Ex-MEGADETH Guitarist AL PITRELLI: DAVE MUSTAINE 'Is A Pretty Brilliant Guy'

December 27, 2007

Clint Hale of STLtoday.com recently conducted an interview with former MEGADETH/ALICE COOPER and current TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA guitarist Al Pitrelli. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Q: Playing with people like ALICE COOPER and MEGADETH, was there as much debauchery backstage as you expected?

Pitrelli: There was. Alice had already gone through his craziness when I played with him but, needless to say, I took it a little too seriously and had too much fun. But that's what you're supposed to do in your 20s. (Cooper) was pretty sedate by that point and just wanted to play golf and do his shows.

Q: (MEGADETH singer) Dave Mustaine had some choice words for you when you left the band in 2002 (Mustaine claimed that Pitrelli "wasn't fitting"). Did it bother you?

Pitrelli: Dave is a pretty brilliant guy. People used to say he was difficult, but I found that when I was doing the job the right way, he never bothered me. Again, he had his bout with his demons, so he wasn't drinking. I find that at the end of the day, there's nothing better than drinking a beer or a glass of wine, and we didn't see eye to eye on that. There are three sides to that, and the center story is that I'm not into the metal thing. I never was a heavy metal guitar type. I just adapted, and that's how I survived. I loved playing music, and I loved being with the band, but I just didn't like the things that surrounded that.

Q: What is it about TSO that fills up arenas nationwide?

Pitrelli: It's solely because I'm involved (laughs). No, I don't know, but let me speculate for a minute. ... I think that TSO, people relate to its honesty, if that doesn't sound too corny...

(Starting out) we had nothing in mind but writing good records. We weren't going after radio, and we weren't trying to keep up with the pop acts. We just wanted to do something special that represented our musical backgrounds.

Q: You've worked with a lot of people in your career. Who was your favorite?

Pitrelli: I guess all of them in a weird way, because everything is a learning experience. My first real rodeo was in 1985 playing with Michael Bolton, when Michael Bolton was still trying to be a headbanger like Sammy Hagar. Being this kid from Long Island, he was a rock star in my eyes. I was like, "Wow, this is what it's like." I did a couple of shows, and he was kind of mean. I thought he was old, and he was only 30. He seemed so old and crotchety, but I learned a lot and wanted to be like him, to have a great handle on my career and write great music. I've had a lot of fun with a lot of different people over the years, and I've had a lot of (bad) times, too.

Read the entire interview at STLtoday.com.

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