Vinnie Moore

Vinnie Moore is, undoubtedly, one of the top guitarists of our time. It was almost 6 years ago when he released his last solo album and now he’s back with his brand new solo work “Aerial Visions”. Vinnie got interviewed by Grande Rock and told us various interesting things about his new solo album and not only. Read below for more…
Vinnie Moore pic
Hi Vinnie… I’m grateful I have the chance to interview you. Apart from being a big UFO fan, I do believe that you are one of the top rock guitarists of our time…
V: Thank you very much for the kind words and also for your interest in talking to me. It means a lot.
So, what’s the story behind your eighth solo album, Aerial Visions? Why did it take you 6 years to come up with a new solo album?
V: It didn’t really take 6 years because I didn’t really have a plan to do another guitar album at a certain time. I knew I would do another one someday, but I didn’t know when. It did take a couple years though from when I started working on it and this is because I was so busy with other things during the process. So I didn’t have time to work on it all in one stretch. So I would work on it for a little at a time and then come back to it later.
Have you been gathering ideas for a new solo album all these years? Was the idea of releasing a solo work always in the back of your head but you didn’t have the time to do so earlier?
V: It was always in the back of my mind and I do write a lot so I had ideas and songs for quite some time. But there has been so much touring with UFO and as a solo artist that there really wasn’t a lot of open time. And I also did a record with Red Zone Rider which took time also. Plus, I tend to take too long to make a record because I am too perfectionist. I really need to figure out how to get music out quicker. I will not wait 6 years ever again.
The tracks “Now’s the Time” & “Faith” are already UFO songs. Were those two tracks written for your solo work but they made it into a UFO album on the way?
V: Yes. I wrote them as instrumental songs originally. But they are basically rock songs so I thought they would work as vocal tunes also. So we used them on the “You Are Here” record but I have always wanted to release the original versions. I have a couple more songs like this actually. So I need to get back to work soon.
How did you decide to cover ZZ Top’s “La Grange”? I do think that the instrumental version of yours is very tasteful.
V: I have always loved that song and ZZ Top in general. I have been playing their songs onstage since I was a teenager. I have played “I Thank You”, “Cheap Sunglasses”, “Sharp Dressed Man”, and “Waitin on the Bus” and maybe more. I recorded “La Grange” just for fun and didn’t have any plan to put it on a record. But I liked to way it turned out and thought it fit well on the new record so I decided to put it on there.
How easy or not is blending all these music styles together? Do you feel freer musically when writing music for your solo albums in general?
V: It is natural for me because this is just the way I play and write. I like a lot of styles of music and it comes out in my own music. Yes I feel freer with solo records because there are no real limitations. The music can go in any direction and I impose no rules upon myself. I just sort of explore and roam to wherever the music leads. With a band you have to think more about fitting into a style that the fans expect. Plus there are others in the band and everyone has their own opinion and feelings
Hence, which was the main reason why you named your new album “Aerial Visions”?
V: Because I couldn’t think of anything else and I spent a lot of time trying! The album title came from the song title which was first. I titled the song “Aerial Vision” because it reminded me of floating in the air and looking down. And then there was the deeper meaning of seeing things from a clearer perspective from above. For the album, I made the title plural because there are 10 songs on the record and each one is sort of a vision. And it was the only title that I had that hasn’t been used for a record.
Please describe each track with just a couple of words…
V: “Mustang Shuffle”: Groovin and exciting. One of my favorite solos.
“Now’s the Time”: Heavy and melodic.
“Faith”: Very deep for me.
“Slam”: I bit funky and some bebop influences in the solos.
“La Grange (ZZ Top cover)”: A lot of fun…
“Looking Back”: Very emotional and expressive.
“Aerial Vision”: Makes me feel like I am flying.
“The Dark Dream”: This came from an actual dream I had. The weird chord in the middle and end parts that plays over and over came right out of the dream. Sometimes I am almost afraid of this song because it is so dark.
“Calling Out”: There is a part that reminds me of a Stevie Wonder song… and a part that reminds me of The Beatles. And something about it has a similar feel to the song “Sleepwalk”.
“A Million Miles Gone”: This one is deep for me also.
Do tell us a few words about the guest appearances by drummer Richie Monica (Tantric, Poppa Chubby), and bassists Dave LaRue (Steve Morse Band, Flying Colors, The Dregs), Rob DeLuca (UFO, Sebastian Bach), Dorian Heartsong (Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience) and Elliott Dean Rubinson (Uli Jon Roth, MSG)…
V: Richie was originally recommended to me by my friend JD from Black Label Society. He did some gigs with me and I love his playing. He has a great feel and a great sense of swing. So I knew I wanted him to play drums on the record. The bassists were all friends of mine who I had worked with in the past. I asked different guys to play on songs that I thought they would like the best. And I played bass on 3 tracks myself.
Where did the recordings take place? Who’s also responsible for the album’s mixing, production and mastering?
V: The drums were done at Shorefire Studios in Keyport, NJ with Joe DeMaio engineering. I did all guitars and my basses at my studio at home. And the basses were done by the guys in their own studios. Paul Northfield mixed at his studio in Canada. He mixed my last record “To the Core” also. I originally met him when I played on the Alice Cooper “Hey Stupid” record which he engineered. And Paul Logus mastered it in NYC.
Do you plan to release any video (lyric or concept) for any track of the album anytime soon?
V: Yes, I want to do a video as soon as I get some time.
Do you have in mind to give a few very specific live shows for your new solo album (which will feature tracks from all your solos works too)?
V: I have a solo show booked for The Monsters of Rock Cruise which is February 2016. And I want to book some solo shows before that too.
Which are those guitarists that have influenced you?
V: Very many. Ritchie Blackmore, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Jimmy Page, Robin Trower, Larry Carlton, Al Dimeola, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana, Frank Marino, Pat Martino, Joe Pass, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Morse and many more.
Which is the most important thing for an instrumental album… to have many technical, fast & complex tracks or memorable melodies on the whole?
V: I don’t know the answer. If you ask the listener, everyone will have a different opinion about this. I don’t think much about it with my music, I just try to write good songs and let it be a reflection of me and what I personally feel. But I don’t want to guess what others might like best when I am working. It has to be natural and you have to follow your own instincts.
Did you feel pressure at any point of your career to do things that needed to be done because others said so or due to the needs of a specific time period?
V: There are often people around artists like managers, record label people, bandmates, and friends that make suggestions and give opinions. I would guess that everyone is influenced at least on a subconscious level by what is around them so I guess I would say yes this at least true in a small way. But I am also very headstrong and as we say “hard headed”, so it is difficult for me to listen to what others think I should do and I will usually argue and fight if it is something I feel strongly about. If I think I am right, no one will convince me otherwise. Plus, I am making MY record and recording MY solo not someone else’s. This is why I usually like to work alone and don’t care for producers or engineers giving me their opinions.
What about UFO? What is the latest news from the band’s camp?
V: We are on tour right now in Europe. We finish on Nov 15th for a couple weeks and then we go back to Europe in December for some shows with Judas Priest.
Vinnie Moore pic
Time for our “weird questions”!!! Who’s that guitarist that you’d love to jam with but didn’t have the chance?
V: Jeff Beck
Which are the top 3 instrumental guitar albums of all time?
V: Jeff beck – “Wired”, Larry Carlton’s 1st – “Room 335”, Al Dimeola – “Casino”.
Which is the most underrated guitarist of all time?
V: Wow, I am drawing a blank. El Kabong(i.n.: Hehehe…)
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
V: Kansas – “Masque” because those songs by Kerry Livgren are genius.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
V: Chuck Berry because he is the godfather of rock…
Fill in the phrase… “Guitar playing wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
V: Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
V: Hugh Hefner because that guy had so many hot women that it’s insane… (i.n.: It is indeed! Or maybe Michael Starr?!!)
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
V: I would go to the late 60s and try to be there for the recording of a jimi Hendrix record, Led Zeppelin 1, and then a little later Deep Purple’s “Machine Head”…
If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would be it?
V: Music that follows a typical common formula with commercial success as the most important goal.
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
V: She would never do that so I will never have to answer…
Thx so much for talking to Grande Rock Vinnie! Wish you the best for your solo work and for your future endeavors in general. Thx for the music all these years! Say anything you feel like saying before we close… take care!
V: Thanks so much man. So nice of you to want to talk to me about what I love doing. (i.n.: The pleasure is all mine dude…)