You are also classically trained, thanks to your mother. How has that helped you, and at the same time, do the discipline and technique create challenges within the rock genre?
My mom, being a classically trained pianist, showed me a lot about music theory and harmony. She taught me my third and fifth and how to have a lead line. I can use my third and fifth within the scale to create the harmony. It was hard for me to understand at first, but I figured out, “Count up this many frets and that’s where the harmony should be.” Mostly it was doing it by ear, hearing it and knowing when it’s wrong. Jinxx is classically trained and knows theory as well, so there’s a lot of times where I’ll come up with a part and write a harmony but we want it to go back and forth for thirds and fifths, or I’ll play up and he’ll go down to make it more interesting. He’ll come up with really cool harmonies, so it helps a lot having another player who understands it — and more than I do. As far as other techniques, Paul Gilbert has been a huge influence for me as far as style.
What is the difference between playing guitar and being a guitarist?
I guess anybody who plays can say that they play guitar, but if you want to be a guitarist, you’ve got to practice all the time and you’ve got to get good at it. It’s more than just having one and playing it.