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Extreme Guitars Ax Facts & Stats interview with Music of Cream's Will Johns & Malcolm Bruce

By Dave B. Roberts. Check out featured in the forthcoming Ax Facts & Stats Volume 2 book due for release in the near future

Photo credit Christine Connallon



My name:
Will Johns.

My current job is:
Guitarist and Vocalist with ‘The Music of Cream’ and The Will Johns Band.

My hometown:
Brighton, UK.

My current album or project is:
I am the Guitarist and Vocalist with The Music of Cream 50th Anniversary Tour.

Former bands:
GLYDA, ‘Joshua James’, Cloud 9 and Sun Machine.

My guitar influences growing up were:
Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Ry Cooder, BB King, Taj Mahal, Lindsey Buckingham and Prince.

The guitars I use are:
Ernie Ball Musicman Eddie Van Halen (1991), EVH Standard by Fender(2017), Gibson 355(2018) and Fender Telecasters (2000 & 2009).

The strings and tunings I use are:
Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinkys 9-46 on the EVHs and Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys 10-46s on the Gibson and Teles.

My current rig setup consists of:
MUSICMAN EVH into an EBE WHA WHA into a BOSS TU3 into a MAD PROFESSOR SWEET HONEY OVERDRIVE into a MAD PROFESSOR ELECTRIC BLUE CHORUS into a MAD PROFESSOR DEEP BLUE DELAY.

The greatest invention for guitars is:
The double electric soft case with wheels.

My normal songwriting process consists of:
Getting inspired or emotionally affected by something which will generate the seed of an idea, from that point I’ll write the music , words and melody on guitar, either at the time of initial conception_or over a period of time.

My favorite guitar solo from our band:
White Room, it's different every night but somehow this one has developed some really interesting musical ‘chambers’, if can use that word?

My favorite all-time guitar solo (from another guitarist):
Well i'm gonna be difficult here and say the most electrifying sound ~ive ever heard, that always makes the hair on my arms stand up is RY COODER’S solo/intro on ‘All Shook Up’ from the “GET RHYTHM_album (1987)

Favorite all-time song (any artist) is:
“ IS THIS LOVE” – BOB MARLEY.

Favorite song by our band:
Ah… that is a hard one as it changes all the time... I’ll say “POLITICIAN” as it is such a sleazy, sexy romp.

Favorite song to perform in front of a live audience:
“WHITE ROOM”

My Career highlight thus far is:
The last tour was absolutely insanely intense, the feeling of completing the last show in Kalamazoo was amazing, the lights shone extra bright that night and the crowd were wild!

My most embarrassing moment on stage:
Ha ha ... that happened fairly recently in Ohio I think... Whilst singing I noticed these two girls were looking at my crotch and smiling a bit too much and giggling into each others ear, well I glance down and my fly is open but I can’t really take my hands off the guitar to pull it up coz we’re in the middle of the song, I had to wait till the end and walk behind my amp to address the situation.

Other than my guitar and amps, the one piece of my gear that I cannot live without is:
Yellow DUNLOP TORTEX .73MM Guitar Picks.

The first song I ever mastered on guitar:
“Sail Away Ladies”

My first guitar was:
A 57 Vintage Reissue Stratocaster in Seafoam Green.

The first time I ever heard our band on the radio was:
I haven't!

If I am only sure of one thing in life, It's:
Things will Change.

The one ritual I always perform prior to going on stage is:
Tune my guitar !

The exact moment I knew I would pursue a career in music was:
I think it was always there from birth. My Dad Andy, was an engineer and producer, my earliest memories are of the multitudes of lights, sounds and wonderful smells you only find in a recording studio.

The one thing most fans don't know about me is:
That my Wife is my inspiration, my muse and has made all of this possible for me.

The best advice I could give beginning guitarists:
First and foremost : LISTEN! Play with other people as much as possible and practice as much as you possibly can, if you put the work in, and you love it, nothing can stop you!

Music/Band(s) I'm listening to right now:
BB KING, GARY CLARKE JR, DOYLE BRAMHALL ll, TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND, LITTLE VILLAGE..

My 3 all-time favorite albums:
AXIS BOLD AS LOVE – JIMI HENDRIX, GET RHYTHM – RY COODER and THREE O’CLOCK BLUES – BB KING.

Best gig:
JAMIROQUAI in Hollywood 1997 / THE ROLLING STONES IN Las Vegas 1997.

Favorite junk food:
Peanut M&Ms.

My biggest pet peeve:
My dog whining when I am fishing.

The hardest part of my job:
Waiting around.

What I like to do in my "off" time:
I am a fish nut! I have a fishing show on YouTube called “Hooked Up In A Heartbeat” I also love working on my fishing boat.

The first thing I do when I come home from touring is:
Leave my ego at the front door!

Previous or first day job:
Entertainment Manager at The Brighton Aquarium.

Right after this interview I'm going to:
Make a cheese and ham toastie!

I couldn't imagine being on the road without:
Wheels? No seriously, My Guitar.

If I wasn't doing the musician thing, I could really see myself working as:
A Charter Skipper.

Favorite movie:
Jaws.

My mission in life:
To love my Wife with all my heart.

My guilty pleasure band or artist:
Snoop Dogg

My next goal is:
Writing THE song of my lifetime.

The greatest contribution guitars/music have brought into my life is:
Giving me the ability to express myself while traveling the world meeting amazing people!

Check out our Website at:
www.musicofcream.com or www.willjohns.com.

The one musician I would love to work with that I have not yet had the chance would be:
Buddy Guy.

If I could have three wishes, they would be:
That my wife had three wishes too!, 2) That everyone in the world experienced abundance and happiness, 3)That I had a bigger house with my own Man Cave!!

When it's all said and done, I want the world to remember me for:
I would like to be remembered as a Musician who gave it all , worked harder than most and loved his Wife with all his heart.

Extreme Guitars Ax Facts & Stats interview with Music of Cream’s Malcolm Bruce

Photo credit Alan Messer

By Dave B. Roberts. Check out featured in the forthcoming Ax Facts & Stats Volume 2 book due for release in the near future



My name is:
Malcolm Bruce.

My current job is:
Musician – composer and multi-instrumentalist

My hometown:
London

My current album or project is:
Touring with 'Music of Cream' and currently working on my next solo album.

Former bands:
West, Bruce Jr and Laing (with Leslie West and Corky Laing), various touring and recording with my father Jack Bruce, Ned Evett (support tour for Joe Satriani), Lost City (with Rue Pillips and Kofi Baker), various lineups of the Malcolm Bruce band, and a million bands in a millions vans ;-D

My guitar influences growing up were:
Jimi Hendrix, Allan Holdsworth, Eric Clapton, Segovia.

The guitars I use are:
Currently Framus guitars and Warwick basses, Martin acoustics.

The strings and tunings I use are:
Ernie Ball, either hybrid 9s or 10s, occasionally 11s.

My current rig setup consists of:
Framus Ruby Riot Combo + custom pedalboard with various pedals including J Rockett Audio. Bass rig is Hartke. My home studio setup is Pro Tools with some Golden Age Project Pre's and a Golden Age Project Comp2A compressor.

The greatest invention for guitars is:
the human mind.

My normal songwriting process consists of:
Each song tends to be approached in its own unique way. Sometimes a song comes complete all at once, but many times the music and melody come first, and then lyrics are written to fit. Occasionally I will have a complete lyric that is then set to music. Usually some kind of a combination of those approaches. For my latest album I'm almost improvising lyrics in the moment and then extrapolating phrases and ideas as a starting point. There's only so many times one can write 'Baby I love You' without it becoming crass, although I have a song or two that are in that direction!

My favorite guitar solo from our band:
It's all in the moment

My favorite all-time guitar solo (from another guitarist):
There are so many depending on genre.. some of the things Hendrix did are still unsurpassed in terms of pure invention whilst retaining accessibility. Holdsworth in his prime is undoubtedly a unique artist (listen to Wardencliff Tower or any of his music really). I love Eddie Van Halen's stuff too: even the things he did with Micheal Jackson were incredible in terms of fitting into a pop structure but still retaining a musical integrity. 'Beat It' for example.

Favorite all-time song (any artist) is:
Impossible question! 'Stone Free' by Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead's Kid A – specifically the harmonic textures in 'How To Disappear Completely', quite innovative at the time.

Favorite song by our band:
'Music of Cream', basically all the Cream songs are fantastic to perform, but I would have to say 'We're Going Wrong' for its simplicity and awesome architecture in terms of its open ended-ness and emotive capability.

Favorite song to perform in front of a live audience:
see above.

My Career highlight thus far is:
Getting to work with Little Richard for 2 days in the studio in Nashville on a session, playing bass on a Frankie Miller song with Elton John on piano and Steve Cropper on guitar. And of course, the real career highlight is still yet to come, I'm working on it.

My most embarrassing moment on stage:
My pants have never actually fallen down.. very occasionally I've found myself just not vibing with musicians in certain situations. Music is such a force and it has to be collective to whatever degree. So there needs to be empathy and sometimes it is lacking, which can feel uncomfortable. Luckily for me as I progress, I find myself having better and better opportunities to work with wonderful people.

Other than my guitar and amps, the one piece of my gear that I cannot live without is:
It no work without a cord, right? Seriously though, my piano. I feel empty if I don't play it.

The first song I ever mastered on guitar:
there are songs you can master on guitar?

My first guitar was:
Aria Pro given to me by my Dad when I was 9.

The first time I ever heard our band on the radio was:
In the early 90s when I was just starting out, with our band 'Lost City' which released an album via Scotti Brothers Records in LA.

If I am only sure of one thing in life, It's:
that I'm not sure of anything.

The one ritual I always perform prior to going on stage is:
Yoga and meditation all the way.

The exact moment I knew I would pursue a career in music was:
I remember becoming conscious of the fact when I was 8 or 9 years old. I'd been around the business of music and it was a natural progression.

The one thing most fans don't know about me is:
I have no idea – I'm vegan, I like old movies, and a good conversation.

The best advice I could give beginning guitarists:
Learn as much as you can so you can then find your own approach. What we don't need is another clone of someone who has already done that. Imperative to learn the craft but if you want to be an original artist it is important to use your intuitive senses and let your ear guide you. Music is a BIG thing, but sometimes the pressure to conform (as with most aspects to life) can be overpowering. Be yourself, find yourself. It's a sacred and spiritual thing.

Music/Band(s) I'm listening to right now:
A lot of British independent artists, some good old school rock, a lot of opera (I'm writing my first opera).

Best gig:
Too many.. I put together a tribute to my Dad in 2016 at O2 Shepard's Bush Empire with an all star lineup including Mick Taylor, Lulu, Gary Husband, Dennis Chambers (the man), Paul Young and a host of others. I worked with Cream lyricist Pete Brown on the show and I think we were both proud of what we did for Jack.

Favorite junk food:
cookies.

My biggest pet peeve:
Be Nice!

The word or catch phrase I say too much is:
Pass the ketchup.

The hardest part of my job:
A lot of travel makes it a challenge to have a stable personal life. I do however have some good people around me.

What I like to do in my "off" time:
What is 'off' time???!

The first thing I do when I come home from touring is:
Sleep.

Previous or first day job:
Always music but have had to pay the rent sometimes.. I've done all kinds of jobs, marketing etc. but predominantly always something in the music business: studio work, session work, roadie even.

Right after this interview I'm going to:
Writing, Writing, Writing, all the time right now.

I couldn't imagine being on the road without:
A room to myself for at least part of the day.

If I wasn't doing the musician thing, I could really see myself working as:
A singing roadsweeper.

Favorite movie:
Most recently 'Cold War', fantastic film.

My mission in life:
is to write music of worth, that I feel good about.

My guilty pleasure band or artist:
Madonna back in the day, always had a soft spot for Madge.

My next goal is:
To release my next solo album this year and continue writing my opera which is slated to premiere in London in the next couple of years.

The greatest contribution guitars/music have brought into my life is:
Endless pleasure and invention. Music can show us the way to truth, to self realisation

Check out our Website at:
www.musicofcream.com

The one musician I would love to work with that I have not yet had the chance would be:
would have been Miles Davis and Prince, also Stravinsky would have been interesting..

If I could have three wishes, they would be:
That the world would emancipate itself from mental slavery (that's a Marley quote) That people have the opportunity to experience 'real' things, not the watered down, generic and superficial elements that tend more and more to pose as normalcy. That carrot juice was free and on tap for me wherever I roam.

When it's all said and done, I want the world to remember me for:
Writing unique music of some value to someone.

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Copyright March 2019 Dave Roberts & ExtremeGuitars.com & OnTourGuide.com

Copyright 2018 Dave B. Roberts & www.extremeguitars.com is the web home of articles and interviews written by Dave Roberts. All Dave Roberts interviews & articles are available for use or FREE reprint ONLY by Permission and proper credits. Permission can be obtained by contacting dave@extremeguitars.com. All materials are Copyright 1999-2018 Dave Roberts and OnTourGuide.com Ent., All Rights Reserved.

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This interview will appear in the forthcoming Ax Facts & Stats vol. 2 book, but in the meantime, be sure to check out OTHER exclusive Ax Facts & Stats interviews in ExtremeGuitars.com's Ax Facts & Stats, Vol. 1 on sale now at Amazon.com, Lulu.com and many other fine online book retailers!

This large format 8.5 by 11 inch paperback Features 97 of ExtremeGuitars.com's celebrated Ax Facts & Stats interviews; including tons of classics from our extensive archive spanning the last 10 years as well as dozens of BRAND NEW never seen interviews! Interviews include guitarists from 3 Doors Down, Anvil, Foghat, Puddle of Mudd, Hall & Oates, Evans Blue, The Great Kat, Finger Eleven, Staind, Train, Gwar, Halestorm, Hinder, Judas Priest, Gary Hoey, Night Ranger, Shinedown, Alabama, Janis Ian, O.A.R., Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Matchbox Twenty, Sick Puppies, Styx, Stone Sour, Tantric, Candlebox, Sevendust, Stryper, Derek Trucks, Thriving Ivory, Seven Mary Three, Chicago, Cracker and many others! A portion of proceeds from every book sold is being donated to the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. Check out the book's official website at www.AFSbook.info for complete lineup

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Contact me at dave@extremeguitars.com