and they sounded awful. They really didn’t
understand the nuances of music and they were
just shredding with bad intonation. It sounded
like deranged mosquitoes.
Were they trying to impress you with
their idea of what you do, as opposed
to simply playing well?
Most people think all I do is just shred. All
the classical players I auditioned were too
wimpy. So I found this guy named Alex
DePue. He came in and blew me away.
Unbelievable. He was stunning. I first saw
him on You Tube playing “Owner of a Lonely
Heart.” This guy was just ferocious. So I felt
like I’d found my violin player. Then I started
getting these emails from this young girl in
the Midwest named Ann Marie Calhoun. I
told her I already had my players. She goes,
“C’mon! I wanna rock!”
I saw a picture of her, and I thought,
“Nobody this beautiful can play well.” I was
wrong. This girl just stunned me. Her intonation was stupendous. She just flows with the
instrument, gorgeous performing and a very
attractive young girl. What a sweetheart. I
said, “That’s it. I’m going to have two violin
players in the band!” I did, and I could immediately see how I could orchestrate the music
so it would work. I like to put a show together that would be something that I’d like to
see when I’m sitting in the audience.
Your shows are known for having lots of
dynamics. Does adding violins allow you to
push that further?
What I like to see is really great musician-
ship, elite musicianship but also emotional
investment. I don’t want to be beaten
up by somebody’s musical intellect. I like
dynamic swings. I like a show to have
dimension to it, so you can have an acous-
tic set. When you see this DVD, it’s got all
those dimensions. I like to have the audi-
ence feel like they’re part of the secret.
A violin can be played very sweetly. If
you pump it through the right gear, it’s a
monster. They play together so sweetly at
times. At other times, with the three of us
and the other guitar player, it’s just ferocious. It’s very entertaining.
Did you use any new guitar gear on the DVD?
No. My guitar set up is usually good for four
or five years, then I switch it up. With that
setup I was using my Ibanez JEM, which is
pretty standard. It’s like twenty-two years old
now. I have a very simple set up. Coming out
of my guitar I go into a Bad Horsie Wah or a
Crybaby, then into the Ibanez Jemini distortion pedal that I designed. Then it goes in
the front of my Carvin Legacy II, which has
three channels. Out of the Send, I come out
of the main head and I go into a volume
pedal. Out of the volume pedal I go into a
Digi Tech Whammy pedal.