(Leg Burn Licks)


Pioneering hard rock guitar innovator Randy Pevler is no newcomer to the music scene and you can hear why on his 2011 CD Directions. Inspired by his freedom as an instrumental rock guitarist, Pevler, on Directions takes his sound in a number of different directions indeed, but he mostly sticks close to what he does best—the instrumental hard rock and progressive blues rock guitar genres. Track four, “Bluebeck” sounds like Jeff Beck jamming on a mid ‘70s John Lennon riff. A master of sonic diversity, Pevler takes his sound further out there into the realm of instro prog, while also occasionally adding in some spacy acoustic guitar moments. As if instinctively aware of the legacy of great guitarists before him, Pevler also manages to draw on the spirits of both Hendrix and 21st century guitar survivors Robin Trower and Peter Green. Both Hendrix and Trower fans will want to give a listen to another track highlight on Directions, “Two Hearts,” which also features some intriguing mellotron parts. Pairing his sizzling electric guitar work with the sound of dynamic drumming, Randy Pevler brings the hard rock instro sound well into the now. Pevler’s band is right there with him throughout the Directions album, which is topped off by a fine performance from Donny Sarian (drums, mellotron) with added support from a pair of bass players in Robby Pagliari and James LoMenzo. Thinking man’s metal with a progressive instrumental rock chaser, Randy Pevler’s Directions is the latest and perhaps greatest groundbreaking album from a continually evolving champion of the instrumental guitar world. www.RandyPevler.com

mwe3.com presents an interview

mwe3: Why do you call your new solo album Directions? Where and when was the album written and recorded and how does the Directions album compare sound wise and musically to your earlier solo CD releases?

Randy Pevler: The title came about towards the end of the project. I'm constantly putting down fragments of music and as I started selecting the bits to turn into completed tunes it was apparent it was not going to be just a heavy disc but was moving in many directions. The name stuck and I feel it captures what’s going on song wise. As far as the sonic quality, this disc is much fuller and better recorded than my past. With each project I have learned recording tricks as well as having a total upgrade to my studio where all the guitars were recorded.

Musically, there was more live interaction between the players, which I feel gives the disc a real band vibe, which is missing on a lot of new music today. I also had this disc mastered completely analog, also kept the output down to what vinyl records were mastered at. More dynamic, I feel this helped the overall sonic quality.

mwe3: Your albums are based very much in the rock instrumental guitar genre. Being that you originally started off playing in hard rock bands including Divine Rite, what did you pick up musically and stylistically from playing rock music. Combining that experience, what is it about the freedom and musical style of instrumental rock that appeals to you so much?

RP: Well I'm an old school guy raised on classic rock...mostly hard rock, with all the usual suspects, Beck, Page etc. etc. I try and structure my songs as if they were vocal tunes replacing the vocal line with guitar melodies and putting solos where they would have been placed in the days when the solo was a mini composition and sometimes the highlight of the song. Remember when “Highway Star” would come on the radio and how the solo would just take you away? That's my writing style. Classic rock. As far as what instrumental music has to offer for a guitarist, it’s that sometimes in a group with a vocalist you find yourself writing a certain style to tailor the music to fit the vocals...not always but most of the time. Instrumental music allows you to go anywhere you want. Acoustic, heavy, bluesy, whatever you like and I like a lot of different types of music and enjoy playing in what ever mood sounds cool to me.

mwe3: The Directions album features solid support from a pair of bass players and your long time drummer Donny Sarian. Why did you choose these players to work with and how do they help define your musical sound and vision on the Directions album?

RP: Well I have been very lucky to have these guys help me with this project. Robbie Pagliari and I have worked on and off for years. He played all the bass on Inside Looking Out. Robbie plays fretless and I knew he was perfect for some of the tunes and James LoMenzo played all the bass on my last CD Chrome, and there were tunes on this disc that I knew he would kill on and he did. The main problem was scheduling. Both James and Robbie are full time gigging guys, Robbie with Ohm and James at the time was in Megadeth. Lucky for me Robbie found time to come in with Donnie and I and do some sessions and nailed his parts in two days. James did the 21st century thing and did file sharing, worked out great. The song “Guardian Of Forever” took on a new life after James rocked it, so much so I replaced all the guitars to make sure there was no conflict.

mwe3: What guitars, electric and acoustic are you featuring on the Directions album and can you say something about how your choice of guitars has changed over the years?

RP: This project was mostly Strats. My main one you see in the photos and an ash body one I used during the Chrome sessions. It's very bright and cuts right through. My 1960 Les Paul reissue was used on a few rhythm tracks. The song “Bigfoot” and “Tribes” I used an Ibanez 7 string and on “The Heavy Stone” I used my Ibanez S model with a Dimebucker. Very heavy. Acoustics were a very old 12 string Ovation Balladeer and a Taylor for most of the six string. An off brand six string was used on "A Small Fable", and just seemed to fit. Over the years I have gravitated to Strats. I think, at this point they work best for me. I think Strats have a wider range of sounds and that opens up new doors.

mwe3: As far as gear goes, do you process your guitar sound with a lot of effects during and/or after recording in the studio?

RP: I record dry. I have my studio set up so I can hear the effect but it records dry. I'll add what I like in the mix. There were very few things recorded with effects, mostly clean electrics, like the piece “The Incident”. I like reverb. I know a lot of guys say it masks the sound but I feel it adds atmosphere and helps set a vibe.

mwe3: Did you record live in the studio and do you also feature many overdubs when you record in the studio?

RP: As much as one can these days. Donnie and I set out to track as much live drums as we could and use as few machines as possible, ninety percent real this time. All the guitars were finalized after we had a solid bass and drums. I went back in and got the real tones, once you have that solid arrangement I can play on top of. Solid passes as if your performing them, I feel it makes it more live.

mwe3: How did you become interested in playing the guitar and can you recall something about your first guitars? Also what kind of practice routine did you maintain while perfecting your craft and do you still practice?

RP: I remember my first guitar well. A Norma classical thing. High action and a real pile, but I was thrilled because it was a big deal to finally have something I had begged my parents for. My Grandmother came through for me. I still practice but in spurts. Mostly I'll noodle and be searching for something song wise but, after a while you can tell there’s not enough real playing going on so I'll sit down for a few days at a time and just go through some of my old practice routines, or learn a tune or two from someone like Frank Marino or Trower just to rekindle my roots. And you never know when you are going to jam with someone and pulling out a few classics is always fun. That is why we play right?

mwe3: How did your guitar influences affect and continue to affect your sound and guitar performance?

RP: Well I still get inspired by guys like Jeff Beck or Vai. You watch them play and you know that’s the real deal. Heart and soul, very moving and totally makes me know why I love guitar music.

mwe3: What albums, studio and/ or live were essential in your musical development?

RP: Zeppelin everything, Hendrix the first three, Mahogany Rush live, Ten Years After, anything by Jeff Beck, UFO live... oh and I love Iron Maiden, everything.

mwe3: The CD cover of of Directions is very cool. Can you say a few words about the album cover art? In an age of digital downloads, what do you prefer; CD or download and what do you think the future is regarding recorded music?

RP: The cover came about after I decided it was going to be called Directions. I wanted this project to be as analog and earthy as can be in this canned world. The vibe of the troubadour wandering the roads looking for a new path, this is what we came up with. I like it.

I'll take a CD over a download. Downloads kind of give some people music that is disposable. You buy a tune and later you buy another and then you have 15 thousand and you never listen to any of it but a few times and then you move on to the next. CDs are something you hold in your hand, you have art work... a concept. I think it all adds to the overall vibe. Now if I had my way we would all be forced to listen to new pristine vinyl and nothing else.

mwe3: Do you have many interests outside of the music and guitar world and if so what are they?

RP: Well I'm single so...

mwe3: What does the future hold for you and your music and what are your plans for 2011 and beyond?

RP: Right now I'm totally wrapped up in this project, promoting it and trying to get the word out there to anyone who may like my music, It would be nice to do some shows but that’s another story...

Thanks to Randy Pevler @ www.RandyPevler.com


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