Posts Tagged “Peter Hodgson”

Peter Hodgson of Gibson.com recently conducted an interview with Sammy Hagar (CHICKENFOOT, VAN HALEN). An excerpt from the chat follows below.

Gibson.com: I’ve always wanted to ask you how you rank yourself as a guitarist. It takes balls to stand up there with Eddie Van Halen or Joe Satriani. I’ve been lucky to jam with Satriani and Vai, and to a certain point it’s intimidating but also at a certain point you’ve just got to tell yourself “Screw it, this is what I do.”

Sammy: I’m a little bit intimidated if we go too long, but in CHICKENFOOT and VAN HALEN, I just put the guitar on and got a big cheer always, and then I’d burn for a little bit and then take it back off before I ran out of chops, y’know? I rate myself as a guy that can play, and I can express myself extremely well but only in one language. I can only play blues-based guitar. And when a guy like Joe steps up there, he can play. Once he finishes with my repertoire, he can go into French, Spanish and Russian on the guitar! He’s just so versatile and fluent. Eddie‘s not as fluent and versatile. Eddie‘s got a style for himself and he’s very much in that pocket, but Joe can play anything. He freaks me out. When Joe and I start to write together, he’ll show me some chords and I’ll start singing, then I’ll pick up a guitar just mainly to figure a lick out: “What chord is that? What are you playing?” so I can know what notes I have to choose from to sing. Then he’ll go “That was a cool lick, what did you play?” and I’ll go “[Expletive], I don’t know!” I don’t get it. I just play.

Gibson.com: There were so many great guitar players to come out of the ’80s where you knew they’d kind of fade away, but even early on it was apparent that we’d still be hearing about Joe Satriani in 40, 50 years.

Sammy: Oh, Joe‘s here to stay. I think he’s going to have a kind of Jeff Beck career. He’s going to have these little windows where he gets a little bump, a little more publicity, a little more recognition, and then he kinda just cruises along, then all of a sudden somebody’s gonna say, “Wow, Joe Satriani‘s the best guitar player in the world” and everybody gets hip again. He ain’t going nowhere. The thing that amazes me the most about Joe‘s guitar playing over any other musician is he knows exactly what he’s playing and he can play it twice, three times exactly the same. He works his parts out but he does it really quick. It’s not like it takes him forever to come up with a part. He comes up with it, BAM, instantly, and he knows every note he’s playing and I don’t know how he does it. He’s too smart for his own good. But you’re a lucky man if you stood up and played next to Joe Satriani. What I do is, I learn. He immediately makes me better because it makes me aware of what I’m playing, because if I see him solo I think, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” So I start to think a little more, like “Oh I know why that note works.” So he just enlightens. He’s enlightening to play with. I don’t know if that works for you, but that’s how it works for me.

Read the entire interview at Gibson.com.

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Peter Hodgson of IHeartGuitarBlog.com recently conducted an interview with ALTER BRIDGE guitarist Mark Tremonti. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: I’ve been checking out the new album [“Fortress”] and man, this one is heavy.

Tremonti: Yeah! It’s the fun one!

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: Where did that come from? I mean, there are thrash elements here, for cryin’ out loud.

Tremonti: Well, when we got together to put the initial ideas together, me and Myles [Kennedy, vocals] kept in mind that we had to play these songs every night and we wanted to make the album entertaining to perform, so we made ’em all high-energy songs. And once we got about two thirds done with the record, we realized that if we didn’t put some dynamics in the record, no matter how heavy you make it, it’s not going to make it’s not going to be as good as a record. That’s when we switched gears.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: So you actually had a plan, rather than just all these heavy riffs coming together?

Tremonti: Me and Myles get together and we play each other all of our favourite ideas and we piece our ideas together to get a broad outline of what the record’s going to look like, and then we get together with Brian [Marshall] and Scott [Phillips] and piece together a closer arrangement. Once we had about 14 or 15 songs, we went into pre-production and that’s when we take our arrangements and challenge them as much as we can. We tore them apart many, many times to get them where they are now. We didn’t want people to be able to guess where the song was going. We wanted to catch them by surprise.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: I wanted to ask you about the arrangements because there’s some really intricate stuff here, and each time you listen you’ll hear different details.

Tremonti: A lot of it, especially in “Cry Of Achilles” or “Fortress” where we really threw everything we had at it, we’d just sit there throwing ideas back and forth: let’s change a time signature here, change a key here, completely change the vibe of the song here and try to get back on our feet in the next section. And a lot of the time, it gets frustrating because sometimes you think you’re onto something good, but you can’t get out of it and then you have to start over again. But we just didn’t want to rest on our laurels and think that our arrangements were fine. We wanted to put every effort into it, and we spent about three times longer on pre-production for this record than we ever spent on a record before. We go into the studio with a good picture of what we want, and then when we got to the preproduction that’s when we made what we wanted a little better.

Read the entire interview at IHeartGuitarBlog.com.

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Peter Hodgson of IHeartGuitarBlog.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist John Petrucci of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: The previous album seemed like you were trying to make the definitive DREAM THEATER album, whereas this one seems a little more relaxed, more exploratory. Is that an accurate assessment?

Petrucci: We definitely approached “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” like we had something to prove as we were writing it, and we wanted to make sure we created something that was going to really assure our fans that we were here to stay and that everything was okay and that we were moving forward in a positive way. Definitely the tone of that album comes across that way, for sure. Now, this one: after that album came out and thankfully was received so well, we had a successful tour where we were able to learn more about Mike Mangini as a person and as a drummer, and we were able to, as you said, go into this album and let our hair down and forge ahead with a new sound, a new approach, maybe more experimental. I think that the music on this album comes across as having a more gusty rock thing. When we were doing some of the solo sections, we wanted to capture the vibe of playing live and improvising and playing with that kind of real fire that happens when you’re playing together as a band. That’s how we wrote it and that’s how we think it’s coming across. With the last one, there wasn’t a drummer in the room as we were writing it, so it’s probably more controlled-sounding, and this one is — and I’ve used this term before to describe Mangini — unleashed. Freer-sounding.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: Did you do anything in particular as a producer to facilitate that way of working?

Petrucci: Yeah, absolutely. From the beginning, in order to capture that, what we did totally differently was not only did we set up in the studio where everyone’s playing live, but we made sure that the sounds that we were capturing at that very early stage were usable sounds that could be performances on the album. So we took some extra time in the beginning to get all the drum sounds, the guitar sounds, bass and everything, so as we were writing, if we captured that moment of fire and passion when it was written, we were able to actually keep that and integrate it along with whatever we had overdubbed as well. And that was really, really helpful. As a producer, I was able to hear what the album was sounding like right from the beginning. I didn’t have to wait for the mix to hear how the guitar would sound once it was hyped up. Everything was already sounding that way. When you’re hearing on the album is what it sounded like from day one, pretty much.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: It must be a strange moment before the album comes out, when you’re sitting on it and hearing feedback from people who have heard it but the general public hasn’t got their hands on it yet.

Petrucci: Absolutely! I’m dyin’! It’s like you have something you’re so proud of and you just want to say, “Check this out! Listen to this!” There’s this feeling of excitement and anticipation and a little bit of anxiety, but generally it’s pride. You feel like you worked really hard on something and you just can’t wait to share it. That’s what it’s all about: sharing it and having that experience with our listeners that we’re really lucky to have.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: Well just looking at the reactions to “The Enemy Inside” when it was released…

Petrucci: Yes!

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: I don’t think I saw any negative comments!

Petrucci: Y’know what? Yeah! That was so awesome! That was so incredible to see. And it just puts a smile on my face. I love our listeners because they’re very discerning but they’re very passionate and really supportive of what we do, so when I saw that kind of reaction I was like, “Y’know what? That’s freaking awesome.” Because to put out something you’re proud of and to have people react in the way that you would hope means that you’re all on the same page, and it’s just a great beginning to this whole process.

Read the entire interview at IHeartGuitarBlog.com.

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Peter Hodgson of IHeartGuitarBlog.com recently conducted an interview with Sigurd “Satyr” Wongraven of Norwegian black metallers SATYRICON. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: What do you think would be the perfect place to listen to [SATYRICON‘s new, self-titled] album for the first time?

Satyr: Well… I know it’s not possible for all writers and journalists to do this, because the way these things are being distributed is through computer streams, but it’s analog production with an awful lot of emphasis on getting an authentic, organic sound with a great dynamic range where the performance of the musician comes across in terms of actually breathing life into the song through the lows coming down really low and quiet, and the really explosive epic parts really coming across as powerful and huge. And to me, it just means to play this record repeatedly on a good stereo without coloring the sound with your own EQ. Just leave everything in neutral so you can actually hear what the record sounds like the way that it was made. I also think that due to the fact that it has so many tiny little details here and there — whether it’s the mellotron or the harmonium or the piano or the acoustic guitars or the theremin, all these little instruments that have their small features here and there that are introduced in a subtle way — to me, it’s more that than where you find yourself physically. It’s how you listen to it.

IHeartGuitarBlog.com: Even just listening to the stream over the headphones, there’s so much depth to everything, and the sounds aren’t harsh and aggressive — they’re more rich and inviting and that makes you want to listen closer.

Satyr: Well, to me, that’s a fantastic compliment. What you try to do as a musician is you try to make the listener hear what you’re hearing and what you’re trying to achieve. And that was just one of those things that I decided to do for this record. I was going to get rid of all distortion pedals. For rock music, that’s pretty normal, to just crank the amplifier and go with that sound, and then maybe they use a wah pedal or something like that. But for metal, you typically have some pedal that’s gonna turbo-charge your sound. And for me, I really believe in the amplifiers that I use and I like the microphones we were using for the guitar recording, and I wanted to bring out my style of playing, the sound of my amplifier, the sound of the old tube microphones that we were using, and I didn’t want a modern-day pedal to kill the dynamics of my playing. So a lot of it was like that, and other things we did with the drums that typically, for a metal drummer playing like Frost does, he uses smaller-sized drums for more attack definition and in order for it to be more comfortable to play for the drummer. And I kept saying to him, “I love the drum sound on the things that we’ve done, but nothing sounds like our old drum kit, and the last time we used that was on the ‘Volcano’ record. Why are we not using that anymore?” And he just said, “Because it’s old and broken and fucking hard to play.” And I said, “I’m not looking for any hyper-speed solutions anyway. I’m looking for a big fat tone with great sustain, and if it’s broken, we’ll just get some guy to fix it and get new parts, and it shouldn’t be a problem.” And then we set it up again, and when we were playing the new stuff, straight off the bat, I said, “Are you not hearing what I’m hearing? This sounds so much better, so much more musical to me.” So there were many little things we did here and there, even in the production process, where there would be computer versions of some compressor or something like that, which to me didn’t sound that great, and the engineer would typically claim that it’s the same as the real thing, and I’d say, “I don’t believe you because I know that this computer thing is a $250 item and if you try and buy the physical version of this from the Seventies on eBay, it’s going to cost you two grand.” And he says, “Well, there is a difference, but it’s a small difference,” and I said, “That’s the small difference I’m looking for!” So that meant we did spend a little bit more time than we had planned for, but it was necessary to make this record come across the way we wanted. We felt we had atmospheric songs, we felt that we needed our tone to come across and go into the songwriting and become a part of the musical expression, and we felt that we needed the songs to be able to breathe. And pretty much the opposite of what most records sound like today, as the majority of records are quite digital and processed-sounding, and we were pursuing something completely different. We’ve always had these elements in our music, but never to such an uncompromising degree as on this record. It was necessary and it gave us the outcome we now have in our hands.

Read the entire interview at IHeartGuitarBlog.com.

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Peter Hodgson of SeymourDuncan.com recently conducted an interview with former DIO and current DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell.

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Peter Hodgson of Gibson.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist Richie Faulkner of British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST.

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Peter Hodgson of IHeartGuitarBlog.com recently conducted an interview with ALTER BRIDGE/CREED guitarist Mark Tremonti.

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Peter Hodgson of the I Heart Guitar Blog recently conducted an interview with Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, ex-SEPULTURA).

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Earlier this week, Peter Hodgson of IHeartGuitarBlog.com conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Amott of Swedish/German extreme metallers ARCH ENEMY.

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Peter Hodgson of IHeartGuitarBlog.com recently conducted an interview with KORN guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer.

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