Guitarist Adrian Galysh Interview

Los Angeles-based guitarist Adrian Galysh is an in-demand solo artist, session guitarist, published author, and educator with an illustrious career spanning five studio albums – including his recent release Into The Blue.

With Into The Blue, Galysh departs from his usual progressive/instrumental style, diving deep into gritty blues-rock tracks accompanied by his own vocals, and also those of vocal powerhouse Kacee Clanton (Joe Cocker, Luis Miguel), who lends her sultry voice to the album as a guest artist and co-writer.

And while Into The Blue is an all-vocal blues-rock affair, fans of Galysh’s guitar-centric style will enjoy this very guitar-driven record. The album also features special guest performances by studio session ace Carl Verheyen (Supertramp), who plays on Galysh’s energetic version of the Junior Wells classic “Messin’ With The Kid,” and chicken picker Johnny Hiland, who takes a string- and mind-bending guest solo on Bobby Blue Bland’s “Further On Up The Road.”

The album’s rhythm section is rounded out by the stellar and authentic blues talents of drummer Joey Heredia (Stevie Wonder, Tribal Tech), and bassist Paul Loranger (Eric Sardinas).

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Guitarist Adrian Galysh Interview

Scott - Hi Adrian, thank you for agreeing to do an interview w/ my website Guitarz ...

AG - Thank you for having me.
Scott - Give our readers a short but descriptive label for your style of music.

AG - Definitely guitar-centric, my last album was a blues-rock record, but prior to that, I mainly wrote and recorded progressive instrumentals.

Scott - What is the name of your Newest Album and why the title?

AG - The new record is "Into The Blue", because it is my first blues based record.

Scott - What is the genesis for the Album?

AG - My 2013 release, Tone Poet, was a lot of work. It was epic in scope, with great production, lush layers of strings, percussion, keyboards and guitars. It was very time consuming and frankly, hard to make. Being self produced, the amount of time and effort put into all of the details of songs that would average 40-60+ tracks of instruments was exhausting. Inevitably, while doing interviews like this one, I would be asked, "So whats next for you, Adrian". The very thought of starting another project like Tone Poet was so daunting, and I didn't have an answer!

After the release and promotion for Tone Poet cooled down, I found myself pondering what my next record would be like, and the most attractive idea was to make a straight ahead blues influenced rock record. You know, 4-5 instruments, vocals, and that's it. So INTO THE BLUE was born.

Scott - What differentiates this album from your other recordings?

AG - Two things make it really different. First, there are no instrumental songs on Into The Blue. And second, there are straight ahead 12 bar blues tunes on here. I've never recorded a blues song. Certainly some blues-inspired instrumentals, but not like this.

Scott - How do you come up with your songs? Is it one song writer or more of a collaborated effort with other musicians?

AG - There are three covers on Into The Blue, so for those it was a matter of making them mine, which was easy since my band had been including them in our live set for years. The other songs were written by me and the vocalist, Kacee Clanton. Generally, I come up with the chord progressions and demo up the song as I write, tracking electronic drums, keyboards, and guitars. I'd send her the instrumental demos, to which she would write lyrics. Kacee would then come to my home studio where we'd record some scratch vocals to get a sense of the song's arrangement, which usually changed after I heard what she would come up with. The song, "Why Am I Singing The Blues" is the only song where I presented the title and some rough lyrics that Kacee re-wrote.

Scott - So Adrian, tell me a little bit of what you’ve learned about human nature during making this new production.

AG - Interesting question. For me, I learned that musically, as a guitarist, I've grown up and matured. Creating great phrases and melody and focusing on tone and feel have become both more important, and easier. I'm getting great takes much sooner than before, and I'm able to know when I should strive for a better performance an when I should accept the ones that I've recorded as simply being a snapshot of where I am at this point in my life.

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

AG - For me, the best song is "Why Am I Singing The Blues". The composition, arrangement, and solos are probably amongst the best I've ever done. Emotionally the performance from Kacee and myself really comes across, and I've had listeners tell me how it has impacted them in their lives.

Scott - Where do you live, play live, and  record?

AG - I live in Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley. It's where I do most of my gigging, and I have a home studio where I can record just about everything except drums.

Scott - Are there a lot of places to play your style of music in and around your area? If so, could you name some venues?

AG - Luckily my music encompasses a few different styles, blues, hard rock, prog... so I am able to perform at a number of venues and share the bill with a variety of artists which has included folks like Joe Bonamassa, Yngwie Malmsteen, Larry Carlton, George Lynch, Adrian Belew, Uli Jon Roth and a bunch of others. Specifically though, there is a club called The Baked Potato in Studio City that is world famous since the 70s and all sorts rock-jazz fusion is played play there nightly. I play there often.

Scott - How often when you start an idea for song, does it actually get finished?

AG - Funny, I usually have to tell myself that I am going to start writing a new record, then I walk in my studio, turn all the gear on grab a guitar and see what comes out. Sometimes I may be noodling and I get a germ of an idea, but usually I just go in with the intent to write and stuff happens. Kinda strange. However, I do do things to get the juices flowing, which may include playing around on the keyboards (usually an instrument like strings, organ, or a sample/loop may inspire the song), or I will literally steal from another song that I like... borrowing the chord progression or drum groove to get things started.

Scott - I was wondering if you ever hear music in your dreams and turn them into songs?

AG - Sometimes. It hasn't happened in a while, but i do seem to remember doing that once or twice.

Scott - Are you a schooled guitar player or a self-taught guitar player?

AG - Schooled. I took lessons when I was 12yo, and continued through college, eventually earning a music degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. I am always learning, and still take lessons every now and then.

Scott - Did You develop your style by concept or by messing around on the neck playing what sounded cool to you?

AG - Inevitably, I can only sound like me, but that will be influenced by everything I've listened to, learned, and practiced. So, often, someone will say "Adrian this song sounds like_____" or, "Your playing reminds me of ______".... and I'll say, "yeah, you're right". All of my influences are in there: Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Satriani, Vai, Eric Johnson, Uli Jon Roth, Ritchie Blackmore, Joe Bonamassa.... I can't help it.

Scott - So, what type of guitars do you play and why?

AG - I have a bunch, by my main rock axes are my Brian Moore/iGuitar Workshop C-55 and Adrian Galysh Signature C90F. I've been playing them for a long time, give me the tonal options I need, and play amazingly. For my jazz gigs I use a D'Angelico EXL-1. A Beautiful instrument!

Scott - What type of amps do you use? Do you use different amps for the studio vs live shows... If so, why?

AG - Currently, I use a Blackstar HT-100 head into a Marshall Vintage 1960 4x12 cabinet. This is mainly for live performing, because for the studio, I have to admit, I usually use the built in amp simulators in Logic Pro 9. The tone is great and the convenience make sit a no-brainer.

Scott - Do you have any endorsement with instrument and gear companies?

AG - Oh yes, I have had long relationships with Seymour Duncan pickups, SIT Strings, Brian Moore Guitars, Morley Pedals, and now Voodoo Labs, and D'Angelico Guitars.

Scott - What were your favorite recording artists and or bands a teenager?

AG - I loved the Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, and Van Halen. I still do!

Scott - Who have been your main influences on your career to date?

AG - I began playing after hearing Randy Rhoads on Blizzard of Ozz. After that I started to listen to everything I could get my hands on by Van Halen, Scorpions, Michael Schenker, Deep Purple.... but Uli Jon Roth really struck a chord with me. His phrases, tone, vibrato and technique were, and still are, bewildering. He's a huge inspiration, but I don't sound like him.

Scott - How has your guitar playing evolved over the years?

AG - Well, technically I'm better, and I find myself getting great first takes more often these days. I have a better sense of myself and my own style now, where before it could have seemed a bit derivative. Over the last 4 years I have grown leaps and bounds by studying and playing a lot of jazz. It's done wonders for my understanding of harmony, improvising and blues playing.

Scott - What are you listening to these days?
AG - A lot of jazz, including George Shearing, Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Raney, Johnny Smith, Henry Johnson, Herb Ellis and Howard Roberts.

Scott - How did this all come about?
AG - Four years ago I went to a party with my wife and there were these guys jamming on a bunch of hollow body jazz guitars, playing standards. I remember watching and thinking to myself, "I thought i was good, but i really can't do what they are doing.". At the end of the night one of the guys (who happened to be jazz monster Bruce Forman, let me play his Gibson L5, which played and sounded wonderful. For the next few weeks I couldn't stop thinking about that guitar or jazz! So I decided I would hunker down and learn five easy jazz standards. After that, five more, then five more... I spent long evenings practicing the chord changes, melodies and soloing over the changes. It was a slow process but I heard my self getting better and making breakthroughs almost nightly. My next goal was to book a gig playing solo jazz guitar, which I did. I now have a regular weekly jazz gig every Friday!

Scott - 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?

AG - Thanks for asking, I enjoy wine, wine tasting and cooking. Living close to Santa Barbara lets me visit and try a lot of wine on a regular basis. I've been to Tuscany and Chianti as well, where the wine is spectacular. I tend to enjoy old world French and Italian wines the most.

Scott - Adrian, 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.

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