When he’s not touring the world with Alcatrazz, Joe Stump spends his days defending the dark arts of metal at Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music.
If Joe’s day job and his night job both sound a little scary, never fear. Despite his self-identification as a specialist in “evil chords” and “dark scales”, Berklee’s very own Professor Snape is secretly a wonderfully affable guy who’s always forthcoming about how he works his sinister-sounding magic.
Our discussion with Joe ranges from the harmonic to the mechanical, covering cool topics like arranging seventh chords with metal-friendly voicings, and comparing and contrasting the metal-ness of the harmonic minor, Hungarian minor, Phrygian Dominant, and Byzantine scales.
Of course, we also get a good close-up look at Joe’s famously fluid command of economy picking, including his Gypsy-style use of sequential downstrokes to link phrases at high speed. And no discussion of neoclassical techniques would be complete without an investigation of Joe’s awesome pedal-tone mastery.
When your day job involves giving away all your secrets to a small army of hungry shredders, you better do your homework. And at Berklee, Professor Joe Stump’s major is clearly minor.