JOE STUMP INTERVIEW
By The Darkest Hours
1- For those who don't know Reign of Terror, can you talk a little bit about your musical background & Reign of Terror history?
Well the Reign of Terror have released 4 albums. The first one released in 1995-96. On the 4 albums there's been various personel changes although the current lineup with former Malmsteen bandmates Mats Olausson and Mike Vescera is fairly stable. Before Reign of Terror I had released several relatively successful instrumental solo albums and decided to put a Euro-power metal vocal band together that was a more aggressive version of both Blackmore's Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force. And even more guitardriven.
2- Can you share your musical process with us? At what age did you start playing guitar and what pushed you to learn and continue into the musical domain?
I started playing at around 13 and instantly became obsessed with guitar . I've been playing quite a long time and I'm still obsessed and haven't let up one bit.
3- How would you describe your band for people that never heard it?
My music incorporates and blends many schools of metal and hard rock . From early Deep Purple and Rainbow to elements of old school stuff like Accept. To neoclassical speed metal in the style of Malmsteen and Chris Impellitteri. Along with some technical thrash and European power metal. But as mentioned previously, a more aggessive version of Rainbow and Rising Force. Both Yngwie and Ritchie Blackmore are two of my primary influences guitar -wise.
4- As you have quite a big career, we will not only talk about Reign of Terror, so could you give us a brief biography of yours by relating the most important moments of your career?
I've released 6 solo instrumental records and just finished my 7th. And Reign of Terror has put out 4 albums. I've been releasing records and touring with both bands since 1993 .
5- Can you talk about your musical evolution from your very first record till your last?
Well I'm constantly improving and evolving as a guitarist and composer so while many of my albums could be considered similiar stylistically there's significant growth from record to record.
6- Can you talk about your writing process?
I've always got a guitar in my hands and I play and practice quite a bit so compositional ideas are always flowing. Whether it be a vocal type track or an instrumental. I don't make hugely elaborate demos , I usually have a tape recorder and a drum machine close by and frequently put ideas on tape when I'm inspired. Sometimes I'll connect things right away and sometime I'll have something laying around for awhile before I find something that fits with it.
7- Do you have a different concept behind each of your projects and each of your albums? Can you explain what is the concept behind Reign of Terrorís ìConquer and Divideî as much musically than lyrically? Where that title comes from?
Mike writes the lyrics, but as far as my ideas for the music on that record I wanted it to be very dark and aggressive and also much more of a guitar -hero type of record compared to the previous album Sacred Ground. With long solos and complex instrumental sections.
8- Can you share with us the things in life that inspires your music?
Sometimes events that occur in my life or places I've been can inspire me. Other times I'll draw from some of my heroes whether it's Bach, Vivaldi, Paganini, Blackmore, Hendrix or Yngwie. As well as many other sources.
9- How did you ended up on Mr. David T. Chastainís Leviathan records? Are you long-time friends? Have you ever thought about kind of a musical trip together?
I've known David a long time (since 93). He's a great guy and a good friend . He's also cool to go to for advice and direction on many things musically and music business related. We've never a full on 2 guitar record together although at some point it'd be fun to do.
10- I think that youíre producing your albums. But with ìConquer and Divideî it was quite different. This time, Reign of Terrorís signer Michael Vescera produced it. Is there a reason why you decided to hand the production to him?
Mike worked hard on the album and was responsible for the way it turned out sonically so I felt it was right to give him credit . But of course I'm deeply involved in all the aspects of all my releases.
11- What do you prefer between the writing process, the recording of an album in studio and playing live? And why?
Nothing beats playing live. I 'm never tired of it. Whether it's a live show or guitar cinic or whether it's a big venue or a small dive of a pub. As long as there's fans there that enjoy killer guitar I'm happy.
12- Do you think we shall expect to see you in Montreal someday?
Montreal is a great city , just beautiful and I'd love to come up and play . So perhaps in the spring sometime I'll try to arrange it.
13- And if you had to choose one or two bands to play live with, which bands would you pick and why?
That's easy Deep Purple or Dio. I love both bands and I'd be a perfect fit for either. No offense but a much better fit than the guys they have playing guitar thesedays. And of course no disrespect whatsoever to those guys.
14- With a career like yours, you probably could relate surprising studio and road stories for hours, but could you tell about the one that marked you the most?
That's tough to say. I've been alot of cool places. Last December I did a clinic tour in Asia and went to Hong Kong, Taiwan and several cities in mainland China. That was certainly different and very cool as well.
15- What is the next step for you? What are your plans right now? Are you in the process of something?
I just finished my 7th solo album and it turned out killer , my best work yet. I'm very pleased with every aspect of the record. I'm going to be doing some touring in the upcoming months as well recording a 3rd instructional dvd.
16- I heard that youíve been teaching guitar at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Are you still a hard rock guitar instructor there? Have you teach to some known figures of nowadays?
Yes I'm still there, I've been on the faculty for 11 years now. It's a great job and of course the pay's nice as well. Nothing like getting paid for playing and teaching the style of guitar that I love.
17- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Probably doing many of the same things I do now. I plan to do a more hard rock, Hendrixy retro more blues based project in the future as well as some solo classical stuff.
18- This is the time to plug your stuff (website, special news, etc
Just go to the official JoeStump.com site for updates and details on releases and tour dates. And of course a big thanks to all the fans that have supported my past endeavors.
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Joe Stump's Dark Gifts "Rare and Unreleased Tracks"
Joe Stump (live) "Midwest Shredfest"