Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 30
to be a good guitar player - you had to be
fast. Of course, that changed later on for me.
I also dug the Grand Funk live album. I then
discovered Deep Purple and became a huge
Ritchie Blackmore fan. After that, I started
listening to a lot of guitar players. In the end,
my guitar style was derived from Johnny
Winter, Ritchie Blackmore, and Al DiMeola,
whom I discovered later on.
Do you remember your first good electric
guitar and amp setup?
I went to see Chuck Berry at the Bushnell
Auditorium, and when I got home, my dad had
brought a semi-hollow Ovation Eclipse and an
Ovation Dude amplifier. Being a Blackmore
fan, I decided that I needed a Strat, so on my
first trip to 48th Street in New York, I bought
one - a lefty '70s sunburst. It was wired as a
righty, so the pots worked opposite of how
they should have. I got so used to this, and
later ended up reversing the wires on other
lefty instruments I got. At the time, I also got
a 50-watt Marshall Mk II half-stack which I'd
overdrive with a Hawk booster. Shortly after, I
got my first Gibson SG, which ended up being
my main instrument for the next 10 years.
What are some of your favorite guitars
in your arsenal?
In the '80s, I had a full Kramer endorsement,
and also really got into Flying Vs, Explorers,
SGs, and Les Pauls. Lately, I've been using
custom-built guitars by Dale Roberts, of
Jacksonville. I also own three beautiful great
What is your go-to guitar-and-amp rig
these days for live work?
When I'm on tour, I use the Dale Roberts
guitars exclusively. Amp wise, I request a
Marshall DSL100 or TSL100. I have three
stompboxes on the floor... never rack gear.
ecognized worldwide as a master technician, southpaw shredder Jimi Bell
first received widespread notoriety for his
role sharing a nightclub stage with Joan Jett
in the 1986 film Light of Day, which starred
Michael J. Fox. His lightning-fast picking then
got him an invitation to audition for Ozzy
Osbourne, where he was edged out by Zakk
Wylde. Swinging to another branch of the
Black Sabbath family tree, he joined bassist
Geezer Butler's solo band. For that project
that he wrote "Master of Insanity," which was
used on Sabbath's 1992 album, Dehumanizer.
After several national and European tours,
Bell joined the melodic hard-rock band House of
Lords in 2005, put together by Gene Simmons,
and subsequently has recorded six albums with
them. The band is writing and recording a
seventh, tentatively titled Saint of the Lost Souls.
Going back, what initially drew you to
music, and how old were you when you
started playing guitar?
After trying several instruments, I became
a drummer from the age of 10 until I was 13,
when I won a scholarship from the Hartford
(Connecticut) Conservatory. While in junior
high, I jammed with some high-school friends.
The guitar player left his Guild Starfire,
Heathkit amp, and his Big Muff at my house.
I decided to try his guitar through the Big
Muff. At that moment, I instantly fell in love
with the guitar.
Who were your big influences back then?
Definitely Johnny Winter's Live And album
with Rick Derringer... it just blew my mind.
I kept playing the song "It's My Own Fault"
over and over again. Johnny had so much fire
and speed, I thought that was what it meant
Tell us about the band and the new album.
How did you go about putting the guitar
In 2005, after years of inactivity, House of
Lords singer James Christian approached me
about putting the band back together and
writing melodic rock music. Of course I said
"yes," even though I never had done so before.
For every album, I first present 15 to 20 song
ideas to (drummer) B.J. Zampa, and he helps
with the arrangements. Then, the songs get
sent to James, where he decides which ones
are best for the band. James then develops the
melody lines and lyrics, and depending on the
song, I might add finishing touches.
Where can folks see House of Lords live?
The band tours Europe all the time and has
done Loud Park, the biggest festival in Japan.
But we do have plans to do more shows in the
U.S. - Tom Guerra
Jimi Bell: Gail Corrow.
Lord of Shred