About Roland Nipp
“The guitar stands for freedom” - The Edge
Roland Nipp is a self-professed guitar geek, music nerd, and one-trick pony. When not playing guitar, he is usually thinking about guitars, teaching guitar, listening to music, reading music magazines or tinkering with gear. While admittedly not very well-rounded, he is quick to point out he can make a good grilled cheese sandwich.
Better Days is Nipp’s 7th solo record, and continues his quest to offer emotional electric guitar music to people who like electric guitars and songs. As with his previous albums, the songwriting is front and centre - in Nipp’s world, gratuitous guitar playing ends up on the cutting room floor.
During the creation of Better Days, Nipp wore many hats: he wrote, produced, engineered and played all the instruments. In reference to other obscure multi-instrumentalists who choose to make one-man recordings, he says “some of my favourite music comes from people like McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Tom Scholz, who created really powerful and personal music by working this way. There are no rules, no judgment…anything is possible.” To boot, he recorded Better Days while learning the new (and demanding!) responsibilities of puppy ownership. It’s Roland’s hope that Lyco will play tambourine on his next album.
In 2005, Nipp was selected and featured by Guitar Player in their prestigious Spotlight column. He has also appeared in Vintage Guitar and 20th Century Guitar magazines.
· “Guitar instrumentals from the wank-free zone.” - Canadian Musician
· “Engaging and enjoyable instrumental music without indulging in the annoying grandstanding endemic to “guitar” albums… maintains your attention through seduction rather than coercion…this is an instrumental guitar album that even non-guitarists will like.” - Guitar Player
· “…riveting…strong melodies, outstanding tone and dynamic accompaniment. First class all the way.” - TV Week
· “…guitar fans who enjoy smart instrumental guitar playing will thrill to In the Cool of the Dawn…his latest CD masterpiece.” - Music Web Express 3000
· “…In the Cool of the Dawn…continues bringing beautiful guitar music to those lucky enough to find it.” - The Georgia Straight
From an interview with 20th Century Guitar Magazine:
The family radio was
always on and the pop/rock songs of the day became ingrained in my psyche. In
fact, while in the 5th grade, I remember playing Name That Tune, and being able
to identify songs and artists within the first few notes. I recall the teacher
and kids looking at me in disbelief.
My life forever changed at 13, when I first picked up a guitar. Even though I couldn’t yet make any musical sounds, I loved just holding it, how it looked, even how the case smelled! Shortly thereafter and not surprisingly, I began opting out of after-school sports.
Although I had some formal lessons, I am primarily self-taught, spending countless hours on my bed with a cassette deck trying to mimic my heroes. At school dances, I’d be at the front of the stage staring at the guitarist’s hands oblivious to the fact that people were actually dancing.
Writing and Recording
When writing songs, I
ask myself: “What do I want to hear as a music fan, what qualities do my
favorite CDs have, what brings me back for repeated listens?” The answer comes
pretty quickly - it’s all about the songs. My goal is creating music to
connect, not to impress. Once this ground rule is set, it’s easy to write and
play from the heart, and the songs usually write themselves. To paraphrase
Santana: “to play with soul and purpose, we must first get our ego out of the
way.” I am also drawn to the thinking of the late Philip Sudo, who, in his
book, Zen Guitar, says: “true guitar virtuosity is beyond technical
mastery - it’s about playing with virtue, honesty, integrity, compassion, and
Roland Nipp - Interesting and not so interesting facts
Favourite guitars: SG, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Les Paul
Favourite guitar players: Jeff Beck, SRV, Clapton, Knopfler, Gilmour, Brian May, Lifeson, Page, EVH, Lukather, Santana, Hendrix, Mike Campbell, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Daniel Lanois, The Edge, John Mayer, Vince Gill, Pete Anderson, Albert King, Roger Fisher, Nancy Wilson, Tom Scholz , Billy Gibbons, George Harrison, Terry Kath, Rik Emmett, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Crichton, Jeff Healey, Colin James, Neil Geraldo, many others
VIP list: Brian “Too Loud” MacLeod, Maria McKee, Jeff Lynne, Brian Wilson, Supertramp, Elton, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Toto, Steely Dan, Joe Jackson, Norah Jones, Sarah McLachlan, Eagles, Seger, Springsteen, Mellencamp, Petty, Heart, Benatar, Rondstadt, Rush, AC/DC, Styx, Foreigner, Def Leppard, Journey, and many more
Canadian music DNA: Rush, Tom Cochrane, The Band, April Wine, Pat Travers, Triumph, Saga, Harlequin, Doucette, Loverboy, Chilliwack, Prism, Streetheart, Headpins, Trooper, Queen City Kids, Max Webster, Ian Thomas, Bryan Adams, and many others
Favourite guilty pleasure: 70s pop music
Discography: The Blue Room (1999), By Night (2004), Little Victories (2009), All We Desire (2012), Ragged Hearts (2015), In the Cool of the Dawn (2017), Better Days (2018)
Movie most likely to quote from: The Big Lebowski
TV show least likely to watch: Anything with the word “Idol” or Talent” in its title
Store least likely to frequent: Ikea
Activity least likely to do for himself: Shop for clothes
Topic least likely to be thinking about: Home improvement
Personal care item no longer required: Hair dryer
Task happy to avoid: Writing lyrics
Social fad least likely to do: Take Selfie, post to Facebook
Top reasons to practice guitar and not Guitar Hero:
Midnight in Harlem - Tedeschi Trucks Band
River of Tears - Eric Clapton
Hotel California - Eagles
Purple Rain - Prince
Slow Dancing in a Burning Room - John Mayer
The Sky is Crying - SRV
Into the Mystic - The Allman Brothers
Always With You, Always With Me - Joe Satriani
The Waiting - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Nobody’s Fool - Tom Keifer and Lzzy Hale
Crazy on You - Heart
Still Got the Blues - Gary Moore
Edge of Darkness - Greta Van Fleet
Favourite question to be asked: Which guitar would you like…the red one or the white one?
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