I just had to do it, so I did it. I had a young
family and gigging in hellholes was not going
to pay the bills, so I went the Fender route. I
always try to do whatever I do in a way that is
unique and hopefully interesting. I also don’t
talk bullshit. I truly believe what I’m saying
and playing, and I think that comes across.
How long do you practice every day and
how do you practice?
Do you have some general things, tricks,
etc., you would like to share with our read-
ers when it comes to practicing and devel-
oping their own style and unique tone?
Never stop listening and expanding your
horizons. Never stop practicing. If you think
you’re pretty good, think again!
Is there anyone you would like to have the
chance to play, record or jam with?
I’ve always wanted to jam with the Allman
Brothers, but I would love to jam with
Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Paul
McCartney… [John] Scofield, Mike Stern…
too many to mention.
I have four young kids, so practice time is
something that I covet. I have less time, but I
make more of the time by focusing on a specific thing that I wish to learn. I feel I keep getting
better, but I am nowhere near where I wish to
be. I try to have fun with the skills I possess.
You can change your playing style from
country to death metal within one second—
what is the key to having all these styles
ready to go?
Well, I don’t do the styles just to show that I
can do them. I actually really love the different
styles enough to learn them with some degree
of authenticity. I’m pretty opinionated about
who I like and have hyper-focused on those who
have moved me the most in each genre. You
will notice that I do little to no tapping, as I was
never a disciple of Eddie Van Halen or any of the
metal guys. I respected them for the amount of
time it takes to master the technique of say, an
Yngwie Malmsteen, but I have never worn spandex and I feel pretty good about that.
The Blackbird”s tone is extremely warm and smooth
with a very rich, fat low-end and sparkling highs. It is tight
It sings at all levels of play with a smooth, modern tone
that gives you that one with the amp” feel that you’ve been
I have to say, I am extremely low maintenance.
Therefore, the opportunities I have been presented have almost always worked out for me,
because I get along with folks and I’m easy to
work with. From a musical point of view, I think
that my ability to play different styles convincingly and then be able to morph those styles
into something different, all done with a sense
of the bizarre, has had a positive impact on my
career. I think I write a pretty good tune here
and there and can entertain a crowd of diverse
tastes… I always try to keep something up my
sleeve so that I can always surprise those who
think they’ve seen it all.
If you had to go to a desert island and were
only allowed to take one guitar, one amp and
one stompbox with you, what would it be?
My blue Custom Shop Strat, a Super Reverb
and my Gristle King pedal.