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Paul Gilbert


Paul Brandon Gilbert was born on November 6, 1966 in Carbondale, Illinois. Gilbert started playing at the early age of 5, but soon gave up after becoming frustrated with just learning simple nursery rhymes. At the age of 11, he took up guitar again. He played only with upstrokes, used only the low 'E' string and only used middle finger on the fretboard. Frustrated after trying to play the intro to "Barracuda" by Heart, he took lessons and his teacher explained the error of his ways. His technique corrected, Gilbert continued practicing and by the age of 14 he developed a local band in Greensburg, PA named Missing Lynx. They played together for approximately two years and wrote their own material. After Missing Lynx he then went on to join another local band called Tau Zero, but left shortly after, and headed for California. He was spotlighted in Guitar Player Magazine alongside fellow up-and-comer Yngwie Malmsteen.

Racer X was Formed in Los Angeles, originally comprised Paul Gilbert (guitar), John Alderete (bass), Harry Gschoesser (drums) and Jeff Martin (vocals). They were heavily influenced by Judas Priest and Gilbert's playing was reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen, displaying fast-driven solos with extreme-level technique. Gschoesser was replaced by Scott Travis in 1986, and Bruce Bouillet was added as a second guitar player. Bouillet was a very skilled player, as he had to play over Gilbert's always difficult and challenging phrases. Scott Travis was later known for being the Judas Priest drummer. Paul Gilbert gained recognition as one of the fastest guitar players in the world due to incredibly technical pieces like "Frenzy", "Scarified", "Technical Difficulties" and "Scit Scat Wah". Gilbert left Racer X in 1988, but he eventually would rejoin the band in 1999. Currently the band is inactive, but Gilbert hasn't issued any statements that he has left the band.

After leaving Racer X, Gilbert, together with Billy Sheehan, who also just left David Lee Roth's band, founded Mr. Big with with Pat Torpey on drums and singer Eric Martin. The band was a huge success in Japan, and became famous in 1991, with Lean Into It, their second album, which featured the ballad "To Be With You", which received strong media play and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Gilbert continued playing in Mr. Big until the late 90s. He left the band in 1997 to pursue a solo career, and was replaced by fellow virtuoso Richie Kotzen.

Talking about his influences, Paul mentions many different artists, including Jimmy Page, Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen, Akira Takasaki, Kiss, Van Halen, Randy Rhoads and The Ramones. He is also a great fan of The Beach Boys and The Beatles. He states on the Space Ship Live DVD that George Harrison is one of his favorite guitar players. Gilbert composes music in a wide variety of styles including pop, rock, metal, blues, jazz, funk and classical, but is perhaps best known for his versatility and speed, which helped him be named as one of the "Top 10 Shredders Of All Time" by Guitar One Magazine. He is also considered to be one of the best proponents of alternate picking, tapping and string skipping.

Paul Gilbert wrote his own section of the British guitar magazine, Total Guitar, where he normally demonstrated guitar techniques in the magazine and accompanying CD. Even before that, he contributed instructional articles to Guitar Player Magazine in a late 80s/early 90s series entitled "Terrifying Guitar 101". His period of working with Total Guitar spanned thirty-one issues until the November 2006 issue. Paul also teaches at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) regularly, and is also an Honorary Dean of the GIT division in Japan. [citation needed] Before relocating to LA, Paul lived in Japan in hopes of learning Japanese fluently from musician Marty Friedman, who to this day still lives in Japan and speaks Japanese fluently. [citation needed] One of his most successful students was virtuoso guitarist Brian Carroll, known more commonly as Buckethead.

In May of 2003 he played on an only twice-performing project called Yellow Matter Custard, a Beatles cover band consisting of Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Neal Morse (ex-Spock's Beard), and Matt Bissonette. A CD and DVD are available. They took their name from a lyric in "I Am the Walrus": "Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye". He rejoined Portnoy along with Dave LaRue and Daniel Gildenlöw for a Led Zeppelin tribute band called "Hammer of the Gods" in 2004, and again with Portnoy in September 2005, with Sean Malone, and Jason McMaster in the Rush tribute band "Cygnus and the Sea Monsters". A CD and DVD of both are available. Gilbert along with Mike Portnoy, Gary Cherone, and Billy Sheehan performed three concerts in the end of May 2006 as Amazing Journey: A Tribute to The Who. He was also revealed to be the guest guitarist on the new Neal Morse solo album, Sola Scriptura. Paul Gilbert is currently going back on tour with Bruce Bouillet for promotion of his new album, Get Out of My Yard. Paul Gilbert is also joining Joe Satriani and John Petrucci in the 2007 G3 tour. This marks the 5th North American G3 run and the 12th tour worldwide since its inception.