A Day To Remember’s Kevin Skaff: My 5 Favorite Guitarists
Nearly three decades after his tragic death, Stevie Ray Vaughan still influences generations of guitar players. There are the obvious disciples: John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr. to name two. A less expected follower is Kevin Skaff of A Day To Remember.
But as Skaff told Gear Factor host Squiggy, the legendary Texan guitarist changed his life. "I was at my friend Jeff's house, and his dad had this VHS tape: Stevie Ray Vaughan Live at the El Mocambo, he was playing 'Texas Flood.' I was like, 'What is that?' His guitar sounded so awesome, I just had to find out what the hell was going on."
Soon, he had a new guitar of his own: "It was a Charvel, like a Strat-type [guitar], it was red with a black pickguard, black pickups, maple neck, black headstock. My dad bought it. I was 13."
That wasn't his first six-string experience though. His parents bought him a Harmony guitar -- from Walmart! -- when he was younger. But, he says, the guitar sat in his closet for years. He dusted off the cobwebs when a friend asked him if he could learn to play the riff-heavy Green Day song, "Brain Stew." His friend needed to perform the song for an extra credit project.
"I didn't even know who Green Day was at the time!" Skaff learned the song but played it incorrectly. Still, his friend got the extra credit he needed and Skaff put the guitar back in the closet... until he saw the Stevie Ray Vaughan video.
He then learned Jimi Hendrix's version of "Wild Thing," from the Live At Monterrey album. "My dad said, it seems easy enough; it's three chords." Next up, he dipped into the SRV songbook, by learning "Texas Flood."
The conversation shifted to Skaff's gear. "You could play a guitar ten times the price, but you bring the SE on stage," Squiggy noted.
The guitarist explained, "The thing's a workhorse... like all the PRS guitars, it's perfect, as soon as you take it out of the case. It stays in tune, it's reliable... they just make great guitars. Yeah, I love that thing, man."
He’s particularly enthused about Staind guitarist Mike Mushok's signature SE, which he recently used in the studio. "That thing was awesome."
After talking gear, Skaff listed his five favorite guitarists, the first three of whom are tattoed on his left arm.
Next is the guy who inspired his blue-and-white-polka dotted PRS guitar.
"Number three is Randy Rhoads, there's the polka dots, that's where that comes from."
Coming in at number four: "I really like Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit, his guitar playing, and all the riffs that he makes up are really cool."
"And number five would be [Eric] Clapton, 'Slowhand,' 'God' himself."
Catch Kevin Skaff playing his PRS SE guitars next month: A Day To Remember have a handful of dates in June. See their itinerary at their website.