DARIO LORINA (Interview)

Dario Lorina
Dario Lorina

Metal Guitar young blood, Dario Lorina began his professional career in 2006 at age 16 as the touring guitarist with the late Jani Lane (ex-Warrant).  At age 19, he joined veteran Metal act Lizzy Borden whom he toured with for 4 years.  Dario released his first instrumental record on Shrapnel Records in 2013.  In January of 2014 he joined Black Label Society and has since been touring worldwide with BLS and Zakk Wylde, performing on both guitar and keys.

The Ripper had a chance to have a chat with Dario during his quite busy schedule! Read on for details about his new album, working with BLS and touring with BLS and Lizzy Borden

Metal Express Radio: Before we talk about your new album, let’s talk about another life changing event that happened shortly after you released your first album, we’re talking about your Black Label Society gig! How did that opportunity come about?

Dario Lorina: Yes! It was at the end of 2013, I had known Blasko for several years who manages BLS and I was in touch with him just after my first solo album came out, right around the same time that BLS was looking for a guitar player. I sent over some video playing and singing some BLS/Zakk Wylde songs, shortly after I went out to meet Zakk at his Black Vatican studio and that was that, which was just before the 2014 new year.

MER: Were you familiar with BLS’ music catalogue before joining the band?

Dario: Absolutely!

MER: How does BLS’ band mechanics work since both you and Zakk are lead guitar shredders at heart, especially in a live scenario?

Dario: Zakk does his thing and I hold it down, though there are times when we’re jamming back and forth, or when Zakk plays piano I’ll solo, and when Zakk and I do acoustic tours (or BLS Unblackened) there is a lot of jammin’ and soloing between the two of us.

MER: Have you taken part in any BLS songwriting for a future BLS album at all?

Dario: No, that’s Zakk’s department, BLS is his brain child.

MER: Any significant differences touring with BLS versus your previous band Lizzy Borden?

Dario: Both are heavy, guitar driven bands so not much difference on that end of things though the style of hard rock differs some, and of course with Lizzy Borden it was a very theatrical thing.

MER: You just released your second guitar instrumental album on the Shrapnel Records label entitled Death Grip Tribulations. Did writing for this album begin before you joined BLS?

Dario: Yes, Death Grip Tribulations released on February 24th of this year (2017). Some songs I may have had pieces of before I joined BLS, but I wrote the majority during downtime between tours with Black Label Society. I recorded the foundations of each song in January/February of 2016 and completed it a few months after.

MER: Did being part of BLS have any impact on the writing and musical outcome of this album?

Dario: I’m sure that subconsciously it did as being around musicians of that caliber definitely makes you grow and gain experience/new influence, though I still have my core stylistic place from which I like to write from.

MER: Whose handling bass and drums on this release?

Dario: On drums is Dan “DC” Conway, my musical brother since high school who also played on the first solo album. On bass is my BLS brother John JD DeServio. Jeff Fabb, also my BLS brother, played on one song, “Waves Of Nostalgia” which actually began as a riff that Jeff, JD, and I would jam at soundchecks from time to time. I also had Marten Andersson, who I played with in Lizzy Borden, and who also played some on my first solo album play bass on a couple of songs.

MER: You also have a track on this album with guitarist Phil Campbell (Motörhead /Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons). How did that joint venture come into being?

Dario: Phil and I met doing clinics together for LAG Guitars over at the annual Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany and have been friends for many years. I jammed “Killed By Death” here at the House of Blues with Motörhead when they came through Vegas in 2009 and 2011. Phil and I had talked about trying to do something together for a while, we tried for my first album but schedules weren’t able to align, though timing worked out perfectly for Death Grip Tribulations and Phil was able to join me on “Two Fifty”, song #3 on the album, and recorded from his studio in Wales. He ripped on it and his tone is killer!

MER: “Tribulations” isn’t a word in most people’s daily vocabulary. What’s the significance of that seemingly dark, yet intelligent, name behind the album and associated title track?

Dario: When I was working on cover art for the album, I was on the road with Zakk during this past Book of Shadows II tour, I was showing him cover ideas and talking about titles, Death Grip Tribulations is a title which he came up with that fit so perfectly with the Dustin Jack designed inter-weaved hands album cover, and I feel it 100% represents the musical vibe of the entire album.

MER: The new album follows a similar formula to your first solo album, i.e. shred guitar instrumental format. Even though there are not as many of those done today as there were in the late 80s did you feel any trepidation following a similar path on this new release?

Dario: Not at all. It’s music and playing that is coming straight from the heart, and as a guitar player, two instrumental albums were always a goal of mine, and I’m humbled to have achieved that with Shrapnel Records.

MER: The new track “Heart Of Night” has some beautiful piano on it. That’s you playing correct? In fact, you play some keys for BLS live as well?

Dario: Thank you! Yes, that is my piano playing on “Heart Of Night” and I do play piano live with BLS, including a lot in our Book Of Shadows and Unblackened shows.

MER: When did you learn to play keys? Before or after learning guitar? And why did you learn keys?

Dario: Playing keys is just something I picked up along the way, after playing the guitar, and I enjoy writing with the piano as it offers different chord and melody tonality.

MER: Without scaring anyone away, who plays saxophone on the track “Same Dice”? The track is a bit of a departure and kind of pays homage, in some ways to the music played by guitarists like Mike Stern. Did you feel there were any risks involved in putting this track on this release?

Dario: I’m never worried about risks, I like to just go with whatever I’m feeling would add to the song and for “Same Dice”, a horn section was always something I heard in my head when I was writing it. I enlisted the help of Lon Bronson to chart and arrange the horn section with me. As for players, Andrew Friedlander played tenor saxophone, David Perrico played trumpet, and Steve Dawson played baritone saxophone.

MER: On both your solo albums the opening track is a “barn burner”! Is this a conscious choice?

Dario: I don’t write with that in mind, but once all the songs are complete, I try to arrange them in the best “musical storytelling” kind of way.

MER: Was there anything on this new album you wanted to do differently from your first solo album?

Dario: I wanted it to be a nice progression from my first album, in all areas of playing, songwriting, mix, etc…

MER: Explain the process behind writing for an instrumental album. How do you go about writing a track entitled Death Grip Tribulations? Does the title come first and you write the music to match the title or do you write the music and give it a title, etc.?

Dario: Well for me, I just write songs like there would be vocals on them and in place of a verse I’ll play a solo, and for the choruses I try to come up with strong stand alone melodies. The actual track Death Grip Tribulations started as a riff, like most songs do, and I expanded it from there. In this case the title came after the song was completed, but that isn’t always the scenario.

MER: On both albums, you’ve had a bass player(s) and drummer(s). How do their parts get written? Do you guys write the music together? Do you come up with a vision for drums on a track, for example, and then present them to Dan Conway (Drums)?

Dario: I demo all the songs out first, during my writing process I usually come up with a basic drum track/idea to develop the song to. Once the songs are arranged, DC and I will get together and jam on them and he’ll take the basic drum idea and expand on it and make it his own. As for the bass, I may have an idea here or there for certain parts but for Death Grip Tribulations I wanted JD to do his thing on them.

MER: Growing up you listened to pretty much my (Scott) favorite guitarists such as Randy Rhoads, Paul Gilbert, George Lynch and Van Halen. This shows in your use of melodies, and rhythms especially, for example, in tracks like “Perigee” where your “attack” and “feel” are amazing. How do you accomplish your own style without sounding entirely like your influences?

Dario: Very cool Scott, and thank you! I feel the best way to accomplish that is to just play from the heart and not “try” to sound this way or that way.

MER: Any musician you haven’t played with that you’d like to some day?

Dario: Van Halen

MER: Can we expect a third solo album in the future?

Dario: Definitely, I plan the next one to be with vocals.

MER: Any chance you’ll ever tour to support your solo work?

Dario: Yes, we just played Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas, NV which was the first show in support of my solo albums and other solo material. JD DeServio on bass, Dan DC Conway on drums and Zach Hennig on guitar. We’re playing June 30th, 2017 at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, CA.

MER: Dario thanks for taking some time out for Metal Express Radio and your fans! Any last words for your fans?

Dario: Thanks so much Scott and thank you to all for the continued support!


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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