I was fortunate enough to chat with Xander Demos, of Xander Demos Band (XDB), formerly of Ghost of War and Sabbath Judas Sabbath. I have been a big fan of Xander’s after seeing XDB open up for Stryper at the old Altar Bar.
Here is our conversation:
1) First of…where in the hell did you learn to shred like you do??
Well, first of all, thank you for the compliment! As far as where I learned, I’m slightly older than most of the young guns that you see today. I learned from books, videos and other players the best I could growing up. One thing to note, I had a little device that would slow down cassette tapes so I could learn the notes from certain solos. I would usually learn the fingerings in the way that was the most comfortable for me and by then, I feel like I carved out my own style. Plus, growing up in the Tampa Bay area, I had some amazing teachers like Ralph Santolla (RIP), Dallas Perkins and a guy named Rocky Bentley that was the guitarist and lead singer of a local band called Visigoth. He was a major inspiration! Regarding those new and young gunslingers: They’re all fantastic players but they had the luxury of YouTube and the internet in general to learn from. I’m blown away sometimes how fast someone learns these days!
2) If you weren’t a supreme shredder, what other passion(s) would you be pursuing?
Well, I would still be heavy into music so I would be neck-deep into film scoring (see next answer). And, if THAT wasn’t an option, I would probably be into movie-making since I am a film nut.
3) Which artist has had the most influence on you?
I’d have to say Hans Zimmer. Yes, I know he’s not a guitar player, but a film-score composer, but the melodies he’s created have always stuck with me and there MAY be a time or two when I lifted something from him and inserted it into a solo of mine. Just sayin’….
4) To this point, what has been your favorite song/instrumental you have recorded that you are most proud of?
I have to say Right Angles at this point. It’s my “single” so-to-speak, but the fun of it is that it can easily become a vocal tune as well. And, what I end up doing a lot, is taking that track for example and even changing things like the main melody and re-record it just to possibly come up with something new for another song. It’s a good baseline because it’s a catchy tune.
5) What has been your most favorite moment as a musician so far?
I have had a bunch because I have been blessed and lucky enough to have some great opportunities given to me. Playing a Racer X song at a metal jam with Jeff Martin (the actual singer from Racer X) was a great experience. Racer X has been one of my favorite bands for years! I did a brief spring tour with Tim “Ripper” Owens and that was great experience as well.
6) Has there been an embarrassing moment as a musician that you can laugh about now?
Thankfully, not really that many. There was this one time – now keep in mind, that I am not really much of a drinker. Well, I had a bit too much to drink at a gig one night, and since I am such a lightweight, I got plastered before my band’s second set. To this day, I can’t remember
ANYTHING about that night and the next day when I woke with a hangover, I was in a panic. So I started calling my bandmates and apologizing for the disaster I believed happened the night before. They all told me that I didn’t make a single mistake but I was “rather quiet” for the rest
of the night. It was funny and embarrassing for me because, like I mentioned, I just don’t drink that often. Muscle Memory is a good thing!
7) Any genre of music you are into that would surprise your fans?
Two of them: Film Scores/New Age and Eurodance. The New Age stuff includes artists like Enya, Vangelis and really cool ethereal and atmospheric types of music. Some of the film scores I like are very similar to these New Age artists. Stuff that Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, Steve Jablonski
and Anthony Marinelli create. Eurodance is sometimes confused with Techno but it’s more poppy. It’s all got that similar 130 to 150 BPM beat but some of the melodies are just beautiful. If not for hip-hop and country dominating the American airwaves for so many years, Eurodance may have taken off more here.
8) What is your favorite food to eat before or after a show?
Nothing with too many carbs! I hate feeling bloated before a show. Afterwards, hell, I don’t care. I usually get a “naked” burger or chicken sandwich. “Naked” meaning no bun.
9) What would your dream endorsement/sponsor deal be?
Wow, tough question. I am proud of my endorsements that I have right now and couldn’t imagine switching anything but I recently fell in love with Friedman amplification and I would love to be one of their artists. Also, while my signature guitar is made by David Thomas McNaught guitars but I think it would be interested to see other companies, namely larger
companies, try and replicated what he does for me. I doubt I’ll leave Dave though because he has treated me like a true professional.
10) What frontier is next for you, musically speaking?
Great question, but I have to finish my second album first. I would still love to join a touring band again though. I had fun with that in the past. Since my day-job is a work-from-home arrangement, I have that flexibility so I can hop on a bus or plane and go do some touring.
11) Any upcoming shows?
Yes, I will be with my cover band called Back To The Arena at ZanderZ in Plum, PA on February 1st, 2020. We are booked throughout the year. I will also be lead vocalist for a band called 13 Stories in January and again in March. Of course, as of this interview, we are less than two weeks away from the winter NAMM show in Anaheim, CA and I will be there playing for one of
my sponsors Mission Engineering again.
12) Where can your fans find your music and keep up with you?
You can find me pretty easily but the best place to start is on Facebook. I try to keep content updated on my website as well.
Here is where you can find me:
• @xanderdemos on Twitter
Also, if you do a general search on Google for me, there may be other articles that appear.