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The shred king

Nicky
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STRINGED Music sensation Michael Angelo Batio holds forth on his passion for music, his career and his favourites genres. Nicky

Michael Angelo Batio is the idol for most of the guys who want to play the guitar. I caught this legend in Hyderabad during “Tuborg VH1 Gods Of Guitar” Concert last week.

How is India? How do you feel to be

here?

I am really happy to be here, I heard a lot about this country and today I am here. I have been receiving a lot of mails from people from India after watching my popular videos on the Net. With their appreciation and love I have got this opportunity to explore this great land.

What do you say about Indian fans? What do you think of Indian Metal bands ?

From the mails and the comments that I received through fan blogs and social networking sites, I think I have a good fan base in India and they love me.

I have not really heard any Indian Metal band as such. But I heard different kinds of Indian music through one of my ex bandmates who is related to India. I have also seen a couple of videos posted by Indian fans in youtube. But I am not much aware of Indian metal scene.

Who was your influence in your childhood? And tell us about your career.

I was playing keyboard and composing music at the age of five , and started playing guitar when I was 10 years old. I became a Jazz guitarist when I was 15, never knew at that time that I would be a metal guitarist. Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton influenced me in my early days when I started playing the guitar.

In 1984, I was associated with a Chicago-based heavy metal band called “Holland”. In 1987, with Jim Gillette we formed “Nitro”.

In 1993, I formed M.A.C.E. record label and that's where I recorded my first solo album “No Boundaries”. During these years I had a lot of opportunity to work with different musicians and to explore music from Jazz to Neo Classical, Glam Rock to Progressive Metal.

If you get a chance, which musical era would you want to go back to, the 1970s or 1980s classic rock?

I was a part of the musical transformation that happened in the 1980s. I would prefer to go back to the era of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. That period was a very important one for the scene.

Tell about the other genres of music and musicians that you like.

I have worked with musicians of different genres from neo-classical, glam rock to hardcore, alternative metal. In a couple of projects, I was associated with musicians who were from some of the big names like Ozzy Osbourne , Whitesnake, Dio, Creed and those were fantastic experiences. I am a fan of progressive experimental music, so I love to explore. In trash metal, I am a fan of Slayer and also Megadeth andMetallica. In extreme metal or death metal/black metal, I like the progressive technical part but the growling vocal is not much of my interest.

What do you say about underground music scenario?

Whatever is not popular among the masses is always underground and it will remain underground. But it does not matter because underground music scene is really huge. A Lady Gaga fan will never know what “Dream Theater” is. If I have millions of fans across the world and thousands of people come for my shows, I would not mind being an underground musician for the rest of the world.

What is your suggestion to upcoming musicians ?

Observation, practice and experimentation are key elements. Now the Internet has made global communication very easy, so upcoming musicians can record their stuff and put it on Youtube to spread it across the world, and the various comments from the people would help in improvising and fine tuning the skills and the craft. Internet is the best way to promote underground music.

Nicky is a rock music analyser and promotes upcoming bands through his project Unseen Underground .


Achievements

  • The Chicago-born Batio is ambidextrous, able to play two guitars of separate harmonies at the same time or even four guitar heads is an easy game in synchronisation or even playing completely different parts at once.
  • Batio was voted the “No. 1 Shredder of All Time” ((2003) and “Top 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time” by the ‘Guitar One Magazine' . Because of his terrible speed some people termed him as “hands without shadow ”, which is the title of his highly anticipated cover/tribute/studio album released in 2005 .
  • Batio's guitar instruction Videos are popular among the rock fraternity across the globe.
  • As a teacher, Batio tutored guitarist Tom Morello of “Rage”, “Against the Machine “and “Audioslave”
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