Leading up to the Melbourne Guitar Show, What’s My Scene will be celebrating GUITARISTS. Stay tuned for our exclusive Q&As, Vintage Guitar Scenes, Snap Scene features, and much much more.
Alex Hutchings answers our questions:
How long have you been playing guitar? Why did you first start playing guitar?
(laughs) That is a scary question when I think of it. (thinks) wow 24 years, I started when I was twelve so that makes it twenty-four years.
Well, actually, I wanted to be a drummer from about 7 yrs old but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed a drum kit so after 4 yrs of only strumming the first two chords to ‘every rose has it thorn’ on the guitar i decided to learn it properly, got some classical guitar lessons at school and had my older brother teach me some stuff on the electric guitar who had also started at twelve.
Which guitarist most influenced your playing?
Well I suppose if I had to pick one I would say Frank Gambale is the most noticeable influence in my playing as I changed my picking technique as soon as i heard him play when I was about 17.
Describe your favourite guitar.
Well I have too many to mention as I have around about 50 guitars but for playability and my most recent favourite is my blue burst AH6 Waghorn signature guitar and this is because I designed every element of it with the luthier Tom Wagnhorn. It’s one of the most playable guitars I’ve ever played in my life. There are plenty of videos out there of me playing it and most recently I did a little overview video on my youtube channel.
How do you prepare for a show?
I don’t have any specific routines because I like to be in the moment as much as possible so as long as the bare bones of the music are committed to memory I leave the rest to chance/improvisation.
I rarely even warm up but occasionally I’ll have a noodle just for five minutes before stepping on stage.
Which artist/band was/is your favourite to play guitar with?
I would have to say my own band as i’m able to freely express myself exactly in the way that i feel without restriction. Of course it’s great to play with as many different people as possible, to understand different approaches and feels etc, but when you can lead your own band you get to help create the whole picture which I believe further help one satisfy one’s own expression.
How would you describe your sound in food form and why?
A bit like a British dessert Eton Mess or Italian Neapolitan ice cream or a pizza with every single thing thrown on top. Essentially I try not to define music within genre or any confines, I pretty much love all music and can be influenced by anything so when i play I just throw all genres,styles that have moved me in my life into at what I do.
Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.
Well the first one that springs to mind is seeing a huge spider (inside) in Japan… I had just finished filming a series of videos when I spotted this huge thing in the corner.
Completely distracted I ignored the conversation I was in the middle of and yelped “What the hell is that??” to which one person replied “No problem he is a good guy, no poison, plus he is dead….”
“Dead I said, really?? I don’t think so..”
“Yes this is only the skin, it’s shed it’s skin…”
I said “ I don’t think so”
He says, “Yes yes, trust me…”
To which I said “Ok, touch it then….!”
I’ll leave you to guess what happened when he touched it……
What, or who, inspires you?
I am consistently amazed at how my passion for music never falters and my love for music itself drives me to want to create, play and push to create new things. People that inspire me are those with similar qualities and are prolific writers,. I am also hugely inspired by saxophonists and great singers that have the ability to move people with their voice and song writing. Playing the guitar is my voice and I feel that singing is very closely linked. I often say that guitarists are frustrated singers (well those that don’t actually sing, myself included of course.)
A few people I would name though are, Frank Gambale, Prince RIP, Allan Holdsworth, George Benson, Richard Marx, Luther Vandross, Steve Lukather.
Which song do you wish you wrote the riff for?
(laughs)Richard Marx ‘Playing with fire’/ Including solo… Although most of the Whitesnake 1987 riffs are pretty bad ass too….
If you had unlimited money, what would your dream guitar setup be?
I have my dream guitar, My AH6 Waghorn’s. I’ve never been much of a gear head, I’ve mainly just focused on playing, however pretty recently I’ve used an incredible pedal board set up featuring the ES8 switcher, the new BOSS 500 series pedals in a stereo rig with two blues cube artist amps. Personally I love this sound. Of course there are a million incredible amps and pedals out there but I’m not one of those guys on the never ending quest for tone. I’m a plug in and play kinda guy, within reason of course.
What’s next for you?
I’m always writing new material and I aspire to record all of my compositions with a super group and to take my music, my passion and my band to the next level. I’m always reaching to be a better musician.
I hope to be able to achieve this, and to share my passion with a full band and audiences around the world.
What is the best thing about the Melbourne Guitar Show this August?
Well I have never been before, so it’s hard to say however I am hugely excited to be a part of it and especially to be a part of the mega jam with some of the other great guitarists this year.
What’s your scene?
Musically, I’d say chilled out jazz clubs or music venues that are not afraid to rock things up a bit. Of course I love playing larger festivals too but both have their merits….
Personally I love hanging out with good people, having a good time, making good conversation.
It was big in 2015, huge in 2016, and today the Australian Music Association has announced the 2017 return of the Melbourne Guitar Show to rock Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6 – and this year, it’ll be bigger than ever. Proudly presented by Triple M and Australian Musician, the line-up boasts not only an incredible haul of local guitarists, but also massive international artists – UK’s legendary Steve Hackett (Genesis), Canada’s renowned Nick Johnston and UK superstar Alex Hutchings.
In addition to some killer performances, MGS will also hold a monster exhibition that will feature a gigantic variety of electric and acoustic guitars, effects pedals, amps and more state-of-the-art guitar technology, both home-grown and from around the world. It will continue to be Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up shop…and that’s not all. In addition to this, the Melbourne Guitar Show will host information seminars, demonstrations, and live performances from Australia’s most talented guitarists, including: Lloyd Spiegel, Nick Charles and Bob Spencer with many more to be announced.
This year will be extra special as the Melbourne Guitar Show welcomes UK guitar royalty, namely, the original Genesis guitarist and successful solo artist in his own right, Steve Hackett, in a very special premium ticketed event. Hackett will be touring Australia for the very first time with his lavish Genesis Revisited tour, playing classic Genesis prog-rock tunes as well as selected material from his 25 solo albums. For the Melbourne Guitar Show however, in a more eclectic and informal setting, Steve will play an exclusive up close and personal acoustic-based show featuring musical director Roger King on keyboards and woodwind/ brass virtuoso Rob Townshend. This will be the only Australian performance by the Steve Hackett Acoustic Trio. Genesis, only ever made it to Australia once, in 1986 – years after Steve and singer Peter Gabriel left the band, so Steve is making it up to fans by bringing some Genesis magic to our shores. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for long serving Genesis fans and aficionados of 70s prog-rock. Steve will also participate in an onstage Q&A session following his guitar show performance. Excited about the upcoming tour, Steve says, “I’m thrilled to bring my Genesis Revisited tour to Australia. I’ll be playing there for the first time and I’m hugely looking forward to it! It’ll be great to meet fans and friends, and I know it’s an incredibly beautiful country. I can’t wait!”
Another star joining the stacked line-up is the Canadian guitar virtuoso Nick Johnston. Known for his catchy, melody-driven instrumental music Nick has been able to carve out his own unique style within a crowded landscape of instrumental guitarists. Nick’s playing has attracted sponsorship from massive international brands including Friedman Amps, D’Addario and Schecter Guitars. Also on board this year, we welcome world-renowned guitarist Alex Hutchings (UK), a modern fusion guitarist par extraordinaire, lauded by many as one of the finest players in the genre. His international following has exploded in recent years thanks to millions of YouTube views via both his own channel and JamTrackCentral (alongside such contemporaries such as Guthrie Govan, Andy James and Jack Thammerat). Regularly touring around the globe, Alex performs under his own name and as an international demonstrator for BOSS/Roland.
Drawing over 5,500 guitar lovers and enthusiasts to last year’s exhibit, the Melbourne Guitar Show is gearing up for the biggest event yet. The voice of the Australian music products industry, the Australian Music Association (AMA) will be teaming up with Australianmusician.com.au and presenting sponsors Triple M and Aon to present this year’s guitar-centric weekend. “We are looking forward to a show this year that builds steadily based on the merit and popularity of the first two and on the presentation of the best people we can find”, says AMA executive officer and MGS organiser, Rob Walker. Not only will the 2017 MGS provide a hands-on chance to see, hear and play a broad range of the world’s favourite brands, it will also see exhibitors offering great show deals, plus an opportunity to get close to some hand-crafted, locally made instruments and epic guitar and gear collections. Describing the exciting developments, Rob continues, “We will have more exhibitors this year, as well as bigger stand presentations by many brands. We are in discussions with an increasing list of players who want to be a part of it, so we are sure this show will provide great value for guitar enthusiasts once again.”
The first artist line up announcement includes: Steve Hackett (UK), Nick Johnston (Canada), Alex Hutchings (UK), Lloyd Spiegel, Nick Charles, Bob Spencer, Shannon Bourne, Lloyd Spiegel, James Ryan and many more to be announced over the coming weeks.
The Melbourne Guitar Show will be held at Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6.
Tickets are on sale now!
Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40
**Premium tickets include admission to Steve Hackett show – limited tickets available
MELBOURNE GUITAR SHOW DETAILS
SATURDAY AUG 5 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE |10.00am – 6.00pm | TICKETS
SUNDAY AUG 6 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE | 10.00am – 6.00pm | TICKETS