Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 27
not usually my style, but it's a great-sounding
guitar and it records really well.
How do you approach solos in Marillion?
Most of what you hear on this album is what
happened in the room at the time. For one of
the sections in "The New Kings" we jammed
for several months, then used the best of the
ideas, where the first part was from three years
ago, and then it goes into a section that was
jammed around in January of this year. So it
became like a montage - a patchwork of ideas
from different times. But because everything
is recorded into ProTools, we have that facility.
So I guess if the music inspires me, it kind of
carries me along, really. I just tried to not play
the obvious thing. Which is always difficult,
especially when you've made 18 albums; there's
the fear of repeating yourself. So I try and find
something fresh each time.
Guitar-wise, which Marillion album is
Prog with a Purpose
Steve Rothery: Alison Toon.
arillion has been playing thoughtprovoking neo-prog since its 1983
debut album, Script for a Jester's Tear. Along
the way, the group has issued classic releases
of the genre including Misplaced Childhood,
Seasons End, and Marbles, among others.
Recently, it unveiled an 18th studio album,
FEAR (F**k Everyone and Run). Guitarist Steve
Rothery has been a member of the band since
its inception - the only original member still
Which guitars do we hear on the new album?
It's mainly three - my Blade RH -4, which
was one of the first Blades made in 1988/'89.
It has two single-coils, a humbucker, a
switchable mid-boost, maple neck, and a
tobacco sunburst finish. It's my normal
go-to guitar, live, and I've used it since the
Anoraknophobia album in 2001. One other
is a guitar made by Jack Dent, who has made
me a range of guitars, all beautiful instruments. The last one he made, which I used
on my solo album, The Ghosts of Pripyat, is
called the Raven and its pickup configuration is modeled after the Blade, including
the switchable boost. It's got a great sort of
chimey, rich, deep sound.
The only other electric guitar on the album
was a 12-string Italia on "White Paper." It has a
Rickenbacker-type of approach, but the neck's
a little wider. It's got this white finish, which is
Each has great moments. Apart from obviously the new album, which is always your
favorite at the time, the classic album for me
probably would be Afraid of Sunlight. While
recording it, we were faced with having to make
an album pretty quickly and were under the
threat of being dropped by EMI at the time. It
was the first album recorded at our own studio,
and it's just a great collection of songs with some
really cool sounds in there. There's a Steinberger
doubleneck 12-string played through Rockman
modules and a Quadraverb, which creates this
really bell-like sound on the track "Gazpacho."
There are some classic Marshall sounds, as well,
on "King." My main live guitar from the old
days is a black Squier Strat - one of the Japanese
ones, with a Kahler-looking vibrato and EMG
pickups. That, with the Rockman modules, I
used quite a lot on that album.
Back in the '80s, Marillion toured with
Queen and Rush. What do you recall about
sharing the stage with Brian May and Alex
A couple of months ago, I saw Brian for the
first time in about 25 years, actually. We did a
festival together in Switzerland, and he came
over, said hello. In the '80s, our band played
one of the festivals and he actually joined us
for a song. I've never heard a guitar sound
so loud! He had a wall of AC30s cranked,
and it was like a jumbo jet taking off. It was
phenomenal. Alex Lifeson... Rush has always
been a fantastic live band. The thing that most
impressed me was just the speed of the guitar
changes he does on some of the tracks where
he's playing an acoustic, then it's whipped off
him by a tech and within three or four seconds
he's playing a power chord on an electric. I
envy that dexterity! - Greg Prato