MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you Xander, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin?
Xander Demos: Thanks so much for having me. It’s completely my pleasure.
Wow… let me think back that far. Haha. I started playing drums when I was younger, and then, after watching some of the incredible guitar gods on MTV back in the 80’s, I switched to the guitar. I must’ve been about 15 or so. A little late for a guitar player to start,but I learned pretty quickly. Creating my own music was just something that evolved from playing in various cover bands. We would play the hits of the day, but we’d want to mix in some original stuff. That’s how it all began.
MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
Xander Demos: Well, again, those bands from the 70s and 80s like Boston and Journey… those are two incredible influences on my music. I also loved bands like Whitesnake, Warrant, White Lion, etc. I was in a Racer X tribute band for a while, so I guess you would say them, too. Dream Theater is a big influence on my music today, as well as Judas Priest, Maiden and Ozzy. All the guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen, Adrian Vandenberg, John Sykes, Neal Schon, Tom Scholz, etc. etc. Loved all those guys and still do. They have all bled into my music at some point, I’m sure.
MuzicNotez: What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever been to or performed?
Xander Demos: Greatest concert we’ve performed would probably have to be opening for Buckethead in Pittsburgh. The crowd was perfect for my guitar-based music, so they dug the instrumental stuff. They were really an enthusiastic crowd, and we sold a ton of cds and merch that night. Haha.
MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
I think the message would be to just believe in yourself, stick with what you love, and don’t follow the trends. Bands that are original and have their own sound last the longest. Trendy bands come and go. Look at all the bands that followed the hair trend. They came out in the early 90s when that movement was on the way out.They didn’t last. The ones that lasted and are still playing concerts today are the originators of that sound. Same thing with grunge or any of those “sounds.” Only the originals survive, so be original. I think the ultimate goal would be to make music that moves people and that evokes emotion from the listener… and to sell a few million copies would be nice. Haha.
MuzicNotez: You’re known for shredding a guitar, so what’s your weapon of choice?
Xander Demos: Well, I play Suhr and McNaught guitars right now. I have something special happening with Conklin, too. But, I’d have to say, my signature model, the XD727 McNaught is my baby. I was just so blown away and honored to have my own guitar, after my own specs. David Thomas McNaught makes some serious guitars, and some of the best use ’em. So, to play your own model is pretty freakin’ amazing.
MuzicNotez: You’ve played with a lot of great bands, I’m sure it’s hard to choose but what was your favorite so far?
Xander Demos: Oh man, different bands for different reasons. I guess I will say my own, XDB, just because we get to play the original stuff from my album, GuitarcadiaThere’s something to be said for each band, be it Sabbath Judas Sabbath or in James Rivera’s band. But, there’s something special about getting up there and playing MY music and seeing the crowd get into it, that just tops them all. It’s close tho!
MuzicNotez: You have been awarded a variety of accolades for your talent, how does it feel to have your skills be rewarded that way?
Xander Demos: It’s really a great feeling! I won’t lie. People say, “Aaah, awards don’t matter. They don’t mean anything, blah, blah, blah”, but I think it’s pretty amazing when people vote for you, or you are selected from all the possible artists out there. When you are chosen for something special like that, I think it’s a big deal. I’m very honored to have received several nominations for different awards.
MuzicNotez: You’re also in a tribute band “James Rivera’s Sabbath Judas Sabbath” which combines tributes to Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. That’s an awesome combination, must be a huge honor and a lot of fun. What else can you tell us about this project?
Xander Demos: Well, James is just an awesome guy. He’s a consummate professional and he lights up the stage. A real pro and a real star. He knows how to control an audience, and it’s a real treat to just play beside him on stage. It IS a lot of fun. The crowds have been phenomenal. We concentrate more on the fan favorite Priest and Sabbath songs, and not necessarily the “radio” hits. Everyone hears those day in and day out on their classic rock stations. We like to give them the stuff that is a little more “true-fan” oriented. It’s not for the casual fan, that’s all.
MuzicNotez: What lies ahead for you? What can we expect?
Xander Demos: I’ve heard that a short tour is in the works with a couple of other great guitarists. That should be in November, if all goes well. I’ve got the new “Guitar Wizards” compilation coming out, with a brand new track from my upcoming album, “Dancing Through Daggers.” That’s going to be HUGE! There’s guys like George Lynch and Jake E. Lee from Ozzy’s band on the project. I’m also involved with the “Hair I Go Again” movie, which is being shot right now. And, we’ve got Skull Fest, Wolf Fest and Rock Harvest II coming up this fall. Lots of great stuff…
MuzicNotez: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
Xander Demos: I just want to thank them for their support. I know everyone says it, but it’s true. Without the fans, it wouldn’t mean a hill of beans, what we’re doing. So, I hope that they will enjoy the upcoming album and shows. And, please follow me on my social media. I love to keep in touch!