PROGPULSE DISCUSSES "THE DARK LORD RISES" WITH THE SHREDLORD HIMSELF
1. Please tell me about what you have been up to since releasing your last album "Revenge of the Shredlord"
Since Revenge Of The Shredlord, I did quite a bit of live playing and touring - many solo shows/clinics as well as shows with RavenLord and Exorcism over in Europe also live dates with Black Knight`s Castle (Blackmore tribute band I have in the states playing mainly Rainbow and a few Purple things) and Stormbringer (Deep Purple tribute I also play with). I also did a record with Exorcism (doom/classic metal band music is like Dio `s solo stuff/ Tony Martin era Sabbath ) and an EP with them as well. I also did a shred/metal guitar instructional book Joe Stump`s Metal Guitar Chop Shop. And recorded all the guitars for the 2nd HolyHell album which should be released sometime in 2016.
2. How would you like to describe your new excellent album "The Dark Lord Rises"
It`s the darkest and heaviest solo record I`ve ever done and a mix of various schools of metal (European power metal, thrash, black metal tinged things, neo-classical , hard rock) As usual you have the obvious influences of my heroes as there`s quite a few tracks inspired by Blackmore and Malmsteen and a Gary Moore inspired ballad . It`s the best thing I`ve ever done and I`ve stepped it up in all areas the tunes, playing, guitar tones and overall production. Metal fans and guitar enthusiasts should find plenty of stuff to enjoy on the new record.
3. Can you tell me something special about each of the songs on the album ? (track by track)
I`d be going on forever if I went track by track but I`d say you generally have 3 different areas stylistically on the new record . You`ve got the heavier serious metal- material (Hostile Takeover - a fast thrash/speed/power metal track, Out For Blood -European Power metal bit and Staring Into The Abyss-black/extreme metal/power metal tune) The older school Blackmore induced things(Stratomaster and The Black Knight Returns) and of course the neo-classical tracks inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen as well as my favorite classical composers (Bach, Vivaldi, Paganini,
Tchaikovsky ) those being (Battle Tested, Neo-Classical Shredfest No. 4, The Dark Lord`s Allegro and Concerto No. 2 in B flat minor) One
track I haven`t mentioned is Tormented Soul , it`s a slow emotionally charged guitar ballad inspired and dedicated to the late Gary Moore . I first became exposed to Gary`s playing back in the early 80`s . I devoured all of his classic hard rock /metal period recordings like Dirty Fingers, Corridors of Power, Victims Of The Future, We Want Moore and Run For Cover . I also continued throughout his blues period and up until he sadly left way too soon. His playing more so than anyone else`s always struck an emotional nerve in me. The tone in his hands and also his intense attack are things I`m always trying to channel. As far as a slow emotionally charged guitar ballad goes this track is the best thing I`ve ever done . All and all I think on this release in particular I`ve managed to combine all of my hard rock and metal influences in a way that truely sums up who I am.
4. What guitars, amps and pedals did you use recording the album? And can you tell me something about the process?
Guitar-wise I used a couple of my ESP custom shop strats , I have a pearl white one with (see pic attached) a black pickguard , black pickup covers and rosewood neck that I used for all the Blackmore induced stuff (Stratomaster, The Black Knight Returns) I also used it on the ballad Tormented Soul. I used the Olympic white with a maple neck one that`s on the cover of Revenge Of The Shredlord for all the heavy things and a Fender Malmsteen signature model on a few neo-classical tracks . All my strats have scalloped necks and Dimarzio pickups , my ESP`s have locking tuners and graphtech nuts as well. For amps for me it`s always Marshall , on the album I used the YJM 100 Yngwie Malmsteen signature Marshall which is a killer sounding amp . It has a 50watt/100 watt setting so it can sound smooth , compressed and glassy like a 50 watt Marshall or big and smashing like a 100 watter. I used both settings depending on the track. For pedals I used a BSM RPA treble booster for the Blackmore stuff, and an old black DOD YJM 308 250 overdrive for the heavy and neo-classical stuff. I also used some boss/roland pedals (DD-3 digital delay , boss flanger, phase shifter , noise gate and octave box.) Using all that I managed to get a variety of guitars tones ranging from fierce metal tones to killer old school hard rock tones.
5. I believe you do quite a lot of gigging and clinics, how frequently does this happen, and what are your plans for the future?
I play live all the time and they`ll be plenty of shows/clinics both regionally and globally for me in the upcoming year. I`ll be doing the Axes and Anchors guitar cruise next February which will be very exciting as there`s a ton of great/legendary players on that (Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Marty Friedman, Tony Macalpine to name a few) I`m really looking forward to it. And also there`s a bunch of other touring plan in the pipes for next year as well.
6. Are you also performing with other bands than as "Joe Stump" ?
Yes in the states I have 2 Blackmore tribute bands I play with one`s Black Knight`s Castle playing mostly Rainbow with a few Deep Purple things mixed in and Stormbringer playing all Purple. With both bands I play a ton of guitar and mix in a few of my solo things as well . I also play in Exorcism (classic/doom metal band with Csaba Zvekan on vocals) and HolyHell with be releasing a record and back out next year touring. I also have a new band called Tower of Babel with some killer players (all European) . It`s the guitar driven vocal material that`s reminiscent of the Reign Of Terror stuff I`ve done previously` (Rainbow, Purple, Rising Force , Axel Rudi Pell influenced stuff). So plenty going on in addition to my solo bit.
7. What goal did you have with making your new album?
With each record I try to step things and improve on my past efforts in all areas . As far as the tunes go I just compose things that are inspired by the various schools of metal that influence and inspire me (as well as my heroes) . This record took on a heavier/darker feel than some of my past albums and the production has a more modern vibe to it . Also since I`ve been deep into in the Blackmore thing that really comes across on those tracks . It`s definitely my finest hour solo-wise , I`m quite proud of this record.
8. How do you feel about the music business side of things today?
Things are tougher these days for sure as people just don`t buy music anymore like they used to years ago. The money`s much tighter and the budgets are considerably smaller for both labels and artists on all levels. But all things considered I`m counting my blessings as between my day job being the metal/shred guitar specialist on the guitar faculty at Berklee College of Music and my book/ instructional dvds as well as my band and solo efforts I`m doing quite well. Throughout the years I`ve managed to maintain a loyal fanbase so I`m grateful for that. As I always say I`ve got nothing to complain about, being Joe Stump`s a pretty good deal.
9. what do you think of the younger shredders of today?
Through my students I`m aware of many of the new younger players/bands and of course there`s all kinds of sub genres of metal/shred but I `m busy doing my thing so I don`t spend any time listening to newer bands/players . If I`m am going to listen to music it`s gonna be the stuff I`ve always loved , my heroes/favorite metal bands/classical music .
10. You have been doing this for quite a while by now. Is it still as fun and where do you see yourself in, say 5-10 years from now ?
It`s been 22 years since I released my first solo record Guitar Dominance and my playing is at it`s highest level, I`m more emersed in guitar these days than I`ve ever been and to me it`s always fun . I love all of it clinics, shows, touring, lessons, master classes, practice, band rehearsals etc. I don`t see myself slowing down anytime soon. In my old age I`m playing faster and heavier than I ever have.
11. In what way would you say your new album and aso you as a musician differs from everything else that is out there?
A lot of the guitar instrumental stuff out there generally tends to sound alot like a guitar exercise and much of it lacks any kind of melodic and emotional content. Even for players and guitar fanatics all that fancy technical stuff can get boring after awhile. With my stuff there`s a ton of melody as well as plenty of cool bad ass riff stuff. All the insane technical stuff is there but it`s showcased inside tunes that are very listenable and musical.
Don`t get me wrong my stuff can get a bit lengthy/self indulgent and bludgeoning but it`s always musical . Also my shit rocks it has balls and attitude and that`s something I`ve taken from the guys that inspire me (Blackmore, Yngwie, Hendrix, Uli, Schenker, Gary Moore) I `ve never claimed to be reinventing the wheel I just channel all of my influences and try to do somewhat of my own thing with it, hopefully people enjoy it .
12. Don't you think that the instrumental guitar market is over saturated these days compared to when you were starting out?
It`s hard for me to say as I really don`t pay much attention , I`m consumed with doing my thing. But it`s definitely a much different world out there than it was over 20 years ago . The bottom line regardless of who you are is that your product has to be competitive and stand up to others like it in the marketplace. Nowadays there`s thru social media there`s all kinds of ways to get people`s attention and attract new fans but if you`re not delivering the goods in all areas then it really doesn`t matter.
13. How much do you practise guitar per day or per week?
I`m playing all the time at Berklee I`ve got a guitar in my hands at least 8 hours a day and on my off days I`m practicing and rehearsing if I`m not out touring playing shows/clincs. A day usually doesn`t go by where I don`t play at least 3-5 hours. In my line of work I`ve really got no choice so it`s a good thing I enjoy it.
14. How do you think that music will survive this new "everything for free" world that we seem to be living in?
It`s a drag but that`s the way it is , I wish it was different . There`s a lot of cool stuff going on in this day and age but artists not getting paid for their work is never a good thing. It`s a shame that a whole generation doesn`t know the excitement of purchasing and supporting the music and artists they love. While some of them still do most don`t , it kind of takes the mystery and excitement out of everything . I still to this day I buy the download or cd when an artist that I like puts something out , to me it`s still exciting and enjoyable.
15. Any other future plans or anything else you wish to add?
Just a huge and sincere thanks to all of the fans that have been with me throughout the years and to some of you just discovering my stuff for the 1st time , you came onboard at the right moment as The Dark Lord Rises is without a doubt my best effort .
16. Thanks for your time Joe!