Interview with

1.- When did u start to play guitar, and what bands influenced you to develop your style?

I started playing guitar when I was 6 years old. I have to admit that I was WAY into Elvis when I was very young because my mom had a bunch of his records. I still think he was great - The King! Then I got my 1st KISS album when I was about 7 and I knew that this was going to be what I wanted to do when I grew up. My mom actually took me to see KISS in 1977 on the Love Gun tour and it was amazing. After KISS went disco (and all my friends stopped listening to them) I found out about AC/DC because my friend's older sister got Back In Black. I immediately went out and bought every single album. Then I heard Alcatrazz in 1984 and was hooked for a very long time on Yngwie and because of him started listening to all the Shrapnel guys (Paul Gilbert in Racer X, Vinnie Moore, Tony MacAlpine etc.). Plus I loved all the "Euro - metal" of the time like Gary Moore, MSG, Whitesnake, Dio, Rainbow, Deep Purple. I guess nowadays that isn't metal at all but back then it was considered very heavy stuff. I still like all those artists now.

2.- You´re considered pretty much a "hard rock" guitar player, do u feel good with that description?

Thats a pretty decent description I guess. I have played cover songs my whole life in many different styles, so I am able to do other things besides hard rock. 2 years ago I was in a funk/R&B band. And I have done many acoustic gigs. Plus I had a Metallica tribute band called ALCOHOLICA that was really more metal than hard rock. (Our singer Darrell Roberts is actually the lead guitarist in WASP now.) Really though, when you live in Los Angeles, there are so many great guitar players here that it makes you have to be very versatile in order to get work. Most people say, however that even when I play other styles that I still sound very 'hard rock' so I guess you are right in calling me that.

3.- How do u feel playing with such a legend as JSS?

Legend huh? Ha - did he write these questions? No - I'm kidding! Jeff and I were friends through other things before we started working together in this band. We play basketball together every week so its more than just a work relationship. It is great to look over on-stage and see someone who can actually sing high parts and sound great doing it. I have worked with other singers long ago who could never quite sing in key when they tried to go high. Plus I love the funk and R&B influence that he has instead of sounding like some average metal screamer guy. Playing in Talisman with him has been great too...Jeff is happy to have another American in the band who finally understands his jokes. He is truly a great person though, and I'm sure we will be working together in the future for a long time. I actually saw him sing with Yngwie in 1986 back when I was 15 and Jeff was in his early 50's!

4.- U also participated in the latest Rob Rock CD, can u tell us something about that?

My close friend is drummer Glen Sobel who has played with Impellitteri for many years. I have known Chris and Rob for a long time through Glen. Rob and I e-mail each other every so often to find out what the other is doing, since he lives in Florida and I don't see him much. He called me a couple years ago and asked if I wanted to play a guitar solo on his 2nd solo cd and I said yes before he even finished asking the question. Rob is honestly one of the nicest, coolest, most down to earth people I have ever met in the music business. And the most crushing power metal singer in the world. It was also great to have an opportunity to work with producer Roy Z. who is quickly becoming a legend in the metal world. I would love to do something again with Rob someday, so we will see what happens.

5.- Which is your favourite band now?, and your all time fav band/cd?

I actually still listen to a lot of the same music I did when I was younger that I mentioned before but I have to say my all-time favorite is Glenn Hughes. I have every recording he's ever done and somehow he freakishly keeps getting better and better. It's amazing how some guys lose their voice as they get older but he sounds even better now. I also have gotten into Jorn Lande a lot lately. His solo cd's are just killer. I still love Whitesnake (Ready An' Willing is one of my favorites)...the new TNT cd is great. You can see that I really like good singers. I like a lot of stuff that Harem Scarem does. I have every Racer X cd... Paul Gilbert rules! Badlands and Blue Murder (John Sykes is one of the greatest) are still things I listen to a lot...and as far as new bands go I really love Hoobastank and like Disturbed a lot. I could never pick just one favorite cd though...there are way too many!

6.- Tell us a little bit about your equipment

For the guitars- I still use the same 1972 yellow Stratocaster that I got in 1986. It's got alot of wear on it now but still plays and sounds great. I really do believe I own the best guitar in the world! It has DiMarzio Virtual Vintage solo pickups in it (they scream!) and a brass nut but other than that it has no modifications (like scalloped fretboard or anything). I've got 2 other Strats - 1972 Blue and 1974 Red both with the same pickups and specs as the yellow one. 2 years ago I got a black 1974 Gibson Les Paul Custom that I outfitted with DiMarzio Virtual PAF's and I have fallen in love with this guitar too. You can hear it alot on Ken Tamplin's WAKE THE NATIONS cd. I also used it for all the rhythm parts on the upcoming JSS cd that I will talk about later. I also use a Takamine 6 string acoustic that can be seen on the Live At The Gods DVD. And I have an Oscar Schmidt nylon string too.

For amps- When I play here in L.A. I still have a mid-1980's solid state Ampeg guitar head (SS-140C) that totally screams! I use it in conjunction with a big rack full o' stuff including a Lee Jackson Perfect Connection preamp and power amp, 2 DBX compressors, a Rocktron Intellifex, and an Alesis Quadraverb. The whole system is switchable with a Lake Butler Sound Micro-Mitigator switching unit. It's actually 2 separate guitar rigs running at the same time. I have it set so the Ampeg runs through one Marshall cab (with Celestion 65's) and the Perfect Connection rig (which uses 12AX7 tubes) runs through another Marshall (with Vintage 25 greenbacks). The combination of tube rig for warmth and solid state for crunch just tears your face off! It's all older stuff and quite bulky but I cant seem to give it up because it sounds so damn good.

However when I go on the road I use a Line 6 POD 2.0 that I plug into the power amp input of a rental tube amp (whatever I get). The POD is the single greatest invention for guitarists in the last 15 years. Thats all you hear on the Live At The Gods cd and it sounds HUGE! I got a POD XT as well but I actually like the sound of the older one for gigs a little bit better. I also own an old Mesa Boogie Studio.22 1X12 combo amp that I use for smaller gigs in conjunction with my POD.

7.- When I heard the "Live At Gods" CD, I thought that Prism would be a hard rock CD, but instead I found a record full of slow tempo songs and ballads, why did you follow through that direction on Prism?

I guess you listened to them in the wrong order! Haha! Prism was actually written and mostly finished when Jeff and I started working together. I really had nothing to do with the style of that album. Most of the songs Jeff had written long ago and finally decided to record them. He had done all the rhythm guitars himself when I came in. The only song I played ALL the guitars on was the Sly Stone cover with Glenn Hughes. However, fear not because the new cd coming this year (most likely called Lost In The Translation) will be ALOT heavier. I co-wrote 3 songs on it with Jeff and I play most rhythms on this one. It will have Glen Sobel playing drums and he did an amazing job. Neal Schon will be a guest on this one too...I'm sure everyone reading this knows Jeff and Neal have a new band together. I am very excited to hear the outcome of this disc. We are about 70% finished recording now...and it will be mixed in Boston again by John Ellis who did both Prism and the Gods cds. Hopefully it will be out in September if all goes as planned.

8.- Please tell us about the Queen tribute DVD u filmed last year (which, BTW, is awesome)

Thanks alot! One of things we got asked to play last year was the Queen fan club Convention that is an annual event in Wales. We were just happy to have a chance to do a small mini-tour of England at that same time doing our regular JSS set and this Queen gig helped us to do that. Mr, Soto is a HUUUGE Queen fan himself and was really happy to get the chance to sing all the songs he loved growing up. I am not really much of a Queen fan (I wish it had been a Deep Purple convention!) so for me it was really difficult since I knew NO Queen songs other than the ones I heard on the radio. I have none of their albums. So I took a few months and buried myself in the tunes. We decided to NOT be like a tribute band in the sense of being exact. Instead, we wanted to keep the spirit of the original songs but make them sound like our band doing them. When we played the show we were only filming it for ourselves with no intent to make a dvd. But our bassist (and video guru) Gary Schutt edited together a few different camera angles and the end result was much better than we ever thought. John Ellis did a great job on the sound and Jeff got permission from the Queen "authorities" to release it. I can say I have much more appreciation for Brian May as a guitarist now than I ever did before. He wrote great guitar lines. At the present time I am learning a whole new batch of Queen since we were invited back to play the convention again this year. This time with a friend of mine doing the drumming named Dave Dzialak from my home town of Buffalo, New York. I don't think there are any plans for a dvd for this year though.

9.- Anything to say to your fans in Chile and to the visitors of

I actually have fans in Chile?? Hahaha. I would LOVE to go down and play in Chile. It sounds like a great country to visit. Please everyone keep an eye out for our new Talisman DVD coming later this year from performances in Sweden and Belgium last year. And everyone go buy (don't download!) the new JSS cd when it comes out in the fall. Also look for the Moonstone Project out of Italy that I play one guest solo on with my friend (and sometimes bandmate) Graham Bonnet. Please don't forget to visit and sign my guestbook. Thanks again for this interview and I hope to see everyone on tour very soon!!!!!