Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 19
How has your time management evolved?
I've gotten better at becoming less of a perfectionist, less particular.
I form deadlines; I did two albums this year and played on drummer
Simon Phillips' solo album. That was a big disruption to my album
because I was working on it at the same time. When he came up with
the offer, I was like, "I should do this because Simon is great and the
music is great." It's another cool thing to do, but it added pressure for
me on my album.
Over the years, I've had to learn to be disciplined enough to say,
"Greg, we're done here. No more tweaking." No matter how good
something is, we're always going to find a way to make it even better,
so you have to find a way to say, "This is the end."
It was important for me to get Wheelhouse done before the tour
started. It was coming down to the wire. My days were literally about
getting up at 8:30 in the morning, having a cup of coffee, and going
to the studio. I was up until five o'clock in the morning for a month
straight. I was like, "I am going to get this done. I don't care what anyone
says." I had it done two days before the tour kicked off.
MORE SEDUCTIVE TONE.
Does the pressure make you more creative?
I think so, but you have to move forward. I had stuff
that was designed for Maragold's second album, so I dug
into that bag a little bit. There was some cool things I was
able to find. The pressure doesn't inspire me so much to
be creative as much as it inspires me to be disciplined.
The pressure says, "You don't have time to tweak. You
don't have time to re-evaluate. Just move forward."
You've been criticized for not breathing between phrases in
your solos, but the songs on Wheelhouse, particularly the swing
section on "2 In 1," would prove critics wrong.
Narrow rails under the wound strings, oversize pole pieces
under the plain strings. A revolutionary design that tightens
lows and fattens highs for exceptional clarity and punch.
Railhammer nails the tone you've been searching for.
That's a valid criticism, particularly on my earlier stuff. Every crack
was filled (laughs). As I get older, I have the urge to breathe more. I
like the space between notes and sitting out for a couple of beats. I've
always loved the swing era and it's easy for me to hear those chord
changes. It also presents a side of me that some people haven't heard,
but there has to be some uncharted territory for me to get inspired.
That's where I find inspiration. I dabble in the bop thing, but I'm a
schizophrenic artist. On the one hand, I love exploring territory I
haven't explored. On the other hand, I don't want to put something out
where people say, "That sounds like Wes Montgomery." He's already
done it. I don't want to do something that sounds like a great version
of what's already been done. I'd rather it sound like me but with an
obvious influence - don't copy licks, absorb the influence. That's better
than copying Joe Pass licks.
What's the story on the Simon Phillips project.
I'm going out for a while with his project, called Protocol. For it,
you have to sit up straight. It's complex, but really musical. I really
love his stuff. Unlike so much prog rock, his stuff always has groove
and a quarter-note pulse that goes through it. It never feels like you're
getting jerked around. Simon really cares about the emotions he's
making, and it's real artistry. He's painting pictures with his music.
When he first asked me to join, I was a little bit reluctant because I'm
not a big prog-rock guy. But, when I heard some of the material I was
like, "Wow!" I thought, "This is a real thoughtful musical person."
He's a super gentleman to work with and unbelievably enthusiastic,
with all this energy. He just turned 60 and acts like a 13-year-old kid
doing his first album. In the studio, I was inspired because he's so into
it and so excited. It's a great energy to be around, so I really enjoyed
recording with him and I'm going to really enjoy touring with him
- though I'm going to have to really prepare myself because it's not
a funk jam. We have to think and count and pay attention (laughs).
- Oscar Jordan