Guitarist PHIL X On Working With High Profile Artists - "If You Get That Knock On The Door And You Bring Your B-Game, You've Lost Your Chance" (Audio)

January 24, 2020, 2 months ago

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Guitarist PHIL X On Working With High Profile Artists - "If You Get That Knock On The Door And You Bring Your B-Game, You've Lost Your Chance" (Audio)

Guitarist Phil X (Bon Jovi, Phil X And The Drills) guested in the No Guitar Is Safe podcast and plugged in a custom-built signature-model solid-body made for him by his new endorsing company (Gibson), shares licks and techniques that shaped his style, reflects on his two musical loves (playing with Bon Jovi and with his power trio, Phil X And The Drills), and details his patented "bouzouki trick" (which he came up with by fusing hard rock guitar with the Greek music he learned doing music with his dad as a kid). Check out the interview below.

On working with artists like Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, Triumph, Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson

Phil: "I always tell people - I do a lot of clinics and I speak at schools, and I want to instill it in the younger musicians that, you know, of course, being at the right place at the right time, but I think even more than that is delivering. If you get that chance, you get that knock on the door, and you answer the door, and you bring your B-game or it's not quite all connecting the dots, you've lost your chance. You got to be able to deliver at a drop of a dime, all the time."

For the past 126 years, Gibson has been synonymous with creating and shaping sound. The new Gibson era celebrates the iconic models of the Gibson Golden Era while leaning into the future with instruments that nurture new players across generations, genders, and genres of music. Gibson has announced that guitarist Phil X -an integral full-time member of Bon Jovi since 2016 - has joined as brand ambassador.

"Phil is one of the most versatile guitar players today and has an unparalleled ability to cover a wide range of music genres," says Cesar Gueikian, Chief Merchant Officer of Gibson. "Phil is one of my favorite songwriters and entertainers and everyday he inspires fans of all generations to pick up a guitar and play. Above all, Phil is a wonderful person, a friend and I see him joining our Gibson family as coming home."

Read the Gibson Q&A with Phil X below.

Q: Welcome to Gibson. How do you like your new Explorer/SG/Les Paul?

Phil: “Thank you. I’m very partial to the SG style, but I love the neck of the '58 Les Paul and a thicker body, so my hope is to marry the two into a balanced dream guitar. Plus, I love Les Paul's, Explorer's and Flying V's, so I feel fortunate to finally be with Gibson.”

Q: What is your personal history with Gibson guitars?

Phil: “I’ve owned and played many over the years. It’s funny, when I was a budding session guitar player in L.A., I had to borrow a Les Paul from a friend to go record Alice Cooper’s Brutal Planet record. Now I have a few (laughs). Most of the guitars recorded on Daughtry’s first record were a ’59 double-cutaway Jr and a mid ‘60s Trini Lopez.  On the 2017 Bon Jovi This House Is Not For Sale tour, I tried my Explorer for 'Lay Your Hands On Me' one night and BAM!, it had to be that guitar every night.”

Q: What Gibson artists inspired you to play and who might still inspire you today?

Phil: “Of course, it was Jimmy Page and the Les Paul. The KISS perfect lineup was a Gibson bass, Ace’s LP and Paul’s Flying V. Man… I REALLY wanted a V after that. Now, what I love seeing is super-old pictures of Eddie Van Halen rockin’ a Les Paul. Just completely on fire and blowing minds without a whammy bar.”

Q: How do you go about choosing a guitar that will be appropriate for the demands of playing in Bon Jovi?

Phil: “Of course, each guitar has to suit each song. For most of the catalogue, anything that simply produces a great rock tone works. It’ll be harder to pick what NOT to play. i.e.: 'Bed Of Roses'... do I want to play a 57 Custom Shop Gold Top or a natural ES355?  It’ll be a blast putting guitars to songs. I’m actually excited to dig into that process.”

Q: If you only had one instrument to play for the entire gig, what would it be and why?

Phil: “If it’s a Drills gig, the 1964 Custom Shop personalized SG mentioned above because of its simplicity and all the tones at my fingertips with just one volume dialing in the anger of the PX100 that rolls back to a chime. For Jovi, there’s a little more demand covering a 30-year career. Probably an ES335 with Filtertrons and coil tapping options. You can get pretty much anything out of a workhorse like that.”  

Phil X and his band, Phil X & The Drills, will release their fifth studio album Stupid Good Lookings Vol. 2 in early 2020 on Golden Robot Records. The new album features a different drummer on each song including Tommy Lee, Taylor Hawkins, Liberty Devitto, Kenny Aronoff, and Ray Luzier. Phil X and his band, The Drills, have been enjoying a rapidly growing international fan base supported by the release of five solid albums: Kick Your Ass In 17 Minutes (2009), We Bring The Rock N Roll (2011), We Play Instruments N Sh!t (2012), This House Is Not For Sale (2016) with Bon Jovi and Stupid Good Lookings Vol. 1 (2019).

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