This "5 and Dime" interview was conducted via e-mail with guitarist Michael Angelo Batio on January 5, 2006.
Michael, please introduce yourself and your sound. Also, provide us with a brief summary of your musical career so far.
I would call my guitar-playing style "Progressive Rock Guitar." I was signed to both Atlantic and Warner Brothers Records in "vocal," heavy rock bands. Now, I have concentrated my solo career on releasing extremely progressive instrumental guitar CDs. I have been involved in virtually every facet of the music industry. I have my own company called M.A.C.E. Music, I have made MTV videos, acted in movies, have songs in movies, recorded almost every kind of genre that you can play on an electric guitar, and I've toured in 39 countries around the world beginning in the mid 1990's.
Talk about your new CD, "Hands Without Shadows." Describe its musical direction and the musical statement you're trying to make with the release of this CD. Also, where can music fans hear samples of it, and where can they purchase it?
"Hands Without Shadows" is a concept CD. I wanted to pay tribute to some of my favorite rock guitarists, take some of their songs and rearrange them in my own way to fit my own style of playing. I re-did versions of artist's songs like "Burn" from Deep Purple, "Dream On" from Aerosmith, "Wherever I May Roam" from Metallica, "All Along the Watchtower" from Jimi Hendrix, an Ozzy medley, and a Led Zeppelin medley. There are also a few of my own new songs on "HWS" as well. I asked a few of my friends to make guest solo appearances on some of the tracks and they did. For example, I did a tribute to Randy Rhoads and had Rudy Sarzo, Ozzy's original bass player (who played with Randy) perform on my version. Mark Tremonti, guitarist from Creed and now Alter Bridge played an outstanding guitar solo on my version of "Burn." Bobby Rock played drums on the entire CD. He also played on my former band's Nitro's first CD. He is a fantastic drummer. I am very pleased with the results. You can hear sound samples on my website www.angelo.com I also posted a detailed description of each song and what I did to record them and get them to sound the way they do on the "Hands Without Shadows" page of my site. I want people to get a glimpse of what my vision was, what I thought and what I wanted to accomplish on this CD.
What are your touring plans for 2006?
I always manage to perform about 100 shows a year around the world. I am contracted by Dean Guitars to do a minimum of 48 guitar clinics per year. It works out to be about 50 clinics and 50 concerts per year. This year I will be traveling throughout the USA, Europe, and South America. Canada and Mexico are also real possibilities again this year.
What should your existing fans expect from you musically in 2006?
I do my best to maintain the highest skill level on my instrument and to put on the best show possible. I will be performing songs from the new CD and will of course play my Double-Guitar.
Feel free to promote your website, Myspace page, your guitar clinics, instructional DVDs, merchandise or anything else that applies.
Please go to www.angelo.com I also have a Myspace page. Just look up Michael Angelo Batio, and you will find me. My company ships CDs and DVDs all over Planet Earth. You can order my complete discography from www.angelo.com
This interview section was named "5 and Dime" as a tribute to Dimebag Darrell. The final question is used as a way to keep the memory of Dimebag alive and in our thought at all times. Please share a personal story about Dimebag. If you didn't know him personally, share your thoughts on his influence as a guitar player or your thoughts on his tragic death.
I first met Dime in Florida when I was recording the second Nitro CD. Dime saw me, and Pantera dedicated their entire set to me. It was an honor. Dime told me after the show that he had watched some of my instructional videos and it made a big impression on his playing. I am a Dean Guitars endorsee and Dean Guitars FANATIC. Dime was also a Dean Guitars endorsee. They have his original Dean "Dime From Hell" guitar and have set up an exhibit of Dime's guitars and memorabilia that they ship to various functions around the world. Dean Guitar founder Dean Zelinsky feels it is his "mission" to keep Dime's name alive. We all miss him.