Welcomed, Not Judged
Area Guitarist Loves Learning About Learning The Craft
“From an early age I was just drawn to it — especially seeing all the album artwork to everything.”
Today, Chris Lee still loves music for the same reason.
One thing that Lee disagrees with as an artist is the way digital music artwork is presented. Gone are the lavish art covers for albums of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Now the covers, he said, are relegated to small thumbnail representations of bands.
“It’s not like going out and buying an LP (long playing 33 1/3 rpm vinyl record) where you have this 12-inch by 12-inch giant picture in which you stare at.” One of his favorite album covers is Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere in Time” because of the references to some of their other songs in the artwork.
Lee has been playing guitar in area bands since the 90s. Desecrator, his metal band, has recorded three albums, and currently he is in We Speak Canadian, which is a cover band with a few original songs thrown in the mix. He has also played with Two For Flinching.
“In We Speak Canadian, we play nothing but modern pop music, but we’re still drawn to heavy metal. We’re all heavy metal guys. Besides me, the other guys played in Discidium (death metal band) in the mid 2000s. They come from an old school (metal) kind of place too, but if you ask them, they would say Desecrator influenced them. They were at the right age when we (Desecrator) started putting material in the late 90s. And now I play in a band with them (former members of Discidium).”
During his teen years, Lee hung at area music stores looking to absorb all he could about music and guitar. “I learned so much hanging out at the music store because all types of guys come in and play.” He learned about different picking techniques, blues, and so many other genres. It was a place, he said, where he was not judged, but welcomed. “Hanging out in a music store was as much as an education for me as anything. I learned about so much other music that I might not have ever learned about. I am not a huge blues fan, but I have a huge appreciation for blues musicians.”
He likes Latin music and also progressive bands like Dream Theater, Rush, Fates Warning, Genesis, and Yes. “I still love Kansas. Getting into progressive music opened another whole world of stuff,” the guitarist said.
He went from playing a 6-string guitar to playing an 8-string guitar. An 8-string guitar is tuned F#-B-E-A-D-G-B-E, from low to high. A player doesn’t have to use that tuning and can configure the string tuning in alternative ways. Lee uses his 8-string for pop songs to provide more low end and cover keyboards parts. He takes the pop songs and put heavy guitars in them.
He loves the sound of big, fat heavy, distorted guitars. “I was drawn to the sound of the guitar and also how it looked,” Lee said.
Lee said he has listened to metal for as long as he can remember, and it was his uncles who got him interested in the genre. “They were teen-agers at the time when early 80s metal stuff came out. They were at the right time for stuff like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden. I was 5, and they gave me a copy of (Iron Maiden’s) “The Number of The Beast” as a Christmas present in 1982. The also made me a (cassette tape) copy of “Piece of Mind” when that came out. The first Iron Maiden album that I owned, I got “Power Slave” for Christmas in 1984. I still have that cassette. It’s in a case in mom’s basement. I was looking at it the other day,” Lee said.
And Lee doesn’t throw out the notion that his metal band, Desecrator will perform again. “We are still kicking, still doing the occasional show. Have not written any original music for Desecrator in a while. We took a hiatus. We haven’t done anything new in a while. Desecrator may start playing again, but it needs a full-time drummer” Lee said. I think if the other guys were amenable to it, we would do more.
Desecrator’s last record, “Die For You… Dead Without You,” was recorded in Ithaca, N.Y. and was produced by noted producer/engineer Alex Perialas.
“We put that out in 2004. It was the last thing we did. There is plenty of material kicking around if we ever decide to do anything or write more or whatever,” Lee added.