Meet Andres Yepez of The Hard Way
Meet Andres Yepez of The Hard Way
Meet Andres Yepez, guitarist for L.A.’s own The Hard Way. Ready to rock your world when performing with the band at the iconic Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip, Andres Yepez and The Hard Way has opened for the likes of Angel, KIX, and Last In Line. In this interview, we find out a whole lot more about Andres and his amazing guitar artistry. Read on…
Introduce yourself and tell me how long you have been playing guitar overall.
My name is Andres Yepez, from Quito, Ecuador (living in L.A. since 2011) and I’ve been playing guitar for 23 years (19 professionally).
How did you wind up meeting Eric Jeffreys and joining the ranks of The Hard Way?
I was introduced to Eric Jeffreys and The Hard Way through their other guitar player Mr. John Huldt, since we’ve been playing on one of his side projects called MetalABBA since 2017. He felt I’ll be a good fit for the band when they needed someone to fill in the other guitar spot and luckily it worked out great.
Prior to The Hard Way, what bands or projects were you involved with?
I’ve played in many projects in my past, but most prominent with Martin Tillman – Superhuman, Anima Inside (Ecuador), The Velvet Teaparty, MetalABBA, Radio Viejo (Guatemala) and many solo artists in the L.A. area.
What is your favorite The Hard Way song to perform live and why?
I really like most of the songs but definitely one of the standouts is I Can’t Go Home. (Even though that’s one of the few I don’t have a solo) because of it’s fast shuffle feel, great guitar riffs and Hollywood night-life inspired lyrics. Extremely fun to play and hopefully to watch.
What could one expect from a live The Hard Way show?
I think what defines The Hard Way is “ENERGY” which is driven from the songs. On top of that, it’s over every band member to add the level of musical proficiency that a high class rock show requires and we work extremely hard to bring it every single time.
You recent show featured legendary drummer Matt Starr in the band. What was it like working with him?
Matt is an amazing, world class drummer, no doubt about it, but the thing that always stands out for me from working with him or any musician of his level is how much they love to play music and they always work as team players with the show as number one priority. (On the top of that for that show we had the amazing Philip Bynoe from the Steve Vai Band, you cannot ask for a rhythm section more legendary than that one!)
The Hard Way has opened for some pretty iconic bands. What has been your favorite band you have opened for and have you been able to meet any of them?
I have great memories of every one of these opportunities but on a personal level Last in Line is the one that hit a soft spot for me. When I was 15 years old I saw Def Leppard at a sold out concert in Ecuador and I can vividly recall watching Vivian Campbell shredding his guitar with lots of class and passion. Who would have thought that a few years later I was gonna be able to shake hands with him and just say Thanks! at the green room alley of the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood right before an amazing show.
What is your guitar of choice to play at a live show and why?
Hardest question of them all… Hahaha I love them all. As of right now I have five electric guitars and they do sound really different from each other, but I recently bought an Ibanez Jem 7BSB that seems to have the right amount of mojo in it to bring every single note to life.
Who are guitar players that you find the most influential?
I started playing because of Brian May from Queen, then discovered the mastery of Eddie Van Halen and then really got into the shredders like Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Joe Satriani, Andy Timmons, Paul Gilbert and many more, never forgetting David Gilmour, Richie Blackmore, Jimmy Page and George Harrison.
What would you like someone to remember after seeing The Hard Way for the very first time.
Just one thing. How much fun they had with us.
What’s up in the New Year for you and The Hard Way?
Personally I would be releasing my first solo Instrumental Rock guitar album called Season Of Chaos which is currently in post production, and I know that the band already has a bunch of shows booked, so we really hope for 2020 to be a year filled with great music that stays in people’s memories and hopefully a new The Hard Way record too.
Any final words of wisdom?
Music in general is in a weird spot right now since the rise of social media. It seems like vanity and “being trendy” is what fills most peoples desires, sometimes faking stuff up just to beat the amounts of likes of the next guy. With that in mind I really hope that people cherish more and more the essence of a live show. We don’t know how lucky we are that we still get to enjoy a kick-ass live rock show! In the near future they might become an endangered species.
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photo by Joe Schaeffer)
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