How many times have you seen a book specially designed for teaching people how to play heavy metal? Yeah, me too! But fear not, because Troy Stetina is around and lucky for me (and us) he has written books like:

Metal Rhythm Guitar Vol 1
Metal Rhythm Guitar Vol 2
Metal Lead Guitar Primer
Metal Lead Guitar Volume 1
Metal Lead Guitar Volume 2
Guitar Tricks
Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar
Secrets to Writing Killer Songs
Thrash Guitar Method
Speed & Thrash Drum Method

If it wasn't for some of his books I would be really sucky at the guitar, but thanks to him and his easy to follow teaching techiques I just blow! But don't let my lack of talent be your guide into deciding wheather or not there is
something you can learn from him! I'm sure after you check out this interview and his site even the most advanced players may learn something or at least respect the mans crusade to keeping metal alive!!

Prof.ManiC: How long have you been playing Guitar? Are you completely self-taught or did you after time go to an instructor or school to learn music theory?
Troy Stetina: I've been playing now for about 25 years. Mostly self taught, some
books here and there and short periods of classical guitar lessons, some jazz-fusion lessons and advanced classical theory from a pianist at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, where I was concurrently teaching rock guitar. Probably the main 'eduction' though, has to be just teaching or so many years... learning so much music on the spot by ear, reading music, and developing the materials for my books, too.
Prof.ManiC: Why choose the path of instructor instead of "Rock Star"? Who influenced you to teach?
Troy Stetina: That's just the way the opportunities opened up for me. I've always
considered myself a musician first and a teacher second. But when I
started teaching, I found I did it well and opportunities came along that way. The bands I was in always seemed to get nowhere.
 
Prof.ManiC: When you got the position of Director of Rock Guitar Studies at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music was that position already in existence? Or did you have to convince a bunch of suits and ties that they needed the position? How did you get the job and what do you think was your strongest selling point in getting it?
Troy Stetina: Some of both actually. A guy had started teaching rock there but left.
I picked up on it and developed the whole thing much further. Sure, there were a bunch of crusty old bigoted types who saw no value in any style of music other than 'real music': classical or jazz, ya know. But the Chairman of the Guitar Faculty, John Stropes, was a very open minded guy that I regard very highly, with high integrity and unbreakable principle.
Prof.ManiC: While trying to get the position and during your tenure, what resistance did you have to overcome from the rest of the faculty? Did they put down the importance of students learning rock and metal guitar techniques when compared to other styles? Did some stereotype metal and its followers?
Troy Stetina:  Sure... I'd be ripping on Yngwie licks in the basement and these people
would occasionally stick there heads around the corner and with a look
of mixed bewilderment and disdain say something like, "I was just
wondering what all this noise was!" I found them amusing. You can't worry about other's opinions. Generally, you can't even hope to change them. You just do what you want and like... those that get it, get it, and those that don't, don't.
Prof.ManiC: When you left the Conservatory was it just the fact you wanted to work with other musicians or did politics of teaching in an academic setting finally get on your nerves? Who did you end up working with?
Troy Stetina:  My wife and I moved to NYC. I met a lot of people and played with a
bunch of different musician's. Nothing too concrete developed, except I got hooked up with Don Dokken. Then I spent a few months out near him in Redondo Beach, just south of LA. Nothing much came out of that. Wasn't the right time or the right relationship to pursue.
Prof.ManiC:
How did you approach Hal Leonard Corporation when you wanted to publish your heavy metal guitar instruction books? How have they treated you?
Troy Stetina:  It started with a chance meeting with Will Schmid, who was an editor
for Hal Leonard at the time. We got to talking and I suggested they needed a goodrock or metal guitar method. He asked me to write a sample chapter. I did...then I went ahead and finished the book. But after a few months they told me they couldn't publish it because I used popular artist's music in it and they couldn't get all the permissions. So I proposed the 'Heavy Metal Rhythm Guitar' books using all original material, and they loved it. The relationship has had it's ups and downs, but overall it's been very successful.
Prof.ManiC: How many books have you sold and which ones are your biggest sellers?
Troy Stetina:  Something over 400,000 at this point. The original Heavy Metal Lead
Guitar Vol. 1, which was revised and re-released in 1995 as 'Metal Lead Guitar Vol. 1' has actually sold about 100,000 units by itself. These days, though, it's selling modestly. Currently the biggest seller is 'Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar' followed by 'Total Rock Guitar'.
Prof.ManiC: Who are some of the Heavy Metal hotshots you have taught throughout your career? Which ones make you proud and which ones make you think "sell out" or "poser"?
Troy Stetina:  One guy who used my stuff back in the day is Mark Tremonti of Creed.
Now we're getting together working on a fairly regular basis. Mark's a
great guy, and I think we can expect some interesting guitar work from him in the years to come. I also know of a few shredders out there too who seem to be very familiar with my work and ackowledge having used it.
Prof.ManiC: When it comes to metal guitarists whom do you think are just okay guitarists but always seem to come up with kick ass songs? Who do you think are great guitarists but write boring songs?
Troy Stetina:  Well, technique is certainly a different animal from creating
interesting music. But I don't want to speculate on who's great and who's 'okay.' I say to each his own. Everyone has their own opinion of what music communicates to them. I mean, if I told you I thought this or that guy was boring, and then I met him next month... ahhhh, yeah man, you're great! Well, I'll keep the criticism to myself.
Prof.ManiC: What your favorite genre of metal and favorite metal icons and bands?
Troy Stetina:  I take it on a song by song basis. Of course I came of age listening to
Van Halen 1 and the first Ozzy albums. Then all the 80s guitarists. Now I like Tenacious D!
Prof.ManiC: When you go to a concert do you consider yourself "just a fan" or does the guitar instructor come out and do you end up critiquing the band and it's performance?
Troy Stetina:  The sound is usually so lousy at large live arenas that you can't
really hear a lot of detail. You get the jist of it though. I think you absorb the vibe of it first. I'm really not that into technique. Sure, I
understand it, but in my view that's just a vehicle to express music. It's not significant in itself, unless the music is falling short because they can't get it out right. That's painful to hear.
Prof.ManiC: What books, websites or schools do you think are the best when it comes to teaching metal musical methods and teaching about metal "must have" equipment and stuff like how do set your amp to have a powermetal sound, death metal sound etc.
Troy Stetina: Well, I guess I'm partial to my own in terms of teaching technique and
the elements of music. As far as equipment, i really don't know. That's
more an issue of getting a good amp and playing a lot live and recording experience in the studio.
Prof.ManiC: Do you have any more books or projects coming out in the future? Are you in a band at present?
Troy Stetina: I'm auditioning vocalists right now as a matter of fact. Loads of new
material developed, too, over the last few months. As far as books go,
I just finished an Ozzy Signature Licks book/CD and shot a Black Sabbath Sig Licks DVD for Hal Leonard.
Prof.ManiC: Has the resurgence of heavy metal (and the cough cough nu-metal being mainstream) affected your work atall? Has business been better? Do you see any negatives to you cause by it?
Troy Stetina: Actually sales were up a bit in the last year, but I don't know whether
that's any sort of trend or simply other things. It's not really my
main focus these days. But of course it sure would be nice if it continued that direction! The educational marketplace is pretty stuffed it seems.
Prof.ManiC: Any Final Comments?
Troy Stetina: Thanks for the interview questions... & Rock On!
Troy