had been so much easier with the acoustic
trio I played in with John McLaughlin and
Paco de Lucía. So I was thinking about that
group, and something else happened: I was
developing as a writer and found that I could
express myself better and make more meaningful music on the acoustic—and audiences
really responded to that.
In what ways do you express yourself better on the acoustic?
My ideas don’t get lost in a wall of distortion and pyrotechnics, and I tend to write
music that’s both subtler and more rhythmically adventurous on the acoustic. But in
the last few years, I’ve been reintroducing
the electric a little bit at a time, often mixed
in with my acoustic sound by way of a
processor like the Roland VG- 88. After all,
the electric sound is such a big part of my
history, so I couldn’t just turn my back on
it completely. It’s good to be back.
Di Meola (center) and World Sinfonia—(left to right) Faust
Beccalossi, Peter Kaszas, Peo
Alfonso, Gumbi Ortiz, and Vic
tor Miranda. Photo courtesy of
Shore Fire Media
and harmonic invention. The result is a
depth of musicality that should confound
Di Meola’s earlier critics.
In the 1990s, you stepped away from the
electric guitar for a while. Why?
For one thing, the appeal for the extreme
volume that I started off with in the ’70s had
waned over the years. I got sick of carrying
around a ton of heavy equipment—it was
such a physical and financial drain. Things