Fragile X


Back in 2009, guitarist Joe Pinnavaia released the first CD from his group Test Tube Rhino. That album, InVitro is now followed up in 2012 with a 4 track CDEP called Fragile X. Pinnavaia’s music may be fragile, in a musical way, but it’s also quite durable and versatile. What if Robert Fripp produced an instrumental album for Steve Vai? Well you might have something like Fragile X. On Fragile X, there’s a thinking man’s approach to progressive instrumental rock and, even though the Fragile X CD clocks in just over 25 minutes, Pinnavaia appears to be a modern master when it comes to coaxing out a wide range of sounds and effects from his guitar arsenal. For a one man band, Pinnavaia has produced another album of sizable “guitar-centric” scope with the 2012 CD release of Fragile X. To his credit, Pinnavaia has a solid knack for covering a wide range of musical genres and styles, even in the space of a single song. That proto-punk, World Beat hip hop groove hasn’t really been worked into guitar fusion as much as you think and on Fragile X, Pinnavaia takes advantage of that, by adding a wide range of techno-friendly grooves into his dynamic guitar soundscapes. Those guitar fans that like to take their electric sound way out there on the edge, will appreciate Pinnavaia’s Test Tube Rhino guitar experiments.

mwe3.com presents an interview with

mwe3: What’s been the reaction among guitar fans for the new Fragile X CD from your band Test Tube Rhino? Where and when was the music written and recorded and how would you compare the sound of In Vitro, the 2009 CD with the new CD? Is Fragile X planned for CD release or only as a digital download? I hope so because it’s an often brilliant release!

JOE PINNAVAIA: The reaction has been positive among those who know me and even some who don't are often surprised because they didn't expect to hear that music from me!

The CD was recorded between 2008 and 2010 while my wife and I were in the process of buying a new house. We were staying with my parents and I actually was in my old room with my mobile studio writing new ideas. So between working on the house with my Dad during the day and working I would record tracks on my off time and days off. I was real fun because I was just learning how to use Logic Pro for my Macbook.

InVitro was a great experiment for me and I kept the writing rather simple and with Fragile X I wanted to be a lot more dramatic plus I really developed my process of writing since InVitro and began focusing on singing melodies rather than just improvising and seeing what happened.

I may plan a limited run on CD's for Fragile X as I would love to have a tangible product - I still buy CD's! But I also wanted to get my music out to everyone as quickly as possible and hence the digital release.

As far as Fragile X, what’s your approach to when it comes to composing music and how does that turn into a recording? Do you write the lead lines first or do you have something more structural in mind? Sounds like you like to break the rules by incorporating wide musical mood swings in your tracks. Hip hop to neoclassical in one song!

JOE PINNAVAIA: Yeah! I was looking at certain ideas I had and how those ideas can be turned into a composition. I was also thinking that a piece of music is a journey and that it should take you somewhere. I was really into Devin Townsend and his albums during that time and I think it rubbed off on me. I'm destined to write a drum and bass/heavy metal fusion record!

My process of writing is to come up with a chord progression and then lay down a backing track and then drive around in my car and sing over it - it has to be in my car because I don't ever want to be caught singing in public! At other times I may have a melody in my head that I hear and I just work on refining it until it's a part of me that I can no longer ignore.

What guitars are prominent on the Fragile X CD? How are the guitars recorded and what effects did you mostly use on the 2012 Fragile X recordings? Also what other new guitar news or endorsements can you report?

JOE PINNAVAIA: I used basically everything that I own on that record, G&L ASAT and Legacy, Fender 54' reissue, Schecter 7 and Tom Anderson 7 string - the only guitars that I didn't use were my Mike Lull Custom Strat, Gibson SG's and my Ibanez Blazers from 1981. Maybe those will be on the next one.

As far as effects I used a BK Butler Tube Driver, Modded DS-1 by Keeley and Art Pro Studio Preamps, but I used no amplifiers on the record. I had no separation and had to rely on Logic Pro's amp modeling and IR's from various sources. My Behringer V Amp 2 and 3 are actually used on there as well and I will be using them live. Also I have endorsement from Jet City and I have used their JCA20H on a number of projects - however this was already recorded before then. They make some great amps out there and their prices are fair.

I still haven't been able to get any guitar endorsements from anyone as of yet but we'll see when I go to NAMM in 2013 what may be out there.

What about your other interests outside the music world? Where are you from originally, where do you live now and what do you like best about it?

JOE PINNAVAIA: Outside of music I'm really into science and science fiction. I connect to those stories very well for some reason and I use that when playing music as a point of inspiration -maybe because those stories are timeless. Also I'm into computers and gadgets - I have like several iPhones and Android devices that I use for testing and hacking - fun times!

I am from Buffalo, NY and I still live here and the best part about Buffalo are the people who live here that are generous but don't piss them off! They are passionate about the history of the city and the old architecture is some of the best in the entire country. What I'm beginning to get tired of are the winters and the cold. Looking at a move to North Carolina in the next year.

What are your upcoming plans as far as writing, recording, releasing and performing music in 2013?

JOE PINNAVAIA: I really want to do a ambient/guitar driven recording. Minimalist in a way and then I always wanted something techno and heavy. So I will start collecting ideas on that. Plus I have some upcoming touring with Breakerbox in 2013 but I get updates as they come so hopefully something soon. I have a jazz duo called the PM Guitar Duo with Vincent J Masterantonio that performs locally around Buffalo that we will be recording some tunes soon. You can check out Breakerbox at www.breakerbox.tv and Vince at www.reverbnation.com/thevincentjamesexplosion

Thanks to Joe Pinnavaia @ www.JoePinnavaia.com


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