How did you get into playing the guitar?
I was inspired to pick up the guitar by watching the Australian TV show Countdown back in the 1970s when I was a school kid. I remember seeing bands such as AC/DC and Hush and their performances on that show really impressed me, especially the guitarists with their flamboyant stage presence. I thought, ‘wow that looks cool, I want to do that!’ But a few years later when I bought The Shadows ‘20 Golden Greats’ album on cassette (remember those?), that turned my desire to play guitar into a more serious passion and focus. And I have never looked back.
What was your first good guitar and how did you get it? (Do you still have it?)
I got my first guitar back in 1981. It was some Maroon coloured cheap Les Paul copy that I got from a local music store. After about a year or so, I sold it to get a better guitar. I sometimes wished I hadn’t sold it as I guess it would now hold a lot of memories for me since I learned to play on that guitar.
What were your early musical influences?
Hank Marvin, Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore, Tom Scholz…there are so many to be honest. I picked up something from every player I’ve ever listened too. As well as, something from every other guitarist I’ve played with over the years. I think you are constantly learning something new in your journey as a musician in life, so you are always being influenced by something.
Favourite piece of gear?
It is my BOSS O-2 Overdrive/Distortion pedal. I’ve used that pedal on nearly every electric guitar part I’ve recorded on my albums. I usually dial in very minimal gain though, just enough to dirty the leads to give the notes some sustain and colour but not too overly distorted.
What gear that you still use today has been with you the longest?
I’ve always been a loyal Laney user for the past 30 odd years. I love those British made amps. I’ve played most of their amps over the course of my career, from combos to stacks, and from valve to sold-state but my trusty Laney LV200 remains one of my go to amps. I’ve had it since the model first came out in 2009. It never lets me down. I use it primarily as a clean channel and add my O-2 to it.
What are your top 3 guitar albums (or songs)?
‘20 Golden Greats’ (1977) – The Shadows; It was my ‘guitar school’ textbook I used in teaching myself to play the guitar. I sat down and learned everything on that album note for note and by ear, it took me ages though, but it was a great learning curve and good ear training. And Apache is THE song for me, and one of the most influential upon my own playing.
‘Boston’ (1976) – Boston; That album has some amazing guitar playing and songs and that call and response guitar solo on Hitch A Ride, it was my favourite, I learned that note for note too.
‘Dire Straits’ (1978) – Dire Straits; When that album first came out, it was something different on radio compared to what was out at that time. It featured some very cool guitar playing, especially Sultans of Swing. Mark Knopfler is such a masterful guitar player. He affirms that when soloing, it’s not about how fast, or how technical you can be, but it’s all about the melodies. You can just about sing or hum every guitar solo he has played.
I have to add to my list the track The Loner by Gary Moore. It is also one of my favourite instrumental tracks. His bluesy feel, melodicism and soulfulness is totally understated. And you can hear his influence on my own lead playing too.
What’s your latest release/recording?
I’ve been keeping busy during this lock down period working away on new music. I have a new solo EP coming out later this year called ‘Only One’ as well as, I have partnered up with Martin Cilia – one of this country’s finest guitarists and THE #1 surf instrumentalist in Australia – for a project of new original surf inspired instrumentals. The first two songs from out project are out on September 1st on all digital platforms. And my recent single ‘Overload’ which was recorded in Stockholm, Sweden last year is still current, so check it out on all digital outlets too.
Any upcoming live/streaming gigs?
I wish I had live gigs as I miss playing shows but the pandemic has put a stop to that for everyone. Before the pandemic hit, I was looking at a busy year ahead with shows and another European tour planned. But then the pandemic happened and everything got cancelled. I guess I’m lucky to have a home studio so I can utilize my time working on new music and projects.
What’s YOUR scene?
Being onstage and performing my music to audiences, but as I just mentioned above, the current pandemic put a stop to all of that. So my scene now is writing and recording and just tinkering around in my studio.
About Joe Matera
Australian singer/songwriter/instrumentalist and guitarist Joe Matera is a melodious troubadour, having amassed quite an impressive track record in his career. This includes playing guitar for famed British music legend Steve Harley (Cockney Rebel fame) to performing on the festival stages in Europe to scoring a Top 20 hit on Radio Berlin in Germany. His songs and music speak with authority and emotion straight from the heart.
Since 2011, he has recorded and released five albums and three EPs through various European record labels such as W.A.R Productions in Austria and RVPrecords in The Netherlands and tours Europe each year.
As a solo artist, he has performed live in concert supporting the likes of Aussie music legends Mental As Anything, Brian Cadd and Russell Morris, American rocker Peter Criss (KISS), blues legends Canned Heat and Scottish 1970s tartan sensations, Bay City Rollers to name but a few.
His most recent and current single is titled ‘Overload’. The track was fully recorded at the famed Sunlight Studios in Stockholm with legendary Swedish producer Tomas Skogsberg (Backyard Babies, Entombed, The Hellacopters) in May, 2019. His released the all instrumental album, ‘Electric Wire’ in 2020.
“….one of the most melodic and stylish guitarists I’ve heard” – Steve Harley
“…[songs] containing a lot of heart, honesty and authenticity” – Rock It! Magazine (Germany)
Official Website: www.joematera.com