Latest interview! (May 2008)
Guitarist Paul Gilbert made an impression with Racer X in the 80's
and was of course a member of the hugely successful Mr Big. He has
just release a 'Best Of' his solo work which is well worth owning!
|1. What are you currently up
I'm on vacation! I've been taking yoga classes and baking a lot of
pies. I did so many records and so much traveling in the last 5 years
that I need to take a break.
What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoints(s) of your career
I've been really happy to meet some of my musicalheroes. I played
Beatles songs backstage with Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, I played
drums onstage with Cheap Trick, I've jammed onstage with Rush, and I
got to hang out with Eddie Van Halen at his studio.
The only low point is that my left ear is almost deaf!
|3. Your new solo work collection is out now. Could you take us through
some personal highlights please? Where do the ideas come from for your songs?
I'm happy that I can play rock, classical, pop, and crazy
instrumental things as a solo artist. I'm very proud of some of the
Bach piano pieces that I've recorded for guitar. I'm glad that I can
have high-energy pop songs with crazy guitar. Of course,lots of my
inspiration comes from girls.
So there are three songs with the word "Girl" in the title: "Girls Who Can Read Your Mind", "Girl
Crazy", and "Girls Watching". There are also songs with girl's names
in the title: "Kate is a Star" is about my sister, and "Three Times
Rana" is about a girl I knew a long time ago.
|4. What made you first want to play guitar and how has your style
changed down the years?
My parents had lots of Beatles and Rolling Stones records, so I
grew up listening to rock. My uncle, Jimi Kidd, was and is an amazing
guitarist, so I was very inspired by him. Of course I listened to so
many rock bands and learned the songs and guitar parts. Van Halen,
Rush, Aerosmith, Pat Travers, Robin Trower, Frank Marino, Jimi
Hendrix, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest,
U.F.O., Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Journey, Ozzy Osbourne with Randy
Rhoads, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Triumph, Saxon... There were so many
bands that I loved!
How has my style changed? I still love playing fast, heavy metal
guitar, but I think I've added other styles to my playing. I'm a lot
better at blues and straight rock than I was when I was a teenager.
|5. Mr. Big - How did the band come together? Was there a lot of
record label pressure to produce hit singles given the band's musical pedigree and past history?
Billy Sheehan put Mr. Big together. I was a huge fan of TALAS, Billy's old band, so it was really an honor to play with him.
I can never complain about record labels. I'm happy with the music I've recorded, and they pay me lots of money!
|6. Mr. Big carried on with phenomenal success in the Far East
long after the US/European interest started to wane. Why do you think this was?
We were a good band and the Japanese fans liked us. We played some amazing shows over there. Beyond that, I can't explain it.
|7. Racer X - Any chance of you working again with the musicians
in that band? When Racer X called it a day did you think the band had gone as far as it could musically?
Of course I want to do more RACER X music! I love heavy metal and I
love playing with the guys in that band. It was very hard to leave
the band in the 80's. They were my best friends and I loved the
music. But I was so excited about playing with Billy Sheehan and I
felt that Mr. Big was going to be a very successful band.
|8. What have been the live highlights for you?
Of course the big audiences are fun. I played for 100,000 people in
Brazil. 50,000 in Switzerland, and 35,000 in Indonesia. Those were
all great shows and I felt like a rock star. But mostly I'm just
happy when I play well! I've played small venues and clubs where I've
been so happy with my playing, and these are really the best shows
|9. What do you do in your spare time outside of music?
I've just started to do yoga. I'm not very good at it. I'm very
tall and I don't bend easily! But it feels so good to stretch myself
out. I like to cook, so I make a lot of dinners for my friends. And
of course, I have my crazy website, www.paulgilbert.com I do the
whole site myself.
|10. Message to your fans...
I'm only resting now so I can come back stronger when I return! I'm
sure I'll be starting some new music soon and I promise it will be
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Interview © 2005 Jason Ritchie/
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