Guitarist Kara James Gordon

"One of the most prolific young players I've ever seen. ~Joe Satriani

Kara Gordon is called all sorts of things at his gigs, a Maori gypsy, the white Hendrix, a musical genius, part man - part guitar, a mystic playing straight from his soul.

One thing is for sure - the man can play. In the process of learning to play Kara has traversed the globe seeking out guitar greats to learn from, fueled by his ability to master different musical genres from jazz, to blues, classical to hard rock. This rare multi-vernacular ability has shaped his distinct signature sound. Kara Gordon; "I love the energy of rock, the precision of Neo-classical metal and the feel and roots of blues and Jazz, I'm always pushing techniques and barriers, fusing old school and modern techniques to shape my own voice" GAANZ; "With an explosive yet sensitive style". Kara's spine tingling feel has been nourished by his quest to be open to and learn from all musical experiences. His journey has taken him from busking street corners in New York to immersion in flamenco and rasiguado in a hut in Spain where guitar was the only common language,to swinging in the shadow of Django Rhineheart touring France with the Hot Club, to opening for Ozzie Osbourne to a stadium crowd showcasing his heavy rock shredding. Kara Gordon; "The lowest moment was being so poor that I could only afford one meal a day, that's when I bumped into Reggie Houston. I was busking on the streets of New York - he said "Can you play any jazz son?" So I did, and he invited me onto the New Orleans Jazz orchestra and I was eating properly again and playing to huge jazz festival audiences" Kara returned to New Zealand in his early 20s, and established himself as a regular on the Auckland music scene. Recently his guitar skills have been sought out by the international music scene and he has been selected to open at the rock legend packed Rock2Wellington concert and to feature at the upcoming international guitar virtuoso extravaganza.

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Guitarist Kara James Gordon

Scott - Hi Kara, thank you for agreeing to do an interview w/ my website Guitarz What's been up with you over the last couple years? Can you give us some kool highlights?

Well the last few years in 2008 I was a winner of a rock guitar comp down here and had the pleasure of opening for Ozzie Osbourne with a cool guitar shred solo went in worldwide dean guitars shred search as won by Dimebag Darrell in the 80s  and out of thousands got in top 15 , then went on to play guitar for Glenn  Hughes of Deep Purple for an awesome guitar festival. 2009 I had the pleasure of jamming with the California guitar trio, Guy Pratt and Tony Levin, 2011 opened for Elton john with a wicked shred solo in front of 30 000 people. 2012 toured new Zealand, Australia as guitar player with Alabama 3 (wrote soundtrack to Sopranos), my band the wreckage opened for Slash then we toured Germany and played gig in London with Alabama 3 as well as recorded album . 2013 toured NZ with well known collaboration band fly my pretties. 2015 payed Byron bay blues fest and opened for George Clinton with my band the Triptonites . And since then recorded this blues e.p . And a few other projects too.And all sorts of session stuff.
Give our readers a short but descriptive label for your style of music.

I come from a session backround so anything really , but for this record its mainly a blues album . but in general I think its blues rock shred and a little bit of country chicken pickin stuff ha ha .
Where is your music scene and what clubs do you play?
Anywhere and everywhere from little clubs in nz and Australia to blues jazz festivals and opening for bigger acts ha ha anything we can find really.

What is the name of your New Album and why the title?

Its called settle the score . its the name of the single on the record and I think as a musician we always gotta settle the score with someone
What is the thought process for the NEW Album?

A wanted to go back to my roots in the blues and have somethings I could tour anywhere on the planet to pull off solo or with a band. Plus my heart and soul is with the blues something about the limitations makes good discipline and makes me focus on tone and simplifying things. plus as a shredder we always get told we got no feel so this record is saying well actually I come from the most heartfelt emotional style the blues.
During the writing and recording process, is there anybody that you trust that can give you honest feedback on your musical endeavors?

I was fortunate to record with good friend of mine Barnaby Weir who indeed was a great guy to discuss with. I also have some other great blues musician buddies I got some good feedback from and my old man who is pretty much a tough grumpy old geezer been listening to blues and collecting records since the 60s ha ha.

What differentiates this album from your other recordings?

Its showing just my bluesier side my other recordings all have traces but this is my pure blues record.

What are your personal highlights on the new album? Why?

I love the settle the score groove and riff based stuff. What I went for was to have a blues e,p with some cool solo acoustic, cool lap-side tune, cool band ballad with electric and another cool riff based groove in bad man. I loved soloing in all these tunes(of course) and it was an absolute pleasure having Harpo Strangelove aka Nick Reynolds from Alabama 3 on harmonica. So much love for those guys and his harp playing is world class.

With the advent of Pro Tools, and it being more and more accessible to artists, it has changed the way bands record. Was the new album recorded in the traditional way or the new skool way?

Was recorded old school in a real studio . to be honest Im no tech head and wish I had a good pro tools studio and knew how to work it ha ha . But yeah due to technology, we as musicians have had to adapt... gone are the days of big advances... its now a more "diy" world in today's music scene.
How do you come up with your songs?

With this recording in terms of lyrics I was kind of trying to have references to the traditional blues stories . e.g in bad man it talks of having a play off with the devil so to keep my soul which is a bit different from Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil and I honestly as in terms of riffs just had a jam on some things and went with what felt most natural.

What type of guitarz do you play?

I generally play Lancaster guitars made of 30,000 year old native kauri wood.  Much like a Strat with Lancaster pickups which have a built in overdrive based on a ibanez tube screamer. for acoustic on the record a really cool martin that belongs to my friend Barnaby Weir.

What type of amps do use in the studio vs live?

Pretty much a fender bassman like thing from the 80s has a great tone
How often when you start an idea for song, does it actually get finished? Is it one song writer or more of a collaborated effort with other musicians?

As for this record I wrote em all . to be honest  i wrote thee songs pretty quick as I had booked the studio a week before ha ha . If I have pressure and a deadline songs come out easy I knew this hence why I did it that way ha ha.
Are you a schooled guitar player or a self-taught guitar player?

I am schooled however I think in the blues primarily I come from a more self taught place . I initially started self taught and I think as a self taught player in the blues you have a bit more advantage as you really mostly on your ears emotions and getting great tones. more subconscious then thinking too much about theory.
Did You develop your style by concept or by messing around on the neck playing what sounded cool to you?

Prob a bit of both and of course transcribing learning solos from my heroes and utilizing concepts and techniques from them. I like to learn stuff from country, blues rock, fusion and metal players get the best techniques and apply 'em to other styles too (of course in good taste and subtlety)
Nowadays with social media, YouTube and streaming service, a lot of artists deplore the fact that recorded music doesn’t sell like it used to. How do you feel about that? Has it helped or hindered you?
Well I ain't flying helicopters to LA every week ha ha so not much has effected me. However, I have been more diverse in my styles and projects and I have used it as more of a tool to get people to my live shows. I think its really made me more of a live artist even more if anything.
Do you tour or any upcoming tours?

I'm currently touring New Zealand with a guy called Fabrizio Canale who is primarily a street performer. But don't let that fool ya ...dude plays top class dobro harmonica and sings like a man possessed. Its been great to play on the road with a guy like this. I come from a more electric blues world hes like Robert Johnson on steroids ha ha been great to jam and great to learn from his approach to the blues. Looking at touring U.K and Europe in July and hopefully looking atthe US around that time too.

What are you listening to these days?

Ha ha to be honest as of late I've gone in a real country sort of place Brad Paisley, Johnny Hiland, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed . I go through phases a couple of months ago I was in a gypsy jazz phase and trying to learn from Django , Birelli Lagrene and Stochello Rosenberg, I guess I'm a music guitar nerd I listen to and learn from what challenges me

Please give us three top musical goals you would like to achieve this year.

Well I want to tour the world with this blues record have a great time and get recognized as a top guitar player, songwriter and singer ha ha. I guess its the same goal as when I was a kid to be king of guitar like my hero Jimi Hendrix ha ha.
I also don't want to forget this... Tell us about any other things you may be in involved in or any special interest besides music that is close to your heart.

Well its a pretty funny world but I have done some fights as a boxer . even done a thing where i play a big guitar solo followed by a 3 round boxing match. I been into boxing for 7 years and had about 12 fights now its helped me with confidence, staying in good shape and putting me right out of my comfort zone . I also see a boxers life similar to a musicians we bust our balls to get where we wanna go and have to fight to get ahead ha ha.
After all that discussion about music and the industry, what’s the meaning of life?

Having fun, being positive and leaving a legacy behind when you ain't around.
I would like to thank you for your time and candor with our loyal readers and keep on fighting the good fight to bring us some awesome music.
Thanks a lot Scott I am deeply honored some of the guys you've worked with have been and are my guitar inspiration thank you for your time.


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