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Ax Facts & Stats with guitarist Jason Richardson.
(photo copyright Modern Empire Management)

By Dave B. Roberts. Check out this interview in its entirety featured in the forthcoming Ax Facts & Stats Volume 2 book due for release SOON, featuring Q&As not featured in the online interviews!

My name is:
Jason Richardson.

My current job is:
Playing guitar and ensuring all the material/content for my solo album "I" is ready to go! Just finished up the tab book and now currently working on scoring the 53 minute documentary that's coming out.

My hometown:
Manassas, VA

My current album or project is:
My solo album entitled "I" It's pronounced 'one' .

Former bands:
Gallows Hill, All Shall Perish, Born of Osiris & Chelsea Grin.

My guitar influences growing up were: My main two influences were
John Petrucci and Alexi Laiho. And of course all of the other obvious legends like Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jeff Loomis, Alan Holdsworth, Greg Howe and Jason Becker just to name a few! The very first bands that got me hooked on metal though when I was still single digits old were Judas Priest and Metallica. Also wouldn't have any of my technique without my guitar teacher from back in the day Matt Mills.

The guitars I use are:
Ernie Ball Musicman! The Majesty is by far my favorite model. All of their guitars are phenomenal but the Majesty in particular is a serious innovation of the instrument.

The strings and tunings I use are:
I use either Ernie Ball cobalts or m-steels depending on what I have handy at the time. I typically switch between drop A on a 7 (AEADGBE) and drop G (GDGCFAD). There's one song on my upcoming album that is an 8-string song and I used drop E for that (EBEADGBE).

My current rig setup consists of:
I'll always rock solely an axe-fx live for the consistency and convenience of it. Will run the axe fx through a power amp or head for smaller venues when the crowd is right up on the barricade in between the PA pretty much so they wouldn't be able to hear guitar with out that stage volume. For the album tone though Taylor Larson used a bunch of awesome vintage mics and preamps all with real heads and cabs for the album.

The greatest invention for guitars is:
Musicman as a company. Nothing is better. I've heard plenty of comparisons side by side with other models, even blind tests, and Musicman wins every time.

My normal songwriting process consists of:
It varies so much I can't honestly give a clear answer, I'll usually try and get one solid idea/riff/chord progression/groove down be it on any instrument, guitar, piano, drums or clicking around in a DAW and then it usually will just keep building upon itself from there until I feel it's finished. I try to not let time length really be a factor depending on what I'm going for with the song. I'll write a song until I feel it's complete or the "story" has been told. My number one rule for songwriting though is I need to be able to listen to it over and over and over and over again without getting sick of it and I want my natural reaction to a new part I've come up with to be hysterical laughter because I think it's so sick!

My favorite guitar solo from my album:
Hard question, lol, don't know if I can answer that without someone getting butt hurt because I have 5 guest soloists on my album, haha, They're all so different and epic as hell in their own way! If I had to pick one that I wrote on the album it would possibly be the "solo" section on Retrograde. Sounds like space, lol

My favorite all-time guitar solo:
Another impossible question, haha. I'll have to go with one that I practice a lot to help maintain the chops and that would be "Lost not forgotten" by Dream Theater. Both solo sections of the song!

Favorite all-time song (any artist) is:
This Dying Soul by "Dream Theater" This song was also my main motivating force for getting a 7-string.

Favorite song off my album:
"Hos Down", This is the song on the album where I had the realization that I could literally write WHATEVER I wanted too on this album. So I did lol

Favorite song to perform in front of a live audience:
No clue! haha, never played any of it live yet! Honestly wasn't even expecting to ever have to tour off this stuff but its looking like I'm gonna have too! I'd have to go with whatever is easiest to play because they're all stupid difficult and stressful to perform, haha!

My Career highlight thus far is:
The promising success this album has already had so far and Musicman will be designing a signature model for me! Pretty surreal at times!

My most embarrassing moment on stage:
Breaking a string on the pivotal climactic bend of a solo probably, lol, I've been fortunate to have nothing worse than that or a wireless crapping out or a strap lock rip out (knock on wood) I've had stage divers bust my face open to the point where I thought I was going to need stitches and my face was covered in blood. Which is why I absolutely HATE fans being on stage while I'm playing, too much can go wrong.

Other than my guitar and amps, the one piece of my gear that I cannot live without is:
In-ear monitors at this point. After using them for 3 years with Chelsea Grin I can never go back to solely just wedges or side fills.

The first song I ever mastered on guitar:
LOL probably Enter Sandman.

My first guitar was:
Very first one was some plastic POS when I was like 2 or 3. Very first REAL one though was a gothic black Gibson Les Paul.

The first time I ever heard my album on the radio was:
Haven't yet! Hopefully liquid metal or local stations will bump it once it's out!

If I am only sure of one thing in life, It's:
Someone pirating your music and stealing your creative/intellectual work from you. Or stealing from you vicariously through Spotify or Apple Music who is also stealing from you. Which is why my album will never be on any streaming platforms for any reason. I wish more artists would stand up to these companies and outright refuse for them to host their music. For lack of a better way to put it, they're completely f*cking over artists and I smell a Napster-esque lawsuit in the very near future :) Karma.

The one ritual I always perform prior to going on stage is:
I'll play whatever solos I'm going to that night over and over again at very slow speeds then gradually work them up in BPM. Whenever I do this for like 30 minutes to an hour before I go on stage are the nights I always play the best!

The exact moment I knew I would pursue a career in music was:
When I got that first email back from All Shall Perish about my audition video.

The one thing most fans don't know about me is:
I love Katy Perry and Taylor Swift! Not even kidding, that sh*t rules so hard! So catchy! Ridiculous production too! My second grade yearbook picture I was wearing an 'Nsync shirt as well! lol!

The best advice I could give beginning guitarists:
Practice, A LOT! Learn every song you think is awesome, metronome is your best friend!

Music/Bands I'm listening to right now:
I've been so wrapped up in my album the past 6-8 months I don't even know, haha! I try to not listen to metal too much because it honestly has become so over saturated with the same boring ass breakdowns and cookie cutter formula that you can barely tell any of them apart. It's sad in all honesty. Very rarely am I stoked on a metal release now a days. Last one that I loved was Veil of Maya's "Matriarch" I listened to that so much! But I'll listen to anything from Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman to Pvris, Paramore and Lindsey Stirling, to Dimmu Borgir or Behemoth. I'm down with almost everything besides country and rap. It takes something truly unique, groundbreaking or crazy catchy in either of those genres for me to enjoy it. Or something so ignorant is comical like Stitches.

My 3 all-time favorite albums:
Dream Theater "Train of Thought", Children of Bodom "Follow the Reaper" & Linkin Park "Hybrid Theory"

Best gig:
Another impossible question, lol, probably one of the European festivals where you get to share the stage with so many legendary acts! I'll mention with full force when I was with All Shall Perish in particular, main stage over 20K people. Nuts!!

Favorite junk food:
Reese's for sure. If I eat too many my face starts to sweat though, lol! It's a love hate relationship.

My biggest pet peeve:

The word or catch phrase I say too much is:
Suh dude!

The hardest part of my job:
Probably tabs or loading gear, lol, airports also suck.

What I like to do in my "off" time:
Video games, working out and chilling with my pug.

The first thing I do when I come home from touring is:
Rot for two days!

Previous or first day job: First day job was
Splashdown Waterpark... I believe, last one before touring was Gamestop.

Right after this interview I'm going to:
Eat and then continue scoring my documentary!!

I couldn't imagine being on the road without:
transportation lol wouldn't happen without that! ;)

If I wasn't doing the musician thing, I could really see myself working as:
pft lol ... failing. I haven't done anything but my music practically my entire life in some way shape or form.

Favorite movie:
Grandmas Boy. Definitely seen it over 300 times for sure.

My mission in life:
Keep making sick music, touring the world and hopefully make enough money off only doing that to always have food on my table and live comfortably.

My guilty pleasure band or artist:
I'm not ashamed of anything that I listen too. People who do need to question some things, lol! I even stumbled upon some old 'Nsync stuff I used to love when I was a kid and I wasn't surprised one bit I liked it so much! I wish pop music still had that much talent in it, i.e. 5 part vocal harmonies performed flawlessly live without tuning.

My next goal is:
To one up this album I'm about to put out! I'll make it happen :)

The greatest contribution guitars/music have brought into my life is:
Being able to write music that apparently at least a couple of people are stoked on, lol!

Check out our Website at:
Pre-order my album! Main site in the works!

The one musician I would love to work with that I have not yet had the chance would be:
John Williams.

If I could have three wishes, they would be:
For Donald Trump to suddenly implode, to see a year in the future so I can know how this album is going to do, and streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music to stop robbing artists and give them the payment they are rightfully owed.

When it's all said and done, I want the world to remember me for:
Writing totally epic movie metal! :)


Copyright July 2016 Dave B. Roberts & is the web home of articles and interviews written by Dave Roberts. All Dave Roberts interviews & articles are available for use or FREE reprint ONLY by Permission and proper credits. Permission can be obtained by contacting All materials are Copyright 1999-2016 Dave Roberts and Ent., All Rights Reserved.


This interview will appear in the forthcoming Ax Facts & Stats vol. 2 book, but in the meantime, be sure to check out OTHER exclusive Ax Facts & Stats interviews in's Ax Facts & Stats, Vol. 1 on sale now at, and many other fine online book retailers!

This large format 8.5 by 11 inch paperback Features 97 of's celebrated Ax Facts & Stats interviews; including tons of classics from our extensive archive spanning the last 10 years as well as dozens of BRAND NEW never seen interviews! Interviews include guitarists from 3 Doors Down, Anvil, Foghat, Puddle of Mudd, Hall & Oates, Evans Blue, The Great Kat, Finger Eleven, Staind, Train, Gwar, Halestorm, Hinder, Judas Priest, Gary Hoey, Night Ranger, Shinedown, Alabama, Janis Ian, O.A.R., Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Matchbox Twenty, Sick Puppies, Styx, Stone Sour, Tantric, Candlebox, Sevendust, Stryper, Derek Trucks, Thriving Ivory, Seven Mary Three, Chicago, Cracker and many others! A portion of proceeds from every book sold is being donated to the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. Check out the book's official website at for complete lineup

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