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 NEW MEMBERS- READ THIS NEXT! Racer X FAQ Updated (07/20/05) 
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Post NEW MEMBERS- READ THIS NEXT! Racer X FAQ Updated (07/20/05)
Here is the Racer X FAQ. Please read it and possibly use the Search button, though I know the latter is asking alot. Thanks to TheSurgeon for making some recent updates.

Q:What's the Racer X story?
A:Racer X was started initially by Paul Gilbert and John Alderete. Paul got a list of several singers from Mike Varney (Shrapnel Records). The two finalists were Marc Slaughter and Jeff Martin. Jeff was the lead singer in a band called Surgical Steel. An Austrian guy, Harry Gschoesser played drums. This was the original lineup for Racer X.

Q:Where is Harry now?
A:Harry is back home in Europe. While in the USA, Harry noticed the "976" (phone sex) craze of the 80's, and he setup the same thing in Europe and became wealthy on 976 numbers. Harry came to Batgirl Studio in 2000, to watch the Superheroes recording sessions. Scott Travis replaced Harry.

Q:Street Lethal is awesome...who wrote the songs?
A:Paul Gilbert wrote most of the music. Jeff Martin, still living in Phoenix, would get sent cassette tapes with stuff by Paul and would turn them into songs. The majority of Street Lethal was written remotely...pretty amazing.

Q:What's the inspiration for the songs?
A:Many things. Street Lethal was a license plate that Jeff saw in Phoenix. Blowing Up The Radio was written about a crappy station playing Bruce Springsteen. Jeff wrote in like 5 minutes in the car. Loud And Clear is about soundwaves. Into The Night, is about what it would be like to be a Jet Fighter Pilot. Y.R.O. is of course "Yngwie Rip Off".

Q:Why did Bruce join the band?
A:Bruce was a student of Paul's at GIT in Los Angeles. Around that time, Joey Tafolla was one of Paul's students as well. Bruce was one of the few students that could "hang" with Paul....Guitar Madness insued.

Q:Where is Bruce?
A:Bruce was in a band called Epidemic. He has since left that band, is now concentrating on his recording and producing. One of Bruce’s more recent projects was producing the KISS tribute CD, Spin The Bottle. Paul plays guitar on “I Want You” and John plays bass on “Parasite”. Bruce won a 2005 Grammy Award for producing the Metallica tribute CD, Metallic Attack. In addition to producing the CD, Bruce performs on the track “Master of Puppets”.

Q:Why didn't Bruce rejoin Racer X too?
A:Many reasons. Besides having his own band, Bruce simply prefers to play other music besides Racer X style. If you don't believe it...listen to his solo on Extreme Volume I. You can hear "The Scream" bluesy style coming on fast. Bruce also had tendonitis issues, which made the hours of practice required to play Racer X music, impossible.

Q:Does Bruce dislike them?
A:No. Bruce mixed Superheroes. Thank Bruce for the huge sound.

Q:The harmonies Bruce and Paul played were amazing, how long did they practice?
A:Hours. It wasn't uncommon for them to play 8 hours a day together to play in sync.

Q:I heard Paul would pick a solo and Bruce would play the notes, is that true?
A:Yes. During Getaway solo, Bruce would move behind Paul and use his left hand to play the solo while Paul would pick.

Q:Amazing. How did they do it?
A:Behind Bruce's back...Paul would tap out the notes so he could pick...and Bruce would air pick the strings behind Paul so they could stay in sync.

Q:Is there video?
A:Yes. It's on the Video Page.

Q:Any other guitar wizardry?
A:Yes. If you listen to Extreme Volume II, the solo to Detroit Rock City was played with their teeth. Paul and Bruce used their teeth to pick the strings.

Q:Why did Racer X break up?
A:After a couple Showcase shows, it was clear Racer X wasn't going to get signed by a major label. Paul met Billy Sheehan and Mr. Big was hatched. Jeff left Racer X at the same time. For a time, Oni Logan sang and Chris Arvan took Paul's place. Photo's on The Scream page.

Q:Who’s Chris Arvan?
A:Chris was a guitar player from Burlingame California who had previously been profiled in Mike Varney’s Spotlight column in Guitar Player Magazine. Chris appears in instructional videos released by Backstage Pass prior to the demise of Racer X (Bruce, John, and Scott each had a video). It is not clear what Chris did after Racer X broke up and his current whereabouts are unknown.

Q:Where did Jeff go?
A:Jeff left Racer X, and played with Paul Gilbert and Rush Parrish in "The Electric Fence". Doing many cool shows at the GIT.

Q:Did Jeff sing?
A:Jeff sang, but he also played Drums. Jeff is also an accomplished drummer, playing with UFO, Michael Schenker and Badlands. Jeff joined Badlands around 1991 as the drummer with Ray Gillen and Jake E. Lee from Ozzy.

Q:What did Scott do?
A:Jeff was friends with Rob Halford with Judas Priest. Rob had known Jeff since Surgical Steel and had often sang on stage with Jeff. Jeff knew that Dave Holland was leaving. Scott was a Priest fan since he was kid. In fact, Scott snuck backstage when he was 17 years old, and gave Judas Priest his tape. Jeff sent Rob a solo from the Racer X CBS Showcase show...the rest is history.

Q:What did John and Bruce do?
A:John and Bruce, formed "The Scream" with John Corabi. The first album, is simply a masterpiece. More information about The Scream can be found on the website. John is now in The Mars Volta.

Q:Why Did Racer X reform?
A:Paul was doing his solo albums (Jeff plays drums on many of them). Paul received a nasty email from a guy in Australia. The famous "Snakebyte" email. In the email he chastised Paul for the more pop-oriented music on his solo records and accused him of forgetting his shred metal roots. Paul was apparently inspired to record some insane heavy metal and decided to reform Racer X. Paul asked everyone if they wanted to record again...and they said yes.

Q:Are there old songs on the new albums?
A:Yes. Fire Of Rock and Mad At The World were written in 1987/88. Way ahead of their time. Mad At The World can also be heard on a Mr. Big album, as My Kinda Woman. Paul, thinking Racer X would never play again, used the music and Eric Martin wrote crappy words to replace Jeff Martin's (no relation) words.

Q: Do the guys all live in Los Angeles?
A:No. Paul and John live in Los Angeles. His home in Las Vegas, was the famous Batgirl studios. Jeff lives near Lake Tahoe....he hates snow. Scott lives in Virginia/California.

Q:I wanna see Racer X live!! Will they tour?
A:Not anytime soon. Tours are really expensive, and given their exposure in America, they would lose money. Without a label to support a tour, it's not going to happen. The best to hope for, is a one time or there. And when it happens...Don't THINK ABOUT IT...just go. The last time they played live in America, was May 25th, 2001 at the Whisky. And before that....was 1987. So, he who fails to pull the trigger....will end up regretting it BIG TIME.

Q:What about Japan, didn't they tour Japan?
A:Yes. Racer X toured Japan and Taipei in January 2002. Racer X is signed by Universal Japan, and is supported.

Q:No really...will Racer X play in Boston? or North Dakota? Or "Fill in the blank" city??
A:Probably not. I'm not kidding. If you need any proof, remember Racer X has only played live in the USA in Los Angeles, Oakland/SF, Phoenix and Chicago (NAMM). Ever. Like I said...when they play live.....Anywhere. Don't blow it.

Both Paul and Racer X are heavily supported by Universal Japan, which is a HUGE label. But that's only in Japan. In Europe they are on Mascot and the US is Shrapnel. Neither of these labels really support large tours, that's why it's unlikely they will play in your city, like a Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. If they ever play anywhere near you...even if you have to fly, just go. They aren't getting any closer.

Q:How does Racer X write their songs?
A:Jeff comes up with some ideas on his own. Most of Evil Joe is one(not the chorus) or Bucket Of Rocks/Everything Is Everything. Even though he doesn't play guitar, he hums into a tape machine. The rest of the songs, Paul and Scott....sometimes John...will record CD after CD of just little parts....Jeff will listen and assemble the pieces into songs.

Jeff adds: "How we write tunes. It's safe to say that Paul is the main engine in our song writing. I do come up with some of the ideas for melody lines and lyrics, and a few small music parts here and there, and a tune or two, but the bulk is Pablo driven. Including the recording, and his new found love of vocal tuning toys that save the day and keep him up all night while we all sleep. Let alone all the production functions and miles of biz stuff he deals with. He's the the king of RX projects. Scott and John come up with their parts on their own and bits in the song writing........and that's why it works thru chemistry between all of us. I may bring ideas to the band now and then, but they take it up to a level that is Racer X.

Q:Where are the famous Pink and Green custom made Ibanez Epiphone Paul and Bruce played?
A:Bruce smashed his green one during a show. Another one of Bruce's guitars, an orange Ibanez Epiphone, is owned by John Gray. Paul gave his pink one away a few years ago in a contest in Japan. A lucky fan in Japan is the owner now. The original Epiphone Coronet which Paul used to record Second Heat and which was the basis for the custom Ibanez guitars, was later repainted by Paul and is now known as the “red sparkle” Epiphone. That guitar was eventually sold by Paul and is owned by TheSurgeon.

Q:What guitar did Paul play most live in Racer X?
A:In the early days, Paul played the famous Pink Epi, as noted earlier. In later shows, his Pink BC Rich was played the most.

Q:Where is the BC Rich now?
A:It was sold by Paul. Jim (aka Faster Muttley) is the proud owner.

Q:Paul Gilbert is a Golden God? Where did that come from?
A:On the DVD Snowball Of Doom, Stringskipper (Sean) who is interviewed at the beginning of the DVD, yells really loud after Hammer Away..."PAUL GILBERT IS A GOLDEN GOD!"

Nobody argued against it.

Q:Is that what the song Golden God is about?
A:Nope. The song Golden God is about the KING....Elvis Presley. The title of the song is just used. Same goes for Snakebite. Snakebite is named after the famous Snakebyte email to Paul, but song is really about Panic Attacks.

Q:Did Paul ever sue Eddie Van Halen over using the drill.
A:No. Paul never sued Eddie over using the drill. Someone in Mr. Big's mailroom made a flap about it, but Paul and Sr. Mr. Big management was dead set against it. Paul loves Ed and Van Halen, and would never sue over it. "Ed is my number 1 hero." As Paul says "It was SURREAL to me" (to see Ed using a drill). "But I seriously doubt that he snuck into a RACER X show and stole it. Eddie has a pretty good history of being creative.

Q:Is Snakebyte on the Racer X board..."THE" Snakebyte?
A:Yes. He is one in the same.

Q:Is the song Snakebite about Snakebyte?
A:Yes and No. The song title was definitely inspired by his on-line name, but the song itself is in fact about panic attacks.

Q:Getting Heavier? I don't get it....I love the songs...but Getting Heavier isn't "Heavier" than Superheroes.
A:Is anything heavier than Superheroes?? The idea of Getting Heavier, fit the cover photo and life in general. The songs on Getting Heavier, are very heavy in meaning. Bucket Of Rocks is one of Jeff's most personal songs, and most sad.

Q:So when is the next Racer X CD coming out? Have Racer X broken up (again)?
A:Racer X has not broken up. The band is currently on hiatus while the various members pursue other projects. Scott is involved in recording and touring with Judas Priest. John is playing bass in the Mars Volta. Paul is focusing on his solo career and his side project, Pint Size ( . Jeff is working on a planned solo record. Eventually, the band will get together again to make new music.

Additional FAQs for Guitar Players

Q:I downloaded a video off the internet of somebody playing [insert Racer X song name] but you can’t see his face … is it Paul?
A:No. It is a Japanese guitar player named Take. He has made numerous videos of himself playing various Paul Gilbert solos. You can find them here

Q:What kind of amp did Paul use on the early Racer X records?
A:Paul, quoted in Guitar World (May, 1988) ... "For the first two records, I used Marshalls modified by Lee Jackson."

Q:What did Paul use to get his tone on the Extreme Volume CDs?
A:Paul used an ADA pre-amp into an Ampeg V-4.

Q:How does Paul get that sound at the beginning of “Fire of Rock”?
A:Paul used an old ADA Flanger pedal with the “regeneration” knob turned all the way up.

Q:What equipment did Paul use on the Superheroes CD?
A:Most of the album was recorded with an Ibanez PGM800 guitar and a stock Laney GH100L head through a Laney 2X12 cabinet. All the distortion came from the amp.

Q:I heard Paul and Bruce used to “sharpen” their picks … how?
A:By repeatedly rubbing the pick on carpet.

Ken Hower Wrote: My advice to everyone.....DO NOT purchase any of these photographs....Tim Findlay can jack off to his hearts content over his killer pictures...alone.


Tue Apr 22, 2003 7:13 am
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