If you’re like me, Math is something, unless you do it daily for work, that you possessed only long enough to pass the test. Although it was my highest score on my ACTs (how?), Math, for the most part, is preferably in my past. We memorized multiplication, were plagued by pesky word problems, gritted our teeth while we graphed. I retained and can recite a few formulas from class – The Pythagorean Theorem = A squared + B squared = C squared, and although I’d like to think that Geometry has helped me while playing pool, Math doesn’t mix with my mindset. In the case of Pittsburgh professional Xander Demos, though, I see numbers with new knowledge!
When it comes to Xander Demos, the numbers are very clear to calculate. His last two singles made their way to number 1 on Myspace’s Metal and Progressive chart. He will be featured on two future compilations, Liberty N Justice’s “Cigar Chronicles” and Raging Storm Records’ “Night Of the Living Shred,” and also will appear on Ged Ryland’s solo CD, due out soon. Xander has innumerable endorsements and has been featured on no fewer than 5 shows and sites, including The Real Radio Show with AJ Pero of Twisted Sister, Steve Vai’s GuitarTV.com, GuitarWorld.com, Hair Metal Mansion and Iron City Rocks.
He recently received a nomination for Best Guitarist at the 2011 Iron City Rocks Music Awards and just released his next potential number one single, “White Knuckle Driving.” Mr. Demos delivers 100 plus performances a year. He not only shreds in his own solo band, plays guitar for Pittsburgh’s party-rockers Into the Arena and actively records with artists all over the world, but he just joined James Rivera’s Sabbath Judas Sabbath tribute band, who will be doing an east coast tour within the year. Xander recently released his full-length follow-up to his EP “Road to Guitarcadia,” appropriately addressed “Guitarcadia.”
Mixed by CJ Snare of Firehouse, it contains 10 tracks of combustible guitar content. Mr. Demos will also be delivering an instructional DVD and sharing his skills to interested students. A collection of his endorsements include EMG Pickups, Conklin Guitars, ISP Technologies, David Thomas McNaught Guitars, GraphTech, V-Picks, Jim Dunlop Strings and Accessories, Hughes and Kettner, Tremol-No, FloydUpgrades.com, Scott Dixon Cases and Suhr Guitars, Amps & Effects. Xander exclusively uses the FloydUpgrades tremolos or the GraphTech LB-63 piezo-equipped Floyd tremolo and has Xander Demos signature series guitars both 6-string and 7-string models. However, you don’t need to know extensive knowledge about guitars to enjoy his efforts.
What Mr. Demos delivers is a really diverse range that is both nostalgic and new. You can head-bang without the head ache, as he comes through clean and clear, cutting like a capable musical carver. Also an avid animal aid, Xander donated some of his EP sales to various animal charities. When you add it all up, Xander Demos is the correct answer to the mathematical musical equation, and that’s always a lesson I look forward to learning!
Sara Fincham: Talk about the importance of Pittsburgh in your work. How did you get your start there, how is the response, and how has it allowed you to expand not just withing the city the city, but outside it as well?
Xander Demos: Pittsburgh is my home base for the moment yet I’m not really
focusing as much on being a “Pittsburgh” artist as much as I am a
global one. Instrumental artists in general usually have to set
their sights on much broader markets because the audiences tend to
be smaller and more personal. Overall, the response has been
positive. Many people haven’t heard of me or my solo band but the
word is getting out there and that makes me feel great not just for
me, but for the guys in my band as well. Outside the city, I think
that people are starting to catch on – slow but sure.
SF: Tell us more about your product endorsements. How did that happen and how does that help you, and in return, how do you help them?
XD: Well, my first endorsement came when I went to the NAMM show many
years ago. From there, I started picking up and a few other companies
started approaching me. I am proud to say though, that I only
endorse what I actually play. And that means that I am usually
paying for my gear in return for being part of their marketing as
well. It’s a very nice reciprocity for both company and artist and
the recognition is wonderful. I’m proud of all of the companies that
I am associated with at this point.
SF: Did you foresee your last singles soaring to number one? What was that like and what doors have that unlocked for you, to have video success?
XD: I never would have guessed that at all! It was a great feeling and
as I said, slow but sure, people are starting to notice. I am just
stoked to be able to get my music out there and to write something
that people WANT to hear. It’s a great feeling!
SF: You’re involved in a few different projects. Any updates on the east coast tour with the Sabbath Judas Sabbath tribute band? How often do you play in Pittsburgh?
XD: Well, this update is hot off the press (or in this case, hot off the
iPhone) as it looks like we have our first date in Pittsburgh
sometime in August. We have been rehearsing for a few months now and
after we do our first few gigs in the PA and OH areas we’ll have a
better idea of where and when we’re going to tour. SJS hasn’t played
in Pittsburgh yet so stay tuned to my website for details.
SF: How did the compilation cds and your involvement with Ged Ryland’s solo CD come about? Are you approached for projects like that or do you still solicit some?
XD: Well, the compilations and the opportunity to play with Ged all came
from Social Media (Facebook) interactions. A few others are on the
way as well. I haven’t personally solicited any projects so for now
I am just working with the ones that have contacted me.
SF: You play a lot of shows, and have been fortunately featured on so many sites – what’s the next step? How do you keep building on that?
XD: Well, each of these building blocks have been short-term goals. So,
I just keep focused on achieving several short-term goals like these
and build on that confidence. The idea is to make people WANT to
hear what you have going on and to have that good outreach to fans
of this type of music. Again, it’s a slow process that can yield
solid, long-term results.
SF: I would love to see a show sometime! What have you got coming up?
XD: On May 12th me and my band will be opening up for the Adrenaline Mob
at the Altar Bar then we will playing another show later that night
east of Pittsburgh with our cover band. There’s some things
happening in the fall and I am keeping the summer partially open for
potential opportunities as well.