Al Di Meola
On lists of the greatest guitarists of all time, you will frequently find Al Di Meola in the top 5 if not the number 1 spot itself. Al is a guitar legend and has earned a huge international fan base. Known for his incredible speed and genre melding compositions, Al's 40 plus year career has led to collaborations with Chick Corea, Jan Hammer, Paco de Lucía, and Paul Simon. Several of the world's top guitar players including Yngwie Malmsteen, Richie Sambora, and John Petrucci cite Al Di Meola as a major infuence. We initially met Al over email but had the pleasure of meeting face to face at Winter NAMM 2010. Shortly thereafter Al performed in San Francisco, where we were able to witness his brilliance first hand. It was an absolute honor to hear that Al has been using FourTrack to sketch out song ideas on his iPhone. Corresponding by email, Al told us who has influenced him and what his current projects are.
How old were you when you first picked up a guitar, and did you have formal training?
Seven or eight. I had lessons from the start with a great Jazz guitarist/teacher leading to my attending Berkelee College of Music.
You experiment with many genres. Who are your influences, and what styles of music or artists are really inspiring you at the moment?
I love Tango and Chamber Jazz like that of Oregon and Gismonti from Brazil.
You've developed tinnitus, how has that affected your life and music?
It's something you learn to live with but it never goes away and as tough as it is to live with constant ringing, it's best not to focus on it to remain sane! No one should listen to headphones at a loud volume level and on stage use monitors faced in another direction thus avoiding or limiting any direct sound towards the eardrum!
You always rank highly on the lists of the greatest guitar players of all time, and many top guitarists cite you as their main influence. How does it feel to be such an inspiration?
It's an honorable thing! At this point, after 30 plus years, there is a body of work I am for the most part proud of and a lot more to do and prove.
How did you hear about FourTrack?
I saw it in the app store.
Has FourTrack helped your songwriting?
It's fantastic! Reallly a dream to have. Super portable access to getting ideas down on the fly! I wrote several pieces that will appear on my new CD coming out in March 2011 with it. Two tracks in particular called "Mawazine Pt 1" and "Mawazine Pt 2" were written on the FourTrack in my room in Morocco last year. Also, I have at least 15 pieces I am working on using this incredible app!
What are you working on currently?
Just finished the long awaited studio CD, much of which originated in the writing phase on the Sonoma Wire Works FourTrack!
Where can users hear more of your music?
iTunes of course, and live at my shows because we are constantly touring!