December, 1999

Interview by Kerrang/Spain

1.) Could you tell us something about your musical career, when you started?

Well, I grew up in New York and started playing guitar when I was 14 and was playing in bands and playing shows a year later. My early guitar influences were Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, UFO era Michael Schenker and Zeppelin. I played in bands all throughout high school then at 17, I attended Berklee College of Music and was exposed to and heavily influenced by jazz-rock players- Al DiMeola, Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin. After college I kicked around in various rock bands touring around the Northeast, then I formed Trash Broadway, a metal band in the style of Dokken, Motley Crue and Van Halen, but all of my favorite guitarists were European so it had a bit of a Euro-metal flavor as well. We got signed to Torrid Records, a New York based metal label and released our first album in 1989. After a few years the band broke up after only one record and some favorable press and touring and I started my solo career. I've released four very successful instrumental records, "Guitar Dominance" ,"Night of the Living Shred", "Supersonic Shred Machine" and "Rapid Fire Rondo". I decided to start making records with a vocalist because I found the instrumental market too limiting- that's how the Reign of Terror arose. I wanted to combine intense guitar playing with vocals and more accessible material. I wanted the band to be in the style of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Deep Purple and early Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force but with some power metal overtones.

2) Who do you prefer Yngwie or Blackmore?

Definitely my two biggest influences and two favorite players. One of the reasons I like Malmsteen's playing so mush is because of his heavy Blackmore influence. Yngwie's playing is much more intense technically and his classical influence is much more extreme. But many times Yngwie will play many of the same ideas each song and solo. Blackmore's playing reaches me on a much more emotional level, his soloing is much more varied and his mixture of Hendrix and Bach is brilliant. He also write some of the greatest riffs of all time- "Burn", "Gates of Babylon", "Stargazer", "Highway Star", and "Man of the Silver Mountain". Many people always compare me to Malmsteen because I play so fast and technical but Blackmore's playing and composing has had an even heavier influence on me.

3) What kind of music do you listen to in your spare time?

I love classical music- Bach, Paganini, Beethoven, and Vivaldi; I love the sound of the violin and the cello. I still always listen to my favorite players- Malmsteen, Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Gary Moore, Uli Jon Roth and of course, Jimi Hendrix. I also love Stevie Ray Vaughan and Gary Moore's blues playing.

4) Who do you recognize as the top bands today?

I really don't care for many of today's popular bands, especially bands that are popular in the States. But Metallica is a great band. I also like Megadeth quite a bit and think Dream Theater is an incredibly talented band.

5) Do you know any Spanish rock bands?

No, I'm afraid I don't but many of them must be quite good since fine musicianship is so greatly appreciated in Spain.

6) Do you have the same band on record as you do when playing live?

Yes, I do. I like the feeling of playing within a band situation and even though players come and go I like to keep the same lineup as long as possible.

7) Why a new record cover for Spain?

I don't really know why, but whenever I have released an album anywhere in Europe, they have changed the cover and packaging. It seems that each market has itsŐ own preferences. They all look cool to me and I add each to my collection.

8) Do you like the new cover?

Yes. I love the futuristic, gothic design and, of course, the woman on the cover is extremely hot looking. Please arrange for me to have a date with the model when I arrive in Spain;)

9) What current projects are you working on?

I am rehearsing and writing for a new instrumental record and next year I'll be doing an extensive European tour and hope to record a live album during the course of that tour. Also I have begun working on the next Reign of Terror album to come out sometime in 2000.

10) How many hours do you play guitar a day?

I love to play and practice constantly- anywhere from three to twelve hours just about every day. Plus I teach rock guitar at Berklee occasionally and that in itself is great practice since there are so many great teachers on staff to jam around with from time to time.

11) What would you say to a kid who has you as a main influence?

I would tell him or her to work hard, practice constantly and play because you love music. I'd also tell him to go back and listen to many of my main influences- Ritchie Blackmore, Gary Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Roth, Schenker, Hendrix, Bach and Paganini- don't learn only from me but also from the great players who inspired me.

12) When are you coming to Europe to tour?

An extensive European tour is currently being put together for next year, beginning in late April- early May.