Steel Notes Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 91

Steel Notes Magazine them, I did not have the feeling that I was playing the guitar for real. I definitely achieved that later. What was your backup plan, had your dream to become a professional musician not gone through? I would have built guitars, or worked in the guitar world in any other capacity. Before I started playing with Megadeth I worked for BC Rich with Gaar Samuelson and his brother. We gained experience in various departments of the business. I guess that, without guitars at an early age, I would have ended up following the doctor path. It’s when I started playing the guitar that my life turned around. Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, Jeff Back, Hendrix, Weather Report… but if I have to choose one, I’d say Jeff Back. You started your career playing metal with Megadeth and turned into a jazz fusion guitarist. How was the transition between these two different musical genres? When Gaar joined Megadeth, I saw the band in San Pedro, CA. I thought they needed a back guitar so I tried to get in and be part of the band. Before then, Gaar and I had a fusion band and, believe it or not, our style was very similar to Megadeth’s music at the time. They just had a heavier sound, but in terms of melodies and rhythm we were pretty much in line. What kind of music is most appealing to you nowadays? I listen to all kinds of music. I like to discover new bands and records, but I also love old music. With my daughter, for instance, I listen to artists that would never be on my radar otherwise, and it’s fun. Also, sometimes I happen to listen to old music, and I find out some aspects of it that I did not previously notice. It’s a continuous discovery process. Do you remember your first gig? Yes, I was in 7 grade, and my real first bar gig was when I was in 8 th grade. We won the battle of the bands, that was really exciting. I was very happy about my accomplishments at the time, it felt like I was having confirmation that my musical choices were right. I remember that we played Allman brothers songs, as well as Hendrix and Santana. We felt pretty good. th Have you always had the support of your family over the course of the years? Yes, always! My mom had me listen to old blues songs, records you might even have trouble finding right now. My brother is a musician as well, he plays drums. Who inspired you the most along your career? What drives your need to create music? Special moments, a particular inspiration? How does your composition process work? When I feel that I need to play the guitar it means that something is happening. It means that in that exact moment I need to have a piece of equipment that helps me express what is happening. I can say I usually wait for inspiration to come. I constantly think that the best song can arrive any second, and it might just take five minutes to have it done. As Keith Richards said, you need to grab the music when it exits your body. Record it right there. You need to catch it before it flows away. That’s why I always have some kind of recording tool with me, especially to record rhythm ideas and accents. Steel Notes Magazine 91