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Joe Stump

Interview with Joe Stump from
by YngwieViking at 29 November 2015, 3:08 PM

Guitarist extraordinaire Joe Stump is quite a busy man, currently involved with EXORCISM, RAVENLORD and HOLYHELL, as well as his own solo project. Having just released "The Dark Lord Rises", it was time that someone from Metal Temple caught up with him, and so Joe and resident Heavy Metal encyclopedia YngwieViking had a few words.

Hi Joe, First high praises, lot of congratulations and big kudos for your new opus!!! I believe that “The Dark Lord Rises” is an overwhelming shredding album right up in the top legacy line of the already legendary “Supersonic Shred Machine” or “Guitar Dominance”, as I’m a fanatic guitar freak, your music and Instrumental Shredding Metal in general , it was for me a real invigorating blast… What will be your own words to describe it?

It`s an extremely dark and heavy record, definitely the heaviest of all my solo records. You`ve got many schools of hard rock and metal throughout the new record. Some European power metal type tracks, some neo-classical/speed metal things, a couple heavy Blackmore inspired hard rock things and even some thrash/black-extreme metal. There`s also a ballad that was dedicated to and heavily inspired by Gary Moore ,as far as a slow emotionally charged piece goes it`s the best thing I`ve ever done. I'm very proud of the new record it's my best work to date. I've stepped things up in all areas, the tunes, playing, guitar tones and overall production.

Tell us please your past or actual involvement in Projects and bands! I want to know everything about the inside stories behind REIGN OF TERROR/EXORCISM/RAVEN LORD or even HOLY HELL… Go!

I haven`t done a Reign Of Terror record in quite a few years but perhaps at some point I`ll do another. Right now I have a band called new band  Tower Of Babel  with Csaba Zvekan on vocals as well as a bunch of other killer players (all European). I material is all my stuff and it`s what you`d come to expect from me as the music is along the lines of Rainbow/Purple/Rising Force/Axel Rudi Pell. Most of the record is finished with the exception of the vocals and of course mixing/mastering so be on the lookout for it next year. As far as Exorcism goes I did a full length record as well as an EP , the Ep was just released back in June. We did some shows over in Europe last year and it was a lot of fun, not really sure what`s in the pipes in the future. I believe they`re talking about doing some touring next  year at some point. It’s a departure from what I usually do (the stuff is like Dio solo material/Tony Martin era Sabbath) and I didn`t compose any of the tracks but I enjoyed playing on the record as it tapped into a different side of my playing. I re–recorded all of the guitars for the long awaited second HolyHell record . The band has got new management and they'll be a new label deal as well so that will be back up and running  next year. The new record will be released and the band will be out and touring. With the RavenLord thing I didn`t play guitar on the record just did a run of shows over in the UK and Europe a couple years back but that band`s no longer together.

Concerning your ex-partner in band like the highly MVP/OBSESSION & REIGN OF TERROR, are you still in touch with ex- RISING FORCE alumni, the vocally gifted Mike Vescera (LOUDNESS/ANIMETAL USA)?

We still keep in touch every now and then, he`s a great singer and a great guy as well . We  had a lot of fun working together and quite a few people thought we made a great combination. You never know maybe we`ll do something together again sometime in the future.

Can you tell us more about the many external collaboration for “The Dark Lord Rises” with the fellow axe players such as the ex-guitarist for MANOWAR (between 1988 and 1994) David Shankle or Dean Cascione for the perfectly titled cut “Brothers In Shred”!

No big collaboration just figured it would be fun to get a couple of my friends to guest on the bonus  track. I usually never get anyone to guest on my records but this time around I made an exception. It`s a fun track to shred over and came out real nice.

Now tell us why did we have to wait 3 long years to finally have a brand new album after the fine “Revenge Of The Shredlord”, what happened?

I did quite a bit since Revenge Of The Shredlord was released, I played a ton of live shows, –solo shows, clinics/ tours  in and outside of the states. A bunch of shows with the various bands I play with. I did the Exorcism record and EP, the guitars on the 2nd HolyHell record, wrote all the tunes and recorded all the guitars for the upcoming Tower Of Babel record .  I also did my book Joe Stump`s Metal Guitar Chop Shop. If you include my new solo record I did 4 records an EP and a book since Revenge was released. So quite a bit of activity. And it doesn't look like things are letting up anytime in the future.

In my review for the superb & vertiginous, the new  “The Dark Lord Rises”, I states pertinently that the album reveal your unique musical freedom in creativity, fighting against the mediocrity of contemporary mainstream US Rock scene…What is your feelings about this quote?

Very nice of you to say , I never claimed to be reinventing the wheel, I just channel the influences of all of my heroes and try to put my own stamp on it. My records are certainly a bit on the excessive side, but my motto is - anything worth doing is certainly worth overdoing. I`m well aware that there is a specific niche audience for this type of thing but I`m fortunate enough to have developed a loyal fanbase over the years and when players/metal fans and guitar enthusiasts  pick up one of my records they know what to expect and certainly won`t be disappointed.

Which are the new guitarists that impressed you lately?

Thru my students at Berklee I`m well  aware of all of the newer players regardless of the  genre or sub-genre of metal/shred you could be referring to . I hear tons of great playing and interesting things  but I really don’t spend any time listening to it. I’m too absorbed in doing my thing and if I do want to listen to guitar I`ll listen to the things I`ve always enjoyed (my heroes/main influences/favorite bands).

Do you think that the technical level , the complexity of some song structures or the shredding parts in your music can be a block for some listeners , do you keep this aspect in mind while composing, or did you just get the inspiration flows?

I think right off the bat that not having any vocals on a record certainly limits your audience. And as I`ve said previously my records are really made for  a specific niche audience.  I`m often asked if I`d consider doing a solo record where I had a mix of instrumental tracks and vocal tunes, I say no as my band projects  serve that void, whether it`s Joe Stump`s Reign Of Terror or now the new Tower Of Babel record . That being said,  in addition to all of the fancy technical guitar work on my solo records  there`s also tons of great melodies and killer riffs. It`s not just some mindless guitar exercise; it`s music that has balls and rocks. That and my stuff is metal so it`ll appeal to metal fans as well as fans of guitar driven music.

Please Mr Shredlord; tell us about your thoughts and views with the new hype on 8 & 9 strings guitars?

It`s a great option for many players and almost like a completely different instrument in some aspects. There`s a bunch of newer players doing some nice innovative things with them. It’s definitely not for me, I’m old school - a Strat and a Marshall is fine with me. As I tell all the younger guys I manage to do plenty of damage with 6 strings and 21 or 22 frets.  On my new record I`m all business -it`s mean, aggressive and heavy as fuck.  You don`t need 8 strings or be tuned down a ton for your music to have balls.

As a teacher in the prestigious college of Berklee for more than 20 years do you think that your job as a guitar professor helps you, in order to keep your best shape as a six strings performer and also staying rigorous as a composing musician?

It certainly does as every time I pick up the guitar I`ve got to be on top of my game. Lucky for me I`m completely consumed with guitar and love to play. Also all my students know that I`m the real deal, I`m out there playing live, making records, doing tours. They`re all well aware of the type of commitment and dedication I have to my craft and my instrument and I do my best to try and pass that on to them.

Please let us know your Instrumental Metal TOP 5?

I`d say some of my favorite instrumentals are by all my favorite players; here`s a list below

Yngwie Malmsteen- Black Star, Far Beyond The Sun and pretty much the entire Rising Force debut. I`ll also include the entire live Concerto record with the orchestra and some additional favorites would be Trilogy, Crying, Brothers, Blitzkrieg , Arpeggios From Hell, Shot Across The Bow, Magic and Mayhem and Caprici Di Diablo. I also love Spellbound and High Compression Fugue from his last studio record Spellbound. But it`s no secret that I`m a huge fan so I could go on and on.

Ritchie Blackmore- Weiss Heim, Difficult To Cure (live in Tokyo 1984), Anybody There, Maybe Next Time, Still I`m Sad – the instrumental version from the 1st Rainbow studio album.

Gary Moore- The Loner, The Messiah Will Come Again, So Far Away from the live We Want Moore

Michael Schenker- Into The Arena, Captain Nemo, Ulcer

Michael Angelo Batio- No Boundaries, Chris Impellitteri – Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Playing With Fire

I also like some instrumentals by Japanese neo-classical players Norifumi Shima and Katsu Ohta as well as Walter Giardino from Argentina`s Rata Blanca.

I want to thank you for this interview and wish you the best of luck with the new album and on the fast picking shredding path ahead.

Thank you so much and thanks a ton for all of your support I really appreciate it and all the great comments regarding my new record, I’m glad you`re enjoying it.

Anything else you want to share with the fans and our readers out there?

Just a sincere thanks to all of the fans that have supported my stuff throughout the years and those of you know aren`t familiar with me and my music I encourage you to check it out , if you love guitar you`ll certainly enjoy it.


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