For guitarist Michael Paget
and his fellow bandmates in Bullet For My Valentine, 2006 will likely always be a memorable year. Not only did they see its full-length debut The Poison
surpass gold status in record sales, the band also earned the coveted opening slot for Guns N' Roses' tour of the United Kingdom. With a guitar-style that harkens back to the heyday of Iron Maiden with a more contemporary screamo twist, BFMV is giving listeners a bit of the old and the new.
is man of few words, but his technical prowess at the guitar says plenty. While many of today's guitarists are choosing chords to carry their songs, Paget is passionate about bringing back the riffs. The Welsh guitarist recently talked with Ultimate Guitar
about how things have changed since the band became a household name and how he and fellow guitarist/vocalist Matthew Tuck create the harmonies that are essential to the BFMV sound.
UG: How has your life changed since The Poison came out?
Well, we certainly don't see home as much as we used to! But we've wanted this for so long anyway. So you're not going to find any of us complaining. But yeah, life has changed. We go on the road a lot and we have fans, so that's cool.
The Poison has more of a classic metal sound like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. Did you have a sense that the record might set a new standard in rock?
|"I think a good song comes forth with an acoustic guitar."|
We didn't make the record just to sell. We just kind of wrote the songs for ourselves. We did the songs as best we could. As for the Judas Priest and Maiden thing, they are our main influences and so that's gonna show through the songs.
There is plenty of dual guitar work on The Poison. How do you and Matt work out the parts
It usually all stems from one guitarist who will come up the riff, but then we kind of work on the riffs, the harmonies, and take a look at it. We all will go into a room and then jam it out. We concentrate a hell of a lot on the music.
Is Matt usually the primary lyric writer?
Yeah. Usually he comes up with some sort of melody first. Then when we record that, we'll get words that fit in to that melody. That's usually the way we go about it.
What was it like going on the road with Guns N' Roses?
The tour was good. We didn't really see too much of Axl. He would kind of come in and go out. But as far as the other people in the band, they were nice to us. They'd talk to us and chat with us. But as far all that stuff, it was interesting because all of the sudden they had come back from 10 years and did a big tour.
The crowds at those shows must have been massive. What was the reaction by the audiences?
All in all, it was pretty good. There were some nights here and there where we would have quite a bit of stick, but they are Guns N' Roses fans. You put any band on before Guns N' Roses and they're gonna get some sort of stick.
Do you think you won the tougher crowds over by the end of the show?
|"We didn't make the record just to sell. We just kind of wrote the songs for ourselves."|
I think so. By the end of the set, yeah, I definitely think we won a lot of them over.
You've done quite a few cover songs. Are there a few that you're particularly proud of?
Pantera's Domination and Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train. We also covered Metallica's Welcome Home (Sanitarium). I'm sure in the future we're gonna do more. We're not gonna make a habit of it, but it's really fun for us to go into the studio and bang something we've listened to for years.
Do you have any one guitarist that has influenced you more than others when you were growing up?
Not so much when I was growing up. I think in the last 3 or 4 years, that's when I really started actually to learn guitar. I wasted a hell of a lot of time when I was younger. I'd say over the last 5 years, I've listened to Dimebag (Darrell of Pantera and Damageplan). He kind of reminds me of Randy Rhoads as well.
Are there any particular songs that have stood out to you that Dimebag played?
Probably the Walk solo. I think it's very good.
Are you still using the ESP Dave Mustaine signature model?
Yeah. I've always loved the ESP guitars.
What is it about the guitar that fits well with BFMV's sound?
I use the Mustaine because it's the best. The neck is really easy to get up. Obviously it's a V, so on the neck you can get way up there. But yeah, it just fits a hell of a lot nicer. It's just more comfortable than any of my other guitars. I've also got a Ninja (ESP Ninja Michael Amott Signature Model). The pickups are the Seymour Duncans. There's nothing wrong with Seymour Duncan, but it is a different sound. I wouldn't say fuzzy. It's hard to explain.
The Poison features a lot of dual guitar work. How long did it take you to get the communication between Matt and yourself down to a science?
|"I use the ESP Dave Mustaine signature model because it's the best."|
Me and Matt have actually been alongside each other for about 10 years now, I think. So yeah, when we go to do a harmony, we kind of know what harmony to do. We just interact with each other mentally. He's like a brother to me. I think the communication within the band is really, really special.
Do the drums and bass come into the songwriting process when the initial melody is being laid down?
Not so much. Usually we have a song written around a riff. Then we take it to everybody, and that's when we jam it out. We're all involved, though.
How did you come to do vocals in the band as well?
I think usually it was the sort of thing that fit during the writing. I don't know if it just progressed with it, but it was kind of cool that we all kind of have a shot. Me and Jason (James, bassist for BFMV) have a screaming part there and then Matt will come back in with his vocals.
You re-released The Poison in July with an additional DVD. Will you be putting out more full-length DVDs?
Yeah, definitely. One we've already finished. It was like a Kerrang-sponsored show back in the UK. We've got the full concert on there, plus there's gonna be a lot of extras. That's due for release in the UK within the next month, I think. So you guys should hopefully get it here next year.
When you talk to fans that are learning to play guitar, do they ask you for advice?
|"It's nice that we actually influence people. I think it's really important."|
Yeah. It's nice. They'll ask, Well, how did you play so well?
And they'll ask questions like, What guitar is best
and What equipment should I use.
It's good. It's nice that we actually influence people. I think it's really important.
What do you tell those fans when they ask you what the secret to getting better at the guitar?
Probably hone in your favorite guitar and create your own identity, your own style. Maybe even get the tutorial DVDs and stuff, working out licks and stuff. But obviously, you have to practice and you have to practice a lot.
How long have you played the guitar?
I think around 10 years now.
So about as long as you've know Matt?
Yeah, we went to school together. I think it was about 10 years ago. Yeah, I got one of those crappy acoustics. I sat there and played guitar, and just worked my way up.
Do you play acoustic much now?
Not really, no. I've got some on order, though, for some acoustic songs.
Your songs do have a lot of emotional content. I imagine that your electric songs could translate over easily to the acoustic.
Yeah. I think a good song comes forth with an acoustic guitar. You shouldn't really need anything but an acoustic guitar and maybe a vocal, you know?