The only person I try to hold back
for is me. My own sense of taste is
what determines what I do. Sometimes
it starts coming out and I could just
keep going and going and going, but I
think, “You know what, nobody wants
to listen to that—including me.” That’s
the edit point.
We played at a jazz festival last night,
and a lot of the people came up afterwards and said, “We enjoyed it so much
tonight because it was easy to enjoy—it
was accessible.” That’s the bit I always
try to keep in mind. I just want people
to be able to enjoy it as well, because if
I go to a gig I want the same thing for
myself. The other night we went to see
Oz Noy in New York—unbelievable
guitar playing. And it’s a thrill for me
to hear someone and have no idea what
he’s doing at all, because I don’t get
to see that very often—where it’s like,
“What the hell is this guy doing? ” But
it’s not accessible in anyway—which is
great, if that’s what you want. But that’s
not what I want for my music.
Think outside the box
for purer sound!
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Virtually every electric guitarist can
play the blues to some degree. What
differentiates a great blues guitarist
from the pedestrian?
To me, it’s melody. If it’s lots of notes
or not many at all, melodically it has
to makes sense and fit with the music.
Unfortunately, what a lot of blues-rock
guitar playing became at some point is a
bunch of pentatonic over whatever was
happening. If you listen to Albert King
or B.B., it’s very simple playing—
especially Albert—but it works. And they’re
actually making the chord changes in
their own little, simple way.
I don’t think the blues is in the notes,
I think it’s in the way you play—the
feeling and the timing and the phrasing.
To me, those rules apply no matter how
technically advanced you become.
When you go from playing intricate
lines to pentatonic licks, it sounds really
organic. Was it hard to integrate the
jazzier lines into a blues context at first?
Probably a little bit. But it was always
about sounds to me. It was never like,
“I learned a scale.” I never sat down and
went “this is a scale.” It was a sound
that contained those notes within it that
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