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October 2011 - Craig Bartok, guitarist for Heart, is a big fan of G&L guitars and just ordered a custom Candy Apple Red Legacy. We caught up with Craig for a little Q&A.

What's going on with Heart?

We just finished a huge summer tour with Def Leppard to sold out crowds across the US. Now it's on to Australia for 3 1/2 weeks. Heart is truly a "working band" in every sense. We love getting out there as much as we can. It's really a wonderful camp to belong to.

How long have you been with the band?

I've been with Heart for 8 years now.

That's an amazing gig. How did you end up playing with Heart?

In 2003 I got a call saying that Heart was doing their first studio CD in 13 years and they asked if I'd be interested in working with Nancy Wilson. Of course I did, who wouldn't? She came to my studio in Hollywood and we hit it off immediately. There was that instant chemistry. We came from the same "school of rock" and we just had so much in common. It was almost like that one-degree-of-separation thing. (laughing) That day we actually wrote three songs, all of which ended up being released. The demos just kept flowing... it was almost like we could read each other's minds. Ann got involved a short time after and we eventually had written an entire CD's worth of music.

Ann and Nancy are very creative and always have a unique twist on things. And as sisters, they feed off of each other's energy in a way that only they can. The demos we were knocking out at my studio served as the blueprint for the CD that become "Jupiters Darling" which was released in 2004. I ended up co-producing it and doing a large amount of the guitar work, so they eventually just asked me if I would like to be in the band as the lead guitarist. They're such great people that I couldn't resist. Of the last 2 Heart CDs, a good number of the songs I co-wrote with them.

What kind of songs or music inspires you?

Actually there's not too much that doesn't inspire me. With the studio work that I do outside of Heart, I really reach into all styles of music for inspiration. I do feel that every genre has its merit if one just looks at how it affects the listener. I guess if I was to pick my biggest influence, The Beatles would be at the top.

Do you have any solo or other projects in the works?

I have a studio at home and I'm always busy doing one thing or another. I produce indie projects as well as compose/perform music for TV. I've recently had music on Dexter and Burn Notice as well as quite a few MTV shows and cable programs like LA Ink and things like that.

Craig Bartok

What type of rig do you prefer onstage?

I tend to gravitate towards more of the bolt-on Leo Fender-style guitars just because I love that "bite" in them. I find that they have an attitude that set-neck guitars just can't duplicate. There's times when the smooth, even tone of a Les Paul works, but I really like a guitar that digs in. And as far as amps go, there's only one word...Vox.

Do you prefer vintage/traditional gear or are you into modern technology?

I would say neither as far as studio preferences go. Whatever is needed to get the job done is what I'll use. On stage with Heart, my setup definitely leans more toward the analogue world. I stay away from multi-effects processors and try to keep it as pure as possible. Most of the work comes from the guitar. I'll use tube distortion for the rock sound and then just roll off the volume on the guitar to get the cleaner tones. The guitar has to be the focal point, not the effects as far as I'm concerned. That's why G&L is such a good fit for me. They sound amazing and have that bite I look for and the quality is really there. That's something you don't see too much these days. They just feel "right."

That's great to hear. We take pride in building high-quality instruments and we're always looking to make them even better. Listen, we know you've got to run. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.

Thanks for building amazing guitars. Give my best to the factory team in Fullerton

Will do, and thanks again, Craig.

Red Velvet Car

Check out Heart's latest album Red Velvet Car

Get the latest news and tour information
for Heart at heart-music.com