American progressive rock musician Michael Angelo Batio believes that he has put to rest the dispute about what’s a more stimulating form of music — instrumentals or songs with lyrics.
On his recently concluded India tour, during which he toured Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai, the guitar maverick — known to be one of the fastest shredders in the world — ‘sang’ to the audience. However, the only voice heard was that of his double guitar. “People ask me why I don’t sing, but I do; I’d like to believe my guitar has always sung for me. The instrumental/ lyric debate is old. For me, music speaks louder than words,” he says.
Having started out as a jazz musician, Batio went on to join an LA-based heavy metal band, before becoming a session guitarist. Ever since, he’s worked on developing his skill in metal. Batio thought of touring India since he was aware of the fanfare it has here. Now, after performing in the country, he says his wish has finally been fulfilled. “I loved the reaction of my fans here. It took me a while to get to India, but it was worth it,” he says.
Batio’s previous two albums,
Hands Without Shadows
and its sequel, featured, for the most part, tributes to rock legends such as Led Zeppelin, Metallica and Aerosmith. Batio believes that an artist reaches the height of recognition when his work is covered by another artist: “The songs that I chose to play on my album are from some of my favourite bands. And when done my way, the audience instantly recognises them, too,” he says.
As one of the fastest guitarists in the world, Batio believes perseverance is the key to good art. “Reinvention is a sign of progress, which is good. But all I have ever wanted is to grow as a musician,” he says.