Guitar World



- Joe Matera

What do you recall about your first gig?

It was a bluegrass gig I did when I was very young. By the time I was 13 we’d already played a few festivals and had opened up for Lester Flatt, Minnie Pearl, Grandpa Jones, all the bluegrass gods of the time. To open for them as a kid was amazing. We kind of changed the name of our band every time we went out and played. The band was basically me, my dad, my brother, my dad’s best friend and his son — a two-family thing that was a cool little bluegrass outfit.

Ever have an embarrassi­ng moment on stage?

Yes, years ago when [King’s X] were playing in clubs, just doing cover tunes and stuff. My parents showed up at a club where we were playing just to hear a few songs. I don’t like to play in front of my parents and never have. They showed up the moment I was about to play the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” a song I could play in my sleep. But at that exact moment, seeing my parents, I just froze! I stood there thinking, “How does this song go?” And behind me, Doug

[Pinnick] and Jerry [Gaskill] were dying from laughter.

What’s your favorite piece of gear?

It’s actually two pieces because they go together — my late-Seventies Lab Series L5 amp with my original 1983 Fender Elite Stratocast­er. My Strat Elite is nothing like the modern Strat Elite, which has nothing whatsoever to do with that original guitar. The original Elite has active electronic­s and push-button on-off switches where you can use all three pickups or the first or two — or any combinatio­n. And it has the heavier, more expensive gold hardware. That’s what I used on the first four King’s X albums.

What’s it like baring your soul on your new solo album, Shades?

Albums are diaries, and diaries are painful to look at or read. I have to put myself out there to get this stuff out there, and then sometimes I’ll go, “Oh man, I hope somebody likes that.” I don’t care to listen to it too much myself. On the new album there’s a song called “Leaves Falling Down”; I listened to that again the other day, and when the lead came up, and this rarely happens to me, I actually liked the lead I had done! I don’t normally like my leads, but on that song, I went, “Okay, that is alright!” That’s about as good as I get.

What’s your writing process?

I don’t write for myself, I just write — and if it’s time for a solo album and I’ve been writing, then I’ll have some songs I can look at, and if I don’t like them, I’ll try and write more. I don’t normally think about that when I’m writing. I just write songs, and then if King’s X decides we’re going to do something, I’ll have some songs to throw into the pile. The same goes with the Jelly Jam or whatever; I’ll just write and whatever is coming up — that’s what I’ll use the songs for.

Got any advice for younger players?

Do not be afraid to be yourself. It took me so many years to be okay with how I play guitar. You always hear these other things in guitar players that you fall in love with, and then you want to do that too. That, for me, was always a rabbit hole that didn’t get me anywhere. I started realizing this when I heard the things I had done back then, and I accepted that it was just the way I sounded. I got to a point where I gave up and just said, “This is just who I am, so just accept it and move on!” The sooner anybody does that for themselves, the happier they’ll be — and probably more creative too. —

 ?? ?? “Do not be afraid to be yourself,” says Ty Tabor
“Do not be afraid to be yourself,” says Ty Tabor

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