INTERVIEW: Periphery’s Mark Holcomb

Mark Holcomb

The release of a new Periphery album is always like Christmas for fans of heavy guitar. There’s always so much to digest: unpredictable riffs, challenging solos, soaring melodies, complex chords. Every record is like a challenge to all of us to lift our game. And Periphery III: Select Difficulty really throws down the challenge. Although some parts of the record are more melodic and direct than anything the band has done before, there’s also some brutally heavy, insanely complex material for us all to bust our fingers learning, and then stretch our necks headbanging to. I caught up with guitarist Mark Holcomb to chat about the record and his new guitar. Read More …

INTERVIEW: The Peep Tempel

Peep Tempel

Word on the street is that when Mariachi El Bronx – the alter ego of The Bronx, natch – asked for the best Australian garage band to support them on their recent Aussie tour, there was really only one option: The Peep Tempel.​ Known for their no-fuss approach, catchy songwriting, animated vocal delivery and sweetass guitar work, their sound is immediately identifiable as Australian but with that indefinable thing that transcends geography and makes them a contender for “Aussie band who can make it overseas” rather than “Aussie band who never gets a break.” They’re currently wrapping up an Australian tour (check out current and future dates here) and I caught up with guitarist/vocalist Blake Scott to geek out about guitar.  Read More …

INTERVIEW: Jeff Hughell

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By Daniel Gonzalez

For 20 years, Jeff Hughell has quietly been gaining recognition as one of today’s most innovative bass players.  Equipped with his custom made 7-string bass guitar, Hughell’s arsenal of technique and chops can cover a range of genres stretching from death metal to jazz.  Here we sit down with Jeff to discuss his debut LP, Chaos Labyrinth, how it all started, and some future plans.   Read More …

INTERVIEW: Ace Frehley

Ace_Press_Final7

Ace Frehley. Just the mere mention of his name is enough to send a jolt through the veins of those with even a passing knowledge of KISStory. Whether you subscribe to the mythology of ‘Space Ace’ being a visitor from the planet Jendel or you tend to go with the less colourful version of the story (he’s from the Bronx), Ace represents a certain combination of earthiness and exoticness. In his days with KISS his iconic Spaceman character brought comic book mystique to established guitar hero tropes. His post-KISS career has seen him explore material that’s generally a little more ‘street,’ with more overt nods to his bluesier inspirations. But that doesn’t mean Ace is averse to an occasional trip back to his home planet: last year he released Space Invader, a self-produced album of mostly original tracks along with a very Ace-ian cover of Steve Miller’s “The Joker” which enjoyed a #9 debut on the Billboard 200 charts – the only time a solo album by any past or present KISS member has hit the US top 10. And Ace returns to Australia in April and May with his triple-pickup Les Pauls in tow. Tickets here. Read More …

INTERVIEW: Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie

Yngwie Malmsteen is the undisputed master of neoclassical guitar. Other players like Richie Blackmore and Uli Jon Roth had explored elements of the style but none pushed it to quite the extremes that Yngwie did. A million guitarists arose in his wake to try to copy what he was doing but none have managed to capture Yngwie’s pure power and dazzling technique. As Yngwie himself puts it when discussing the various Yngwie clones who sprung up over the years, “And that’s why I call myself Yngwie J Malmsteen, not to be confused with all the other Yngwie Malmsteens.” And Yngwie will hit Australia in June for his first concert tour since 2006 (tickets here). Read More …

INTERVIEW: David Ellefson

image002Megadeth’s David Ellefson has seen it all. As one of the cornerstone bassists of the thrash movement he helped to create a style of playing that simply didn’t exist before. And he’s forever willing to share what he’s learned with the world, through his books, bass clinics and now spoken word. He’ll be hitting Australia in March for a spoken word tour billed as My Life With Deth – also the name of his latest book – and I caught up with him recently to talk about all things Ellefson. Read More …

INTERVIEW: Unearth’s Buz McGrath

Unearth

Unearth have been slogging it out on the metal scene for 15 years now and have proven themselves to be real stayers, helping to remind folks that seven-string guitars can be used for more than just open-string chugging and showing that you can combine the punishing groove of Pantera with the melodic sense of Sweden’s Gothenberg sound and the power of traditional metal, all filtered through an aggressive metalcore lens. New album Watchers of Rule (3Wise) is a consistently brutal chunk of metal by anyone’s standards. But this far into Unearth’s career, it’s almost exhilarating to hear them continuing to release vital albums full of songs that are destined to live on in the setlist. I caught up with guitarist Buz McGrath right after the album’s release.

Want to win a copy of the album? Email iheartguitarblog@gmail.com with ‘Unearth’ in the subject line and I’ll draw five winners! Australia only.

Let’s start with the guitar stuff. What did you use on this album?

We used a Rhodes amp. I don’t know what it is. And I think we used one of Ken’s old custom Ibanez RGs that won the shoot-out. Usually what happens is we go through a stack of about 15 guitars and we record the same piece of music, the same riff, with each guitar, and you go through and listen to which guitar is sounding the best with what you’ve got, and that one won. It was between that one and, Ken had a custom three-pickup Ibanez Iceman with EMGs in it. That thing weighed a fucking tonne but it sounded sick. But the other one just beat it out by a little bit. We recorded with a Kemper via DI, and then [producer] Mark Lewis took it back to his studio and re-amped it through various amps, which I wasn’t a part of the process for. He would send me mixes with different amps and I’d say ‘this one sounds good.’ So I never even saw the amp. It’s a real weird way of doing it but it worked out good. Read More …