Tower of Babel comprises of five musicians who have all in their own right been involved in world tours, festivals and recordings. Boasting members and ex-members of Firewind, Jorn, Glenn Hughes, Scorpions, Vivaldi Metal Project, Metalium, Tainted Nation, Exorcism, Helloween, Holy Hell, Killing Machine and others.
Joe Stump, the Shredlord, Csaba Zvekan and Craig Gruber (Rainbow, Elf, Gary Moore) on Bass started Tower Of Babel in 2014. With the addition of powerhouse drummer Mark Cross and Maestro Mistheria, the Italian Keyboard wizzard (Glenn Hughes, Vivaldi Metal Project), the line up formed a convincing and strong ensemble.
How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?
I started playing guitar first when I was like 10 learning out of one of the Mel Bay books taking lessons from some old guy and said to my Mom this sucks I don`t think this guitar thing`s for me. Then I picked it back when I was 13 and have been hooked ever since. It was back in the 70`s so I loved all of the great hard rock of that era Blackmore and Deep Purple, Michael Schenker with UFO, Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Robin Trower, Tommy Bolin .
How did you become a guitarist and are you proficient in any other instruments ?
No I don’t play any other instruments with the exception of bass on my solo records on a track here and there.
What was the local scene in New York like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
When I grew up in New York the drinking age was 18, so I was in my first band at 15 and playing in my first bar at 15 and a half/sixteen. The Long Island club scene was massive when I was a kid in high school I`d go out and see bands 3-4 nights a week as well as playing a few nights a week myself. Bands like Twisted Sister, The Good Rats, Zebra they were all massive in the clubs during that time.
Has there been times when drugs and alcohol were beneficial to the band?
I enjoy throwing back a few from time to time but for me it`s more of a relaxation / recreational thing it`s got nothing to do with music. I usually drink one beer before live shows to loosen up and relax the adrenaline but that`s about it, a few after the show socially but nothing excessive and my drug days are long past me.
How would you best describe your sound?
My favorite players are Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Gary Moore, Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker. While you can certainly hear quite a bit of their influence in my playing I`ve taken from them and done my own thing with it. A good way to describe me would be a more metal / evil sounding / aggressive version of Yngwie and Blackmore, but the power and aggression in my sound and touch really come quite a bit from Gary Moore`s influence. But I like various schools of metal from neo-classical stuff to European power metal, classic metal, black and thrash metal to old school hard rock and you can hear all that in my music and guitar work.
What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?
My Mom used to buy me records all the time for Christmas and my birthday: Hendrix, Purple, Sabbath so that`s some the the first stuff I listened to. But I buy all kinds of music, I love the last 4 Accept records, the new Denner /Sherman stuff also anything by any of my heroes I mentioned previously. When any of those guys put something out I get it it immediately .
Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?
I`ve played many big metal festivals in Europe- The Gods of Metal in Italy, Masters Of Rock in the Czech Republic, Norway Rock and many others all with thousands of people there. For me sometimes it`s more nerve racking if I`m doing a guitar clinic for 50-75 people as I`m up there by myself with a backing track and all eyes are on me. There`s always a little nervous energy initially but once I start playing I always relax, start to takeover and enjoy myself.
Is commercial rock radio dead?
You`re asking the wrong guy. I listen to cds at home and in my cars, the only thing I listen to on the radio is the Yankee game if I`m driving and can`t watch them.
Favorite songs on the new Tower of Babel album and why?
Midnight Sun`s an awesome track, so is Lake of Fire, both very Blackmore / Rainbow inspired and both are a nice balance of a great tune as well as killer performances on the band`s part. I also like Addicted and Once Again, Csaba did a great job on the melody lines and vocals and both are really strong and melodic.
What was the process of putting the songs in order?
I listened to the tracks in my car so that helped out and also got feedback and input from Csaba as well as some friends of mine and put it together accordingly.
What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?
I am endorsed by ESP guitars, BSM treble boosters, Dean Markley strings, Jim Dunlop picks and Dimarzio pickups. I`d love to have a full on Marshall endorsement but I own a ton of Marshalls and don`t really need one.
Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?
I would`ve loved to tour with Dio and Ronnie James Dio is someone I would`ve really liked to have met and spent time with. I`d like to hang, sit, talk and throw a few back with Ritchie Blackmore that`d be great. Also it`d be great to tour with any of my favorite bands Rainbow, Purple (not the current version), Thin Lizzy, Accept, Mercyful Fate, Yngwie, Rata Blanca .
Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?
Tchaikovsky`s Pian Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor Op. 23 this 1st movement , it`s a beautiful/dramatic piece. As far as albums to take I`d need way more than 3 but here`s a list: Rainbow Rising / Live On Stage, Deep Purple – Made In Japan / Made In Europe, Yngwie Malmsteen – Rising Force / Marching Out / Trilogy, Gary Moore – We Want Moore, Michael Schenker – MSG / One Night At Budokan, Scorpions – Taken By Force / Tokyo Tapes.
Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?
Just for everyone to check out the new Tower Of Babel record it`s killer , if you enjoy guitar driven hard rcok/metal like Rainbow, Purple, older Yngwie and Michael Schenker it`ll be right up your alley .