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Doug Marks Interview

You probably recognize the name Doug Marks, or have seen his picture in many of the trade magazines. Doug is the creator of "metal method" guitar lessons. He's also released an album with his group "Hawk," simply titled "Hawk."

Q. Is Metal Method Productions your company?
A. Yes.

Q. So you don't have a financial backer?
A. No, not at all. I started the company 5 years ago from a one-room single-type apartment and built it into the company it is today.

Q. How did you get the money to get this business going?
A. I've always believed in the philosophy that anything you want, you have to be able to give up something. The more that you want, the more you have to give up. The only thing I owned 5 years ago was a couple of old guitars, a '62 Strat, and a '65 Strat. I sold my two guitars for eleven hundred dollars and bought my first ad, and it took a little bit of guts 'cause I hadn't written the course yet and
the ads weren't even com­ing out for another two months.

Q. Musicians are known for being secretive about their playing techniques. Why would you share your knowledge with other musicians?
A. There's many reasons. I find that anytime I show somebody something’ that is important to me, and I've work­ed on hard, it forces me to learn something else. Anytime you help your competitor, it helps yourself, just because they learned something that you knew, and then it forces you into becoming even better.

Q. What's your musical background?
A. I played for years in bands traveling around the country, but mainly doing commercial material, playing copy songs in clubs, and started giving private guitar lessons. I have no formal education. My education is the so-called school of hard knocks, but it's one of those things that I was doing what a lot of people wanted to do. I realized I had this knowledge and was willing to share it.

Q. There's a lot of talk these days about Randy Rhoads, especially with Ozzy's release of the Tribute album. How do you rate Randy Rhoads as a guitarist?
A. He's one of my favorites, but it's really hard to rate guitar players. I can look at every guitar player and there's things I really like about them and things I dislike, things I respect and am in awe of. and things that I say, 'Big deal, I can do that.' There's a certain feel that Randy had for the guitar that is different, not necessarily better or worse, but it's different than say Eddie Van Halen. Randy was obviously an excellent guitarist and he had a lot of feelings for his play­ing.

Q. You've sold some 200,000 cassettes of your "metal method" at $ 10-$15 each. You've made some money. Why even bother with trying to make it in the rock business?
A. It's all that I've been interested in really. I enjoy giving guitar lessons, and helping people play. You gotta remember in doing the simple arithmetic, everybody looks at what's coming in, and not at what's going out. It's very expensive. Many of these lessons go to other countries. Postage is expen­sive. Tape duplication. The cost of the book, and the cost of advertising is enormous.

Q. But you've still made a good buck.
A. Oh, I'm not starving to death. I keep gas in the Jaguar, that's what I'm trying to say.

Q. What's contained in the newsletters you send out?
A. I constantly try to help other guitarists and make them aware of any new products I have. I find that the more you give, the more people are interested in helping me also. Any type of encouragement I can give them, I find that they're ex­cited. They're gonna buy lessons, and in turn I learn new things, and I'm able to help them.

Q. Why couldn't you have recorded the "Hawk" album for a major label? Why put it out yourself?
A. That's a good question. I'll put it this way. If I was really
working hard to get major label interest, I would spend so much time doing that, that the album still wouldn't be record­ed. You just have to put your energy in one direction or another, and I decided by putting my energy into a first album, major labels are interested because the album is out there. I feel certain that the next album or the following album will be released on a major label.

Q. What trend do you see happening 111 hard rock or heavy metal today? What should we he looking for?
A. Hard rock seems to go in 3-year cycles. For as long as I can remember, it makes a big comeback, slowly fades away, and makes another big comeback. I definitely feel it's on the upswing right now. I think the time is really right for new-hard rock bands that have their acts together, to make it. because there is a demand. There's not so much demand on radio, but even radio is coming back. MTV is starting to play more hard rock/heavy metal videos again. MTV was very important to hard rock'heavy metal 3-4 years ago. and it's important to hard rock'heavy metal right now

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