Worlds Within


Taking a cue from the diverse array of music recorded by his former band, Wishbone Ash, guitarist Roger Filgate sticks to the all instrumental format on his 2009 CD, World’s Within. Blending majestic prog-rock with jazz, funky r&b, acoustic ragtime, a touch of flamenco and much more, Filgate keeps his sonic palate highly diversified on World’s Within. Filgate performs all guitars, lap steel and keyboards and there’s even the prog sound of a mellotron somewhere in the mix! World’s Within is so diverse that you almost have to check the CD artwork to make sure it’s all by the same guitarist. The CD even features Filgate’s instrumental LedZep inspired rock cover of the “Courageous Cat” theme! Here’s a guitarist not afraid to take chances. Backed up by Ed Lange (drums) and Peter Bennett (bass), Filgate fires it up on all cylinders, driving his instrumental music home with much musical passion and ferocity. Few guitarists today can get it so together on such a diverse and powerful instrumental rock album as well as Filgate and the proof is in the grooves of World’s Within. Well worth the time for fans of Filgate’s rock albums with Wishbone Ash, as well as his recent stint as guitarist in Chubby Checker’s excellent recent group, World’s Within establishes Filgate as a resourceful music man with a whole lotta tasty guitar moves up his sleeve.

MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents an interview with Roger Filgate
Guitars Center Stage - Guitarists making waves in the music world, their new recordings and gear!

Musical Background

I’m the youngest of four boys, we’re all musicians. I started with piano lessons (ages 4-8) from my mom, who was an incredible classical concert pianist. I really owe all the musical talent to her. But after several years of piano books and recitals it was time for a change. At age 9 I switched over to guitar, taking lessons from my brother Jim. Originally, I started with my Dad’s old Martin acoustic and about a year later got my first electric. After a few years I stopped lessons and learned on my own from that point. Through my older brothers Mike & Jim, I grew up listening to & learning songs from the Beatles, Byrds, and other 60’s groups. They’re both great players and were always in bands, so I’d hear everything from that time; Stones, Hendrix, The Who, CSN, The Nazz - you name it. Even lesser known groups like Moby Grape, Blue Cheer and Bubble Puppy. Then on to the 70’s bands like Jethro Tull, Wishbone Ash, Yes, ELP, Zeppelin etc. Aside from that, my brother Gary was into bluegrass and is one mean banjo picker! So I also heard Flatt & Scruggs, Tony Rice, New Grass Revival in the house. It was pretty much like being a kid in a musical candy store, anything and everything right there.

New CD

The album is called Worlds Within and I recorded it in my studio in Connecticut. It’s an instrumental guitar album and really the first time I’ve been able to play such a wide array of music on one record. Right from the start I wanted to make it different from anything I’ve done before. An instrumental CD was the perfect way to go – no boundaries. In terms of production & engineering, I used Protools, so it’s a very clean recording but still has a vintage vibe to it. I listened to a lot of older albums to help lay things out like panning, EQ, levels, sounds etc. Guitar-wise, it was a blast! Just being able to play whatever I wanted, and finding the right guitars and amps that fit the mood of each tune – a lot of work but fun too. My main goal was to keep it interesting and not let it get boring. Plus by spreading out the styles it appeals to many different age groups, which is a cool thing. It actually took a long time to get to this point. When you’re in a band, you can sometimes get anchored down as a player, and that can be limiting and very frustrating - and Lord knows I’ve been in enough bands! So, this is really a new path for me. It’s complete freedom to let the guitars do all of the talking for a change.

Favorite Guitars

I have many, but there’s a few main one’s that I always play. My main battle-axe is a 1980 Fender The Strat, heavy as hell, but a great guitar. That model tends to get overlooked by many players because of the era it came from. It’s more versatile than most Strats. One of the tone knobs is a selector switch, which gives you 4 additional sounds, including a great Tele sound (featured on “Telekinesis”). I got it new for my 15th birthday and have used it in every group ever since, including Wishbone Ash. There’s my Gibson Les Paul Classic, another workhorse. I put a Vibrola tailpiece on it last year, which gives it a unique look, and works great. Also from the Wishbone days is my ’72 Gibson ES-345, one of my favorites. I rewired it mono, and put Grover’s on it, just a really nice axe. I bought two acoustics to record on the album. One is a Martin HD-28 (featured on “Wrapped in Bronze”) and an Alvarez MC-90 classical (featured on “Roraima”). They’re both beautiful guitars and I love the tone of them. Amps for the album, I switched back & forth between Marshall 50 & 100 watt Plexi’s, Artist 3203, usually with a 2x12 blues breaker cab or a 4x12 cab. A Fender Twin Reverb, Deluxe Rev, Bronco and a couple of Vox AC-30’s. Pedals include an Ibanez TS9 Tube screamer w/Analogman “silver” mod, Ibanez TS9 w/Keeley “baked” mod, Maxon SD9 w/Analogman mod, Boss CH-1, Boss DD20, MXR Phase 90, Dunlop Mr. Crybaby wah/vol, Pedaltrain pedal board. String for the electrics are D’addario xl-110’s and acoustics are Martin Marquis 12 gauge. I also use D’addario nylons for the classical.

Musical Influences

As far as groups go there’s a ton: Beatles, Yes, Zeppelin, Skynyrd, Police, Rush, ELP and many more. In terms of guitarists, again there’s so many, but I’d say Steve Howe tops the influence list. Some other biggies include Hendrix, Page, Steve Gaines, David Gilmore, Alex Lifeson, Frampton. During the 80’s I got into players like Eric Johnson, Allan Holdsworth, Trevor Rabin, Andy Summers and even a bit of Eddie Van Halen, but I purposely avoided the whole finger-tapping thing! Other players include Brian Setzer, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. During my Wishbone days, Andy Powell & I would trade riffs a lot, and I even traded a few with Ted Turner. Aside from guitar, I used to learn a lot of the bass parts from records when I was a teenager. Paul McCartney, Chris Squire, Geddy Lee to name a few, had amazing technique & feel. Occasionally, I’d snag some keyboard riffs and play them on guitar. It was a challenge to figure out and play Keith Emerson riffs, but they sound so cool! I also teach guitar, so I’ve been subjected to so much music over the years, all styles from A-Z. For me, it’s opened up my mind as a player and also from an engineering & production standpoint. When you dig into a recording you really get to understand how it all works – what it takes to capture that particular vibe, from the instruments to the musicians and the actual recording itself. Some albums that had the biggest impact early on started with the Beatles, pretty much every album! Then there’s Yes especially from The Yes Album to Going For The One. Street Survivors from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin IV, News Of The World from Queen, Permanent Waves & Moving Pictures from Rush. They all blew me away, I wore out the records and needles learning them!

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