Rob Balducci Interview (2007)
Hi Rob. We are here on the "Vine on the Guitar" section of Yuxexes magazine. I hope you are very well now. How's your life going these days?
I am doing very well. I am keeping busy with my band and with writing some new music. Thank you for inviting me for this interview.
You had a tour with Dave Weiner. How was it?
The tour went very well. I must say that " A Night Of Pure Guitar " was a success. Dave and I had a blast playing together. My band and Daves band hit it off very well. Dave and I plan on doing more dates in other cities in the future. Please stay tuned to our website for updates. www.robbalducci.com www.daveweiner.com
Did you play seperately or jammed together?
We both played seperate sets and then after my set Dave and I jammed together. We did a medley of songs, Baba O Reily (The Who), Whole Lotta Love and The Lemon Song (Led Zep), Carry on my wayward son (Kansas) and we did two full songs, I picked a Richie Kotzen song called “Losin My Mind” and Dave picked a Robin Ford song called “Rugged Road”. Dave is a great player and I enjoyed myself a lot. We seem to both come from the same place as far as music and guitar. We have the passion and we want to spread that passion all around!!
You had some tours with players like Richie Kotzen. How do you get those tours with others?
Well I have the pleasure of endorsing Cornford amps and Richie is a fellow endorser. I met Richie through Paul Cornford and Paul ended up booking a tour in the UK for Richie and I. I am a big fan of Richie and his music and it was a pleasure touring with him. I consider Richie a good freind now and we seem to hit it off. I ended up doing some more shows with him in LA around NAMM and we may plan to do some more this year in 2007 as well.
Some flyers of Rob's gigs
Let's speak about your last CD "Colour of Light". Usually, for many bands and musicians, the most important albums are their thirds like Sabbath, iron maiden, Satriani, you name it... I believe this is right for you, too. C.O.L. i liked more than your other stuff. How can you evoluate this situation?
Yes i believe that the third album plays an important role, but with me each album is just as important as each other. I would say that COL is my best work to date because with each new album my song writing gets better and developes into different things. I am a big believer in that each album I come out with has to be something different and cannot be a repeat of the first one. I feel I have achieved this with each new CD. I am proud to say that each of my cds have no filler tracks each song has its place on the cd and each song is just as important and meaningfull as the next. We i must say is not like most other artist. I am very proud of my catalog. The best is yet to come...
How can you describe C.O.L. with your own words?
The Color Of Light is an album of different emotions. I think it takes the listener on a journey. I also feel that with this CD you dont have to be into instrumental music to be a fan of it. I accomplished what I set out to do with this cd and that is to write good songs, songs that I feel that a listener will remember after hearing it. I wanted people to be able to hum the melodies back and recall them. I also wanted the songs to make people feel a certain way, whether it be sad or happy or angry.
If we look for the notes within the C.O.L., we can reach references to some other arts like cover artwork to Picasso paintings and the song called of the earth(-a vampire story) to novel of Anna Rice. How much are you into art?
I am into a lot of different things and art being one of them. I also enjoy reading and movies and tend to get ideas from songs by seeing a painting or a movie or by reading a book. Each song on everyone of my CDs is very special to me and they have a reference to something in my life. I read the Ann Rice novel “Interview With a Vampire”, the song " Of The Earth - (a vampire love story) was written about Lestat who is the main Vampire charactor in the novel. The song represents someone searching for someone to love and trying to attain a type of love that they just can't have and for Lestat this was a never ending journey. I feel that some of us as humans go through this search as well.
My most favourite song in C.O.L. (and whole Balducci stuff) is absolutely "Empress". Let me congratulate you for that track :) Does it has a story behind? How was that track born?
Thank so much for the kind words, i am glad you like this tune. Empress is one of my favorites as well and is one that we get a great response from while playing live. The song Empress was written for my wife Carina. Empress is a tarot card and this is what the songs means - Feel the ultimate female energy, for she is adorned as my wife. One who is in touch with each of our souls and all of creation, melt from her passion and feed from her breath...
If to be considered, song called "ciree3"...
Ciree3 was written for a very good friend of mine who lives in Austrialia. Ciree3 is her instant message name. She has helped me through some rough spots and has kept me on the right path. I feel we all need to find our path in life, one that makes us happy and the path that we were meant to be on.
...whats your opinion about electronic music, trip hop, rave etc.???
There are some bonus tracks on The Color Of Light that have some electronica type beat and stuff. I had a friend of mine do some remixes of two of the song.. I thought it to be interesting. I am a fan of a lot of different kinds of music. I think there is a place for all types of music.
Your whole discography is instrumental. Will we hear songs with vocals as Kotzen or Satch or Vai did before?
Well... I write the way i do because that is the way it comes out and is what I am feeling. I am not sure what the future holds but ya never know if the feeling is right there may be some singing on a song or two... but i have to wait till the feeling grabs me.
What are your thoughts about instrumental shred albums?
I am a big fan of good music whatever type of music it is. ofcourse as a guitar player I am a fan of shred guitar. A lot goes back to the origin though. I love anything that Paul Gilbert does. I am a big fan and I love his solo stuff and all the Racer X stuff. Nobody can top that and even comes close to it today.
I believe a different and mostly known producer like Andy Sneap or Steve Vai or Steven Wilson can bring a lot to your music and sound. What are your ideas about it?
Well first off my first two cds Balance and Mantra was both produced by the well known producer Ben Fowler. I just recently with COL went with co-producing the cd by myself and with my bass player and friend Ethan Meixsell. I am not against getting a producer. If i went with a more well known producer I think it would have to be somebody out of the context. A producer not known for guitar albums. This way what we came away with would be new and exciting.
If you had a chance for great deal with unlimited production budget, who would you work with as musicians and producer and where would you record it?
If i had the buget to do whatever I wanted, I must say I would record it where I did my first cd and some of my second cd at Avatar studios in New York. I would love to work with producer Rick Rubin or I would like Peter Gabriel to produce it. As far as a band I would have to say Dean castranova on drums and Dave Larue on bass. I would also like to have John Paul Jones play bass on some of it... I would love for Richie Kotzen to play on it as a guest spot and maybe sing a song. I would love for Paul Gilbert to do a guest spot as well...and Jeff Beck.
How proportion of improvisation does a typical Balducci song has?
I must say that almost all of the solos on The Color Of Light are improvised. I feel that you get exciting stuff that way. Live I tend not to play the same solo twice and leave spots for improvisation. The only bad thing about this is sometimes you are on and sometimes you are not lol.....
There are certain tunes that I work out the solos spot for.. most of the time if it is a melodic solo or something that has to be harmonized.
In those days, actually for a serious time, instrumental records are not that popular. Its hard publishing and moreover marketing&selling. Don't you think it is a big risk for you as a professional musician?
Yes, it is a very big risk and one not to be takin lightly. If I was in this for the money I would have quit a long time ago. I am into this for the art and the passion of the guitar and my music. I write this way because this is what I am feeling. It is very hard publishing this music and getting gigs and making a living. I dont recommend it for everyone...
Rob visits Ibanez Center
You are playing not for a short time. Has the time for a big world tour with some bands or artists? Eric Sardinas has done that with Vai and i think you can do this, too. Do you feel ready yourself for this type world tour?
Yes I feel that I am very ready for this. I just have to be given the opportunity. I would love to be on an opening spot for G3, I just have to be asked,,, so I am willing and able. I would love to do a major tour, it is hard to get the backing so it must be with someone who is more established and is willing to give me the shot. I can hold my own playing with anyone, I am confident of that for sure.
Some of Robs great Ibanez Guitars
Let's talk about guitars. You have extremely cool guitars. Especially red ibanez RBM. Totally dazzling. Sounds wonderful, too. How did you get ibanez for endorsement deal? How do those things happen? We have many readers who wonder about those things&dream about a special guitar for theirselves. Can you give us some details ;)
I am very lucky to have the support from Ibanez and all the other companies that I endorse. My thing is that I would be playing these instruments whether I was endorsed by them or not. I play Ibanez Guitars because they are the best in the world. It is a dream come true of mine to be endorsed with Ibanez.
I have been involved and endorsed with Ibanez for well over 10 years. I got the deal and started off small, with a percentage off on there merchandise and it worked up from there. I got the deal by be very persistant and sending in demos and working on my playing and getting my name out there. It is very hard work and I am proud of it. As far as who decides about endorsments. There are people in artist relations that deal with these sorts of things. if you log onto ibanez.com and look at there forum it kind of gives you a guidline of what you should do. I think there is a specific addess on where to send your playing demos to. Please check it out, they have a wonderful site and forum.
Dave Weiner and Rob visits Ibanez Center, Bensalem
You have several guitars. How did you play them while recording and playing live?
I have a nice collection of Ibanez guitars, my custom models as well as some vintage Ibanez guitars. When I get guitars made at the LA custom shop I tend to try and get different wood on each guitar etc.. So I have a basswood guitar, a mahogany body guitar, alder and I also have a very cool 7 string guitar. In would use a certain guitar for a certain song depending on the sound I was looking for.
Live is a little different, I usually have my favorites, right now my favorites is the RED one you talked about with the reverse headstock. I tend to use this one most and then come my green one which is also very awesome... Comfort is the main thing I pick for in what I am going to be using live. It is different depending how I am feeling on the day.
What do you think about Progressive rock&metal? What are your favourites, if you have?
I love progressive music, I would say Dream Theater, Tool. The originally masters RUSH. I also like Porcipine Tree.
Satriani, Vai, Pitrelli, Petrucci, John Patitucci, Zappa, Balducci... All of them are italian oriented. Is it a kind of secret to became a great player? If it works, i may think to change my name to an Italian name :)
Hahhaha lol.. yea thats funny, people often make that remark. I am not sure, i think it may have to do with eating Pasta!!!
How does it feel to be known and loved with your music to other countries, other lifes? Look, this interview is having with someone from Turkiye. Much much far where you are. Do you know that you are known in here? And how does it feel your songs are immortal while you will die someday?
I think it is really an honor and very special to be involved with you and to do this interview. I am not to much aware of my fans in Turkiye but it is nice to hear that there are people who like my music. I thank them and you for all the support. I find it to be so cool to travel to other countries when I can and see fans of my music. I went to London and Japan and to see people who are into my music is just great. I would love someday to be able to travel to Turkiye and meet and play for the fans. I think that my mission is accomplished if my music touches just one person and brings a smile to there face or touches them somehow. It is the gift of music.
Thats all right for this time Rob. May i get your last words plase...
I want to thank you and all your readers for the interest in my music and for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. Please feel free to contact me on through my website, it is great to hear from fans. I write back to everyone as soon as I can. Please log onto www.robbalducci.com and check for updates and join the robbalducci forum.