Guitar Nine Columns: Interviews

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Enjoy over 25 years of staff columns, guest columns, interviews and more!

Guitar Haus

I think my biggest accomplishment is that I was able to teach myself an instrument that now enables me to make a living and travel the world.

February-March 2020
Guitar Haus

On the right material, the wah pedal actually deepens the connection I have with the guitar.

February-March 2020
Guitar Haus

Though electric shred is my passion I have learned many instruments, styles and aspects of music.

October-November 2019
Guitar Haus

Certain fans (probably musicians) want to hear the instruments speak to them, which they can understand a bit better than the average listener.

February-March 2019
Guitar Haus

The fact that we are brothers in our case plays a big... wait, a huge part in our chemistry when we play. Things just naturally happen between us musically.

February-March 2019
Guitar Haus

A good website is key to successful promotions. Also Reverb Nation is a pretty important portal to be signed up to. It is a good place to network.

February-March 2018
Guitar Haus

Plans for the future? Play more gigs in front of larger audiences! Playing live is the greatest thing to do as a guitar player.

February-March 2018
Guitar Haus

In order to increase your visibility and gain a position in the mind of your listener or target audience, I feel it's important to invest in a public relations firm that specializes in the entertainment industry.

February-March 2018
Guitar Haus

Nothing beats being in a recording studio with professionals. It’s one of those moments you dream about as a kid learning to play.

December-January 2017
Guitar Haus

In my opinion, having a booking agent is more important than any other traditional aspect. Independent artists need to take their music to the people and having more opportunities to perform live is paramount.

December-January 1996
Guitar Haus

My long-term goals are simple, continue improving and have fun! I don`t care really if I don`t become a `rock star` or a `guitar hero`, as long as I`m happy with my music and maybe someone else likes it too.

December-January 1996
Guitar Haus

I`ve sold thousands of copies of the "Dreamscapes" CD. You have to realize that 95% of all my sales come from traditional print advertising. Reviews don`t sell your product. Marketing and advertising do! I`m amazed at the amounts of money bands and artists put into the recording and manufacturing of their product and then have no idea on how to sell it. Marketing and promotion go hand in hand; you need to do both.

December-January 1996
Guitar Haus

I was offered a couple of small record deals, but the contracts were ridiculous so I invested my own money, and it`s starting to pay off. At least this way you own your product.

February-March 1997
Guitar Haus

We all write together at rehearsal. We never set out to write something new, it always happens that one of us will be tuning up with an idea or just jamming on something, and the other two will jump on it. By the time we realize it, half the song is already written. We look at each other and say, `I guess we`re gonna` write today!`

February-March 1997
Guitar Haus

I`ve mostly been motivated by wanting to hear something that`s already in my head. For the classical tunes, I always thought Paganini`s Caprice No. 5 would sound amazing on an electric guitar and just really wanted to hear it. If someone else had a recording out first, I probably would have bought it and then just listened to it instead of playing it.

April-May 1997
Guitar Haus

Many of the first seeds of a song come to me when I`m mountain biking or jogging. It is at that time when my head gets totally clear and the creative juices start to flow. The tricky part is to remember your ideas until you get somewhere that you can write them down! Then it`s just a matter of developing the songs.

April-May 1997
Guitar Haus

Get on the Internet!! It`s the best way to get your music heard by millions of people all over the world. Get someone in the music industry to help you (if you`re lucky). Get a web-site and push your music and never stop. If you have a dream go for it and don`t let anything stop you! Get out there and perform your music live as much as possible.

June-July 1997
Guitar Haus

I record at home in my 16 track (analog) studio. It took me lots of time, energy and money but I`m glad that I`ve got one. Nothing can beat a home studio. You can go there anytime you want and not be bothered by anyone other than yourself. You don`t have to book time, and pay by the hour. Unless you`re a lunatic, that is.

June-July 1997
Guitar Haus

You have to have a good promotion budget and don`t skimp corners when it comes to this. You can have the greatest album and if no one knows that you have one out and available, it really is no good. Utilize all that you can with local publications and national ones as well. Always think of the nation as your market and not just your town. You can be the biggest thing in your hometown and unless they know you around, it really is not going to help you.

August-September 1997
Guitar Haus

Even though these days it takes a lot of idealism to produce an instrumental record, I strongly encourage everybody who`s playing around with the idea to do so. Just don`t expect to get any money out of it, regardless of the quality of your product. It might happen, but it`s very likely that it won`t. But you will have the best musical business card there is and a unique document of your own creativity.

August-September 1997
Guitar Haus

The one thing I always try to do is be in a creative state of mind when I compose. It seems that the ideas flow better if you are working on it on an ongoing basis. For a lot of my instrumental tunes, I sometimes get a mental picture of something in my head, and then ask myself what music goes with this scene. This is much like scoring for film--except the film is in my head!

October-November 1997
Guitar Haus

I do as much pre-production as humanly possible at home. When you`re ready to record, and I can`t stress this enough, have everything rehearsed to death and a production plan ready. I did my latest CD at a commercial place, but my dream is to do my next one at home.

October-November 1997
Guitar Haus

The bottom line is: I believe in my music. As an instrumental artist you`re not going to land a huge deal with a major label. If you do get a deal the label is going to take a huge chunk of money, and even if they do sign you, they may not even distribute your CD. Some friends of mine signed with a major label, and the label has not done a thing with them. So they have a great product that they can`t do anything with.

December-January 1997
Guitar Haus

I`d really like to develop into a good composer. I`m not a Greg Howe or an Allan Holdsworth when it comes to soloing, so I have no choice but to work on developing my compositional skills so that people will have a reason to listen! To me, the ideal is someone like Scott Henderson, or Shawn Lane, who are not only amazing players, but equally strong, if not better, composers. That`s the pinnacle, to me.

February-March 1998
Guitar Haus

I can`t ever remember deciding to release a CD, it`s just something I always dreamed of. I think every musician would like to, deep down. I did it for myself, and I suggest others do the same. Don`t put out your first CD and expect to get rich, because it just doesn`t happen that way.

February-March 1998
Guitar Haus

Be prepared do a lot of work promoting and marketing. I strongly suggest people make a plan detailing how they will be selling and marketing their record. Rather than trying to sell one CD at a time, shop it for licensing and other types of deals, since ultimately, that is where a large number of sales will come from.

April-May 1998
Guitar Haus

I decided to do the independent route because that is the only route that is available to me at the present time. I have had releases on A&M Canada and Legato Records but I can`t wait for the "grown ups" to decide whether or not to release the music. I want to have my music out there like anybody else and if I have to do it all myself--so be it!

April-May 1998
Guitar Haus

I just released my first CD after 27 years of playing. For me it represents the end of a struggle to accept my influences, yet still feel I have a voice of my own. I also wanted to express the fact that I just love to play, and that I love music without borders. Most importantly, I want to create music that expresses my true heart, and that inspires the listener to do the same.

June-July 1998
Guitar Haus

The best marketing tip though, is not to think of the market when you are composing or playing your music. Play only what is true to you--as an independent musician, you have that luxury.

June-July 1998
Guitar Haus

I am trying to reach into the heart of the listener and make him or her feel what I am putting out emotionally. I just want young people to become emotionally attached to music again. I want to enlighten a younger audience.

August-September 1998
Guitar Haus

In the last few years I`ve made a record for a major label that didn`t get released. Then I signed with a indie label. I thought the majors were the bad guys, and this label would give me more attention. WRONG! To make a long story longer, the small label had bad distribution and never paid a bill, let alone the tour support and promo budget.

August-September 1998
Guitar Haus

I knew what I wanted to do but there were no labels dedicated to the guitarist as the artist, but only to the guitarist as a shred meister. I read an interview with guitarist Glenn Phillips, who has released ten albums independently. I realized from his comments (about the music industry) that the only way to reach my goal was to follow his example.

October-November 1998
Guitar Haus

For Europe my music is not aggressive enough and in the US I didn`t have anybody to present it to. So rather than making so-called industry contacts and "wait until it happens" I decided to do it myself, which turned out to be much faster and got me and my music much more respect. I highly recommend a musical statement such as this to all musicians who intend to be a part of this complex industry.

October-November 1998
Guitar Haus

I hope my music, although there are no words, communicates and reaches people on an emotional, spiritual and entertaining level. I try to incorporate various instrumentation, and contemporary compositional influences.

October-November 1998
Guitar Haus

We have tried to record as much of our playing as we possibly can, both in practice and "jamming" sessions, and when we perform live, to give ourselves some feedback. When playing it`s very difficult to listen to yourself because you`re too busy thinking about what`s going to happen next, while in critical listening you concentrate on the blend of what has just happened. By listening to recordings of ourselves we can pick out the improvisational parts that work well, sound great, or have promise, then try to concentrate on developing them.

December-January 1998
Randy Allar

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.

February-March 1999
Guitar Haus

I was never a fan of direct guitar sounds but for some reason this album ("Zone") is full of direct guitar. All of the rhythm tracks, clean and dirty, were recorded direct. I find that this gives the punchiest sound out there. The Sans-Amp rack really helped also. It is one of those `plug and play` pieces of gear which tone just oozes out of.

April-May 1999
Guitar Haus

The only recording I do at home is for demo purposes. My engineer and I have actually built a commercial studio in San Luis Obispo, CA. The studio is a 3,000 sq..ft., 24 track, digital facility. It was a huge project, spanning two years. The great thing is I don`t have to worry about the clock anymore. There is a tremendous feeling of freedom when I can spend the time needed to record my songs, the way I feel they should be.

June-July 1999
Guitar Haus

But even with my success in Belgium, it was impossible to get any industry support/interest generated. It was then the time of Kurt Cobain and friends, people like Tony MacAlpine and Greg Howe weren`t having any luck, what hope was there for me? Releasing my own CD seemed like the only answer.

August-September 1999
Guitar Haus

Except for distribution, I`ve always made out better doing it myself using investor money then any contracts I`ve been offered. I have a "go in the studio and play" mentality. I don`t overdub, and I usually only do two or three takes for each piece. I make sure when I go in, I`m ready! So my costs are embarressingly low!

August-September 1999
Guitar Haus

I like to take another artist`s song and vision and take it to another level. My experience with Fourth Estate, as well as contributing to many other projects and playing in countless cover bands, gives me a broad perspective in which to approach working with a variety of different artists. I am also very picky about sounds and tones and I think that translates in most of the projects I`ve produced.

December-January 1999
Howard Hart

We send about half our orders overseas (48 different countries at last check), so numerically more CDs are still purchased in the United States, but that`s really because the country is so big. I feel the demand for instrumental guitar is stronger overseas, and if the economies in the Far East and Eastern Europe were stronger, I believe we`d sell even more there.

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