Posted: 6 July 2018

Evaride's lead guitarist talks about life as a hired gun. 

Read time: 6 mins

How did you get into being a session musician?

When I was a kid I always wanted to be the lead guitarist in a band. I came from a small town so this always seemed to be an impossible task. I would stay locked in my bedroom practising night and day because of my love for guitar. At 17 I landed a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. During my first-semester word came around that Lady Gaga was holding auditions for her World Tour. I went to the open call audition and out of the thousands that showed made it to the very end. I left my scholarship at Berklee and started my career as a session guitarist. Gaga’s music director Joe “Flip” Wilson took me under his wing and started booking me on numerous gigs and eventually gave me the tools I needed to start music directing tours myself. For that, I am forever grateful and always find ways to pay it forward to other musicians.

Which artist are you currently working with?

Currently, I have been focusing on my own band, Evaride. At the beginning of 2017, I decided to turn down tours and invest my time towards my own creative projects. The band is sort of a hired gun supergroup comprised of Josh Devine on drums (One Direction), Sean Murray on vocals (American Idiot on Broadway), and myself. It’s a great change from the typical work I do as a hired gun. We currently just broke 2 million streams on our debut single ‘Heartless’ which debuted at #7 on the Alt Charts and #32 on Hits One. We are prepping for some awesome opportunities that I’m excited for people to see and hear. So I guess to answer your question the artist I’m currently working for is myself!

Which other artists have you worked with?

I have worked with Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato, The Band Perry, Bebe Rexha, Daya, Jesse McCartney, Bea Miller, Cody Simpson and many more.

Which Marshall Amps are you using and why?

I use various Marshall Plexi’s and 1960BX cabs. To me, there is nothing like a Marshall Plexi cranked into vintage speakers. There is something special that happens on that amp where the overtones on the guitar come to life. No other amp seems to react this way.

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me is waking up in a new city, getting off the tour bus and finding a local gym to get a workout in before soundcheck. We will soundcheck around 2pm most the time then be free till the showtime so I normally go back to the hotel and practice or explore the city. Then back to the venue for the show, after which I go back on the bus to do it all over again the next day in a new city.

What’s the most memorable moment you’ve had so far in your career?

The most memorable moment for me so far has to have been the time I was locked out of the White House for our performance and had to breach national security. I was performing at the White House for the Obamas and we had soundcheck during the day. Me and a couple of the guys in the band decided after soundcheck to go back to the hotel to get some rest since we had a long red-eye flight. We went to go back to the White House for the performance and saw a huge crowd outside the gates. The crowd was approached by secret service that told us we could not get in as the President was walking the grounds (which was to see our performance). We explained the situation to them and they started making calls. One of secret service told us three to follow him so we did. We started making way to the gate which was right by the stage when he said “we can’t go this way as it would break national security”. So we started following him down an alley and quickly realized he was taking us through some secret passageway in the White House. We got in the house and guards started freaking out to which the secret service officer said “they are good, they are with me”. He told us that this has never happened before and they never break security protocol. We made it to the stage and everyone was freaking out because we were so late. We told the crew and band the story and they didn’t believe us. Just then the secret service agent walked by and we yelled “that’s the guy”. We told him to tell everyone what happened to which he said “I’m sorry I don’t know what you are talking about, I have never seen you guys in my life”.

How do prepare for touring and studio work?

I always try to keep my routine whether I am on the road or not. Since I travel so much it’s easy to lose track of time if I don’t try to maintain my normal routine. I mean this both in terms of music and everyday life. I still practice as much as I can in the hotel or on the tour bus to keep my chops up on the road. With long tours it’s easy to let your chops slip when you are playing the same set of easy parts. I also go to the gym every day on and off the road to meditate and keep balance in my life.

Is it hard to adapt your sound to different artists?

Growing up studying so many styles of music I find adapting my sound for a gig an exciting part of the job. I always try to bring my own style and sound no matter what gig I am on. It’s all about what fits the music and benefits the song while also representing your individual voice or sound. On every gig I have ever done I have always created my own guitar parts rather than play parts on the records if I didn’t record them.

How do you find work?

I have been in the industry long enough now that I have labels, artists and management companies reach out to me to play guitar or music direct and hire bands for them. I have my go to guys that I hire but also use musiciancasting.com if I need a really select talent I don’t have in my wheelhouse. It’s mostly word of mouth, but I have also booked a few guitar/music directing gigs on there before as well.

What advice would you give to young people wanting to work as a session musician?

My advice is always the same: don’t strive to be a session musician. If you strive to make a living or money as a musician it will never happen. Strive to be the best musician you can be. If you stay focused and try to be the best player and musician you can be then the rest will come to you. People will notice your skill and musicianship and want to work with you. It can’t happen the other way around.