Rob Carlton is a guitar player originally from Long Island, NY. Rob is a recent Sonicbids competition winner so we’re delighted when he agreed to complete an interview for Song Revelation to showcase his guitar playing talents and tell us a little about what he’s been doing. Read the full interview below to discover how he became interested in music, how he continues to hone his craft and where he’s playing in 2011.
Seven Thunders by Rob Carlton
Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?
Instrumental rock & rock blues.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
I’ve been called the Real Deal Guitar Hero in a review, but more recently I’ve been called Rockzilla. So, I think a good tagline would be: Rockzilla will capture you with his thunderous shredding and acoustic gems–A true rock and roll experience.
Q: What is your musical background?
I began playing guitar & taking lessons at 12 years old. I sometimes played until my fingers literally bled. I went on to play in local bars and also opened for major bands such as Blue Oyster Cult, Zebra and Cinderella. Notable gigs of the past include: CBGBs in NY City, GMAs in Nashville, SuperFest in California, the legendary Stanhope House in New Jersey, Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg PA. I have recorded many albums with various bands including Sevenfold, Empyre, Corban, Carlton & Paige, and 4 solo albums including A Time Such As This, Unshackled, Beautiful Collision and the newly release Seven Thunders. I’m also an ASCAP award-winning song writer.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
It was an awesome year getting local, national and world wide press. In 2010 I played Uncle Mike’s and Gavin Degraw’s National Underground in NYC. I got a digital distribution deal with MAFFEM for Beautiful Collision, and it’s now available on over 80 websites. We also filmed over 70 videos for You Tube from various live shows, including 2 shows at the Stanhope House in NJ. I enjoyed playing some local gigs such as Battle of the Bands and Gary Curtis Memorial. In 2010 I also had some fun touring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Oh, and I started recording Seven Thunders at the end of 2010.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, Phil Keaggy, Joe Satriani, Rush, Peter Frampton, Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen, Led Zepplin, the Beatles.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Brian Head Welch, formerly of Korn has been an inspiration to me in the way he turned his life around for the good. I also really admire Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters for his modern day sounds and his rock and roll approach to recording and playing live. He uses some tremendous chords.
I Know What It Feels Like by Rob Carlton
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
Definitely the Foo Fighters, Robin Trower and I’d love to open for Rush.
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
I just listen to CD’s while I’m driving, so I don’t own an ipod, but if I did, some of the songs would be: Foo Fighters “The Best of You,” Brian “Head” Welch “L.O.V.E.” Aaron Lewis’ “Country Boy,” Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower,” and some Frank Zappa and Shinedown tunes.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
I pick up one of my electric or acoustic guitars and just start playing from the heart. If I like what I hear and it sticks in my mind, I will then develop it further…especially if my wife, Heather (my wife) likes it. She starts saying, “Remember that one! That’s a hit!”
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
Oooh tricky question. As an instrumental guitarist, I know melody that is catchy and pleasing to the ear is very important. As an ASCAP award winning song writer, I also know how powerful and touching words can be. If I had to chose one, I’d say melody is more important because no one will listen to the words if the tune bores them.
Q: Where are you based?
East Stroudsburg, PA
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Well, I’m originally from Long Island, NY. I prefer it there because it’s closer to the music scene, the ocean and great food!
Q: What are you currently working on?
I’m promoting my new album Seven Thunders and securing a manager and larger booking agent.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Appearing in Guitar World and Guitar Player magazines, getting endorsements from GHS Strings and Morley Pedals & meeting many talented musicians including Eddie Van Halen, Gene Simmons and Robin Trower. I also enjoyed being interviewed and featured on the Metal Sanaz website.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
I am hoping to be a part of the Extreme Tour & serve in whatever way I can, using the talent God has given me. I am heading to Nashville this month to participate in the Extreme Tour’s Objective- I’m playing an acoustic set as well as attending several days of seminars about the music business & learning what the Extreme Tour is all about. In 2011, I am also hoping for continued promotion through GRIT PR. I work with Laurena and she’s awesome! I also work with Mike at Skopemag.com and he’s great!
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
Yes, this fall I am performing at the Fox Theater in Atlanta as part of a 10 year tribute to the 9/11 anniversary. I feel honored to have been chosen for this.
Q: What do you do to relax?
My wife and I enjoy traveling to Maine and NY to visit our families and the ocean. I like watching action and adventure movies & checking out antique shops. I collect old Yankee baseball cards and Jimi Hendrix memorabilia.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
I think it’s important for any artist (no matter how good they think they are or how good others tell them they are) to keep honing their craft, keep taking lessons. I take lessons every 2 weeks from Jimmy Brown, Senior Music Editor of Guitar World Magazine. I never stop learning. Thank you to Song Revelation for doing this interview with me.
Editor’s Note: Rob Carlton’s extremely proficient guitar playing gives each song he plays a touch of his own personality and style. At Song Revelation we very rarely feature solely intstrumentalists but Rob’s unique style deserves special mention.
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