If you are guitarist or a bass player and if you are into gear… after all what self-respecting shredder is not, right? Then you know our very special featured guest Louis, The Tone King. For over a decade the Royalty of Tone has been bringing you the latest news and showing you the latest toys for your Tool Box of Tone. The Tone King is the Consumer Report of all that is Tone. Furthermore he has granted you access to most restricted areas at the coolest shows and factories, brought you interviews from the coolest artist and music industry veterans and helped numerous companies fine tune their product. All that is purely for the love of music, ripping guitar solos and of course gear. Today we celebrate Louis, and are honored to have him as our friend and as our king. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, Louis, The Tone King.
Louis, please tell us about yourself and your latest projects?
New Yorker, grew up in the 80’s. Perfect combination of 80’s hair band metal, with tremendous talent behind each guitar solo. Unfortunately, a lost art. Latest projects – I just moved into a smoking hot Tone Lounge – a place that will allow for more demos, better production and increased capability – pushing all things TTK related forward.
What got you into music and what was the first concert you attended?
The ‘hook’. Whether it be Maiden, Priest or Motley Crue – that heavy rock guitar with that hook is what pulled me in for life! First concert … I lost the bet. I wanted to see Twisted Sister, but my sister insisted on Billy Squier. Luckily – Ratt opened for Billy Squier, and I have been forever hooked with the licks & riffs of Warren DiMartini.
Tell us about the first gig you ever played?
It was a talent show at my high school. We played Living After Midnight by Judas Priest. I had my Charvel Model 1A going into my Peavey Bandit 65. I felt like a rock god!
What was your most memorable performance?
It’s funny – I think my rehearsals were always more memorable than the performances. We always had a large group of folks that would hang with us at the studio. Looking back – we had some amazing times!
What are you listening to now?
Last night, I was listening to Motely Crue radio on Pandora. Haha.
What is your deserted island album?
Oh man – probably best of Iron Maiden, or Flight 666. I could listen to that all day long. If I could sneak in another – maybe Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. If I’m on a deserted island, I’ll need that to chillaxe.
And if you were stuck on the deserted island and could only have one type of food and drink (besides water) what would that be?
Oh man. Pizza would be good. As for drinks – probably a hearty selection of Snapple drinks, my favorite being Snapple Apple. I like chilled Starbucks Frappuccino too, but I suspect no deliveries on a deserted island. I’ll settle for some guava nectar. Seems more reasonable & attainable.
Who is one person you would like to meet (alive or dead, musician or not)?
If I can interview anyone right now – I would choose to interview Iron Maiden.
Who would you cast to play you in a movie?
Wow, that’s quite a question. Off the top of my head – probably Tommy Bolan from band NYC. He’s got the New York thing down pretty good. He’s about my height too.
Besides music, what are you into?
I have 3 kids, and love spending time with them. Dinner time is sacred. We’re always together, and talk about really good stuff from intellectual to insane. In my free time, I’m also a technologist, and love history & science.
Interview is not an interview without talking about gear. So let’s talk gear. Must have, best for studio, a must for tour?
At a bare minimum – I think everyone should have an opportunity to play the staples. A Les Paul, a Fender Strat, an aggressive 80’s style Charvel / Jackson and some flavor of an acoustic. From there – you’ll find your way. Must have for me may be different than the norm, because lots of folks are into high tech for making music (insert your favorite effects processor), and where I see it being necessary for items like recording (DAW), I am very much into plug and play when it comes to the therapy of playing a guitar. And, nothing says rock n roll like plugging into a full stack, brand being the least important of the experience. That said – give me an axe with some Super Distortions, a Tube Screamer of sorts into a half or full stack – and I’m happy for days. I know that didn’t really answer your question – so … must have for studio : something quick & easy that has everything. Some swear by the AxeFX, others the Kemper. I think you can accomplish the same with a Line 6 or Peavey Vypyr – or better yet, your favorite program built right into your DAW. For a Tour … probably same as above, and even more of a reason to keep your gear light. People aren’t traveling w heavy gear anymore, so tech is where it’s at. I may have reworded the question for ‘Best for therapy in a set-it & forget-it location in your house’, then Studio, then Tour. Haha.
Speaking of tour… any previous tour stories you want to share?
Tell us about your experience with PRA Audio and WiC Wireless System?
The most important things in life, for me is very simple. People, then product. Not the other way around. Let me explain … Good people will make you listen to what they have to say. If the product is great, it’s a double win. If not so good, you cordially move on. When the people suck – it doesn’t matter how good the product is. We live in a world of variety – so it’s easy to move on. That said – PRA Audio has both amazing people, and amazing product, so it’s a win, win for everyone. Seriously – best of the best. They treat you like family. And they’re pretty damn passionate about their product, and the integrity & pride that goes into their product. They are a role model example of how a company should be run.
Name one thing no one knows about you?
My father was a singer in a Doo-Wop band, who produced a number of songs that are still available for listen today. They came out in the 60’s, from Brooklyn, like many Doo-Wop bands at the time. Music clearly runs in the family. But, don’t bother asking who the band is, because I’m not telling ya!