Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 93
How do you and Mark decide who's going
to play what?
Mark is primarily the lead player, and he's
amazing. I consider myself part of the rhythm
section, so I try to create backdrops that are
hooks and fit the emotional and lyrical content
of the song. It's not quantity of notes, but quality.
Creating parts is all about listening to what the
other person's doing and not treading on each
other. If he's going high, I'm going to stay low,
and vice versa.
How do you add texture without clutter?
I approach parts in terms of what's going to
work best for the song. If that means playing one
note for four minutes, I'm okay with that. Having five or six people in the band is like having
five or six painters. If all are using the color green,
it's going to be a boring painting. I approach
the song as I hear it produced in my head. Part
of that comes from locking myself in my room
as a kid and really listening to records, hearing
all the little parts in the background that made
that music special to me, reading the liner notes
to see what instruments were played. What's a
Mellotron? What's a Nashville-tuned guitar?
Who were some of your influences in
Mott the Hoople was my favorite band as
a kid... and Bowie; Mick Ronson and Mick
Ralphs were all about tone and melody mixed
with chaos. From a guitar-playing perspective, Television had a huge effect on me - two
1) Mastro users this '60s Zim-Gar six-string bass
for baritone parts. 2) This '73 Strat has been
Mastro's constant companion for 40 years . 3)
This mid-'70s Tele Custom makes appearances
with The Rant Band. 4) Mastro's '65 Jaguar.
guitars playing totally different, angular parts
like gears that mesh perfectly, very clear and
audible. I loved Eno's "Here Come the Warm
Jets" because there are so many textures. To
this day, I listen to it once or twice a week and
I'll hear something I'd never heard before. Phil
Manzanera and Robert Fripp are also that great
blend of melody and chaos.
How do you use pedals?