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Paul Gilbert
Submitted by Johan Wippsson on 2019-05-20
Paul Gilbert Presents Video For "A Herd Of Turtles" From Just Released New Studio Album



“A Herd of Turtles” – Quote From Paul Gilbert”

How do you know when you’ve gained your producer’s trust?

You ask him this question:

“Hey John, can you set up a vocal mic? I want to recite a poem about turtles in a Ringo Starr accent, and then launch into a ferocious groove with the band, and then back to the Ringo part, and then back to the ferocious part a few more times. We’ll cut it all live too.”

To which John, the producer replies, “Sure!”

I waited until the end of the “Behold Electric Guitar” recording sessions to record “A Herd of Turtles,” as I knew the unusual arrangement might raise some eyebrows. But as I had hoped, the band, my producer John Cuniberti, and I were a tight musical unit by that time, so I knew that a wild experiment might have a chance.

“A Herd of Turtles” is the only song on “Behold Electric Guitar” that is not strictly instrumental. But instead of singing, I am reciting a poem. My poem is about overcoming challenges. The turtles want to escape a tedious lifestyle. The rabbits want not to be eaten by the fox. And the musician (me!) wants to find a way to play music, even when faced with severe hearing loss. In my poem, we all find a way.

I tried reading the poem in my normal speaking voice, and it just didn’t feel right. My instincts told me that “Ringo” was the solution. And after I put myself in a Liverpudlian frame of mind (and voice), everything worked much better.

The music is the most relentless rhythm groove I could think of. Normally, I can get through a whole show with one guitar pick. But this song destroys a pick in three minutes!

On a more serious note, my challenges with hearing loss are certainly an interesting journey. The surprising upside is that my difficulties in hearing have motivated me to know my guitar fretboard better. My playing has become much more melodic and intentional as a result. My “Inner Melodic Generator” is the best that’s it has has ever been! As I say in the poem, “I listen to the music that I can hear INSIDE.”

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