Photo of Heaven & Earth by Shelby Carol
Heaven & Earth is giving Guitar Player readers an exclusive first look at its new live video for "The Game Has Changed." The song is the first official release from the band's upcoming album, Hard to Kill [Quarto Valley Records], which is set to drop on October 6, 2017.
In addition, Heaven & Earth guitarist Stuart Smith wanted to share a few details about the guitar rig he used for the song (and video), as well as the tune's genesis.
"In the video, I'm playing my 1987 Stratocaster," says Smith, "but when I recorded the song, I used my Aero3 Signature Model strung with Dean Markley Blue Steel strings. Also, while I'm playing through two Engl stacks for the shoot, in actuality, I used an Engl Ritchie Blackmore Signature in conjunction with an Albion 100-watt amp in the studio. For the recording, I split the signal coming from my guitar using a Lehle P-Split, which I've found is the quietist way to split a guitar signal between two amps. Some other splitter units I've tried seem to give off an incredible amount of hum. Both amps were miked, and then panned to the same position in the digital picture, as opposed to having each amp on opposite sides for a stereo perspective. I just think guitars often sound more powerful in mono. I don't think there are any guitar effects on this track, apart from maybe a bit of echo added by our producer Dave Jenkins in the mix. Onstage, I use an MXR Carbon Copy, or an old Chandler Digital Echo unit to get my echo.
Stuart Smith with live rig.
"The idea for the song came about after a late-night conversation with my best friend and head of our record company, Bruce Quarto. We were talking about how the music industry—and life in general—is so different nowadays, and he said, 'Yeah, the game has changed.' I said that would be a good title for a song, so he sent me a few more lines, and I gave them to our singer Joe Retta to come up with the final lyrics. I'd had the main riff kicking around in my head since we did our last album, Dig, so I jammed it with the band, and our bass player, Lynn Sorensen, came up with the verse, and I think the rest of it was a band collaboration. Just as we finished the album, Bruce said he'd like to hear some rocking bass start a song. I thought this one was the only one that would fit, so we had Lynn play us four or five ideas, and what you hear that opens the song is one of them."