SHRAPNEL (Destroyer 666) – I’m pretty easy to please

SHRAPNEL (Destroyer 666) – I’m pretty easy to please

Shrapnel eller Ian Gray, har vært med i Deströyer 666 siden 1996. Han begynte å spille gitar som 16 åring, var mer influert av punken i begynnelsen men fant etter hvert ut at i det var metal som var tingen. Shrapnel innrømmer at det er V gitarer som er hans favorittgitarer og i hans bidrag til The G-String Series kan du lese mer om hans gitarer og mer til.


When did you start playing the guitar? In what age and which band was actually the one that made you wanting to grab a guitar and start playing?

I started playing quite late compared to many of my friends. It was when I was around 16; I didn't get really serious with it for a few years later. It was a combination of influences that made we want to play, from Jimi Hendrix to Slayer to Black Flag. In my early teenage years I was into more punk stuff, not the gay shit they call punk now days but real hard aggressive punk, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, early TSOL stuff like that really got me interested into aggressive music, but it wasn't until I really discovered the magic of Slayer, Metallica, Kreator, and also more heavy metal bands like Priest etc that I became addicted to playing guitar. The punk stuff had the attitude but lacked the technical ability, metal had it all…..

What actually makes a guitarist unique? Feeling or technique? Many people for example cannot stand Satriani…who is absolutely a master when it comes to technique!

That's an interesting question; I'd have to say it's a combination of both feeling and technique, with feeling being a more vital ingredient. In some ways a lack of musical knowledge is something that can give players certain originality to their style of playing. Not knowing the rules means that there are no rules….. It gives a certain freedom to playing that well schooled players seem to lack. Have a look on the internet, there are hundreds and hundreds of shredders on you tube, playing incredibly, but unfortunately for most of them they all sound the same. There's so many amazingly talented guitarists out there doing incredibly technical playing, sweeping picking all over the place, crazy tapping shit….. really pushing the boundaries of how to use the instrument. This stuff really impresses me. I'm not going to be one of these people who start slagging that off….. you read that all the time…that that style of playing is ‘musical masturbation' …but have a look at the people saying that shit, its people who simply cant play like that. Maybe they don't want to play like that? But for me I just find that strange, as a guitarist I like the challenge of trying to learn new stuff be it techniques as a lead player or a rhythm player…. Constantly pushing yourself to become better, but the problem is that sometimes just holding one note may convey so much more. That's something many shredders fail to understand.

What was your first guitar? Do you still have it?

It was a fucked up grey colour Daion performer strat with a black and white chequered scratch plate… Made in china and it sucked, it wouldn't ever stay in tune, the nut use to slip and slide all over the place. It was quite possibly the ugliest guitar even made. Thankfully I don't have that thing anymore….

Do you think that the guitarist is making the quality or maybe the equipment can do magic?

If you've got a guitar that won't stay in tune then no matter what you play you'll sound like crap. Good equipment helps


What kind of equipment do you use? Guitars…pick ups…amps…? Do you use different equipment in the studio and different while playing live? If yes then what is the reason?

I've got a few guitars. I use a BC rich jr v for live shows, its been upgraded with Seymour Duncan live wire pick ups. It's a good guitar for live because it's been set up really well, plays amazingly but is not so expensive that if anything happened to it I wouldn't be devastated. On tour you want to take something that can handle a good old fashion battering. I also have a Moser Custom shop Scyth, A Dean Dave Mustaine V, BC Rich USA Warlock and an old Ibanez Lawsuit Explorer. I love guitars and hope to have a massive collection one day. 

Construct the guitar of your dreams…brand, pick ups, strings..everything!

Neck through flying V's are my favourite guitars, bang some Seymour Duncan Heavy metal live wires in them ….. one with an original Floyd rose trem, and another with a string through bridge, ebony fret board, nice tall frets, one in red and the other in black…. Beautiful. I'm pretty easy to please.

Now form the band of your dreams…with you participating of course…Which individuals you think would fit like a glove to your style?

Shit, I don't know… anyone who can't really play will do…ha!

Are you participating in the composing of your bands material or you're just a performer? How important is it for an artist to be able to express himself? I mean, if for example you were in a band only for performing someone else's musical themes…would you handle it not participating…not being able to express yourself?

It depends on what you want from music, if just playing as a session in a band is fulfilling enough for you then that's fine. I however want to be able to have an avenue for expressing the musical ideas I have, this is one of the reasons I'm in a band.

Have you ever run out of ideas while composing a new album? How did you fight it? What was the solution?

Being creative comes in waves; you might have some weeks were you just pump out idea after idea and other weeks were you come up with nothing at all. I don't have the solution….  If I find out I'll let you know.


Do you have endorsements? Do you think endorsements are important for an artist?

Moser custom shop guitars and Seymour Duncan give me stuff cheap, which is nice. But no endorsements don't really mean anything…unless your Kerry King or Dave Mustaine.

In all the years that you've been playing did something go totally wrong during a concert of yours? If yes, what was it? Please go ahead!

At Party San festival in Germany a few years ago there was a faulty amp which kept on cutting out during our show. That was probably the worst because it was in front of thousands of people. We have also had a complete loss of electricity on two separate occasions at smaller shows….. I guess these sorts of problems are bound to happen when you're playing as many shows as we have over the years…. It's the law of averages.