Guitar maestro MattyTWall is, unsurprisingly, not just a gun when it comes to blues and jazz, but also a Hammett-esque shredder o’ the metal. Matty will be performing alongside some WAAPA cats at The Ellington on Thursday, January 23, so VOLUME pulled him aside to find out the lowdown on the show, and also take a peak at his gear.
Tell us about your background. How did you get into music?
“I started playing guitar at age 11/12. I was heavily influenced by watching Dire Straits and Eric Clapton concerts on TV. After that I started listening more to my older brother’s music collection: AC/DC, Metallica, Sepultura, Pantera, and going down the technical and aggressive way of playing. I still get a kick out of riffing along to a metal song.”
Why the blues? How did you find yourself drawn to the genre?
“Firstly, my dad was always a big Clapton fan, and my hero at the time – Metallica’s Kirk Hammett – had been trying to play bluesier lines in his metal solos. So when I followed the roots of Clapton’s style and Kirk Hammett’s influences, I discovered the blues, and found the two greatest: Robert Johnson and BB King.
What’s the concept behind your collaboration with the China Blue Experiment? How did that come about?
I hooked up with a booking agent recently, and I started looking through their client list and found The China Blue Experiment. Checking them out online, I really loved Darren’s vocals – very strong and soulful. And Gordon’s keyboard work was very tasty indeed. I am looking forward to playing with them and getting everyone up on stage for a massive blues jam – that will be very cool. Let’s hope the Ellington stage fits us all!”
How did you come to be working with WAAPA students on this? How were the students selected? Who will be playing?
“Well, when I was looking for a drummer, I needed someone who could swing like nothing else and I came across Jazz Miller, who plays the drums currently in the band. He is studying at WAAPA, so has a good opportunity to play with some very talented musicians, I am very happy to invite them to play the Ellington Show. We will be featuring the brilliant Tim Newhouse from the Tim Newhouse Collective on grand piano and organ, and we will also feature the talented David Gioia on saxophone.”
What rig/rigs will you be using and why?
“Guitar: I had the opportunity to travel to New York and go guitar hunting recently and I happened upon a vintage 1961 Gibson LP/SG Custom – a little beat up, but plays so amazingly well and sounds ballsier than any guitar I have played. My daughter named the guitar ‘Josie’. I prefer the LP/SG over the Les Paul standard because of the upper fret access and incredible lightness. Awesome guitar.
Amp: Carol Ann OD-3. This is a hand-built boutique amp from the US, meant to be a cross between a Dumble and a vintage Marshall (dumble pre circuit – Plexi power circuit). It is so fat sounding, which is why I love it so much. I used to play Fender strats and Fender amps, but could never get them to sound as huge (didn’t want to use tree trunk strings as I bend a lot) as a Gibson/Dumble.”
Travis Johnson – Local Music & Arts Editor – Xpress Magazine