Interview: Vinnie Moore

Randy Allar: You have a new disc out called "The Maze." How did you come up with "The Maze?"

Vinnie Moore: It is pretty much an abstract concept. It just popped into my head one day.

Randy Allar: No life experience in this?

Vinnie Moore: There's life experience in everything I do. Otherwise I won't even write a song. It has to be related to something I'm going through in my life, and so the whole record is like that. "The Maze" is just like going through life and not knowing exactly what is going on at all times. I'm just trying to figure it all out. The title cut is a big long song with a bunch of different sections, moves through a bunch of different feels, a real loose type of conceptual idea.

Randy Allar: You have some great players on the disc.

Vinnie Moore: Yeah. Dave LaRue plays with the Steve Morse Band and the Dixie Dregs. I've known him for a long time. He's been a friend and he's always been incredible and I always wanted to work with him, so I gave him a call and enlisted him to do the record. Shane Gaalas, the drummer was recommended by my record label. Tony MacAlpine on keyboards worked on my first record way back, and got the idea to use him again.

Randy Allar: The disc has some neo-classical as well.

Vinnie Moore: Right. I've kind of gone back to my first couple of records with some of the songs anyway. Not totally. I was out touring and doing clinics and I would hear from the fans, "Hey Vinnie, when are you going to go back and do some stuff like the first couple of records?" My heart wasn't into it for many years, I would always kind of dismiss it. But then about a year and a half ago, I started coming around. It felt right. It was in my heart again. I thought it's time, I want to do it. So I went back and did some stuff that is in that vein.

Randy Allar: "The Maze" has acoustic and electric guitar. It is a real good sampling of your career.

Vinnie Moore: Yeah, I try to make my records diverse. I don't want to put the same type of thing, you've got to have different stuff and experiment with different ideas, or it gets boring, especially on an instrumental record. So I try to cover a lot of different ground and I'm in to a lot of different things, so it's natural for me to try to express all the different things that I'm into.

Randy Allar: If all your records are diverse, doesn't the diversity become commonplace?

Vinnie Moore: No!! As long as you keep growing and experimenting and exploring new areas, and covering new ground, not just doing the same old thing over and over again. As long as the new things I'm working on don't sound like the new things I worked on years ago, you have to keep it diverse with new things.

Randy Allar: Speaking of years ago, your first release came out in the mid '80s.

Vinnie Moore: The first release came out in '87 and was called "Mind's Eye." "Time Odyssey" came out in '88 or '89. "Meltdown" was actually '91. "Out Of Nowhere" was '96.

Randy Allar: This has to be media week for you, calling print media and radio stations. We have to be driving you crazy.

Vinnie Moore: I love it! I love talking to people about what I do, and just happy that anyone out there is even interested.

Randy Allar: There are a few of us out there. Are you in support of the new record by touring?

Vinnie Moore: We're going on the road April 29th. It's my band and the Michael Schenker Group, and we're doing a tour together of America. It starts off in Seattle and then we head across America.

Randy Allar: Don't forget about Cleveland.

Vinnie Moore: Cleveland, May 28th, the Odeon Theater.

Randy Allar: That means that if you are coming through Cleveland in May, we can hang up on you now.

Vinnie Moore: There you go. I get no respect! The life of a musician.

Randy Allar: What got you interested in playing guitar?

Vinnie Moore: You know, the early rock bands that I was into, like Deep Purple and Queen were very guitar oriented bands. I just wanted to start playing, so I got a guitar one year for Christmas. I had no interest in the guitar on Christmas day, I played more with the box. It grew on me and I got real serious after a couple of years. It is just sort of a thing that happened.

Randy Allar: You played with the box?

Vinnie Moore: Exactly. I was like banging holes in the box with a pen, and drawing all over it. The guitar just kind of sat there.

Randy Allar: Then as you started playing, you evolved into instrumental music. Why instrumental?

Vinnie Moore: You know, when I first started playing guitar, I heard an ad on the radio for the Jeff Beck "Wired" record. That was one of the first records that I ever bought. He became a big huge influence on me and probably one of the big reasons I went into an instrumental direction. It was one of the first records I bought, it was instrumental, and it was engrained in me at a very early age.

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Randy Allar: Do you keep current with today's music, or do you put it aside?

Vinnie Moore: I always kind of ignored it and try to go down my own path. I check things out, definitely, no doubt about it, but I don't pay attention too closely to what is going on because I don't want to emulate and jump on any band wagons. I just want to go in my own direction, and be on my own path.

Randy Allar: Was it difficult to get your first recording contract?

Vinnie Moore: Some good things happened early on in my career. I sent some tapes out to record companies and they liked it. They began making plans to book me in the studio to make my first record. Things kind of happened quickly, and everything went great.

Randy Allar: That sounds like a storybook career so far.

Vinnie Moore: It was. I didn't even realize it at the time. I was only like 19 or 20 when I did that first record. I had no idea how difficult this business can be.

Randy Allar: What do you have coming up?

Vinnie Moore: On the tour we're going to do music from each record and mostly music from the new one, but I'm covering songs from the old records also. Basically do the tour, come back and start writing. I have a bunch of sons all ready finished. I always write, so I have more tunes than I can put on a record. Maybe I'll use some of those and also write some new stuff. I don't know when I'm going to begin work on a new record, this tour is going to last six weeks first, so we'll do the tour and see what happens from there.

Randy Allar: At least it's not too long a tour.

Vinnie Moore: We're doing a lot of shows in a short period of time, which is the way I prefer it. I just want to go out there, do my business and get back home. I need one of those transporter beams like in "Star Trek" so I can go home every night.

Randy Allar: You could have all your meals at home.

Vinnie Moore: Exactly! Beam me to the gig, Scotty!

Randy Allar: AAAEH Vinnie Moore...impulse power.

Vinnie Moore: Dammit, Randy, I'm a guitarist, Randy, not a doctor!

Randy Allar: Moore's honest and laid back approach to the music industry are refreshing amidst all the hype and panic of most musicians. His time spent with Alice Cooper reflects a sense of humor needed to get one through a twisted industry.

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Vinnie Moore is a guitarist whose career began in the mid-'80s. Five records later, he's back on the road and
planning a venture through Cleveland. The Vinnie Moore band will be opening for the Michael Schenker Group at the Odeon on May 28th. Moore will be leading a band including ex-Yngwie Malmsteen alumni drummer Shane Gaalas and bassist Barry Sparks.

Moore will be in Cleveland in support of a new release on Shrapnel Records, "The Maze." The new disc is a combination of fiery neo-classical woven with rhythmic leads and complex melodies.

One Friday afternoon, Moore spent some time on radio station WCSB speaking candidly about the new disc, touring, and his career.