Whitechapel’s Ben Savage Plays His Favorite Guitar Riffs
Whitechapel has emerged as one of the more revolutionary deathcore bands of the 21st century, and guitarist Ben Savage has played a role in their continued evolution. But to see where all his guitar playing influences come in, we talked with the musician for this episode of Gear Factor.
Classic heavy rock played a big role in Ben's entrance to playing guitar. “Probably the first riff that made me interested in guitar was Led Zeppelin’s ‘Over the Hills and Far Away.’ My dad was my gymnastics coach growing up, so he’d take me to practice and on the way to practice we’d listen to cassettes and stuff. He had Led Zeppelin albums, Metallica and Tool albums. I remember hearing the beginning lick to that Led Zeppelin song and it just had a mystical sound to it. I was really intrigued by the way it sounded,” says Savage.
From there, he graduated to picking up a guitar and he credits Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" and Metallica's "Seek and Destroy" as the first two riffs he ever learned.
Like many aspiring guitarists, there was a learning curve, with hammer-ons and pull-offs initially giving him some trouble. He also soon became fascinated with sweep picking after hearing Avenged Sevenfold's Synyster Gates play on the Waking the Fallen album. "Like everything it takes patience, passion and dedication,” says the guitarist of learning the different techniques.
As for his own band, Savage takes us back to the beginnings playing a bit of "Divirgination Studies," the first riff he ever played with the band. He also elaborates on how the arrival of Mastodon, Pig Destroyer and Converge played a role in "Make It Bleed."
One of his proudest guitar moments came with "Bring Me Home," with the guitarist recalling, “That was the turning point in our career when we started fusing more melody and singing and there was more overall drama in the music. Phil [Bozeman] was inspired by it and he was inspired to sing after hearing it.”
Savage finishes off the episode by digging into the band's latest album, Kin, taking us through his mindset when coming up with the guitar parts for "History Is Silent," "Lost Boy" and the title track.
If you're digging Ben's guitar work on the Kin songs, the new Whitechapel album is out Oct. 29. Be sure to pick it up here and check out the full Gear Factor episode with Whitechapel's Ben Savage below.