Allans Billy Hyde & Schecter Guitar Research Presents
Jeff Loomis’ complex shredding has been a central part of the progressive but powerful and thrashy edge often attributed to Nevermore’s trademark sound. Taking the classic techniques he learned from listening to legends like Jason Becker and Yngwie Malmsteen as a teen and applying his own ingenuity, Loomis has carved his own niche and created an instantly recognisable style.
Don’t miss your chance to see Jeff Loomis live and be in the audience for your chance to win a Schecter SGR C7 electric guitar.
You could also be shredding it up on stage with Jeff Loomis by entering the Schecter Shred Off Competition.
For every generation of players, there’s a select few who achieve an iconic status over time.
Players who either bring something new and fresh to the table (which is a bit hard to do these days) or players who take what already has been touched upon but make it their own and expand the limits of what a guitar player is thought of being capable of doing.
One of the players who have taken the guitar and put his own stamp on it, done his own twist so to speak, of this current generation is Nevermore’s shred lord Jeff Loomis.
Jeff is currently out on a clinic tour with Schecter guitars in which he gives some insight to his philosophies regarding writing, playing and gear, as well as shredding through a nice six-song set composed of two Nevermore classics and four songs from his debut solo album, Zero Order Phase.
I heart guitar asked me to go there and to report from it, so I figured I should try and ask Jeff a couple of questions. Thankfully, he was an grade A dude, very approachable and very funny.
Jeff actually started playing drums before moving to the six-string (and eventually adding a seventh to his arsenal). Starting on a three-piece kit that had such a foul odor that he gravitated away from playing it, he eventually heard Yngwie Malmsteen and his work in Alcatrazz, which caused him to gain enough interest in guitar to pick up one of his dads instruments.
From there, he went to Jason Becker and Marty Friedman who remain big influences to this day which shows up in Jeff’s playing such him as utilizing a Becker-like approach for the whammy bar phrasing of the song Jatu Unit.
As a 16 year old, Jeff actually auditioned for Megadeth and though he was deemed as too young and inexperienced at the time by Dave Mustaine, he took him aside and told him that he really was on to something and to stick to his guns, because he would one day, according to Mustaine, become a great guitar player.
Lo and behold, Mustaine was right on the money, seeing as Jeff is one of the most revered guitar players in metal today and actually toured in his own band Nevermore with Megadeth on Gigantour in 2005!
After his audition, the young Jeff (not Jeff Young) went to see a Cacophony show and as Marty Friedman left the stage after it, Loomis told him about Megadeth seeking a new guitar player and “Marty’s eyes just lit up”, and well, we all know how the story about Marty and Megadeth went on from there.
Jeff himself struggled on, playing in death metal bands until he got tired of the vocal styling and wanted to find a singer who sung with a more traditional approach. In 1991, he was able to join the band Sanctuary as a touring member, which was where he met Warrel Dane and Jim Sheppard.
4 months after him joining Sanctuary, the good ol’ “musical difference” thing snuck up and the band dissolved. Jeff, Warrel and Dane went on to form Nevermore who, six studio albums (plus one EP), a live album/DVD-package and a new full-length on the way, have truly become a force to be reckoned with. With Jeff being the main-composer of their music, a big part of their success can be attributed to him, so I was really expecting this clinic to be something extra-ordinary.
From the get-go, Jeff comes out all guns blazin’ with the first track from his awesome solo album Zero Order Phase, Shouting Fire at a Funeral and he delivers a stellar performance, his fingers flying across the fretboard. Between the six songs played, he opens the floor for questions three times, revealing that the new Nevermore album The Obsidian Conspiracy has been recorded and it’s currently being mixed, hopefully to be out in January, as well as philosophies regarding picking. For example, he reveals that a lot of the fluid sound of his runs descending down the strings comes from his use of economy picking instead of straight alternate. On Chris Broderick, he gets a bit emotional, saying that:
- “I miss him, for sure. We were best friends and we still are” and how he thought the new Megadeth album Endgame, which Broderick performed on, was
- “killer and a bit of a return to the roots. The best album they’ve done is Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying and it was a bit like that so I really like the new album”. Jeff also dropped a fairly big bomb, revealing that he was offered the lead guitarist position of Megadeth after Glen Drover left the band. However, Jeff declined and stated that
- “I’ve been in Nevermore for over 15 years now, and though the paycheck from Megadeth would’ve been really nice, the music goes before the money”. Also addressing the fact that Nevermore live shows have been remarked as “thin sounding” due to the lack of a second guitarist;
- “I think the main problem is to find someone who can replace Chris, which is a big thing. He’s a great guy and an amazing player so it’s not easy. But yeah, we will try to find a new guitar player” (can we freeze-frame here for a couple of decades so I can practice and get good enough?).
After an hour of fretboard blazing and Q&A, the clinic’s over and it’s time for us clinic-visitors to try and take it all in which is a pretty tall order, seeing as Jeff has kindly shared a lot of cool, memorable tips with us. If Jeff has a clinic coming up anywhere near you (or if Nevermore swing by on tour), you should go, seriously. It was a lot of fun, if nothing else, and Jeff is one of the kindest and most awesome famous guys I’ve ever met.
Setlist (the order might be slightly off):
Shouting Fire at a Funeral
This Godless Endeavour
Enemies of Reality
Miles of Machines
Hey, have you heard Jeff Loomis’s solo album, Zero Order Phase? It’s intense, like Strapping Young Lad meets Cacophony. Loomis has some serious chops and his signature Schecter 7 string seems to be one of the hottest guitars out there at the moment.
One of Today’s Most Influential Players to Reveal his Closest Kept Secrets
(West Haven, CT., July 23, 2009) – Rock House, the leader in music instruction, announced today that one of this era’s most influential guitarist Jeff Loomis, has joined Rock House’s roster of master instructors. Jeff is the lead guitar player and main songwriter of Nevermore, a band that has certainly made its mark on modern music by forging a unique sound that fuses different forms of Metal that has given birth to an authentic and very influential style. His recent solo CD Zero Order Phase took the #4 spot in a April 2009 Guitar World Magazine Readers Pole in the Best Shred Album of the year category. A notable accomplishment when you consider the top three vote getters, Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani. Jeff has become one of his generation’s most recognizable guitarists and the source of many of the last decade’s best riffs.
Jeff’s complex shredding has been a central part of the progressive power guitar scene since 1992 and is responsible for some of the most awe-inspiring riffs modern metal has ever heard. Nearly every aspiring musician who has been listening to metal for the past 10 years or so, has undoubtedly had the pleasure of hearing Jeff Loomis’ progressive and technically superior playing. “Jeff epitomizes the very essence of modern guitar playing; there is a huge fan base that has waited a long time for this type of product from him.” Stated Joe Palombo, Executive Director of Rock House.
At least two instructional DVDs showing the building blocks that make up his signature sound are planned. Production on his Rock House products are slated to begin late the first week of August, no exact release dates have been set at this time, however, it is likely to be some time in the fourth quarter of 2009 or the first month of 2010. Stay tuned to www.RockHouseMethod.com, www.JeffLoomis.com and http://www.myspace.com/jeffloomis for more information on release dates.
Jeff’s Rock House instructional products will be available at MI retailers around the world for $24.99. Stay tuned at. All Rock House instructional products are distributed through Hal Leonard Corp. 1-800-554-0626. Each on of Jeff’s DVDs will come with a FREE tab lesson booklet, iPod ready video and membership to Rock House’s lesson support site at www.RockHouseMethod.com. This feature, exclusive to Rock House and its partners offers students supplementary support for the lessons featured on the DVDs.
Rock House has developed an accelerated yet easy-to-use system of learning that utilizes the functionality of DVD and Print, integrated with the accessibility of the Internet. Aspiring musicians who have a product produced by Rock House receive free membership to www.RockHouseMethod.com for 24-7 lesson support. Students use this fully interactive site along with their product to enhance their learning experience, expand their knowledge, link with instructors, and connect with a community of people around the world who are learning to play music using The Rock House Method®.