10 questions for Crippled Black Phoenix's Justin Greaves

(Image credit: Zsolt Reti)

Crippled Black Phoenix have become something of a prog institution over the years. Now nine albums in, multi-instrumentalist Justin Greaves' ever-evolving project continues to redefine itself with each successive full-length.

New release Bronze takes the band's hazy brew of post-rock dissonance and driving rock riffage to new heights, destined to be elaborated upon during the band's European tour next month.

Before he boards the tour bus to Manchester, we quizzed CBP's mastermind on his all-important first guitar, favourite effect and discovered why he wouldn't last long in a house fire…

1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?

"I didn't own a guitar myself until i started Crippled Black Phoenix. It is a Gordon Smith SG, it is still my fave!"

2. The building's burning down - what one guitar do you save?

I didn't own a guitar myself until i started Crippled Black Phoenix

"Firebird… No… Lucille… No… Gordon Smith.... Oh no... Schecter Banshee.... damn. I have perished!"

3. What's the one effects pedal you couldn't do without?

"Ha! ... err.... I guess it would be my Sovtek Big Muff... but that is an unfair question!"

4. Is there a guitar, or piece of gear, that you regret letting go?

"All of them! I hate having to let go of gear and guitars... But mostly the Selmer lead/bass tall combo with the old original spring reverb in the back."

5. When did you last practise and what did you play?

"Yesterday. I played my guitar by myself... just jamming new ideas."

6. Is there an aspect of guitar playing that you'd like to be better at?

"Lead solo stuff, y'know, the widdly widdly! All the rhythm stuff and spooky melodic stuff, no-one can beat me, but I am rubbish at shredding!"

7. If you could have a guitar lesson from one guitarist, dead or alive, who would it be?

"The obvious answer is probably David Gilmour. He plays with such feel; my favourite stuff he does is the gentle slow-hand, pitch-bending blues, and the fact he plays so clean.

All the rhythm stuff and spooky melodic stuff, no-one can beat me, but I am rubbish at shredding!

"Most good guitar players can turn up the volume and shred and make massive sounds - not many can control it like DG. I also happen to think Abbath is both very clever and very crafty in equal measure."

8. What item of gear would you take with you to a desert island?

"One-man-band outfit."

9. What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you onstage?

"I could say the obvious glaring mistakes on the fragile parts I play by myself... but actually, I'd say the worst thing to happen is sharing the stage with ego rock stars and drunk buffoons."

10. What advice would you give your younger self about playing the guitar?

"Stick to drumming, kiddo!"

Bronze is out now. Crippled Black Phoenix tour Europe in December:

08 Dec 16 Manchester (UK) Sound Control
09 Dec 16 London (UK) Dome
10 Dec 16 Nijmegen (NL) Doornroosje
11 Dec 16 Wiesbaden (DE) Schlachthof
12 Dec 16 Nürnberg (DE) Z-Bau
13 Dec 16 Zürich (CH) Werk 21
14 Dec 16 München (DE) Feierwerk, Kranhalle
15 Dec 16 Budapest (HU) Dürer Kert
16 Dec 16 Wien (AT) Arena
17 Dec 16 Tübingen (DE) Sudhaus
18 Dec 16 Dresden (DE) Scheune
19 Dec 16 Warszawa (PL) Progresja
20 Dec 16 Berlin (DE) Lido
21 Dec 16 Köln (DE) Underground

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.