Speaking of interesting things on eBay, check this out! Stryper bass player Tim Gaines is selling one of the black and yellow striped vests from the band’s heyday. A must-have for collectors or anyone who wishes to look like a heavy metal bumblebee!
On the auction page, Gaines says “I was the bass player for the Rock Band Stryper from 1983 through 2004 when I retired. I have a whole wardrobe full of these costumes that I will obviously never wear again (at my age) and taking up much needed space, I thought I would offer them to someone who would appreciate them better than I – whether fan, collector, museum or ?
Up for auction is one of my OFFICIAL SPANDEX STAGE COSTUME TOPS – Worn by BOTH ROBERT SWEET and myself TIM GAINES. This is absolutely a RARE ONE OF A KIND ROCK MUSIC COLLECTORS ITEM. This spandex top was worn by both Robert and myself during the years 1984 thru 1986 on several Stryper world wide tours. It was also worn by Robert Sweet as seen on the album cover for our single Together As One as well as a promo photo of the same picture that was circulated to press and the Stryper fan base. This top was created by clothing designer Tina Henderson, who also created many of the first Stryper costumes in 1984 and 1985. Again, this is absolutely RARE ONE OF A KIND ORIGINAL stage costume.”
I’m thinking of picking up (no pun intended) the non-relic version for my blue Ibanez RG soon. If I do I’ll post a video review. Last year I bought the MXR EVH Phase 90 pedal, so I’m looking forward to putting the two together and chugging through ‘Atomic Punk’ for a few hours. Hehe.
Here’s the press release for the Chickenfoot album. Excited? I am!
CHICKENFOOT, the new rock supergroup comprised of drummer Chad Smith (RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS), bassist Michael Anthony (ex-VAN HALEN), guitarist Joe Satriani and vocalist Sammy Hagar (ex-VAN HALEN), has announced the global release of its self-titled debut album. The CD will be made available by earMUSIC in Germany on Friday, June 5 and in the U.K. on Monday. June 8. The album will be released by Best Buy in the U.S. on Sunday, June 7.
“Chickenfoot” will be packaged in heat-sensitive artwork, which means when you put your hand on the CD inlay, photos of the band members will be revealed behind the CHICKENFOOT band logo.
“Chickenfoot” track listing:
01. Avenida Revolution
02. Soap on a Rope
03. Sexy Little Thing
04. Oh Yeah
05. Runnin’ Out
06. Get It Up
07. Down the Drain
08. My Kinda Girl
09. Learning to Fall
10. Turnin’ Left
11. Future in the Past
A great band is nothing without a great rhythm section, and CHICKENFOOT has one of the best in the two-man team of bassist Michael Anthony and drummer Chad Smith.
As a founding member (and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer) of VAN HALEN, Anthony laid the bedrock for which guitar genius Eddie Van Halen could fly. More than that, he provided a signature style of background vocal that became an intrinsic part of that band. “A total fluke,” the good-natured bassist humbly asserts. “I was just doing what came naturally.”
Hagar sees Anthony’s abilities differently. “Michael keeps the band going,” he says. “Listen, he’s never going to get the kind of credit he deserves — he played next to Eddie Van Halen. Hell, Jack Bruce didn’t get much credit compared to Eric Clapton — that’s just the nature of things. Mikey held down the fort, and he still does.”
Aiding Anthony in holding down the fort is Chad Smith, drummer for the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, who have, since Smith joined the group in the late Eighties, gone from cult faves to a worldwide force. Heretofore thought of as a “funk/alternative” drummer, Smith gets to rock hard with CHICKENFOOT, and the percussion explosion he creates might come as a surprise to those who only know of his work from tracks like “Under The Bridge”.
“The guy’s from Detroit, for God’s sake!” says Hagar. “He can play the hell out of funk, but he’s a rocker. He plays hard, man. You could put one mic in a room with Chad, and you can hear all the parts of his kit — he’s hard, but he’s balanced. The band wouldn’t exist without his groove.”
The members of CHICKENFOOT admit that the band came together almost by accident, a result of jams held at Hagar’s club, Cabo Wabo Cantina, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
“We were just having fun,” recalls Michael Anthony. “After Sammy and I left VAN HALEN, we’d get together with musicians, and certain people seemed to really gel. Chad came down and we got on well with him. Gradually, we started talking about doing something more serious, but we needed a guitarist. Somebody smokin’ — somebody who could take us to the Promised Land.”
Enter Satch, who hooked up with Hagar, Anthony and Smith and felt “an immediate connection unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.” To Satriani, who had almost abandoned his lifelong dream of being a part of a “big-time rock band,” here was his chance, and here were his bandmates. “After just a few songs, it became stunningly obvious that we shared an overall musical agenda,” he says. “The only question was could we make a great album?”
The band answered that question last fall when they hunkered down with the illustrious producer Andy Johns at George Lucas’ Skywalker Studios and knocked out a batch of songs that sets a new standard for rock music in the new millennium.
From the thunderous, ominous opening strains of “Avenida Revolution” (detailing the bloody drug wars in Tijuana, in which Hagar makes his feelings come through his skin) to the album closer, the shimmering rock ballad “Future’s in the Past”, “Chickenfoot” is a firebomb of a record, the likes of which we haven’t heard in ages.
The band kicks and snorts their way through a passel of take-no-prisoners rockers like “Soap on a Rope”, “Sexy Little Thing”, “Oh Yeah” and “My Kind of Girl”.
“These are the kinds of songs I could never do on my own,” says Satriani. “I needed a band like this to make those songs come alive.”
The band explores mature themes on songs such as “Runnin’ Out”, about a world stretched to the breaking point to “Learning to Fall”, perhaps the most poignant love song Hagar has ever written lyrics for. As both a vocalist and songwriter, Hagar’s intensity and forcefulness are on vivid display on “Chickenfoot”.
“I write what comes to mind,” the singer says. “I’m not bound by anything subject-wise. I’m inspired by the music. When I heard the music Joe was going for, it made me reach, it made me stretch. I think it made me sing in a way that I normally wouldn’t have done. We seem to have that kind of effect on each other.”
Satriani agrees. “People have this idea of what this band is about, or what Sammy Hagar is about as a lyricist and a vocalist,” he says. “The thing is that we manage to get each guy to up his game in a non-confrontational way. When I play with CHICKENFOOT, I find myself wanting to give them more all the time. I don’t hold anything back. I think the rest of the guys feel the same way.”
That Satriani unleashes sheets of shred magna is, of course, a given, but what’s interesting is, as individualistic and recognizable as his talents are — and this is true of all the players — they transform in a strange and beautiful way on “Chickenfoot”.
Likewise, Anthony and Smith, channel past heroes. For Anthony it’s ELECTRIC FLAG bassist Harvey Brooks. For Smith it’s ZEPPELIN’s John Bonham. Together, they perform something of an astonishing balancing act, dispending performances that meet at the intersection of Heavy and Nimble. This is what a rhythm section does, drives the band in forceful, creative ways. Listen to CHICKENFOOT and you’ll hear what a true rhythm section sounds like.
“Chickenfoot”, which is already being hailed as the most intense rock ‘n’ roll album since LED ZEPPELIN’s classic efforts, coincides with a European tour that will consist of outdoor festivals, including Montreaux, Switzerland, and Bospop, Holland, plus various intimate indoor rock shows, including the London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on June 25.
Tickets for the London 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire concert go on sale at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 27. This will be CHICKENFOOT’s only UK date on the European tour.
CHICKENFOOT tour dates:
Jun. 20 – Austria Nova Rock Festival
Jun. 23 – Cork, Ireland: Live At The Marquee
Jun. 25 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Jun. 26 – Holland: Heerhugowaard
Jun. 28 – Belgium Graspop Metal Meeting Festival
Jun. 29 – Paris: Olympia
Jul. 01 – Madrid (venue to be confirmed)
Jul. 03 – Pistoia, Italy: Blues Festival
Jul. 04 – Montreux, Switzerland: Stravinski Hall
Jul. 05 – Udine, Italy: Lignano Sbbiadoro
Jul. 07 – Hamburg: Grosse Freiheit
Jul. 08 – Copenhagen: Vega
Jul. 10 – Kilafors, Sweden: Rockweekend Festival
Jul. 12 – Weert, Holland: Bospop Festival
The Schecter name has been around for over 30 years now, and while once they were known for their replacement parts for existing guitars, and later their own models including a Telecaster-inspired design used by The Who’s Pete Townshend, today their bread and butter is the art of the metal axe. Sure, they also make some very cool signature guitars for the likes of The Who, and Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan has been known to sling a Schecter or three, but mostly they’re the first choice for the likes of Nevermore’s Jeff Loomis and Avenged Sevenfold’s Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance.
On a side-note, I almost became a Schecter player once when I spotted a gorgeous Tele-style model in a pawnshop. By the time I’d returned with some money to buy it, someone else was walking out the door with it. Boo!
The Hellraiser C-1 FR has its feet planted in Superstrat territory: 24 frets, two EMG humbuckers, original Floyd Rose locking tremolo, reverse headstock. It all adds up to scream METAL. The body is made of mahogany, as is the neck, which is capped with a rosewood fretboard. The neck is glued in, but has Schecter’s Ultra Access carve, which involves smoothing out the joint after gluing, to the point where it feels like a neck-through instrument. It’s extremely comfortable up at the widdly end of the neck, which is good because the 24 jumbo frets are very playable and this is the kind of guitar that makes you want to whiz up and down the neck like a madman.
The fretboard inlays are intricate ‘Gothic Cross’ designs, which balance well against the abalone inlay around the body and headstock. The body edges are quite square, making for an aggressive, solid-feeling guitar that means business. Evil, metallic business.
The pickups are an EMG 81TW in the bridge and an 89 in the neck, and both pickups can be switched from humbucker to single coil mode by dedicated push-pull volume pots. The 89 is made up of one single and one dual coil pickup. The single coil mode is an EMG-SA pickup with an Alnico magnet, which was David Gilmour’s pickup of choice from the mid 80s through to the 90s. It’s also favoured by Steve Lukather. The dual coil mode consists of two Alnico-loaded coils opposite each other, with a tone similar to an EMG-85. The EMG-81TW has the sound of the original 81 pickup but adds the single coil mode, along with dual internal preamps, each tuned for their respective modes.
In humbucker mode, the Hellraiser is a firebreathing beast, perfectly suited for death metal. I tested the guitar through my Marshall DSL50 set to ‘kill,’ as well as through IK Multimedia’s Amplitube 2 on various levels of demonic hellstorm. The famous EMG headroom is in full evidence, with a biting sizzle around the edge of the notes which ensures clarity and precision no matter how much gain is piled on. The neck pickup tracks very well for ultra-fast playing, and the bridge unit eats up fast palm-muted triplets like Ozzy gnaws on bats and doves.
What surprised me most about the Hellraiser was its single coil vibe. Setting both pickups to their single coil modes, the sound was edgy and grindy, with lots of pick attack and string sound. You know how some single coils are jangly and twangy, and others have that full-bodied edge? Well I have a feeling the mahogany body has a lot to do with how these pickups sound in the Hellraiser – it’s still a single coil, and very noticeably so, but with enough power to hang with the humbuckers – no mean feat when the humbucker in question is an 81.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is a great metal axe but has enough flexibility to even approximate those 80s/90s Pink Floyd sounds. The playability is superb and the guitar is well built. Structurally, if you were to take this exact guitar and make it look more traditional without changing playability or sound, it would appeal to a huge range of players.
The video for Queensryche’s new single is online at Miltary.com right now. Go check it out! I receieved an advance copy of the album yesterday and it’s pretty great, especially if you’re into some of Queensryche’s darker, more atmospheric works like I am.
American Soldier is released March 31 on Rhino.
Check out the sample of Devin Townsend’s forthcoming ‘Ki’ album on his Myspace. I’m pretty freaked out (in a good way) by this sampler, and I especially like the lighter-sounding stuff. I’ve always been a huge Devy fan and it’s great to see him exploring more melodic, clean-toned territory, which he’s dabbled in a little before but never enough to my greedy liking.
Source: Devin Townsend on Myspace.
Here’s another in my awkwardly-titled occasional series WILTOTWTWT, or “What I listened to on the way to work today.”
At the moment I’m preparing my articles for the next edition of Mixdown Magazine. I’m reviewing, amongst other things, four absolutely amazing Ernie Ball Music Man guitars, including an AXIS model which has completely changed my life. CLICK HERE to see EBMM AXIS models on eBay. The minute I picked it up I fell to my knees and cried like a little girl. Well maybe that’s an exaggeration, it’s probably more accurate to say I cried like a grown man. Anyway, this guitar was what was left after Eddie Van Halen ended his association with the company, and as such it totally reminds me of Van Halen’s ‘For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge’ era.
This was my first Van Halen album – I bought it with my birthday money when it came out in 1991 – and Eddie Van Halen was interviewed about the EBMM guitar in the very first edition of Guitar World I ever read. Between the ages of 12 and about 15 I was pretty much obsessed with Eddie Van Halen.
Anyway, eventually Van Halen released a live album and video (I got it on VHS for a different birthday) called Live: Right Here, Right Now, in which they played pretty much the entire album, with a few other tracks thrown in. Something like that is pretty unheard of today: a well-known band playing primarily their new album to a packed arena full of people singing every word. Most of the time when I go see a band touring behind a new CD they might chuck in between 2 and 4 songs from it, and stick to ‘the classics’ for the rest of the show. But I digress…
Eddie Van Halen played the hell out of his EBMM EVH guitars on that live video and CD (by the way, CLICK HERE to see EBMM Edward Van Halen models on eBay if you want the original version), and playing the AXIS last night inspired me to load the album up on my iPod this morning. What really struck me was not the obnoxiously bright mix of the audience noise (it sounds like rain on tin foil), or the overbearing snare drum sound (it sounds like hail on tin foil). It wasn’t even Eddie’s tragic over-reliance on a chorus-type effect from his Eventide Harmonizer. It was his so-in-the-pocket-it-might-as-well-be-part-of-the-pants rhythm playing. Listen closely during “In N’ Out” and “Man On A Mission” in particular for examples. I’ve always been more influenced by Eddie’s rhythm work than his lead stuff, and listening to this album again reminded me why. The dude knows how to make the guitar do exactly what he wants at any given time in minute detail, and manages to do it while rockin’ the scissor kicks and chain-smoking like a locomotive.
And that’s what I listened to on the way to work today.
In anticipation of the NIN/JA (Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction, geddit?) tour, the three bands have each contributed two tracks to a free downloadable EP. Along with two rather live-sounding NIN songs (‘Not So Pretty Now’ and ‘Non-Entity’), there are re-recorded, Trent Reznor-produced versions of early Jane’s tracks ‘Whores’ and ‘Chip Away.’ Street Sweeper is Tom Morello’s new band, combining rap and rock in a more straightforward way than Rage Against The Machine.
While not necessarily the kind of high octane guitar geekery I Heart Guitar readers are used to seeing covered in these pages, I encourage everyone in Melbourne to check out The Bedroom Philosopher – Songs From The 86 Tram, part of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I used to go to the same uni as this dude and we lived over the road from each other in Canberra for a while. If you can’t make it to Melbourne, look for his new album, Brown & Orange on iTunes.
There are a lot of amp sims out there at the moment. Each of them seem to model the same few classic amps, yet each has their own unique pros and cons. Waves offers GTR Solo Pro, which features 10 amps, 13 stomp effects and 10 cabinets. Let’s look at what it has to offer.
GTR Solo has amp models based on classics by Fender, Marshall, VOX and more, as well as a few models created with the assistance and endorsement of Paul Reed Smith. This kind of cross-branding should definitely work in Waves’s favour in getting GTR Solo to stand out in a crowded modelling market. The amp models are called Clean, Sweet, Edgy, Drive, Overdrive, Crunch, Shredder, PRS Scorch and PRS Crush, and SolidState Bass Amp. The stomp boxes don’t claim to be exact reproductions of anything in particular, and as such they’re probably a little more versatile than if Waves tried to model some niche variant of an obscure pedal produced for two months in 1983 out of someone’s garage. The stompers are OverDrive, Distortion, Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Delay, Wah Wah, Spring, Pitcher, Vibrolo, GateComp, EQ and Volume. There are also 10 cabinet models that are designed with particular emphasis on emulating not just the sound of the speaker itself but also, as Waves says, “the aural sensation of real speakers moving air”. They are 12″ Open Back, 2×12″ Closed Back, 2×12″ Open Back, 4×10″ Open Back, 4×12″ Standard, 4×12″ Vintage, Acme12″ Custom, Bass 8×10″ Pro, Acme 4×12″ Vintage Gibson Skylark and Acme 8″ Open Back Hiwatt.
ZOMG WTF, GTR R0X0RZ
My favourite models are Drive, for blues-rock and AC/DC moments; PRS Scorch (with the gain control lowered a bit) for singing fusion; and Crunch for chunky rock. The SolidState bass model is also very useful and adaptable. I’ve used it with the EQ effect module to get snappy slap-and-pop sounds, and also on its own with a little ambience for old school treble-reduced 60s psychedelic tones.
I’ve had a lot of fun queuing up my favourite songs and trying to zero in on the guitar tones. Perhaps the most accurate reproductions I’ve hit upon so far are Joe Satriani’s ‘The Mighty Turtle Head’ and Nuno Bettencourt’s ‘Waiting For The Punchline’ sound. The modular nature of the amp and effects means it’s easy to shift different elements around to examine their effect on the tone. For instance, if you’re using a clean tone you can place the delay after the amp for the cleanest, most hi-fi sound, or before it for a little warmth and grit. It also presents a good opportunity to experiment with the placement of pedals such as chorus. I personally prefer my chorus before distortion but most prefer it after. With Waves you can just drag and drop the module to test both methods for a particular song. Try that in the studio without a session-ruining knock to a mic.
One of my favourite applications in GTR Solo is the ability to shift back the perceived distance of the microphone. This is especially handy for getting the same kind of distance ambience you hear on Yngwie Malmsteen’s debut CD, Rising Force. I couldn’t resist dragging out my battered old Strat copy and cranking up a few harmonic minor riffs. Another great asset to this program is the complexity of its off-axis microphone settings, which can add a great out-of-phase honk to the tone – awesome for nailing those bold Mattias Ia Eklundh solo tones, which are very hard to achieve otherwise.
SO WHY GTR SOLO?
So with dozens of amp sims on the market, why should you choose Waves? Well what I like about it most is its ambience and the harmonic complexity of its overdriven sounds. I like all the micing options and the way they add dimension and depth to the guitar within the mix. Waves is running a ‘get GTR Solo free for one year’ promotion where you get 12 months full access to the complete program. By the end of those 12 months, hopefully you’ll have decided it rocks your socks off and you have to pay for the license to keep it.
When you think Telecaster, a variety of styles pop up: country twang, dirty classic rock, jangly indie. But it’s certainly not the kind of guitar you think of for punishing metal mayhem. The Jim Root Telecaster changes that perception. While there have been Telecasters with humbuckers for about 40 years now, they’ve typically featured more conservative humbucker models with relatively low output. Not so on this baby. The Jim Root Telecaster is built for face-tearing metal and little else.
Jim Root is one of two guitarists in both Slipknot and Stone Sour. For his Fender signature model, Root has designed a modern variation on the classic Telecaster without loading it up with graphics of goat skulls, dripping blood packs or any other such metal brutality. Even though that’d be kinda cool … Instead his signature model is simple, restrained, and roadworthy, and while it has its own identity, it’s not so overdone as to make you look like you’re playing in a Slipknot tribute band the second you strap it on.
The body is mahogany, an unusual choice for a Telecaster as it is known for a thicker low end than most Telecaster players desire. The review model was finished in flat white with a matte polyurethane finish. A flat black model is also available.
String meets body via a black 6-saddle string-through hardtail bridge. The pickups are active EMGs: a 60 in the neck and an 81 in the bridge. The 81 is the standard, go-to pickup of metal monsters everywhere, and the 60 is favoured by the likes of Mr James Hetfield for his rare solo moments, due to its smooth, singing tone with a lot of clarity and cut. Battery access for the pickups is through a compartment in the back of the guitar, which is shared by the single volume pot and 3-way pickup selector switch. You have to unscrew the cover plate to change the battery: a separate latched compartment would have been nice.
The maple neck has a modern ‘C’ profile with a satin polyurethane finish. There are 22 medium jumbo frets with a flat-ish 12” radius on the rosewood fretboard. This radius eliminates the danger of bent notes choking out on the frets, while keeping the fretboard curve comfortable. The fret finishing is quite good. Running my hand down the neck, I didn’t feel any rough edges or pointy bits.
The headstock features black hardware and the big chunky Telecaster logo instead of the more traditional smaller one. A decal of Root’s signature is on the back of the headstock. Black Fender/Schaller deluxe cast/sealed locking tuners are a nice touch.
I plugged the Jim Root Telecaster into my Marshall DSL50 set to ‘kill,’ with scooped midrange on the ‘Ultra’ channel, for maximum brutality. With the assistance of the EMG 81 I was able to pull out screaming pinch harmonics and fat sustain with ease, and chunky metal riffs were irresistible. Moving up to the widdly end of the fretboard, higher notes didn’t lose any of the bite and output of the lower notes, making this a lead player’s axe as well as a rhythm guitarist’s buddy. In the middle pickup setting, a trebly edge was added, emphasising pick attack and making for some nice semi-clean sounds, good for strumming or playing arpeggios for a verse before rocking the bridge pickup for a big chorus. The neck pickup sounded full and round, with a high end sparkle not often heard in neck pickups. It’s great for atmospheric, sustained notes around the 12th fret, and has nice articulation for mega-fast speed picking. I’m not sure if this is the same pickup used by Brendon Small for his leads on the Dethklok stuff, but it certainly reminds me of that kinda tone.
The combination of the neck profile, fret size and radius, and the fret finishing make this guitar very playable, and the restrained yet confident visual design keep it from looking too much like a signature guitar. You can comfortably play this on stage without people thinking you’re a Slipknot stalker. The sounds are great, and the workmanship is flawless.
Blabbermouth.net has a great interview with Devin Townsend about his forthcoming album ‘Ki.’
Here are some selected highlights from the rather long interview. CLICK HERE to read the full thing.
Q: Please put the music in your own words? What is the common ground to your previous releases, and what is the major difference?
Devin: “Ki” is a subtle, severe album. A challenge in some ways. As the “intro” to the story (the story being the four records) it needs to set the stage. The point to the music is that the whisper is louder than the roar in many ways. “Ki” is (on the surface) quiet and unassuming. Whenever it begins to lose its temper, it stops. It does not let it go, it is avoiding that temptation, as that sort of anger is really gratifying but ultimately just leaves me unhappy. “Ki” is about control, and although it is not an overtly “heavy” album, it is heavy thematically. On these four records, it starts with “Ki”, which is essentially a cross section of all the albums, but the idea is that it is not here to impose itself. It just does it’s thing. Like a little a.m radio playing in the corner. Many folks have been waiting to see what I do next after SYL and “Ziltoid”, so after careful consideration, I wanted the first record to be quiet and subtle, however fear not chaos fans… the next two records in the quartet are progressively heavier, and the third album, “Deconstruction”, is the heaviest music I’ve ever created. So with “Ki”, I wanted to make it a bit of an appetizer. I know myself, that as I get older, a steady diet of chaotic music does little more than give me a headache. So with “Ki”, I wanted to re-introduce myself in a way that says, “I can make chaos like you’ve never heard, but for starters, please get comfortable.” The common ground to my previous releases would be my voice, but even my guitar playing has changed. I use primarily a clean tone now (no distortion) and in terms of the sonics, I have used very little compression and it is not mastered very loud. The term “Ki” loosely means “life force” and, therefore, in almost the antithesis to my previous albums, there is no real editing or triggers on the drums. Much of the music was recorded “live off the floor.” I wanted to preserve the energy flow without worrying so much about mistakes.
Q: How would you describe the philosophy behind “Ki”, musically, lyrically, artistically?
Devin: “Ki” appeared after I quit drugs. I found myself angry at drugs, in all honesty. I spent many, many years stoned out of my mind, making music that although clever, was a misrepresentation of what I truly feel I wanted to say. Once I started “clearing up,” I found that reality in many ways is much HEAVIER than the drug world. It has sharper edges and less release, but the point with “Ki” is that I feel I needed to clarify a lot of things I’ve said in the past musically. I believe in spirituality, and that life force is much more intense when I participate in it with a sober mind. Although “Ki” is a relatively quiet and unassuming album in and of itself, when folks hear “Addicted” (record 2) and especially “Deconstruction” (record 3), I have a feeling there will be a percentage of folks who will appreciate “Ki” even more than they do from the get go. The whole idea is to listen to “Ki” for what it IS rather than what it is NOT. There are leagues of people in my world that refuse to accept music from me that isn’t destructive and chaotic. For them I am writing “Deconstruction”, but for myself, and many people my age, that element of chaos becomes very tiresome if it is not juxtaposed by some sonic “space.” So “Ki” is a sober introduction to an (admittedly) epic musical undertaking and as such demonstrates some highs and lows without going to extreme in either direction. I assume that fans of my heavy heavy output will be far from “blown away” by this album, but in a way, that’s the point. I appreciate “Ki” almost more than any of the records, and am very proud of what it stands for.
Q: What was the reason for forming “Ki”? When did you start working on that idea?
Devin: I quit many bad habits in my life after STRAPPING YOUNG LAD ended. I felt depressed, angry and unhealthy and was not satisfied with living the rest of my life that way. I quit all drugs, alcohol and a host of other “addictions” that were controlling me and my world. It took three years to formulate the DTP and to write “Ki”. I had to re-learn how to create without drugs and through that personal transformation, I learnt a great deal of things. “Ki” was very hard to do, to break the musical constipation so to speak, but now that it’s here… watch out… I have lots to say that now I’m in control of myself.
Q: Is the album a concept work? Are the songs lyrically connected? What are the lyrics dealing with?
Devin: It is part of a larger concept, and I think once the four albums are all completed, not only will “Ki” be the introduction, it will also be the moral. Everything I do is connected, lyrically, musically and otherwise. I have a hard time writing without metaphor. The theme of aliens is present on the record, but again, as a metaphor. An obvious image that implies those thoughts that haunt us that ARE us, but we have a hard time dragging into the light. Elsewhere, the lyrics are pointed towards my new-found ability to say NO. In the past, I have been so insecure about myself and my music that I found myself agreeing to things for the sake of acceptance or whatnot. As a new father, and as a sober adult, the answer to many things now is “no,” and not loudly either. I feel that although the person I am today is shaped by my past (including my past music and drugs etc) what I need to do with my talent now is to represent exactly who I am in a clear world. I am not “pure” and I am not “evil,” I am just me, and I’m absolutely fine with that.
Q: Will you play live with “Ki”? Are there any concrete touring plans right now? What is the plan for the future?
Devin: When all four records in the DTP series are done, and the box set is released at the end (eight records, including a DVD), I will play selected shows throughout the world. I will not be climbing into a van and playing clubs in the middle of nowhere, though. I am going to assemble a sober team of incredible musicians to play ALL the records, perfectly, to many people. You will see me soon, and get ready for the next three records in the series. “Ki” is a subtle introduction to a sprawling theme. Please enjoy. It’s good to be back.
Now for some business: The Blabbermouth posting doesn’t specify where the interview came from, and I really don’t like to repost other people’s work uncredited even if it’s just a pointer to the full story, so if anyone knows where this interview came from please tell me and I’ll amend this post.