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sâmbătă, 9 februarie 2008

No Boundaries by Michael Angelo Batio

If you’re not familiar with MAB, he played in the 80’s metal band Nitro, and is known for his amazing shredding abilities. He was crowned “Fastest Guitar Shredder of All Time” by Guitar One Magazine. He currently performs as a solo artist, hosted the Speed Kills DVD series, plays at various guitar workshops and is a columnist for Guitar World Magazine.

I have put together parts from 3 different interviews in order to better understand this ountstanding guitar player.

1) How did you start out playing guitar? You had some jazz history?

I started out at ten years old and so I can't really say I was in it for women (laughs) 'cause I was too little. But I loved rock music and I studied jazz in school and then I went out to get a degree in music at the universatiy in Chicago. I've been a professional musician since I was 18 years old. I have a degree in music theory and composition. And..then what happened was..when I studied music, Beethoven looked wild. Paganini had great stage presence. Mozart played with his hands criss-cross behind his back when he was a little boy. These guys are on MTV. So I thought, I'm a great guitarist, I wanted to have a live show that would equal Jimi Hendrix and Mozart and Paganini and Led Zeppelin's, so that where I came up with the 'under-over' and my double guitar.

2) Any favorite players besides the stuff you already mentioned like Led Zeppelin?

I have favorite composers. In guitar players, I like all the classic people like Hendrix and Jimmy Page.. I like people like George Benson...there's a guitar player from here, Jan Akkerman that I used to listen to all the time. As far as music..I listen from everything from Bach to Beethoven to Evinescence.(laughs) I think my favorite all time players are probably George Benson, Frank Zappa, Robbert Fripp and let me think...and then I would say Django Reinhardt, too.

3) Pretty wild combination there.

Yeah, and I think it's nice to see so many young people listening to guitar again too. I think music, like anything..Bach is as good today as it was 200 years ago. Even Led Zeppelin, I walk into music stores, I play shows in universaty's in the United States..there's 18 year old kids, they're not listening to Evanescence, they're listening to Led Zeppelin.

4) Do you feel it's hard to be taken seriously by the "serious" music scene, despite all your history and profound knowledge of the instrument?

I think so. But I think that they can't deny one thing. I've been accused of being too fast..I'd tell them they can't hear fast enough. Because the people know, that are my fans, that, A: I can play superfast. B: It's really clean. C: there's melody, D: there's feeling. So the double guitar.. that would be like saying, well Jimmy Page isn't good because he used a violin bow. Or: Frank Zappa sucked because he put like those dolls on stage. What real musicians sometimes don't want to acknowledge is that I'm known all over the world for this. And if someone doesn't have their thing to get known they don't like that I can do it. And.. I don't begrudge other musicians. But I find that I'm still here. I'm still playing more then ever so I'm doing something right. I'm so busy.. this year it'll over a hundred and then I just finished an instructional DVD and two cd's. So that's a lot. And I just love doing it. Especially coming here. And I got to look around Amsterdam! I've been here six or seven times and never walked around the city. We went everywhere from the red light district..and I don't do drugs but I walked around and just.. looked on the menu (laughs) What a great city, no city is like it.

5) In 2003, Guitar One Magazine named you the “No.1 Shredder of all time” What do you believe was the key for you in attaining such incredible technique and virtuosity?

A willingness to practice. Hour after hour, day after day, year after year. Also, I have never tried to copy other guitarists and be a “clone” of someone else. I wanted to be unique and develop my own style, both in the studio and in concert.

6) What about the Nitro days, the big hair and outrageous costumes?

We were a product of the times. You could not get a record deal if you DIDN'T look that that. Our label wanted us to be THE most over the top, outrageous band ever. The label gave us this "catch phrase" "Nitro- The Highest, The Fastest, The Loudest"! Our job was to live up to that and we did. The President of our Record label actually told me and I quote " Michael, I want you to overplay, all the time"! What guitarist wouldn't want to do that? Also, it is not easy to "tear it up" all of the time. It was challenging and it was fun!

7) Did you ever actually witness singer Jim Gillette shatter a glass with his voice or is this a myth?

Yes I have witnessed Jim shatter a glass with his voice so many times I have lost count. He used to practice shattering glasses at band rehearsals! Jim Gillette shattered a glass with his voice at our very first show on the strip in L.A. We got signed after that one show. A student of his -Jaime Vendera, went on the TV show "Mythbusters", shattered a glass they way Jim had taught him and proved on camera that a human could actually do it.

8) Why did Nitro pack it in after only two albums and are you surprised at how much of a cult following Nitro has garnered over the years?

In a word- "Grunge". The genre of Rock music that MTV wanted to support changed dramatically, overnight, and the era of the "anti guitarist" began.
Jim and I have always remained good friends. We spoke just a few days ago. Also, he had met Lita Ford whom he eventually married and I had an offer to take my career in the direction it is now- In conclusion, we just felt it was time to do something else. I was a bit surprised at our cult status at first but in hindsight we have stood the test of time because we wrote good songs that meant something to us and as outrageous as we were, we were "the real deal". We could actually DO the outrageous things our label said we could do

9) What do your think of the G3 Tours? Is it something you'd do if asked, or would you consider putting your own version of G3 on the road.if so what other 2 guitarists would complement your style and make for a great tour package for guitar fans?

I would love to be on the G3 Tour. Steve Vai, Satch and MAB. That would be incredible

10) If you could collaborate with one vocalist in the world who would it be and why?

Sting. I love his music and he always has a lot of musicians on stage. I think it would be fun to play with multiple keyboard players, percussionists, several guitarists, multiple singers, etc...

11) For a guy who's reached your playing level, what's next? Where else can you take your playing or do you entertain those thoughts?

I do, but at this stage of my career, in my life, it is not about proving anything to anyone about how good I am on the guitar, it is just about making better music. Just making better music.

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