You said on your site for your album “All of my songs were written to be "songs". In this direction, hows your opinions about new generation shredders like matthias eklund, rusty cooley, marcel coenen etc.
I can’t comment on any specific player. That’s not my place to do so. No one really has the right to judge anyone. Everyone does their own thing and that should just be accepted. Live and let live I say. But generally, I think it’s a good idea for any musician to try to develop their own original sound as they’re developing their craft. For new players that are learning to shred, I also must say don’t forget about phrasing and feel as well. That is way more important than speed. Study the blues for a while.
When we look for credits we see that words “Written, produced & engineered by Dave Weiner”. You played bass and keyboards also. And what we see is very qualified consequence :) How could it be? How did you learn to make a good guitar songs and produce them?
I only played bass on 3 songs on my cd. I’d hardly call myself a bassist. I just knew how I wanted the bass to sound for those songs and it wasn’t difficult to achieve so I took care of it. As for keyboards, there aren’t any real keys or piano parts. I use the keyboard more for composing orchestral arrangements and synthetic drum sounds. I did actually play the parts live instead of using midi, it just produced a better sounding part; more human and responisve to the song. For example, the orchestral parts in “Monument Shine” and the strings in “Tourmaline”.
As for writting and producing, that took a while, but it started with a vision. I had. I always knew how I wanted my music to sound, I just never developed it until I sat down to make STSA. It was a learn as you go kind of thing on the producing side. As I said, i started with a vision of how I wanted the songs to sound, then would build extra parts that would compliment the songs and make them into productions that gave soundscapes and added interest to the other parts. But the goal from the beginning was to make good songs from front to back, whether vocals or guitar was going to be the main “voice”. None of the lead parts were done until the tracks were what I considered “songs” instead of jamming vamps.
How does it feel to be a guitar player from unknown player to a Grammy honored guitarist with endorsers and fans?
Of course it feels great to be recognized for the work I’ve done. It gives me a bit of selfish justification. Because as a musician, you don’t punch out at 5 o’clock. I work from when I wake up to when I go to sleep; many times 7 days a week and many weeks and months without a paycheck. So to have certain acclamades and endorsements as a “reweard” and supprort for the hard work certainly feels nice.
And the fans are the real reward. No artist is succesful without fans. The fans I’ve met over the last 7 years have been just awesome. Very welcoming and supportive. I interact with as many fans in as many ways as possible as much as I can; through my website and forum, on myspace, at shows and through email. It’s the least I could do to give something back to the people who have helped develop my career. I show my appreciation and gratitude as much as possible and am forever grateful.
How do you find your own guitar tones. I mean there are a lot of players with famous others. But it doesnt work on you.
Every musician should start developing an original sound from the beginning. It’s a long and costly process but is necessary. Gear certainly helps, but’s its really in the fingers, in the manner in which you physically touch the instrument. That has more to do with your sound than anything else.
As for my sound, I had an epiphony one day. I was tired of playing and having the notes be “covered in dirt”. The notes just weren’t clean and detailed enough. So I decided to change that. I started religiously practicing with just a clean channel and not effects. I’d make sure everyhting was played with great intricacy. Once that was achieved, I was ready to switch back to the distorted channel. When I’d hit the dirty channel, I found I was using way too much gain. Gain is very fun to play with and makes things a bit easier, but it was just creating “dirt”. So every since then, my lead tone consists of a dirty channel that has only about 50% gain on it. That left me with enough gain but still have things be nice and clean and detailed. That’s what I do with any amp I’m playing through.
What was your first expressions while you you were in Turkey for the Vai concert in the year 2000? What were you waiting for and what did you find?
I had a great time there. Very beautiful culture and customs. I met many warm and friendly people both in 2000 and last year in 2005 when I was there again.
Wont you tour (or something like this) for “Shove the Sun Aside”? Do you have a live band to perform those songs?
Actually, as I’m writing this, I’m in a 15 passenger van with my band. We’re on my very first solo tour in support of STSA. We’re out with Rob Balducci and his band. This tour is “A Night of Pure Guitar” and we’ll be doing many legs in the US and hopefully get overseas in the near future. We’re having an absolute blast and the shows are going incredibly well.
You have graduated collage from the department of accounting. But you had chosen to be a musician. Is this a certain crossroad needs to have a big courage? Your family might be waiting you to be typical father with a regular job, not to go for tours with a rock band :)
Yes, deciding to become a full time musician is not for the faint of heart. As I said earlier, it’s more hard work than any other job you’ll encounter, there’s tons of insecurities and down time. But the sacrifices are worth it when a song is completed, a show is performed, a new fan is met, a cd sold, etc.
My family of course had concerns about it, that’s why I went to college and earned an accounting degree. So that I’d have something to fall back on if music didn’t work out. That helped set my parents’ minds at ease. But once they heard my cd and saw that they were selling, they’ve said there’s no way I can ever stop making music. Even if I have to get a “regular” job, I need to continue making music. And I will.
Can you mention of your band with two albums called “slap in theface” and “mindless banter” ? What was the name of the band, what kind of music we you doing in those times?
This was a band I started when I was 13. That was the hayday of the “hair bands” and that’s pretty much what we did. The band was called “Sunset Strip”. It was all kids and we had so much fun. We’d play parties and in people’s basements. Very fun times.
Since 1999, you are with Steve Vai. How is goin’ on with him? As a player next to him, can you describe how all those things happening? You know, song writing, performing, rehersals, tours everything...
Playing with Steve is always an honor. It’s always educational too. He has done it all. He’s been a great mentor. I can’t really tell you how Steve writes his music, that’s personal to him, just like it is to any artist. Everyone does it differently. For tours, we rehearse as much as needed. Most of the time, everyone has their parts very well prepared so rehearsals are very easy. Even when we have to sit and work on a part for hours, it’s still a blast.
Those days, going on life as just an un-mainstream musician is very hard. And lots of young players dream about being like Vai, Satriani, Van Halen and even you are. How much possibility do you think anyone has?
Everyone has the same chances as anyone else it just depends on the product you put out. Good music sells itself no matter where you live or what your age or sex is. If you go the instruemtnal route, of course the market is much smaller than that of a band with a vocalist. But you just need to follow your heart.
After your album release, you increased the time with Vai Band. How and when will your next solo project be? What should (or shouldnt also) we wait for ?
After this tour, I’ll be finishing the Trio record. We don’t have a name yet so I just keep referring to it as the Trio project. It’s the bassists and drummer from my solo band. We’re doing a more jam type record. Basically just getting in the studio with a few parts, play the form through, one guy takes a solo, play the form again, another solo, etc. Really grass roots kind of stuff. All improv. That should be out by October. Then, I’ll be recording the follow up to STSA that should be out mid 2007.
Lets talk about gears :) You have an endorsement from ibanez. You had mentioned details on your site. But i wonder its contents. What was your limits on this agreement? For instance, can you use another brand of guitar or take a picture with it? How many guitars will you get from ibanez?
My contract with Ibanez is exclusive meaning I can’t play a different guitar live or do any promotional shots with any other brand of guitar. I’m totally fine with that because I love my Ibanez 7 strings and would still be playing Ibanez guitars for my 7 string purposes even without a contract.
As for the terms of the contract, they’re all different. We’ll be doing 2 new custom guitars by the end of this year. After that, it’s up in the air.
But what i want to learn is, how do you choose your guitars? In past and now. What specifications must they have? Do you use them with regular pick ups or custom made ones?
All my custom 7 strings feature maple necks, just because I prefer that over rosewood or ebony. The necks are custom shaped to my hands. Basically, they are a bit rounder than stock Universe necks and a bit thinner width wise on the board than a stock RG neck. The wood for the bodies change constantly. I like to have a variety around for recording as they all sound different. So I have basswood, alder, mahogony and swamp ash. The pickups are all DiMarzio, mostly stock, but sometimes we’ll do custom ones if I’m not getting the sound I want out of stock pickups. I use many different kinds, Paf 7s, Blaze 7, Air Nortons, Tone Zones, etc. On the newest guitar, we’re using a D Sonic 7 in the bridge, a Blaze single coil in the middle and a Fred 7 in the neck which will be the first time a Fred 7 will be used in the neck. Should sound very cool!
What is more important to have a unique tone? Players hand that had spent hours and hours on an instrument or giant rack& systems for thousands dollars.
As I said earlier, the tone is in the fingers. That’s an absolute truth. It takes a while until you discover the tone your fingers possess, but it’s there. I’ve seen Vai pick up a Squire strat through a Pignose, it still sounds like Vai. So I’d say it’s important to just take your favorite guitar through your favorite amp and develop your sound that way. Then start adding in effects and racks if you want. You’ll notice then if it changes your tone or not and if you want to change it. But start grass roots, just your fingers on a guitar.
Thanks for the interview Dave! Keep rockin!
Thanks a lot, Baris
Baris SAHIN, 2006