When it comes to hitting all aspects of music in one’s career, Monte Pittman has done that and more. Throughout his time in the scene he has played with Madonna, Prong, Adam Lambert and many more! One thing that was certain after speaking with the guitar legend was the love that he always had and has for heavy metal. Well thankfully he decided to set his sights back on the heavier side of things and released his third solo album, “The Power Of Three,” earlier this year thanks to Metal Blade Records. This is a record packed full of both catchy and killer riffs, and truly shows off the skills that he has obviously perfected over the years. Earlier this month I got to speak with Monte about the new record, his long career, future plans and much more! Check out the chat below!
Metal Mark- Monte, thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, how are you sir?
Monte Pittman- Great man! Just doing a bunch of press here in New York City for my record, “The Power Of Three,” and trying to get the word out as much as possible on the new stuff.
MM- So far the response has been pretty amazing to the record. For a record that was “going back to your roots,” does it mean more to get such positive feedback from everyone?
MP- Yea it does man. It’s like something tapping me on the shoulder saying “Hey you really should be doing this.” It’s not like I fully got away from it over the years ya know. I got my heavy stuff out with Prong, but with Madonna I couldn’t really do that for obvious reasons. Once I started to really concentrate on my solo material, I realized that, yea it’s a lot of work, but man I really love it. I did my first album just acoustic and vocals, so I could recreate it anywhere. The second release brought out more of the rock side, and from there I saw what I needed to do for this heavier stuff. With songs like “A Dark Horse” and “Delusions of Grandeur,” I had some of those riffs already, but they weren’t Prong songs ya know, it was something different. When I started writing for this record, I remembered those parts and they fit so well, so it all just came together really well for this album.
MM- For a guy that’s already done so much in his career, did it make it more fun to “go back to your roots” and remember why you started playing music in the first place?
MP- Without a doubt, yes. It reminded me of when I first started playing guitar and creating what I would call my ultimate album. It takes all of my influences from back then and brings them all together in “The Power Of Three.” It’s funny, because you’ll be playing a certain style for so long, but once you remember what you grew up on and what really hits home for you, it comes back pretty quick, so that was really cool for me. I mean I grew up like most metal heads worshiping Metallica and Slayer and everybody, but then the solo guitarists like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani had a huge effect on me as well. So bringing all of those different styles together to make my sound was challenging, but a ton of fun as well.
MM- Growing up during that time obviously shaped your style, because your love for solos is always evident in everything you do. It seems that a lot of the younger generation of metal bands focus on breakdowns more than solos now, so what was it about solos that you fell in love with and still love to this day?
MP- Solos to me are like icing on the cake. You can have an amazing song, but if you have an amazing solo on it, then that makes the song so much better in my opinion. Looking back on who I grew up watching and listening to, from Van Halen to Metallica to Steve Vai and all of those legends, they wrote incredible songs, but something about their solos really blew my mind. It was almost like no matter how good the song was, I was waiting for that solo, and they never disappointed. For me, it’s somewhat of a lost art, but there are still a ton of guitar players out there playing masterful solos for sure. It’s definitely a new era of music, but the classic guitar guys are still there and ripping more than ever. If that helps a kid want to pick up a guitar, or a breakdown makes a kid want to pick up a guitar, I’m down for it either way. More kids should have music growing up, and I truly believe that. I’m a lucky dude to be doing it for a living for sure.
MM- Very cool. Going back to the new record, “The Power Of Three” came out via Metal Blade Records, and I heard a funny story about how that all went down. Basically you played the material for Brian Slagel and asked what you should do with it, and he said give it to me? Is that true?
MP- Well that would be the Cliff Notes version, yes. (laughs) Basically we had just gotten back from recording the album in Copenhagen and I was just going to put it out on my own. Once we decided that there had to be someone out there that would want to release it, we began looking at all options. As fate would have it, I heard from Brian and we decided to get together for a lunch one day. I played him the stuff and asked his opinion, and he said he wanted to release it on Metal Blade. Honestly, I was thinking he knew of a new label or someone else who would be down to get it out there, but when he offered, well you don’t say no to Brian Slagel. He’s done so much for this music and is such a great guy, that if he offers you help with anything, you take it. I also thought it was funny, because my music is not as heavy as some of their artists, but he wanted to take it on, and I think it’s just awesome. So thanks Brian! (laughs)
MM- Nice man! Honestly for me, “The Power Of Three” is not only a showcase for your guitar playing, but really for your overall songwriting. Compared to the two previous releases, the songs flow better, the hooks seem better prepared, did you take more time than usual when composing these tracks than you ever have before?
MP- Oh yea man. Totally. I’m glad you can hear that, because that was really important to me on this record. I enjoy an album. What I mean by that is a full album, that from start to finish, is a fun listen for the fans and myself too. It’s very rare to hear a record that you love every song anymore, but I really tried hard to do that with the new stuff. If you want to listen to one song and move, more power to you, but that’s not me. It’s like a movie. I don’t watch one scene and walk away. I like the entire piece, and while it’s really difficult to do, it’s super important to me. We recorded it in order for that reason, and really wanted the flow to be easy for everyone, and I think we really nailed it.
MM- Whenever a new record is released by any artist, fans are already looking for tour dates, and while I know you have some select shows coming up, do you have any major touring in the works?
MP- I knew this was coming. (laughs) People have been asking me this everyday since the release it seems. As of now, yea I’m working on it. The plan is to tour as much as we can, but nothing is set in stone right now. I think I’m too stupid to give up as they say. (laughs) There will be shows in 2014, hopefully a lot of them, but I can’t confirm anything right now. Stay tuned as they say.
MM- Very cool. For the last question, from a guy that’s played with Prong to Madonna and tons of others in the scene, you’ve obviously done a lot of things right. Instead of telling aspiring artists what to do, what would you tell them not to do?
MP- Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that. That’s a good one. What not to do? Well I would say always put the music first. Never put anything before that if you truly want to make it as a musician. If you’re trying to do it to be famous, you’re in the wrong business. I’ve seen people want to be famous, and nothing good came from it. The ones that are out there and have been out there to years, they are honest and truly love playing music for the right reasons. If music is your number one love, keep it that way and never forget it.
MM- Well said. Do you have any last words for the fans out there?
MP- Thank you, thank you, thank you for the amazing response to “The Power Of Three.” For those that haven’t heard it yet, it’s out right now on Metal Blade Records, and I’m super proud of it and hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do. Tour dates will come eventually, so be patient, and hopefully I’ll be in your city before you know it. Thanks again!