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Home Artist Interview Ronny North's Chatting with The Pro's: Keri Kelli
October 20, 2020
Ronny North's Chatting with The Pro's: Keri Kelli PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 November 2007 20:07
kk-iii!!.jpgIn this session of Chatting with the Pro's, I'm happy to be interviewing my good friend Keri Kelli. He is one of the coolest guys you'll meet and definitely an inspiration to all up and coming players out there trying to make it happen.

Ronny North: Keri, you've made a name for yourself playing with all these big rock acts. You're like the "go to" guy when someone big needs a guitar player at a moments notice. It's definitely a great position to be in for sure. Can you tell us about your first big break and how you got in the loop and all the bands that you've played for past and current?

Keri Kelli: I've played around L.A. for literarily ten years in various local bands. I got to meet a lot of people during that time, one of them being Barry Squire. He helps labels and managers put players in place. So in 1998 I started playing with Tal Bachman who is Randy Bachman's son. He had a CD coming out on Sony and we did some label party and radio parties to set the record up, and that led to gigs with Ratt, Slash in Snakepit, Vince Neil, Skid Row, and now Alice Cooper, among others.
R.N.: Tell us what made you become a guitar player? How old were you when you started playing? What was your first guitar?

K.K.: I really dug Paul Stanley when I was seven or eight years old and figured that I should be just like him. So I started playing about that time, but didn't really get serious until I was about twelve years old. The first guitar I had (and still have it today) was a model from Montgomery Wards, and a Les Paul copy.

R.N.: You've always had a great guitar tone. Can you tell us about your current live rig (guitars, amps and pedals) and also what kind of picks and strings you're using?

K.K.: It feels like forever that I only played my Plexi or my JMP Marshalls. But now I'm currently using and endorsing these new Diamond Amps. They are really killer boutique-ish amps. They are manufactured here in the United States. Their cabs are also great and are made of 11-ply Baltic Birch just like the old Marshalls with vintage 30-watt speakers. I've also been using mostly Gibsons with Alice Cooper. I play a tobacco 79 Les Paul, a 90 White Firebird, and a 1961/1991 Les Paul Custom "TV Yellow" SG (one of three hundred in production). I also play a Dean Markley Jimi Hendrix 11 gauge strings and use extra heavy picks. The pedals I use are a Bad Horsie Wah, MXR Phase 90, Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, and a Digitech Delay. That's it.
keri -ii!!!.jpg

R.N.: You are one of the most well liked people the industry. You were telling me that you just jammed with Slash who you used to play with in Snake Pit. I know that you are still friends with all the people you used to play with. How do you keep everything good with your former bands?? I know that's a really hard thing to do in our industry...

K.K.: I just do my job 110%. That's really about it. All the cats in those bands are cool guys so we all got along really well. Slash and I have been in touch on a regular basis, and sometimes through friends in other countries. It's funny, I'll be in Spain or Italy and someone will say, "Slash was just here and said blah, blah." It was cool jamming with him again the other night.
keri _i!!.jpg

R.N.: You definitely have the chops of a world-class guitar player and you finally get to show that off in Alice's band. In almost all of the big bands you have been you were the rhythm guitarist. That would definitely be an issue with a lot of players. That being said it shows a lot of musical maturity on your part. You take it all in stride. What's your secret?

K.K.: Well, if I'm hired to play 90% rhythm then that's what I'm going to do. It's really not that big of a deal to me.

R.N.: I know that you know your way around a recording studio and that you have your own studio and that you also produce other artists. What made you get into recording and what's your studio set up? Can you tell us about your signal path to record guitars?

K.K.: I've always been the guy in the band who had the recording gear. It started with the four-track, then the eight-track, then to the ADATS and now the Pro Tools rig. I just really like the studio vibe as well as live. I have some really good DBX "Blue" Series 768 and 1066 mic pre's and compressors so I use them on everything. I also use Beta 57's as well as A.T. 4050 mics on the guitar cabs.

R.N.: What do you have planned for the rest of the year and what do you have coming up for 2008?

K.K.: Well, we're in the U.K. now, and then heading over to Russia, Sweden, and Norway. That will take us to the first part of December. I believe we will do a couple weeks worth of dates in January with this other project called "Saints of The Underground." That project is a Jani Lane (Warrant), Bobby Blotzer (Ratt),Robbie Crane (Ratt), and myself. After that, February is the time frame Coop has talked about recording the new CD.

R.N.: Thanks for chatting with me! Do you have any last words for the GJD readers?

K.K.: Thank you all out there for all the support! Please be sure to check out for all the latest Alice Cooper and Keri Kelli news ! Cheers, KK.

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