An interview with The Great Kat by ‘Evil’ Ian Miller.
(Editor’s note: For maximum effect, read everything in capital letters in a screaming voice. It works better that way.)
Being a DVD reviewer is not nearly as glamorous as it would first appear. Nope. Rewarding, certainly. Arousing, if you’re lucky, but rarely bewitching, and every now and then the big challenge is to stay awake, let alone summon the necessary enthusiasm to try to express why a potential viewer should care when it’s hard to…….find…..the……zzzzzz…
But then there is also the rare independent release that seems to do it all for you, with you being merely the messenger, channeling its awesome energy onto the virtual page. Even rarer is the golden opportunity to chat with the individual responsible, and if that individual happens to be The Great Kat, well you just better hold on tight, friend!
First things first: read the review of Kat’s latest DVD, BEETHOVEN’S GUITAR SHRED. It’s cool, I’ll wait………………….Alright. Got it? You probably have a few questions, huh? Well, so did I, and so without further ado, I am as proud as any supremo guitar nerd could be to present the woman that I now believe is a dark superhero sent by the ghosts of composers past in order to make darn sure nobody forgets who they are, by any means necessary, the one, the only, THE GREAT KAT!!!!
IM: First of all, it’s an honor to be talking to The Great Kat today for AV Maniacs, how are things in Shred-ville?
TGK: BRILLIANT!!! THE GREAT KAT HIGH PRIESTESS OF GUITAR SHRED IS SPREADING THE GOSPEL OF SHRED/CLASSICAL TO THE WORLD!!!!!
IM: Of course, the main purpose of this interview is to not only bask in the high-velocity glow of the dark priestess of Classical Speedmetal, but to also talk about your new DVD release BEETHOVEN’S GUITAR SHRED. What can devoted “slaves” expect from this disc, and how would you describe it for the uninitiated?
TGK: The Great Kat’s GENIUS “BEETHOVEN’S GUITAR SHRED” DVD is a BRILLIANT showcase of VIRTUOSO CLASSICAL MUSIC from Beethoven, Bach, Paganini, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rossini, Bazzini and INSANE IMAGERY, OUTRAGEOUS SCENES, VICIOUS, BRUTAL METAL, BLISTERING SHRED GUITAR and BLINDING CLASSICAL VIOLIN VIRTUOSITY!
IM: Of all the information that is available about you and your long career in music, one thing that never seems to come up is the subject of how and when you were first bitten by the music bug? It had to have been early in life…….
TGK: The Great Kat was BORN listening to BEETHOVEN!!!!! I had INTENSE EAR-TRAINING since BIRTH listening to Beethoven’s Symphonies, Piano Concertos, String Quartets and more GENIUS masterpieces from Beethoven. THAT’S why my mission in life is to bring CLASSICAL MUSIC to the MASSES and ENLIGHTEN the world with this COMPLEX, POWERFUL and BRILLIANT MUSIC! The Great Kat began Classical piano studies at 7 and at the age of 9, I began Classical violin studies in New York. By 15 years old, I won a Full Scholarship to attend the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City as a Violin Student. I became the Concertmaster of the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra and won the “Robert Hufstader Scholarship” in Theory at Juilliard. I graduated with Honors from The Juilliard School and began performing, first as a Classical violin soloist at Carnegie Recital Hall as winner of the exclusive “Artists International Competition” and then soloing extensively in Mexico, the U.S. and Europe.
IM: And at what point did the interest in metal occur? In the ’94 interview I saw on YouTube, you mention that you were fully decked out in rock gear while at Julliard, were you already learning to apply your violin techniques to guitar?
TGK: The Great Kat has ALWAYS been OUTRAGEOUS and CONTROVERSIAL, but it was AFTER graduating from The Juilliard School as a violin virtuoso that I realized that Classical Music was DEAD and desperately needed to be UPDATED for the MASSES!!!! After listening to popular music forms and seeing a Judas Priest music video, I discovered metal and quickly picked up the electric guitar. I simply took my PAGANINI-STYLE violin technique (a special left-hand technique I learned at Juilliard) and transposed it to the guitar. I added VICIOUS STRONG accenting and attacks which is used in BOTH METAL and BEETHOVEN’S MUSIC. Then I began transcribing EXACT Classical Music scores for the guitar and band.
IM: Your disdain for other guitarists, bands, and pretty much any musician/composer NOT from the Classic Period is well-documented, but is there anyone that you would deem worthy of your ear or attention?
TGK: NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JUST BEETHOVEN! MOZART! BACH!
IM: It’s funny, a short while ago I was watching a DVD of one of the Deke Dickerson “Guitar Geek” Festivals, this time featuring Jennifer Batten (as well as Guitar Zack Weisinger, but that’s another story), and I thought to myself: “Where’s The Great Kat?”. Have you ever been approached to appear, and if you were, would you consider it?
TGK: WHO CARES!!!!!!! THE GREAT KAT IS THE ONLY VIOLIN VIRTUOSO/GUITAR GODDESS and MASTER of ALL SHRED GUITAR/THE REINCARNATION OF BEETHOVEN/METAL MESSIAH and SAVIOR OF ALL CLASSICAL AND METAL MUSIC here to SPREAD GENIUS CLASSICAL MUSIC TO THE WORLD THROUGH METAL!!!!!!
IM: Speaking of guitar geek-ery, here are some shop-talk type questions: You seem to mostly be playing Jackson V’s these days, are you endorsed by them, or have you ever been approached by anyone about having a “signature” axe?
TGK: The Great Kat VIRTUOSICALLY SHREDS on a variety of DIFFERENT guitars, amps, acoustic violins, bows, depending on the piece of music I’m performing and the sound it requires. Stay tuned to the Kat web site for news on Kat Signature Shred Guitars!!!!!!!!!!
IM: What does your live rig consist of? Do you consistently change out amps/effects, or are you a more “tried and true” gear user? What about strings and picks, any brand loyalty here??
TGK: The Great Kat’s Live and Recording rig consists of Great Kat Guitar Amps (Modified to meet The Great Kat’s Shred Specs), and a variety of Metal Pedals, Guitar Processors, Delays, Reverbs and Compressions. I also use special Great Kat SHREDDING guitar picks. CHECK OUT THE GREAT KAT LIVE and SEE THE GREAT KAT’S SHRED GUITAR INSANITY SETUP FOR YOURSELVES!!!!!!!!!!!!
IM: Do you practice every day, or is it more a matter of working out arrangements and writing new pieces to be recorded and performed?
TGK: The Great Kat practices, composes, arranges, orchestrates, rehearses, records, performs GUITAR and VIOLIN and BRILLIANTLY UPDATES CLASSICAL MUSIC EVERY DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
IM: Moving on to the visual side of your presentation, I’m really impressed by your ability to do it all, especially with regards to moving and still images, are you self-taught in the areas of video and photography?
TGK: The Great Kat’s video and photography images are influenced by RICHARD WAGNER’S CONCEPT of “MUSIC DRAMA”: POWERFUL MUSIC MIXED with DRAMATIC, PROVOCATIVE IMAGES, OUTRAGEOUS and POLITICALLY INCORRECT VISUAL THEMES!
IM: As you are probably aware, this is a genre film-specific website for the most part, and as such, your aesthetic fits right in with the interests of our readership, especially with what could be described as horror film-like imagery. Do you have any interest or love for the horror genre, and if so, any specific films, stars, directors, or countries of origin that float your boat?
TGK: “THE SHINING” – SICK, TWISTED, INSANE, and BLOODY!!!!!!“A CLOCKWORK ORANGE” – CLASSICAL MUSIC and “ULTRA-VIOLENCE”!!!
IM: Inversely, some of your work is in direct response to 9/11 and the Iraq war, especially the 2004 Nick Berg decapitation video referenced in “ISLAMOFASCISTS”, is this something you felt a burning need to create, and what has been the reaction from both fans and critics?
TGK: THE GREAT KAT’S “ISLAMOFASCISTS” Music Video is my RESPONSE after watching the ACTUAL FOOTAGE OF INNOCENT AMERICANS, LIKE NICK BERG, GETTING THEIR HEADS CHOPPED OFF BY ISLAMOFASCISTS!!!
IM: Speaking of fans, your accessibility to your audience through the website and hotline is pretty unique even in today’s atmosphere of “social networking”, what do you feel have been the greatest benefits of this availability? The greatest drawbacks?
TGK: The Great Kat Web Site is JAM-PACKED with HOT KAT PHOTOS, MUSIC VIDEO CLIPS, SHRED/CLASSICAL MUSIC, GENIUS BIOGRAPHIES (Houdini, Poe, Twain, Galileo, Van Gogh and more) CLASSICAL GENIUS COMPOSERS (Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi), SHRED BLOG, ARTICLES, REVIEWS, and MUCH MORE KAT-POSSESSED INSANITY! Also, INTERACT with THE QUEEN OF SPEED on FACEBOOK and TWITTER!
IM: Do you feel that you have inspired a new generation of females to seriously dedicate themselves to aggressive guitar virtuosity? There have to be more following your lead now than at any time previous.
TGK: THE GREAT KAT’S HIGHLY-TRAINED GUITAR/VIOLIN VIRTUOSITY INFLUENCES BOTH FEMALES AND MALES!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW go hear The Great Kat’s SHRED/CLASSICAL MUSIC and GET GENIUSIZED
IM: What about young people digging on classic composers, do you feel that you have had an impact in this area?
TGK: The Great Kat is EDUCATING EVERYONE with the COMPLEX, TECHNICAL BRILLIANCE of CLASSICAL MUSIC through my SHORTENED, CONDENSED and EXCITING SHRED CLASSICAL/METAL ARRANGEMENTS using EXACT NOTE-FOR NOTE SCORES from the MASTERS!!!! Then you can go and LISTEN to the ORIGINAL Classical music from the composers and hear the entire versions for yourselves and COMPARE!
IM: It is very refreshing to see an artist so tuned in to the business and self-promotion end of things, an area where many are deficient, did this come easy to you, or was it simply a matter of smacking people in the face until they noticed?
TGK: THE GREAT KAT KICKS, SCREAMS, PUNCHES AND FORCES YOU TO WAKE UP WITH GENIUS MUSIC!!!!!!!!! NOW GET OUT OF MY WAY AND LET ME GET TO WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
IM: And finally, what is next for The Great Kat? More touring, recording and DVD’s, I hope!
TGK: The Great Kat’s NEXT Shred/Classical DVD will feature Shred versions of MOZART, BEETHOVEN and THE COMPLEX VIRTUOSO VIOLIN PIECE PAGANINI’S “MOTO PERPETUO” on GUITAR, plus MORE POLITICALLY INCORRECT, INSULTING and ABUSIVE GREAT KAT ORIGINALS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned to the Kat web site for DVD NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE GREAT KAT IS GOD!!!!THE GREAT KAT IS THE REINCARNATION OF BEETHOVEN!!!!!! SHRED ON!!!!!!!!!!!!
IM: Well, it’s been a pleasure to talk to you, and I thank you for taking time out of your day that would surely devastate a mere mortal in order to answer these questions. Shred on!
If you didn’t already, worship at the alter of The Great Kat by checking out her homepage here!
-Special thanks to Good Ian Jane and Thomas Public Relations for setting this up, and most of all, The Great Kat herself!!!