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      Articles Home » Music Talk » Apollo's Creed - Interview with Scott Stapp guitarist Yiannis Papadopoulos By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
      Apollo's Creed - Interview with Scott Stapp guitarist Yiannis Papadopoulos By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

      Apollo's Creed

      Interview with Scott Stapp guitarist Yiannis Papadopoulos

      By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

      Boston Rock Radio

       

      Multi-platinum and Diamond recording artists CREED provided radio rock anthems for about a leap year during the late 1990's into the new millennium as the last days of MTV playing videos in regular rotation were winding down.  It has been well documented about the rise and fall of the band as from their ashes rose various band projects and solo releases with the obligatory reunion and then back to 10 years of idleness.  The Voice of Creed, Scott Stapp found new creative outlets since while sometimes re-visiting the songs that brought him recognition of magnetic proportions along with Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti.   Tremonti was well respected and a new kind of song oriented guitar hero during these times and also left a big set of shoes to fill. With those thoughts, Stapp enlisted the help of Athens, Greece native and six string virtuoso Yiannis Papadopoulos to bring to life the Tremonti signature riffs, while leaving his own sonic imprint on the latest solo recording, The Space Between Shadows (Napalm Records) and supporting tours.  Papadopoulos is more than just the cliché of a "hired gun" by establishing himself as an author, educator, endorsing artist clinician and entrepreneur.   Boston Rock Radio would like to thank Mr. Papadopoulos for this exclusive interview as he prepares for his South American tour with Stapp next month.

       

      You just finished a major tour as lead guitarist for Creed vocalist Scott Stapp promoting his 3rd solo album that you are featured on.  How did you land such a gig?  Did you have an audition process to demonstrate some of the Creed repertoire?  Were you "screened" via the internet and then a formal meeting in Florida?

      YP: The story behind how I got the gig is simple, yet beautiful. I contacted Scott through Facebook. I sent him a message with everything worth mentioning about me and my career, I mentioned that I’m a fan, and that I want to play in his band. I got a response the next day saying “hey man, I like what I see, I’m heading out on tour, let’s be in touch”! We arranged a Skype meeting and the atmosphere was extremely positive. Then Scott asked me to make a video audition –and play four Creed songs- and after I sent that over, I received a very exciting response saying I got the gig.

       

      What an honor to cover Mark Tremonti's memorable guitar parts which were some of the most widely heard guitar parts from the late 1990's into the 2000's during the last gasp of MTV playing music videos.  Did you learn everything note for note and then put your personal "stamp" on the music?  Also, please fill us in on what your first ever gig with Scott was like?

      YP:  The band has songs that the fans know and love, so at first I learned all the songs note by note. Then I started adding my own parts and personal touch in order to make them sound more current and modern. Our first ever gig with Scott was amazing. We performed at an outdoor park in South Africa. The crowd was fantastic, our stage presence was very powerful and in sync, which is always a great starting point for a band, and on top of these, we could see various wild animals behind the stage and the crowd. All these turned our first ever gig into such a beautiful memory.

      While on the road were you able to maintain a level of creativity in the songwriting and/or practicing department?

      YP:  No matter if I’m on the road or if I am in the comfort of my own place I always practice daily between 2 to 4 hours, no matter what. For me guitar and music are means of expressing myself and practice time equals fun time. During my practice routine, I might come with a riff or musical idea which I then bring to Scott and we develop it in a song, or he might come to me with a melody which we then turn into a song. We’ve written quite a few songs like that and I’m very excited about it because they’re heavy, with big riffs and great melodies, I’m certain the fans will love them.

       

      In your bio you mention a few radio oriented hard rock bands as your influences, coming from Athens I was curious if you played any traditional Greek folk instruments such as the Bouzouki or the Tzouras?

      YP: Greece has a great music culture. We have a great blend between Western and Eastern music. Unfortunately, I don’t play any other instruments apart from guitar, but I can definitely replicate the way these instruments sound using the proper scales, phrasing and touch on the guitar.

       

      By your seating position it looks like you have a classical guitar background, how did that play out in your development?  Are you able to read standard guitar notation and aware of other "proper" techniques?

      YP: I believe classical music is a great foundation for every musician to have. It taught me so much more than the “proper position”, it helped me find my musicality as an artist and above all it taught me how to express myself on the instrument. On another note, classical theory, harmony and counterpoint helped me in song writing. I learned how to read standard guitar/music notation, which I can’t say I’ve used many times in my career outside the classical field, but it’s definitely a great asset to have.

       

      Keeping in tune with your classical studies background question.   You have performed Jon Lord's Concerto for Group & Orchestra.  What kind of adjustments did you need to make in sound reinforcement, tuning and following a conductor  did you need to make to pull off this achievement?

      YP: This is a great link to your previous question since, in this project, being able to read standard music notation was a necessity. When I received the invite I was so excited, I have always wanted to perform with an orchestra and to be invited to perform this amazing musical piece it was a big honor and challenge at the same time. The cool thing about the “concerto for group and orchestra” is the fact that there are parts which should be played as composed but there are many improvised solos throughout the piece. I wanted to create something beautiful that would have my personal touch, so after I was done with the actual parts of the song I started working on the improvised parts. On the technical aspect, I had to make a few necessary adjustments to my pedalboard so that it was a bit more compact and I also adjusted my tone to be sweeter and blend with the orchestra but without losing its original “rock bite”. We also had to tune the guitar slightly different so that it would be in tune with the other instruments. Working with a conductor and an orchestra was a first for me but we just rehearsed it twice and we went for it, the result was outstanding and it’s actually one of the best gigs of my life. There were some plans to redo the event but everybody’s schedule is busy. I really hope it will happen in the near future.

       

      You are the author of a few guitar methods as well as offer lessons via Skype.  Respectfully, what makes your guitar teaching style perhaps more enticing in a sea of guitarists that are available for lessons across the globe?

      YP: Although I have classical training, I had to discover the electric guitar playing and develop my technique mostly on my own. So after many years of trial and error I was finally able to play anything that came in my mind without any problems. In other words I was able to express myself freely through the instrument and for me that is the ultimate goal for the lessons. Because I had to find my way through the instrument and I had to teach myself how to do it, I believe that I can definitely help anyone overcome his problems with guitar playing. Actually that is exactly the purpose behind my two books: I wanted to show how I managed to overcome all the difficulties that I’ve encountered on my path, explain my practice routine and I wanted to share my thoughts and methodology about practicing technique and improvisation. So my first book “The Electric Guitar Technique Workout” has everything technique related –Alternate picking, Sweep picking, Legato, Licks and notes on how to have a successful practice routine. On the other hand, my second book “Fretboard Concepts” has everything but technique: Scales/Modes, Chords, Arpeggios, Theory, Harmony, notes on improvisation and advanced improvisation concepts. Both books are available on Amazon.

      Related image     

      Your working musician business model covers many basses (social media, networking, author, teacher, and performer).  Every artist has a different approach to this within their comfort level as there are many extremely talented musicians out there.  Without giving away too many of your "secrets" what is some practical advice or words of wisdom that you care to share with aspiring musicians looking to follow this as a career beyond just wanting to be a "rock star"?

      YP: Being a full-time musician demands so much more than just playing guitar. My advice is to never stop working and never give up on your dreams no matter what’s on your way. Always try to find new and creative ways to approach the instrument and promote yourself. Also, time management is a great skill, make sure to take advantage of every minute but also don’t forget to sleep now and then! Last but not least, never forget: the only limitation is our imagination!

       

      Boston Rock Radio Guest Contributor Thomas Amoriello is a heavy metal guitarist, educator, recording artist and children's picture book author who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey. You can learn more about Tom at https://thomasamoriello.com

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