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Paul Gilbert

Interview with Paul Gilbert from Paul Gilbert
by Panagiotis Koutsompogeras at 02 August 2005, 2:26 PM

In the chaotic world of guitar strings, there's guitarists and there's…guitarists. You've got guitar virtuosos that will whisper to your ear a word or two about life and make you shiver in ecstasy. On the other hand you've got guitarists who'll make you want to stop listening to music in order to preserve your hearing abilities… Well, Paul Gilbert (Racer-X, ex-Mr. Big) would certainly not be characterized as boring. On the contrary, Gilbert's probably one of the extremely skilled guitarists out there who also happens to know how to combine his musical prowess with endless quantities of humor. Panagiotis interviewed Paul via e-mail and asked him a couple of things you might want to know. So…why did the guitarist cross the road?…

Hello Paul and congratulations for your Space Ship One album! How has the reaction of the people towards it?

I just did a tour of Japan and Asia and everyone loved the new songs. I really like playing Interaction, Jackhammer, SVT, and of course, Space Ship One.

I was amazed to see you in your astronaut suit playing your guitar! Do you enjoy dealing with subjects such as astronomy or watching the midnight sky?

I was really impressed with the recent success of the Mars rovers. I`m sure there are some amazing things out there in space.

Do you also teach the guitar or do you just record your frenzied ideas? If you do,  do you enjoy teaching and do you have any famous pupils, just like Satriani had Vai?

I like teaching. I still teach at MI in Hollywood and also MI Japan. I met Bruce Bouillet when I first started teaching. Bruce ended up joining my band and he played in Racer-X for a few of our early albums. I also gave lessons to Buckethead, but that was before he wore a bucket on his head.

You are about to release a live DVD called Space Ship Live. What would you like to say about that? Have you finally set the release dates yet?

Actually, I like the DVD better than the CD! I think the live versions are even more exciting. I`m not sure when the release date is, but it should be soon.

Would you like to tell us a few words about your band members on the DVD , Linus on bass and Marco Minnemann on drums?

Linus is a great pop singer, songwriter, and musician, but he also loves heavy metal. He produced my Burning Organ CD and played acoustic guitar and bass on my Acoustic Samurai CD. I met Marco when we did some clinics together in America. Marco also played drums on my Burning Organ CD.

So, do you generally enjoy life on the road?

I love playing music, and it`s exciting to visit new places. But my ears are getting bad from all the volume.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you mostly like to do?


I’ll find out once I go completely deaf! I’d like to be a father some day.

What are the news from Racer-X? Do you have any plans for a new album?

All the band members are busy right now. Scott Travis is playing with Judas Priest, John Alderete is playing

with The Mars Volta. Jeff Martin is just finishing his first solo CD. I played lots of guitar on it, so it’s almost Racer-X!

What does the song Boku No Atama mean?

I was studying Japanese in L.A. and I started writing melodies to help me remember new phrases. Boku No Atama means My head. The song is very simple. The first verse tranlates to My head is made out of tomatoes. But I like tomatoes more than eggplant.

Do you have any short stories to tell us, especially about the tracks Every Hot Girl Is A Rockstar, Jackhammer, Interaction and We All Dream Of Love?

Every Hot Girl Is A Rockstar is about hot girls! Maybe every hot girl has a life like a rockstar. Everyone is always looking at you.

Jackhammer features an amazing drum solo from Marco. I played the drums on my original demo, and the drum solo was all bongos! I think Marco improved it a lot.

Interaction was written on my 1982 Ibanez Rocket Roll II guitar. It’s such a great Metal guitar that it inspired a great Metal riff.

We All Dream Of Love was written for a girl I was thinking about at the time. I couldn’t figure out what key to sing it in. I finally chose B flat.

Is there any chance that you might include Greece in your tour plans for Space Ship One?

Anything can happen. I’ve only been to Greece one time before, but I really enjoyed it. Great food and Ouzo \[E.N.: Greek drink]!

I noticed that you had some serious Metal riffs in your new song Interaction! Do you particularly enjoy playing or listening to Heavy Metal music?

Metal was my passion when I was a teenager. I still love all the great Metal from the late 70’s and early 80’s. Van Halen, Rush, Judas Priest, Ac/Dc, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Ozzy with Randy Rhoads, U.F.O…. all that stuff was great.

What advise would you like to pass on to new musicians?

Learn songs. Learn lots of songs. Learn lots and lots and lots of songs. Then play them together with other musicians. Then write some of your own.

Which other guitarists have influenced you and with who else would you like to tour with?


Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen were my biggest early influences. But I also got a lot of ideas and inspiration from Pat Travers, Pat Thrall, Robin Trower, Frank Marino, Alex Lifeson, Ace Frehley, Tony Iommi, Randy Rhoads, Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Gary Moore, Akira Takasaki, Allan Holdsworth, Johnny Ramone, my uncle Jimi Kidd, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Ronson, Rick Neilson, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Ted Nugent, Brian May, and Punky Meadows.

If I could tour with any band that’s still around, I think it would be Aerosmith because they’re really famous so lots of people would see my show. Plus Aerosmith is still great. Or maybe Billy Idol. His new CD is awesome.

Thanks for the interview and for your time, man! Any last words you would like to say to the people of Metal Temple?

Eat lots of fresh fruit and listen to Heavy Metal!



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