|Steve Senes interview|
Steve Senes, ‘Guitar Player Magazine’s Superstar 2009’, chats to Voltcase about his instrumental album, 'De-Evolution Of Theory’, which combines rock, metal, country, funk, r&b and soul...
So, how would you describe your music to a stranger in just three words?
Oddly enough, there’s a three word description in my bio – Schizophrenic Musical Bliss!
Hmmmmm, that really is a tough one. I’d probably have to say track 2, Greaseball. Because it’s the first piece I wrote for what became this CD & everything else grew out of that. A very close second, though, would be Ruth – a song I wrote as a tribute for my Mother, who passed away in 2005. Because that song contains what I believe to be some of my finest melodic playing & carries a lot of different emotions throughout.
What music are you listening to at the moment? Any new bands out there that you think we should check out?
Ya know, I remember when I was a kid reading interviews from some of my favorites & they’d be asked what new stuff they’re listening to, often they’d say there’s nothing new they’re listening to. I never could understand that but now that I’m in this role, I gotta say there’s not a lot new that I’ve been listening to. Not because I don’t like new stuff, but I guess because I’m always either playing a gig or working on a project in my studio. When I’m not doing these things, I’m usually not listening to anything. I do have to say, though, that the recent release from Avenged Sevenfold, Nightmare, really floored me. The combination of a band I already like with Mike Portnoy (who’s probably my favorite drummer) is just outstanding! Everything on that record, from the guitars to the vocals to the songs – even the production, seems to have taken a huge leap forward. Given the circumstance of the record, I can see why!
So, what’s the most rock’n’roll thing to happen to you while on tour?
Hahahaha. Some stories remain best untold so in the time honored tradition of discretion, I’m going to keep mum on some stuff.
Then there was the time I was doing a gig and a fellow driving a brand new Ford Mustang had an Epileptic seizure just as he was making the turn onto the street the club was on. The seizure caused his foot to floor the accelerator with the car careening into the front of the club. Luckily no one was killed or seriously injured. Happened while the band was playing “Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love” from Van Halen, during the “Hey Hey Hey” section. The car smashed through the front of the club right on the downbeat. The band kept playing till the singer told us to stop, LOL!
I don’t know if this qualifies as Rock n Roll, but probably the most intense “road story” happened in 1992. The band I was with, called ‘Havoc’, arrived in los Angeles, Ca an hour or two after the now infamous Rodney King trial verdict. It’s a rather long story – I wrote about it a few months ago at my blog - http://senesmusic.tumblr.com/post/531669827/war-stories-death-valley - You’ll definitely find it to be an interesting read...
To date, who are the coolest people that you’ve ever toured or played with?
I’ve been lucky enough to do gigs with quite a few of my heroes. I’ve also been fortunate in that, for the most part, everyone I’ve gigged with has been super cool. In ’97 the band I was with opened for Dokken on what turned out to be the last gig with George Lynch (well, up until their current appearances). Don Dokken was extremely cool to us. Jesse from Jackyl is another one who stands out as ultra cool. Probably the coolest, though, was Kevin DuBrow (R.I.P.) and Carlos Cavazo from Quiet Riot. The band I was with did an opener for them in Virginia Beach, Va. For soundcheck I was fooling around with the guitar solo from their first record (Battle Axe, I think it’s called). Kevin walked over, extended his hand and introduced himself to me. He said something along the lines of “Carlos doesn’t remember that and wants you to teach it to him”. He was kidding, of course, but these guys were real heroes of mine coming up so it meant a lot. About a year later, we opened for them in Salt Lake City, Utah (something like 2000 miles from Virginia Beach). Of course I did the same thing, playing Battle Axe while checking. I look up and see Kevin’s head pop over the rail on the second level, then he runs downstairs, hops on the stage and calls me by name. How many times does someone like this remember the name of someone in a local opener over a year later? This time Carlos also came over. I handed him my guitar and he proceeds to break into this really cool arpeggiated thing, while maintaining a conversation with me and not even looking at the guitar. Extremely nice guys!
Do you believe in the supernatural? And, if so, have you ever had any personal ‘spooky’ experiences?
I can honestly say nothing ‘spooky’ (other than the aforementioned Rodney King Riots) has happened to me. While I’m not much of a believer in ‘supernatural’ stuff, there’s definitely a lot out there that science hasn’t been able to prove, disprove or explain. There are definitely things we don’t understand...
If you were interviewing yourself, what question would you ask yourself? And what would the answer be?
Question: In today’s musical climate, what on Earth possessed you to record an album of instrumental guitar as your ‘introduction’ to the global music scene? And why such a diverse record, why not just stick with one thing?
Answer: It wasn’t a thought out plan – writing and recording the record just happened. Instrumental because I’m not such a great singer, LOL! Once it was finished though I felt it to be a good record and hope that others will feel the same way!
As for the diversity, I like a lot of different aspects of a lot of different music. I wanted to make a record that I would enjoy listening to from front to back. I didn’t want my first record to be something that was the same vibe from beginning to end.
If you were stuck on a desert island with only one album, what album would you chose?
Wow, such a tough choice!!!!! Given all the music that I love, though, I’d probably have to say Van Halen 1 – such a great record on so many levels!
And finally... what do you think the word 'Voltcase' means?
Volt – Electricity, power, energy
So Voltcase could mean someone who thrives on electric energy, such as that provided by a loud electric guitar. Someone like me!!!!