Sunday, November 1, 2009

Interview - Adrian "The Mad Scientist of Shred" English

After hearing Eddie Van Halen at age 10, Adrian English decided that "this is how a guitar should sound!" The Mad Scientist of Shred has featured on Shred Guy Records compilation albums, Shredding Across The World Volume 2 and 3, and has released a full length album called A.D.D. Here he is to talk about his music and his path to success.

What steps have you taken to forge a career in the music industry?
I have been playing every day since i was 10 years old, ...being based from Hawaii I was exposed to Marty Friedman and all the staple shred gods from a very young age, and learned from a master by the name of FRANK PAULINO who taught with MARTY, as with us being local boys, Shawn Lane was also a regular to HOT LICKS guitars HAWAII back in the early an end 80's,and actually there is a large list of known shredders that treaded ground through that little shred shop like the likes of GLENNY TELFORD from SKINLAB a seasoned touring grind metal band, from the old school days MARK KALAWEHEA (SACRED RITE),and of course MARTY FRIEDMAN (MEGADETH,CACOPHONY,HAWAII) years ago during the beginnings of "REAL" shred which today’s kids don’t understand is the true definition of "TEXT BOOK SHRED!" i started playing clubs here in Las Vegas at the age of 15 and shortly there after got with a few good musicians by the name of Tony Lopez (who just happens to be my best friend of 20+ yrs. and the guy that hand drew every single note inside and CD art work on (A.D.D.) , JAMIE BORDEN (drummer)who has toured with Neil Peart. Tony and I submitted our first demo with JAMIE to MIKE VARNEY(SHRAPNEL),mike responded with putting me in GUITAR WORLD spot light column alongside Mike Romeo (SYMPHONY X),at the same time I was submitting guitar lesson columns all over the globe. At one point besides being in a top qualifier for the OZZY audition back in 94 to replace ZAKK, I always kept shredding though the "DARK AGES". I never gave up. Because it’s my truest of true passions. I always go back to a joke with my best friend and true math metal freak friend Tony Lopez and say...."YEEEUP ....HUHHHH I WILL BE SHREDDIN THE SAME HYPER LICKS WHEN IM 80 YRS. OLD LEANING ON MY WALKER RIGGED WITH NITROUS!!! and A PORTABLE GUITAR STAND ". At current point i have been given a sick opportunity thanks to Mike McDowell and SHRED GUY RECORDS for giving me a well needed BOOST, so people can hear me!

What advice do you have for people looking to get into the music industry?
NEVER EVER QUIT!!!!!!! The only people that make it in music are THE most stubborn and truly driven people with a voice or instrument in hand! DONT GIVE UP!! I figured with all the recognition as a killer shredder I was getting by the time I was 19 I would be soooo signed and following my MANY hero's footsteps. One of which namely dime bag!!! There is no excuse here but when you have the epic of all epic family tragedy's occur and loose you're mom at 22 yrs. old. Music and everything below becomes second, I almost quit playing! But that’s not what my mom wanted to end up happening ,I realized it and ....after waking up played and recorded even more ,harder....break the writer’s block…force the passion into your fingers...and....."BLEEEEED!!!! Send demo's left and right which for the longest time I did. It sucks when the more, the more people you know in the biz over rides every stinking effort you have on your own actions busted your ass to achieve results gets you to your destination ten times faster. DONT QUIT!

What are the pressures in the industry and how do you cope with them?
The music industry IS A JOB! When you sign a deal with a major label you are basically signing onto an unpredictable MAJOR CREDIT CARD plan. I have never been signed to a MAJOR but have known and played with many, many people that have and are! Every story pans out! Plus it helps when you know someone that wrote just one song back in 62' that was awarded a Grammy, because the BEATLES and to follow now 1700 artists world wide have used. I was schooled from a very young age. Treat it as one of the funnest jobs you will ever "HAVE TO" be responsible to and for. I’m in the beginning stages with shred guy, and I am working every free second to live out my dream, so I basically live eat and *&^t shred.

How did you get involved in the Shredding Across the World compilations?
I’ve known about the starts of shred guy through a fellow shred bro by the name of RUSTY COOLEY. but primary connection came through inner workings with another shred freak named PETE PACHIO, I re-did a song that I wrote back in 93' called "FLIGHT OF THE BLUE PHEONIX" which was one of my highlight songs to Mike Varney which landed me in GUITAR WORLD JUNE 93 featured with MIKE ROMEO of SYMPHONY X when I was 18. I redid the song, Pete guest appeared on a number of harmonies and solo's, sent it to shred guy, and Mike Mcdowell was into it! From there it was all about opening a new can of my shred history. Mike released "flight" on S.A.T.W. VOL 2, and as a result I sent him some other demo work which was pre-cursor to " A.D.D. "as well as another more straight forward technical song called "G-THEORY", which again he was way into, and released on vol.3.

During your formative years, what sort of practice regime did you have?
I never set myself to a forced practice. if I wasn’t in the mood I wouldn’t play, however ....I found myself obsessed to the point.....that it wasn’t about impressing my friends(mind you I was like 10,11 yrs. old) I could care a less what they thought of my obsession. I knew that I wanted to smoke every player on earth ...yet at the same time keep myself in check and never stop learning and knowing where I was as a player. be it told at 10 yrs. old I saw the solo for "lay it down"(Ratt/De Martini), and "in my dreams"(Lynch/Dokken) in 86' on MTV and was so screwed up over that, that I had to play "FORE EVER!!!" to this day LYNCH has been an inspiration for picking up the guitar and just feeling the tech feel! I used to practice I guess about 3 to 6 or more hours spread out in a day, every day. but the key is ....not forcing you're self, I’m now in 25 yrs. of shredding, and admittedly I will go a couple weeks without playing, you gotta take a break refresh and re-approach, or you will achieve "0"!! Only frustration! And stop worrying about what other people think of you're playing. They will either dig or hate it! Don’t ignore criticism though, if you take it to mind and not to heart and rechannel it to better you're self or just know that you are at the level you always wanted to be, then you will never stop kicking ass.

What advice do you have for beginner and intermediate players who are trying to achieve a highly advanced level of playing?
Mix it up, don’t drone on one style of music. Diversity is one of the key elements to breaking out with your own "STYLE". At the same token if you only love one kind of music be prepared that, that’s the carbon copy sound that will rub off on you, that’s great and all but...guess what!? Even fans of your genre will never be able to pick "you" out, like a sinister shining star that demands attention!! It either comes from within or not!! Listen to CDs, Ipods etc. and play with your favorite artists, jam with the CDs even if it is freestyle, as long as by ear you are hitting the proper notes in key and resonance. Always make sure you are tuned up so when you actually hit that right note ...blam! will know it!!
Then noodle around with the existing notes in the scale around the fret board. Look into getting lessons, that’s a hard one cause trying to find the right teacher for "you" can be a lifelong path in some cases.

What gear do you use and (more importantly) why?
Currently I am a mesa boogie triple guy, I had to tweak it for direct recording cause it was never designed for that sorta thing, although I hammer this 150 watt beast through 2 MARSHALL 1960 LEAD 4X12'S and live it’s like driving a tank through a wall every time you do a muted dropped A 7string chord. I have always played on IBANEZ axes! They just fit me to a tune. I’m currently using a 7-string universe, as well as my rg-7 back up, I have my classic rg-570 6'r, and a limited Steve Vai EUPHORIA electric acoustic. I am in the works of putting together a packet for IBANEZ and hopefully something would arise from that. They just seem to be the biggest bang for the buck, reliable and solid. I personally am more of an aggressive player, I’m not much into the finesse aspect. So having a guitar that is trick able that way, shape-able is what I’ve found in the universe7. I have a few other racks and goodies that I use but to speak of those are my babies!!! I am down the road going to look into the Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra. From all the demoing I’ve heard this thing is the last piece of the puzzle I need to forge a "real world class tone"!

What parts of your playing reflects your personality and self expression most accurately?
Much like the title A.D.D. I have an ever scattering attention span only at times. At the same time i have a very flowing a emotional side as well! My growing fan base will come to see that with my follow up to A.D.D.! One massive extreme to the other. Then maybe follow that up with a 2000 lbs hammer of computers going friggen hay wire! just never know! I write what I want to write because it makes me happy and it just so happens that shred guy supports that confidence to the fullest, and I will always appreciate that about mike McDowell and his cause.

What are you trying to achieve compositionally?
What I am trying to achieve only comes from my moods,...."outlets ...expressions of what’s killing you, stoking you...pissing you off, or just plain closed eyed visions of nothing!...just "white"! Depression, love, hatred....etc.!!! Are for me what determine how my music sounds for the days sessions! in general I’m an aggressive when you listen to A.D.D. you're gonna sit there and go ....."damn what’s wrong with this guy!!?" as far as influences...EDDIE VAN HALEN was the prime kicker when I was like 9 and 10 yrs. old, GEORGE LYNCH became probably the most influential player to me because he naturally shredded a bluesy feel with occasional ridiculously hard to copy improv and vibrato signature riffs that would just send a shiver up your spine. To this day one of the sickest "METAL LEAD GUITAR PLAYERS" to ever walk this earth definitely MR.SCARY, SHAWN LANE also if not at a higher level to this day...will never be challenged, had been a big influence for me with the "space invader licks" the whole tone and atonal freestyle warp speed space odyssey runs. because I’m able to play them with one hand like he was it just gives me another reason to throw in the second and third hand lol, and god rest his soul SHAWN in my opinion was pretty much THE most untouchable player on this earth, I would *&^% myself if he still being alive wanted to "cut heads" for my soul.. MARTY AND JASON ....very much an influence on my composition for writing instrumentals, McAlpine and Lynch again by far masters of the vibrato, the list goes on. but as far as really punching me over and over in the head to a heavier breed ...hands down DIME BAG!!! the guy was f*&king natural and wicked!!!
My best friend Tony Lopez a.k.a. reality hoax/tl once said… in response to a statement of mine…"man I know.... it’s like he has a way of making the guitar not even sound like one!!!" "REST IN PIECE DIME BAG!!!" I’ve always tried to mix it up as far as technique. I like the two hand switch over with tap slides. I like just a burst of speed picking a complicated 20 to 45 note scalar, always loved two note per string sweep skip sequences, and doing (I guess my signature riff) the 12 to 24 3 note atonal licks. hahaha what can I say I got big hands!

Talk about the process of recording your album.
I’ve been recording a long time. What’s funny is that I found myself getting my practice through recording, a form of intentional forced rehearsal. As a result I got better at recording, learning little tricks with multi stacking overdubs and as well as getting a basic understanding of some industry standards, that would make my demos sound better. As far as instrumental is concerned that’s always been my number one passion, I recorded A.D.D. in about 7 months, mind you sometimes 5 to 7 hr. days 7 days a week because I would get so over kill O.C.D. about certain riffs, harmonies etc, I would sometimes nail a lead or harmony on the first take, then the next harmony sequences would take me weeks because I just hated everything that I would do, i.e. "WRITERS BLOCK" and since I was 15yrs old recording demos that has always been how I’ve come up with new riffs, licks, lead movements, and also just the basis of an ever growing formula for a solid practice regimen, I have always kept every single second of my recordings since the early 90's, and once and a while .."now” like once a year or two I will reflect back randomly on my long walk up the broken shred escalator and really it’s to keep tabs on if I’ve improved or not, its safe to say that many people I’ve known for yrs have all said one thing. "YEEEUP!" I know to a lot of people "A.D.D." in general sounds deep seedy and garagish....but guess what people...that was the actual intent....listen to the playing...I’m expressing everyday life that could be construed a train wreck one moment then a total chaos party the next. THE POINT IS....I DIDNT GIVE A F*CK WHAT ANYONE THOUGHT OR WOULD THINK! I spear headed note for note down on digital what made me feel "spent"! Then fallows relaxed and then accomplished! I don’t know too many players out there that actually use their music for shaped and refined therapy. lol and it helps when you have a finished warp minded Frankenstein that people will actually buy and enjoy.

What is your take on your nickname of “the mad scientist of shred”?
Lol...hmmmm...well....I AGREE!!! There are a lot of players out there that demolish me when it comes to "over kill shred!" But this is my story....! If you like the story line then continue to read, if not put the book down and give it a minute! A.D.D. is a chapter in my life of real events over a short span of time that I happened to be able to splatter onto digital from my heart mind and spirit, and you either love it or you hate it.

What does the future hold for Adrian English?
I am in the works of an unpredictable follow up with a twist compared to the likes of A.D.D.! A lot more demographically appeal able. Appealing to fans of Satch and Vai, not cloning though, at times a bit heavier and still always throwing down the shred, but with a real drummer and budget, as well as a lot more refined writing, focusing on a spring release date next year with SHREDGUY. And pushing forward with bettering my playing to a world class standard.

Any last words?
TO ALL fans of underground shred, I know there is an ever re-growing fan base to this genre. It’s easier said than done in this current system of things but…if you want to hear more and better music you gotta put into it! We as shred guitarists live, eat, drink and %*&^ this stuff because it makes us happy, and i am a fan as well, that’s what gives me room to talk. SHRED GUY records is the beginnings of a channel for all of us, a fresh soon to be ever growing and evolving source, so always go to SHRED GUYS site for updates, there will always be something new around the horizon.


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Anonymous said...

Adrian English is a worthless spamming piece of trash that should put a double-barrel 12 gauge in his mouth and pull both triggers. He just spammed this old shit on the 7 string site like the asshole that he is.

Anonymous said...

Haha... the faggot just got banned from the seven string forum for spamming. He posts pretending that he's a fan and just spams all of his garbage, including this page.

Anonymous said...

Completely talentless.