Speed Demons—Bobby Tillotson, Jr. (left) and Scott Shelby.
“PRECISION METAL—THAT SUMS UP what we do,” says Bobby Tillotson, Jr. of the seminal Texas thrash band, Warbeast. “Scott [Shelby, co-guitarist] and I don’t take for granted what we do in the Beast. With two lead-guitar players, everything has to be spot on. We have to work at it. We have to keep our chops up, and be totally committed. We don’t take anything lightly.”
Last summer, the guitar duo worked with producer Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down) to track Warbeast’s recently released Destroy! [Housecore]. During the album sessions, Anselmo encouraged the players to double track a fair amount of the solos to create different textures, causing Shelby and Tillitson to get even more crazed about their technique.
“There was a lot of layering—it was intense,” says Shelby. “Sometimes, we did straight doubles. Other times, I would actually play my lead overdub a little bit behind the original solo track—not exactly note per note—to give the part more nuance and feel. There were also some solos where we just doubled part of the lines to make certain licks really shine.”
To create some space between the two guitar tones, Tillotson typically dialed in a midrange-heavy sound, while Shelby went for more low end. Shelby would often “cast” who would play which lead parts based on each guitarist’s approach and style.
“Bobby is better with melodies,” explains Shelby. “He’s Beauty and I’m the Beast—or he’s the style and I’m the muscle. His leads are very fluent and tasteful. I’m all about brutal attack. I literally try to break my guitar when I’m playing!”