Destiny takes a strange path sometimes. When Monte Pittman quit his job at an LA music store in 1999 to become a guitar tutor, his third student was none other than movie director Guy Ritchie.
Madonna (Ritchie’s wife at the time) had bought him a guitar and when Ritchie returned the compliment and bought one for Madonna, Monte was on hand to show her the ropes.
She must have been impressed with his skills as he’s been an ever-present in her live band since and has co-written several tracks with the star.
Monte is not one to rest on his laurels though, and any time off is poured into other musical projects. Whether it be writing and performing with metal band Prong, writing with American Idol star Adam Lambert OR performing his new record ‘Pain, Love & Destiny‘ (loosely inspired by the movie Watership Down) with his own band (including Randy Rhoads’s brother Kelle on piano), his passion for music is unsurpassed.
How does it feel to be the centre of attraction as apposed to being part of the backing band?
It’s a lot more work. Right now, Kane Ritchotte and Max Whipple from the band Vas DeFrans are playing with me and they are incredible musicians. No matter what you are doing live, you have to have a great team behind you.
Did you always plan to become a solo artist?
Yes, in between playing for others. To have my own band of some sort is something I can always do and it’s great to be able to do whatever I want with, plus I’ve always had a really amazing singer in the bands I started.
Where did you record Pain, Love & Destiny?
White Buffalo Studios in the Bedrock Studio complex in Echo Park.
Would you call Pain, Love & Destiny a ‘concept’ album?
I didn’t create it that way but it could be taken that way. Everything together tells a story from front to end but some of the music was written over ten years ago and some was written just before being recorded.
Have you seen the movie Watership Down?
Yes! It’s awesome. That’s a movie that I wouldn’t mind seeing a remake of. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Watership Down is one of my favorite stories. It tells you to follow your heart.
Was it easy to teach Madonna how to play guitar?
She’s hard working at everything she does. It’s been a lot of fun and a really cool experience.
Do you have any advice for someone just starting to learn the guitar?
Learn your chords and scales. Don’t just learn songs. You have a window of opportunity when you first start playing because it’s new and fresh to you.
What is your favorite chord?
C# minor 9
How do you manage to juggle touring with spending time with your kids?
You have to find the balance somewhere. Sometimes one or the other suffers..
Were you also in a band with Adam Lambert before he was on American Idol?
Yes. We were called The Citizen Vein. It had Tommy Victor on bass and Steve Sidelnyk on drums. We played off and on around Los Angeles for a year or two. Different people were out of town at different times so it made it tricky getting everybody together sometimes.
I heard you have your own signature guitar coming out?
Yes, it’s by a new guitar maker, Jarrell Guitars. It’s called the MPS. The idea behind it is that can cover a wide variety of sounds. I could play an entire Madonna show with it or I could play an entire Prong or Adam Lambert show with it.
What is your favourite guitar pedal?
At the moment my old Electro Harmonix Memory Man.
What are your plans for the rest of the year and 2012?
To keep getting the word out about Pain, Love & Destiny and playing anywhere and everywhere.
For more info on Monte visit www.montepittman.com