Shane Gibson Talks Northern Light Orchestra And His Other Projects
Band Photo: Korn (?)
Guitarist Shane Gibson has made a name for himself touring with Korn and backing Jonathan Davis for his solo material. Outside of Korn, Gibson works a wide range of projects from the Arnold themed comedy act Schwarzenator to the female-fronted DeFable. Most recently he recorded guitar tracks for the all-star group Northern Light Orchestra. The band includes such rock and metal icons as David Ellefson and George Lynch on their "The Spirit of Christmas" album. Sample tracks from the album can be found at the Northern Light Orchestra MySpace page. Shane spoke with me about the recording of the album and what his other bands have in store for the future.
xFiruath: You are involved with a variety of different projects right now. The current line-up is Northern Light Orchestra, Schwarzenator, and you are also still touring with Korn?
Shane: That’s correct. Also there’s Stork, my solo project, my main thing. It’s a progressive metal type rock thing.
xFiruath: Let’s start with that one. What’s happening with Stork since your released that album in 2005?
Shane: That was Mr. Stork. I just released that to see what would happen with it. There were no real drums on it, just programmed drums and guitar and everything. This is Stork, which is very professionally done this time. It includes Thomas Lang on drums and Eloy Palacios on bass guitar. It’s going to be crazy and it’s coming out before the NAMM show like January 10th or something like that.
xFiruath: You were on the Northern Light Orchestra album “The Spirit of Christmas.” There is a huge roster of musicians who performed on that album. Did you guys actually record that all together or was it recorded separately and then compiled?
Shane: Oh no, that was the magic of the computer nowadays. I actually got to meet up with mostly everyone because we had a little get together after the record was released. I received files and just played over top of them. It was amazing getting to work with so many amazing musicians though. For me it was like, “Dough Aldrich and George Lynch, wow, I’m playing with these guys.”
xFiruath: Will you be performing live with Northern Light Orchestra in the future?
Shane: I don’t know, they haven’t really told me. I’m not even sure if they would be touring after this year after Christmas. It all depends on schedules and everything. I’m not sure but it looks like Korn is going out to tour in March and I plan on doing some stuff around that time with Stork and Schwarzenator.
xFiruath: I saw on your MySpace that Schwarzenator had its debut live show with Steel Panther on the 7th?
Shane: You know that whole thing actually got messed up because it just so happened on our first debut show that the Key Club closed down. The biggest club in the whole area closed down so we couldn’t play. We played The Viper Room on the 10th and the Opera Lounge on the 9th, so I guess those were our debut shows. They were great, we packed the Viper Room, which was a good thing, they want us back a bunch. Schwarzenator is just a load of fun, getting up there and making an ass out of yourself and having a good time at it.
xFiruath: So what made you guys want to come together and an Arnold themed band like Schwarzenator?
Shane: Back at Berkley college of music, where most of us went, it was me, JP Von Hitchburg, Jon Weed, we went Berkley and that was one of our dork-out things to do. If there was nothing to do at night we’d watch Arnold movies. Me and Jon used to write a bunch of corny and stupid songs that were funny to us. JP and Jon decided to do a whole spoof thing, a concept band on Arnold. I came to L.A. a little bit later and we’d sit around drinking beer and watching Arnold to write lyrics. Each song represents an Arnold movie, and that was it. Unfortunately with everyone’s schedule it took about three years to get done.
xFiruath: I saw that video you did for the song “Conan” where you all wore the Conan O’Brien masks. Where did you record that?
Shane: That was at our drummer, Thomas Lang’s place. We just thought it would be funny to pitch that out to Conan O’Brien himself, which is why we did the Conan masks. The song itself is about the movie “Conan the Destroyer,” but we thought it would be weird and funny if we did that.
xFiruath: Aside from the Arnold theme how would you describe the sound of the band?
Shane: It’s a big mix of everything, it’s very heavy of course. It’s metal but there’s little themes of maybe prog rock and some anthemic music in-between with hints of Rammstein and Korn. Maybe Dream Theatre and Tool, it’s all over the place. It’s pretty heavy and brutal and I think everyone’s going to love it. It was recorded in Connecticut with Jeff Weed, who is Jon Weed’s brother, at his studio Sonic Environments. We recorded about 90% of the guitars and drums there. We did everything in eight days or something like that. It was a good time and he was really great, he knew what he was doing and was very careful with all the sounds we had going on.
xFiruath: What are you listening to in your spare time?
Shane: I pretty much listen to everything that is not guitar related. I like bands like Rage Against the Machine and Tool but I also listen to Bjork non-stop, Tori Amos, stuff like that. Stuff that isn’t really considered guitar music. I do a lot of shredding sometimes but I don’t listen to that kind of music. Another band I’m working on called Defable with Erika Kimura on vocals is more in the realm of Tool meets Meshuggah, but a little more toned down, not shreddy or anything. More on effects and sounds and that kind of thing.
xFiruath: I hadn’t heard of that project before, what’s going on with that band right now?
Shane: We have about eight songs and it will probably be Thomas Lang on drums again. He’s our utility guy because he’s one of the best drummers in the world, so we use him for everything. Put some vocals over and it and I’m thinking it should be out around next summer.
xFiruath: I love how many projects you are working with.
Shane: I’m still kind of young to the whole thing but it seems harder nowadays to really get something going. For me and all my friends and band mates, we’re doing the same thing. You have to go with what’s working at the time. When Korn starts touring and it’s time for me to go of course I’m going to go. In the mean time I try to get other things working.
xFiruath: Is there any particular show from your time with Korn that sticks out in your head?
Shane: I guess I’ve been on three tours with Korn now. They’ve been doing this stuff for 16 years now and I’ve only been with them and Jonathan Davis for about two-and-half now. For me it was probably Download festival. It was a total of 125,000 people, we played for 70 or 80,000 people. People as far as you can see. That to me was just ridiculous. That’s why they also tour in Europe or South America, it just seems like the places to be from what I see.
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