Double the rock, double the shred

Michael Angelo Batio’s wild guitar heroics at Oddbody’s

By Christian Roerig

Photo: Michael Angelo Batio will perform at Oddbody’s Music Room on March 14

In a world where most guitar players fumble their way through a solo, there are those who can actually play. And then there are those who can shred – and they are just happy to have a world filled with guitars.

This is the stance of Michael Angelo Batio, one of the world’s foremost guitar shredders. His rise to fame came in the over-the-top ’80s metal band, Nitro, which featured a signature four-neck guitar played by the ambidextrous Batio, combined with the literal glass-breaking shrieks of singer Jim Gillette. Although Nitro initially achieved some success before breaking up in 1992, Batio’s instructional videos are what really cemented him as legend among those who play guitar. He taught such legends as Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Mark Tremonti of Creed and Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot. He has primarily been a solo artist since the breakup of Nitro, but Batio hasn’t slowed down a bit as far as his volume of projects – albums, instructional videos, tours – or in the speed of his insanely quick hands. His most recent album is the virtuosic Intermezzo, released on his own M.A.C.E. Music label. We had a chance to ask Mr. Batio some questions, and found out that besides being a guitar hero, he’s a genuinely nice guy who really just wants everyone to enjoy music.

You are considered one of the most outrageous guitar players in history. Would you describe yourself this way?

Michael Angelo Batio: Thank you. That might be a word I would use to describe myself, but certainly not the first word! I like to think of myself as a serious guitarist, dedicated to my craft. I also happen to have a unique live show and have a great time in concert. I invented a stage move that I call the MAB Over-Under technique, and I invented the twin necked, v-shaped, left and right handed Double-Guitar.

Is playing a double or quad neck guitar uncomfortable?

MAB: It’s incredibly difficult to play either of those instruments, but I love them both! It’s not uncomfortable, it’s fun!

As a bona fide guitar god, what musician or musical style would you smite?

MAB: I respect anyone in any genre that has something to say musically.

You’ve taught such guitar heroes as Tom Morello and Mark Tremonti. Have you ever taught someone who later went on to be successful or popular that would embarrass you to admit to having taught?

MAB: I’m sorry, but no. My list of students also includes, via my instructional program, Dimebag, John Petrucci, Michael Romeo, Herman Li and more. They are all amazing guitarists and people.

Is there actually anyone faster than you?

MAB: I suppose there are people out there that are faster than I am. I really don’t know. I don’t concern myself with that aspect of guitar playing. My feeling is that I play as fast or slow as the part of the song I’m playing requires.

As you’ve gotten older, what kind of new tricks have you picked up?

MAB: The goal throughout my entire career is to continue to learn. I feel I am a better guitarist this year than I was last year. That is the quest –

to learn, to grow as an artist and not become stagnant. As far as “tricks,” I am better at recording and am a better live performer than I was when I was younger. Although, the “energy of youth” has its advantages! I have to warm up more now!

In your opinion, what is the album that best represents your style?

MAB: My latest album, Intermezzo.

Besides practicing, what would be the best advice to give aspiring guitar heroes?

MAB: Write and release music online. Create videos, post them and perform in front of as many people as you can, doing as many shows as you can. Network and promote yourself and/or your band!

What kinds of music do you find inspiring to your craft on a day-to-day basis?

MAB: I listen to all kinds of music and not just one genre. I like great musicians and great singers. I also like great songs that don’t necessarily have to have great musicianship or a trained voice. On any given day I might be inspired by listening to Vivaldi, then Al DiMeola, then Brad Paisley. Or Dream Theater, Arch Enemy, Black Sabbath, then Animals as Leaders. I like to mix things up constantly for inspiration and draw upon as many influences as possible.

Are there any surprises we should be expecting for your 2015 tour?

MAB: I play a mixture of my own music and tributes to some of my favorite guitarists, done in my own style, with my own unique arrangements. I also tell a lot of stories about my musical experiences between the songs. In addition to all of this, I have a multimedia show with video and effects, timed to the music. It’s a really musical and entertaining show.

Michael Angelo Batio will perform Saturday, March 14 at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Rd. James D. Gilmore, Alfie Luckey and 80 Proof are also on the bill. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 day of the show. For more information, please visit

angelo.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Christian Roerig at ChristianRoerig@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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