WELCOME TO THE AXEMEN SERIES
1. Who are we speaking with and what band do you play with? And how did you get in the band? I.e. did you start the band, audition for the band, was the guitar tech and advanced?
This is Marcelo Vasco and I play guitar in the band The Troops Of Doom, along with my old friend Jairo Guedz, former member of original Sepultura line-up, who invited me to join his brand new project. Well, we play 80’s Death/Thrash Metal and yeah, it’s advanced, I would say, but not exactly too technical as some modern Prog/Djent/Death Metal bands today. We’re definitely not into this (lol). Our goal with The Troops of Doom is completely different and against the tide. We focus on a very old school, nasty and primitive approach, like to put the listener in a time machine. Nostalgic, in the best way!
2. Tell us about your first guitar and how you have advanced too what you play today, and is what you are playing your final destination guitar, or will you continue to evolve?
Wow, my very first guitar I bought in the 80’s. It was a “Tonante”, I believe you can’t recognize this name, right? Well, that’s because I think it’s an old Brazilian brand. Not even sure if it still exist. Anyway, it was a veeeeery poor and extremely bad guitar, at least visually inspired by Fender Stratocaster. One score… or NOT (lol). Obviously and luckily I had tons of other guitars along the years, way better ones. Today I’m happily endorsed by Epiphone Guitars USA and I’m playing on a beautiful white Les Paul Custom Pro, which I love it. Sounds heavy and killer! But of course, I love guitars and I must say NO… it’s not my final destination guitar. I’m always looking for something more…
3. Same question as above with amplification.
Honestly I can’t remember what was my very first amp… Again, probably some bad Brazilian one. When I say bad and Brazilian in the same sentence, it’s important to mention I’m talking about Brazilian amps from the 80’s, when the cheap ones were freaking awful (lol). But of course, there’re some great Brazilian amps. When I started to play professionally, let’s say, I had a real passion for Mesa Boogie amps. My first GREAT amp was a Mesa Boogie Mark IV Combo in the middle of 90’s. Unfortunately I don’t have this beauty anymore. But I can’t complain. Later I also had Black Star Amps and now, since 2015 I’m using a Mesa Dual Rectifier Head + Marshall 1960 4×12. Very powerful stuff!
4. Are you a terribly complicated guitarist? Are you a cord to amp player or do you have a rig that confuses the average joe? And why? Did you set out to sound like somebody or were there just possibilities you wanted to explore and started trying to find the sounds, tones you wanted?
No Way! I’m a simplistic guitar player, when it comes to my rig. I have a small pedalboard with only five analog pedals. Regarding the set of my sound, it depends on each band I’m playing. I have other two bands, not to mention other side-projects. So, all changes… But of course, I try to have my own sound… And LOUD!
5. Who did you see that made you want to play guitar and was it because the looked cool or sounded cool or both? And then later when you started to understand the guitar did you discover that made you just say WOW!?
Because it sounded cool, always. To me, back in the time, the music came before than the visual. I started my guitar passion admiring guitar players like Tommi Iommi, Jimmy Page, Hendrix, Kirk Hammett, Jeff Hanneman, Kerry King, Slash, Richie Blackmore, Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Satriani, among many others. Actually the guitar world always surprises me, even today, in distinct ways… It’s an endless WOW! So much love!
6. Do you believe looks are part of the guitarist? To put it differently, would you feel comfortable watching Angus Young on a Fender Strat or Lord Iommi on a Les Paul?
Oh, that’s easy! Lord Iommi 🙂
7. What is more impressive to you, watching Jennifer Battan 8 finger tap or listening to BB King squeeze the emotion out of 3 notes?
Well, I’m not that annoying guy saying that less is more, because I really love some shredder, technical guitar players, but lately, maybe due to my age, I past 40, I’m more into the feeling and deep emotion of the music. So, yeah, BB King! I never thought I would say that (lol).
8. Do you feel technique and tone can get in the way of playing? In other words, when listening to a djent player like Plini do you wish you could just plug him straight into a Fender Twin and if you did would it have the same effect on you?
Not at all. Indeed would be curious to see some iconic guitar players doing their sound on different gears, but I believe the cake icing is ALWAYS the physical and feeling, the hands and heart… not the gear. I already saw some amazing guitar players using bad gear and sounding incredibly fantastic… And some poor guitar players sounding like crap in high-top gear, so… haha A good gear is important, it’s your “bridge” let’s say… But all the rest comes first.
9. Who is the guitarist you love that you hope nobody ever finds out AND do you have a guitarist that nobody knows about that you just love?
Haha I don’t have one like this… but my favorite guitar player of all times is Steve Vai. I’m proud to say that. He’s genius! I love his music and guitar style. Humm, there’s many unknown brilliant musicians around the globe and I’m always stoaked with them, but I can’t remember a name right now.
10. Ok here we go from pick brand to cable brand and on down the line until the noise hits the air we want the definitive rundown of everything you use and WHY
Alright… Here we go: Pick Dunlop USA 2.0mm, Custom Strap, Guitar Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro (White), Dean Markley Blue Steel 0.10 strings (sometimes GHS or D’addario), Cable Mogami Neutrik and Planet Waves, Pedalboard (Boss Equalizer, Boss Digital Delay/Reverb, Blackstar HT Metal Valve and Boss NS-2 Noise Supressor, Boss PS-6 Harmonist, Boss Tuner TU12EX), Head Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and Cabinet Marshall 1960a 4×12. Well, I think that’s it 🙂 Through the years and experiences, that’s my favorite gear so far, based on the sound I want to explore and play. Easy, heavy and consistent. No mystery!