Joe Stump: New solo album, Reign Of Terror live album, DVD's and More!

Is the world coming to an end? A phrase on guitar virtuoso Joe Stump’s website sure makes it sound that way.

“Repent!” the message warns. “On September 24th, The Messiah Comes!”

Sound a little extreme? Well, don’t be alarmed; we’re not talking about the end of the world here. What we are talking about is Speed Metal Messiah, Joe Stump’s latest offering to the gods of shred, and his first for Lion Music. And while the aforementioned line may strike some as a bit pretentious, the Berklee School of Music professor clearly takes genuine pride in his latest recorded work.

“The new record’s definitely a step above everything else I’ve ever done,” says Stump. “[It’s] not all that different stylistically than my past records, but maybe even a bit more neoclassical. Almost all the tracks are very classical. There’s one cool Hendrix-y thing towards the end of the record and a really nice ballad, but even the ballad’s got somewhat of a baroque thing to it.”

One would think attempting to top his previous accomplishments on record would be enough, but Speed Metal Messiah is merely the first of several exciting developments in the Stump camp. Metal fans will be pleased to know that not only is a live album from Stump’s band Reign Of Terror in the pipeline, but the guitarist is also contemplating the band’s next studio release. But will vocalist Mike Vescera be on board for this one?

“We kind of go record to record,” Stump explains. “It s not like if all of the sudden I do a record and there’s a different guy singing in Reign of Terror, it gonna be like, ‘Oh, me and Mike had a blowout and he officially quit the band or I fired him’ or something. When it comes time to put the next record together, I’ll see. And you know, he’s got a family and all that kind of stuff as well. [We’ll] see which record company’s gonna put it out and what’s gonna happen with it, who’s gonna be on board as far as singing. I’m not saying it’s not gonna be Mike, it very well could be.”

In addition to their collaboration in Reign of Terror, Stump and Vescera have also been plotting to resurrect the latter’s first high-profile band, Obsession. This situation finds Stump doing something he rarely does in a band: working with a second lead guitarist. With original Obsession axmen Bruce Vitale and Art Maco having long since departed, Vescera sought to bolster the band’s six-string firepower by enlisting Stump and Swedish guitar wiz Robert Marcello. And while he has traditionally avoided working with other guitar players, Stump says he had no problem playing alongside Marcello.

“Well, we really didn’t like, work, we just rehearsed a bit together. But Robert’s a great player and he’s a super nice guy, so we’d talk to each other and show each other licks and kind of like, joke a around and stuff in the brief time we spent together. He’s a killer player like I said, so there’s no competitive thing, or weirdness or any of that stuff going on. He’s very nice.”

With Stump and Marcello in tow, the new Obsession lineup went about recording a demo, which Vescera shopped around to various record labels. So far, however, none of the offers made have been enough to make the recording of a new album viable, and so Obsession remains on the proverbial back burner.

“Mike hasn’t been satisfied with any of the offers from the labels as far as going full steam and going ahead putting a record together,” Stump explains. “He’s hoping for a bit more of a commitment from somebody instead of just your standard kinda small advance.”

Guitar-heads, meanwhile, can expect a feast for their eyes, ears, and fingers in the near future. Stump plans on releasing not one, but two instructional DVD’s on Neo-Classical shred guitar playing technique. Neo-Classical Guitar I can currently be ordered through his website, and Advanced Neo-Classical Guitar (for the for the truly mad axe pupil) will also be available shortly.

Finally, Classic Rock junkies can look forward to hearing Joe Stump pay tribute to the old school on his next record.

“Sometime this year I’m gonna do a retro record where I’m playing some cover tunes and some original bluesy instrumentals and then maybe a couple of retro hard rock instrumentals with vocals,” Stump reveals. “Maybe some cover tunes with vocals, a couple bluesy instrumental things and then some original compositions with vocals. And then maybe have a mix of different things on there like maybe a cool Hendrix cover, maybe something by Rory Gallagher, maybe a Tommy Bolin or Frank Marino thing on there too.”

Still can’t get enough Stump? Then catch him live and in person on his upcoming tour, where he will be taking his first steps in this new retro direction (see his website for more details). In the mean time, however, fans of challenging guitar music can rejoice once again, for on Friday, September 24th, Speed Metal Messiah is coming. Don’t let the tongue-in-cheek title fool you, though. As the man himself will tell you, Joe Stump is just a regular guy, and so, he says, are most of his fellow shredders.

“One big misconception about a lot of guitar guys is that if you play like, unbelievably fast and very technical and stuff, you must be a pompous ass. And many of the guys I’ve met, whether its Yngwie or Michael Angelo or any of the guys that are like, ripping, vicious players, all of them are very nice and very cool and fairly laid back and don’t really view it as a sport or a competition or any of that bullshit. So if there’s a misconception about people that play like that, a lot of times, that’s what it is. I’m just saying in my case and in a lot of instances, that’s not the case.”

For more information, go to www.joestump.com

--by Vinaya

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