A couple months ago, I posted an interview with Chris Catero, bassist with Razer. He was also featured on Korea Guitar’s Readers Top Ten Albums. Anyway, he was kind enough to hook up another 20 questions with his band mate and Guitar God in the Making, Jordan Ziff. Jordan just finished touring in Marty Friedman’s band (Check out Marty Friedman’s interview on Korea Guitar here), and they are set to tear it up again in early 2016. Keep your eye…and ear out for Jordan Ziff. This dude can play. Here are his 20 Questions
- You just got off the road with Marty Friedman. How was the tour?
The tour was such a fun experience! Everyone in the band was top notch and just as important, extremely fun people to be around! All in all it was definitely a full circle moment for me. I loved Marty’s playing growing up and now I get to play in a band with him. It doesn’t get much cooler. I learned some Japanese from Marty and the band and I taught our bassist and drummer some English. It was so much fun! I’ddefintely like to make a shout out to the band Exmortus who was on tour with us! They’re an awesome band and really cool people!
- What did you learn from Marty after jamming with him for so many shows?
After playing live and jamming with Marty I definitely learned a little bit of the method to his madness in his playing! He also showed me a bunch of Japanese music I would’ve never heard here in America and I love it! The chord progressions and melodies are so beautiful! I’ve been really into Japanese music since I’ve been home!
- When did you start playing guitar?
I started playing guitar when I was about 7 years old. I also messed around on the piano since I was about 4 but I would by no means call myself a pianist. I use it to write music and melodies but I’m not very proficient at playing it seriously. Guitar is where my passion is.
- Who were your early influences?
My early influences, as in what actually made me start playing guitar were The Beatles, Santana and Jimmy Page. My main influences when I was about 14 were Randy Rhoads, Van Halen, John Sykes, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, and Nuno Bettencourt. I didn’t even know people could “shred” until I was about 13. I was totally oblivious to it. I liked classic rock when I was young, then I loved pop punk! All down picking chords and catchy riffs.. I still love that stuff though. All genres bring something cool to the table.
- Do you remember your first gig ever? How did it go? What do you remember most about it?
Well I wouldn’t say it was my first gig but I played at my school’s talent show in 4th grade. I wrote a song and my brother played drums and my friend played bass on a keyboard. It was my first moment of the feeling of totally kicking everyone’s ass on the guitar. The audience loved it. It’s the greatest feeling when people appreciate what you do.
- How did you hook up with Razer?
I originally met Chris Catero when he was at Krank Amps doing artist relations. I played a bunch of shows with them with my band Age Of Evil so I knew everyone in the band. In 2011 they asked me to fill in on guitar for a short tour and ever since then I’ve been in the band. I kind of just fell into it haha.
- Which song on the Razer CD would you call the definitive Jordan Ziff song?
If I had to choose it would be the solos on the ballads. “Shattered” and “Into the light”. I’ve always loved playing solos on ballads. I personally love letting melody take over more than technique.
- You’ve jammed with Slash and Marty Friedman. What’s going through your mind when your jamming with legends like these guys? Who would you like to jam with next?
Jamming some Guns N’ Roses and Led Zeppelin with Slash was a really cool moment for me, I was playing legendary songs with a legendary guitarist. Who didn’t grow up listening to Guns N’ Roses? Enough said. Playing in Marty’s band was the coolest moment of my guitar playing career thus far. Marty was a big inspiration for me since I was in high school. To be asked to play in his band was definitely a full circle moment. When we hit the first notes in the rehearsal for the tour I was thinking hell yeah. It sounded so bad ass. Marty was crushing it along with the rest of the band. It’s awesome when you play with amazing, top notch musicians because it pushes you to your limits and beyond. As far as who I’d like to jam with next, it would have to be Ozzy. Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee and Zakk Wylde were such big influences for me that I want to jam their songs with the man himself… Ozzy.
- Tell us everything we need to know about Jordan Ziff? A brief history of Jordan Ziff if you will
My first serious band was Age Of Evil. We wrote our first album when I was 14. Marty actually played a solo on the title track “Living A Sick Dream” in 2007. We did some touring in Europe and were briefly signed to a German Record Label. Those were some seriously memorable times. We recorded an Ep in Germany entitled “Get Dead” in 2009. I still love that album. It has so much teenage angst. Then in 2011 we recorded a full length self titled album that was released in 2012. Around that same time I joined a Queensryche tribute band called “The Ryche”. The first show I did with them we had Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson of Queensryche join us on stage for a few songs. At another show George Lynch and Oni Logan played some Dokken and Lynch mob songs with us. I’ve been very fortunate to play on stage with some legends. Right around this time I joined Razer as well. I started playing with Metalhead in the summer of 2013. Of course I toured with Marty Friedman this year and we’re starting our second leg of the tour in early February 2016. I’m also working on a solo album at the moment with cool surprise guest performances.
10. I love asking this question: What are the 5 guitar albums that every player should own?
Van Halen I, Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madman, Extreme Pornograffiti, and Cacophony Speed Metal Symphony. I have a lot more, but those were my biggest early influences.
11.What does the future hold for you and Razer?
I would like to see where things go. We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback on our new album and great reviews have been very satisfying.
12. What is Metalhead?
Metalhead is one of the ultimate 80’s hair band experiences. The overall goal of the band is to have larger than life stage personas and put on an arena rock show everytime. These guys have been around for 13 years and everyone is a killer musician. Not only has this band been playing every Sunday night in Scottsdale, Arizona for 13 years straight, but they also play everything from Nascar races to golf tournaments. I’ve been playing with them for about three years now and it’s so much fun. We know how to have a good time.
13. My brother owns a school of rock in Ottawa, Canada. He teaches a bunch of kids how to perform in bands. What advice would you give to these kids about being a musician?
Pick up your instrument and never put it down. Let the girls come to you later. At least that’s what I did.
14. What’s the one piece of gear you can’t live without? (Aside from your axe)
I thought long and hard about this and I’d have to say a tuner haha. In all honesty, as long as my guitar sounds good I’m happy.
15. What do you do to prepare for shows?
Sometimes I might grab a guitar and warm up a little. If my hands are cold I might run my hands under some warm water and stretch my fingers.
16. How important is image in Rock n Roll? Is it still as important as the 80s or 90s?
Image will always be important. It enhances the experience for the audience and really makes the music come alive.
17.Have you ever had any embarrassing/Spinal Tap moments on stage?
I’ve tripped quite a few times on stage and cables have unplugged. All the usual things to go wrong.Nothing too embarrassing.
18.What’s the greatest guitar song ever recorded?
That’s a really broad question, but if it came down to construction of the song and the solo I would have to say Hotel California by The Eagles.
19.What are the three most important things every guitarist should know?
- You should probably know how to play guitar well.
- Always play in tune.
- Look as cool as you can doing it.
20. You recently had the opportunity to meet the great Jason Becker. How did that experience affect you?
When I first saw him come into the Venue in San Francisco, we were sound checking and it totally hit me that I was playing with Marty Friedman, for Jason Becker. It was such an amazing feeling. After the show I got to talk to Jason for a while and his parents were there with him so they could translate the way he communicates with his eyes. He said he really enjoyed the show and my guitar playing. It was a very humbling experience and by far the most emotional night of the tour. Jason is such a nice person and I hope to play at his house for him someday in the near future.
Official Website: http://www.razerband.com/