Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 76
cord by The Isleys! It doesn't sound like 'It's
Your Thing.' It doesn't have saxophones
Was there an overriding theme that
you, Ronald, and Carlos wanted to
achieve on Power Of Peace?
For the songs, Carlos wanted to try
something with a vocal sound. Ronald was
strong in assistance to that. Carlos' band
was another level of wow. It just worked.
We did 16 songs in four days. We were dead
on. Put a microphone in front of Ronald
and kaboom, we'd have it.
We had an idea, but the combination of
the band and Ronald, and what Carlos and
I did, guitar-wise, was unlike what either
Santana or The Isley Brothers had done
before. Carlos and I played together and
I enjoyed hearing and watching the band
play. The next thing I know it was over. I'd
listen back and think, "That's wonderful!"
Then Carlos would say, "Next!" (laughs).
I wanted to linger, but that's how we were
able to get four tracks done in a day.
There are some great, weaving solos
on "Body Talk."
Carlos is on the Mount Rushmore of
guitar. I had to be up for it, and I'm glad
I was. It's like I'm in new water with his
band. He's familiar with working and
playing with them, but it was my first
time in that swimming pool. It worked
like a charm.
Many people focus on your
lead playing, but your rhythm
style is equally noteworthy.
"Footsteps In The Dark" and
"Voyage To Atlantis" have
become requisite study.
"If you're standing onstage with me
with your guitar, you've got a 10-speed
and I've got a Harley Davidson!"
How did you get the rhythm sound
on "Voyage To Atlantis?"
I used one clean guitar and an Electric
Mistress on another track. Music companies sell equipment, but if the player is
there, you don't need the equipment. If
you wear Michael Jordan's shoes, you're
not going to play like Michael Jordan. It's
the player. In the studio, Carlos had six or
seven guitars on a stand, but he was playing a Strat. He's a very dynamic musician.
Everything he does on a guitar ultimately
sounds like him.
What's in your main rig?
Usually, there's a Mesa Boogie and a
Marshall. They're pretty consistent in
getting the sound I want. With the Boogie,
I usually go for a straight tone to begin
with. Whatever it is I'm playing on the
floor may enhance it. When it's time to do
a lead, like on "Summer Breeze" or "Voyage To Atlantis," I'll use a pedal through
the same amps. I have a Crybaby wah, a
couple of Rat pedals, a Boss BF-2 Flanger,
and a Rotovibe.
And your guitar?
Ernie Isley: Jerome Brunet/ZUMA.
It's about listening. When you
listen, you're open to a lot of different
things. When people approach an instrument, there's a specific thing they're trying
to get. Perhaps they get it, but there's other
stuff that's left out. One of the defining
aspects of "That Lady" is the rhythm. It's
not just a strumming chord. It's fingers.
On "Footsteps In The Dark," the rhythm
aspect is quite important.
One of the songs that made me want to
get a guitar was Jose Feliciano's version of
"Light My Fire." The way he voices chords
shows just how essential it is. The way you
voice a chord can make all the difference
in the world in terms of the mood and
the ear. Sometimes, people don't know
what they're hearing, they just know they
like it. It's the voicings on "Voyage To
Atlantis," "Choosey Lover," and "Groove
With You." There are all kinds of ways to
get a certain kind of feeling by the way
you voice a chord.