Friday, November 23, 2012

'GUITAR GODS: Eric Roche''

-- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Thursday, March 17 2005 @ 14:57:58 GMT

(Editor's note: This interview took place in early 2005, and was published March 2005. Everything was looking up for Eric, but by the end of summer, his cancer took a turn for the worst and he died September 6, 2005.)

Eric Roche is not a well-known name outside of acoustic fingerstyle circles, but it should be. He is among the most eclectic, versatile, and gifted guitarists walking the planet.
The following interview took place last year, and since then the book "The Acoustic Guitar Bible" (complete with forward by fellow "Guitar Gods" interviewee Tommy Emmanuel) has been released to lavish praise, and Eric has performed to even more astonished audiences...audiences spell-bound by his amazing technique and beautiful music.

Performer, composer, instructor...Eric writes a regular fingerstyle column in the international magazine, "Acoustic Magazine", "Guitar Techniques", and "Guitarist". He is head of guitar at The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford, is also author of numerous books, and has given workshops & master-classes all over the world. You can get loads of info, hear soundclips, and more at his web-site, so surf over for a visit. It's well worth your time!

Check it out!


1) What are your current projects?

Right now I am about to set off on a tour of the UK to promote my new album "With These Hands". My book "The Acoustic Guitar Bible" is about to come out on Sanctuary Publishing (distributed through Warners in the US). These two projects have kept me pretty busy over the last six to seven months! My main project though is preparing our home for the arrival of our second child this July!

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

The album was produced by Martin Taylor, who has been a huge inspiration for me for many years. Although I am not a jazz player, Martin was able to bring his enormous experience into the studio and help me to make what is my most melodic recording to date. The book covers all my own thoughts on music theory, guitar technique, arranging, recording and performing. It's a very personal book and I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to write it and to have it published. With both projects I feel that I have moved another step closer to being my true self in my music making.

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

The current album would certainly rank as the one I am most proud of.

4) Can you give our readers a run-down of your basic gear (live and/or studio)?

My main guitar is still my 1991 Lowden O10. I take 4 separate signals from it via a Fishman Rare Earth Blend system (wired in stereo) and an RMC undersaddle Polydrive II which gives me a Piezo signal and a Midi signal. I take these signals and send them to my onstage Mackie Mixer. There I can EQ and mix the signals to my taste. I use a simple Yamaha REV 500 for reverb and send the Stereo Mix signal to the main house desk. My other stage guitar is a smaller OM size guitar by a wonderful British Luthier Nick Benjamin. My home studio is a small set up with a Tascam 2480 hard disc recorder and some software on my PC. I record the audio for my regular column in Guitar Techniques magazine with this gear and use a Rode NT2 microphone through a Jou Meek pre-amp/Equaliser.

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

Anyone who is playing from their heart - Rory Gallagher, Neil Young, Paul Simon, David Russel, Nick Drake, Michael Hedges, Pierre Bensusan, Joni Mitchell, Kurt Cobain , Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Julian Bream - the list is endless really. New players - I love what Eric Bibb and Kelly Joe Phelps are doing. I had a chance to share the stage on the All Star Guitar Night in LA in January with Monte Montgomery from Texas - what an incredible musician!

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

The four T's: Tuning, Timing, Tone and Taste. Don't get so hung up on technique - that can be practised, but the four T's require listening.

7) What are your future plans?

To write better tunes. I want to do a song album one day. At the moment I am trying to develop my Residential Guitar Workshops in the UK. I am in discussion with some companies about some signature series products. I hope to do a tuition DVD soon. Medium term I want to spend more time in the US and the Far East, while long term I want to become a better guitarist.

8) Thanx for talking to us, Eric!

Thanks for getting in touch, David.

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