OCT 2006