Panel Discussion: Whitesnake and Black Star Riders on the Ultimate Rock Guitar and What Makes a Good Solo
We collaborate with Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson of Black Star Riders, as well as Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake, to discuss issues as important as how much to drink before going on stage, the essence of a great solo , the sacrilege of a Floyd equipped Les Paul and the end of the stack…
You wait all afternoon for a multi-platinum hard rock guitarist to show up – then four show up at once. Given the confusion of a typical backstage itinerary, our plan to get the six-string contingent of Whitesnake and Black Star Riders together for a rock ‘n’ roll summit at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena always seemed like a pipe dream. Now, as the four men strut around the room, we have to work hard to silence our inner hyperventilating fanboy.
That’s more guitar heroes than a brain can calculate, more hair than a place can handle. There’s Damon Johnson: the icy gunslinger who served in Brother Cane and Alice Cooper before taking the Riders gig. There’s Reb Beach: the affable virtuoso whose fuzzy fingers tore him apart in Dokken, Winger and Whitesnake.
Don’t forget his wingman Joel Hoekstra (though he spends most of the interview absentmindedly zapping on an unplugged Les Paul). And move on for Scott Gorham: the ex-Thin Lizzy legend and conference silverback, who fires up an e-cigarette and commands the conversation every time he tells his dry war stories.
So, from the state of the rock guitar to the demise of the mighty stack amp, Guitarist is ready to throw a handful of conversational hand grenades to be beaten by our four veterans. It could get noisy…
Welcome, gentlemen. How is the tour going?
Reb Beach“It’s great to see people having fun there, and older people bringing their kids. I remember my first concert, and every once in a while, you’ll see a kid say, ‘Dad, I want to do this…'”
Scott Gorham“Or, ‘Dad, that sucks…!'”
For the benefit of someone who’s never done it, what’s it like to beat an electric guitar in such a big room?
SG“Hmm. How can I explain it? It’s like fondling a woman. Better than sex? Well, they’re two different types of ejaculation.
Damon Johnson“Scott and I love that Whitesnake and Leppard have this big ramp that goes into the crowd. harmony, and we’ll both go out.
RB: “It’s called an ‘ego ramp’ – but don’t tell that to David [Coverdale]. He’ll tell you, ‘That’s not an ego ramp! It’s a push! It’s very different from playing in a crowded club, where people are right up against you, and in an auditorium, where you only see the front rows. In one, you feel like a major rock star and in the other, you feel like you’re really in tune with an audience.
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