Craig Locicero and his band Spiral Arms play “heavy melodic rock” that will remind you of the difference between hard rock and metal, as well as the difference between burning and shredding. Locicero, along with co-guitarists Tim Narducci and Anthony Traslavina, laid down so many cool guitar parts on Spiral Arms’ latest, Freedom [Steamhammer], that it’s not easy to pick just five, but he did his best. “One of the main reasons making this record was so enjoyable is because I didn’t have to write everything,” says Locicero. “I’ve always been in the driver’s seat when it comes to songwriting, but I was on tour with Forbidden when Tim started writing the record. Tim had the structures pretty well laid out and I played off of them, which was a new experience but made things fresher for me.”
1. The verses of “Drugs & Alcohol” were fun to create. When Tim originally came up with the part, he had harmonics on the one. That was cool, but not very unique. One thing I’ve been doing a lot of since ’97 is bending strings behind the nut. I did that on this song and the notes drone into a slow moan, like an undead drawl. It creates a really cool tension and makes it ever so slightly more unique.
2. The solo I did in “Dropping Like Flies” is a very short break following a beautiful piano passage and the screamed line, “Rock and Roll is dead!” I felt like that meaning was best conveyed with a colorful yet screaming solo. The song is about our idols killing themselves and in turn choking the spirit of rock, and the blue-note bends seemed apropos in that little amount of space.
3. In “Hold Me to the Sky,” Tim and I have a back-and-forth talk box conversation. Tim and I both set up in the studio as we performed the parts. It was as real as it gets and we worked off each other’s energy—a true rock and roll moment! Obviously the first thing most people think of when they hear a talk box is Peter Frampton or Joe Walsh. I’m good with that, because they are both timeless and iconic.
4. “Exit 63” has a lot of stuff I love, but the solo after the first chorus was special. When we recorded the drums and the band was playing live, I knew I had nailed something very odd. It was improvised, and I had a backwards delay on it. The song is about the Altamont Rolling Stones concert when the hippie movement was stopped in its tracks by senseless violence. My solo is not necessarily in any real key, except the key of life and death.
5. Some of my favorite guitar parts on Freedom come from a song I didn’t even play on. “Lovers Leap” was written and played by Tim while I was on tour with Forbidden. Tim laid down some of the most beautiful stuff I’ve heard him play, and my favorite parts are the EBow harmonies he played throughout the song. They’re very haunting and gorgeous and they fit the song perfectly.
Photo by Eugene Straver