If you cracked open the universe & came upon a new dimension filled with light, energy, spontaneity, & supersonic multitude…you’d be sitting right in the center of Monte Pittman’s career. His verve for creating ultra-dynamic music, wrought with intensity & the ultimate guitar precision, has made him a heavily sought-after studio & touring musician…a staple in the L.A. scene…Madonna’s lead guitarist & co-collaborator…Adam Lambert’s music director…& a mega-talented, natural force that many would never duel against on a fretboard. He raised an astonishing $65,000 through the Kickstarter Program for “Pain, Love & Destiny” – his second solo release, which he recorded in the summer of 2011. He’s also been the guitarist/bassist for the urban-industrialized band PRONG, & has multiple endorsements with some of the world’s most distinguished gear manufacturers (Gibson Guitars, Orange Amps, Seymour Duncan Pickups, Dunlop, & CFMartin). Now sporting his very own MPS “Signature Series” through Jarrell Guitars, Monte Pittman has come a long way from the dusty heart of Longview, Texas & the Synsonics Terminator he used to strum on as a young boy.
Progressive & psychedelically influenced, Pittman’s obsession with the guitar came from a very early age & demonstrates itself aggressively in his skill. “I have always composed & performed music because I love doing so, & because I have a true passion for it. It’s in my blood.” he says. Described as being a fiercely capable musician, with cross-genre diversity that is second-to-none, his current album is a thought-provoking concept piece that explores life’s fate…& experimentation in the chords that he plays. The riff-fuelled artisan indulges us with 64 minutes of impactful melodies & rhythmic nuances that define FULL-FRONTAL ROCK without compromising the acoustic credibility that Monte’s so accustomed to. Another added feature to the album is the inclusion of Randy Rhoads’ brother, Kelle Rhoads, on piano – which balances the performance with covert pop-sensibility. A smashing success upon its release, “Pain, Love & Destiny” charted as #1 Rock Album, #1 Pop Album, & hit the overall “Top Ten Albums” list during its debut week. It also managed to reach the “Top 200” on iTunes, being the only independent album ever to do so. Transcending far past Monte’s first solo effort “The Deepest Dark” in 2009, it carves an abundant atmosphere of Californianized alternative, stadium-styled power…as compared to the predecessor, which was much more acoustically driven.
Pittman prides himself on his unprocessed ability to write organic material. He shares songwriting credits alongside Madonna on “Hey You” (recorded for Live Earth 2007), “Easy Ride” (from American Life), & “It’s So Cool” off the 2009 release Celebration, plus co-wrote & co-produced Prong’s 2007 effort – Power of the Damager. His coherent abilities have also been creating shock & splendor amongst noteworthy industry circles…playing the 2012 SUPER BOWL HALF-TIME SHOW alongside “The Material Girl” herself…performing at the 2012 Artist In Music Awards with nominations in FIVE CATEGORIES – walking away with the award for “Best Solo Artist”…“Career Achievement Honours” from the Hollywood F.A.M.E. Awards, nominated for “Best Male Singer/Songwriter” by the Los Angeles Music Awards, & recently having his ‘Signature Jarrell MPS’ inducted into the Guitar Planet “Hall of Fame”. As Pittman describes in “Pain, Love & Destiny” – one has to be willing to accept their own set of circumstances (be it victory or downfall) with love, presence, & possibility. He has definitely stepped into his own performance success with the greatest of ease. Moving to Los Angeles at the age of twenty-four, with only a guitar & a songwriter’s dream, he would find himself working at a local guitar shop…teaching lessons on the side, just to make ends meet. Until one day, British filmmaker Guy Ritchie shows up on the student roster…later introducing the natural-born instructor to Madonna. An appearance was set up on the David Letterman Show, & now with FIVE WORLD TOURS under his belt (the current one being the “MDNA Tour”, which is scheduled until the end of 2012) – he is still helping the female superstar refine her own guitar magic…up until this very day.
“I used to think that the dream gig would be playing guitar for Ozzy Osbourne…but this is THE DREAM GIG.” – Monte Pittman (On Madonna)
With the “DREAM GIG” in-hand, it may seem as though Pittman took a chance walk into his own claim to fame, but he has been zealously perfecting his craft for years…taking lots of direction from heavier grooves like Pantera, Metallica, Slayer, & Meshuggah. As fate would have it, Monte has been working with Flemming Rasmussen (producer for Metallica’s Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, And Justice For All albums) carving out a specialty release for his third solo project, entitled “M.P.3: The Power Of Three” – which will be revealed to fans in three digital parts…an acoustic montage, a heavy metal version, & a blues-inspired chronicle. Monte indicates that most of the upcoming material will be homage to old school thrash…with a mega-collaborative effort, exceeding TEN MINUTES, happening at the end of the finalized album. For now, fans are invoked to partake in “Pain, Love & Destiny” & the compelling breadth that it has to offer them. From the haunting winds of “About You”, Pittman swiftly leads us through a personal journey of pain, hope, longing, love, remorse, & acceptance with dexterity as intricate as his time measures. (I Am) The Black Rabbit is carefully woven with an amazing power-shred solo that emancipates his expertise of the heavy riff. “Stay With Me” is a 70’s infused love-lorn, love-torn kind of track, while “Fortune” takes us into a punk-edged, rockabilly, blues-fevered mix.
Monte Pittman’s work raises the bar to some surreal expectations during this album…with creative passions that simply overflow. Full of blues inspiration, beautiful acoustic bridges, cascading choruses, & pulsating progressive energy…you can only be left to wonder just how amazing he would be to see “LIVE”. He most definitely enriches the hardrock palette through cleverly inspired lyrics & powerful strums that bleed harrowing persistence in the meld of various techniques he’s learned. Debuting his “Signature Jarrell” at the 2012 Super Bowl, Monte demonstrated how he is able to reach some of the coolest tones through the use of multi-faceted Seymour Duncan pickups…providing great playing flexibility through a number of styles…making it the PERFECT GUITAR for him. Pittman states, “Jarrell guitars have a very distinctive sound that cut right through the mix. The ‘MPS’ is a combination of a few different guitars, & is really the only one that I need…it works for an entire show.” But the texture of his extraordinary finger work comes from within – as does his earthy, wholesome vocals that enhance the believability of his musical expressions.
“I’ve always injected my style into who I play with.” – Monte Pittman
Through his ostentatiously crafted rush of introspect, Pittman finally closes out with “Predetermined Destiny” & his full acceptance of who he has become as a musician, an entertainer, & a man. Like a playground, where he tantalizes & encourages us to enjoy our own freedom to walk the ground that lies ahead, his music captures all the hooks & twists of life itself & the very essence of brazen rock‘n’roll. Mixing hard lines with tender moments, his extensiveness is identified…from his first tastes of success with Texas band “Myra Mains”, through the “Music” of Madonna, auditioning for “Limp Bizkit”, aspiring to play with “Chris Cornell”, & jammin’ it up with the likes of “Prong”. He displays ease & effervescence in songwriting, as much as he exhibits the inner capacity of his soul…finding light in darkness, & relinquishing fear to exude all of his skill. A rock prodigy in the making, Monte Pittman will continue to show the world that he really does HAVE IT ALL. And if “Burn Down the Garden” (check out the SoundCloud player) doesn’t force you to think just that, & blast you through an eight-minute transformation of pseudo-epic proportions, then you’re not listening closely enough to this very deliberate storyteller.
“Pain, Love & Destiny” was produced & engineered by Noah Shain, & co-produced by Monte Pittman at White Buffalo Studios (Los Angeles). It is available on Amazon, CD Baby, iTunes, & any other major online retailers where music is sold. For more information on Monte himself, or to keep up-to-date with his career, please visit:
The “Monte Pittman Signature” Jarrell Guitar can be purchased at: www.jarrellguitars.com
*** All photos courtesy of Monte Pittman & the associated firms.