Who were your influences?
It was always (and still is) about the music for me. Rather than the player I was always drawn towards great songs as apposed to guitar heroes. My favourite band is Boston and their guitarist Tom Scholz helped me to learn a lot about harmony, but the bottom line was they wrote great songs and his style enhanced that.
What guitars do you play?
I’ve been working with Paul Reed Smith guitars for a couple of years now, they are a great East Coast manufacturer and they make some AWESOME instruments. Recently they have also sent me over a couple of their amp heads which are really great too.
Why seven strings?
The seven string guitar was actually developed by a jazz guy in order for him to play lower notes higher up the neck, and it helps in certain scenarios. Believe it or not I only EVER played seven string guitars for a while, and I didn’t even own a 6 string for something like 13 years. Now I only really play seven string guitars should the composition really call for it.. they are great but six is usually OK for me.
What is it like working with Steve Vai, do you get much of a chance to ‘Jam’
I’ve been part of Steve’s touring band since 99, and it is something I really love. We do have some slots for jamming during shows but generally we go in with the beds of the songs ready. It’s pretty exacting stuff so most of the time so there isn’t much room for ‘wiggle’.
Is it hard to play his stuff?
Not all of Steve’s stuff is physically challenging to play, but a lot of it IS challenging. I’ve got to know his style quite well now but I still have to keep a good look on his playing. Usually I will have a good idea of what sort of thing he’s looking for from me when he comes along with a new track.
Originally when I joined Steve’s band and I was going to rehearsals for the first time, I thought I had a good handle on it, but then Steve would show me these tiny little details that I was leaving out. That is the sort of thing that makes the difference between someone else playing a Steve Vai composition and Steve himself playing it. Those tiny details make it what it is.
When are you working with Steve next?
I think we may start rehearsals later in the year for a Vai tour in 2012, but it’s music so the schedules are always changing at from week to week.
Is there anyone else would you like to play with if you had the chance?
I’m sure I could think of plenty if I had the time. It would be fun to go and play with The Dave Matthews band, they’re great musicians, they play stadiums and they do lots of improvs too, so it sounds like a really fun band to be in.
L-R Tony Macalpine, Billy Sheehan, Steve Vai, Dave Weiner.
Do you like touring?
I love touring! Its a lot of fun but remember you’re spending a lot of time with the same 6 or 7 individuals so you have to become in-tune with them and show them consideration. You cherish the one night you have to yourself in a hotel room and cherish coming home. But I get paid to play music and travel the world so its something I can’t complain about.
I never really expected to do what I do, so when it came for me.. and being thrown into a world tour was kind of like a dream. I was like ‘Are we really doing this’? and I was. It was AWESOME and continues to be awesome.
En Revolute is very cinematic record, was this deliberate?
I always liked the drama of a movie soundtrack and my parents took me to the theatre when I was young. It is part of my writing and it always stuck with me – the themes and drama of music, so yes, I guess On Revolute reflects this.
To help students on my site I also have the On Revolute backing tracks available to buy so people can play over the top of them and we are going to do videos for each of the tracks showing people how to play my parts.
I didn’t plan on it being totally instrumental initially, but to be honest I could never find that good singer who could go the distance in a pro capacity. I had the choice of either keep waiting for the right person or do an instrumental record. From touring with Steve his fans had started to get to know me, so it felt like the right thing to do and move forward.
I plan to do a lot of vocal projects in the future, and I’m working on stuff with my girlfriend right now who is an amazing singer. That should be seeing the light of day in some capacity soon.
What are you working on at the moment?
My latest project is an unaccompanied acoustic project of just one guitar, no backing tracks, just me and the instrument. At first I thought it would be easy, but when you take away all the other things that one guitar part has got to be the rhythm section, the groove, the harmonics, the melodic elements and to make it interesting is challenging. It should be out by the end of the year [watch this space].
In the meantime Dave will be performing at the very wonderful Paul Reese Smith Guitar Factory Open Day, tomorrow (Fri 23rd Sep 2011) more info on their Twitter HERE
You can visit Dave’s AWESOME YouTube channel HERE
Or visit his site