| The following interview was taken from “the Shred shed”
The shed: Hello everybody, today we are talking to Robert McFall from the band AxoFire. He was
born in Panama City Florida but because of his father being military, he spent most of his childhood
in England. Hey Robert, glad to have you in the shed!
McFall: Thanks, its good to be here.
The Shed: After listening to some of your tracks, I can hear that you have somewhat of a unique
style. Where do you think it came from?
McFall: Well I would have to say that classic music actually had a bigger influence then just about
anything else. I mean I do love metal and hard rock and I am into some of the old school bands like
Iron Maiden and Queensryche to name a few, but my roots started in classical music.
The Shed: How’s that?
McFall: I started playing music at the age of 7 while living in England. My teacher, Mr. Johnson,
Bought the whole class plastic recorders and he started teaching us how to read and play. The
basic songs like twinkle twinkle little star and Green sleeves are rockers when your 7.
The Shed: So you went from the recorder to the guitar?
McFall: Oh no, Their was a long evolution to the guitar. When I saw the movie “Fiddler on the roof” I
started begging my parents for a violin. We moved from Woodbridge England to South Carolina in
1977 and the school offered violin as a subject so I signed up for the class knowing that my folks
would then get me a violin. I kept telling my mom that the first song I was going to play was the
theme to “Fiddler on the roof” So that afternoon after school my mom and dad took me to a local
music store and bought me a violin and when I got home I opened up the case and played the first
30 seconds or so of the song. My mom and dad were floored, but it felt very natural to me. That’s
when I realized I could play by ear.
The Shed: So can you read music or do you play by ear?
McFall: I use to read music for the violin. When we moved to Tucson Arizona I joined the orchestra
at Tucson high school and worked my way up to second string second chair. Actually that made be
the 4th best player and it was at that time I was invited to play with the Tucson Philharmonic. But
when I moved to Panama City Florida in 1984 the classical music scene was really non-existence so
I had to find other means to play music. I was not into bluegrass at the time but had a fascination
with the banjo so I got one and started to learn how to play it. Violin is the only instrument i ever
sight read with, all the others are by ear.
The Shed: You played Banjo?
McFall: (laughter) Well, yes I was a little lost at the time. But seriously the Banjo is a tuff instrument
to get down. I had a problem “rolling” the right hand. So I decided to try my luck at the bass guitar
for a while. But as in most musicians’ lives cash becomes an issue really fast so I decided to get a
job at a music store. It was actually pretty cool because the store was right across the street from
my high school. The guy let me come in after school and do all kinds of stuff from tuning guitars to
delivering pianos but instead of cash he paid me in equipment. That’s how I got my first bass and
bass amp. I think it was a vintage fender 12. When I look back I think the 12 stood for watts because
the amp would distort on 2 (laughter)
The Shed: So how did you make the transition from bass to guitar?
McFall: As I said the fender amp distorted really bad and at the time I had started to listen to more
American rock bands like kiss and Van Halen. And then I discovered Ac/Dc and I was hooked! I
would play chords on my bass and they would distort, sounding like a regular guitar I had been
playing some country and was even in a country band for all of 6 months but that about killed me. I
went over to a friends house and he had a Bentley series 10 guitar and a small gorilla amp. I asked
him if I could try it and that’s all it took. I went to work the next day and got a Westone and a crate
amp and worked the summer to pay them off.