Guitarist for Primal Fear, Sinner, Voodoo Circle
Interviewed by EvilG
Guitarist extraordinaire, Alexander Beyodt, embodies all that is great about the guitar gods Yngwie Malmsteen and Ritchie Blackmore. His playing, especially in Voodoo Circle and Primal Fear, puts him in league with the greats. From shred to soulful playing, Alex has it all. It was therefore a pleasure to do this interview with Alex to get some insight into his role in PF and what has brought him to where he is today.
Good day Alex, I understand you are currently in rehearsals for the 2012 Primal Fear tour. How are things coming along?
Gidday, things are going extremely well. We’ve hit the official album charts in 8 countries and are very exited about this. I just got back from a band-meeting, we’ve discussed the setlist and we will come up with some surprises.
Approximately how many songs do you guys rehearse and prepare versus how many you play on a typical night? OR do you only rehearse the exact setlist?
We always prepare a couple more songs, just in case….so….around 18 in total I guess.
Will the touring band be the album line-up this time?
Unfortunately Magnus won’t be able to hit the road this time due to private reasons.
The question all your fans over here keep asking is – will PF be playing any dates in Canada or USA in 2012?
Well, we are working on this and I am confident we will come back. We love touring Canada and the US and can’t wait to come back….I guess I am having some North American blood running thru my heart. I simply love being over there! I can not confirm anything at this point but I am sure we will meet.
Congrats are also in order as for the last PF album and tour you were technically a "hired gun" filling in (on the North American dates) for Magnus. Since then you’ve replaced Henny. So how does it feel to be an official member of the band, pictured in the album, etc etc…
It feels great and finally we made it official. I have played my first tour with PF in 1999 and toured with them a lot in the last 10 years as well. Me and Mat go way back…we work together for more then 20 years now. It feels absolutely natural to be in the band, and I am really exited.
It has always seemed that the driving force in PF has been Mat Sinner and Ralf Scheepers. Over the years there have been a number of guitarists in the band yet the overall PF signature sound has never been lost. So what was your involvement level for Unbreakable? Did you write any of the riffs or help arrange some of the songs, or were you just given the freedom in the guitar solo department?
I am also well known as a songwriter and I am happy I could also write a couple of songs for the new album. Of course I worked my guts off during the recordings and I am very satisfied with the result.
Your lead guitar playing is some of the best that has been heard in PF. I think part of the reason is because of your influences are from the neo-classical (Yngwie) and the Rainbow-esque Ritchie Blackmore feel….at least that’s what I hear…what are some of the key ingredients that you think help define your own style?
Thank you very much, that makes me really happy and proud. Well, you are right…I have started to play guitar because of Deep Purple and Blackmore….also Hendrix. Actually I just got back from touring with the Rock meets Classic project were I have had the honor to share the stage every night with Ian Gillan….
My own style, well, I look at myself as a melodic player. I like melodies. Of course the shredding is also a part of it, but believe me,…to play slow and nice melodies is way more difficult then shredding.
The fact that I play a Strat also helped to define my own sound. Of course they are customized, but still, they have a own tone/sound and this ads something special to my sound.
What do you think are some of your best performances on UNBREAKABLE? For example, what specific solo moment really inspired you to capture something that you are particularly proud of?
I really like my solos in "Strike", "Where Angels Die" and also "Metal Nation" ….
Can you tell us about your approach to writing and constructing a solo? Do you simply improvise until you have something you like or is it more of an analytical approach where you plan things out before improvising with what scales and melodies you want to fit into a particular song?
I always improvise….I don’t like to look at music "analytical". I have to feel it and I have to be in the right mood to record a good solo. Honestly, there are also days I don’t get the feel,….and then I just skip it…and stop recording till the next day.
Since you are also in Sinner, Voodoo Circle, Silent Force…how does your approach or at least attitude change when composing for each band? Do you put yourself in a different frame of mind to keep the stuff you do for each band a little bit different?
It depends. Sometimes I just let it flow, and work on a riff…put it aside, and work again on it later…..and then I decide for which band it has the right feeling. But I am also able to put myself in the needed "Musical-Mode"…..and write particular for the band in the needed style.
By the way, what is the status of Silent Force? The last album was back in 2007 after which you started Voodoo Circle. Is there any chance of there being more Silent Force, or is there just no more time right now for that with all the things you have on the go or did the band part ways with any inner-problems?
Time will tell. Right now I am super busy, Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle & Sinner are charting bands …..that keeps me busy and needs all of my attention.
As an obsessed PF fan, I’d really like to know what your level of commitment is to PF? Is it just one of the many bands you are in along with Sinner and Voodoo Circle, or do you view PF as a top priority? Do you see yourself sticking around and in the PF line-up for the long haul??
PF is a top priority in my life. I live and breath PF …..so,….don’t worry….you will have to deal with me on a long term basis.
I would assume that having bassist/mastermind Mat Sinner with you in Voodoo Circle, and you being in PF and Sinner with him helps you manage time and schedules easier as there is bound to be less time conflicts?
Absolutely, otherwise it would be a schedule nightmare!
You’ve also been involved with the Rock Meets Classic tour that plays in parts of Europe every winter. What are some highlights the 2012 tour…I imagine sharing the stage with the legend that is Ian Gillan must of been pretty special!?
Well, as I mentioned earlier, to share the stage with Ian Gillan is, of course, my personal highlight.
And Ian gave me every night the feeling that he really likes my playing and performance. That is very special to me and …..sometimes I can’t believe it. I mean….the first Purple song I have ever heard was "My Woman From Tokyo" and….here I am…many years later, playing this song..with Ian Gillan in front of 10.000 people at the Olympiahalle Munich….
We played over 20 shows, and they all have been breathtaking. Also, to play with Steve Lukather was special to me…..amazing guitar player…and he is a real cool guy and fun to hang out with!
In PF I think I’ve mainly seen you playing Stratocasters, and perhaps once a Gibson flying V…all have been ivory colored ones I believe? Is the Strat a stock one or a custom? What mods, if any, do you make to that guitar before it’s ready for you?
You really paying attention, I like that. The V is, unfortunately, in bad shape…probably its over…I will give it one more try and hand it to a luthier…let’s see. Yeah, I am a Strat guy….I also have Pauls and all sorts of guitars, but I feel most confident on my strats. They have a scalloped fingerboard (some
from the 10th fret, some total) and I replace the pickups. My main guitar is a custom made strat, made by Siggi Braun. This guitar has been beaten up badly over the years. I also have a huge selection of old strats, and also custom shop strats.
I’ve also seen older pics of you with an ESP (I believe you used to have a custom ESP model from Japan that you used in Silent Force?) and maybe BC Rich (from older Sinner music videos) etc…do you still play other models or is the Strat your one and only these days?
I used to be a ESP endorsee and yes, I have my own model. It is a killer guitar and I still use it in the studio. The BC Rich has been sold a long long time ago……I guess right after the video shooting.
I also play Les Pauls, I have all kinds of guitars but, I love the Strat the most.
About how many guitars do you own and keep in "playing condition"?
I know you also have your own business called GuitarSlinger Effects (www.guitarslingerproducts.com) where you sell/design effect pedals, etc. Can you tell us a bit about that? Are these things of your own design, or do you work with engineers to make these custom pedals etc?
Yes, its all handmade. I work with a engineering team on those pedals. Besides that I sell MONTREUX Guitar Replacement Parts from Japan, really high quality products!…visit my ebay shop! you’ll find the link on the GuitarSlinger page.
My life is all about guitars I have one more company… www.tonemaster-online.com. We build professional pedal boards and do amp tunings, repair and custom orders.
Speaking of guitar pedals etc…what do you use with PF, what is your setup: guitar, head, cabinet, pedals, strings, etc…us guitar freaks would love to know the nerdy guitar details!!!!
I mainly play my Siggi Strat thru a Marshall JVM410H, with Marshall cabs (loaded with Vintage 30 speakers). I have a huge pedal board……you can see it at the tonemaster page….with all kinds off effects. Most of them I don’t use in Primal Fear, but I need them in Voodoo Circle. I play Pyramid Alex Beyrodt Custom Strings.
I’ve seen some youtube videos from a few years ago where you were at a few different trade shows, perhaps demoing your custom effects? Is this something you are still doing, or is it again on the back burner with your commitments to playing live, recording, and rehearsing?
I still do clinics and workshops, yes.
To date, what do you view as your biggest accomplishment in music and what goals do you have left to achieve?
Well, I have played with Glenn Hughes AND Ian Gillan….that is something I have in common with Blackmore and I guess we are the only guitar players in the world who can say that
I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant….but I am really proud about this. I worked very hard thru my career to achieve things like that. Goals…..I want to be able to tour the world as long as possible, I love being on the road and I have traveled the world several times, touring with my friends….that is what I love to do. I hope to tour in Australia and Russia, that’s the only countries I have never been to… My main goal is to become a better human and to survive as a musician as long as possible.
Thanks for your time. To end our interview, how about giving us a couple words on your thoughts on the following guitar gods?
– Ritchie Blackmore
My biggest influence and simply the MASTER.
– Yngwie Malmsteen
A really funny guy, I had the honor to have lunch with him once, the guy has a lots of humor! King of shred! And I LOVE when he plays the blues!
– Eddie Van Halen (have your heard the new VH? Thoughts?)
Haven’t heard the new album, but saw a youtube vid of his guitarsolo….OMG….he is back…..EVH is God.
– Steve Vai
Never been a big fan. Of course he is a killer guitarist, but I miss soul in his playing
– Vinnie Moore
Honestly, I don’t know his work very much. But I am sure he is really good.
– Jeff Loomis
Same as Vinnie Moore.
Vinnie, Jeff,..if you read this, please forgive me, but I am kinda stuck in Classic Rock….
THANKS again, hope to see you here in Canada again in 2012!
Thank you for those interesting questions, this one was fun and I enjoyed it!