musician who paints pictures with sound, guitarist Paul Speer was
renowned as a pioneer of the New Age music movement of the 90s.
Having released several albums on the famous instrumental rock fusion
record label Miramar back in the 90s, Speer has maintained his
presence on the guitar front with a number of acclaimed solo albums
on his Rainstorm imprint. His 2007 album Oculus was a sonic
masterpiece that paired a CD with a DVD featuring breathtaking footage
of historic Italy. Back in 2000 Speer made his Hells Canyon
album with drummer Scott Rockenfield and now at the close of the
first decade of the millennium hes back with his Wonders
CD. A collaborative work, the 12 track, 67 minute Wonders
continues onward with Speers devotion to sonic architecture.
The album features Speer in excellent form united with Paul Lawlera
U.K. based multi-instrumentalist (flutes, percussion, keyboards, dudak)and
French vocalist Satine Orient. The sound is mostly instrumental
with few Enya-esque cameo vocals from Satine. Some of the tracks are
a bit subdued for Speer, who before has fearlessly scaled the sonic
stratosphere on earlier albums, yet on balance, theres enough
here to please long time fans and anyone lucky enough to hear Speers
latest project in the realm of imaginary, rock-based film soundtracks.
MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents PAUL SPEER
Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world,
their new recordings and gear!
I blame my lifelong love of guitar on a trumpet rented when
I was 9 years old. I took a few lessons but never connected with the
instrument so, upon returning it to the music store, on my way out
I noticed a used 3/4 size Stella selling for $19. I still have that
guitar and I am now 56.
By the time I was 11, my two brothers and I had a trio going and played
our first paid gig when I was 12. That sealed my fate as a musician!
We continued on through high school and later I attended music school
at the University of Idaho where I led a 7 piece horn band comprised
of other music students.
After leaving school, I ended up in Seattle and toured with nightclub
acts for a few years and eventually found myself in Los Angeles in
the mid 1970's. Mixing daytime session work with club gigs at night,
I expanded my resume to include recording engineer and record producer.
I produced my first record in 1978 and have done about 250 albums
so far. Moving back to Seattle in 1979, I began accumulating professional
recording gear and started a studio. Access to quality equipment spawned
my first solo album Collection 983: Spectral Voyages which
was released on Catero Records of San Francisco in 1984.
In 1981, pianist David Lanz and I began working together and our efforts
resulted in three very successful albums on Narada/EMI between 1985
and 1993. I have also collaborated twice with Scott Rockenfield, drummer
for the metal band Queensryche. One of our projects, the video album
TeleVoid, was nominated for a Grammy in 1998.
In October of 2006, Memphis became my new home and it is fascinating
to live in a place with so much important musical history. Plus, there
is a terrific local music community here.
The new release is called Wonders, as in "Wonders
of the World." It is a collection of musical impressions of awe
inspiring places like the Petra temple in Jordan, Chaco Canyon in
New Mexico, the Ganges River in India, and the mountain Denali in
I collaborated with UK musician Paul Lawler and Satine Orient from
France, who contributed vocals on two cuts. An interesting aspect
of this project is that none of us have ever met in person. We did
the entire album by exchanging files over the internet and chatting
The guitar style and sound are similar to other albums of mine but,
instead of playing my 1990 Charvel 750XL, a 1974 Les Paul Standard
was used resulting in a slightly different color. My parts were recorded
in my Memphis studio with Pro Tools utilizing the Line 6 Amp Farm
The '74 LP Standard is getting a lot of use these days but I still
play the Charvel on occasion and a Larrivee LV-03R for acoustic tracks.
Other cool guitars in my collection include a '59 LP Jr, 66
335, 67 335, 76 LP Black Beauty, and a 98 L5-CES.
I always record with Amp Farm and do all the effects in Pro Tools
though I do use a volume pedal going in sometimes. Mostly, my guitars
are strung with Ernie Ball Regular Slinky strings.
Though I grew up listening to and playing the music of Hendrix,
Page, Clapton, and Beck, I feel I am mostly influenced by singers,
musicians other than guitarists, and orchestral composers like Igor
Stravinsky. If you analyze my style, you'll find much of it to be
quite singable as I often take "breaths" like a singer does.
As a guitarist however, milestone albums for me include Are You
Experienced? and the first Led Zeppelin album.
I've released two albums in the past two years so I'll probably
take a break for a while. I keep busy as a producer and am currently
doing an album with Will Tucker, a 15 year old blues singer/guitarist.
We recorded at Ardent Studios here in Memphis, a studio that has hosted
ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Led Zeppelin, and other greats over the
years. Good vibes abound in that building! The last tour I did was
15 years ago and I don't have any plans on the table at this time.