--- Lori Linstruth Interview--- 16/april/07
Hey Lori, thanks for participating in this interview for shred academy; it's a rarity to have a female with us.
- Thanks very much, Ali; it's flattering to be invited.
You are an amazingly gifted guitar player; your technique is flawless. How long have you been playing and who were your influences growing up?
- Oh dear, I don't consider myself a "technical" player at all, and was quite taken by surprise by your interview request because I'm anything but a "shredder." But thanks very much for the kind words just the same. My heroes during my formative years were Michael Schenker, Uli Roth, Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie, and Brian May. They're still my favourites today. Recently I discovered that Uli's brother Zeno is an incredible player as well - I really like his style.
I first heard of you on Arjen Luccasen's Ayreon album "The Final Experiment." That guy is a musical genius and incredibly nice guy; what was it like to work with him?
- Arjen is disgustingly talented, but I make a heroic effort not to hate him for it. After all, he can't help the way he was born. Despite his annoying talent, he's one of my favourite people and one of the few guitar players I can imagine sharing a stage with and having FUN. (He's completely non-competitive, which is so refreshing!) Working with him was an entirely positive experience. For me, that is! You'd have to ask him what HE thought about it.
You were recruited to play with Stream of Passion also. Did you enjoy your position in the band? Do you miss the guys now that you have left the band?
- Apart from freezing my ass off during our entire first European tour, I loved every minute of my time with SoP. I will indeed miss being a member, and will always remember how fortunate I was to be part of the band. It was incredibly educational and I made some really great friends. And hey, I got to have rays of awesomeness shoot out of my guitar in our first video. That will be hard to beat.
I got very excited when I discovered you have an all female melodic metal band called Warbride, too; you write all the music and play guitar for the band. Can you tell us a little about the band, and is it great having musical freedom to do what you want?
- Technically it's not a band; it's just a fun recording project being shared by two friends. Incidentally, Susie (vocals) is also writing some of the music when the control-freak, micro-manager in me gives her a chance. I work on the songs bit by bit when feeling inspired (and in between my computer's random blue screens of death). Having fun with music and creating something cool with a dear friend is what it's all about for me.
The genre of music is mostly male dominated but I have recently discovered many female artists and got in touch with them such as Katrina Johansson and The Great Kat, was it a struggle to work your way up and what do you think of females finally being accepted and supported as guitar players?
- Well, things are getting a bit better, for sure. But there is still a long way to go. It's a two-edged sword: decent female players automatically garner attention because there are so few of them, yet at the same time they are subjected to excruciatingly harsh evaluation because of their very femaleness. I'm talking about utterly vile and demeaning comments, often of a violent or sexual nature. Misogyny is still rampant in our society, as demonstrated by the recent torrent of hatred and threats hurled at blogger extraordinaire, Kathy Sierra, an inspiring and extremely talented woman who works within another largely male-dominated field (computers/programming). Guys do not have to put up with that kind of crap.
You simply can't afford to let the galactic stupidity of anonymous internet jerks get you down; instead you have to focus on the supportive people around you and your love of making music. That is what keeps me going, anyway. And anyway, the vituperations of trash-talking, anonymous cretins who don't have the balls to own their own words carry no weight anyway.
You recently became unwell. Without going deep into your personal life, could you tell us a little about what effect this has had on you and what you do to keep busy? All of us at shred academy wish you all the best to get well.
- Thanks very much. This frustrating condition has profoundly affected my private and professional life. I don't worry about keeping busy; it was busyness and stress that put me here in the first place. The constant fatigue and brain fog make it tough to do much of anything productive, so I'm mainly staying at home doing quiet things and trying to ignite my "spark" again. My doctor says that I will feel better eventually, but that I have to be prepared for it to take time. It's taking far longer than I thought it would, but I remain hopeful.
I have tried many years to learn certain techniques of guitar playing. Recently I found a video where you describe how to sweep properly, which i found to be very informative and easy to understand. Do you have any plans for an instructional DVD or book for guitarists?
- Thanks for letting me know; I'm glad you found my goofy videos useful. I do have fun making my silly videos, but with all the great instructionals out there by players who are FAR better than I will ever be, I'm dubious about what I'd be able to offer learners. But having finally embraced my inner capitalist, I can say this: if it looked like a profitable venture, I'd make a DVD in a heartbeat.
What is your opinion on music theory?
- For me (your mileage may vary) theory can be a useful tool, particularly when I've songwritten myself into a dead-end and my inspirational muses are cheekily thumbing their noses at me and refusing to help. Knowing the basics of theory is also useful for talking about music with other musicians. But "theory for theory's sake?" Not interested. Life is too short and there's too much other cool stuff to learn.
Who are your favourite bands and artists at the moment?
- It's no secret that I love Arjen's music, particularly Star One and Ambeon, and the heavier Ayreon songs. Rammstein has also made a huge impression on me over the past couple of years. Jorn Lande is my favourite male vocalist at the moment - he could sing the Swedish tax code and make it sound awesome. I'm also very impressed by a female vocalist named Magali Luyten - she sounds really great.
Do you have any projects for the future and do you have any crazy guitar tricks up your sleeve such as an 8-neck guitar that you set on fire and play a solo?
- I have enough trouble managing one neck at a time, thanks, so eight necks would be out of the question! But speaking of flames, I do daydream about playing on a huge Rammstein-esque stage with fire and explosions and cascades of glitter. Maybe someday (sigh). When I'm feeling better, my first priority is to finish the Warbride songs, and to start working on some new instrumentals for a solo project. I'll also be open for outside projects eventually, but not right now.
What equipment could you not live without and what equipment do you wish you had?
- I love (ab)using my trem and wah pedal, so it would be tough to go without those. And I'm totally in love with my new MicroKorg synth - so much sound in such a cute little package, I want to sleep with it and cuddle it! Lately I've been obsessed with the idea of using a 7-string for dark, sinister riffs, so a 7-string guitar will probably be my next gear purchase. A new computer that doesn't throw blue screens of death all the time would be nice, too.
What are your opinions on Jason Becker, Marty Friedman and your friend Arjen as musicians?
- I'm not very familiar with Jason Becker's work, but what I've heard was very impressive; he has a dramatic style all his own. I've not followed Marty Friedman since Megadeth, but I LOVE the way he played on Rust in Piece. I can tell he's an Uli Roth fan, like me. Arjen is in a class of his own, and is my favourite all-round musician. I wish I had his ability to "hear the big picture." It's an enviable talent.
Thanks for your time, any closing statement?
- Thanks very much for the interview; it was fun! I'd like to end with a piece of good advice for your readers: If you are feeling depressed, try watching nature programs about meerkats. A healthy dose of meerkats is bound to make you feel at least a little bit better.
Best wishes to your readers and to all of you at Shred Academy.