Steve Rothery onstage with Marillion at their 2009 weekend festival in Montreal, Canada.
|Born||25 November 1959|
|Genres||Rock, progressive rock, neo-progressive rock|
|Associated acts||Marillion, The Wishing Tree, Enchant, Edison's Children|
Steve Rothery (born 25 November 1959) is an English guitarist and a founding member of the British rock band Marillion, the most successful band to emerge from Britain's 1980s neo-progressive rock scene, with whom he has sold over 15 million albums. According to Guitar Player, Rothery "specializes in crafting lush sonic atmospheres with layered guitars and effects processing". In 2001, Rothery was voted Yorkshire and Humberside's best guitarist in a poll in Total Guitar magazine. He has been hailed by MusicPlayers.com as one of the great progressive rock guitarists, describing him as "never one to go for major flash, he always plays for the song and not his ego, but when he shines, he shines brightly", and comparing him favourably with John Petrucci, David Gilmour and Alex Lifeson.
Rothery was born in Brampton, South Yorkshire, England, and from the age of six he lived in Whitby, North Yorkshire. He began to play the guitar at the age of 15. In an interview for Johnnie Walker's Sounds of the Seventies on BBC Radio 2 in 2013, Rothery revealed that his musical tastes always differed from his friends, who were getting into punk rock while he preferred progressive rock, which he had been introduced to through the Alan Freeman show on BBC Radio 1. In 1979, he saw an ad in the music press for a band called Silmarillion that needed a guitarist. He auditioned successfully for the band (19 August 1979). From this point he concentrated more on melody, composition and mood in his playing, and less on his technique, although he revealed in 2013 that when he is not touring, recording or rehearsing, he still practises guitar for an hour a day, part of which will be scales and finger exercises. Later, Silmarillion shortened its name to Marillion. Rothery is the only member of Marillion's founding lineup who remains in the band to this day. As well as work with Marillion, he started a solo project under the name The Wishing Tree (with Hannah Stobart providing vocals), and released 2 albums called Carnival of Souls and Ostara.
Rothery has been described by Tone World as "an incredible player whose phrasing and warm tone have influenced and inspired countless guitarists". MusicPlayers.com described him as "an incredibly talented player", claiming Rothery's tone "is sure to appeal to fans of diverse guitar sounds", proclaiming him an expert at "guitars drenched in shimmering chorus, sparkling delays and cavernous reverbs", and praising him for "spacey sounds and blues sections" as well as "acoustic rhythms that anchor the melodies". His "three distinct trademark sounds" are a "sparkling clean arpeggio tone draped in digital delays", "soaring melodic lead tones" and a "classic blues tone".
Rothery has said that David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Steve Hackett of Genesis and Andrew Latimer of Camel are his biggest influences and has mentioned that Jeff Beck is an inspiration. He has cited "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd and the title track of Hackett's solo album Spectral Mornings as the recordings that influenced his tone. Rothery has said that Joni Mitchell was another influence on his style, especially through her use of open tunings, which Rothery believed created a very harmonically rich sound. He has cited Mitchell's "A Case of You" as another of the songs that had the biggest influence on him.
The British Guitar Academy
In 2011, Rothery launched the British Guitar Academy "to bring together some of Britain's top guitarists to pass on their hard won knowledge and experience to a wider audience through a series of workshops and masterclasses. The aim is to concentrate not just on technique but also creativity and individuality." As well as Rothery, the Academy has featured guitarists such as Aziz Ibrahim (Simply Red, The Stone Roses, Ian Brown, Asia and a solo artist), Dave Foster (Mr So & So and a solo artist), Michael Casswell (Brian May band, Cozy Powell band, Tony Hadley, Ronan Keating), Matt Prior (Bonnie Tyler and TV & film music composer), Rob Harris (Jamiroquai since 2000, Kylie Minogue, Beverly Knight) and Dan Steinhardt (Tin Spirits, developer of the Gig Rig pedal switching system and acknowledged tone guru).
Steve Rothery appears on every Marillion release since their 1982 debut single; see Marillion discography
With The Wishing Tree
- Jadis - Jadis (1989, production)
- Arrakeen - Patchwork (1990, guitar)
- Rock Against Repatriation - "Sailing" (1990, guitar)
- Enchant - A Blueprint of the World (1994, production, guitar)
- John Wesley - Under the Red and White Sky (1994, guitar)
- Arena - Crying for Help, The Cry (1994, guitar)
- Mr. So and So - The Overlap (1998, production, guitar)
- John Wesley - The Emperor Falls (1999, guitar)
- Ian Mosley & Ben Castle - Postmankind (2001, guitar)
- The Reasoning - Awakening (2007, guitar)
- Gazpacho - Firebird (2005, guitar)
- Swallow the Sun - Servant of Sorrow (alternate version from the single New Moon) (2009, guitar)
- Edison's Children - In The Last Waking Moments (2011, guitar)
- Steve Hackett - Genesis Revisited II (2012, guitar)
- "Steve Rothery Interview". Tone World. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- Cleveland, Barry (2 February 2010). "Marillion's Steve Rothery Talks Tones and Effects". Guitar Player. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- Total Guitar. July 2001
- Kahn, Scott. "Steve Rothery: Marillion's King of Guitar Town". MusicPlayers.com. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- Interview with Steve Rothery. Sounds of the Seventies. BBC Radio 2. 24 March 2013
- "Steve Rothery Launches The British Guitar Academy". Acoustic magazine. Retrieved 29 April 2012.