We saw you at the big PRS press conference announcing the new models for 2008, including your own DGT. What was it like standing between Paul Reed Smith and Santana?
It was a total honor; ultimately that’s what it feels like. I’ve had such a wonderful friendship with Paul – going on 22 years now – and I really feel like the PRS people are family to me. If you really think about it, it’s kind of surreal when I’m standing up there with Carlos Santana, but it’s what I’ve been doing for quite some time.
You made some comments about how big of a deal it is that you’re putting your name behind the DGT.
Actually, Paul made those comments, but I would totally agree with him. Yesterday, as Santana walked on stage to talk, Paul joked with me that Santana is just as tough as I am about quality control and those types of things. That really is my reputation, and I don’t think we compromised at all. It was extremely important to me that the guitar would be something I could really get behind 110 percent and feel that I could recommend to anybody. It’s a lot of money – it’s a big commitment for any player to spend that much on a guitar, so I wanted to make sure that it was exactly how I felt it should be and they definitely delivered.
Have you put your name behind any other products?
No, this was the first. I’ve let equipment companies whose products I used and believed in put my name on their artists’ lists, but this is the first product with my name on it. This is a big deal for me.
If my research is correct, your first solo album, Loud Music, just dropped. How’s that going for you?
It’s going great. We’re in this new era of independent releases, so it’s available at CD Baby and iTunes.
Have you gotten onboard with the digital lifestyle?
Yeah, it’s here and there are a lot of advantages for an independent artist like me – I financed the entire record myself. I have international distribution automatically with iTunes and CD Baby, plus I can make the record I really want to make without having to please anybody but myself. It feels great; it’s a situation where you’re not going to hit a homerun out of the box, but it’ll have legs.