Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jeff Loomis

 Jeff Loomis (born September 14, 1971) is the lead guitarist for the Seattle progressive metal band, Nevermore. He has listed guitarists such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony MacAlpine, Jason Becker and Marty Friedman as his influences.

Early days

Loomis is a self taught guitarist.[2] He got his first instrument at nine or ten years old, but didn't start practicing seriously until around the age of 15.[2] As a teenager in Wisconsin he played in a handful of cover bands and three death metal bands before joining more established bands.[3][4] At the age of 16, Loomis won Wisconsin's Guitar Wars contest.[citation needed]

He was auditioned for Megadeth (during the So Far, So Good...So What! era) at the age of 16, when their lead guitarist Jeff Young left the band. After they played a few songs together, Dave Mustaine, the band's frontman and other lead guitarist, thanked Loomis and told him that one day he would become a great guitar player, but because of his age he was not right for the position.[2] Jeff Loomis saw Cacophony on tour, and told Marty Friedman, who became very interested, about the audition. Marty tried out for the position and joined the band in 1989. In 2005, Loomis would then share the stage with Megadeth, as the lead guitarist for Nevermore as part of Mustaine's Gigantour festival.


Not too long after being auditioned for the lead part in Megadeth, Loomis was able to join the band Sanctuary after guitarist Sean Blosl had left. He was able to take his place at this time; however, because of a dispute caused by guitarist Lenny Rutledge wanting to make grunge oriented music, Sanctuary broke up 4 months afterwards.[2]


After the break-up, Loomis and former Sanctuary members Warrel Dane (vocalist) and Jim Sheppard (bassist) made plans to form Nevermore, and in late 1994, Loomis became the lead guitarist of Nevermore after the brief period being in Sanctuary. Now, he is the main songwriter of Nevermore, adding to the unique sound that fans are familiar with. His contributions can be found in albums such as The Politics of Ecstasy, Dreaming Neon Black and their latest album This Godless Endeavor (including Steve Smyth, who previously featured in the band Testament). Currently, Loomis plays an important role in portraying the sound that Nevermore has today, using 7 string guitars and techniques such as sweep-picking. One of his more important musical showcases is in the album Dead Heart in a Dead World, in which he wrote most of the songs before Nevermore.


In 2005, Jeff reported that he would take some time as a break and then begin recording a solo album. He said, "It's something I've been wanting to do for sometime... It will be like a Jason Becker/Marty Friedman kind of thing." On April 1, 2008, Jeff said that all 10 songs which have been written have had the drumming recorded (which was done by Mark Arrington pretty much overnight) and they will soon begin tracking the rhythm guitar. On 3rd July 2008, it was announced that the album will be called Zero Order Phase.


Loomis had a monthly column[citation needed] in Guitar World magazine entitled "Merchant of Menace" where he explained how to play the riffs and solos of Nevermore. In more recent columns, His former co-guitarist in Nevermore, Steve Smyth has co-written the column, which is dubbed "The Merchants of Menace."

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