Guitarist Eric Steckel Interview

In an era where pedalboards, laptops and samples have become commonplace, Eric Steckel goes against the grain and harkens his listeners back to the days when great guitars were played loudly through great amps. Hailed by many as the top rising star of Blues/Rock, Eric delivers a powerhouse performance that has left audiences in 22 countries (and counting) mesmerized. He brings an energy and passion to the stage that never disappoints and is a must see for fans of vintage guitar rock.

On Eric's latest studio album, "Black Gold," he takes listeners on a musical roller-coaster ride that embodies the human spirit and captures the emotions of daily life. His most diverse album to date, fans of vintage guitar rock will immediately fall in love with Black Gold. From soft, dynamic Blues ballads to heavy, low-tuned Rock anthems, Eric’s signature guitar style is front and center. No pedals, samples or drum machines. No apologies for turning it up to 11. This is rock the way they used to make it.

Courtesy Eric  -

Guitarist Eric Steckel Interview
Scott - Hi Eric, thank you for agreeing to do an interview w/ my website Guitarz ...

Eric - Thank you Scott for asking me to do this, and thank you for your patience as I was on tour overseas for a couple months!
Scott - Give our readers a short but descriptive label for your style of music.

Eric - We facetiously refer to it as "Bluesmetal", but now it is a title that is kinda sticking and becoming a very accurate way to describe what I do. Basically it's Blues, the way it sounds in my head. I've always since a very young age heard the electric guitar in a specific way in my head and it's taken me awhile to really dial that in, but I'm getting there in my old age. Ha, ha. In all seriousness, I have a lot of metal and hard rock influences and it makes its way out of my Blues playing.
Scott - What is the name of your New Album and why the title?

Eric -  My latest album is "Black Gold" and was recorded in Amsterdam and Nashville, my first transatlantic album of my whole 18 year career. "Black Gold" spoke to us during the recording process because we felt like we struck gold with this production team, but since the style was so heavy, we figured it had to be a bit "Black Gold" it was!
Scott - What is the genesis for the NEW Album?

Eric - "Black Gold" was all about dynamics. We wanted a blend of my melodic ballads and also my heavy guitar anthems for the rockers out there that also follow me. As my fanbase evolves and we get a younger crowd, we also still have many true Blues lovers in our audiences every night that want to hear me rip on a good slow Blues. So our goal with the last album was to please my entire fanbase and offer folks a very dynamic and diverse record.
Scott - What differentiates this album from your other recordings?

Eric - The approach to recording this album was more commercial. Instruments were layered, click-track was used, everything was double-tracked in stereo and we spend many months making it, instead of previous records recording everything live over only a couple weeks without much polishing.

Few young guitarists can improve on Eric Steckel's impressive resume. Eric's debut CD, "A Few Degrees Warmer", was recorded live in April 2002 when he was just 11 years old. It wasn’t long until he appeared at the 2003 Sarasota Blues Festival where Eric's powerful set became the talk of the day. Before the night was over Eric was introduced by British Blues/Rock legend, John Mayall as the youngest guitarist ever on stage with the Bluesbreakers. Eric left a lasting impression on Mayall and, in 2004 Mayall invited Eric to appear in Sweden, Norway and Denmark during The Bluesbreakers’ Scandinavian Tour. In early 2005, Eric traveled to Los Angeles where he joined Mayall for session work on the "Road Dogs" record.

Eric then spent the following years filled with marquee festival dates and sold out concert tours in Holland, Germany, Belgium and Italy. He opened for Johnny Winter at The Paradiso in Amsterdam, thrilled audiences at the Tegelen Bluesrock Festival and shared the prime-time bill with Gregg Allman at the legendary Pistoia Blues Festival.

Courtesy Eric

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

Eric - I get in a writing zone and churn out lots of original material in a matter of a few days or weeks. It flows through me quickly when I hit that zone. But it's hard to get in that zone sometimes. You have to really remove yourself from modern society and really conjure up memories of things you've been through and the epic moments in your life that people can relate to and make for good material in your songwriting.
Scott - So Eric, tell me a little bit of what you’ve learned about human nature during making this new production.

Eric - Well, since the album was recorded across several continents with people that speak all different languages, I can say that I learned we are all basically the same. We might speak differently or look a little different, but we all want the same things for ourselves and our families. I did the album in Nashville, TN and Amsterdam, Netherlands and the two producers could've been brothers. We all have the same worries, struggles and obstacles no matter what side of the world we live on. Music brings us together and it always will.
Scott - What are your personal highlights on the new album? Why?

Eric - I'm really proud of the guitar and drum sounds on this record and think we really nailed that. On previous albums of mine I've always felt when one instrument sounded huge, something else was buried. Truth be told, that is the way most albums work. It's not easy to have everything cut through with tons of definition, but on Black Gold we achieved that without much mixing. The sounds from the amps and from the kit were happening without much work in post. We dialed it in right...from the beginning.
Scott - Where do you live, play live, and  record?

Eric - I reside in Los Angeles, CA these days. But not for the reasons many people might think. I'm not out there to network or be "discovered"....those days are over. I've already built my thing. I'm there for the weather, the cars and the girls....haha. I record normally in Nashville or LA or NYC, but lately I've been recording overseas more since there is a new crop of young talent over there I like to work with.

Throughout his teens and young adulthood, Eric released several critically acclaimed live and studio albums. 2006's "Havana" was a hit among Blues guitar lovers and tracks from this album are still featured often on SiriusXM's Bluesville station. 2008's "Feels Like Home" featured the talented Duane Trucks on drums and recalled the 70's southern rock era. Hits from this album such as "The Ghetto" and "Just Walk Away" receive regular airplay to this day. In 2012, after years on the road, Eric entered the studio once again to record a powerful modern Blues record. "Dismantle The Sun" emerged. Last year, Eric embarked on a quest to record a fully transatlantic studio album with some of the finest producers, engineers and musicians he knew. This led to "Black Gold" being recorded in both Nashville, Tennessee and Amsterdam, Netherlands and is Eric's most successful album to date and a fan favorite.

Road-tested and seasoned from 19 years on stage and in the studio, yet young enough to deliver the passion and feeling of the Blues to a wider audience, Eric is a skilled player with a powerful voice and a winning personality.

Courtesy Eric

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?

Eric - I've toured in 25 countries to date and Blues/Rock music is loved and accepted almost everywhere. I never have a problem finding great venues and festivals to do my thing.
Scott - How often when you start an idea for a song does it actually get finished?

Eric - If the song is quality, the whole thing comes together in one day for me. If not, I usually scrap the idea and start from 0 again. I want the audience to feel the song in a natural way. I don't like manufactured hooks.
Scott - I was wondering if you ever hear music in your dreams and turn them into songs?

Eric - Absolutely!!!

Eric has been featured in Classic Rock Magazine, Blues Rock Review Magazine, Maxazine, Nightwatcher's House of Rock, The Allentown (PA) Morning Call, The Doylestown (PA) Intelligencer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The (NY) Times-Herald Record, Music Head Magazine, The Warren (NJ) Reporter Forum, Guitar World Magazine, The Easton (PA) Express, The Bridgewater (NJ) Courier Times, The Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, the Lancaster (PA) Sunday News and The Florida Times Union. International press includes features in the Haagshe Courant, De Telegraaph, BluesMagazine (NL) and a MusikMaker (NL) feature. Eric was also featured in a Comcast CN8 TV News Extra and he has appeared on NBC 10 in Philadelphia, Comcast CN8, Fox Philadelphia, SNN6 in Sarasota and Reuters TV.

Courtesy Eric

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

Eric - Gov't Mule and the Allman Brothers were huge influences in my early years. I was a southern boy at heart. That music spoke to me. The bottleneck slide and the tone of the southern rock players hit my heart. Still does. These days I'm a bit more into the harder side of rock, but that southern influence never leaves my playing.
Scott - Who have been your main influences on your career to date?

Eric - John Mayall is and was my biggest mentor and influence in my career. I owe him so much. Many other guitarists have given me great advice like Hubert Sumlin, BB King and others.
Scott - How has your guitar playing evolved over the years?

Eric - My playing has become more tone-ful. I listen to old recordings and I hear the notes and the chops, but I don't hear that I'm playing the amp as an instrument. These days I'm more into the communication between my hands, the guitar and the amp. There is a special relationship there and the amp is just as important as the axe itself in getting the feel and the tone.
Scott - What are you listening to these days?

Eric - Lots of heavy stuff in the car. Also some electronica when I'm home in LA driving the back roads for fun. I try to listen to stuff that is vastly different to my own music. I love Porcupine Tree and any Steven Wilson stuff lately.
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?

Eric - I'm a car lover. When I (rarely) have time off at home, I'm always driving the M3 like a madman through the hills of Malibu/Calabasas/Laurel Canyon or renting other exotic cars to test drive. All my tours in Germany have gotten me into the high-end German car thing, especially the 911 Turbo Porsche's. But besides cars and guitars, I mainly focus on my music and making it the best I possibly can.
Scott - Eric, 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.

Eric - Thanks, Scott. I appreciate anyone reading who loves great guitar music, and in this modern world we live in, I just pray we keep this music alive and don't let DJ's take over the world! :)

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