My guest today is Mr. Phil DeGruy, a "guitarist's guitarist" with a unique style that can oftentimes seem to defy description. Perhaps the closest that anyone has come to an accurate description of Phil's playing is non other than Steve Vai who said, “Phil's approach to the guitar sounds like John Coltrane meets Mel Brooks at a party for Salvador Dali.” Indeed.
A highly creative and inventive musician, Phil was born and raised in New Orleans, LA, and quickly became attached to the guitar and the sounds that would later inspire many guitarists of his generation to pick up the instrument - The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck etc. In his late teen's deGruy became interested in jazz and began studying with local guru Hank Mackie who also introduced him to the sounds of Chet Atkins. His world changed when he met the late Lenny Breau (see Riff Raff # 28) who would become his mentor and close friend until Breau's tragic death in 1984, a case that to this day remains unsolved. In our interview Phil discusses many concepts that were introduced to him by Breau and we'll also get go "back in time" to hear a private lesson that Phil recorded in the early 1980's.
Known for his use of a custom 7 string guitars "The Guitararp" with their unique fan fretted necks, Phil creates sonic textures of beautiful chord voicings and lyrical melodies laced with Breau's harmonic technique- at times so stunning that if the great Bill Evans were still alive, would probably cause him to stop and ask- “wow who the hell is that?” His sense of humor is always present in his playing, particularly on display with his short comedic satirical pieces he calls his "Public Service Announcements."
Phil has 4 widely acclaimed solo records to his name- "Just Duet," "Innuendo Out the Other," "Hello Dali" and the recent "Mask and You Shall Deceive." (An interesting side note, “Mask” was also edited and mixed by the legendary guitarist Jay Graydon of LA studio fame and also a fan of Phil’s.)
Tune in to hear us talk about Phil’s early years, studying with Hank Mackie, Ron Eschete and go into detail about Lenny Breau. Phil also demonstrates his pedals and effects and other techniques.
Recorded at Phil DeGruy’s home, New Orleans, LA Feb. 2019 and May 2019.
PHIL's MUSIC AND WEBSITE- http://www.guitarp.com/
CONTACT Phil here firstname.lastname@example.org