I was originally discovered back in 1990 by Mike Varney, who wrote me up in Guitar Player. At the time, it was prestigious to be featured in the “Spotlight” column- a lot of great players got their start that way. From there, things sort of snowballed into a lot of studio work (commercials, background music, albums, etc.) and in 1997 I was offered my first major-label record deal. I also ended up touring with some national acts, such as Blood, Sweat & Tears.
My parents pushed me to take a musical instrument. After my first lesson, I was hooked.
I believe it was an Ibanez. (Strat-type)
That’s a difficult question, but some of my guitar favorites are Albert King’s “Blues At Sunrise” and George Benson’s “Take Five” and “That’s Right,” but I listen to a lot of other instruments besides guitar. I’m more inspired by the tenor sax playing of Michael Brecker and Steve Grossman, the piano playing of Dr. John and the songwriting of Jimmy Webb than any guitar player. I also tend to like a lot of pop-oriented records. For example, Christopher Cross’ debut record featured some wonderful guitar playing.
Well, there have been many, but three things I’m very proud of are getting signed to RCA/BMG, releasing a Hot Licks artist video produced by Arlen Roth, and traveling the world playing guitar. I sometimes have to pinch myself when I look back.
I originally heard about them from guitar magazine ads and I met Joe Naylor in Philadelphia about five years ago.
I’m very proud to say I’m using the Gil Parris model, but I also use one of the older Formica Reverends with P-90’s.
The sound chamber design gives you a certain clarity that’s unparalleled and the necks always feel great.
I am happy to say I have two Reverend Drivetrains that have become quite hard to find, and I treasure them. As far as amps go, I usually link together two or three- a Tech 21, an old Randall and occasionally a Fender Princeton. Everything else is pretty much standard Boss fare.
I love to exercise. I’ve always enjoyed collecting old recordings and with the emergence of the Internet, this has become easier. In my spare time, I also like to collect and watch 70’s crime dramas. There are definitely parallels between Columbo and jazz (laughs).
Always remain a student. Never think you know everything. It will keep you humble and constantly improving. Also, diversify.
I’m happy to report that my “Strength” CD is getting a good amount of airplay worldwide and my DVD featuring Paul Shaffer, Bernie Williams, Randy Brecker and Dave Mann and hosted by Carolyn Kepcher of The Apprentice was just completed. It will soon be sold as a package with the “Strength” CD directly from my website- www.gilparris.com. I look forward to meeting all of you out on the road.