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“This was a riff that just came out. I recorded it on my iPhone, listened to it later and said, ‘OK, this is a keeper. I want to do something with this.’ A lot of people think I’m using a whammy bar on it, but it’s all finger bends. The guitar I used didn’t even have a whammy bar. You can’t get that sound with a whammy – the note starts someplace, goes somewhere else and then returns.
“When I heard the riff, I painted this picture of a track that had bends on all of these phrases. It was like a big-picture thing. I wanted it to sound heavy, but really, how do you get heavier than what a lot of people are doing? But I thought, Heaviness isn’t always in the sound, it can be in the attitude. So I realized that by creating these bends at the end of every phrase, you get a heaviness that’s like you’re being pulled down by gravity.
“Throughout the whole song, I had to figure out ways to do that bend-down quality, even in the solo. Double stops were the hardest; they’re very subtle. It’s very difficult to take two notes, bend them up a half-step, keep them in tune and then bend them down in the space of half a beat.
“The whole guitar is dropped down a whole step, and I used heavier strings. Even so, they were a little flappy. Playing this song was like bringing my fingers to the gym. [laughs] You’re lifting and pulling, lifting, pulling – and a lot of the notes were bent with one finger. It was a workout.”