(Questionnaire by Stefan)
This must be the story of a natural born Englishman that removed to the United States Of America to expand his musical career as a top-notch guitarist. Jacky Vincent started to play guitar at a very young age, where his inspiration/ambition came from to become a genius musician, I’d like to ask himself while cruising down the following list of questions. Jacky just stole my complete attention with the release of his solo album “Star X Speed Story”, unleashed through legendary Shrapnel Records, you know THE place where world class guitarists rule with an iron hand !
Q: Hi Jacky, may I welcome you here at the humble Metal To Infinity webzine, based in Belgium. First of all, congrats from the heart with your new solo effort “Star X Speed Story”… what a great album man!
A: Thanks! Thank you for having me.
Q: Your father introduced you to the music of Guns And Roses, a little later on your first guitar was purchased. What type of guitar was it?
A: My first electric guitar was a dark green Tanglewood Strat.
Q: Is listening to GNR been a decisive element for your further career as guitarist? In some ways, you gave your dad to blame for your current world-class guitar skills, right?
A: Yes, the album ‘Appetite For Destruction’ really set me on the path to wanting to play guitar. My dad also had ‘surfing with the alien’ by Joe Satriani that led me into rock music and made me really want to pursue guitar.
Q: Your parents had musical backgrounds too or not? Back in the days, which bands they really like?
A: My dad would always have Led Zeppelin II playing. It was mainly rock music.
Q: Did you have a good relationship with your parents?
A: Of course, couldn’t have been luckier.
Q: As a six years old boy, how did you built up your guitar skills the next following years?
A: I would get my brother and dad to show me how to play songs I liked. I only used one finger on the low E string for a couple of years before I started playing chords.
Q: Were you at the beginning really fascinated by this instrument? A new world opened, right?
A: I was in love with guitar! To me it was the coolest thing I had ever heard. I also play keyboard. I think the keyboards from music in this era really rubbed off on me too.
Q: Can you speak of a happy time during your childhood? Something like a hassle free teenager who goes through life as a guitar musician.
A: My late teenage years were a bit of a self-induced nightmare to be honest. I did get a lot of practice in though. Haha. So that’s what counts.
Q: What was the reason that you are moved to the US? At what age you took that decision and what were the goals, the ambitions?
A: I was really young when I decided I wanted to move to the US and find a band. Trying to find the right band in the UK for the genre I wanted to play was proving increasingly difficult, so the decision to move to the states became more of a necessity.
Q: Two continents with two different life styles, how was the adjustment in the beginning of your stay in the US?
A: My commitments as a touring musician came easy to me, it was what I had worked towards. But starting a new life alone with nothing but a guitar in my hands was very difficult.
Q: Meanwhile, you were loaded with the most impressive guitar skills and teamed up with the band Falling In Reverse? Tell me something about the style of this band and how you ended up with these guys.
A: The bands style is extremely hard to explain. There are so many genres and influences packed in to the songs. I messaged one of the old bass players to audition for the band.
Q: Along with Falling In Reverse, you had to ultimate opportunity to share the same stage with your own idols Guns And Roses at the Hollywood Palladium… what about that experience Jacky?
A: It was an amazing experience. I was backstage about to play when Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue, who came to watch GnR walked past, smiled at me and Ronnie and said “Have a good show”. That’s when I started to really get nervous. I’m not sure if the crowd really took to us at all, they had some confused facial expressions.
Q: I’m totally unfamiliar with FIR but like to know how big they really are in the US. What about the band’s released efforts so far?
A: Lucky to say, FIR has been successful in the US and have an incredible fan base.
Q: Before you joined forces with them, did you teamed up with other acts as well?
A: I was in bands before for short periods of time but nothing like FIR.
Q: Am I correct when I say that you are a former writer for the legendary Guitar World magazine?
A: Yes, I did some columns for them a while back.
Q: For my information – how many hours a day you can be find back in the rehearsal room practising fingers to the bone while shredding your fretboard to pieces?
A: I actually just practice whenever I can. As long as I have made some progress somewhere in my playing at least once a day, then I know it wasn’t a wasted day.
Q: Next goal to reach in your career was to create a solo album, right?
A: Yes and there’s plenty more to come. (I hope).
Q: How did you came in touch with Shred label number one named Shrapnel Records? Who approached who basically?
A: I had previously met Racer X frontman Jeff Martin and had talked to Vinnie Moore who both mentioned me to Mike Varney, head of Shrapnel. One day I woke up to an email from Mike and couldn’t believe my eyes. He had heard that I wanted to do the CD, and as a Shrapnel fan I jumped at the opportunity.
Q: One day you stood eye to eye with Mr. Mike Varney – how was your first meeting with him?
A: I was happy to meet someone that has been such an important part of my musical development and who has put out so many of my fave albums. Not to mention a man that is responsible for breaking so many guitar legends onto the scene. He’s a great guy and has done so much for me.
Q: I suppose that agreements and regulations immediately were discussed, right?
A: We sat down and figured out how we were gonna make my album happen.
Q: Meanwhile, Shrapnel Records released your first solo album “Star X Speed Story” in full glory. Who was in charge for the production, mixing, mastering,… feel free to name me the most important guys that made this fabulous shred effort possible.
A: I had the whole album written and recorded in demos on my laptop before going into the studio to re record it and have it engineered, mixed and mastered by my good friend Jason Constantine in Las Vegas. Drums by FIR drummer Ryan Seaman and Bass by FIR bassist Ron Ficarro.
Q: Where’s the title based on Jacky?
A: Star crossed (x) speed story is my story told through guitar music. Hence the ‘speed story’. Star crossed refers to the idea that everything that’s happened to me was maybe supposed to. Mostly it just sounded really cool.
Q: In what ways do you start creating a brand new song?
A: Melody line, then everything is added on the fly. Then I pick my fave parts to create a song.
Q: Hey man, on “Star X Speed Story” there are a few impressive guest shredders to discover as well. The honour is entirely up to you to introduce these guitar magicians?
A: Yeah I asked the guys who I wanted to play and Mike Varney helped me.
Q: Due to the collaboration, I suppose you became real friends meanwhile. Brothers in Shred Metal, right?
A: I was friends with Micheal Angelo Batio and Dario Lorina prior to the record but was lucky enough to meet Paul Gilbert and what a cool guy he is.
Q: Based on the sales figure, can we speak about a real success? Please mention an address where fans of phenomenal shred tactics can order your album.
Q: What are the future plans look like at the moment? A future cooperation with Shrapnel Records lies ahead?
A: I am thinking about a second release. I wasn’t to take my time with it though. I want it to be perfect.
Q: Do you have any other ambitions besides tapping your fretboard to shreds?
A: I actually want to learn to paint. I have a pretty vivid imagination.
Q: Before disconnecting, I’d like to know from a real master himself named Jacky Vincent what it takes to realize your ultimate dream, becoming a top-notch guitarist.
A: If you love something enough and take the time, then there’s nothing stopping you from excelling and becoming the artist you want to be.
Q: Thanks a lot for your time working out this interview Jacky, as a fan of Shred Metal it was a real pleasure spreading your word really.