Tony MacAlpine: Playing Like a Demon on the Devil's Slingshot CD, Clinophobia

Tony MacAlpine’s name is widely recognized in the worlds of instrumental rock and fusion. For over twenty years, he has delivered numerous distinguished studio and live albums that showcase his formidable chops as both a guitarist and as a classical pianist. Many of the CDs were solo ventures, starting with his ‘80s classics, Edge of Insanity and Maximum Security(on Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records, of course).

At a time when Yngwie J. Malmsteen was first unleashing his fury by channeling his inner Paganini through the electric guitar within the boundaries of heavy metal, it was label-mate MacAlpine’s Chopin piano influence that, perhaps, helped to transcend the metal genre and incorporate elements of jazz fusion, classical, and blues. While this diversity may not have earned him a place in the Rock Starvideo game (some metal fans can be pretty singular minded in their musical tastes — especially back in the ‘80s), it certainly didn’t diminish anyone’s appreciation for his talent.

Equally expert at both instruments, MacAlpine has routinely played both musical roles on his albums, and when recording or touring in support of other artists ranging from Steve Vai to Michel Polnareff (French pop star), he has routinely been found assuming either role. MacAlpine has recorded albums with the rock/fusion instrumental bands Planet X and CAB, Ring of Fire, and now his latest band, Devil’s Slingshot.

A band effort more than a solo work, Devil’s Slingshot finds Tony MacAlpine accompanied by longtime friends (and killer musicians) bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Virgil Donati. Given the caliber of these musicians, it should come as no surprise that the first CD from Devil’s Slingshot, Clinophobia, is oozing with virtuosity, all wrapped up in a collection of expertly crafted songs that straddle the lines between hard rock, blues, and jazz fusion.

As with so many of the great musicians we’ve spoken to, Tony is both humble and personable, and it was a pleasure talking about his latest band and their recent CD.

If the band screws up, the computer always wins, which is really frightening.

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