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Warren DeMartini, London, 1986
April 10, 1963 |
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Genres||Glam metal, heavy metal, hard rock|
|Associated acts||Ratt, Whitesnake.|
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DeMartini was born on April 10, 1963 in Chicago, Illinois, the youngest of six children. The family later relocated to San Diego. He spent his early years in the suburb of River Forest, Illinois. He became interested in rock music due to the influence of his older brothers Bernard and James, whose band rehearsed in the family basement. DeMartini's grandmother was also a musician of note, playing piano accompaniment to silent movies in Preston, Minnesota.
DeMartini's mother bought him a guitar at his request when he was seven years of age. As he struggled early on learning to play it, he became frustrated and smashed the instrument as he had seen Pete Townshend of The Who do onstage. His mother, angered, refused to buy a replacement. At age 15, he received enough money for Christmas to purchase a new electric guitar. He took lessons to learn basic guitar technique, learned quickly, and formed a band called The Plague. Later he formed another band known as Aircraft.
By 1979, he played his first concert in front of a small crowd at San Diego's La Jolla High School. By this time he was emerging as one of the San Diego area's most talented and sought-after young guitar players. The first year he signed up, he won "Best New Guitar Player in San Diego" at Guitar Trader on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. He graduated from high school in 1981. DeMartini began taking classes at a local college, but in the first semester was invited up to Los Angeles to join Mickey Ratt; the band that would eventually become the highly successful 1980s metal band, Ratt.
DeMartini replaced Jake E. Lee in the band in December 1981, who would eventually be hired by Ozzy Osbourne. DeMartini was at one point the roommate of Lee, and each greatly influenced the other's styles.
DeMartini's lead guitar became one of Ratt's most recognizable aspects, and he would co-write several of the band's best known songs, including "Round and Round", "Lay It Down", "Dance", and "Way Cool Jr.". Ratt would ultimately become one of the top-selling and most popular glam metal acts of the decade, issuing four consecutive platinum albums and one EP in the 1980s before disbanding in February 1992.
Post-Ratt and Returns
After Ratt broke up, DeMartini had a short stint with the band Dokken before briefly becoming a touring guitarist for hard rock band Whitesnake in 1994. After that, he released two solo projects; the EP, Surf's Up! in 1995, and his only full-length album to date, Crazy Enough To Sing To You in 1996. Ratt re-united in 1996 and released two albums, Collage in July 1997, and a self-titled album in July 1999, which was a critical and commercial failure. In 2003, DeMartini was hired to replace guitarist Doug Aldrich in the band Dio but after several rehearsals he decided to leave the band due to musical differences with band leader Ronnie James Dio. Ratt reformed again in 2007 and began a tour in the summer of that year.
Over the years, DeMartini has cited many legendary guitarists or other musicians as his primary musical influences such as Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Robbin Crosby, Michael Schenker, Steve Lukather, Uli Roth, Joe Walsh, Jake E. Lee, Joe Perry, Frank Zappa, Tommy Bolin, Miles Davis, Eddie Van Halen, George Lynch and Randy Rhoads.
DeMartini has often been praised for his technique and ability. Website Xtreme Musician labeled him as one of the most under-rated guitarists of his era. His playing often incorporates 4 note per string passages, which is still fairly unorthodox and some chromatic runs give DeMartini an almost jazz fusion sound for some solos.[original research?] Along with that, his playing includes fast minor scales and wide vibrato.
Warren uses finger vibrato, similar in style to George Lynch and Greg Howe. This technique features moving the finger/wrist rapidly back and forth along the length of the string to alter the pitch (like a violinist), as opposed to bending the string.
- Ratt EP (1983)
- Out of the Cellar (1984)
- Invasion of Your Privacy (1985)
- Dancing Undercover (1986)
- Reach for the Sky (1988)
- Detonator (1990)
- Ratt & Roll 81-91 (1991)
- Collage (1997)
- Ratt (1999)
- Tell The World: The Very Best Of Ratt (2007)
- Infestation (2010)
- Surf's Up! (1995)
- Crazy Enough to Sing to You (1996)