I recently caught up with one of Guitar One's Top Ten up and coming guitar players in the country, ANTHONY MAZZELLA. After interviewing him and listening to him play I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who is as passionate and as talented as Anthony is. His music comes from the heart and leaves you craving for more. I recently had the chance to do an interview via telephone while he was doing a show in Grand Rapids.
MTV: How did you get your start in music?
MAZZELLA: As an adult we experience passion, sensuality, and ecstasy through love and intimate relationships. As a child these feelings were evoked in me through music. I was in love with music as a child and still am to this day.
MTV: Who is your biggest musical influence?
MAZZELLA: I would have to say Eddie Van Halen.
MTV: Who would playing with make you feel as if you had really made it and you quit from that day on?
MAZZELLA: My wet dream band is the PAT METHENEY BAND. They're an amazing jazz band.
MTV: Where was your favorite place that you have played at?
MAZZELLA: The highlight of my playing career was the Blue Note in New York City. All of the top jazz artists have played there and it was amazing to be able to play in the same venue as these artists did.
MTV: If we were to look in your CD player right now, what would we find in it?
MAZZELLA: Medieval and renaissance music is what I am listening to now.
MTV: What is your favorite CD?
MAZZELLA: When I was younger I listened to a lot of VAN HALEN and studied the music and his techniques. My favorite CD right now? That's a hard one... I think you've stumped me.
MTV: What is/was the strangest thing that has ever happened at one of your shows?
MAZZELLA: I think that the strangest thing that has ever happened at one of my shows was having world renowned jazz guitar master STANLEY JORDAN sit in the audience and watch me play. What was even stranger was being able to call him after the show and ask him what he thought of the show. We could sit down and talk about techniques and understand each other like no one else could.
MTV: I read in bio that you played a benefit concert for the depletion of the rainforest. Could you give me some insight into that?
MAZZELLA: I teamed up with Chris Spheeris who is a world renowned
guitarist/producer and we toured throughout Greece, England, and Morocco. In Morocco we did a concert to benefit the depletion of the rain forest. We played for the then Prince now King of Morocco. Environmental awareness is essential to the health of all living things and the future of our mother earth. Please do what you can.
MTV: Did you ever go to college?
MAZZELLA: I attended a few semesters at community college and majored in music. I was looking at girls and thinking that I should be home practicing the guitar.
MTV: What do you want to tell everyone?
MAZZELLA: Music is the higher power. It's the language of the gods. It cannot be understood with mathematics and sciences, but with emotions. Music is the almighty, it is powerful and of the utmost beauty. There are some things that can't be conveyed through language that can't be conveyed through the shallowness of vocabulary but only conveyed through music. You can touch God whomever your God may be through spirituality, the same way you can touch love through music.
MTV: Is there anything you don't like about being a musician?
MAZZELLA: There are sometimes I wish I wasn't a musician because when I am sitting at a show or listening to a performer I am thinking of the techniques behind the music. I am waiting for the day when I can sit back, close my eyes, and just be content.
ANTHONY MAZZELLA is now living in Sedona, Arizona were he has an enormous following with the same following in New York City. His debut CD The Birth is now in it's second pressing with a sure to be magnificent second CD to be released sometime in the fall. Anthony is currently on a college circuit tour on the East Coast. Anthony has been written up in Billboard Magazine and will have an article in Guitar One in February.
If you ever have the chance to see Anthony play this is one show that you don't want to miss. Never have I seen someone with so much passion, love and understanding of the guitar as he has. To find out more about ANTHONY MAZZELLA check out ANTHONYMAZZELLA.com. This is one guitarist that isn't a dime a dozen.
-- Ashleigh Jade Kozup
MTV Local Stringer
(December 19, 1999)
Guitar One Magazine
Hometown: Sedona, Ariz.
Musical Style: Electric Fingerstyle
Latest Recording: The Birth
Born and raised on Long Island, N.Y., Anthony began his musical training at age 5 with violin lessons and later learned the rudiments of piano playing. He began taking guitar lessons at 13 and is one of the few people to have ever studied with jazz great Stanley Jordan. Mazzella moved to Sedona, Ariz., in January 1997. Later that year, he headlined the world-famous Blue Note in New York City and was showcased at the 1997 South by Southwest music convention, followed by a two-week tour of Texas. He recently completed a three month tour.
In tracking down Anthony, we called Stacy Lanson, a friend of Anthony's who submitted his CD for consideration in this article in a package boldly labeled: "This is it ... I have found your winner!" In our conversation, Stacy sold us on the finer points of both Anthony's talents and the city of Sedona. And listening to his CD The Birth, it's evident that Mazzella has absorbed that "natural energy said to be emitted from the Red Rock vortices," harnessed it, and embodied it in the dazzling compositions found on that disc. A master of the two-hand technique a la Stanley Jordan, and a student of innovators such as Michael Hedges, Tuck Andress, and Eddie Van Halen, Anthony Mazzella may someday soon be commonly included in that list of revolutionaries.
Gear: Anthony has two main guitars: his Fender Strat and a 10-string hybrid guitar/bass designed by Anthony and his father, Mario Mazzella, who built the zebra-wood beauty. It has separate bass and guitar pickups, with the signal from the bass pickups going to a bass amp, and the guitar signal going to a guitar amp.
Practice: Anthony comes across as a very disciplined musician, and this is clearly evident in his practice schedule. Whenever he's not touring, he practices five to seven hours a day, five days a week. While on tour, he cuts back, but as fellow feature-mate Joy Basu would say, "There's no substitute for live performance if you want to improve."
Influences: Anthony has a diverse list of influences, yet they all have one thing in common: They have all contributed significantly as innovators to the world of guitar. He lists Stanley Jordan (whom Anthony refers to as "the guitar player amongst no peers"), Michael Hedges, Eddie Van Halen, Tuck Andress, Will Ackerman, David Gilmour, Pat Metheny and Andrés Segovia as influencing the way he approaches the guitar.
Among other musical influences, Anthony credits his family with instilling the value of music. His grandfather played classical guitar, and Anthony remembers listening to his mother play music all of the time.
In His Own Words: Anthony's music is often called "electric fingerstyle" or "progressive instrumental", but Anthony describes it simply as "all styles arranged for solo guitar." He elaborates: "Ill take any style, from Native American or Indian to rock, heavy metal, jazz, or pop, and arrange it for a solo performance." Be sure to check out Mazzella's cover of U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" to gain a clear picture of his quite capable arranging skills.
Turning Point: "I began taking violin lessons when I was 5. Shortly after, I had to give a concert at the local auditorium. I remember having fantasies of giving this huge, grand violin concert, and knew from that moment hat I wanted to perform.
--Mike Mueller, Guitar One Magazine