Famous firsts: Ethan Brosh
31st Mar 2014 | 19:50
His first guitar, first big gig, first big check and more
Since graduating from the Berklee College Of Music in 2004, Boston-based guitar virtuoso Ethan Brosh has released two well-received instrumental discs (Out Of Oblivion and Prog Around The World, both from 2009) and has attracted admirers such as Yngwie Malmsteen, George Lynch and Jake E. Lee.
This year, Brosh became the inaugural artist on drummer Carmine Appice's new label, Rocker Records, and released his third studio disc, Live The Dream. Brosh sat down with MusicRadar recently for a little something we call Famous Firsts.
What was your first guitar, and how old were you when you got it?
"It was a classical guitar my parents bought me for the equivalent of about $45, brand new from the local music shop. I was 12 years old, almost 13, at that time.About 10 months later, I got my first electric guitar, which was an Ibanez RG-760. I still have it all these years later."
What was the first band – or album – that made you want to be a guitarist?
"That was Iron Maiden! I found a tape of Number Of The Beast in my older brother's collection. Someone had randomly given it to him for a birthday at some point. I, of course, noticed the genius album cover Derek Riggs painted for the record, and that made me listen to it. I had no idea electric guitars could make that sound! I just had to learn how to do that. No YouTube or internet back then, so you just had to figure things out somehow. There was magic to that, for sure."
What was the first guitar solo you learned how to play? How long did it take you to play it "correctly"?
"If I'm not mistaken my first guitar teacher taught me the first solo to Knocking On Heaven's Door, the Guns N' Roses version. It was still on classical guitar before I even got my first electric guitar. I also asked him to teach me the first leadfor Iron Maiden's Afraid To Shoot Strangers, but that might have been second.
"I really don't remember how long it took me to play it correctly, but I do remember how badly I wanted to play it correctly until I kind of got it. Also, 'correctly' in music is very much a relative term. I think that only the person who wrote it really played it correctly." [Laughs]
What was your first really good guitar?
"My first good guitar was already my first electric guitar – lthough it wasn't set up right, and the pickups weren't good on that particular Ibanez. I really had no idea about anything like that back then. Only when I met my first electric guitar teacher, Eyal Freeman, back in Israel did I start getting what playing electric guitar was all about. Till this day he's one of my best friends and by far one of the planet's greatest guitar player, by the way."
What was the first band you were in? What was it like?
"I've been through a lot of projects and a lot of things that really didn't go anywhere. It really wasn't until I started Burning Heat with Carlos Araiza that I felt I was really in a real band. Being in a band is probably the same on any level. It's about the e art of human beings interacting with each other. There are conflicts and disagreement, but it's a special brotherhood or sisterhood that can't be found anywhere else. Dave Mustaine said it best: 'Playing music together is as close as two guys can get to each otherwithout having...' – well, you know. That is a very true statement. You can meet someone you've never meet before, jam with them, and if it goes well you'll feel connected to them on a deep level very quickly."
What was the first song you wrote that you thought was great?
"I'd have to say my instrumental song Night City, which is on my first record, Out of Oblivion. It was maybe the second or third song I've ever written. I think Last Hope, which is also on my first record, was also written back then."
What was the first guitar you got that made you feel as though you had found "your sound"?
"Hmm... that's a tough question. In a way, I'm still searching for and developing my sound. I like many different guitars, who are all a part of my sound. I no longer believe in a perfect guitar or a perfect tone; there are many different tones that work for different situations. Also with electric guitars, amps are like the other half of the instrument, in my opinion."
When was the first time you played to a big audience? What was that experience like?
"I absolutely love playing in front of a lot of people. It's the greatest feeling in the world! But I still haven't played to what I feel is a big audience. Working on it, though!" [Laughs]
Who was the first guitar hero of yours that you got a chance to meet?
"The first guitar hero of mine that I met was George Lynch. Now he's a good friend, and of course, he's still a huge influence. Just recently, I got to finally meet Jake E. Lee and spend some time with him. I was very happy to see that he is such a great guy – another huge influence on my playing."
What was the first thing you bought when you got your first big check from playing music?
"When that happens, I'll let you know! [Laughs] Up until a few years ago, any money I made went into buying more and more gear, Nowadays it's pretty much reinvesting in my career. What else would a guitar player do with his money?" [Laughs]
For more information on Ethan Brosh, visit his official website.