Interview date

July 2006


Yann G


Hi Derek, Thanks a lot for accepting this interview for http://www.auxportesdumetal.com/
Can you please talk to us about your new CD "Blood of the snake" ?

I am very excited about this recording. I feel that I am improving every record, and this is my best one yet.

This CD is very rich and contains so many different styles : from jazz/metal and melodic instrumental songs to traditional heavy-metal riffs via fun songs like "In a summertime". How did you choose these songs ? Was it a mean to show your musical open-mindness ?

I have a wide range of influences, I never put restrictions on what styles I put on my records. "Summertime" was a song that I have always loved as a child, it was very cool to do a remake with Billy and Slash.

Let's talk about your influences now. Songs like "Czar of steel" seem to be influenced by Jens Johansson, Shawn Lane and Liquid Tension Experiment.

Czar of Steel was influenced by Jeff Beck. I think Jens Johansson is a great keyboardist, and Shawn Lane was an incredible talent.

"Man with no name" reminds Ozzy, "Been here before" sounds very Jeff Beck. And you seem to be nostalgic of the old-school Yngwie style. Do you agree with me ? Can you please tell us more about your influences ?

When I went to Berklee College of Music in 1982, I was totally into Yngwie, Jeff Beck , and Ozzy with Randy Rhoads. I stay pretty true to my early influences when i make new music. It helps keep that youthful spirit alive, which to me is essential in making cutting edge music.

The number and the quality of the musicians on this CD are very impressive : John Petrucci, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Tony Franklin and so on ... How did you manage to convince them all to play on your solo album ?

All of these guys are my friends that I have worked with before. When you get to a certain level in your career, you have access to your peers, and everyone is very helpful to each other.

How did you organize the recording of these tracks ? Did you send backing tracks to musicians and did they play on them ? Or did you jam together ?

Most of "Blood of the Snake" was recorded at my home studio Beachwood Manor Studios. I recorded Yngwie at his house 308 Studios. Simon Phillips was recorded at his studio.

Did you first compose and then contact the appropriate guest ? Or did you think about the guest before writing the song ?

A little bit of both. I knew Yngwie and Zakk were going to be on the record, so I wanted to write material that would showcase them. Czar of Steel was originally written for Steve Lukather, but he was unavailable. John Petrucci did a great job.

Did you impose them the composition or did you let them in free-run improvising ?

They had the freedom to improvise during their solos.

Let's talk about your special guests now. First of all John Petrucci. Which relationship do you keep with him ? What do you keep and what do you remind today from your experience inside Dream Theater ?

I have always admired John's playing. It was very cool to be able to work with him again after 6 years. He is invited to play on my records anytime. >

Concerning Yngwie Malmsteen, how did you know him ?

I have known Yngwie for 8 years now. I have played on his records, and toured with him. He played on my Black Utopia record in 2003. We have a cool releationship where we help eachother out. I think that he is probably the most gifted guitarist that I have played with.

On the instrumental tracks of "Blood of the snake" on which he plays, especially on "Viking Massacre", it seems that there was a long time he hadn't been playing so good. His style and his feeling are unbelievable. How did you collaborate with him for this album ?

The songs that he played on were very obviously written for him. He didnt even have to think when he played his tracks, and layed most of his parts in 1 or 2 takes- Awesome!

People and press are very critic against Yngwie concerning his very difficult personality and his 80's old-fashioned guitar-hero style. What do you feel about this ?

I think that Yngwie is very strong minded when it comes to his music, and sometimes that can be perceived as arrogance. I can tell you that he is surprisingly humble about his talent, and is a very fun guy to be around.

How did you get the idea to record the cover of "In a Summertime", what is a very popular song everyone knows ? It looks like a funny bonus track totally outside the style of the album. How did Slash and Billy Idol react when you contacted them for this track ?

It was Billy's idea to record this. He started singing it at soundcheck one day. When it came time to put guitars down, he suggested that we call Slash. Slash was totally into it, and we ended up shooting a video for this song! It should be out sometime this summer.

"Blood of the snake" is very complex and extremely technic. Do you consider yourself as a technic lover ?

I like music that is challenging to play and to listen to. I do think that a lot of technichal music is crap, and lacks emotion.

Even Steve Lukather declared in an interview that playing with you was very complex due to your high technical level. What do you think of this ?

I dont think that Luke has trouble playing with anybody, he is one of the best out there.

Do you have any future project ? Worldwide Tour ? Recording of a DVD ?

I would love to do a DVD, and one day do a big concert "Derek Sherinian and Friends" and have all of the people that play on my CD perform with me.

Would you have some words for the webzine readers ? for the french audience ?

Thank you all so much for your support over the years. I have a lot of French fans, and it means a lot to me. Merci!