Interview Will with Japanese guitarmagazine Gita Gosuto Jiyu ni.
August 2013 interview for Japanese Guitarmagazine Gita Gosuto Jiyu ni.
Interviewers Harumi Ogawa (HO) and Akiko Kubo (AK), translation by Fumio Sugiyama.
HO: How old were you when you started to play the guitar.
Will: I remember it well, It was late 1978, so I was 9 years old at the time. It was actually the first Van Halen album that inspired me to pick up the guitar.
HO: Were you a good player right from the start?
Will: I’m not sure, probably not. I know I liked it a lot and I put in many hours, but I don’t think I would qualify as some sort of protégée.
AK: Who were and are your favourite guitarplayers?
Will: I grew up listening to a lot of Van Halen and Brian May from Queen. Later on I discovered people like Randy Rhoads, Michael Schenker and Gary Moore. Nowadays I listen a lot to Frank Zappa, Buckethead and yes, still Van Halen.
HO: Do you know any Japanese guitarplayers?
Will: Oh yes, I always thought that Akira Takasaki from Loudness was a killer guitarplayer, and still is by the way. I also remember somewhere in the eighties going to a concert by a guy named Kenyi Suzuki. He played all by himself to a tape in front of thousands of people at the Parkpop festival in The Hague in Holland.
AK: That is so funny!
Will: What is?
AK: That you know Kenji Suzuki, not many people outside of Japan know him.
Will: Really? By the way, is he still making music?
HO: Yes, I believe he is.
Will: Okay, got to check him out someday then.
HO: Can you tell something about the gear you are using?
Will: Sure, I play Patrick Koopman WS signature guitars, I load them up with Seymour Duncan Invader pickups and string them up with Ernie Ball cobalt strings, 0.09 to 0.42. Then I go directly into my Axe FX II that I control with a Roland FC-200. I play a prototype of a custom amp that Meyer Amps is building for me right now. It’s a FRFR (Full Range Flat Response) amp that will work perfectly with my Axe FX. For speakers I collect and use Celestion Sidewinders, they stopped making them, but boy do I like ‘em.
AK: When did you decide to make all your albums downloadable for free?
Will: Well, that’s a matter of money really. There were and are record companies willing to sign me, but at this day and age that would mean that I would have to pre-finance a great deal for each album. And with the current music business as it is, it would be really hard to get that money back by album sales, with all that torrent and piracy going on. But I still want to get my music out there and be heard. So I decided to make my albums free downloadable, including the booklets. It’s is costing me virtually no money and my music still gets picked up by a lot of people.
AK: How many downloads do you have?
Will: Last time I checked I saw that the five albums I’ve put out generated a combined total of about 70,000 downloads. So that’s and average of about 14,000 each.
HO: Do they all have the same amount of downloads?
Will: No, “Hidden in Reality” and “Chupacabra Farm” do generate a bit more downloads than the other albums.
AK: This is a silly question, but how did you became so good?
Will: Wow, thanks for the compliment, you really think I’m good?
AK and HO: Yes, yes, we do!
Will: Well, in that case, I don’t know for sure. I know I liked guitarplaying a lot when I was a kid and therefore it wasn’t a burden for me to play at least two, three or four hours a day. I also got encouraged by the fact that a lot of girls in my school really liked the fact that I owned and played an electric guitar, even the pretty ones.
AK and HO: (giggling).
Will: I’m telling it like it is. Hey, you two are pretty girls and you like guitarplayers don’t ya?
AK and HO: (giggling louder and longer).
Will: Oh jeez…
AK: We are good now, please continue the answer.
Will: Well then, when the eighties hit I started to play in all sorts of band and I really liked that, so I put in even more hours then before. Come to think of it, I probably play the way I play because of all the time I put in, that’s probably it.
AK: But you also have big hands and long fingers.
Will: Well yeah, kinda, You could say that I’m physically well put together to play the guitar, but I’m not sure that that’s really the secret, it probably helped though.
HO: What are your plans for the future?
Will: Well, first I like to see the amp I’m currently building with Meyer Amps become a success. I really think that a lot of people who are using an Axe FX or another modelling unit will take to this amp, you can place the modeller right into the amp you know, it all fits and you don’t need to get al the extra gear like a separate poweramp, a 19 inch rack, a separate cabinet.
AK: What is the name of this amp?
Will: It will be called the Meyer Wireton.
HO: Do you have a message for our readers?
Will: Well, when you are going to pick up a guitar or when you’re already playing, try to do your own thing. You’re not a Xerox! And secondly, listen to guitarplayers outside of the genre you’re playing. If you are for instance into metal or shred, listen to B.B. King or Scotty Moore or Robert Johnson or Les Paul or Django Reinhardt, you can pick up so much from these guys and when you bring that into your own playing, it’s gonna sound new, fresh and exciting.
AK: Thank you for this interview, it has been really insightful.
Will: Well, any time really, it’s been great fun talking to the two of you, so sayonara.
AK and HO: (giggling).
Will: Is that not good?
AK: Yes, but you say it very funny, very funny accent.
Will: (laughing) I do try you know.
HO: No, it is very good, you are a very wise and good man.
Will: If that’s not a good note to end on, I don’t know what is.
Last changed: 20 Aug 2013 at 08:30