Devin Townsend Interview About Why He Doesn’t Play Guitar
Devin Townsend just talks about why he doesn’t practice on guitar anymore. He also added why he gave up on shredding on guitar too.
In his early days as a musician, Devin Townsend was a shredder. He was all about speed, precision, and technical proficiency. However, as he progressed in his career, he started to realize that there was more to music than just playing fast and accurately. He began to appreciate the beauty of simplicity, the power of emotion, and the value of creativity.
In the interview, Devin Townsend reveals that he doesn’t practice anymore in the traditional sense. He doesn’t sit down and run scales or exercises for hours on end. Instead, he focuses on exploring new sounds, experimenting with different instruments, and improvising with his bandmates. He believes that true mastery comes not from repetition and memorization, but from innovation and spontaneity.
In a recent interview with UG, David Slavkovi had the opportunity to speak with Devin Townsend about his new album “Lightwork” and Devin’s lengthy musical history. You can read the interview below!
Question: “Back when you were younger, you were more technically oriented, and you’re still one of the most inspiring prog metal musicians and prog metal guitar players, but at some point, you stopped chasing this dream of being like a shredder, virtuoso player. Why did you decide that? Can you tell me a little bit more about that?”
Answer: “I got a gig singing for Steve Vai.”
“I was watching him play and I was like, ‘Nah, I’m good. I’ll play rhythm.’ I mean, my style has developed and I really like how I play now. It’s kind of a combination of fingers and pick and there’s a lot of echo and a lot of chords. And I really like it.
But when I was a kid, I remember learning how to sweep and tap and all this. Then I moved to LA, I was 19 years old, 20 years old, and I was sitting beside Steve Vai in his studio. I was so fortunate. And I was watching him play and I was like, you know, it’s like you’re in a wrestling match and you have to tap out I was like, ‘You know what? I think I’m gonna write my songs. He can be the guitar God.’ Because he is. By watching him and seeing the level of discipline that he had to put into being that guitar player, I realized that wasn’t my goal. And it took being with him for me to recognize that. When I was a kid, I was like, that’s all I wanted to do.
I wanted to be on Shrapnel Records and, you know, play like Vinnie Moore and Tony MacAlpine, Yngwie, Steve and Van Halen. But then, as I got older, I started realizing that my way of writing, you know, writing with the weather, writing with the environment, is much more in line with my truth, than woodshedding and being faster than everybody else. When I was a kid, if I’d seen some of these dudes that are playing now, I would’ve been like, ‘Holy shit, man.’ But that being said, I don’t want to play like that. It doesn’t interest me musically.
Some of it does, but musically, it doesn’t speak to me. I’ve got a certain amount of capacity for technique, and I think I’m a good guitar player. But I’m happy to say that my style sounds like me. And that’s, I guess, what I needed to learn through all these experiences.”
Question: Can you tell me, how much do you practice, like, really, really practice guitar at this point in your career?
“I don’t practice, I just play. I never practice, but I always play. I love playing guitar. But no, the days of me practicing are long gone, unless I have to tour and have to learn the shit, right?”
You can watch the Devin Townsend – “Lightworker” promo video below!