Q:What inspired you to play guitar?

A:Hearing Yngwie Malmsteen’s "Far Beyond the Sun," from Rising Force. That album opened so many doors for guitarists worldwide, and it completely blew me away the first time I heard it. It inspired me to sit in my room for hours and hours trying to perfect my technique.

Q:What was your first guitar?

A:My dad bought me a Peavey T-15. The guitar’s case actually had an amp built right in it. How cool was that!

Q:What was the first song you learned?

A:"Tie Your Mother Down" by Queen.

Q:Do you remember your first gig?

A:It was probably my high school talent show. We played "The Raven" by Tony MacAlpine. Our amps were so friggin loud! It was funny to see all the teachers in the front row with their hands up to their ears in total disbelief.

Q:Ever had an embarrassing moment onstage?

A:When we were on tour with Blind Guardian years ago, they put two-sided tape all over the stage. So no matter where you walked, you would literally stick to the floor. It was impossible to use my foot pedal, and I had to stand in one spot throughout the entire show and look stupid. It was a very good last-show prank.

Q:What’s your favorite piece of gear?

A:I just put together a beautiful custom Warmoth guitar. It sounds and looks absolutely incredible.

Q:Do you have any advice for young players?

A:Try to create something of your own and find your own identity as a player, and don't subject yourself to one style of music. Listening to different styles of music will show you more ways to become a better player.

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