At the time, I was enamored with the fact that classical music of a certain age was legally considered “public domain” and could be plundered with wild abandon. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven. All that creative genius was (and still is) available to any writer who cared to borrow or steal from it, for the same price as a breath of air.
So steal I did. Or at least tried to. I was listening to my favorite harpsichord concerto (credited to J.C. Bach) and I began to learn my favorite sections of it by ear. This wasn’t easy! The notes were quick 16ths, and they were sometimes buried while competing with the accompanying orchestra for space in the mix. Also, these phrases had never been played on guitar before. Licks that might be a breeze on a harpsichord can be distinctly challenging when translated to another instrument. But I did my best, and came up with something that worked for the next section of the song. The result was a classical/ metal onslaught that became an immediate crowd-pleaser at our live shows and still rewards me with millions of YouTube hits from my solo version of the tune.
But one thing always bothered me about stealing these classical licks. And that is that I didn’t steal them correctly. So, after much creative hunting, I finally managed to locate the sheet music of the original harpsichord concerto. This was back in 1998, and I was feeling so ambitious I actually recorded the entire first movement of the concerto, using guitars to cover not only the harpsichord parts, but also the violins, violas, cellos, and string bass parts. I named my recording “Gilberto Concerto,” and after completing the recording, I promptly forgot all the parts due to the impossibility of remembering that many notes.
Bonus: Space Ship Live