Vinnie Moore - Defying Gravity Again
Guitar God Returns with New Instrumental Album

Interviewed by Keith McDonald

Well-known guitar hero Vinnie Moore has returned with his latest offering of Latin and classical influenced guitar instrumentals. The Shrapnel ace continues to amaze fans, new and old, with his incredible six string talents as evident in his earlier works Mind's Eye, Time Odyssey and Meltdown. Having been in Alice Cooper's touring band and as a solo artist, Vinnie Moore is truly a veteran of the music business as he continues on his legendary career with accolades from such know magazines as Guitar World and Guitar Player. I had the opportunity to speak with Vinnie about his new album and future plans.

Tell me about the new album?
It's called Defying Gravity. Steve Smith is on drums, Dave Larue on bass, and David Rosenthal on keyboards. It is a mixture of different musical styles that I have explored over the years. There are tunes with my classical influences, some acoustic songs with a Latin vibe, some soulful melodic stuff, and some heavy stuff also. I like to mix it up.



How has Shrapnel's support been? Have they had success with guitar albums like they did in the 80's?
I don't think anyone has really had the same level of success that they had in the 80's. As you know, things have really changed. Things are definitely more scaled down now. I feel really fortunate to still be able to do what I love doing all of these years.



What do you think of the music scene today (rap/metal, alternative, etc.)?
As always, there is some good stuff out there and some not so good stuff.



What are your tour plans? Will you do any clinics?
No definitive tour plans yet but a couple of things are in the works. I always do clinics, so yes, but I don't know exactly when right now. I was supposed to be doing clinics in China, Korea, Thailand, and some other countries near Southeast Asia right now, but unfortunately they were postponed due to the 9/11 attacks.



I see you have some great musicians on the album. How did that come about?
Dave Larue played on my last record called The Maze, and did such a great job that I wanted to use him again. Steve Smith was Mike Varney's idea. I was totally excited about it because Steve is an amazing player. David Rosenthal used to play with Blackmore's Rainbow. I have known him for a while and thought he would be a great guy for this record. I had to get really diverse, cultured players for this one because the music is more diverse. For example, there are a lot of great drummers out there who just couldn't cut some of the Latin tunes. You really have to have a feel for this stuff to make it sound right.



How do you do overseas?
I usually get quite a bit of jet lag but the good thing is that the beer is always better overseas than it is in the U.S. so that kind of helps you get acclimated quicker. All joking aside, I can't complain. A lot of my fan base is outside of the U.S.



Do you have any instructional videos coming out?



How do you explain your longevity? I said before, I feel really blessed to be able to do what I love doing. I would guess that part of it is that I have always went with my heart and stuck to what I really love to do stylistically. The trends in music change constantly. Some artists have tried to jump on whatever the latest bandwagon is, but I have avoided doing that. I have always had this thing where I have to do what comes from within me. If I don't feel it, I just can't pretend. It has to be real for me. I think that the fans can hear this. They know if it's for real or if someone is selling out. You can't fool them.



Who are your influences? How does it feel to influence other guitarists?
Tons! Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Brian May, Michael Schenker, Eddie Van Halen, Allan Holdsworth, Robin Trower, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Marino, Carlos Santana, Al DiMeola, Paco DeLucia, Larry Carlton, David Gilmour, Joe Pass, Pat Martino........etc. It is amazing for me to hear that I have been an influence on other guitarists. It is a dream come true to be able to inspire someone with my music.



Where does the songwriting come from? Do you write for other artists?
I have no idea where the songs come from. I just play guitar a lot and wait for them to come. I don't really try to write songs. It is better when you just play and let the songs come to you. It is more magical and inspirational this way because it comes from the soul and not as much the mind. My best stuff comes when I am unaware that I am writing. As soon as you realize you are being creative, you suddenly become aware of the process, and it kills the moment because you are not lost in it anymore. If you are not thinking about what you are doing, you are FEELING it more. Just like great sex. Does this make any sense??? I haven't really written for other artists.



Do you feel the music scene is missing the "Guitar Gods" from the 80's?
I think that the guitar thing was so popular in the 80's that everybody started jumping on the bandwagon. This kind of watered it down and ruined it for a while. There were just too many guys suddenly trying to do the same thing because they saw that guitar records were popular. When it wasn't so popular anymore, the guys who are THE REAL DEAL, still kept doing it because it is what they love doing. I think that a lot of the fans who were into this type of thing in the 80's are starting to gravitate back to it more and more.



What's the future Vinnie Moore?
I hope that I will win the Powerball jackpot this week. Then I'll start my own record label, build a huge studio filled with Playboy Bunnies, run some ads on TV to promote my CD's, and then still sit around and play guitar all the time. I may even market my own beer called Vinman's Brew. Only tomorrow knows.

Official Vinnie Moore webpage

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Saturday, November 17, 2001