Where does your melodic sensibility come from?
I grew up listening to every kind of music: classical, jazz, Motown, rock and roll, funk, blues, rock and heavy metal. I absorbed it all and tried to remember the good bits. I like a strong melody, interesting chords and a good groove. I always thought I was part Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Allan Holdsworth…my list of influences is long. But I wear my influences on my sleeve — it’s my way of telling the truth, musically, and also saying of thank you to those who blazed the trail.
What gear did you use on your breakthrough album, Surfin’ with the Alien?
I used a Kramer Pacer made from spare parts and two guitars I assembled from Boogie bodies and ESP parts. On the title track, I plugged the Kramer into a Vox wah and a Chandler Tube Driver into a Marshall half-stack. We used an Eventide 949 Harmonizer for the pitch-shift effect.
What current bands or guitarists do you listen to?
Deftones, the Killers, Jack White, Ned Evett, Wolfmother and Beck. But having said that, I just found a great collection of the Carter Family on iTunes that I’ve been listening to quite a bit. I still listen to Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix a lot, too. Billy Gibbons is a big influence on me — his writing with ZZ Top is so revolutionary. Nobody writes contemporary blues like Billy.
From a 2007 interview by Pete Prown
Guitarist/Writer Pete Prown has written hundreds of guitar articles and is a contributing editor at Vintage Guitar magazine. Pete’s latest CD release, Sir Clive and the Raging Cartographers, is a manic chunk of guitar-fired surf and psychedelia.