JOE STUMP INTERVIEW
By Ricardo Franzin Rock Brigade Magazine (Brazil)
1. THE NAME THE REIGN OF TERROR CAN BE ASSOCIATED TO ANY EXTREME KIND OF METAL. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE IT?
Joe Stump: Originally the full band title was Joe Stump's Reign Of Terror. I wanted a title in the same vein as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow or Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force. I thought Reign Of Terror sounded cool, very aggressive and fit the music well.
2. THE BAND HAVE EXCELLENT MUSICIANS IN ITS LINE UP, BUT YOUR WORK IS MUCH MORE GUITAR ORIENTED. WHY?
Joe Stump: Well I happen to play guitar, compose on the instrument, write all of the band's music and it happens to be my band. I take input from my bandmates but I still run the show. So of course anything associated with my name is gonna have an intense amount of guitar.
3. THE PROMO MATERIAL SAYS THAT THE BAND HAVE A COUPLE OF COMPOSERS, A GUITARIST (YOU) AND A VOCALIST (MICHAEL) LIKE GILLAN/BLACKMORE, IOMMI/OSBOURNE, PAGE/PLANT, TYLER/PERRY. WITH WHOM OF THEM DO YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELVES THE MOST? AND WHY DON'T YOU PUT AMONG THEM JAGGER/RICHARDS?
Joe Stump: I don't write the press releases the record label does that. But I'd have to say mine and Mike's partnership is closest to Blackmore and Dio in terms of our sound and style. There is a definite chemistry between us.
4. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE KILL THE KING TO END THE ALBUM?
Joe Stump: Ritchie Blackmore is my all time hero and some of my favorite recordings by him are during the Dio era period of Rainbow. The song fits the band's style perfectly and while other groups have covered the song I felt it was about time someone did it proper justice. In other words our version is a hell of a lot better than everyone else's.
5. HOW DO YOU DEAL THE SHARING OF YOUR TIME WITH A SOLO CAREER AND A BAND AT THE SAME TIME?
Joe Stump: I love to do both, the instrumental solo stuff is great but really geared more towards guitar fanatics. You can certainly reach many more people with a vocalist and of course having a world class singer like Mike Vescera makes it that much more appealing to fans of great power metal.
6. HOW IMPORTANT IS DAVID CHASTAIN ON YOUR CAREER? DID YOU EVER PLAY WITH HIM? WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THIS EXPERIENCE?
Joe Stump: David and I have never played together but it would be great for us to do a tour sometime. I've been working with him since 1993. He's helped me and my career tremendously, from the business side of things as well as giving me advice about musical matters. He's also someone I consider a good friend. Before I started working with Leviathan I was a huge fan of Dave's and have all of his records.
7. NOWADAYS THERE ARE A LOT OF VIRTUOUS GUITARISTS AND CHASTAIN WAS ONE OF THE PIONEERS. WHAT DOES A MUSICIAN HAVE TO DO TO PROPERLY APPEAR IN THE SCENE AMONG SO MANY OTHER?
Joe Stump: Well if you're a guitar virtuoso to compete in the market you have to be able to stand up to the other players in the genre. That means your playing skills, your compositions, the whole package. Plus you have to bring a little something different to the table. Great guitar playing doesn't mean much if you can't showcase it in a proper musical setting.
8. SO MANY VIRTUOUS GUITARISTS ARE ACCUSED TO MAKE MUSIC ONLY FOR THEIR OWN EGOS. DO YOU AGREE WITH THIS POINT OF VIEW?
Joe Stump: Maybe some do, maybe all of us do it to a certain extent. But those types of albums are made to appeal to a certain audience, specifically designed primarily for guitar fans. But even a guitar saturated album has to contain the basic elements that make all music appealing, melody, cool grooves, technical and emotional playing, memorable riffs , you know actual songs.
9. IN SACRED GROUND YOU THANK TO MANY WONDERFUL GUITARISTS. BUT, PLEASE, SAY ONLY ONE NAME: WHO IS (OR WAS) THE BEST GUITAR PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF ROCK?
Joe Stump: Well Jimi Hendrix is in a class by himself both as a guitarist and
composer. After him I'd have to say Ritchie Blackmore, a true genius and master when it comes to hard rock guitar. The things both those guys did were so far ahead of their time. I still listen to both on an almost daily basis.
10. YOU ARE ONE AMONG A LOT OF GUITARISTS WHICH LOVE PAGANNINI. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY HE IS THE FAVORITE BETWEEN A LOT OF WONDERFUL CLASSICAL MUSICIANS AND COMPOSERS?
Joe Stump: His melodies are haunting and beautiful, but the technical aspects of his works in terms of sheer virtuosity are just unparalleled. The scalular lines, super intense arpeggios and the insane breakneck speed he performed all of these incredible compositions is just mind-blowing. It was back in the 1800's and still is to this day.
11. THE AMERICAN MUSIC MARKET HAS A LOT OF ARTISTS LOOKING FOR A PLACE IN THE SCENE. IS IT EASY TO FIND YOUR OWN PLACE? HOW DO AN ARTIST DO THAT?
Joe Stump: I don't know if I can properly answer that. The best advice is to play the music you love, if you work hard enough you will find your place.
12. WHAT DO YOU, AS A VIRTUOUS PLAYER, THINK ABOUT GENRES LIKE NEW METAL?
Joe Stump: Most new metal I've heard sounds like shit. It's got absolutely nothing to do with metal or music for that matter. Great metal music whether it be speed, thrash, death, power metal, traditional metal, European metal, Guitar hero shred metal always, always contains great guitar work and there's very little good guitar work going on in any of that new metal bullshit. Or should I say false metal bullshit. But I guess I'm old fashion in that I enjoy listening to guys that can actually PLAY their instruments.
13. IMAGINE THAT THERE ARE A KID WHOSE AFTER READ THIS INTERVIEW AND LISTEN TO YOUR ALBUM DECIDE TO BECOME A GUITAR PLAYER. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY TO HIM?
Joe Stump: Do it because you love it, that's why I do. I've been playing guitar for 28 years now and I even more excited about playing than ever before. If you work your ass off and dedicate yourself to it then achieving some level of success is only a matter of time. Imagine doing something you truly love and enjoy for the rest of your life there's nothing like it.
Joe Stump's Dark Gifts "Rare and Unreleased Tracks"
Joe Stump (live) "Midwest Shredfest"