Monte Pittman – Three the Hard Way

Sunday, 2nd February 2014

Dead Rhetoric: You have the Aerosmith-like beginning in “Everything’s Undone,” sort of like “Back in the Saddle.” Was that intentional?

Pittman: That’s starting to freak me out because it’s not pre-conceived. Like, “Aerosmith? What?” Oh my God it does do the same thing!” What I’m doing, is I’m saying is I love augmented scales. It’s an augmented scale, but going a half-step into it, then coming this way into it. That’s what I was doing. Just doing a build-up to get where the song is going. The whole “Back in the Saddle,” and the other song, “Dark Horse,” it’s like, that’s not from me, it’s some sort of message from the beyond. [laughs]

Dead Rhetoric: The power-trio format. Everyone who’s in a three-piece speaks to the numerous benefits, like less people to deal with, you’re tighter, etc. Do you feel the same way?

Pittman: A couple of times [Testament lead guitarist] Alex Skolnick has played with us, and the door is always open for him to play with us, so then it would be a four-piece. I’m doing good just having a drummer and bass player play with me – I couldn’t imagine adding another person’s schedule into the whole thing. [laughs]

Dead Rhetoric: And there are guitar players who don’t like playing with other guys.

Pittman: I love having someone else to play with, playing lead or rhythm. For this, somebody’s got to do this, so that’s me. I’m the one doing it all.

Dead Rhetoric: Your time in Prong – what type of things did you take away from being in a band with a guy like Tommy?

Pittman: So many things. Sound, guitar tone, technique on the guitar, a lot of those kind of things, and I got to experience touring in a situation like that. Sometimes we had a bus, sometimes we had a van. One time we were in Europe for the Power of the Damager tour and we were going to share a bus with another band, but they backed out a day before the tour. They had a contract, so they still had to pay for the bus. It was me, Tommy, and Aaron Rossi. We had a tour manager and a guitar tech, and a merch guy, and we had this kick-ass bus to ourselves. There’s times like that, and there’s times where we’re touring in a van, opening for Danzig, and that sort of experience. We stayed in an RV one-time, showering in truck stops. I love showering truck stops. It builds character.

Dead Rhetoric: Are you being serious?

Pittman: I am! I love it. I tell people: Just try showering at a truck stop, and they’re like, “What?” It’s not like out by the hose outside. It’s just like you were in a spa. It’s a nice shower, great water pressure, and you get it for 15 minutes or however long. They’ve got fresh towels, and they go in and clean it everytime before. I thought it was great. Usually you find those outside of the city in the country. I want to go find one right now, actually. [laughs] The van goes and parks, you get gas, you’re parked, and say, “Okay guys, in an hour, we’ll head out.” Smell that country air outside of the city, you got the smell of trucks, and diesel fuel, and trucks going off in the distance. I love that stuff.

One time in Prong, it was a tour we did and our bus was coming from downtown LA. The bus broke down on the way to pick us up. And we thought, “Oh, this is going to be a good tour.” But, somehow, someway, somebody knew BB King. And BB King’s bus was going east, so we asked him, and he said, “Get those boys where they need to go.” So we were in BB King’s bus all the way to Texas. That was really cool, really nice bus. I’ll love that guy forever. That’s the kind of guy he is.

Dead Rhetoric: You obviously do the arena stuff with Madonna, and have done club shows with Prong. You’ve gotten every bit of the touring spectrum.

Pittman: A little bit of everything. I look at those experiences like going to school, or going to college for what I’m going to do now, for me being on my own. We’re working on that now, finding some shows. People are just hearing the material now.

Dead Rhetoric: With the Super Bowl coming up, I have to ask: What did you remember about doing the halftime show with Madonna two years ago?

Pittman: I remember it all very vividly. It was a lot of work, a lot of rehearsal. A lot rehearsal went into that doing that 10 minutes. Around halftime, that’s the only time we got to be on the side of the field to see a little bit of the game. And as soon as they say, “Okay, let’s go.” You’re on, and everybody is moving all at once, all of that stuff together. Then it starts, you get up there, and by the time you realize you’re up there, the show is over. [laughs] I was trying to take it all in…you’re thinking, “Wow, everybody I’ve ever met in my life is seeing this right now.” Kids I went to school with, that I was in the second grade with, who I’ve never seen, they’re probably going, “There’s a kid I went to school with.” Things you never know.

Dead Rhetoric: One of those “pinch me” moments.

Pittman: When we did “Like a Prayer” and there were all of those lights, which looked so cool from where we were. I was trying to remember what I had to do. Luckily, the songs we did, the guitar parts aren’t difficult.

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