JOE STUMP INTERVIEW
By Rick from Metal-Rules.com 12/9/02
1. The new CD is called CONQUER AND DIVIDE. It's a more a aggressive CD than 2001s SACRED GROUND. What accounts for the harder edge to the music?
JOE STUMP: I just let everything flow and see what happens. The tracks for Conquer and Divide just happen to turn out this way. I didn't have a particular vision or concept other than I wanted the tunes to be heavy, fast and quite dark and also have the over the top guitar vibe that all my solo records do.
2. The CD is getting rave reviews and I have seen it in a number of top 20 lists of the best Cds of 2002. Are you happy with the way CONQUER AND DIVIDE came out and how do you feel it compares to SACRED GROUND?
JOE STUMP: Well I think with every record you always look back and think about aspects of it you wish turned out better. But guitar-wise it's definitely my finest hour. I couldn't be more pleased with my work in that regard. Sacred Ground had it's moments but it was a bit sterile and too polished. A lot of the Euro-power metal stuff is all kind of like that, too generic sounding. I think I was trying a bit too hard to fit into that niche with Sacred Ground. Conquer and Divide is way more in your face.
3. One of my favorite songs on the CD is "No Limits." To me it sounds like an aggressive update of 70s Rainbowesque metal. Was that a conscious decision or was it merely how the song came out?
JOE STUMP: Yes that's the Rainbow vibe all the way, any excuse for me to utilize my obvious Blackmore influences. I made it a bit derivative on purpose, but just like you said an aggressive speed metal updated version of Rainbow.
4. Some of the other great songs on the CD are "Forsaken," "No Limits" and the title track. Do you have any favorites?
JOE STUMP: I love those and another favorite of mine is No Forgiving, that and Forsaken might be the two best guitar solos I've ever recorded. Just like No Limits has the Rainbow vibe, No Forgiving is a page right out of Yngwie's book. A nod to his great influence if you will. To me it sounds like an updated aggressive version of something you'd hear on Trilogy.
5. There isn't a cover song on this CD like the last couple of Reign of Terror discs. Were you working on any in the studio and they just didn't make the Cd or did you guys decide to stay away from a cover for this release?
JOE STUMP: There is two covers, just not on the American release. Both Rainbow (of course) Starstruck on the Japanese version, that was Mike's idea he really wanted to sing that one. I wanted to do Light in the Black also from Rising but it's a fast tune and just about every tune of ours on the disc is up tempo. And 16th Century Greensleeves for Europe complete with a lengthy guitar intro that's based on the Live On Stage rendition of that track. That came out great.
6. CONQUER AND DIVIDE was released on Leviathan Records while SACRED GROUND was on LMP. Why isn't LMP involved this time around?
JOE STUMP: LMP wanted first release and couldn't put it out until next year, meaning no one else could release it either. It came out in Japan in Oct. and the states in Nov.
7. The cover for CONQUER AND DIVIDE is an interesting picture which seems to be Satan on his throne? Who did the artwork and how does it tie in with the title.
JOE STUMP: Chris Mcarvill did the cover, it's an adaptation of a 16th century Gustaf Dore painting. I just told him I wanted something very dark and gothic and pointed him in the right direction.
8. Your last solo CD 2001: A SHRED ODYSSEY is getting rave reviews. Do you have any plans to release another instrumental solo CD?
JOE STUMP: Yes I'll be doing a new full on studio instrumental album to be released later in 2003. I've got all the music written. It's gonna be some of the usual totally sick neo-classical and speed metal stuff mixed with a healthy dose of retro type Hendrix influenced material.
9. On 2001: A SHRED ODYSSEY you covered Van Halen's Eruption. Why did you choose that particular song to cover?
JOE STUMP: I didn't, the title track is an unaccompanied guitar solo that the record company hype sheet said was the best one of it's kind since Van Halen's Eruption. You just must've misunderstood.
10. I know you are a big fan of Yngwie Malmsteen. He has just released his latest Cd ATTACK. Have you heard it and what do you think of it?
JOE STUMP: Yes of course, I think it's a real strong record. Yngwie's been bringing it since 83-84 and 20 years later his playing still has that killer instinct. Overall it's a great effort, great tone, heavy tunes and some killer instrumentals. He's gone back to making darker, heavier guitar dominated records and as a fan I think it's great.
11. How did you get your start in the music business?
JOE STUMP: Ever since I was 15 I've never wanted to do anything else but play guitar. I grew up in New York played clubs and bars all throughout high school. After that went to music College at Berklee. After that toured around in various cover bands working 4-5 nights a week. Then I was in a metal band Trash Broadway back in 87-90 we were signed then to Torrid records, they put out the first Exodus and Hades albums. After that disbanded I started to solicit my solo material to labels myself and got the deal with Leviathan. And I've been making records ever since, almost 10 years now.
12. Your career started to take off in an age of down tuned angst ridden teen rock and alternative. How did you prevail playing a style that is commercially unpopular?
JOE STUMP: I thought all that stuff sounded like shit. Not too many people were making cool guitar records back then so I guess I started to make the kinds of albums that as a fan I would've liked to listen to. And as it turned out there were quite a few people who still wanted to hear great guitar even during that period of alterna-crap.
13. Do you listen to or admire other shredders in the guitar world, artists like Michael Angelo or Dr. Frankenshred?
JOE STUMP: Both Mike and the good Dr. Frankenshred are both monster players. And there are a ton of great shredders and I've heard quite a few of them. But when I go to listen to guitar it's usually one of my favorite players that I'll put on -Blackmore, Hendrix, Yngwie, Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth, Gary Moore. I've been listening to all those guys for over 20 years now.
14. For all the guitarists out there can you tell us a bit about your gear?
JOE STUMP: I have an ESP endorsement. They've built me five custom shop Strats and those are my main guitars. They have scalloped fretboards, locking tuners, Dimarzio pickups, alder bodies and are real nice incredibly well made guitars. Amp wise I have a ton of old Marshalls, mostly 50 watt Mark II`s from the 70`s .I also use an Engl Ritchie Blackmore signature model head(great sounding amp). I've recently got an endorsement with Rhino amplification and I'm using one of their amps called The Beast, another great sounding amp. Effects include an old dod 250 preamp, dunlop cry baby and roto-vibe, a old Korg sdd 3000 digital delay and an array of Boss stompboxes, chorus, flanger, delay and octave box. A more detailed equipment setup is listed in the gear section of Joe Stump.com
15. Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Dave Mustaine and many other guitarists have a signature series guitar. Do you have or have you thought about having a signature series guitar line?
JOE STUMP: Well the last guitar ESP built me was one they called the Joe Stump custom S. And many fans have emailed me asking if they would make a production model, but I think I'd have to be selling a lot more records before that happens.
16. What made you want to form a band? With your solo career I assume you would have more flexibility and creative control?
JOE STUMP: Well I have just as much control over the band as I do my solo projects. One's just with vocals as opposed to instrumental.
17. Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?
JOE STUMP: Just a sincere thanks to all the fans who've supported my past efforts and please check out Conquer and Divide, if you love guitar then I'm sure you'll really enjoy it.
CD $15 direct through Leviathan Records mail order or Credit Card orders call 800-755-2316. US orders only.
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