Vinnie Moore

Perpetually Exceptional
Vinnie Moore
Vinnie Moore: Gretchen Johnson.

Shred architect Vinnie Moore’s latest solo record, Double Exposure, holds the distinction of being both an instrumental solo album and a vocal-rock record. The glue that holds it together is Moore’s exceptional guitar playing, as he puts his neoclassical excursions aside to unleash the pentatonic fury heard at his day job with UFO. But there’s more, as the album features a style of rock music near and dear to his heart.

What are your thoughts on Double Exposure?
It’s a little something different from me. It’s going to be interesting to see how people react. UFO got grounded from touring and had a lot of shows fall through because of Covid. Nobody knew how long the lockdown would last. Is it going to be another month? A year? So, I got bored. I said, “Man, I gotta do something creative or I’m going to go nuts.” So, I started writing.

What possessed you to add vocals?
It happened without being aware it was going to happen. I originally thought I’d make an EP of six instrumentals. But then I was listening to demos in my garage, and started singing with one of the songs. I realized it could be a cool vocal song. Listening to the other tunes, I realized all of them could be vocal songs. It was a light-bulb moment where I said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I could do half vocal and half instrumental?”

Being in lockdown created an atmosphere where I felt like I could be experimental and do whatever. I had lots of vocal songs lying around – I go through periods where I write constantly, so I have a back catalog and I’ve always wanted to do a band thing with vocals. I’d been pretty busy with UFO, so I was waiting for the opportune moment, and it presented itself, so I look at it as a gateway for where I want to go next.

Does that mean a full-blown vocal rock record in the future?
That’s definitely what I want to do next – with a permanent band and one singer. On Double Exposure, there are four singers. I thought it would be cool, and it made it easier to finish.

Are you using a DigiTech Whammy pedal?
It’s not a Whammy pedal. It’s two things; mostly it’s the TC Electronic Sub ’N Up going an octave up, and a Fulltone Octafuzz that has a switch that takes it up to a higher octave. It’s a bit nastier-sounding. There’s one part where I had both on at once because I was A/B-ing, and it came out pretty gnarly. On “Breaking Through,” I used software plug-ins for three-part harmony, and that might be the sound you’re hearing. In the verses and the choruses, I used the Eventide Quadravox 4-Voice Diatonic pitch-shifter plug-in. It’s made for vocals, but turned out great for that particular guitar part. I got to play live with a harmony above and a harmony below. It felt like instant Brian May (laughs).

Amps or plug-ins?
Mostly amps. On the last couple records, I used a 1980 Marshall JMP 100-watt head I’ve had since 1984. It sat around in my house for decades. I decided to pull it out one day and I was like, “Wow! How could I not have been using this amp?” It became my favorite head in the studio. I’m afraid to take it out on the road. I also bought a ’65 Super Reverb and a reissue Deluxe Reverb, and I used an AmpliTube 5 for the modeling stuff, which is a great thing to add to the tone toolbox. It leads you in directions you might not have gone in with some of the pre-sets.

Which guitars did you use?
I’m with Kramer Guitars now, so I used those and an Epiphone SG. I also used my Dean Vinman 2000 Signature guitar and my Ibanez signature guitar from the ’80s. Someone asked if I still had that guitar, so I posted a photo on Facebook. I was recording a solo, so I tried it, and it worked. I also used a Fender Jaguar for different tones.

Listening to “Southern Highway” and “Hummingbird,” there’s a Southern rock record in your future.

It could be (laughs), and you’re right! I grew up playing Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet covers and listening to a lot of that stuff. A lot of people probably wouldn’t know that. I haven’t shown too much of that until recently.

This article originally appeared in VG’s February 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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