February 19, 1999

Interview by Laurent Bocquet

Laurent: Hello Joe, How many times did you have practice your guitar?

Joe Stump: I've been playing guitar for over 24 years now and I still practice at least between 3-5 hours per day.

2. You released instrumental music. But it's easy to imagine someone singing your songs. Is it a proof that you're both a guitar hero and a real composer?

Great guitar playing really needs to be in the context of a strong composition to give it musical validity. Many guitar hero type players are very good technically but lack depth & melodies. Their tunes are just a vehicle to showcase their playing as opposed to being strong songs that hold up on their own.

3. Why don't you try to record an album with a singer? Was there any problems with the singer? Don't you think it can bring you more airplay, more audience?

I've recorded two albums with vocals with my band project call Joe Stump's Reign of Terror. The music is very much in the style of Rainbow, Deep Purple and Rising Force. And yes I agree you can reach many more people with a vocalist.

4. What are your influences?

My influences guitar- wise are Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Yngwie Malmsteen, Gary Moore and Michael Schenker. I'm also heavily influenced by classical music, especially by the works of Bach & Paganini.

5. You're not distributed here in France, how do you explain it?

Two of my CDs were released in Europe but the market for instrumental records in Europe is much tougher than the US and Japan. It's harder to get European based labels to support guitar-hero type recordings.

6. You've now finished your new CD Rapid Fire Rondo. Can you tell us more about its recording?

Rapid Fire Rondo contains some of my most intense classically influenced playing and writing. It also contains some of my most inspired soloing. I worked extremely hard preparing for that release and I'm very proud of it.

7. Do you plan to tour in 1999? You recently played in Belgium at Verviers. Will the French people have the luck to see you on stage?

I toured some of Europe last November and I'm hoping to come back and do a longer tour sometime in the spring as well as some dates in the States. But I can't wait to get back over to Europe, the fans are great and truly appreciate great guitar playing.

8. What would be the best musicians and singers that you would like to play with?

Well, let's see on bass- Billy Sheehan, Drums- Cozy Powell, who unfortunately is no longer with us and on lead vocals, I'd love to work with Ronnie James Dio.

9. What are the main differences between all your albums?

All of my instrumental records have similarities between them. There are certain elements they all contain, for instance- fast speed metal type tracks, intense neo-classical playing, thrash- power metal tracks with slamming grooves and heavy rhythm playing, slow ballads, nylon string pieces and at least one bluesy- many times Hendrixy Tune. But all of them are different, Night of the Living Shred was very varied and extremely strong as far as song writing. Super Sonic Shred Machine was a bit more extreme technique-wise with a lot of intense shredding. And Rapid Fire Rondo was a bit more focused in a heavy classical direction, with a strong Blackmore meets Paganini vibe to it. And of course, they all differ production-wise.

10. How do you analysis your past CDs? What were wrong and what was good?

Looking back I'm still very satisfied with my playing, composing and overall performance on all of my recordings. Unfortunately many of my records are made on a relatively low budget so if I could go back and change anything it would probably be more on the production side of things.

11. What is the best song or solo you have released?

That's a very tough question, but I will name some of my favorites. As far as a single solo in a tune I'd say, All Things Must End on the second Reign of Terror CD and I Need Your Love on the first Reign of Terror Recording, Light In The Sky. Favorite tunes are definitely Rapid Fire Rondo, Thrill of the Chase and End of an Era from the new record and Demon's Eye and Wrecking Machine from Supersonic Shred Machine.

12. What is the principal quality you have as a guitarist?

Another tough question, but I'd say one thing I do very well is to mix the most extreme, intense shred-type technical playing with the traditional emotion based rock guitar elements that many of my favorite players possess. And I do it in the context of songs that vary in a wide range of Hard Rock, Speed Metal, Thrash, Shred, Blues and Neo-classical influences.

13. What would be your advice for a new guitarist that wants to play heavy metal music?

Listen to the players who really invented and developed the style, of course all of the guys I mentioned previously. Practice and play constantly, totally devote yourself to the guitar and most of all do it because you love it and enjoy it.

14. A last word?

Just to give my most sincere thanks and appreciation to all my fans who will read this interview. Your support means a lot. The reason I make the kind of albums I do is for you guys. Also to any new fans who might not be familiar with my stuff- if you buy it, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Thanks again,
Joe Stump