INTERVIEW: Jimmie Vaughan

Jimmie VaughanMost biographies of Jimmie Vaughan rightfully mention his powerful yet restrained Stratocaster playing. Most also mention, of course, his brother Stevie Ray, with whom Jimmie recorded one album before SRV was taken from us. What’s perhaps slightly less prominently mentioned is that Jimmie is also a bit of a style icon: his classic band The Fabulous Thunderbirds helped to usher in a blues revival while also popularising ‘retro cool.’ The slicked back hair, the hot rods, the vintage threads – Jimmie is his own man who cuts an imposingly cool figure across the guitar landscape. So what would it be like to talk with a man who has opened for Jimi Hendrix, stood on stage with the likes of Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy, opened for Bob Dylan and pretty much summarised a whole lifestyle which is soundtracked by hot 50s Stratocasters, scented by sun-warmed leather interiors and wrapped in mid-century sunglasses? Well it turns out that although he gives off an air of the ultimate baddass, Jimmie Vaughan is a dude who’s so cool and friendly that you instantly become cool by association. And you’ll want to go and pick up your guitar.   Read More …

INTERVIEW: Nergal of Behemoth

Behemoth The SatanistThere was a time when it looked like we might not get another Behemoth album. Frontman Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski was diagnosed with leukaemia in August 2010, and an urgent bone marrow transplant was needed. The surgery was ultimately successful, but Nergal was re-admitted after developing an infection. Then when the band finally returned to the road, he found himself exhausted, pushed to the brink by the exertion and intensity required to play a Behemoth show. “I knew I was pretty much fucked and there was a battle to be won, and I had no fucking idea if it was going to take six months or twelve months or maybe four years, because with cancer you never know,” Nergal says. “I learned from being in the hospital that there are things in life that you can control and things that you can’t control. The sooner you realize which is which it’s going to make your life so much easier, and since then I started to focus on the right things. I could be determined, I could have discipline, I could have faith, but everything else is not under my control, and it really was a case of just crossing fingers for the best possible outcome.” Read More …

INTERVIEW: Sepultura’s Andreas Kisser

andreas kisserSepultura are stayers. They’ve weathered all sorts of line-up changes and shifts in musical style – not to mention shifts in overriding heavy music trends occurring around them – and yet they’ve never given up and never made the same album twice. Their latest, The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart, finds the band (guitarist Andreas Kisser, vocalist Derrick Green, bassist Paulo Jr. and drummer Eloy Casagrande) working with producer Ross Robinson for the first time since 1996’s Roots with incredible results. Inspired by the 1927 film Metropolis, the album is dark, foreboding, mysterious, aggressive and energetic, bursting with intense guitar work and Green’s trademark guttural vocals. It’s been far too long since Sepultura visited Australia, but they’ll be back in October with dates in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. I caught up with guitarist Andreas Kisser.  Read More …

INTERVIEW: Dan Sultan

Dan Sultan is something of a rarity in the Australian music scene, let’s admit it: a dude with charisma, talent and opinions who isn’t afraid to use all three. Often the dreaded ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ gets in the way of letting artists truly express themselves but Sultan seems to just go for it with a purity of will and utterly without pretence. He doesn’t feel the need to talk himself up, but he doesn’t talk himself down either. That makes him a pretty damn refreshing interview. And it also makes Blackbird, his new studio album, something very special. Named after Black Studios in Nashville, where it was recorded, it’s Sultan’s first album in five years and the follow-up to his acclaimed Get Out While You Can. A lot can happen in five years, especially when you carry the burden of expectation on your shoulders, but Sultan is taking it all in his stride. With producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings Of Leon), Sultan has crafted a varied, expressive album which sounds at once brand new and comfortable. It’s familiar and yet exciting. And its’ loaded with great guitar tones. Read More …

INTERVIEW: Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani

Across 14 studio albums Joe Satriani has redefined instrumental guitar, led the charge in popularising shred, introduced all sorts of techniques to the guitarists’ lexicon, and spearheaded innovations in gear that have influenced countless luthiers and modders. While Joe is always looking forward – to the next guitar, the next gig, the next album – 2014 finds him also taking stock of how he got to this point, if only for a moment. This year has already seen the release of TThe Complete Studio Recordings, a 15-disc box set which brings together each of his albums (the studio disc of the two-CD Time Machine album is represented) plus a disc of alternate mixes, unheard tracks and rarities. And he has also released Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir, which explores his creative output album-by-album, offering unprecedented incites into the conception and execution of his albums, the origins of the G3 tour, the success of Chickenfoot and of course those early days teaching guitar to the likes of Steve Vai, Alex Skolnick, Kirk Hammett and Larry LaLonde. With plenty of touring booked for this year already, Joe has just announced a tour of Australia for November, which means it’s high time we had another chat. Read More …

INTERVIEW: Joby Ford of The Bronx

1623664_10152187216967490_699894447_nIt’s often been said that The Bronx have taken brutal party music to a new level. Their fourth album, released last year, is ample evidence that they’ve been able to capture their frantic-yet-precise energy in recorded form (check out their frigging excellent four album, for instance) but to really feel it, to really live it, you have to see them in the flesh. And this month me and my fellow Aussies will be able to, as the band returns to Australia for about the jillionth time for shows in Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney with High Tension. I caught up with guitarist Joby J Ford for a good old-fashioned geek-out.

 

How many times have you been down here now? 

Oh man… six? Seven? Maybe more? Quite a bit! I think as a band, selfishly, there are fantastic places to go in the world, and we get to go to Australia a lot. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Germany but I’d rather go to Australia… Hahaha. I think Australia has a fantastic scene and fantastic bands, and every time we come down there we discover new bands… like DZ Deathrays… every band we get to play with down there is super-inspiring and I think there’s a calibre… even dating back to bands we never got to play with like the Lime Spiders, all these great garage bands of Australia who are unsung heroes. There was a compilation that came out called Do The Pop!, which was all the unknown, sort of forgotten underground bands of Australia and it’s some of the most fantastic music I’ve ever heard. When we first came down there eight years ago, nine years ago we were introduced to it and it’s still in heavy rotation on all of our iPods.  Read More …

INTERVIEW: Story Of The Year’s Ryan Phillips

photoStory Of The Year’s 2003 debut album Page Avenue was a landmark of the post-hardcore genre. Three more albums followed before the band went on hiatus in 2011. Nobody quite knew when the lads would get back together again. Thankfully the break was short-lived and the band returned in 2013 with Page Avenue: 10 Years And Counting, which saw the debut reimagined with new, acoustic-based arrangements which revealed new layers of depth and emotional resonance without resorting to wimpy acoustic stereotypes: this was every bit a Story Of The Year creation, rather than a phoned-in strum-along. The band is returning to Australia in June to celebrate Page Avenue by performing the album in its entirety, including of course the hits “Until The Day I Die,” “Anthem Of Our Dying Day” and “Sidewalks” as well as a bunch of fan favourites and surprises. I caught up with guitarist Ryan Phillips to talk about the tour, the album and guitar nerd stuff. Read More …

INTERVIEW: Guthrie Govan

guthrie govanGuthrie Govan is The Dude from The Big Lebowski. No, not in terms of looks or personality or loyalty to a particular rug, but in the sense that sometimes there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s Guthrie Govan. His style brings together incredible technique and tone but most importantly it’s packed with personality and vision. To hear Guthrie play is to hear someone who’s playing with music, rather than playing at music, whether in his trio The Aristocrats with Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann, or in Steven Wilson’s solo band, or playing his own material. With Guthrie heading to Australia soon for a series of masterclasses for Thump Music as well as an appearance at the Adelaide International Guitar Festival, it seemed like high time to talk shop with the dude.  Read More …