First of all let me congratulate you for your guitar skills. I was expecting more a cold businessman of the six stringed instrument and during the clinic you held at GuitarShop Cluj I’ve discovered a gifted musician with a wonderful sense of composition. And now down with the questions.
GS: What exactly means to be a clinician for a big producer like Digitech? Do you simply travel around the world and present the final product or are you involved also in its developing stages?
RJ: What people get to see is a fraction of what it means working for a worldwide player such as Harman. I have obligations with other Harman brands such as JBL, Lexicon, AKG, Soundcraft and DBX. Traveling and conducting clinics is actually the icing of the cake but it does not mean you are off with emails, tech support, and in general “behind the curtain” work. While we are talking and promoting one thing there is always another thing in the tube which needs beta testing or other kind of developing. Life would be really sweet if I just had to travel and play guitar, but that is maybe 20% of my total workload.
GS: Every guitar player has his heroes. Please tell us a few names that influenced you.
RJ: That may sound strange to a few people out there but at a very young age I was influenced by the radio programs my mother listened to… mainly opera and classic. Of course when you pick up the guitar you go thru hard rock, blues maybe funk and jazzy styles but for me the most influential types were always the songs or composers not necessary the guys playing the songs. I admire people like Eric Johnson, Malcom Young, SRV, Scott Henderson, Yngwie, Joe Pass and many others for various reasons. Sometimes it is just the vibe they bring across the energy but sometimes it is specific like with Paul Gilbert I admire his even strength in his left hand… The bottom line everything is influential sometimes even someone I meet on the road!
GS: The association between Digitech and GuitarShop brought you for the 2nd time in Romania. Was it this time any different? I mean the reaction of the people, the general interest for the clinic, and the level of understanding and so on.
RJ: it is a little bit like an investment. The more we do the more people appreciate it and the more people come. I was for the first time in Cluj which I just knew from Cluj vs Bayern… I even stayed in the same Hotel like Bayern which is a great honor because I am a big fan of football.
The trip this time is something special because this product the iPB-10 I am promoting is a novum in the music industry. I am on tour since a few weeks and the iPB is one of the most thrilling units I ever had in my hands. People are getting the potential right away and it looks to me as if they seem to appreciate my efforts and also Guitar Pros efforts to bring it to the people.
My clinics are somewhat entertaining but also informative… infotainment if you like an expression for that. This is always fun and people seem to realize that I am not a strict business man or a promoter of my guitar abilities. It seems that my concept of getting the crowd involved in the whole event is good for all the parts involved.
GS: What is at the present time your favorite guitar related gadget and why? Personally I am hooked by the JamMan Stereo.
RJ: Without thinking the iPB10… I can do anything I need to do in terms of practicing, composing, trying out sounds, creating innovative tones etc etc. This is true for live and for home use… in my terms Hotel. Basically if you have your guitar the iPB and headphones or a little practice amp you are good to go. When it is time to gig use a real amp best, a loud clean tube amp and you can play literally all the gigs I have to cover. When it comes to my studio work… same words… I do not need a lot more than the iPB, an iPad and few more guitars of course.
GS: And the final question. What should the guitar players expect the future to sound like? Who will win the final battle between analog and digital pedals?
RJ: I think it is limiting to go one path – analog or digital – who really cares in the end. Remember it is the music we are all after. Who really cares if you create a piece of music on a digital device or something analog or vintage or modern. I think whatever makes you a better performer, a better musician, better sounding, and whatever makes you feel comfortable enough to create you should go for. There is no limitations to me if it is analog or digital or a combination. I personally use both sides of the world…whatever serves the moment will be chosen. The future is probably that more guitar player get rid of prejudice… the younger generation accepts modern approaches in equipment easier and effortless… the older generation seem to be a little slower.
Thank you for your time and hopefully we shall meet again soon.