“The most fun I had playing gigs thus far has been when I was the guitarist for UK’s Tool tribute band. They just had the best audiences! But the person who was our singer and organiser of all sorts of things at the time – Andy Vozza – is one of many talents and projects. He has been all around the London urban rock scene and I thought he’d have some very interesting stories to share.” – Neli
What were you like when you were first starting on the guitar?
When I started playing the guitar, I was a chubby insecure Italian kid with a lot of negative thoughts. Learning how to play was great therapy for me because while everyone was into football, I had my own thing back then.
What is a solo technique you’d recommend for a new guitarist?
Practicing slowly with the metronome. It’s not a technique, but it opens all doors to any technique you are interested in. I love the legato, because of its fluent sound.
You recently released an EP. What does it represent?
Yes, with my band Elyn. It’s called “I Broke My P.C”. It’s not a concept album. It represents various stages of my life. However, it’s not what it represents to me, instead, it’s what it represents to the listeners.
How was Elyn created?
The idea of Elyn was born after a gig gone bad in India. 4 songs into the set and the speaker tower on my side of the stage collapsed because the crowd kept pushing the security, which eventually made them lose balance and fall. When I went back to London, I started setting things up. My plans for the future are to market it a bit harder as soon as lockdown is over and perhaps attempt a European tour.
What is your process for writing music?
I write lyrics first, with no melody or chord progression in mind. I do this because otherwise, I feel limited in writing lyrics when the music is ready.
You play as Slash in a Guns ‘N’ Roses tribute band. How did that come around?
I used to. I stopped in 2019 to focus full time on Elyn. I still work as a substitute with them from time to time. It all started in 2016. I met Gavin, the singer in Metalworks (the legendary metal event that used to happen every Sunday before the lockdown). He asked me if I could play for Guns 2 Roses if he needed a guitar player. Fast forward to Valentine’s day 2017, he asked me if I could play the first gig with the band on that weekend. Two weeks later he asked me if I could join the band full time and I said I was gonna do it only for 2 years as I want to focus on my original music.
How does it affect you being constantly compared to a legend?
I take things professionally. That was my source of income back then. I enjoyed playing with the band and I treasure their friendship.
In your line of work have you encountered the “rockstar attitude” phenomenon?
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, more often than I have ever expected. Have you ever heard the say “what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas?”. That applies to what happens on tour as well. I’d rather not discuss the rockstar attitude in-depth 😀
Does the inspiration for your unique fashion style come from music?
Is my fashion style unique? I guess Bowie and Prince are the biggest inspirations on that.
What are your goals in music for 2021?
I wanna bring my band Elyn to the spotlight.
What is your most precious memory of playing the guitar?
Hmmm, there are so many. Probably that time when in university I played a song by the band Extreme and Charlie Griffith from Haken said that was as close as it gets to Nuno Bettencourt. Being compared to one of my idols from a guitar legend was priceless.