From page 82 of Classic Rock Magazine July 2007
Straight rock and crazy guitar
Best remembered for a spell with
melodic hard rockers Mr. Big and their hit single To Be With You , Paul Gilbert has ploughed his own career for more than a decade. The guitarist undertakes his first solo tour of Britain in June.
You quit Mr. Big back in 1996. How come it took this long to organise your first solo tour of Europe? I was too scared to leave the comfort of my rabid audiences in Japan [laughs]. But finally I got bored of that and began craving the rest of the world. Tonight’s the tour’s first night and I’m in Paris. I just had to pass a zillion screaming fans to get to the phone. I’m not sure where my stage clothes are.
Do you have fond memories of playing in Britain?
I remember playing several London gigs. The Marquee was great, and the Town & Country Club [now the Forum] was perhaps the best of all.
Your latest solo album, Get Out Of My Yard , was received favourably despite being instrumental.
[Laughing] You’re absolutely right. Ever since I stopped singing my career has picked up. Why didn’t I realise that sooner?
Will you be singing on these shows? Yeah. My band and I just finished a G3 tour
[with Joe Satriani and Dream Theater’s John Petrucci] in America, which was maybe eighty per cent instrumental. These gigs will be about 50-50. I like playing straight-ahead rock and crazy athletic guitar.
Are you including anything from Mr. Big and, before that, Racer X?
Definitely. When I first toured as a solo artist in Japan I only did my own stuff. But gradually I’ve thrown in what I consider the best songs by Mr. Big and Racer X.
It was once rumoured that you are the secret alter ego of ex-GN’R guitar fruitcake Buckethead.
Not guilty. But I do know who Buckethead is. I’m proud to say that I taught him for a while back in the 80s. I was around 18 and he was, I’m guessing, 14 at the time.
• Gilbert’s dates end in Leeds on June S.