Name: Tom Kopyto
Playing (years): 13 years
Style: Instrumental shred guitar
ESP and Ibanez baritone 7-strings
1999: MACE Music releases my first instrumental CD “YTK”. Executive produced by world famous guitarist Michael Angelo, “YTK” received critical acclaim from the progressive metal and shred guitar press and helped me to build a worldwide fanbase. Later that year I was offered endorsements with Vanous Amplification, Brian Moore Guitars and DR Strings.
2001: I won the “Rock Guitarist” category in Ernie Ball/Music Man/Sonic Foundry’s “Best Guitarist on the Web”.
2002: Chops From Hell releases my first instructional CDROM, “Terror Death Licks”.
2003: Chops from Hell releases “Terror Death Licks” on VHS format.
2004: My song “Black Inside” is included on Quintessence Metal Webzine’s “Fret Essential #1” compilation CD. I was also offered an endorsement deal with DiMarzio.
Current and upcoming projects:
I’m working on my second instrumental CD and second instructional CDROM. Both should be released late 2004.
Favorite guitarist: Jeff Loomis of Nevermore. Loomis can shred, but the playing is never sterile; you can tell he’s feeling every note. He can also write riffs that’ll split your skull. He does a good job of balancing the schooled and refined style of playing with pure attitude. I also like Dimebag Darrell for the same reasons. Other favorites: Derek Taylor, Chris Poland, Shawn Lane, Chuck Shuldiner and Dino Cazares.
Most underrated players: The most underrated player ever is Shawn Lane. It’s sad that more players aren’t aware of Shawn’s music. True genius is never appreciated in it’s own time. Chuck Shuldiner also comes to mind. Although Death has influenced bands and musicians worldwide, I don’t think Chuck ever got the full respect he deserved from the guitar press.
Best musician you’ve ever seen: I’ve seen bootleg video of Shawn Lane performing and the playing was just effortless. The most complex music just poured out of him without a second thought.
Four words that best describe what you want to get across in your playing: Love, hate, anger, happiness…in a word, emotion.
Your hero: Rusty Cooley is the guy I look up to at the moment. His commitment to continue pushing the boundaries of his playing is inspiring as is the success he’s having getting his name and music out there.
Aside from continuing to improve my playing, songwriting and production skills, I would like to find the right singer and put together a vocal project. “Practice What You Preach”-era Chuck Billy is the vocal style I’m after.