It’s a question every artist has to grapple with: If you’re not pushing yourself creatively, how can you grow? And that’s exactly what acclaimed guitar maestro Paul Gilbert tackles with fervor on his new solo album, I Can Destroy, out now.
“One thing I’ve always struggled with as a writer is I don’t think I’ve written a lot of songs that make it easy on the improviser,” the consummate soulful shredder admits. “Coming from a heavy rock background, that’s been a real challenge. But I worked really hard to rework all my fingerings so I could emphasize different tones the way my ear hears them. I’m still working on it, but that was a major step forward for me as a guitar player — to be able to get that sound on purpose, rather than by accident.”
It’s no accident that I Can Destroy cuts a wide swath of styles and textures, from the full-frontal assault of Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal to the jazz-blues lament of One Woman Too Many (which also features Gilbert’s patented four-pick Makita drill-bit riffery) to the radio-friendly balladeering of Love We Had to the smoking-hot gut/heart punch of I Am Not the One (Who Wants To Be With You), the latter track’s title a playful reference to the ubiquitous #1 hit Gilbert enjoyed as part of his gig as lead guitarist for the still-going-strong Mr. Big.
If I Can Destroy is any indication, Gilbert is on the right path to continue creating material that’s clearly built to last. Gilbert is also heading out on tour soon, with a date at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on September 18th.