Sandro Ghiotto combines rock, jazz, funk, blues and neo-classical elements in a smooth, fluid lead guitar style.
Listening to British heavy metal in high school, he was inspired to pick up the guitar. When Yngwie Malmsteen brought out the ‘encyclopaedia of metal lead guitar’, the seminal neoclassical masterpiece “Rising Force”, there was no turning back.
Heavy metal is a fitting way for a young guitarist to learn his craft, and Sandro exposed his emerging talents in the band ‘Syndrome’, which released 3 EP’s, and won a WAMI award in 1992 for most popular single for the song Dreamdead. In those days bands seemed to play a lot more live shows than today; Syndrome played around 80 gigs of mainly original material in 1991 alone.
In 1993, Sandro entered Kosmic’s guitar solo competition and came 2nd. This led to a guest performance on an afternoon TV show, demonstrating a Fender Stratocaster during an improvised jam – the Strat was a competition prize for the viewers, donated by Kosmic.
In the next year Sandro heard recordings of John Coltrane and other horn players of the era for the first time, and this sent him back into the woodshed for years. Learning that this was a path well worn by jazz fusion players, the best of which had also inspired some of the really great rock and metal players, Sandro thought that getting some education in jazz couldn’t go astray. There was never any formal training, just the good fortune to play with a variety of great musicians – including the alto sax virtuoso Paul ‘Pax’ Andrews. Sandro first heard Pax playing with a DJ, adding a completely new dimension to the DJ’s set, and thought “I’d like to get into that”. Starting in 2001, Sandro played various gigs with Pax and DJs, just improvising over the records, and trading solos with the sax. The combination is still alive and well today, and Pax occasionally guests with Sandro’s new band Chaos Engine.
Chaos Engine are a three-piece instrumental rock funk, jazz and metal outfit, including long time friend Sasha Radov on bass, and classically trained Indian percussionist Pranjal Bora on the drums. Chaos Engine have a repertoire of carefully composed instrumental songs , although some of their best works are complete improvisations.
As for gear – “Australian made where possible. Just because it’s better made.” An Ormsby guitar (as of 2011) and Sherlock amplifiers (since 1997) are Sandro’s tone machines of choice.