Interview: Dan McAvinchey

Randy Allar: You have a disc out called "Guitar Haus".

Dan McAvinchey: Yes, it's German. "Haus" is the German word for "house." I got the idea for the record while I was visiting in Germany, so I decided to give it a German flavor.

Randy Allar: On the cover, you have a number of guitars on the cover. Most prominently displayed is an acoustic guitar.

Dan McAvinchey: That's interesting because I don't really play an acoustic very much.

Randy Allar: On the back sleeve you are holding an acoustic guitar.

Dan McAvinchey: Right, (laughs) it's kind of ironic, I love the picture because it was taken when I was Mexico, or something like that, and someone gave me a guitar to hold. There is actually very little acoustic, just some rhythm guitar.

Randy Allar: The disc is very good. You play keyboards and bass as well as guitar. You play everything except drums.

Dan McAvinchey: Yeah, I got some MIDI files of drums. These two guys, Rod Morgenstein and Nigel Olsson. The quality was excellent and what it allowed me to do was to record the songs exactly the way I wanted to and if I needed to edit the drum parts in any way, I had the freedom to do that. Also their playing is great. It really opened up the compositional aspect for me to use MIDI drums on this, and they don't sound like MIDI drums either.

Randy Allar: Is this your first CD?

Dan McAvinchey: This is my first CD!

Randy Allar: You have a guitar site ( called "Guitar Nine." That's a good way to promote your CD as well as the other guitarists on the site.

Dan McAvinchey: Oh, the time we live in now is the greatest time to record your own material and to get it to people that otherwise would never have never had a chance to listen to what you are doing. The Internet has opened that up to all independent musicians.

Randy Allar: The Internet has opened things up completely.

Dan McAvinchey: Most people would toil in their hometowns, and they would have a record out, but they might sell it from the stage. They would have no way
to get beyond that. With the Internet, the minute you are on there, you're dealing with the world. It's true. Over half the sales at Guitar Nine are to parts of the world like Europe and Japan, Australia and Canada. You have a worldwide audience and that was impossible five of six years ago.

Randy Allar: How did you become interested in instrumental guitar?

Dan McAvinchey: I've been playing for nearly 20 years, and I've always emulated guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Gary Moore, people like that. As far as instrumental goes, when you can't sing yourself, you tend to write without a vocal part in mind. If you could add vocals to it, that would be one thing, but I decided that I would like the guitar to shine through on what I was doing. So I decided to make the project instrumental. A side thing about that is that now I'm promoting instrumental music in general. That was not my intention from the beginning, but that's how it kind of worked out.

Randy Allar: The Guitar Nine web site focuses on instrumental music from classical to heavy metal. Evidently you have an interest in all those different styles of music.

Dan McAvinchey: That's right. I have a very strong interest. I have a humongous record collection. Probably over 2000 CDs and I've always like jazz, classical, rock, metal, all those types of music. When I decided to create a focus for the web site to promote music, number one it had to be guitar oriented, and number two, it had to be mostly instrumental. We have a few CDs that we are promoting on the site that have a couple of vocal cuts, but the majority are either all instrumental, or 90% instrumental.

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Randy Allar: What brought you along to the instrumental side of things? You can't sing, but do you do things with vocals?

Dan McAvinchey: I never have in the past. I have a couple of DAT tapes at home that have probably 60 or 70 songs from the early to mid '80's that were mainly keyboard. The guitars are around just for solos and stuff. I really like how they came out even though I never tried to put vocals on them. It forced me to write a type of music that said a lot more. The guitar, the melody line had to be strong in order to make something that was kind of interesting, that would stand up over repeated listening. I found that the music had a cinematic flavor to it. That's what a lot of people that I let listen to it had to say.

Randy Allar: What I like best about instrumental music is that I can easily memorize al the lyrics.

Dan McAvinchey: Yeah, that's true. You don't have a lot of problems with parents saying that they object to the lyrics and they shouldn't have their teenage sons listening to this. If we put on the little sticker, it would look funny.

Randy Allar: How is the disc available?

Dan McAvinchey: Through the web site. We have about 60 instrumental titles online right now, but we get a lot of orders through the mail and faxes as well. It has been doing very well, and especially internationally, which is something I didn't expect at first. Now I find it makes a lot of sense. There is a hunger for this type of music throughout the world, especially to get it from the United States. There is absolutely no exposure for a lot of these artists in Europe or Japan. These people are looking at any avenue that they can find out more about it. The fact that your radio program is on the Internet is giving more people a chance to check it out.

Randy Allar: You've become an unsung hero for all those guitarists who are trying to get a release out and distributed. The site features tips on how to record, interviews and much more.

Dan McAvinchey: The artists have a lot of talent, so I offer them the space for people writing on the site as well as the artists selling the discs.

Randy Allar: The web site is

Dan McAvinchey: Yes, and I've done all 12,066 pages of the site! It's a lot of work, but I can help myself and a lot of other musicians as well.

Randy Allar: The Guitar Nine web site has writers that report on music and recording. One writer is David Knopfler. The site also lists links to the guitarists on the site. Guitar Nine is perhaps one of the more important sites for struggling musicians, and discs are available for a reasonable price as well. I want to thank Dan McAvinchey for his support of my favorite music, independent instrumental music!

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Dan McAvinchey is a guitarist with an advantage. He has a recent release called "Guitar Haus". The disc is a fusion effort, which emphasizes melodic tones and driving rhythms. "Guitar Haus" also features the drumming of two drummers with gigantic backgrounds. One was from Elton John's Band, the other from Winger and the Dixie Dregs. You're saying "Yeah, yeah, big deal!" Well, it is. McAvinchey has a leg up on most guitarists, and musicians for that matter. Besides a leg up, he uses that advantage to help musicians less fortunate then himself. Guitar Nine is a web site that promotes unsigned instrumental guitarists. This is a great help to any struggling musician.

In July of 1998, Dan spent a few minutes on the Fusion Show on WCSB (Cleveland) to talk live with Randy Allar about his record and the Guitar Nine site. The interview is reprinted with the permission of Music's Bottom Line (