Ghost Cult had the honor of catching up with world-renowned guitarist and composer Guthrie Govan recently over Skype for a Ghost Cult Podcast interview. We chatted about the brand new album from Govan’s band The Aristocrats, You Know What…? The Aristocrats also features equally talented and legendary members Marco Minemann on drums and Bryan Beller on bass. You Know What…? features a new composing style from the band, which Guthrie explained, also commenting on how the band continues to push each other to greatness, The Aristocamp, his warm-up regimen, his solo tour, collaborating with other artists, and much more. Continue reading
John 5 And The Creatures have partnered with progressive kings The Aristocrats will team up to co-headline an amazing night of instrumental euphoria on Sunday, September 1 at 1720 in Los Angeles. The show will be the first John 5 performance following the July 31 release of the anxiously awaited new album, Invasion. Rock-fusion trio Travis Larson Band. Continue reading
Progressive music supergroup The Aristocrats have announced their new album, their fourth, You Know What…?, due out on June 28th. The band features guitarist Guthrie Govan, bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann and like their previous albums, we expect You Know What…? to be full of surprises. Each band member wrote three songs each and produced the album themselves at Brotheryn Studios, Ojai, California. Continue reading
Marco Minnemann is a talented man comfortable wearing many hats. renowned for his drumming in many high-profile projects such as The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Levin/Minneman/Rudess (LMR), and countless others, Marco is one of the most respected musician in the world. His solo career has been equally fulfilling and affords him opportunities to be in total control of the creative process, playing all the instruments as well as handling production duties. His new album Celebration (Lazy Bones Recordings) has just been released, and we conducted a Q & A interview over email, to learn more about his creative process, how he deals with challenges in the studio, and the sound of the next album from The Aristocrats.
Celebration is a great title that conjures a lot to mind. What does the title mean to you and what creative frame of mind were you in when you began to write the album?
It started off as a writing process for an album with a fairly dark vibe around it, which I wanted to name ‘Above the Roses’. After re-listening I just didn’t feel that the album was complete the way it sounded like. So I kept writing songs and then basically made a selection of songs I thought would make a statement. And all of a sudden, voila. I had one album that I called ‘Celebration’, leading through aggressive, sparkling and into film music like vibes and missions. And then there’s the more vocal laden, dark song focused ‘Above The Roses’ I just finished now, it will come out as a special vinyl and download edition, but more of that later. ‘Celebration’ just got released and needs the attention now.
Since the topic is partially about Roses, in songs symbolically and in artwork, I thought that Celebration might be a good title.
The album is definitely diverse, but has some of your heaviest songs of your solo albums. Is that a by- product of some of your other bands you are in, rubbing off on your solo work?
That clearly would be a no, as I think that some of the material on Celebration is actually heavier than what we do with the bands I currently play in.
I mean, if we’re playing the category game, maybe then Joe Satriani could be Rock, Aristocrats instrumental Rock/Jazz, And Steven Wilson more well, prog and ambient pop/rock.
On my albums I just really compose for what is needed for ‘the mission’.
You have definitely “arrived” on Celebration as a vocalist and lyricist. Do you think this was an important step for you artistically?
Thank you. But if you look into my solo back catalogue that so far holds 14 albums, I wrote, played and sang as well. But thanks again for appreciating.
As you have become more hands on (creating, playing/tracking, producing/mixing/mastering) with each new project is it more troublesome to wear so many hats, or a relief to be able to oversee it all with confidence?
It’s great I think, because when you know exactly what you want and are able to translate it, instrumentally and production wise, then it’s a fairly seamless and rewarding process. See, my studio is pretty much dialed in to my needs. So once I have a sound in mind I really just record, then add tracks, basically mixing while doing this, and soon the ‘house’ comes together :-).And honestly, it’s so cool that meanwhile you can carry amazing production softwares in your note book. Then along with a few good audio interfaces and outboard recording gear, you can do deliver a great production, that would’ve costed a fortune about 20 years ago.
Is there a style of music you have yet to incorporate into your solo work, that you haven’t yet, but would like to try?
Hmm, I don’t really think that way. I really just do and play what I feel fits the vibe of the composition.
On Celebration, is there a single performance you can name as most gratifying to you?
Hahaha, well, I was doubling my vocals to that guitar solo I recorded on ‘How Can I Help You?’ And I’m not really a trained singer, so fuck, I was punching in numerous times in order to nail that thing. And then later I listened back and couldn’t help laughing, because it came out quite cool, and I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off at first :-). Also, I’m quite happy on how the vibe in ‘4000’ succeeded. I used the chains at the port in Marseille, sampled them and then put them in to additional reverb, undermining the vibe of these fairly ‘evil’ and dark vibes and chords in that song. I wanted to create a haunted environment. And that one came out quite intense I think, as I wanted to achieve it..
You have an intense touring schedule this year with all of your many projects. How do you keep your sanity on the road?
Girls :-). hahaha. What can I say…. well, seriously, with a good and professional organization you learn to feel at home on the road. Good and comfortable travels and schedules are important.
What can you tell us about the upcoming new album from The Aristocrats?
It’s pretty much contains compositions more focused on song structures, rather than soloing, well, hat happens of course too in places, hahaha. But Tres Caballeros is a tad different once again from the last album. Actually, the difference is that this time we have a Spanish album title and wore hats in the desert :-)).
Necrophagist is like the Loch Ness Monster of metal! Do you ever have contact with Muhammed (Suiçmez)? Do you think we will ever hear from that band again, or any other project from Muhammed and yourself?
Well, can’t say too much there. Necrophagist is Muhammed’s project/band, he’s a fiend of mine. But the rest about any release can only be assumed. And I have a lot of things going on myself here, that occupy all of this and next year as well, which is a good problem to have I think 🙂
Celebration is a word that conjures a lot to your mind when you hear it or read it. On Marco Minnemann’s (The Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, Steven Wilson, LMR) new solo album Celebration (Lazy Bones Recordings), it is Marco clearly doing the celebrating. Not only are these 17 tracks (plus one bonus cut) a great example of Marco’s world-class drumming talents, he plays all of the instruments, provides vocals, co-produced the album, and even mixed and mastered some of it too. The music is also a great reason to get amped, as it displays the many shades of his taste in music, and has something for fans of his entire body of work from his career.
Thirty seconds into the lead track ‘Miami’, and immediately you can tell this album is going to be a next level effort. Crushing guitar riffs, spastic drums, soaring melodies, this is not too far from his work with Levin/Minnemann/Rudess. There is also some funky, odd free Jazz moments that sneak in here and there; be it an odd horn vamp or dramatic Rhodes piano flourish. The title-track is next and is a straight up heavy rock song, with tripped out lyrics and a vocals from Marco. He has sung lead before, but really finds his voice on this album. Continuing the heaviness, ‘It Always Seems’ at least has DNA essence in the monster riffs in common with a few early Helmet songs, before veering into a breezy alt-rock chorus. Marco has no issues going chameleon from one movement to the next, picking up whatever mood inspires him.
Tracks such as ‘How Can I Help You’ and ‘Print Club’ are more of the angular, frenetic prog rock one expects from Marco, but there are some astounding departures stylistically too. ‘The Greatest Gift in Life’ is a lovely pure pop song that would be a big radio hit if given the chance. ‘Everyone Loves A Rainbow’ is a somber piano piece that comes two versions, each with English or Spanish spoken word piece over it. Meanwhile ‘Amina’s Birthday’ is another Jazzy, epic track. ‘Better Place’ puts the exclamation point on the release with more heavy licks and smashing beats.
Turning in the heaviest, yet most diverse album of his career, it’s great to hear what one of the hardest working guys in music will come up with next.
Ghost Cult is proud to bring you a stream of the a new song from Marco Minnemann, ‘Miami’. The track comes off of the just released solo album Celebration (Lazy Bones Recordings). Hear the song below:
Celebration is the follow up to 2014’s EEPS album (also from Lazybones), the first 1000 fans to buy a copy get an autographed CD, and other signed items are available as well.
World renowned drummer/multi-instrumentalist Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, Levin/Minnemann/Rudess, The Necrophagist) has released a new solo album entitled Celebration from Lazy Bones Recordings. The album includes 18 tracks seeing Marco play all the instruments and vocals. He also co-produced the album with Scott Schorr and mixed and mastered some of the album as well. The album is an eclectic group of songs ranging from progressive rock, metal, pop songs and more Jazz influenced tracks as well. The first 1000 people to buy the album will get a copy personally autographed from Marco as well. You can purchase the album here:
Celebration Album Trailer:
Marco has a busy remainder of 2015 planned. He has a world tour booked with Joe Satriani as well as a lengthy tour booked and new album due from The Aristocrats.
To say that Marco Minnemann is one of the greatest drummers in the world would be an understatement. Putting together an impressive body of work in progressive rock, and metal with a who’s who of bands a bands and projects such as The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Adrian Belew, Levin Minnemann Rudess, Necrophagist and many more, Marco ought to be even more of a household name. Perhaps owing to his humility and his German roots, Marco is a rarity in this business: proud but well grounded, appreciative for everything his talent has brought him in life. Promoting his new solo album, EEPS (Lazybones Records) Omar Cordy traded some thoughts with Marco for Ghost Cult via email.
How long was this project in the works?
I’m always writing music. It just belongs to my universe it seems, hahaha. So once there is enough material for an album ready I choose the songs for the right vibe and mission and then the thing will be completed. Eeps in particular was written and recorded mostly during the road in 2013 and at home January-February 2014.
As the sole creative force, what was the writing process like?
I usually write from a theme that sort of either way falls from the sky, in the form of a guitar riff, melody or groove, … Or from a vibe a purposely want to create. These things I never force, I just grab the best ideas when they show up and then build on it.
The songs I’ve heard have a very loose feel to them. Was a click track used or did you just “go for it”?
Half and half I’d say. I mainly use a click track, to keep a possible sequencer option open.
But I do like a feel that sounds ‘lively’, not to be confused with un-tightness , hahaha ;-)). I in fact like precision in playing and recording, but I leave a loose feel or also bleeding into microphones on certain tracks, as long as a groove feels right.
Did you use Roland V drums and or DW drums for the recording?
I used 2 different set ups: A DW cherry wood kit and a DW Jazz custom kit, both recorded in different rooms. On the track Eeps, the intro is in fact a Roland TD 20.
I dig the up-beatness of ‘OC/DC’, it feels like a playful 60’s era song. It just seems happy. Was that what you had in mind when you choose to make it the 1st video?
The first video was done by Scott Schorr and a friend of his. He also runs the label Lazybones Recordings and helped greatly with this album here.
And thanks for your nice words on OC/DC. That song was really just a fun experiment, playing everything in one take pretty much without giving a shit and detuning all instruments. I just wanted to see if that approach works and how it would sound like. So it’s just basically ‘controlled chaos’. But I’m happy that some people got it.
You’re mainly known as a drummer, will we be seeing more guitar session work from you in the future?
I’ve been playing guitar on my albums for almost 20 years now. So, ‘yes’, you’ll hear more guitar from me. For example on the LMR project (Levin Minnemann Rudess).
Do you find playing guitar makes it easier to write for yourself or with others?
Absolutely. When I write music on the guitar I really just focus on the drums later to compliment the song. Also when writing for the Aristocrats as an example I basically write for a ‘stringed’ trio.. And writing on a guitar on bass then, definitely helps to translate into the music that the trio is going for.
At this point in your career do you still find time to practice or are you too busy working with others?
Well, I think that composing, recording and performing really is an ongoing process, isn’t it? But I do practice things that I’m interested in and want to be able to explore of course. Also, I really play everyday, music just belongs there in everyday life it seems. And I feel like I’m missing something if I haven’t had a certain dose of it. Like food.
What other projects have you worked on recently that we should be on the look out for?
Hmmm, I’m touring with Joe Satriani right now. Then also with the Aristocrats. Recording wise there’s a new Steven Wilson album in the making. A new Aristocrats album and also Joe’s new recordings. So…, life won’t be boring it seems for a while ;-)).
What was your first concert you ever played?
My first concert I ever played was when I was 12 years old, my drum teacher at that time wanted me to go onstage and play a few songs. Man, and I was soooooo scared. I just sat there thinking ‘don’t fuck up… Just make it though the song… C’mon you can do it’. And then after I played a little solo spot within the song arrangement, people started to applaud. That’s when I basically ‘woke up’, and I saw all these smiling faces looking at me. And then all of sudden I didn’t want to leave the stage anymore, hahaha. It felt so rewarding that people brought the energy back in return to what I’ve worked for. So that moment pretty much defined that music is passion and a dedication for me.
Guitarist extraordinaire Guthrie Govan may not be the most prolific musician around, but he’s one of the most respected and in demand players around. He recently toured with Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) in support of The Raven Who Refused To Sing album and he is also about to release a new album with The Aristocrats, his other musical project with fellow musical mavericks Bryan Beller (Dethklok, James LaBrie) and Marco Minnemann (Adrian Belew Power Trio, Kreator). Ghost Cult caught up with Guthrie as he returns from a clinic tour in Brazil.. Continue reading