Angus Parkin, a Professional Music Performance student currently in his final year here at ACM, recently landed the chance to take to the stage and go head to head with one of the ultimate guitar icons, Paul Gilbert, thanks to Industry Link and Andertons Music Store.
Having first picked up the guitar at the age of 10, Parkin draws influence from many of the blues greats, citing Hendrix, Clapton, John Mayer and B.B. King as some of his earliest idols:
“I don’t think I was really serious about playing until I met my first teacher Colin, who was an eccentric old man from the local village, and he really inspired me to the point where playing guitar was more of a dream than a way to waste my time after school.”
We caught up with Angus following this momentous occasion, to find out exactly how it feels to have all eyes on you, in a room full of guitarists, coming face to face with someone that’s widely regarded as one of the most technically gifted guitar players of our time. No pressure.
Angus, wow! How did this come about?
I was just checking my emails (as you do) one afternoon and had an email from Ace (Industry Link) forwarded from Lee (Andertons), asking if I would be interested in performing with Paul at one of the Andertons masterclasses. I was really grateful to have been put forward and obviously accepted the offer straight away!
What was the crowd reaction like?
The crowd were great – obviously most of them were guitarists due to the nature of the event and they seemed to appreciate my efforts to keep up with Paul. We had a little musical conversation with a few woos to start with and then traded solos over the famous AC/DC track ‘Back in Black’, which went down a treat!
Had he been an idol of yours in the past?
Before playing the guitar I’d never heard of Paul Gilbert, but once you get more serious about learning to play he very quickly becomes a name that keeps cropping up. I found more and more little snippets of him playing and then discovered Mr.Big, and it snowballed from there.
Tell us, how were the nerves before and during? Did you have to dig deep in your bag of tricks or was it pretty easy going for you?
Nerves throughout the build up were under control – but once he started playing, it all got a bit tense for me. It was quite a surreal experience and once I was on stage I felt far more relaxed – Paul is a great presence on stage and my guitar is my comfort blanket for sure! In terms of digging for licks… It’s amazing how much you forget when you’re put in front of a legend! I mostly kept to basics and let Paul do the shredding, but I threw in a couple of little jazz lines and quick pentatonic licks where I could!
I guess you spoke to him a bit afterwards, what did he say to you? From what I have seen, you absolutely slayed it and he must have loved that…
I spoke to him a little after the show and he was very complimentary. He was impressed with my playing, in particular when he was getting me to copy what he was doing which I was quite successful at! He was a really genuine individual after we’d talked about the performance as well. People often say don’t meet your heroes but Paul is definitely an exception to that rule – what an inspiration.
What are you up to musically yourself at the moment? Do you have any bands or projects on the go?
My main focus while I’ve been at ACM is a Pop/Rock project called Lonely Ocean. We’ve actually recently released a video for our first single ‘Pieces’, which will give you a better idea of what it is all about than me rambling on now!
Connect with Lonely Ocean on Facebook and on their website.
If you’d like to be a student at ACM to kickstart your career in the music industry like Angus, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days/ to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.