Tuesday, July 24, 2012

''GUITAR GODS: Jerry Belsak''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Friday, April 09 2004 @ 18:28:20 BST
Jerry Belsak is an extraordinarily gifted fingerstyle guitarist who has performed alongside such awesome talent as Leo Kottke, Muriel Anderson, and Ricky Skaggs. Not heard of him? You will! With his acute sense of melody and taste, command of astonishing technical prowess, and sense of humor, Jerry blesses listeners with magical sounds.
With several recordings to his credit, several bands in his past, and hundreds of solo gigs, Jerry has been amazing audiences for over 20 years. He is also writing material that all his fans hope will be recorded and released soon!

Seeing Jerry perform live is always exciting, as he blazes through traditional repertoire and original music with equal flair, demonstrates dazzling technique (like his use of cascading arpeggios, flowing "harp harmonics", and rapid-fire chordal shifts), and has an ease with audiences that only comes from years of stage work. He has also performed with other "Guitar Gods" interviewees, like Philip High, Ben Lacy, and the aforementioned Muriel Anderson on numerous occasions, and will be "on the road" later this year.

Catch up-dates, photos, and music on Jerry's WEB-SITE, and visit Tinfoil for future reviews of Jerry's work.

I recently had a chance to speak with Jerry about what's going on in his world - check it out!


1) What are your current projects?

Well, for many years folks have been videotaping me and I've collected VHS tapes of certain gigs, and I think I have have enough good images on video. I would like to make a 'video anthology', or possibly even hire someone like Pat McNeese or Arthur Rouse to put together a video biography.

2) How does this (do these) differ from your past work?

Well the main difference here is that when it is released, or broadcast, we'll transfer it to DVD, that's where the technology is going these days.

3) Do you have one project that you are most proud of as a guitarist?

No, not really. I'm proud of everything I've ever done that was any good, everything I've ever accomplished.

We took a stab at putting together an audio cassette 'best of' tape a few years ago. It would be nice to do that again and make it a more comprehensive, thorough overview, and to find somebody who could transfer the tapes to digital (most of my original recordings were analog), then put it out on CD.
4) Can you give our readers a run-down of your basic gear (live and/or studio)?

Ahhh... I don't have much to talk about; a 6-string acoustic and a Tapco/EV P.A., that's about it.! I've borrowed stuff in the past! I really like the Marshall acoustic guitar amps, and the California Blonde series works well in a noisy club environment. I highly recommend 'em both.

5) Who would you cite as early influences, and who are your favorite new players?

Yeah, Steve Howe was actually the biggest inspiration for me when I was a young guy. He's so versatile; YES was a great band. Still are, I'm sure.

Although she's hardly what you'd call "new", I must say that I find Ani DiFranco to be an exciting guitarist, way better than most...and Kaki King is doin' some cool stuff, too!
Jerry on-stage with Muriel Anderson!

6) Can you give a few tips to aspiring players?

Don't quit your day job!

But serious, this is a difficult business. Try to play for the love of music and don't get bogged down by impossible dreams and too high expectations for success...life just doesn't always work out that way, the way you want it to. But try and be successful anyways, as Mother Teresa was reputed to say!

7) What are your future plans?

That's confidential....a secret! In other words, I don't know!

8) Thanx for talking to us, Jerry!
David, no problem...bless you, brother.