Everyone has to start somewhere, but you might find quite a bit of difference in style and sound for the inspirations that launched the musical aspirations of Red Sun Rising guitarists Ryan Williams and Mike Protich. The two musicians chatted with The Music Experience's Squiggy for this episode of Gear Factor powered by Sweetwater, opening up about their beginnings.

Protich told Squiggy that it was "Slow Hand" himself, Eric Clapton, that gave him the desire to start playing. “It was my first major concert that my mom took me to when I was 13, it was ‘Layla’ by Eric Clapton. I had to have a black and white strat just because of Eric Clapton. That was my first guitar.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Williams kicked off his musical career with something significantly heavier -- Metallica. “The first song I learned all the way through was ‘Fade to Black’ by Metallica. I remember finishing it and I was like, ‘Mom! Come check it out! I did it!’" Williams recalled. “I was 8-years-old and I got a Pearl Jam CD for my birthday and my buddy wanted it so he traded me a Master of Puppets cassette and a Ride the Lightning cassette for it.”

The two guitarists also engaged in a debate over which guitarists they'd include on their Mt. Rushmore, but this practice is no easy one with the guys eclipsing the space for four (or five) faces. David Gilmour, Jimi HendrixKirk Hammett, Adam Jones, Tom Morello and Dimebag Darrell are all among names that came from Williams, while Protich also agreed on Jones, added Queen's Brian May and was sure to include "Cream-era" Eric Clapton as well. "It's really 'The duh list,'" joked Williams, noting they were just naming amazing guitarists.

The guys also credit their current success to their live show, with Protich chalking it up to being a band that still plays 100 percent live. "I think in the live world, that’s a huge thing. It’s unfortunate that it’s a rare thing to say, but we’re 100 percent live,” says the guitarist, while adding that all five band members contribute to their musical landscape. Williams adds that staying true to themselves has also helped. “We made the deal with each other a long time ago that whatever we put out, we love it and if it doesn’t work at least we go that," says the guitarist.

Red Sun Rising are currently promoting their latest album, Thread, and you can find them on the road at these locations. You can see the rest of their chat with Squiggy in the player provided, and for all your gear needs be sure to head over to Sweetwater.com.

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