ETHAN BROSH - “The Term Shred Itself Is A Term That I Have A Problem With”
March 14, 2018, a year ago
It’s hard not to use the term “shredder” when talking about the music and talents of guitarist Ethan Brosh. As evidenced by his latest all-instrumental album, Conspiracy (which features a guest spot by Steel Panther’s Satchel), there’s no denying that Ethan’s technical chops recall the heady days of Satch, Vai, and Yngwie - which North American fans will be able to get to witness up close and personal, when he hits the stage opening a run of dates for Ross the Boss. But when BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato spoke with the guitarist, he made some valid points regarding why the aforementioned term can be a double-edge sword.
BraveWords: How is Conspiracy similar or different to your previous albums?
Ethan Brosh: “It is similar to my other records in the sense that it took me three years. This is an album that didn’t spare any expense, and went all out and tried to get the most talented people I know to get involved, and really took my time with it. I didn’t put it out until I thought that this is the absolute best that I could do. It’s different in the sense that I think it’s even more melodic than the first two records. And I think the flow of the record is better this time around. It’s a fun listen. It has a good balance between the heavier stuff, the mellow stuff, and I think everything got better because I have more experience making a record and I have better equipment. I’m also a better guitar player than I was a few years ago. So all I tried to do was just make a better record overall. And I think I really did manage to surpass the previous two records. This is only my third record, but I still consider it one of my classic records, if you will.”
BraveWords: Do you have a favorite track?
Ethan Brosh: “I would say the very last one, ‘Major Sadness.’ That’s a tune I wrote the day my grandmother passed away. That piece of music came from the most honest place you can imagine. I wrote it in one sitting - on that specific day. And I really do think it’s the best song on the record. But unfortunately, I put it last, so I doubt anyone will even get to listen to it!” [Laughs]
BraveWords: Let’s discuss the video for the track, “Tomb Of The Gods”?
Ethan Brosh: “That happened in an undisclosed location - it’s supposed to be happening on Mars. And it absolutely looks like Mars. This was such a great experience - some people have asked me if this is a green screen, because it looks too crazy to be real. But it is a real place. It was just amazing to see how beautiful nature can be - even here in the United States. This was more out west, and not where I live on the east coast. I was just amazed with the way things look over there.”
BraveWords: Last year I did a book, Shredders, and one chapter discussed modern day metal guitarists. What do you think of the term ‘shred,’ and do you consider yourself to be carrying the torch?
Ethan Brosh: “The term shred itself is a term that I have a problem with. Carrying the torch for some of the great guitarists of the ‘80s is something that is an honor that I would be very proud to have. But the word shred, it just stoops to…what is it, exactly? Is it somebody that just plays fast with distortion? Is it somebody that sweeps? Is it somebody that plays alternate picking fast? I don’t really get what it’s supposed to be. The first few times that I heard it, I thought it was really a compliment of somebody who could really play. Now, to me, it just seems like anyone who tried to pick fast - and there are a billion guys like that on YouTube. I have a lot of students who can shred, but then when it was time to switch a couple of chords or play rhythm, they couldn’t do any of it. So, are they shredders? Well, if that’s what a shredder means, I don’t really want to be one. I can tell you what my opinion of a shredder is - there is one true shredder, and that is Yngwie Malmsteen. Other than that, everybody else plays guitar in a different style or tried to rip him off. I’m not saying he’s necessarily the greatest guitar player ever - although at what he does, he is the absolute best. But to me, the term shredder, it rightfully should go to Yngwie Malmsteen. He should have that title and not anybody else.”
BraveWords: Are you looking forward to the upcoming tour with Ross The Boss?
Ethan Brosh: “Absolutely. We are leaving tonight, so I am working on getting everything ready. It seems like the first three nights are going to be driving through a lot of snow, and it’s always interesting - we’ll see how it goes. We are playing Sellersville, Pennsylvania, and I played there one other time, when I was on tour with Jake E. Lee - and that was the best show on that tour. Obviously, we are all very excited to go back there. And there are a bunch of other locations we are very excited about - Montreal we’ve never played. And Quebec City was maybe one of the best shows I’ve ever played, the last time we went on the road. And we’re going to be in Toronto, and we love playing there. And the Token Lounge in Detroit - that place should be mentioned, because it is a venue that really supports the whole guitar thing. Like, there are pictures all over the walls there, and it’s all instrumental guitar players and all the cool hard rock guitar players that we know and love have all played there, and they have signed pictures for that venue. Whoever runs that venue is definitely a guitar fan and is somebody that supports that side of the industry, who I have a lot respect for. And then we have Reggie’s in Chicago, where we recorded our live CD, Live in Chicago. So, lots of cool stuff that we’re all super excited about.”
BraveWords: What are your plans beyond this tour?
Ethan Brosh: “To do more touring. This is the first time I’m doing a self-released album, so I’m trying to get into the whole online promotion, and how you actually do it nowadays as an independent musician. I can tell you from what I’ve learned so far, it is such a complex game. This is not easygoing, like what some of those companies or apps or people will try and make you believe, ‘Oh, all you have to do is be on one social media platform or do one thing, and there are apps that take care of everything else.’ It’s just not like that. There are a million different platforms, and there’s all kinds of things you have to learn, and lots of trial and error and lots of spending money in the process - just to see if it works or not. As an independent musician, if you want to somehow sell some of your music or get paid for streaming, it just became very, very hard to do. A lot of people talk about how great the internet is for musicians, and how nowadays, it’s such a great opportunity for independent musicians. It might be. But it’s not going to come without a heavy price of you spending hours and hours and lots of money, and with a lot of effort, and mastering a lot of different platforms. It’s like taking on another full-time job that is really on you. And still, there are no guarantees, because everyone is out there - there are a million other artists that are trying to do exactly the same thing. So, my plans for 2018 are to get more into it - and very reluctantly, I might add. I don’t like doing that stuff. I want to just play guitar. But, it is what it is, and this is how nowadays everything works. It’s doing that and doing more touring. This album took a long time to put together, and now, I just want to really focus on putting it out there properly and touring with it properly.”