“Venusian Sunrise put me on the map two decades ago,” melodic instrumental virtuoso Adrian Galysh says, “but the CD has been out of print forever, and I recorded the original in my parents’ basement on a single Alesis eight-track ADAT. So I’ve been considering redoing it for many years, utilizing the significant advances in home recording technology.”
Since launching his career with Venusian Sunrise, Galysh has performed as a sideman with ex-Scorpion Uli Jon Roth, received a signature model from Brian Moore Guitars, enjoyed a high profile as a guitar instructor and issued a fistful of solo releases. With Venusian Sunrise: 20th Anniversary Edition (Indpt), he delivers a fresh take on his seminal disc, along with remastered versions of the original recordings and a couple of bonus live cuts. The listener gets a solid sense of just how good Galysh was at age 22 and how far he’s advanced since then, along with insights into how digital home guitar recording has changed in the past 20 years. In addition, the tracks “The Blue Jungle” and “Drifting Memories” feature fantastic bass artistry by Stu Hamm, known for his work with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, and the entire modern affair is significantly upgraded with real drum performances courtesy of Glen Sobel from Alice Cooper’s band.
What were your original inspirations for the record, and what convinced you to go through with a redo?
I was originally inspired by Steve Vai’s Flex-Able and Joe Satriani’s first couple of albums with drum machines. I wanted to prove that I could do something like that, and I needed a calling card because I was planning to move from Northern Virginia to Los Angeles. As for remaking it, my last CD was a blues record [2016’s Into the Blue], and when it came time to do another album, I was at a crossroads about what to do next. Then I realized I could make something special for the 20th anniversary of Venusian Sunrise in my home studio relatively painlessly running Apple Logic Pro.
Do you think Logic Pro is replacing Pro Tools as the home recording platform of this era?
Probably. A lot of engineers are holding onto Pro Tools because it’s what they consider the industry standard, but most DAWs these days all do the same thing and operate the same way. They just look a little different. With Logic being an Apple product, and most musicians being MacBook users, it’s literally logical to use that program.
I recorded all the electric guitars in the box, using the amp simulations included with Logic. My real rig includes a Marshall Vintage 1960 4x12 cabinet that I drive with either a Blackstar HT-100 head, a Peavey JSX or a Marshall JMP-1. But I started using Logic’s amp simulations a couple of records ago because they are sonically so comparable that it’s hard to even consider doing all the work required with the real amps. I double-and triple-track lots of guitar parts, so I try to dial in complementary tones. The ability to get different kinds of amps and variations of a particular tone with the click of a mouse just makes sense.
Do you use the effects in Logic as well, or real pedals on the way in?
I pretty much go dry other than a little bit of amplifier reverb, just to make the track sound like it was recorded in a room. I’m not much of an effects user, other than a Morley Bad Horsey wah, which I use on about half of my tunes. I do have a small pedalboard that I use for fly-out gigs. I use a few Seymour Duncan pedals, including a Palladium and a Dirty Deed to make sure I can get my Marshall-y tone wherever I go, as well as a Vapor Trail for a touch of ambiance.
Do you use Apple Logic Pro X?
Actually, I used Logic Pro 9. Now that I’ve got this done, I’m going to update my operating system and get Logic X, which comes with tons of cool sounds. I’d been putting that off for fear of losing Logic 9. You need a newer computer with a newer operating system to run Logic X.
How about your interface?
I used an old M-Audio Fast Track Pro, but I have just upgraded to a Universal Audio Apollo Twin.
What’s the guitar story behind Venusian Sunrise: 20th Anniversary Edition?
The workhorse is my signature version of a Brian Moore C90, which has a spalted maple top. Its humbucking pickups offer a lot of flexible coil-splitting combinations that allow me to dial up a wide variety of tones. A stock Fender Roadhouse Strat played a significant role as well. I follow the basic Rolling Stones principle of having a Gibson-style sound and a Fender-style sound to make a double-tracked guitar part sound huge.
My guitar on the original album was a Brian Moore C55 with an emerald green finish. Rather than a pair of humbuckers, it’s got a humbucker in the bridge, plus two Seymour Duncan Hot Rails. The overall tone is brighter, and those Hot Rails have a rounder, more Strat-like tone.
What are the primary musical differences between the original Venusian Sunrise and Venusian Sunrise: 20th Anniversary Edition?
There were some solos, such as the ones on “In the End” and “What on Earth,” that didn’t feel right because I’m simply not that player anymore. Back then I wanted to burn and show the world what I could do. Sometimes I landed on my feet, and sometimes I didn’t. This time around, I went ahead and played something more musical and mature to represent where I am now. When I originally recorded the extended solos to “What on Earth,” I had to punch in every six or seven measures. These days I’m able to let the recorder roll and do complete takes of a solo, rather than put together a Frankenstein of ideas. A few key tunes have remained in my live set, and the new recordings have arrangements that have developed over time. “The Blue Jungle” now features a bass solo and an extended outro guitar solo. “Drifting Memories” is a melodic tune with a contrapuntal thing where the melody keeps getting lower and higher at the same time.
What was it like having Stu Hamm play bass on the new versions of those tracks?
His playing was very influential to my music at the time of the original recordings, so having him involved brought the project full circle for me. We met at a jam session earlier this year. Stu was perfect for the bass solo on “The Blue Jungle” and for the tapping section on “Drifting Melodies,” where the bass and guitar play in harmony. He dubbed his parts over what I’d already done. His tone, sense of time and creativity making bass lines that work with the groove was impressive. He sent back a few takes for each part, and the ones where he got creative in his own style were easily the best.
Before I record a new record, I’ll release a backing-tracks-only version of the new Venusian Sunrise. I’ve always loved playing along to backing tracks released by, say, Steve Vai or Guthrie Govan. I started having backing-tracks versions of my records made so that I could play along to them at clinics, workshops and guitar festivals. Then I realized I could sell them. As a teacher, I understand how beneficial it is be able to play along to tracks in order to use the concepts being learned in a musical context.