Can you tell us a bit about your critically acclaimed album “Guitarcadia”? Yeah, sure! It was released in late 2012, and became one of the “Best of 2012” albums on Hair Metal Mansion. It was more of a “solo” album, under my name, with mostly instrumental guitar tracks. I had a couple of vocal tracks on it, a cover of “Boys Of Summer” by Don Henley and an original, “Under a Darkened Sky,” which is still getting some pretty decent airplay around the world, if I’m not mistaken. The album was recorded in my home studio, the Shark Nest, and then, it was mixed by CJ Snare of the band, Firehouse. CJ took the recordings we had and just made them sound MASSIVE. I’m really hoping that we can work together on the new album, too. Guitarcadia was really a culmination of years of playing and the fusing of several older songs with some new compositions. It was a long time in the making and really gratifying that people seemed to love it so much. I hope that the new records will do just as well, if not better! It was a high bar to set, I believe.
What was the writing process like for this? As I was saying, there were several songs that were older, that I re-worked and brought current, so that they would stand alongside the newly written material. Most of the songs just evolved from noodling on the guitar, practicing. I like to do that several hours a day, just to keep my chops up, and to come up with some new ideas. Once the basic ideas are down, I’ll mess around with some melody changes, and some chord progressions. But, the basic ideas usually come pretty quickly, and straight from my practicing.
What else do you have in the works? At the moment, I’m working on two albums. One will be another solo record, a follow-up to Guitarcadia, called Runways and Waterways. It will follow a similar structure to that of the first record. 10 songs. 2 covers…keeping those a surprise. I think people will be very surprised by what I’ve chosen. 2 vocal tunes. I like the formula, so I have no problem repeating it. Of course, the music will be completely different. I’m stretching out a little bit more on this one. The second album I’m working on is with the band, XDB. The band evolved from my solo project, but since we’ve been together and on the road, it feels more like a band now. So, we wanted to put out a more vocally present album. It will probably be more of an EP, maybe with a cover or two on it. But, we’re busy recording that one, as well. The solo project may have some of the XDB guys on it, but there will be some surprise guests, as well. I’m very excited about both recordings. I hope to have both ready by late 2014. It’s time!! I’ve also got a new signature McNaught guitar coming out, and an artist model with Brian Moore Custom guitars. The Hair I Go Again movie should be coming out some time soon..I’m interviewed and have some music in that. Also, the new Guitar Wizards compilation CD should be coming out next month. XDB has a track on that one. Then, it’s fall festival time…lots of stuff going on.
Whats it like performing a solo project and in a band (XDB)? Well, the one sort of gave birth to the other. So, performing-wise, we’re pretty much doing all XDB stuff. We started out doing the stuff from the solo record, but it’s hard pulling off a full set of instrumental guitar stuff. We did it…but the crowds want more accessible vocal songs. I think I’ll probably do a few solo shows in the future, so I can show off the instrumental chops and really give the shred loves something special. We’ll see what happens once the new “solo” record is done.
You won awards in Iron City Rock Awards this year? Yes! That was quite an honor, and very humbling at the same time. I’ve been playing around Pittsburgh in various bands for many years now. So, to get the recognition from your peers and the fans is really something special. All the bands that were nominated were very congratulatory and really supportive. We were lucky enough to win in all of our individual instrument categories, as well as in several others. I think we ended up with 8 wins! Really incredible.
Tell me more about this signature guitar with McNaught Guitars! It’s awesome! Lol. But seriously, Complete specs for the XD727 are: Basswood body, black back, Quilted Maple top, custom burst, TRS-PRO7 tremolo (won’t be used on production models), EMG 707(bridge), EMG 707-TW (neck), 27 frets, Stainless Steel 6100 fret size, Luminlay side marker dots, MOP and Malachite block inlays, Ebony fingerboard with flame maple binding, reverse headstock, three-way pickup selector, master volume and EMG SPC control. How’s that? We’re coming out with the 6 string model very soon.
Where can we find your music? Physical CDs can be had at www.xanderdemos.bigcartel.com and downloads are available on itunes, amazon, etc.
Will be able to see you on a stage near us anytime soon?
We’re taking a break from live shows while we are recording. There are a couple of events this fall: Skull Fest in Nebraska and Rock N Skull in Iowa, that we are on the bill for. Looking forward to getting the new material together, so we can bring it to ya, LIVE. Thanks for having me!!
More on Xander Demos
Xander Demos is one of today’s premier shred metal guitarists. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, he currently fronts his own band, XDB, performs with Bon Jovi/Journey tribute band, Bon Journey, and has performed as a member of national tribute act, James Rivera’s Sabbath Judas Sabbath, as well as playing in Rivera’s solo band. Xander performs in excess of 100 times a year, and he is active in recording collaborations with artists all over the world. Xander plays guitars from Suhr, McNaught and Conklin, with whom he has endorsement deals. His endorsement from these guitar companies is a testament to his impressive skills and his deep commitment to playing the best guitars in the world.
Xander’s style ranges from the beautifully melodic to the jaw-droppingly insane. His playing encompasses much of what he has learned and absorbed from other players over the years; artists like Shawn Lane, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Vinnie Moore, Jason Becker, Neal Schon, Michael Romeo and John Sykes. One constant in his music is a focus on strong guitar melodies. In 2012, Xander released his debut solo CD, Guitarcadia. Mixed by CJ Snare of Firehouse, the album was named among the Best Albums of 2012 by Hair Metal Mansion.
Recently, Xander has been making quite the name for himself and his solo band by appearing as support for acts like Symphony X, Stryper, Metal Church, Adrenaline Mob, Buckethead, UFO, Lizzy Borden, Kip Winger, Neil Zaza and Dio Disciples, as well as performing at Rock Harvest II, Wolf Fest, Skull Fest and NAMM Metal Jam. Xander’s videos have received more than 500,000 Youtube views, and Xander has regularly been featured on The Real Radio Show with AJ Pero of Twisted Sister, Steve Vai’sGuitarTV.com, GuitarWorld.com, Hair Metal Mansion, Iron City Rocks, Metal Temple, Bravewords and many other top rock and metal shows and websites. In August 2012, Xander was named Guitar Shop TV’s New Artist Showcase Winner. Named the 2013 Iron City Rocks Pittsburgh Music Awards Guitarist of the Year, Xander’s playing appears on several releases from other artists: Ged Rylands (Ten, Tygers of Pan Tang,) Derek Buddemeyer (Down Boys Records) Modern Superstar and Liberty ‘N’ Justice’s long awaited “Cigar Chronicles,” also featuring George Lynch (Dokken) Jeff Labar (Cinderella) and Jerry Dixon (Warrant.) He was included on “Guitar Feast” a compilation of international guitarists. His latest single release, “Dancing Through Daggers” was mixed by JK Northrup of King Kobra/XYZ fame, and it is the #1 Metal song on OnlyLyrics.com.
In addition to these accomplishments, Xander is an avid animal lover. Always looking for projects that will aid these beautiful creatures, Xander is donating a portion of his album sales to the ASPCA.
Xander plays: V-Picks, the Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra as well as Hughes and Kettner amps, Matrix Amplification, Mission pedals, ISP Guitar Systems and Suhr Guitars, Amps & Effects, McNaught Guitars, who completed production of the first Xander Demos Signature Guitar, Conklin Guitars and John Dixon Cases. Many of Xander’s guitars are outfitted with EMG pickups and accessories. He exclusively uses the FloydUpgrades tremolos or the GraphTech LB-63 piezo-equipped Floyd tremolo. He also is endorsed with Rock-N-Roll GangStar Apparel, Lampifier Microphones, JH Audio In-ear monitors, and INTEX Cables.