A taste of the San Francisco Bay Area came to Brighton last night, as Phil Demmel, lead guitarist from modern thrash metal band Machine Head, gave a Jackson guitars clinic at the GAK music shop.
Along with a brief history of Jackson Guitars from the company representative who has been touring Europe alongside Phil Demmel, the modern thrash legend gave a brief talk about his guitar playing history, his influences (announcing his love of KISS), and the players who have inspired him to play- Angus Young and Randy Rhoads being the most stand out figures. The talk also traced his relationships with various guitars and members of his bands.
Of course, whilst there, a few Machine Head songs were played from the extensive back catalogue of tracks that he has worked on, along with a jam with Chris Cannella from the Jackson guitars workshop. Between these two players and plenty of choruses of “F**k yeah!” from the audience (complete with the horns \m/), the spirit of metal was certainly in residence, as huge riffs and crazy shred guitar solos were in abundance. In that small room of barely 50 people, there was much more of an intimate atmosphere which helped bring Phil Demmel over as a really down to earth person who just happens to be in one of the planet’s biggest metal bands, touring the world. Although weeks on the road seemed to be taking their toll as my own question to him about musical influences outside the world of metal (i.e. Would one ever catch him listening to Beethoven or Miles Davis etc.) spawned a statement of solidarity with Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe in his manslaughter trial (a worthy cause in itself, but not quite what I was after as an answer).
After the talk Phil took the time for signings and photos with all the fans in the building and seemed genuinely willing to take the time to chat, despite his road-weariness.