“I went off Al relatively fast. Elegant Gypsy was a really good album, but Casino was kind of where it ended for me. Land Of The Midnight Sun, his first record, really stands out. No one else at this time, other than John McLaughlin, had the same kind of technique.
“As a testosterone-filled 17 year old, I’d come home and put on this record to bust my own chops, trying to keep up, trying to play like that. The palm-muted thing that Di Meola did found its way into so many things, including metal. I know how much it affects the way my hand rests on the bridge of a Les Paul-style guitar.
“He was pretty fastened to the mode of the song. He didn’t stray outside the harmony – he stayed within. But he would also play these incredibly fast patterns and move them up the neck chromatically. To me, that was a revelation. Whenever I did it, it would really impress the other guitar players – or it made them hate me. That’s kind of the story of my life.”