Wayne Krantz

An interview with Guitarist Wayne Krantz
by Tina Hall
April 2012

Guitarist Wayne Krantz - photo by Vikas Nambiar

Guitarist Wayne Krantz
photo by Vikas Nambiar

Guitarist Wayne Krantz is best known for his work as a solo artist. He has also graced the stage with such artists as Steely Dan,  Billy Cobham, and Michael Brecker. His tenth album Howie 61 offers up blues inspired rock riffs that appeal to fans of both genres. Joining him on the album are such iconic artists as Vinnie Colaiuta (Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa, Sting), Tal Wilkenfeld (Jeff Beck, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock), Pino Palladino (Jeff Beck, The Who, Eric Clapton), and Anton Fig of The Letterman Show’s “World’s Most Dangerous Band”, and many others (Keith Carlock, James Genus, Nate Wood, Henry Hey, Owen Biddle, Charley Drayton, John Patitucci, John Beasley, Jeremy Stacey, Paul Stacey, Yasushi Miura, David Binney, Kenny Wollesen and Gabriela Anders.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about your background? What were you like as child?
Wayne Krantz: Young, mostly. I hear when I was brought home from the hospital my dad cranked Beethoven on the stereo all day long. That basically never stopped.

MI: Who were some of your earliest influences?
WK: Early on it was Beatles, Monkeese, Debussy, Herb Alpert, Dionne Warwick, James Bond themes. Then came Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Santana, Sons of Champlin. Then Miles Davis, John Mclaughlin, George Benson, Joe Pass, Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall. Then Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, Prince. Finally, Hendrix. Then nobody. Well, this guy Yasushi Miura has been knocking me out lately. Not really an influence, but someone who confirms what I’m doing in some way.

MI: When did you first know that you wanted to be a musician?
When I was 16. I was listening to a Sons record called “Follow Your Heart” and decided to take their advice.

MI: What was your very first guitar? Do you remember what was running through your head when you got it?
WK: I started on a Framus acoustic my Dad had in the attic. I was really intrigued by it for some reason, even though it only had two strings on it at the time.

MI: What model would you consider to be your dream model?
WK: I actually don’t dream about guitars. But I guess it would just be something that was comfortable and did what I wanted it to. Most of them aren’t, and don’t.

MI: When you first went to New York City from Oregon did you experience any culture shock? What was your first day there like?
WK: I went to Boston first. And god yes, it was very difficult. I had no reference points and was basically lost for years. It was miserable. By the time I got to New York I had a little handle on it and that was really the start of my life as a musician and an artist.

MI: What gear do you use on the road? Which one piece of equipment could you not do without?
WK: I’d like to think I could do without any of it, but amps are frighteningly important. The wrong one easily destroys a gig. I’m stuck with using backline stuff most of the time and I find Marshall JCM2000s to be more or less consistently usable.

MI: How do you prepare for a show?
WK: I remind myself to connect to the music as deeply as I can, and to have fun.

MI: Do you ever get stage fright?If so how do you deal with it?
WK: Sometimes I get pretty anxious before the gig. Once I’m playing I’m usually ok.

MI: What first drew you to Jazz Fusion?
WK: I guess it was the bands everyone was listening to at the time - Headhunters, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever. But I haven’t been interested in that genre for years now.

MI: What are some of your hobbies?
WK: I don’t think I have any. I do like visual art and architecture a lot, though.

MI: Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?
WK: I’m actually quite tall.

MI: You are joined by a lot of great artists on the newest album. Can you tell us a little about was like to work with each of them? Do you feel honored to have had the chance to work alongside such talented souls?
WK: Well, there are 18 of them, that’s a lot of anecdotes…they’re an exceptional bunch of people, massively talented and yeah, it is an honor to work with them. I’ve been pretty lucky with that all along, fortunately.

MI: What projects are you currently working on?
WK: Trying to figure out how to phase my current recording direction into the live thing. I’ve been doing things a certain way for a while and now it needs to evolve. It’s a nice problem to have, really.

MI: Anything you’d like to say in closing?
WK: I like how Howie 61 came out. I hope other people do, too.

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Wayne Krantz
CD: Howie 61 Record Label: Abstract Logix
Purchase Howie 61 on Amazon