Over the last two years or so I've had the privilege of befriending one of the best musicians I've ever heard. A guy that was so open to me when I was just starting out on guitar, and is always there to give me a word of advice on guitar related issues. A virtuoso in a land filled with one handed, seven stringed tuned to B hacks that couldn't tune his guitar. That guy is Terry Lauderdale, and let me just say it's been a pleasure Terry. Thanks for interviewing with Guitars101.
1. So what's been new with you Terry? What can your fans expect from you in the new year?
I’m very excited about getting the chance to speak here at Guitars101.com!
Well, I’ve been giving quite a few guitar lessons. Sammy Hagar’s bodyguard is one of my students. HOT FOR TEACHER just put the finishing touches on our new Promotional Demo DVD which has just been posted at the website. Our Promotions Dept. and webmaster have a bunch of new HFT merchandise available……hot sauce, t-shirts with a cool new logo, coffee mugs, thongs, shot glasses, stickers, photos…..we’ll have all of that at HFTROCKS.COM in the near future. The band is also making the transition to an original project. We are in the process of writing material and rehearsing for our upcoming self produced CD to be recorded at Trident Studios in Pacheco CA. We’re going to try to keep the songs current but put our own spin on it and there will be plenty of guitar solos! Of course we’ll be doing the Van Halen tribute as well. We’ll be heading to Los Angeles on May 14th.
I’m also working with Steve Shambaugh who engineered and recorded some of the tracks at my website. We’ll be working on more instrumental tunes….we just added some new stuff…..check ‘em out at the audio page. I’m also writing songs with singer/songwriter/guitarist Amy Schugar. Amy recorded an album and toured with Michael Schenker in 2003. She will be coming out with some new material soon…she has the voice of an angel and plays the guitar like the devil. Keep your eyes open for her CD!
Larry Howe, our drummer, will be touring Europe in June with his old band VICIOUS RUMORS. We’ll probably be bringing a substitute for him if any HOT FOR TEACHER dates pop up. I’m also playing shows with my Y&T tribute band EARTHSHAKER and also with FAST EDDIE…we play “whisky rock-n-roll”…classic rock covers. HOT FOR TEACHER will be opening for Y&T this April!!
2. What's a typical day in the life of Terry Lauderdale?
Guitars lessons, working on my website, writing songs and practicing, practicing, practicing! On the phone with our webmaster/videographer/graphic artist Chris Gingrich . He really has busted his ass on our website over the last few years. Talking details with Randy our singer..he handles our booking and travel arrangements…… talking with Steve and Charlotte at our PR Dept. who help keep this well oiled machine running smoothly!
They have been a great help to the band. They handle photography, press kits, CD’s, video and endorsement packages for us. Charlotte is our biggest fan!
Ask her about HFT merchandise by e-mailing
3. We all know Edward Van Halen has had a major impact on you musically, so can you take a second and tell us about his influence on you, and other influences other guitarists
have had on you.
My brother Tom was probably the biggest influence on me…not that he showed me how to play….he bought a guitar and wouldn’t let me play it! I would sneak into his room and play his guitar when he wasn’t home. Within six months I was better than him and his jamming buddies….he was really pissed at me for that!!
I think the first song I heard by the Mighty VH was “Runnin' with the Devil” in 1979 and bought the album…..I was blown away…. Eddie’s guitar work at the time time didn’t influence me too much cause I couldn’t figure out what the heck he was doing, as with most guitarists I knew at the time. He really did blow everybody away at the time and was doing things to the guitar that nobody else was doing…. today just about everyone is doing what he was doing back then. It wasn’t until a few years after I was playing did I try to tackle some of Van Halen’s tunes and of course with HOT FOR TEACHER.
I started playing in 1978. I listened to Jimmy Page, Dave Meniketti (Y&T), Black Sabbath, Scorpions, Pat Travers, Carlos Santana, Neal Schon, Randy Rhoads, Michael Schenker, Robin Trower, Joaquin Lievano, Peter Frampton, Black Oak Arkansas, Ted Nugent, Montrose, Jimi Hendrix, MSG and just about anything I could get my hands on!
I would get a hold of an album and learn the songs from beginning to end and then move on to another record…lots of Zep, Y&T, old Scorpions, UFO’s “Strangers in the night” live album……I was obsessed with “The Song Remains the Same”, the live Led Zeppelin record and movie. I use to drive my parents crazy playing the same songs over and over again! I took up classical guitar in high school as well and after school I would go rehearse with my rock band “Black Pearl”. We did covers…..UFO, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Y&T, AC/DC….stuff like that. We played at house parties and at our high school lunches. The second guitarist in the band was Jon Torres who went on to form ULYSESS SIREN and went on to tour with ANGEL WITCH. After that, I formed a band called THE FORCE….our drummer Marco Villalobos went on to play with Noel Redding’s band and the keyboardist Keith Hilldebrandt is now working with NINE INCH NAILS.
By the time I was 18, I was playing in the clubs with Sabotage. I was the youngster in the band…. the rest of the guys were 21-25 years old.
We opened for Johnny Winter once……Carlos Santana was in the audience and complimented me on my playing after the show….that was amazing to me! I also formed the thrash band DIE SIEGER and CHAMPION in the mid Eighties. DIE SIEGER was part of the Bay Area thrash scene at the time. We had Bob Clic from THE LEWD on guitar and the drummer Carl Socco went on to play with HEATHEN. The band opened for Metallica and Spinal Tap in 1984.
Dave Meniketti of Y&T was a HUGE influence on me in the early years. His playing had so much passion and fire that I wanted to learn as much as I could from him. I would go to their shows at the Old Waldorf here in the Bay Area and sit in front of the stage and watch every move he made on the fret board. Dave Meniketti and Joey Alves (Y&T rhythm guitarist) were unbeatable at the time with their heavy guitar work. Joey and I talk on the phone these days. Eventually I got a chance to open for Y&T with my band Sabotage in 1982…that was so cool for me!
Uli Jon Roth was also a huge influence on me as well. His playing is so hauntingly beautiful to me. I recently got to see Uli Roth and Michael Schenker play together. That was one great show….Uli did this amazing show with a video back drop and him playing along with a pre-recorded orchestra and a keyboardist…..somebody held up a sign that read “Tonight the Master comes”….that pretty much said it all!
Of course Yngwie Malmsteen brought the fret board to new heights. I saw him play at NAMM this year and he was just amazing!
4. Your Ibanez RG-550 seems to be your weapon of choice, what is it about that guitar
that you love so much?
Yeah, I use the RG-550 a lot.
I can get good harmonics and great “Horsey” squeals!! I put in a Dimarzio Steve Vai “Evolution” in the bridge position and a Seymour Duncan George Lynch in the neck position. The Evo gets a nasty tone!
I also use my Tom Anderson Drop Top Classic as well. Anderson custom built the guitar for me and I must say it is a beauty. The have me listed at the “Family of artists” list at their website. I met Tom Anderson at the NAMM show this year…..really super nice folks! My Peavey EVH Wolfgang Special and San Dimas Charvel Strat are with me when I play live as well. I do prefer maple necks…they are bit harder to play than rosewood but the tone and feel are a bit cleaner to me. I use Floyd Rose tremolo and my strings are GHS Boomers 9-42. Steve and Brenden keep my guitars in tune and do the “hand offs” for different songs.
5. Effects wise, what can be found in your rack and on the floor for you these days?
Basically I’m running two heads slaved together..a Mesa Boogie Mark III and a Marshall 100 watt head through two 1960 Marshall cabinets. I channel switch with the Mesa and run the Marshall clean. I use three effects during the live show…a Chandler Delay and Digitech TSR-12 Chorus in the rack and a MXR Phase 90 on the floor and that’s about it. I have a mute/tuner and noise gate in the rack to keep things quiet and in tune! I have the whole list at my website. I’ve been using this same set up for about 10 years now.
I recently took a tour of the Mesa Boogie factory and I met the guy who built my Mark III!
6. From your old days with Sabotage to the present, in which ways do you feel you have
grown as a musician?
Well when I first started playing there wasn’t a whole lotta shreddin’ going on so my style sort of developed from what was happening at the time. I wish I had Guitars101.com around when I started! I feel I have definitely improved with age…my playing that is!! In the old days I sort of found things by accident…. I was self-taught but these days my approach is more broad…but I like to stay bluesy and melodic…my twisted version of Satriani and Yngwie! I really enjoy giving guitar lessons and passing on what I know of the fretboard.
7. How did you and Randy get the idea of forming a Van Halen tribute act?
Randy, Mattie O’Keefe (our bassist at the time) and I were invited to attend a jam night in 1999 and we decided to play whatever Van Halen tunes we knew because Randy is a huge “DLR” head!
We started playing and the place went nuts…we were surprised and talked about starting a VH cover band. I had no idea that there was a huge tribute scene out there and never even heard of the Atomic Punks…let alone all of the other VH tribute acts across the country. The Punks didn’t play in our area so we decided to give it a go. We called a badass double bass drummer Billy Davies and worked up a set list. We decided to stick with DLR era not because we don’t like Sammy, we are working in some Sammy material this year. It took me about a month and a half to get all of the tunes down with my cassette player….stopping and starting over and over. We had a hand full of rehearsals and hit the bars! We played any and every club that would have us playing every Friday and Saturday night! We took the name HOT FOR TEACHER because Randy is an actual middle school science teacher! The rest of us wanted a different name but he booked our first gig as HOT FOR TEACHER so it stuck! In 2001, Billy left the band and we had heard that Larry Howe from VICIOUS RUMORS was available so we gave him a call. Larry came on board and he was a perfect match with his monstrous double kick drum playing and energy!! He plays like John Bonham on steroids! Jimmy Ward then came in on bass at the end of 2003 and really gave us that classic VH thundering bass tone.
We started playing at larger venues and became more popular around the Bay Area. We eventually caught the attention of Van Halen webmaster Brad Starks and led to a chance to play for Michael Anthony at The Hard Rock Café bass dedication ceremony in San Francisco in May 2003! Michael sat in with us and play eight songs…the place went crazy! Michael Anthony is one hell of a bassist and a super nice guy! At the end of the set he says into the mic…”Give it up for HOT FOR TEACHER…these guys f**kin’ rock!”
Just last year we got a chance to jam WITH the ATOMIC PUNKS in Sacramento. Ralph, Russ, Scott and Joe were hella cool guys and we all had a great time playing with them!
We recently headlined a festival with 14,000 in attendance…headlining the big clubs like Slim’s in San Francisco, BB King’s Club in Hollywood….attending NAMM shows…this thing has turned into a monster….we have a great website, a great crew and Promo Dept, and have met a lot of new friends and fans all over the world! I’m also honored to be in a band with some of the best players around…Randy Monroe, Jimmi Ward and Larry Howe…..not to mention our webmaster Chris Gingrich. The HFT Promotions Dept…Steve and Charlotte Skrivanek, Jerri Alley and Dawn Ward….our crew, Brenden Treanor and James McCullough. We also have two keyboardist that we rotate in Aaron Pearson and Scott Overly. They handle the bones on “I’ll Wait” and “Jump”.
I really enjoy traveling with the band.
We have had some great times over the last 5 years!
8. Playing for thousands of VH fans, and being a fan yourself, is there a better rabid fan base then Van Halen's?
I don’t think so…..I’d be hard to say that there are any more diehard fans than Van Halen fans! We see it all of time at our shows…..we have people going nuts in the front row..fans of all ages….they know the words to the songs, sing along with their fists in the air and they are fanatical! We really enjoy getting the audience worked up! We even had one guy come our show with motorcycle and helmet painted in “Frankenstein” stripes!
9. Ed has stated that he's never been a fan of floating trem's, yet I notice that most of your guitars have the floating trem. Any reason for that?
That’s easy…I don’t want to break off my tremolo arms! I’m not very nice to them. I pull “up” on them like Steve Vai and Uli Roth…..I’ve been using the Floyd Rose tremolos for along time and I just like them set up like that. You might get a fuller tone with the tremolo resting against the body but I’ve snapped a few trem arms that way…oh yeah…I met Floyd Rose at the NAMM show this year!
10. What kind of music are you listening to these days?
I’ve been listening to Joe Satriani’s “Time Machine”, Uli Jon Roth’s “Transcendental Sky Guitar”, Schugar/Schenker “Under Construction”, Racer X “Live-Extreme Volume”, Scott Meshoe, Richie Kotzen, Yngwie Malmsteen, Frank Gambale and I’ve been getting in to Old Scorpions again….."Virgin Killer”, “In Trance” and “Tokyo Tapes” are my favorites.
11. Your feelings towards the lack of guitar solo's, and overall creativity in today's mainstream rock and roll?
I think it sucks! Someone told me that record companies specifically tell their artists NOT to play ANY guitar solos. That’s unacceptable to me! Like Eddie Van Halen once said “If it sounds good, it is good”. That should be the standard right?!
To be honest with you I don’t listen to too much of what’s new on the radio. I’ll take an 80’s balled any day….with a gnarly guitar solo! There’s not much longevity in what is “new” these days. I’m encouraged though, one of my students is about 13 and he keeps right up with me…he can barley get his hands around the neck of his brand new Jackson Soloist!
12. Your opinion on the Eddie Van Halen of old, and the current EVH that you saw on stage in 2004?
You know I saw Van Halen in 1982 and recently on the last tour. Eddie sounded great but he was making mistakes and “sounded” tired…I guess the road must have caught up with him or something but it was great to see one of the greatest guitarists ever on stage again! His tone was amazing! He was using the new Charvel's and his new EVH amps I think. Gotta get me one of those!
We played some “after party” shows when VH was in town here in the Bay Area. Brad Kava, the music editor for the San Jose Mercury News went to the VH show then came to see us after the show. We never saw him that night but he went on the San Jose radio station KFOX the next morning and told Greg Kihn that “Van Halen should hire the guitarist from HOT FOR TEACHER”…that day my phone was ringin’ off the hook.
13 . Any words of wisdom you can give to young, aspiring guitar slingers reading this?
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!! Master your scales and exercises…this will help with everything else you tackle. Play everyday and perfect what you DO know before moving on to something new. Don’t “flub over” riffs, take the time to get them right..….not 30 seconds but as long as it takes…even if you’re playing ONE note trying to get your vibrato right! Repition is the key. Michael Angelo Batio was asked how he learned to do the stuff he does and his answer was just doing it over and over until he got it right. There are some exercise videos on my website that show just this. Also listen to different kinds of music and not just one style. What I do a lot is turn on the radio and flip through stations and jam along to whatever sounds good……..just soloing and experimenting. Mix your major and minor scales together to create something unique. Play with other musicians and sometimes learn what NOT to do.
Don’t be afraid to put some emotion and feeling in your playing….just let it all out!
14. I hear a lot of Randy Rhoads influence in your playing, how big of an impact did Randy have on you?
Randy Rhoads was a huge influence. I saw him play live at The Cow Palace in San Francisco. I bought one of his Randy Rhoads Custom guitars when they came out in 1985. I really loved his playing! When I saw him play with Ozzy at The Cow Palace it was one of the best shows I had ever seen…Randy was amazing. I use to play the opening riff to “Diary of a Madman” in my classical guitar class. The intro was actually taken from a piece by Cuban guitarist Leo Brower. Randy changed it around a bit. When he died we were all in the dumps back then. “Believer’ is my favorite tune.
15. Any plans to come out East and jam for us East Coast VH fans?
Absolutely! We have some irons in the fire to get us over there!
16. Last question here Terry, and be honest! Dave or Sammy??
Dave AND Sammy!!!
Dude, I give guitar lessons to Sammy Hagar’s bodyguard….he’ll kick my ass!!
Well Chris, thank you for letting me in here and I look forward to meeting you. Guitars101.com is one of my favorite websites on the internet!