Interview date

August 2006


Yann G


Thanks Paul for accepting this interview for http://www.auxportesdumetal.com/

You've just released your latest CD "Get out of my yard" that is your first only-instrumental album. Why have you been waiting for so long to record an instrumental release ? That's curious for a guitar-hero !

I don't like instrumental albums! All of my guitar heroes were in rock bands with singers. I grew up listening to Jimmy Page with Led Zeppelin, Eddie Van Halen with Van Halen, Alex Lifeson with Rush, or guys who sang themselves like Jimi Hendrix, Pat Travers, and Ted Nugent.
But I am a guitar player, and I didn't want to just give up the chance to try an instrumental album. But I wanted to work very hard to make it listenable and not just a bunch of solos.

Can you please explain us how did you record this album ?
Did you play all the instruments by yourself ?
Where did you record it ?
Who produced it ?

It was really important to me to feature the drums and bass playing as well as the guitar. I overdubbed most of the bass, but my friend Mike Szuter played on a few tracks that we recorded live. Jeff Bowders played drums on every song and did a fantastic job.
Most of the guitar and bass was recorded in my home studio. I played everything to a click track and then overdubbed the drums later at a bigger studio.

What is your secret to keep such a high technical guitar level ?
I remember your awesome pedagogical videos in the 90s and today you're able to play even faster and more accurate.

I don't practice pure technique so much now. I developed most of it when I was a teenager and since I'm always recording or performing, the techniques stay with me.
I did have to do a lot of practicing to play the Haydn symphony that I did on the record!

Your CD contains a lot of influences : it sounds like "Rush" (the band) on some heavy riffs, some parts could remind Jason Becker. You also integrate Hendrixian blues-rock and you even experiment techno rythms on one song.
Which influences and which styles do you think you use in the composition of "Get Out Of My Yard" ?

My favorite rock instrumentals are by the band "Rush". Alex Lifeson's guitar playing is great, but so is the bass playing and drumming. So I was definitely inspired by them. My song title "Hurry Up" means "rush"! Other influences were Eddie Van Halen, Pat Travers, Pat Thrall, Rick Neilson, Billy Gibbons, Robin Trower, Yngwie Malmsteen, Shawn Lane, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter, The Black Crowes, Boston, and The Ramones.

It seems that you are able to play all styles : from pop/folk (particularly in your previous solo albums) to heavy-metal.
What is really you predilection style ?

My favorite music is The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen(with David Lee Roth), and Todd Rundgren. I love so many other things, but these are the big four. Ok, and Rush. That's five. And Cheap Trick. Six!

Would you love to experiment something totally crazy ? If yes, what ?

I opened this album by playing a three-string guitar, tuned in octaves, and capoed in 10 different positions. If you want crazy, I'll give you crazy!

Don't you think it can be risky to release in 2006 an instrumental guitar-hero album ?
You're aware that, except in Japan, sales of instrumental metal drastically decreased since the 80's.

If sales were my biggest concern, I would join Mr. Big again.
If money were my biggest concern, I would quit music and learn about financial investing.
But I love making music that I am passionate about.

Plus this album seems to be doing quite well.

Do you feel nostalgic of the 80's, glory period for virtuosity ?

I feel nostalgic about the 70's, the glory period for VIBRATO. We had Mick Ronson, Brian May, Mick Ralphs, Ace Frehley, and so many other guitarists who could really bend the strings. Now so many people use whammy bars, or have uncontrolled, shaky vibrato.

How do you judge the evolution of the guitar-heroes of the 80's such as Satriani, Vai, Malmsteen, Marty Friedman, Vinnie Moore ... ?
They're still present. Marty's just released his new instrumental album "Loudspeaker" that even includes one punk song in japanese :-)

Yngwie Malmsteen was my last big guitar influence. After that, I wasn't so interested in new people. Of course they are good, but as a fan I got more into pop music with vocals.

Let's now talk about your other projects. What are your projects with Racer X ? Do you plan to record a successor to "Superheroes" ?

We already did! We released an album called "Getting Heavier" which came out a few years ago. I do hope we'll do more. Those guys are my great friends and a great band.

More generally, do you plan to play with other bands ?
What are your future projects ?

I really enjoy being a solo artist and doing exactly what I want. Although I sometimes do brief cover band projects with Mike Portnoy the drummer of Dream Theater. We already did a tribute to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and The Who. Billy Sheehan played bass in the Who tribute. That was great!

Do you intend to promote "Get out of my yard" ?
If yes, how ? Via a tour ? Or guitar-clinics ?

Hopefully a tour. If not, clinics are good too.

Do you plan to visit your french fans soon ?

Hopefully next year!

Would you have some words for the readers of the webzine ? Or more generally to the french audience ?

It's been a long time since I've been there. I'm sorry!!! I hope to see you soon. Please enjoy "Get Out of My Yard"!