- Category: Interviews
There are people who feel everything that can be done with guitar has been done. What is your reaction to that perspective?
I think that’s a statement coming from a technician, not a musician. I’ve seen some nice wall shelves and planters done with guitars….does that count? Seriously though, there will always be someone to put a new spin on a technique. It may not be new but maybe it sounds fresh. However, there is one thing that can never be “done.” It’s that musical intangible which comes from the heart and soul of a guitarist. It‘s the intangible which is an artist’s fingerprint unique to only them. What is it about a solo or just the way an artist plays the guitar? It’s the passion, not the technique. Technical skill is great but without heart it’s just mechanics.
Following my question from above, have you ever been struggling with such thoughts during the writing process of your album \"Resurrection Of Black\"? And not only when it comes to guitar, but the music you presented on the album, overall.
My struggles were more of how to craft my sound and create soundscapes as opposed to trying to do something new that has never been done before. I like to work parts out, not just guitar but all the instruments. Everything is woven together and each instrument compliments each other. It can be a struggle to achieve this overall harmony, but the end result makes it all worth it.
Describe the journey \"Resurrection Of Black\" chronicles.
The journey actually began many years ago when I first wrote these songs. I was still in high school at the time playing in an original band. Resurrection Of Black wasn’t a thought yet, but the music for it had been created. Forwarding ahead to today, the timing and opportunity were right to make this album and bring these songs back. It wasn’t my intention to create a concept album, though there is an underlying theme or thread that ties all the songs together. Actually, when I listen to it now, it does feel like a concept album, but I think that has to do with album flow. I chose to do post-apocalyptic themed artwork to represent dark times ahead if the world stays the course it is on now. The first track called Hell If I Know sets the tone for the rest of the album as each song presents an issue.
In which measure this music represents your opinions and interpretation of the world today, and all the problems that surround it?
The album does touch on several social issues plaguing the world today. It’s interesting to point out that even though the songs were written a long time ago they are just as much relevant today as when I wrote them. Topics like corporate greed, political war, negative influences by the media, cliques, bullying…these issues are prevalent in our society. Resurrection Of Black can be looked at as an album of awareness. We should think about how we can help rectify some of these issues in our daily lives.
And how much \"Resurrection of Black\" is personal? What are some of the experiences you thread through the album\'s lyrics?
Really all the songs are personal to a certain extent. However, the two most personal are The Struggle Within and Justifiable Condemnation. The Struggle Within was inspired by a relationship I was involved with. However, I did weave other meanings into the song. Justifiable Condemnation is the most personal. This song deals with cliques and not being part of the “in” crowd. I saw it and experienced it first-hand in high school and college. If you weren’t “cool” you were outcast and the instructors were just as bad by bending the rules to support this behavior. You could equate it to a form of bullying nowadays.
What inspired \"Resurrection Of Black\" in the first place? Do you recall the initial idea that started it all?
Yes I do! I was driving around Los Angeles and the thought hit me to bring back these songs I had written a long time ago and finally record them the way they were meant to be. I think this was about three years ago. The title of the album was the first thing that came to mind. I wanted to “resurrect” these songs. Most of the songs were written around the end of high school. I did play them in various bands at the time, but eventually shelved them to pursue other musical ventures. I decided I wanted to get back to my musical roots and that was the catalyst.
How were you able to channel your energy during the turbulent process such as creating a body of art—in this case \"Resurrection Of Black\"?
Once I had decided I was going to make this album, I became very focused. I knew which songs I wanted to bring back. I finally decided on the track order and from that point on I was excited. My energy level was peaked. Once I became laser focused, making the album engulfed my life from start to finish. The process went very smoothly. The only turbulence came from myself trying to make everything as perfect as possible. We are our own toughest critics.
What are positive and what negative sides of being an independent artist from your angle?
Freedom…what a great positive! I love being an independent artist because I can mold and create my music without the restrictions of a label or someone else telling me what I can or cannot do. I follow my own rules. On the flip side, I do most of the administrative work myself. It takes up a lot of time, which I wish I could spend it just working on my music. But it is important. Marketing, promotion, distribution, tour support, all these things are tough to manage on your own or even with the team you put together. However, I have to admit that I’m enjoying the overall process. It’s part of the journey.
Bassist Matt Bissonette and his brother Gregg play on \"Resurrection Of Black.\" How did you make that happen?
When I first started to record Resurrection Of Black I was using some musician friends of mine. They are great players but they weren’t the right fit. I was talking to my friend Wally Minko, currently the keyboardist in the Anderson Ponty Band about my plight and he said he’d hook me up with the right guys. He put me in touch with Matt and Gregg Bissonette. Wally was right…these were the right guys! They understood immediately where I was coming from musically and where I wanted to take it. The added bonus was getting a rhythm section who were brothers. They’ve been playing together forever so the synergy between the two in the studio was invaluable. Matt and Gregg were a joy to work with. Hopefully I can bring them back for the next album.
What are your plans now after the album has been out for some time?
I’m really looking forward to taking Resurrection Of Black on the road. I’m working on putting a few shows together and hitting the road later this year. I’ve also started work on the next album. I have my pool of songs to choose from and even the album cover art is almost done so we’re moving right along. Probably by the end of the year I’ll get back in the studio to start recording.