(Questionnaire by Stefan)
One of America’s most impressive guitar players is without a doubt, Michael Angelo Batio! Watching the many video’s on YouTube, it’s incredible what a super beautiful sound he conjures from his electric tools. MAB is a natural born guitarist and his new solo album entitled “Intermezzo” has been released a little while ago, featuring numerous guest musicians such as Jeff Loomis, George Lynch, Dave Reffett, Rusty Cooley, Chris Poland among others. Out of respect for superior axe wielders, I’d like to ask the master himself a few questions about his new album.
Q: Congrats on the new album “Intermezzo”, Michael! How many solo albums have you released so far?
A: Thank you. Here is my solo album discography.
1. No Boundaries
2. Planet Gemini
4. Lucid Intervals and Moments of Clarity
5. C4 project – Call to Arms
6. Holiday Strings - Christmas album
7. Lucid Intervals and Moments of Clarity part 2
8. Hands Without Shadows
9. 2 X Again
10. Hands Without Shadows 2 – Voices
Q: Before speaking about the new effort, I’d like to know all about your experiences during your Tour across India where you played for 20,000 exuberant people. What can we imagine from a MAB performance?
A: It was amazing. I have a large fan base all over the world. I love to perform, I like travelling to new places, I like people and I never take my success for granted.
Q: Back to the new album “Intermezzo”, in what ways did this album come about? Who was in charge for the great looking cover artwork, the production etc..?
A: “Intermezzo” was my concept. I told my graphics artist Nick Dzierzeski, that I wanted my Double-Guitar to look like the hands of a clock. Nick then came up with the design that you see on the CD. Nick is extremely talented. Regarding the music, I had the concept of using my Dean MAB 7 “Warrior” 7 string signature model for extra “heaviness.” I wanted the song writing to be different from my previous albums as well as my playing to be different from my previous albums. I wanted the record to sound like me, but not a re hash or copy of what I had done in the past. I feel I achieved these goals. I also wanted the production of “Intermezzo” to be the best I had ever done. I feel I did that as well. I have a lot of great people that I work with and could not have done this album without their expertise and help.
Q: How long have you been working on this new album?
A: I worked on the writing, recording and finally the releasing of “Intermezzo” for almost 2 years. My tour schedule keeps me on the road about 250 days a year, so I had to write and record “Intermezzo” during my time away from touring. What helped is that I get a lot of song ideas when I am on tour and I record them on my iPhone. I later went over every single idea, took the best ones and used those ideas as the basis for all of the songs on the record.
Q: The list of guest musicians is quite impressive, why did you invite these people to work on your new solo album?
A: I have had a lot of big name guitarists on previous solo albums and I wanted to have the biggest guest artist list yet on “Intermezzo.” My criteria for the guest guitarists was simply that I had to be a fan of their work. Guitarist Dave Reffett not only did 2 great solos on “Intermezzo” but really helped in getting many of the guitarists featured on the record. We made a list of who we would like to be on “Intermezzo” and Dave knew many of them personally better than I did. Dave did a great job!
Q: For someone who has not yet heard “Intermezzo”, what does this album have to offer? To whom would you recommend this new CD?
A: I would say that if you are a fan of progressive rock music and love to hear great songs and great production played by many famous virtuoso musicians, than this album is for you! J I feel “Intermezzo” is the best album I have ever recorded and released and I am proud of every note on it.
Q: Which label had the honor to release the effort?
A: I have had my own label and music company since my first solo album – “No Boundaries.” My label is called M.A.C.E. Records. M.A.C.E. is an acronym for Michael Angelo Creative Enterprises. My company is called M.A.C.E. Music, Inc.
Q: Will the release of “Intermezzo”, be followed by a World Tour?
A: Yes. I am in the process of that tour now. I just returned from Germany and in a few days I am on the road again to China, then the USA, then Romania, Poland, Russia, Italy and more. I have shows booked throughout the entire year.
Q: For those who are attracted by top-notch shred tactics, where is the best place for them to order this album?
A: You can order it from my company – M.A.C.E. Music at www.angelo.com
Q: There’s a brand new video for ‘8 Pillars Of Steel’, please introduce the guys featured in the video?
A: Yes. It was a lot of fun to film it and I feel that it is an epic song with a great list of players – Dave Reffett, Jeff Loomis, George Lynch, Andrea Martongelli, Craig Goldy, Rusty Cooley and also the owner and CEO of Dean Guitars – Elliott Dean Rubinson on Bass. Elliott is a great bass player! They are the 7 Pillars of Steel and I am the 8th pillar.
Q: You are planning to release 2 new instructional programs with Metal Method as well, tell me about this please?
A: I love to help other guitarists and I have always wanted to be a positive influence in the worldwide the guitar community. The new programs are based on something I know very well – How to Play FAST!
Q: What makes Dean Guitars so special to you?
A: I wanted to be different in every way - as a guitarist and an artist. That meant using a different brand of guitar than other musicians as well. I used Dean Guitars before I was famous. I love the way they are made, the way they look, the way they sound and play. Also, the owner Elliott Dean Rubinson is not just a great businessman he is a great musician. He’s a great Bass player.
Q: Where did you learn all of those phenomenal guitar tactics?
A: I studied the guitar and took guitar lessons for 3 years from age 10 to 13. My guitar teacher told me when I was 13 that I was better and faster at 13 than he was at 23. He said he couldn’t teach me anymore so I taught myself from that time on. I practiced hard, studied hard and invented the techniques I use today. I listened and watched what I considered were the greatest guitarists of my era growing up and learned from them.
Q: With the highest respect, thanks for your precious time doing this conversation. All the best with the new album “Intermezzo”! Want to say some final words to our readers?
A: I would like to say thanks to all of you for taking the time to read this interview and I would like to say thanks to all of my fans. I always do the best that I can and again, I never take my career for granted.