Drue James - Learnguitarinlondon.com

Here’s the “best bits” from an interview with GuitarDomination.net

You can read the full interview here


Bands and Inspiration

Q: Your favourite guitarist?

Michael Akerfelt from Opeth. I really like his feel. Listen to the chilled out solo in Porcupine Trees “Arriving Somewhere But Not Here” It’s his emotion, touch and space that I admire.

Q: Best band or artist you have seen live?

Foo Fighters at Reading Festival 1998 when I was 17. They were touring `The Colour and the Shape` and the gig had so much energy.

Q: Favourite album?

It’s a difficult question to answer but I would have to say The Bends by Radiohead. I preferred the Indie trimmed down songwriting on this album compared to their later work. There’s something about Thom Yorke’s songwriting that really appeals to me on The Bends.

Q: Favourite song to listen to on a depressing day?

I find myself listening to female singer songwriters like Alanis Morisette or Carol King. If I had to choose one song it would be Wings by Birdy. I love an epic pop song sung by a flawless female voice.

Q: Greatest guitar piece ever recorded?

Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. Nothing can touch that.

Q: Best guitar of all time?

I’m not fussy when it comes to gear and I’m very much of the opinion that if it fits my hands and I like the sound then that’s my guitar. I play Furch Acoustics. My electric is a PRS SE custom which I’m about to upgrade to either an SG or a Telecaster.

You as a guitarist

Q: Most difficult thing you’ve ever learned to play on guitar?

I’m always challenging myself. I’m taking a Grade 8 acoustic exam this year and I’m learning a song at the moment called `Acoustic Fuel` from the RGT Grade 8 book.

What band/artists got you into music?

Oasis got me into guitar music when I was 14. I remember listening to a tape of Champagne Supernova and it sent chills down my spine. Before that my Dad got me into classical music and my Mum was into Queen.

Q: What’s the first song/riff you learnt on guitar?

It was the theme tune from a Marmite advert! Lowrider by War

Q: Why did you choose to play the guitar?

I decided to learn guitar to support my voice so I could sing songs. To be honest I was a show off at school and the guitar suited my extrovert nature.

Q: Why did you choose to teach guitar?

I fell into it by accident, when teaching a friend. Then someone paid me to teach them and I remember thinking, “Wow, that was the first time I’ve been paid to do something where I didn’t watch the clock all day” When I teach others I get fired up and excited. It sounds like a cliché, but it really doesn’t feel like a job to me.

Q: Best thing about being a guitar teacher?

You get to choose your own hours.  You get to meet a lot of cool people, who are just like you. If you do your marketing right, then you are going to meet people who are just like you, they love the same music that you do and have the same outlook on life.

Your music and gear

Q: Best ever gig?

I had a band called The Nocturnals and about three years ago we released our first album `Doubt`. To promote the album we performed a gig to friends and family in North London. It was a lot of fun. I have also won a couple of band competitions when I was a kid.

Q: Favourite guitar effects to use and why?

Because I am an acoustic player I don’t often plug in. With my electric guitar, I make chord progression using my loop pedal and then play lead guitar over the loop with some delay and reverb.

Q: What does your current gear setup look like?

On my electric guitar I’ve got a Boss chromatic tuner, TC compressor, Boss loop station, Boss delay, Marshall Shredmaster Distortion and a Holy Grail reverb pedal.

Q: One piece of gear you couldn’t live without?

My Furch acoustic.

Q: Favourite song to play live?

`Chasing Cars` by Snow Patrol

Tips and advice

Q: Top advice for new bands/artists trying to make it?

You’ve got to love it. If you are not enjoying it, then there’s no point in making a career out of it.

Write down your reasons for why you want to make it as a profession. What are your motivations to do it and then decide if that’s enough to make you happy, if that’s what you really need to be happy then go for it.

Q: What does your typical day of routine practice look like?

My typical day involves answering emails, planning lessons (both video and physical) and teaching students. When it comes to practice I  do 45 minutes a day

Q: Best tip or one piece of advice you were ever given as a guitarist?

Don’t be in a rush. Don’t feel that because someone else can do it, you should be able to do it by now. Concentrate on your own progress and not that of others.