MR. BIG Guitarist PAUL GILBERT On EDDIE VAN HALEN - "He Was A Kind Of Superhuman To Me As A Kid... I Saw Every VAN HALEN Show From 1979 To 1984 In Pennsylvania"

November 8, 2021, 2 months ago

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MR. BIG Guitarist PAUL GILBERT On EDDIE VAN HALEN - "He Was A Kind Of Superhuman To Me As A Kid... I Saw Every VAN HALEN Show From 1979 To 1984 In Pennsylvania"

Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer X) and The Players Club / Mascot Label Group recently announced the release of a new seasonal offering titled 'TWAS. Gilbert’s 17th solo album features a dozen recordings, two of which are new, original compositions.

Paul talks about the new album in an interview with MyGlobalMind's Robert Cavuoto, where he also talks about the late, great Eddie Van Halen.

Robert Cavuoto: You came up with the idea of using a drill on the guitar, and then Eddie Van Halen borrowed from it. What were your feelings about that?

Paul Gilbert: "I thought I was dreaming. It was so odd. Any contact with Eddie was odd as he was such a hero of mind. He was a kind of superhuman to me as a kid. I saw every Van Halen show from 1979 to 1984 in Pennsylvania.  I was the kid in the audience with the binoculars watching his fingers. He was such a star. So having any kind of association was like speaking to a spirit from another world. I don’t think I was on his radar. I don’t think he was reading a guitar magazine and said, “Paul is using a drill; I’ll use it too!” I think he just had one in his studio and decided to make pretty some noise. I think it was sort of a coincidence but an unusual one. I was shocked and wonderful that I can be associated with the guy in any way."

Read the full interview at MyGlobalMind.

The global release date for 'TWAS on digital and CD is November 26. The LP will follow on December 10th. Pre-order here.

Gilbert shares: "Many will agree that in recent times, challenging events have been pouring down upon our heads like an Exploding Waterfall of Molasses. At least it sometimes feels like that to me.  But while I was jamming Christmas songs with my friends, playing an assortment of red, green, and white Ibanez electric guitars, I felt like life was THE BEST.  I hope that this music can put a smile on your face as well.  

"Ten of the songs are classics. I was inspired by the Christmas recordings of Nat King Cole, Loretta Lynn, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Ventures. And of course, inspiration came from my guitar heroes, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Lifeson, Johnny Winter, Robin Trower, Frank Marino, Pat Travers, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page, to name a few. I also wrote some of my own new Christmas songs. As I have been doing recently, I begin with lyrics and a melody. Then I let my guitar take over, as it sings better than I do."

He continues. "'Three Strings For Christmas' refers to the 3-string guitar that I used on my double-neck. I tune the strings in octaves, which allows me to play ridiculously fast arpeggios, and very little else (which is why I have a normally strung guitar for the other neck.) 'Every Christmas Has Love' was written quickly, inspired by my panic-driven mental state of album making. When I know that the recording sessions are coming, my brain shifts into survival mode, and melodies start popping out. Then I take all the chords I learned by listening to 70s AM radio, and build a song. The lyrics are nice too. I'll be printing those in the liner notes of the album. Merry Christmas to all. And to all, a good night."

Gilbert formed a band of Portland, Oregon's finest jazz and blues musicians for these sessions. The players are Dan Balmer (guitar), Clay Giberson (keyboards), Timmer Blakely (bass), and Jimi Bott (drums). He reflects, “All brought supreme musical goodness to these arrangements and performances. They certainly steered me to make wiser musical choices than I would have made on my own. And as you will hear, my metal guitar instincts still breathe fire when they get the chance.” The album was recorded in Jimi Bott's studio, who also engineered and mixed the recordings. The approach was to record two songs every day, for six days, delivering the collected body of work.  

Gilbert: "All songs were recorded live, although I think Jimi snuck some cowbell overdubs in. If anything should be added to a live track, I believe cowbell is the right choice."


"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
"Frosty the Snowman"
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
"The Christmas Song"
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
"I Saw Three Ships"
"Every Christmas Has Love"
"Three Strings for Christmas"
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
"Silver Bells"
"Winter Wonderland"

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” video:

(Top photo - Jennifer Bartram-Schmitt)

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