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.


We Were Free (a.k.a. The Pandemic Sessions) is Nipp’s 10th 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, show-boating guitar playing ends up on the cutting room floor. 


Most of the album was written and recorded in the shadow of the 2020 pandemic.  Nipp says:




 “The pandemic and its “new normal” hung around a lot longer than I thought it would.  Because of it, I had to close my guitar teaching studio when the lockdown started.  I was able to reopen later but only as an online service.  Feeling isolated in a bubble, living with restrictions, dealing with uncertain employment…it was great to finally turn the calendar over to a new year.”


“The songs on the album are a reaction to 2020, and the range of feelings and emotions that came with it: denial, anxiety, anger, sadness, fear, hope, acceptance, etc.  Guitar and music are a great escape…it allows you to be in the moment…where nothing else exists except the note you’re playing.  Music has always been there for me; it can get you through tough times.”


“I try to see the silver lining in all this…it was a reset/reboot for a lot of people.  Time to reassess priorities, appreciate things from a different perspective, slow down, breathe cleaner air, less traffic, etc.”


“The title We Were Free means many things to me…obviously it relates to the past year where we had to live life differently with restrictions.  It also refers to a loss of innocence, a feeling that the world (and life) was much simpler when we were younger.  Though that might be due to youthful naïveté, and that carefreeness and feeling of immortality when you’re young.”




During the creation of We Were Free, 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.” 


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:


Musical Background


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 gratitude.”


Roland Nipp - Interesting and not so interesting facts


Place of residence:  Richmond, B.C., Canada


Favourite guitars:  SG, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Les Paul


Favourite guitar players:  Jeff Beck, SRV, Clapton, Gilmour, Brian May, Lifeson, Page, EVH, Lukather, Santana, Hendrix, Knopfler, 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, Elliot Easton, 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), VIII (2019), Like a Siren (2020), We Were Free (2021)


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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