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Rising Stars


Rising guitarist, he appears on the former Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Mark Boals' new album. His debut CD is out now and available from his website. Great website as well - check it out!

1. What are you currently up to?

Just finished recording a song with American vocalist Mark Boals (ex Yngwie Malmsteen, Ring Of Fire). His album is called "Edge Of The World" and comes out October 23. In March I released my debut album, but it's already time to start thinking about the next one!

2. Who were your influences?

My instincts are the biggest influence in terms of decision making and career planning, but as far as creative influences go, I would say guitarists like Steve Vai, Brett Garsed, Vinnie Moore, as well as bands like Dream Theater and Planet X.

3. Brief history of the band plus the style of music you play.

I play instrumental progressive metal/rock fusion. There are lots of guitars but it's not necessarily for guitarists only. My debut album "The Master Plan" was released in March through my own label, Progmatic Music. I play all the instruments, but on the next CD I may have a special guest or two to help me out.

4. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

The low point was not getting my CD out sooner because of a tendonitis injury that prevented me from playing guitar for a long time. The high point is getting the great responses from people who shelled out money for the CD.

5. How easy is it to gets gigs? What is the live music scene like?

It depends on what kind of gig you're after. For my music in Australia there are very few opportunities to play live, but if you want to get live work there are plenty of cover bands concept shows that pay well. For the record I don't do any of those! I'm just plugging away selling my CD and thankfully making ends meet.

6. What do you think of the state of rock music at the moment? Do you listen to radio much at all? Has the Internet helped music grow or hindered it?

The state of the scene for me is that one has to make their own opportunities and be an industry unto themselves. Starting a rather modest little label setup was the right choice for me because what I'm doing is such a niche market anyway. Opportunities lost due to not being on an established label are balanced out by the more profitable (albeit risky and time consuming) aspects of being the artist, label, PR guy etc. I think where a lot of labels in my genre are gonna come unstuck is in their unwillingness to grow new talent. They want established artists but don't want to be the ones to establish them. It's a short term strategy in my opinion. They're waiting until there's no food left before bothering to learn how to cook!

Radio is fine if you're playing what's hip (ie not what I do), but I think radio in general has been given too much influence and tried to become a maker of tastes rather than a servant of what many people want to hear. A classic demonstration of this in Australia is the fact that when people are on the air making a request, they are told what to request beforehand in order to go on the air! Since I also teach guitar, I listen to radio just to know what the kids are into, but that's about it.

The Internet has been a godsend for me in terms of marketing. Sure, there is the whole file-sharing debate which I have conflicting views on, but in general the net has provided a lot of promotional opportunities that would not have been there otherwise. I would estimate that 70-80% of my sales have been online purchases made through my website or at places like Guitar Nine Records.

7. What do you enjoy getting up to in your spare time (eg hobbies, etc)?

I have no time for hobbies unfortunately. Playing guitar was always my biggest hobby anyway, so I don't mind being so busy with it.

8. If you could create a fantasy band - what would be the line-up and why?

My ideal band would probably consist of some of the great players that appeared on the Mark Boals album I just did: Mark Boals on vocals (because he is not only a fantastic singer, but one of the nicest guys in the industry), Erik Norlander on keyboards (I like his style and he has cool tones), Virgil Donati on drums (he's Aussie too and is the #1 drummer out there in my mind), and maybe a fusion bassist like Ric Fierabracci or Randy Coven just to make things different. I could be selfish and do all the guitars myself. Yes, that's a good idea. I don't need anyone showing me up!

9. What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be purchased from?

"The Master Plan" is my debut release. That's available at and, and Mark Boals' "Edge Of The World" is out October 23 in Japan and later in Europe and the US. That will be available everywhere.

10. Message for your fans...

I'd feel like I'm being a rock star if I used the word "fans", since I think of them as more like supporters and friends, but what I'd like to say to anyone enjoying my music is that I sincerely appreciate it, and for those yet to hear me, I hope you can give me a listen!

Interview © 2002 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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