JOE STUMP INTERVIEW
October 31, 2001
Interview by STEVE TOTOMIS/Experience the Power Magazine
INTERVIEW JOE STUMP
1)JOE , YOU HAVE A QUITE BIG CAREER SO CAN YOU GIVE US IN BRIEF A BIOGRAPHY OF YOURS NAMING THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENTS OF YOUR MUSICAL CAREER SO FAR ?
Joe Stump: Well I grew up in New York and started to play guitar seriously at the age of 13. I was initially inspired by Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore and Michael Schenker era UFO. I played in many local bands all throughout high school playing clubs, dances etc. At 17 I left New York to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. There I started to listen heavily to jazz/fusion guitarists Al Dimeola, John Mclaughlin and Alan Holdsworth as well as classical music. After 4 years at Berklee I played in various rock and fusion bands touring around and in the late eighties I formed metal band Trash Broadway. We released an album with Torrid records a New York based independent label in 1989, toured then several years later we broke up and I started my solo career. I secured a deal with Leviathan Records and my first all instrumental album Guitar Dominance came out in 1993. In 1994 Night Of The Living Shred followed and Guitar World magazine praised it as the best neo-classical shred album since Yngwie's first record. In between my first two records I spent a short period of time as the guitarist with former Anthrax singer Joey Belladonna's band. After things didn't work out with him I formed Joe Stump's Reign of Terror a power metal vocal band in the style of Rainbow and Rising Force. Light In the Sky was released in 1995. In 96 Super Sonic Shred Machine my third instrumental followed an album I'm extremely proud both playing and composition-wise. In 97 Second Coming the 2nd Reign of Terror was released and in 98 Rapid Fire Rondo my most intense classically influenced instrumental disc came out. Which brings us up to date with the newest Reign of Terror album Sacred Ground and 2001 A Shred Odyssey.
2)YOU ARE DEFINITELY INSPIRED BY CLASSICAL MUSIC , SO THE TERM 'NEOCLASSICAL METAL' SUITS YOU MOST. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE ?
Joe Stump: My music is a mix of Neoclassical speed metal, a good dose of Eurometal and some traditional Blackmore and Hendrix induced hard rock. And it is extremely intense and over the top.
3)YOU STARTED AS AN INSTRUMENTAL RECORDING ARTIST BUT SOON ENOUGH YOU FORMED REIGN OF TERROR PRESENTING A FULL-MEMBER BAND , SOMETHING THAT YOU CONTINUE TILL TODAY. DO YOU SEE YOUR SOLO CAREER AND REIGN OF TERROR AS TWO DIFFERENT FACES OF YOURSELF THAT ARE EQUALLY ESSENTIAL TO YOU ?
Joe Stump: Well the vocal stuff certainly appeals to a wider audience and the guitar thing is much more geared towards intense guitar fanatics. But I enjoy making both kinds of albums very much.
4)SOME OF THE BEST GUITAR PLAYERS OF OUR TIME PREFER TO WORK INSIDE BANDS AND OCCASIONALLY RELEASE AN INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM ( MIKE ROMEO , YNGWIE MALMSTEEN etc. ) , OTHERS ARE MAINLY CONCENTRATED IN THEIR SOLO CAREERS ( VINNIE MOORE , GREG HOWE ) WHILE OTHERS LIKE YOU , ROB JOHNSON , DAVID CHASTAIN PREFER TO DO BOTH. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE REASON OF THIS ?
Joe Stump: There is a certain freedom and self indulgence that you get from the instrumental thing and no matter what the current trends are there will always be a cult core audience for those type of albums. But my band albums cross over to fans of both power metal and shred.
5)SO FAR I BELIEVE YOU HAVE RELEASED FOUR INSTRUMENTAL ALBUMS. WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL US A FEW THINGS ABOUT EACH ONE OF THEM ? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THEM BOTH IN TECHNIQUE AND MUSICAL DIRECTION ISSUES ? WHICH ONE DO YOU FEEL ITS MORE REPRESENTATIVE TO YOUR MENTALITY AS A MUSICIAN ?
Joe Stump: My solo albums are a product of my
influences, Blackmore, Hendrix, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, David Chastain, Uli-Jon Roth, Gary Moore as well as classical composers Bach, Paganini, Mozart and Vivaldi. Mixed with a good dose of Euro, Speed and power metal. They are all similar in many aspects but different as well. I'm always striving to improve as a composer and musician so as the albums progress my playing becomes more developed and intense. Rapid Fire Rondo was a bit more classical while Super Sonic Shred Machine and Night of the Living Shred were more varied songwise.
6)AS WE HAVE ALREADY MENTIONED APART FROM YOUR INSTRUMENTAL CAREER YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A EXCELLENT BAND AS WELL REIGN OF TERROR. I BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE ALSO RELEASED 4 ALBUMS - LIGHT IN THE SKY , SACRED GROUND , SECOND COMING , AND YOUR BRAND-NEW WITH MIKE VESCERA ON VOCALS. THE FIRST TWO ARE RATHER DIFFICULT TO BE FOUND BUT THE NEW ONE SEEMS TO SIGN A NEW BEGINNING FOR THE BAND. YOU HAVE A NEW COMPANY , LMP , A NEW GREAT SINGER AND OF COURSE A FABULOUS ALBUM ! DO YOU FEEL THAT THIS IS ACTUALLY A NEW ERA FOR REIGN OF TERROR ?
Joe Stump: Sacred Ground is the new one with Mike. The first two were released on smaller companies in Europe so this one with LMP is a huge step up. Also Mike is a world class singer and pairing of the two of us makes a great combination.
7)AND WHICH IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT YOUR OTHER REIGN OF TERROR ALBUMS. I BELIEVE THEY WERE EXCEPTIONAL AS WELL BUT YOU FACED PROBLEMS WITH THE PROMOTION OF THEM. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THERE WERE OTHER PROBLEMS AS WELL?
Joe Stump: As I said before the labels in Europe were small and
didn't promote them properly also both the previous vocalists were no where near Mike's level especially for this style of music. But the guitar work I'm still quite proud of.
8)HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH MIKE VESCERA ? IS HE A PERMANENT REIGN OF TERROR SINGER ?
Joe Stump: I played on Mike's last solo album Animation, we became good friends and I asked if he was interested in doing the new ROT album, he thought the tunes were killer and agreed to sing with me.
9)DO YOU FIND DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU PLAY AND COMPOSE BETWEEN REIGN OF TERROR AND YOUR SOLO CAREER ?
Joe Stump: Yes with the vocal thing I know which sections will be the verse, pre chorus, chorus , the instrumental thing is a bit more freed up. When I compose I am usually writing for a specific album. But my playing style remains the same for both.
10)I THINK YOU HAD PARTICIPATED IN ANOTHER BAND-PROJECT CALLED SHOOTING HEMLOCK IN THE PAST. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THAT ? I BELIEVE THAT I HAVE READ THAT THE STYLE IS SOMEHOW DIFFERENT THAT YOUR USUAL ONE.
Joe Stump: That was more of a 90's metal type of band in the style of Alice in Chains, Pantera with some Megadeth type overtones not classical at all. It was aimed at the market in the states at the time(at major labels) but it never really took off, the album was a bit too varied stylistically. Cool band though, quite a departure from my usual thing.
11)WHICH ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS BOTH WITH REIGN OF TERROR AND YOUR SOLO CAREER?
Joe Stump: I plan on doing another ROT album with Mike. I've got about half the album written so far. I'll also continue to tour with both projects and probably record another studio instrumental record next year. I have all of the music composed for that one.
12)IT IS VERY COMMON NOWADAYS FOR METAL GUITARISTS TO RELEASE INSTRUMENTAL ALBUMS FEATURING COMPOSITIONS OF WELL-KNOWN CLASSICAL COMPOSERS OF THE PAST. HAVE YOU FELT THE NEED OF RELEASING SUCH A THING IN THE FUTURE?
Joe Stump: In the past I've had excerpts from actual classical pieces on various tracks of mine. To do an entire album of works is something I find very interesting but not in the immediate future anyway.
13)CAN YOU THINK OF SEVERAL GUITAR PLAYERS THAT YOU WOULD WISH TO JAM LIVE WITH THEM?
Joe Stump: Cool question I guess any of the guys I mentioned
earlier in the interview.
FREE SPACE. LEAVE YOUR OWN MESSAGE.
Message-Thank you to the fans that continue to support my stuff and
to checkout 2001 A Shred Odyssey my newest instrumental and of course Sacred
Ground. Thanks Joe.
Joe Stump's Dark Gifts "Rare and Unreleased Tracks"
Joe Stump (live) "Midwest Shredfest"