If you don’t know the name Steve Hunter (you probably do) you certainly have heard his music. Known by many as “The Deacon” he’s played on several Alice Cooper albums and also for Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel (he’s on “Solsbury Hill”), David Lee Roth and Aerosmith, among many, many others. Over that entire time he’s also done a ton of solo work and established himself as a serious blues player. He took time out of his very busy schedule to talk with us about the blues, his Gretsch and the new DVD/CD.
You recently shared a great story on meeting BB King. What other players have you learned from and what advice would you offer to someone who came up to you today and wanted to play the blues?
I’ll have to say that the advice BB gave me was absolutely the best: learn from recordings but don’t try to copy. Make everything you learn, your own. The idea is to develop your own voice based on what you learn. I might add that if you want to be really good at a particular type of music, say blues for example, the best thing you can do is listen…listen to it all the time and eventually you begin to absorb the feel of it without even being aware that you are. It’s an osmosis thing I think but it does work.
Tell us about your new customized Gretsch.
My latest Gretsch Guitar or ‘Lady Day’ as I call it, was a stock factory special run for the Asian market. A G6128T solid body Duo Jet.
It normally had a chambered mahogany back with a 3-ply maple top. But, this guitar is a non chambered version with a maple ‘slab’ top.
It was originally black but was refinished with my choice of color (Midnight Blue) by Curt Wilson at Old School Guitars for Gretsch. Curt also replaced the stock frets with stainless steel frets plus he fitted Custom Shop Seymour Duncan Pickups. Those amazing pickups were courtesy of the fabulous MJ in the Custom Shop and they sound unbelievable! MJ is a wizard as you guys all probably know!
What was the process like of recording and editing the Tone Poems Live DVD?
It was pretty crazy but in a good way. We rehearsed for 2 days and recorded for one day. We played each of 14 songs twice and later picked the best of the two. I liked the idea of doing it the old way…recording everything live with no overdubs. The guys in the band were there because I knew they could easily do that, and obviously they did. Tony Levin on bass, Phil Aaberg on keys, and Alvino Bennett on drums…fabulous musicians. Of course it was all videod (is that a word yet?). After all the initial editing my wife Karen helped in final editing to make sure everything lined up properly between audio and video. I’m very happy with the way the DVD both looks and sounds.
We heard you recently stopped by to visit Jason Becker and check out his new signature Carvin, what did you think of it?
Well, I must say, I wasn’t a big fan of Carvin guitars for a long time. But The Becker Carvin is a masterful guitar. I was very impressed. The Carvin guitar people have really improved their products over the years and it’s quite evident in the quality of Jason’s signature guitar. It plays and sounds fab!