Revolution Saints' Doug Aldrich on supergroup's eponymous debut album

Doug Aldrich's split from Whitesnake is vindicated by his new band's debut. We talk about recording in Elvis's bar and why rhythm's more important than lead...

The Sessions

"We all had our schedules going, so we recorded the majority of this record remotely in different studios. Deen Castronovo [vocals/drums, ex-Journey] recorded in Portland, Jack Blades [bass/vocals, ex-Night Ranger] was in California, and I recorded the guitars in Las Vegas. I was doing the Raiding The Rock Vault show at the Westgate Hotel, which was previously the International, where Elvis did his last shows.

"Under the stage, there's this secret bar, where back in the day, between songs, Elvis would go down and have a drink and a smoke with his friends, hang out with girls. That's where I recorded all the rhythm guitars.

"The bar is inoperable now - but I had lots of coffee! This is a very melodic record, with songs like Way To The Sun. It's funny, because we thought Neal Schon wasn't gonna do the solo on that, so I played one - and I really loved it. Then we found out Neal was gonna do it, and I was like [gutted] 'Oh man!'"

"Under the stage, there's this secret bar, where back in the day, between songs, Elvis would go down and have a drink and a smoke"

The Guitars

"There was the Goldtop I've had for years, but the other Les Paul - that I used primarily for the rhythm - was the first prototype of a signature model I'm working on with Gibson USA.

"It's kick-ass. It's got everything I've done to my original guitars. Most likely, it'll have a TonePros bridge and tailpiece - just because they make it really easy to keep a Les Paul in check - and my signature pickups by John Suhr. They're very similar to Burstbuckers, but they sound more vintage than a super- heavy distorted pickup.

"The other thing is that Les Pauls are expensive, man. I want to keep costs down to where it's not gonna kill you if you stick it on a credit card!"

The Tones

"I have an old JMP from '79 that I've used on every recording I've done. I bought it in 1981, and everybody knows about this amp. Joe Satriani rented it for The Extremist. Godsmack rented it once.

"Eventually, I got it copied by John Suhr, and that was the main one on this record. There was also some stuff I did with the Pro Tools 11 plug-in. When I'm recording rhythm guitar, I just want to use the shortest lead and go straight to the amp. Then, for solos, I have a signature pedal by Majik Box [the Rocket Fuel], and it's the greatest overdrive I've ever had.

"It's got a clean boost, but the other side is an overdrive that boosts the midrange and low- end. It's killer. The Dunlop Custom Audio MC404 wah is another one I used a lot."

The Mix

"With Whitesnake, everything was 'more, more, more'. It sounded awesome, but David [Coverdale] wanted everything to be doubled, tripled, quadrupled. We'd get to the mix, and he'd go, 'Let's turn up the arpeggio guitars'. I'd turn them up, and then he'd be like, 'We're losing the rhythm guitars, so let's bring them up'.

"Then he'd be like, 'Now we're losing the drums!' The difficult thing is finding a way to make all the tones work. Alessandro did an amazing job on this record. I just wanted it as minimal as possible, because the more tracks you record, the more difficult it can make it for different things to be heard."

The Lessons

"When you're working on a record from the get-go, and when you write the songs, you can get really deeply involved - and then it's hard to let go. But because Alessandro wrote the songs, I just hit the stuff really fresh. I wasn't attached to it the way you are when you wrote the song.

"It's not just about how fast you play or how cool the guitar solo is, it's from the ground up"

"With this record, it just seemed that I was a little more disconnected, and at times it makes it refreshing to not be eating, drinking and breathing the music."

The Verdict

"I'm really pleased with this record. Even though there's shredding, I really enjoyed the opportunity to play more for the song. The most important thing was making sure the rhythm guitars hold the song up. Even as a kid, I loved to listen to what Randy Rhoads was gonna do when a solo came up, but the thing that got me off was the song and the rhythm.

"The guys that read this, I want them to know that it's not just about how fast you play or how cool the guitar solo is, it's from the ground up. Y'know, the bass playing is super-important to how cool the guitar sounds. I've been shocked by the great response to the record. Time will tell if this band keeps going. I would love it to..."

Revolution Saints' self-titled debut album is out now on Frontiers Records


Guitarist is the longest established UK guitar magazine, offering gear reviews, artist interviews, techniques lessons and loads more, in print, on tablet and on smartphones
If you love guitars, you'll love Guitarist. Find us in print, on Newsstand for iPad, iPhone and other digital readers