Let’s take a stroll down the musical resume of Monte Pittman.
-Age 24: Move to L.A.to pursue a career in music. Worked at a Guitar Center and realized he should be teaching the instrument rather than selling it.
-Started teaching, and had Guy Ritchie (yes, the British director) as a student, since his famed beloved, Madonna, had given him a guitar as a gift.
-Began giving lessons to Madonna.
-Currently Madonna’s guitarist/co-writer.
-Past member of Prong.
-Adam Lambert’s guitarist/music director.
-Released his first solo album, “The Deepest Dark,” in November 2009 and his second, “Pain, Love & Destiny,” in October of 2011.
-2012: Jarrell guitars release a Monte Pittman Signature Guitar, putting him in a club with Kirk Hammett, Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck.
While I realize making a generalization is always a bold move, I’d venture to say that most individuals with a pulse would be pretty impressed with Pittman’s list of musical activities.
Pittman immersed himself in music at a young age, though it was a slightly frustrating task. He ventured into his older sister’s room and became mesmerized while listening to her Kiss albums on repeat. A cousin of his played drums in a band and Pantera was his town’s local band while growing up.
“I was always the youngest and couldn’t go to concerts or see bands. That just made me want it more,” Pittman said.
Well, Pittman’s got it. With a new album out and a signature Jarrell guitar dedicated just to him, Pittman has the velocity to face 2012 head on. Pittman’s latest album, Pain, Love & Destiny, made it to No. 1 Rock Album, No. 1 Pop Album, and the Top 10 albums chart in its debut week. As if this wasn’t a blaring sign of success, Pain, Love & Destiny also climbed its way into the iTunes Top 200 in the same week, making it the only album by an independent artist to do so.
The album features vocals, acoustic guitar, drums, bass, electric guitar, keyboard, and piano as well as powerful guitar solos. Its title, Pain, Love & Destiny, is from a lyric in the first song on the album: “About You.” His musical inspiration? Playing music in general. As an individual who creates music for a living, he’s surrounded by inspiration.
For Pittman, the songwriting process goes quickly. He begins with the music portion and then delves into the melody and lyrics. Currently working on the music for his third album, he is not the type of artist who mass produces albums for the sake of pushing music out into the world.
“I like to hang on to songs for years sometimes. If I like it later down the road, I know I’ve got something,” he said.
Aside from promoting the new album and creating music for the third, Pittman continues to hold the position of Madonna’s co-writer and guitarist, and in the past, as Adam Lambert’s live guitarist and musical director. Keeping up with these jobs doesn’t result in much downtime, but Pittman recognizes this is the life of a musician.
“It’s always a good time with everyone I’ve worked with. It’s a lot of work, but that’s what we do,” he said. “I started teaching Madonna how to play guitar and then she asked me to join her band. I’ve been with her ever since. Adam and I had a band together and were writing partners before he went on Idol. He was my singer and then I was his guitarist.”
With such an extensive list of music experience, thinking of a moment that made it all surreal and tops the chart as a favorite performance is an intimidating task. It could easily take weeks to reflect upon years of experiences, full of personal achievements and the payoff of a solid group effort. Or, one could perform with parody heavy metal band Spinal Tap during their “One Night Only World Tour” at Wembley Stadium and make this decision less daunting. During the show, Pittman was placed between James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica, self proclaimed heroes of his.
“Robert Trujillo [of Metallica] and I both did bass solos and I played Nigel Tufnel’s [Spinal Tap] guitar solo on the bass. The amps were all set up to where we had ‘Spinal Tap moments,’ he said. “It was really funny and a lot of fun. I will never, ever forget having James to my left and Kirk to my right…all of us jamming out and looking at a sold out Wembley Stadium that was being broadcast to the whole planet.”
Click here to learn more about Monte Pittman.
“Close Your Eyes” – from Pain, Love & Destiny
I fell in love with “I Am the Black Rabbit” from the newest album and wanted to post. Be sure to listen through, it’s the second song, starting at 6:00. The sound quality on this recording isn’t the best for vocals, but it was one of the few I could find. Try not to be impressed during the solo. I dare you.
Wondering where you can catch a glimpse of Monte Pittman for yourself? Be sure to check him out onstage at this year’s Super Bowl halftime performance.