Guitar Nine Columns: Interviews

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Enjoy over 20 years of staff columns, guest columns, interviews and more!

April-May 2006

I just love instrumental guitar music. There is something great about hearing somebody write music that will keep people`s interest without having the vocal to rely on.

April-May 2006

Instrumental music kind of reminds me of little orchestra or classical pieces, because there`s so much information going on. It`s a challenge to do, it`s really hard to do that stuff.

February-March 2006

On every album I try to compose songs that fit together and record the album using a wide range of emotions and atmospheres. If I have enough speed/technique songs, I`ll work on an atmospheric one, or an acoustic number.

February-March 2006

I do any interview I can arrange to promote the CD. My partner has been marketing all over the internet and working in conjunction with our record company to keep getting press and putting the word out about my CD.

February-March 2006

Being your own record label eliminates having to sell your soul. You also have full control over the creative aspects of your music, you own 100% of your publishing, you don`t put yourself in debt, and you call all the shots.

December-January 2005

Guitar music isn`t for everybody. Can`t expect to sell as much as pop vocal music, and that`s OK. Guitar music is for those who enjoy it, and it`s great that Guitar Nine Records gives us a place where we can easily get it.

December-January 2005

I have many goals and options, but I`ll take it day by day. It`s kinda scary to think what could happen in five years. I hope to accomplish something really special by that time.

October-November 2005

I have a lot of experience thanks to my debut album. In fact, for "Suspension" I did everything by myself - production, distribution, promotion - so I know what to do. I know which magazines will be interested and which will not.

June-July 2005

This is one of the great things about being an artist on Favored Nations. I am in control of my art. When I write songs, I never think about how long a song is - my songs and arrangements are done the way I envision it.

June-July 2005

Music is the highest form of art. It is the most abstract art, while being the one that reaches deep emotions in all of us. Instrumental music is Pure Music. It gives to the listener only vibrations to get inspired and emotional.

June-July 2005

The advantages to working with a label is the feedback you get while writing. On my previous CDs I was pretty much on my own so it was nice to get some feedback for a change.

April-May 2005

Bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit really reminded people that the guitar is something that a band is built around. The fact the you go to a G3 show and see so many kids lets you know that there is still a very strong interest in "guitar" music, and I think it is growing, not declining.

February-March 2005

Running your own label is the ultimate outlet for creating your music and getting it out to people. The alternative is sitting at home waiting for a call from a "real" label. Believe me, pinning your hopes on someone else making it happen for you is very frustrating and can turn you into a very weird person.

February-March 2005

When I was a student I worked hard on exercises and all that, but now I just play or rehearse my repertoire...Although I am also still teaching, so I¥m constantly recalling all the old exercises - no way of getting out of them!

December-January 2004

Composition really separates an artist from someone who is soley a musician, in my opinion. If I am to be viewed in any way, I would like it to be as a composer.

October-November 2004

Remember, if you look like everyone else, how do you stand out? Don`t rely on your technique to get you noticed, it won`t. Your songs might, but you`ve got to get people interested enough to listen to you in the first place.

August-September 2004

If the U.S. guitar magazines want to have more of an impact with the global community; they need to balance commercialism with the true artistic and innovative expressions of the guitar in many various forms.

June-July 2004

There`s very few radio stations who play surf, rockabilly or blues, together with current folk or roots music. It`s always Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera or the Backstreet Boys. I just wish that the kids coming up would have a choice to be able to hear everything on the radio and be exposed to that stuff.

April-May 2004

Being independent allows you to totally escape A&R, and do whatever you want. In the next three years I am releasing a solo acoustic guitar record, a fusion record, and a record with no guitar on it. I would never be allowed to do that with PolyGram. Being independent allows you to always be in control of your own music.

February-March 2004

Try to become proficient in marketing, and develop a keen business sense. This includes your recordings, music book publishing, other merchandising endeavors, etc. The music industry is a very, very tough one, and it takes serious dedication and an unbelievable work ethic to survive.

February-March 2004

I run my business, do my own booking, I do everything! We don`t have no managers, no agents, none of that. That`s what I tell these kids now. You`re better off making your own record, selling it at your own place and owning the rights to your own records.

February-March 2004

Of course besides the music, there is another very important part of your musicianship, which is to learn how to market yourself. It all starts with acting professional, being on time, learning your parts. Learn to ask for advice when you need it from players that have more experience than you.

December-January 2003

I just wanted to explore a mellower kind of psychedelic thing on the last record. There¥s some great stuff on it. It got really great reviews in the United States, all over the place. But the record company actually fell apart and now it¥s not even available.

August-September 2003

The first thing that you should care about for a CD release is the music. You have to trust in yourself as a musician and composer and try to come up with interesting music and then find a nice studio to record it in, or you can record at home if you have a nice home studio.

June-July 2003

There were a lot of different things that inspired this CD. Once I put the studio together, I just started recording what I wanted to hear. I love guitar and electronic music. I really wanted to blend the two together more than it`s ever been done.

April-May 2003

The main thing over here is, we have big media problems. People that do weirder kind of music, jazz, fusion or blues, there is not a big radio market for it, like there is in other countries. As a result of that, people don¥t get to hear the music and they don¥t show up at the gigs.

February-March 2003

I sent Lion Music a CD and they emailed me saying they were interested in signing me. I`m really happy to be with Lion. Some of the guitarists I grew up listening to are on that label, and that`s cool for me because it kind of lets me know that I`m finally on their level.

December-January 2002

I had always wanted to do a solo album, but it was all talk. One day I mentioned it again to my wife and she said don`t talk about it, do it. So I did. As soon as the real decision was made things started to fall into place, as they often do.

December-January 2002

I think that the best promo is playing live, and to be seen as much as possible. I do many clinics for Digitech, Parker and now Vox amplifiers. This is a great way for people to hear your music and to sell discs at the performances.

October-November 2002

The Internet itself is a huge jungle. I believe it gives a chance for those who don`t make it via a traditional label or distributor, if they know how to reach the audience.

October-November 2002

Let`s face it, it is hard to get a label to pick you up and understand your visions. On the other hand, doing an independent release, you have control and you learn a lot. Sure, it is hard work, but I love to work hard for a dream!

August-September 2002

The gear we use is a major part of the Plankton sound. We¥re resting on a solid foundation of the classic sounds from the 60¥s and 70¥s, made famous by Hendrix, Cream and Led Zeppelin among others. It¥s basically Strats into various vintage Marshall amps and cabinets.

August-September 2002

I recently purchased an 18 track digital recorder made by Roland. I love having it and I`m amazed at the quality recordings with relatively little effort. I plan to do the third Delirious Tremor CD with it, as well as most future projects.

June-July 2002

The beauty of being an independent artist is that I don`t die if I don`t score a big record deal! I`ll still have a career. These days with stevefister.com, Guitar 9, and some independent distribution, I can grow and have more control over my musical fate. A new CD means a bright new day, with more to follow!

June-July 2002

I`ve been playing guitar for 35 years, and still find it very challenging, and exciting. I work at it every single day, and realize that the real fun and spirit of this entire process of being a professional player is the `journey`, not the `end-game`. Sometimes I feel as if I am just getting started. The most important aspect of learning different styles of music, is one`s genuine love for that particular style.

June-July 2002

Liquid Note Records (or LNR) was set up to principally cater for virtuoso instrumental guitar music - though that`s not to rule out the possibility that we`ll also release vocal albums in the future. LNR`s aim is to release albums every bit as good - or, dare I say it, better - than those released by the mighty Shrapnel.

April-May 2002

I think gear is important because you want to sound your best. I took it to such an extreme, but that`s the cool thing about the studio - you can always learn and prepare for the time you get to record the next CD.

February-March 2002

I guess like a fingerprint, no one musician can be exactly alike, so that helps a bit. If I were to make any distinction, it would be that I really respect the tune itself and have always sacrificed technical acrobatics and note bombardment for the sake of melody, depth and feel - which I`ll will admit is a constant battle.

February-March 2002

Doing clinics has allowed me go to places and promote myself where I wouldn`t have been able to have even dreamed of going to. I`ve done clinics/workshops/performances in Germany, Spain, Japan, Greece, Sweden, UK, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, France, Canada, Belgium and of course the U.S. Being one of the top clinicians in the U.S. has gotten me to places I only read about in school.

December-January 2001

I usually will come up with ideas by throwing on my drum machine and just playing riffs, or by sitting in front of the TV and getting inspiration from whatever is on. I wrote the song "The Fugitive" while watching the movie of the same name. All the action was incredible, and the song turned out to be just as intense.

December-January 2001

I was on mp3.com for a while, but my opinion of the web is that piracy seems to be the end result of all the freebies, so we are staying with pressings even though they get copied and sent out for free. I`m a professional recording artist, so I`m committed to charging for my work.

October-November 2001

If I want to compose neoclassical metal, I would be listening and analyzing all the CDs that I`ve got in my collection. Then I am ready to absorb all these influences into my playing and my compositions. The good thing is that the final result is totally different from the tunes that I listened to for inspiration.

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