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Ten Questions with...


Chris Impellitteri

Photo: James Amelio Pulli

Chris Impellitteri is back with a cracking new album 'Wicked Maiden' and vocalist Rob Rock is involved as well making this a 'must have' for fans.

What are you currently up to?

Jason, we are currently touring actually!! We just did Sweden Rock with Journey and Heaven & Hell last weekend, wow, that was so good!! Lots of gigs are lining up and we intend to stay out for at least 2 years in support of new album Wicked Maiden.

Yes, that's an excellent album… could you take us quickly through the album 'Wicked Maiden' e.g. story behind the song, song writing process)...

Sure! I wrote Wicked Maiden with the intent of making an historic Impellitteri record. I did not want to disappoint our fans, so I honestly spent more time writing, practising, recording, and playing live with this record than I have with all of the previous discs.

I began writing the music a few years ago in my private recording studio. I think I wrote about 30 songs and then found 10 riffs that I thought would be strong enough to proceed with vocals.

I then created demos of each song and sent them to Rob (Rock) so he could write the vocals. Once we had all of the vocals and music arranged we then brought in the real band and rehearsed ... in order to create a live feel for the record…. Before, then going to the Village Recorders in Santa Monica, California and actually recording the record with engineer Greg Reely.

Chris Impellitteri, photo Ian Pollard
Photo: Ian Pollard/GRTR!

There's a funny story about the title Wicked Maiden too. You see the record has nothing to do with Iron Maiden themselves (as you might think?) but the song title actually does.

When I was writing the song Wicked Maiden I saw on the Internet that a fight had erupted between Bruce Dickinson (of Iron Maiden) and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. The fight was very public and the Maiden fans seemed to kick Sharon's ass in support of Maiden, hence the opening line You run from the Wicked Maiden came to mind… and it kinda followed from there.

How did you hook-up again with vocalist Rob Rock who left the band back in 2000? Recording again with him did it feel as though he had never been away?

I'm being asked this a lot, but it proves that the fans really wanted Rob back in the band. I missed his voice tremendously, and so I simply called him after I did the Pedal To The Metal tour. I'm glad he said yes!

It was actually very natural to write and record together. I think we have a strong writing chemistry and we know how to compliment one another. it felt as though we were just continuing what we had begun in the early days of the Impellitteri "Black EP…


What have been the most memorable live shows for you and why?

Japan, undoubtedly! I think Japan has given this band incredible support and enthusiasm that drove the band on to greatness. Our shows in Tokyo are probably the most memorable because fans travelled all over to come see us. And, they love to shred, scream, and have fun there!!

You first came to light in mid/late 80's during the wave of guitar 'shredders' like Malmsteen, Vinnie Moore et al. What made you play at such speeds and why do you think you are still popular now when other fellow guitarists from that era are in some cases almost forgotten?

I can't really say Jason; everyone's their own man. I am just Chris Impellitteri, nothing more. I've been very lucky to write with great musicians, it's as simple as that. Those guys equally so..

How key have your Christian beliefs been in composing your music and have they had any bearing on the musicians you have worked with through the years?

Not at all. This is not a Christian rock band and never was. There is a misconception about this. I personally am a Christian, but the band is not. I think some people just naturally want to label you or claim you for their cause??

How do you view the current music scene? Have you seen an upswing in interest over the past couple of years in metal and hard rock?

Yes, and I think there is a lot of interest in Impellitteri today too. More so than the past!! I am really honoured to have people of all ages supporting us in 2009. We have fans that range from 10 upwards!! It is fantastic, and the music scene is very vibrant, which is largely down to the Internet.

However, the monetary compensation is not nearly as good as it was. Illegal downloading makes it very difficult to survive financially these days….

How did you hook-up with Graham Bonnet first time around? Did having a 'name' vocalist on your 'Stand In Line' album help get your band and work more widely known?

I first met Graham in Los Angeles when I was a kid. He was a really cool, unique singer that I admired a lot. After I did the Impellitteri Black EP with Rob, I needed a singer to do a project for. And, Graham was available and interested. So, we made Stand In Line. It was really not a traditional Impellitteri metal record in the true sense, but it has its moments of fun.

Impellitteri, photo Ian Pollard
Photo: Ian Pollard/GRTR!

How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?

Looking back, The Impellitteri Black EP became my calling card really. It seemed to gain underground notoriety fairly quickly. I was called a guitar hero by the media, and the buzz began. We were hyped to be the first band to take shredding, screaming, and speedy, melodic metal to the masses. I guess that was what really drove us to succeed in specific countries.

The advice I would give musicians starting out is to be honest and unique. The only thing I can say is that being different will give you a greater chance for success than if you follow the trends. I have done both, and found that being musically honest, and finding a niche that you can call your own……… will give you the greatest advantage… Beyond that, go to school and get a degree to fall back on.

It is an extremely hard and competitive industry !! Winning the lottery or getting struck by lightening are more likely to happen than becoming a rock star!! YIKES!!

What do you like doing with your spare time outside of music?

Gardening, hanging out with family, and shredding on my couch!! I practice everyday!

A Message for your fans...

Thank you for supporting us, I greatly and humbly appreciate it!! We hope that we are living up to the hype and your expectations!

Cheers Friends!

Chris Impellitteri


Interview © June 2009 Jason Ritchie.
All rights reserved.

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