60 seconds with… Al Di Meola
© ANDRZEJ GRYGIEL/epa/Corbis
From the GT archives - A minute with a great guitarist is enough to discover what really makes them tick. This time we quiz Al Di Meola…
Who was your first influence to play the guitar?
Elvis, Ventures, Beatles.
What was the first guitar you really lusted after?
A Guild Starfire.
What do you think was the best gig you ever played?
The one in fourth grade with my pal George where I realised for the first time the power the guitar could have with winning over the girls!
And your worst playing nightmare?
When back in the '80s the Synclavier hook-up to my guitar glitched during a piece we were playing and this super-loud squeal blasted through the PA and would not shut off - seemed like an eternity!
What's the most important musical lesson you ever learnt?
Alternate picking, loose wrist, chords, scales and arpeggios. Sweep picking is for cissies!
Do you still practise?
Yes, it's my meditation and I love more then anything to read music as part of the routine.
Do you have a pre-gig warm-up routine?
If you could put together a fantasy band with you in it, who would the other players be?
Steve Gadd, Jan Hammer, Anthony Jackson.
Present company accepted, who's the greatest guitarist that's ever lived?
Is there a solo you really wish you had played?
I'm sure there is.
What's the solo/song of your own that you're most proud of?
Any one off [latest album] Pursuit Of Radical Rhapsody; also the electric solo off of a CD called Kiss My Axe on a tune called Global Safari.
What would you most like to be remembered for?
The depth of the compositions followed by having my own voice on the guitar in a particularly unique, articulate percussive way - not to mention also being a nice guy - hopefully!