Shred Knowledge Interview
By Scott Thomas
Electric City is the 7th solo release from guitar virtuoso Mike Campese. The 14 song, over 76 minute Cd is filled with some of the most blistering guitar work Mike has ever recorded.
The Cd kicks off with a bang with the tune “Eleventh Degree” featuring some intense melodic shredding and jazzy harmonies. Just when you thought you heard some crazy guitar playing, Campese takes it up another notch with “Shred Machine”, which is just pure non stop shredding done very tastefully.
This is defiantly Mike Campese’s most heaviest Cd to date, with the down tuned song “Heavy Thing” and the in your face progressive vocal tune “LandShark”. Mike Campese really shows off his versatility with the indian inspired tunes like “Cruisin Across the Mojave” and “Camelryde”. Like each Mike Campese Cd there is something for everyone, Campese does some pretty intense over the top guitar work, especially on the demonic arpeggio blistering tune “Over The Top”, which Paganini fans would love and the face melting tune “Napali Coast”. Mike does sing on a few tracks on this disc like on the epic tune “Kauai Blue”, which is loaded with lush harmonies. Mike can really shred but he has a strong sense of melody that he is known for which can be heard on his catchy ballad “Closer To The Sun” that has some beautiful haunting melodies. Campese even gets a little funky on the tunes “Butterfingers” and “Punk Ass”, featuring some hip sassy melodies. The Mike Campese fans are going to love this Cd and it should bring him over the top…
Mike has opened for: Yngwie Malmsteen 2 tours. Plus Spin Doctors, KC and the Sunshine Band, Shotgun Messiah, Lizzy Borden, Vinnie Moore, Kip Winger, Dokken, Sebastian Bach, Rik Emmett, Motley Crue, Godsmack, Drowning Pool, Rev Theory and Theory of a Deadman, the members of Yes and Asia, Michael Shenker, B-52’S and many others.
Guitar virtuoso Mike Campese is a well respected performer and teacher in the New York area. With new release “Electric City” previewed on many guitar related sites… and gleaning a lot of interest…we caught up with him to find out more.
Shred Knowledge – Hey Mike What’s up my man? Hey bro! Great to hear from ya!!
Mike Campese – Hey man! How’s it going! Great to hear from you too!
Shred Knowledge – I was checkin’ out your MySpace and New Offical Website page and I like what I see & hear… Tell us about your New Album Electric City.
Mike Campese – Yes, “Electric City” is my latest Cd, it is my 7th solo album. “Electric City” is defiantly a little heavier and more shredding than my previous releases. There is a lot of melodic stuff as well, I like to mix it up and make each Cd different from another.
Shred Knowledge – I also hear some kool musical influences too. Give our readers an idea of what you were listening to growing up thru high school and beyond…
Mike Campese – My first main influence was Black Sabbath. I was also into Dio, Ozzy, Al Di meola etc. As I was progressing as a guitarist I started getting into classical music and I was really into Paganini. I really like violin music, maybe because my Dad was a violinist. I was also listening to Yngwie, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Deep Purple and more and I was also into James Brown. I really like Jimi Hendrix and Fusion type music, Funk and I like Blues. I’m open to all kinds of music, I even listen to Indian music. I’m sure there is a lot of names I left out.
Shred Knowledge – What other musical projects do you have going?
Mike Campese – I’m pretty much just doing my original project right now, with the band and solo. But, I’m always doing many things at the same time. I write lessons for many different publications and internet sites and I’m always writing and recording material. There is always other stuff that pops up.
Shred Knowledge – Out of all the rock stars you have met, who personally has lived up to your expectations and has touched your life in one way or the other?
Mike Campese – I have met many, many famous musicians over the years. Some are down to earth and some are not. I noticed some of the greatest musicians are the most down to earth. I would have to say meeting Ronnie Dio or Eric Johnson was a great experience for me. They are both the nicest people, Ronnie James Dio gave me a big hug when we met and was real nice. I remember when I met Eric Johnson a while ago back stage and I started walking towards him and he saw me and walked over to me and we were talking for a while. He was really interested what I had to say about his performance and his tone. He kept asking me questions about his sound like my opinion mattered. The point of this is, these guys are open to the people and are down to earth. That is a big reason why they are so great, I’m sure Jimi Hendrix would be the same way if I was around to meet him.
Shred Knowledge – What musical gear and endorsements do you have and why?
Mike Campese – I have a bunch of endorsements, but I pretty much mainly endorse what I use. You have to have the basics like amps, guitars, strings, cables, pics and other stuff like software and some other goodies. All this stuff can get expensive after a while if you are buying them at full price consistently. I pretty much stick with the same gear.
Shred Knowledge – How many hours a week does it take to put this (your band, writing your music,) all together for the listening masses?
Mike Campese – It takes many hours a week to put things together and to keep things together, it does vary week to week, I do music all time, 24/7. Once you reach a certain skill level, you have to maintain it so you don’t loose it. You have to practice everyday by yourself and then the writing is a separate thing, you can get ideas from just jamming or practicing. When it comes to recording, I do pretty much all of it myself, which takes the most time. Not the guitar so much, but the other stuff involved can be time consuming. It does vary from Cd to Cd, some albums get finished real quick, it seems like the production part takes the longest. Eventually, I will do what I used to do, just go in the studio with everyone and bang it off.
Shred Knowledge – Do U teach guitar? Tell us a little or allot about How many students and at what levels do you teach?
Mike Campese – Yes, I do teach guitar…..I teach all levels of guitar and I teach around 60 students each week. I have been doing it for a long time now and it is pretty successful. I do like teaching, but there is not many rewards in it. Sometimes people don’t like to admit someone is helping them or helped them, which drives me crazy. I have written music and stuff for many students and I didn’t get any credit, I had to stop writing stuff for them. I only give students the tools to become a great guitarist, I don’t build the house for them.
Shred Knowledge – So Mike , what are you listening to a lot of these days?
Mike Campese – I jump around with my listening…..I do like to listen to Jimi Hendrix, I like some of his unreleased type material or stuff that is not on the radio. I listen to classical music as well, it is very inspiring. Lately I have been listening to my mixes in my car to make sure the levels are ok.
Shred Knowledge – Dream Car? Or Recreational Vehicle?
Mike Campese – I would love to have a Ferrari, but I will settle for a Mercedes.
Shred Knowledge – Why?
Mike Campese – I’m getting sick of american cars. However, I do love my Firebird though! American cars don’t last as long as foreign cars, they are not made as good and they don’t hold their value as much like foreign cars. Parts can be more expensive for foreign cars though.
Shred Knowledge – Name some folks you would love to get on the same album or share the stage with…
Mike Campese – There is a bunch of amazing musicians out there. This would be a great band configuration…….it would be great to have Geezer Butler on Bass, Terry Bozzio or Billy Cobham on Drums and Jon Lord on Keyboards.
Shred Knowledge – I also don’t want to forget this… Tell us about any other things you may be in involved in or any special interest besides music that is close to your heart …?
Mike Campese – There isn’t really anything else I do besides music. I do music and music related things 24/7. Sometimes, I do like to watch movies, wash the car or ride my bike, which I rarely do. I really have to get out there and exercise.
Shred Knowledge – Lastly, please give our readers one last parting shot across the bow… What is Mike Campese going to be doing in 5 years?
Mike Campese – You never know…..Hopefully, I will be farther along than I’m now…..I will be still playing of course.
Shred Knowledge – I would like to thank you for your time and candor with my loyal readers and keep on fighting the good fight to bring us some quality guitar oriented music. Thanks a million bro! All the best to you!!
Mike Campese – No problem! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview and for the support of all the people that have been loyal listeners.