Pop quiz: What do Metallica and Mexican acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela have in common? The answer is simpler than you might think — both acts are heavily rooted in thrash metal.
“The first riff on the new album is totally a metal riff,” Rodrigo Sánchez tells Spinner of the lightning-fast lead-off guitar attack of last fall’s ’11:11.’ “Metalheads would pick that up straight away, but since it’s acoustic, it just doesn’t make sense to most people.”
Sánchez, who plays melody to his partner Gabriela Quintero’s rigid rhythm guitar, began his career performing in a thrash metal band in Mexico City. Though it wasn’t until he and Quintero relocated to Dublin, Ireland and began playing their blistering guitar workouts in pubs around town that the duo gained some notoriety, their metal beginnings weren’t left behind — including, of course, complex guitar lines usually cornered by bands like Metallica or even Slayer.
Playing acoustic, neither Rodrigo nor Gabriela has much of a buffer between their playing and the sound created, meaning every note’s got to be in place. To play such hot licks, Sánchez needs to keep his hands cold.
“We have to have therapy to play like we do. I got injured by playing without icing my fingers after the show,” Sánchez says. “They were swelling every show to the point that I couldn’t play. I couldn’t even feel my ring finger, so now I ice my hands straightaway for three minutes.”
Though Rodrigo y Gabriela specialize in head-spinning live sets, not all shows are created equal. “It’s terrible when we play TV shows in the morning,” says Rodrigo. “I gotta warm up. We can’t just start playing.”
by Justin Jacobs on Spinner.com