Adrian Galysh - The Tone Poet Cometh
Interview by The Dedicated Rocker Society
Hailed by critics and fellow musician alike, Los Angeles guitarist Adrian Galysh, showcases his guitar talents with anthem-like instrumentals, that put the focus squarely on catchy, memorable melodies. "I suppose its because I grew up listening to the hard rock bands of the 70s and 80s, like Van Halen, Scorpions, and Deep Purple," Galysh testifies, "I always enjoyed big riffs, catchy choruses, and interesting musical hooks".
His early guitar influences were Uli Jon Roth (Scorpions), Randy Rhoads, and Eddie Van Halen - all of which may be apparent. However, Galysh soon gained interest in modern classical composers such as Arvo Part and Carl Orff, the world music of Peter Gabriel, and the new age music of Vangelis.
Galysh's latest release, 'Tone Poet' solidifies his compositional style and finds his guitar playing in top form and takes the listener on a journey that has many destinations. Featuring vocals provided by Mark Boals (Ring Of Fire/Yngwie Malmsteen), bassist Philip Bynoe (Steve Vai, RIng of Fire), and grooves by world-class drummers, Todd Sucherman (STYX and Charlie Waymire. Each song is a perfect blend of grand orchestration and arrangement with everything from acoustic to world to neo-classical guitar. There is not only great guitar playing on this album, there are actually superb songs!
Whether Adrian Galysh is performing with his own band, playing sideman to ex-Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth, recording his own music, or laying down tracks as an on-demand Los Angeles session player, Adrian Galysh feels that "In addition to great melodies, having a great tone and feel are really important" adding, "While there are many tools at your disposal with today's technology, nothing beats a great guitar plugged into a great sounding amp. Everything else is icing on the cake". Adrian Galysh goes further, "My guitar is like a paint brush, and I want to take the listener on a colorful journey. I need to be able to have a large pallet of tones to work with. My Brian Moore Adrian Galysh Signature model does this."
The Rocker and I asked Adrian about his latest release, 'Tone Poet'. Here's what He shared with us...
Q: Let's talk about your new release, 'Tone Poet'? Cool title, how did you come up with it? What exactly is a "Tone Poet"?
"My last album was called 'Earth Tones', and I wanted this to be the growth and extension of that last album. I borrowed the term from the musical form called a Tone Poem, which is defined as: a piece of orchestral music in a single continuous section (a movement) in which the content of a poem, short story, novel, painting,landscape or another (non-musical) source is illustrated or evoked. The album is symphonic in instrumentation, and while all twelve songs are different, they share similar elements that make it sound good together. Another reason its called "Tone Poet", is it's kind of a play on words... us guitarists are always looking for THE guitar tone, and there's plenty of that on this album."
Q: How long did 'Tone Poet'take to record? There are twelve songs on the album, how many did you actually write for the album?
"This album was about two years in the making. Basic song forms and demos were started for tracks like "Brick By Brick", "Flying", "When You Fall", and "Movie in My Mind" first. My intention was to make an album that included vocal songs, so thats where I started. The orchestral tunes and instrumentals were written and record more recently... but between coordinating musician's schedules, financing the project, editing, mixing, mastering, artwork, and a couple record label opportunities that fell through... two years. All the songs were intended to be on Tone Poet, though I initially debated including "Epoch". It has no guitar, it's just a symphonic piece, that I decided to include, because it showed another side of me. I can't count on releasing another album very soon, so I wanted to include everything I could!"
Q: Talk about the musicians that are on the album, Vocalist Mark Boals, bassist Philip Bynoe and drummer, Todd Sucherman. Had you played with any of them before?
"Lets start with Mark. I met him about 10 years ago... around the time you and I first met, at an Yngwie Malmsteen show I was opening for. My bass player, Philip Bynoe, was in a band called "Ring Of Fire" with Mark. He asked to put Mark on my guest list, and I said "of course". I've been a fan of his singing since I was a kid. Since Yngwie's "Trilogy" album came out in '85! He is literally one of my favorite singers, and we kept in touch since that short meeting at the Yngwie concert. Since then, Mark and I have performed with Uli Jon Roth a number of times... I helped get him that gig.
I've known Philip since I was in college. I met him on the first G3 tour. We both moved to LA the same year. After I helped him get the audition for Ring Of Fire, he kinda "owed" me one, so I asked him to play in my band. We've been playing together on and off for about 13 years. He played on my "King Friday" album, too.
Todd Sucherman, I met through my old roommate... turns out Todd lived a couple blocks away in my neighborhood of Sherman Oaks. We've talked about recording together for a while, but our schedules just never lined up. He then moved to Austin, TX... Luckily he has a home studio and could record his drum parts from there. We've never played together in the same room at the same time... yet!
Let's not forget my drummer Charlie Waymire. He and I have been playing together on and off ever since I moved to LA in 2000. He has a great studio in the valley called Ultimate Rhythm Studios. He is rock solid, and knows my style intimately after al these years of playing together.
Q: How much have you evolved as a guitar player and song writer since your debut, album 'Venusian Sunrise'?
"My guitar playing has improved over the last few years, as I have been playing and teaching full time again. I find that my takes in the studio are good on the first couple tries, where as I used to labor over solos and riffs, punching in parts more often. I tend to lay down a good track easier now than before. I would say my song arrangements are more mature, developed and natural sounding. I think I used to force parts of songs to work together, and now they tend to flow more naturally. I'm better at running with a good idea now, so I guess my musical vocabulary has grown a lot since then. Technically speaking, my guitar playing might be the same, but I'm choosing better notes and phrases now."
Q: Any memorable moments in the making of, 'Tone Poet', good or bad, that you'd like to share?
"It had been 3 years after 'Earth Tones' was released before I really started to write and record new material. I had writer's block, full-on. I didn't have any song ideas, my demos sounded like "demos" - uninspiring. It wasn't until I upgraded my home studio, that I could fully realize the orchestral sounds that you hear on 'Tone Poet'. Until then I didn't want to continue writing or recording if it wasn't going to sound like a real orchestra. When I got the software and samples that you hear, I could't stop writing. Everything I played on my keyboard sounded... EPIC! Once this started happing and I could hear it get integrated into the songs I was working up, the album really took on a definitive direction. Luckily nothing horrible happened.. no lost files, injuries..."
Q: Are you satisfied with response you've received so far with, 'Tone Poet'?
"The response has been very positive. Folks that have been following me, have repeatedly told me how the album is my best sounding in both composition and production. All the reviews have been very favorable, thankfully... because I spent the most time, ever, on making sure all the tracks, instruments, and mixes were just right. Hell, I even retracked a couple guitar parts AFTER mixing was done and mastering had started!"
Q: I know you do shows in the L.A. area, do you have plans on doing any shows over seas? What about any shows during NAMM?
"It's very expensive to tour, even just up an down the west coast. I do plan on performing as often as possible this year, and have a great band to play with. Nothing for NAMM this year - we did have a show planned but logistics and sponsorship didn't pan out... it's still tough out there, economically."
Q: Can we expect to hear more new music from you this year?
"I think so. Up next is an album of play-along tracks for guitarists to jam to. It will have backing tracks from 4-5 songs from each of my albums. I find jam tracks to be very helpful for my guitar student's development. Also, I am considering a covers album, which may be just an digital EP. It will most likely feature music that influenced me - early Scorpions, Randy Rhoads era Ozzy, maybe some ELO?"
Q: For the guitar aficionados out there reading about you for the first time. What would say to turn them on to your music?
"I would say that if they are fans of guitarists like Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jeff Beck, Uli Jon Roth, etc... they will find elements of all of them on my records. However, I believe they will hear these influences in a fresh, melodic, and unique compositional context. There really are moments on the new record where you just haven't heard anything like it before."
Q: Any comments or messages for you'd like to leave?
"Sure. If you get TONE POET, really give it a listen. Even better if you have hi-fi audio components, or quality headphones. I grew up listening to albums (records) the whole way through, from start to finish... I felt enveloped in the album, often just staring at the album cover, while listening deeply. Its an album that you can get immersed in, and hear something new and different every time you listen to it. While it isn't a concept album per se, it sure feels like one. Let the album take you on a journey... it may take a while, as the album has a lot to "chew on", but I think my favorite albums are like that."
Here's a link to Adrian Galysh's new album preview: http://youtu.be/fA7jGAsOQGc
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