Vinnie Moore Interview
Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Yngwic Malmsteen - guitar heroes, all of them. And now Vinnie Moore. Vinnie Moore is only 22, but he's the fastest-rising guitarist on the music horizon today. His debut album "Mind's Eye" (Shrapnel Records) has met with both public and critical acclaim. We spoke with Vinnie recently about his success.
Q. You literally went from playing the bar circuit in Delaware, to being featured in Mike Varney's (President and Founder of Shrapnel Records) "Spotlight" column, to being signed by Shrapnel Records. How did you make that jump?
A. I made a demo especially for that 'Spotlight' column, a cassette, and wrote excerpts, little fragments of songs, made a demo out of it, and sent him the tape. He liked the tape, called, and we began to communicate. He told me he was going to write me up in 'Spotlight' and was interested in doing a record sooner or later. So, that's how it all began.
Q. And someone from Pepsi read about you in that "Spotlight" column and cast you in one of their commercials?
A. Yeah, a production company that was casting for a Pepsi commercial. They were having problems finding a guy. So, they resorted to looking through guitar magazines. They just bought a bunch of magazines, and would page through them and see if they could find anybody that way. And, they happened to see me in that 'Spotlight' column, which wasn't a very good picture, but something about it attracted them. They called "Guitar Player,' got ahold of me, and that's how it all started.
Q. Is Randy Rhoads deserving of all the acclaim he's received?
A. Well, that's a hard question. When someone dies, and they're a nice guy like he was supposedly, it's like this legend just builds around them. In his day, he was a good guitar player. I wouldn't say that Randy Rhoads was the ultimate guitar player. There are a lot of guys who are on that level. There's a lot of guys worse, there's a lot of guys better. I do think he was really great, though. His playing had a big influence on rock guitar players. He was bringing over the classical influence into rock music. I think that was really monumental. R's weird, when someone dies, a legend builds up behind them. I really don't know what to say.
Q. So many of the rock magazines tell only the partying side of being in a rock group. Can you tell the up and coming musicians the other side of the story?
A. It takes a lot of dedication, a lot of determination. If you know you want to do it, you have to work really hard. Young players, I think they need to study with a teacher, be formally trained, and practice real hard, and also to listen to other great players who are out there. Things should come together if you do that. It's essential to practice a lot. I think it's also essential to study, and know what you're doing. To me, it's real serious. To me, the thing in the magazines is only one side of the whole rock 'n roll thing. It takes a lot to get there.
Q. How did you learn about the business side of rock 'n roll?
A. I learn about it, when I have to go through the type of situation I'm involved with. I had to first deal with record contracts for my new record. That's the first real experience I got from it. I just made sure I had legal help to deal with it.
Q. Do people come up to you and say why don't you have vocals on "Mind's Eye?"
A. I have heard that, yeah.
Q. And what do you tell them?
A. Cause it's an instrumental album, no, that's the kind of statement I wanted to make. For my first statement, I wanted to make a statement as a guitar player, and do it to the extreme, and kind of prove myself as a guitar player. The vocal stuff will come later, in the future.
Q. You endorse DiMarzio (strings and pick ups) and Ibanez guitars. What does that do for you?
A. First of all, it means that I can get the exact equipment want to use. Through DiMarzio, I've had a lot of time to e> periment with different pick ups, so I can find the right on for the sound I'm looking for. With Ibanez, I got the custom guitar I wanted. They're making what they call a Vinnie Moore model and they might put it out, first on the market in Japan. That might happen real soon. The basic relationship is you get what you want and you help the company because they learn a lot from you. They need a player's point of view sometimes to help them. And, i get what I need.
Official Website: Vinniemoore.com
© Gary James All Rights Reserved