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Musikmesse presents: Guthrie Govan

At the very last moment guitarist Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, Asia, GPD, Steven Wilson) was added to the roster of performing artists of Musikmesse 2018, which is by now in full effect. So at the last moment we found him willing to answer some questions about that. Underway in the plane he writes down his answers, quickly looking for Wi-Fi as soon as he landed in Frankfurt. The guitarist, who looks like any random street musician, but who can make almost any pro scream for his mother, is always a guarantee for sensation that will live many advanced players left too shy to play anything. And therefore we were eager to find out what he would be demonstrating. And he himself is nothing less curious, as he could change his mind on the spot.

By: Ramon | Archive under prog / sympho metal

band image

Welcome to Lords of Metal and welcome to Frankfurt Musikmesse. You were confirmed really late, right? How come?
I honestly don’t know. Still - "all’s well that ends well", right?

How do you like the concept of the Sweat, Blood & Tears box, that was introduced last year, opposed to booth clinics?
I like the box idea as a way of approximating something closer to a real gig environment. The enclosed space should (theoretically) shut out some outside distractions, facilitating a greater focus on the music itself, and additionally (based on my initial soundcheck experience last night) it also enables the artist to play at a decent volume level without disturbing anyone else ;-)

That is all true indeed, hahaha! Do you sort of have in mind what fields of interest you will be covering at the show?
I have no idea at this stage, but hopefully I’ll have some idea in a couple of hours’ time, when I arrive at the box for my first appearance. My plan is essentially just to go with whatever approach feels right in the moment.

Will you be representing particular brands?
Well… I’ll be using my signature Charvel guitar and (somewhat less visibly!) some Rotosound strings but I’m not actually “selling” anything specific at this event: The essence of my invitation this year was simply to come and play.

band imageDo you consider yourself more as a performing artist, or as a teacher Or does that depend on the moment you are in?
Definitely more as a performing artist. I do quite enjoy doing a controlled amount of teaching in a clinic/masterclass environment, but it was never my primary goal in life to become a teacher, or a YouTube Guy, or anything like that: basically, what interests me the most is simply writing, recording and performing music - preferably in a “real band” context.

I understand you don’t have time to burn at the moment, in you busy schedule, but there is one thing I cannot leave out asking you. What is the most valuable lesson you yourself have learned as a musician?
Probably the idea that the real reward comes from the playing itself. An element of random luck will always play a part in determining the degree of financial success and widespread recognition any artist receives for their efforts (though I’m not denying the general truth in the saying “the harder you try, the luckier you get”) so I definitely think it’s a good idea not to become too fixated on those things and instead to focus on what you believe in and what you enjoy. Being able to do this for a living at all is pretty amazing, all things considered!

That is an awesome tip indeed. What is a golden tip for guitarists who get stuck at their level?
I find that listening to new music is normally the most effective way to “get out of a rut”: the music which comes out of you is, after all, entirely a product of the inspiration which you absorb...

Back to Messe, do you think you will have time to check out the other performing artists?
I have no idea… hopefully I’ll be able to catch some of my fellow exhibitors within the “micro-Messe” of The Box, but I’m not sure if I’ll end up wandering around the rest of the show yet.

If it is up to you, will you be there next year?
I have no idea… my calendar is a constantly-evolving thing and I can seldom see more than a few months into the future!

Why should everybody come to Musikmesse 2018?
That’s an easy one: because German beer is vastly superior to anything you’ll find at the NAMM show ;-)

Thanks for your time!

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