Carl is a major presence in the guitar world. In 1985, Carl became lead guitarist for the
British rock group Supertramp, since then he slipped into the enviable position of being one
of L.A's first call studio guitarists. He has played on over
200 different television shows as far back as 'Happy Days'
and 'Laverne and Shirley' and including 'Cheers', 'Suddenly
Susan' and 'L.A. Law.'
In his studio career he recorded with Stanley Clarke, Dave
Grusin and Little Richard. Soon he was getting called to
work on many pop records including Tiffany୵ltiplatinum
selling debut. He performed live with jazz
saxophonists Joe Farrell and Ronnie Laws, and over the
years worked with singers Carl Anderson, Christina
Aguilera, Melissa Manchester, Miley Cyrrus, Leanne
Rimes, Michael Damian, and Glenn Frey from the Eagles. He played on the Tonight Show
with country music artists Tom Wopat and Shelby Lynn, and recorded a movie soundtrack
with Dolly Parton and a few records with Cher.
While living near the University of Massachusetts, Carl got the opportunity to work with the
innovative jazz drummer, Max Roach. After a brief taste of the road, he returned to the Los
Angeles area and began leading his own group, which included bassists John Patitucci and
Dave Marotta and drummers Chad Wackerman and John Ferraro.
Carls latest album ⡤ing Eights楡tures some of the greatest guitarists on the planet
including special guests Joe Bonamassa, Rick Vito, Scott Henderson, Steve Morse, Robben
Ford, Jim Cox and Albert Lee.
Carl kindly offered to say a few words.
As a freelance musician and independent recording artist, how do you
see the state of play in the industry as it stands (or as it shifts!!).
Are there still plenty of opportunities to make your mark?
I believe the more motivated you are, the more you're inclined to reinvent yourself every few years to cope
with the changes and shifts this industry throws your way. Under the banner of "solo artist" I can do many
things to make a living: Perform with my band on tour, maintain a web site store to sell my music, write and
record instructional DVDs and books, play solo acoustic shows and tour alone, play as a special guest as opposed
to an anonymous studio guy on CDs, produce other artists, give workshops and clinics all over the world and teach
"Advanced Electric Guitar in the style of Carl Verheyen" in a local school. These employment opportunities are
available to all of us if we remain open to them and work hard.
How do you cope with the pace of change in the industry?
CV: That concept of reinventing yourself is something I think about every year. I try to ask a lot of
questions and surround myself with people who know what's going on in our business. As an example,
my new CD is offered as a download from my own website because the concept is "once they get to
your site, don't send them away to itunes or another download service." This was some good advice
from a source I trust, and it's proven right: the downloads outsell the CDs 2 to 1!
How important are you reading skills in your day to day business of being a pro guitarist?
CV: You have to be able to deal with music on the written page no matter what instrument you play.
If it's not notes you're reading it will be chord charts, and half the time I'm the guy writing music
for others to read. I also believe it's a privilege to be able to read. I can tap into the mind of
Bach as he scribbled out something for a church service all those years ago.
Can you make a living in LA without being a monster reader?
CV: Yes, but there will be a ceiling on the kind of gigs you'll be able to do. For instance, I recently
played on the new Star Trek movie, and I also did UP (the latest from Pixar) and Land of the Lost. All
those sessions were about serious site reading. Same with the Academy Awards show: full on reading
from start to finish!
I have always been envious of US musicians. If you get bored of LA
you can go to New York, get board of that, go hang out in Nashville,
Houston, Chicago. Each city seems to
have its own vibrant scene. Is that realistic?.
CV: Yes, but each scene also has different types of work. For a great club scene go down to Austin
or parts of Florida. Nashville and LA are the place to be for the studios and NYC seems to be where
the jazz guys end up eventually.
Do you have any inclination at all to go book yourself a jazz gig and
rip through the real book?
CV: I've done that for many years! In the 70s and early 80s I did that constantly. Now we have an institution
in LA called Guitar Night run by John Pisano. It's an honor to get the call from him and I'm lucky enough
to do it twice a year. It's always a packed house and I get to play my 1958 ES-175 for 4 sets of burning
jazz with great players!
When I last say you play you were definitely having fun, I thought
"this guy just wants to play in a band!". How true is that?
There is nothing more fun than being on the road with the heaviest players and being far enough into the tour
so your confidence is way up due to 1)blazing road chops and 2) a killer show. So yes....that's very true!
Different from playing at the Oscars?
CV: Since I still keep a hand in the studio scene when I'm not touring, one of the biggest 嬴ure shocks튩n this dual career existence occurs when I fly home from some faraway land and the next morning find myself
on a major studio sound stage with a 105 piece orchestra and some difficult music in front of me. I go from
the elation of playing my own music in front of a live audience for weeks on end, with the confidence and
road-honed chops of a well-oiled machine (my band), straight into the frying pan of sight reading a
motion picture score with some of the best musicians in the world.... and a whole lot of them!
Can you tell us about the scene at the Baked Potato? Do they allow
the New York guys to come and play?
CV: Sure, my friend Oz Noy comes to town at least once a year and plays there. But it's more of a local scene.
Your new album features just about every happening contemporary
guitarist alive today. How much fun was that? I would definitely like to
hang at one of your parties.
CV: It was very educational for me to be in the studio with each of these guys and see how they get their
tone. Bonamassa and I recorded live together and we were in and out in an hour! Robben recorded after
I did my parts and pretty much did it in one pass, and it's a 9 minute song! Scott Henderson never
wanted to stop trying things and going for "one more take." I had to take the guitar out of his hands!
Tell us about the new video?
CV: Forward Motion: Advancing on the Electric Guitar is the title, and it's a further exploration of my
"Improvising Without Scales" concept. I'm all about lines and intervals and the DVD shows you how to
find your style through personal line composition. I also get into my chordal concept and talk a bit
about vibrato and bending.
How much prep goes into a project like that?
CV: I've been offered dozens of instructional video project deals but I've turned them all down because
I actually feel these DVDs are part of my "life's work." So I don't want to toss them out there every few
months or even once a year. I spend a lot of time arranging the material so that a younger player will
be inspired and the more advanced player can still learn something.
You have a reputation as a monster country player. Is that where
your roots are fixed?.
CV: Thanks! But no, my roots are definitely blues-based. Having said that, I believe the styles are nothing
more than variations of ornamentation on the the same scales and modes. Country is not too far from jazz
if you think in terms of the Mixolydian mode over dominant 7th chords. Now all you need is to supply the
bending, the open strings and put that minor 3rd next to the major 3rd!
Which player made the greatest impression on you?
CV: George Harrison in the beginning followed by Roger McGuinn of the Byrds. Then it was Clapton and Mike
Bloomfield followed by Albert King and Hendrix. Eventually I got into Wes and Pat Martino and finally
Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed. Today I'm getting a handful of slide players licks under my hands
without using a slide.....
Any musical demascus moments?
CV: I was a jazz-only guy in the 70s and driving over Laurel Canyon when I heard a Joe Walsh solo
(that changed my life) on the radio. I pulled the car over and it hit me: Rock guitar had come
a long way since I left off in 1974. I better check this out. Another moment was when Pat Metheny
told me to check out Steve Morse and the Dixie Dregs. I was one of 11 people in the club but
I was never the same after watching Steve play a set. It was truly an honor for me that he played on my new CD!
Sorry, obligatory sports question. Why does the USA not particularly
go for Formula One?
CV: I don't know! I sure dig it! One time I was in Monaco playing with Supetramp and I walked the entire course.
A week later I was in Luxembourg and I met the Duke of Luxembourg. I told him about my walk in Monaco and he
invited me to his "flat" in Monte Carlo the following June to watch the race! I never took him up on it....but
that would have been so cool! I think Nascar is completely lame.....
Carl Verheyen is a rare breed of guitarist, a committed all-rounder,turning his hand to virtually any style
with the touch of a virtuoso. His versatility and reading chops allow him to work with the best musicians in the most
pressured of environments. He also has time to tour and record with his own projects. The respect he has
in the guitar world is reflected by the esteemed list of luminaries that appear as guests on his new album "Trading Eights".
Carl visits the UK in October 09. A unique and rare opportunity to checkout a world-class player and heavy weight on the LA studio scene.