Toronto-based hard-rock behemoths Three Days Grace return this year with Outsider, a collection of first-rate rock radio anthems that marks their second release with former My Darkest Days frontman Matt Walst.
The album not only delivers guitarist Barry Stock’s trademark combo of menacing riffs and punchy chordal hooks, but also reunites producers Gavin Brown and Howard Benson, plus engineer Mike Plotnikoff and Chris Lord-Alge on mixing duties - the first time that production A-team has worked together since 3DG’s multi-platinum smash One-X.
We caught up with Barry ahead of the album’s release to hear about the prized pieces in his 65-strong guitar collection and the touching tale of being reunited with a former flame…
1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?
“My first guitar was a Raven Telecaster copy that my dad bought for me for my 13th birthday.”
2. The building’s burning down - what one guitar do you save?
“That’s a tough one as I have 65 guitars. I would have to say at this point I would grab my ’69 Red Sparkle Strat.”
3. What's the one effects pedal you couldn't do without, and why?
“An Ibanez Tube Screamer - it’s the best pedal for screaming solos.”
4. Is there a guitar, or piece of gear, that you regret letting go?
“I got rid of a Ibanez seven-string Universe that used to be my main guitar about 20+ years ago to a friend of mine. I lost touch with this person, but a couple of years ago my wife managed to get ahold of that person and was able to purchase it back. I came home from a tour and my wife had a guitar case sitting in the living room for me, and when I opened it there it was, exactly as it was when I got rid of it. I am pretty sure I had tears in my eyes; I couldn’t believe it.”
5. And what's the next piece of gear you’d like to acquire?
“Lately I have been collecting amps for the studio and I came across this awesome amp builder in Canada called Dr. Dan making amazing replicas. He has built me a ’69 Marshall Plexi - a Marshall 2203 - and now I have him building me a Tweed Princeton. All these amps sound amazing!”
6. What’s your favourite chord, and why?
“D minor, because it’s the saddest chord.”
7. Is there an aspect of guitar playing that you'd like to be better at?
“I would like to be better at fingerpicking - I don’t spend enough time practising that.”
8. If you could have a guitar lesson from one guitarist, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?
“Paul Gilbert. I spent many years watching Paul’s videos and learning his licks; he is one of my favourites, for sure.”
9. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?
“It doesn’t happen often, but when your gear goes down live it is a horrible feeling - a few seconds can feel like a lifetime.”
10. What advice would you give your younger self about playing the guitar?
“Learn from everyone, and be as versatile as you can. You can even learn something from bad players.”
Outsider is out on 9 March and available to preorder now via Music For Nations.