Today, on Guitaa Artist Centerstage, we have with us an incredible artist whose music knowledge and perfection on many instruments can make you awestruck. We are talking about “Les Fradkin”.
Les Fradkin is a Producer and Composer / Innovator on the Starr Labs Ztar and a virtuoso MIDI Guitarist. Known as “Mr. Midi Guitar”, Les Fradkin is also one of the Original Cast members of the hit Broadway show “Beatlemania”.
So, we caught up with the amazing artist to find out how his journey into music began, about his memorable performance, and what is his biggest challenge as a musician.
- Introduce yourself to our audience, what genre of music do you consider your work to be?
Hello, I’m Les Fradkin. I’m best known for being a member of the original cast of the hit Broadway show Beatlemania portraying George Harrison. I’m also an innovator on the Starr Labs Ztar and a virtuoso MIDI guitarist, defining his music as symphonic rock.
- What and who were your early passions and influences, What inspires you to make music?
I’m both a Classically trained musician (Piano, Organ, Harpsichord, Timpani, and Orchestration) and a rock guitarist and keyboardist (Guitar, Mellotron, Moog Modular, Organ, Bass Guitar). Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven were introduced to me at a very early age by my Mother who was a Classical Concert Pianist. I loved Bach’s work immediately. It spoke to me, as did Mozart, Paganini, Vivaldi and other Classical and Baroque composers.
When The Beatles, The Left Banke, Procol Harum, The Moody Blues, King Crimson, The Yardbirds, Renaissance, Wendy Carlos, Stories, Silver Apples, Yes, and other Artists came along, I saw that Classical, Baroque, Electronic sounds and Rock could be effectively combined. I wanted that Poly stylistic synthesis for my own music. As for Rock guitar, as a beginner, I started off with learning guitar music by The Ventures, The Beatles and other bands. The Ventures, The Yardbirds, Cream, and George Harrison pointed the way to my lead guitar style which evolved from listening to a lot of Nokie Edwards, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and George Harrison solos. As time moved along, the Mellotron and the Moog gave me a way to portray symphonic sounds in a rock context. My influences there were King Crimson, Yes, ELP, Renaissance and Wendy Carlos.
- Tell us about that one memorable performance and favorite venue which you still wish to happen again?
Favorite venue?? That would have to have been The Winter Garden on Broadway in New York City! “Beatlemania” is a great memory. We made history and I’m proud of what we collectively accomplished. We were a great Team. What do I wish to Happen again?? Continue to innovate musical ideas that are new and fresh.
- Any funny story of a mess up during your performance where you handled that situation like nothing happened?
Every gig has had something happen which requires improvisation as a workaround. One such time happened with my appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee with my Starr Labs Ztar Midi Guitar when the laptop crashed and I had to improvise around that.
- If you could collaborate with any musicians(dead/alive), who would you collaborate with and why?
Niccolò Paganini because he was the greatest virtuoso of the Violin. Yngwie Malmsteen because his shred guitar combined with my Ztar would generate some sparks, I think. Robert Fripp-The reasons would be obvious.
- What has been your biggest challenge as a Musician? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Developing a unique style on Midi Guitar. With traditional electric guitar, the number of famous guitarists is wide and the list is long. The list of prominent MIDI Guitarists is quite a bit more compact. In fact, Wikipedia lists me as one of the Top 25 Guitar Synthesizer players in the world. An honor, really.
Yes. Every day, Practice practice practice. And endless patience.
- What Tools and techniques you use to improve your singing/instrumental playing?
I practice recordings which help build up a vocabulary for general use. I needed to perform on an instrument that could be used in a Solo context, as would a guitarist, and perform many different instrument sonic textures, all, switchable, at an instant.
- What type of Gadgets and instruments do you use while practicing? And, Do you have any specific name of your instrument?
For live, I use my Starr Labs Ztar Midi Guitar with a Macbook Laptop with Ableton Live which operates the Clip cues and busses the various synths and Mellotron sounds. I do not use wireless in the studio since it’s unnecessary, only on stage. For regular guitar work, I use my Hallmark Les Fradkin Signature guitars.
- What advice would you have for someone wanting to become an Artist?
Follow your own vision. Find your own voice. As with anything in life, greatness takes time.
So, this was the amazing artist “Les Fradkin”. Want to know how you can follow him on social media? Then, click on the links below: