About Paul Gilbert
Paul Brandon Gilbert is an American hard rock and heavy metal guitarist. He is best known for being the co-founder of the band Mr. Big. He was also a member of Racer X, with whom he released several albums. In 1996, Gilbert launched a solo career, for which he has released numerous solo albums, and featured in numerous collaborations and guest appearances on other musicians' albums.
Gilbert has been voted fourth-best on GuitarOne magazine's "Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time". He has also ranked in Guitar World's "50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time" list.
Gilbert was raised mostly in the small Pittsburgh suburb of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He began playing music at age five; by age 15, he was touring local clubs with his band , and had been featured in Guitar Player magazine . Around 1981, Gilbert first contacted Mike Varney , asking for a gig with metal mega-star Ozzy Osbourne. At the time, Varney couldn't think why Osbourne would want a 15-year-old guitarist; but, after listening to Gilbert's demo tape, he changed his mind. They continued talking over the next 3 years, culminating in Gilbert's 1984 cross-country move to Los Angeles to attend the GIT . Even at the young age of 17, Gilbert quickly became a local legend due to his advanced and extremely fast alternate picking technique, his young age, and his massive repertoire of cover material. He was hired as a GIT instructor in 1985, and recorded Racer X's debut album Street Lethal soon after.
Formed in Los Angeles in 1985, Racer X was originally composed of Paul Gilbert , Juan Alderete , Harry Gschoesser , and Jeff Martin . They were heavily influenced by Judas Priest, and Gilbert's playing was reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen, displaying fast-driven solos with extreme-level technique. Gschoesser was replaced by Scott Travis in 1986, and Bruce Bouillet, one of Gilbert's private students at GIT, was added as a second guitarist after demonstrating an ability to harmonize Gilbert's string skipping sequences. Gilbert gained recognition as one of the world's fastest guitarists due to incredibly technical pieces like "Technical Difficulties", "Frenzy", "Scarified", "Y.R.O." and "Scit Scat Wah". Around this time, Gilbert also recorded his first instructional video, Intense Rock, in which he demonstrated a number of his famous techniques and practice regimens in detail. Throughout his career he would go on to release many more instructional videos.
Racer X toured the American southwest, primarily the state of California, and would often sell out thousand-seat venues. Despite their rigorous fan base, the band did not have prospects for a major label deal and Gilbert became increasingly disinterested. In 1987, he was approached by Talas bassist Billy Sheehan, one of his biggest influences, about forming a band that would eventually become Mr. Big.
Gilbert left Racer X in 1988, but reformed it after the 1996 breakup of Mr. Big. Paul contacted the members of Racer X, and all agreed to return with the exception of Bruce Bouillet, who could barely play guitar at the time due to a severe bout of carpal tunnel syndrome. In mid-1999, the band recorded the album Technical Difficulties, which went gold in Japan. Racer X's new record label requested a follow-up; so, in late 2000, they released Superheroes, mixed by Bouillet.
To further capitalize on their new-found success in Japan, Universal Japan requested that the band perform for a live-album CD and DVD. On May 25, 2001, the band played their first live performance in thirteen years, to a sold-out crowd, at the world-famous "The Whisky" in Los Angeles. The resulting CD and DVD were released in 2002 under the title Snowball of Doom.
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