Sean Kelly is a top go to Guitar Guy in the Rock Landscape known as Canada. Guitar for Hire some may say but read on about all the endeavours that Mr Kelly has been in and is currently involved with. Little more to it than the Guitar For Hire aspect I would say.
Case in point. Sean has released two classical guitar albums that have both charted in the Billboard Classical Album Charts. Being in and involved(songwriting etc) with various bands such as Crash Kelly/Trapper/Helix/Lee Aaron/ Honeymoon Suite/Carole Pope/Nelly Furtado well…I could keep going! Plus he’s a good buddy with an Guns N Roses guy!
Just by his resume which you will discover when you read this interview is just how busy Sean is!
I would personally like to thank Sean for hopping on board and being a great sport at answering my fan boy questions…
Take it way Mr Kelly…
1-Hey Sean thanks for doing this! We have a connection and that would be the Long Way To Heaven Tour by Helix back in 1985. You caught the show in North Bay and myself here in Thunder Bay. Was that the show that spurred a young Kelly to pursue a career in music?
Yes it was! It was a double bill with Honeymoon Suite, and it was a total game changer, very inspiring! To think that I would be afforded the chance to work with both of these bands at some point in my life was unimaginable then, but it definitely instilled in me the belief that Canadian bands could compete in every way on the world stage. Both bands were on fire that night!
2-By recording/writing/performing with artists like Honeymoon Suite/Helix/Nelly Furtado and currently Lee Aaron how the hell do you find any downtime?
Haha, well…it helps that my career vocation is also my passion and hobby! It can be a challenge to balance family life with my music pursuits, but I really try to make sure any time I have is not wasted on frivolous things. I derive my greatest pleasure in life out of the time I spend with my family, and making/enjoying music. Carve in a little time for staying healthy, and a balance can be achieved.
3-Speaking of which. According to Carl Dixon on Brent Jensen’s NSTS podcast your now playing guitar with the Mighty Coney Hatch. Those four Coney albums are classics. When you open those shows for Steve Harris’ British Lion any thought on recording the Coney Stuff live? If so could you please bug em to record it?
Let’s just say I’m all for it, and would love to see that happen. I can’t wait to hit the road with the Hatch, one of my all time fave bands!
4-The book that you wrote from a few years back “Metal On Ice” is great read in all things Canadian Metal/Hard Rock. Many great stories about all kinds of Canadian bands journeys across the Canadian Highways. Is there a followup in the works?
I’ve knocked around a few book ideas, and would love to do another one. However, my immediate future involves writing and recording new music, performing live, and working on some other music related projects. In other words, I’m having too much fun with my guitar to put it down to pick up a pen (or type)!
5- Gilby Clarke is a pal of yours. I know you have played Bass for Gilby and he has worked with you back in the Crash Kelly days as a producer. Any chance on doing some string bending together recording wise which I think would be fantastic! Just Saying!
I recently did a guitar clinic and charity gig with Gilby and Bumblefoot, and it was amazing to reconnect. I always welcome the opportunity to make music with Gilby, and while there is nothing planned, I’d be honoured to record with him at some point in the future.
6-Who would be on your bucket list to work/record with?
Oh man, so many! First off my head would be Alice Cooper, Heart, and Paul Rodgers…I’d love to write with Nikki Sixx…I recently did a few songs with Lita Ford and Dee Snider at Rock n Con in London, would love to write with both of them…The list is endless really! I just love working with people passionate about rock n roll music!
7-First album ever purchased?
Thriller by Michael Jackson….this was followed by Metal Health by Quiet Riot, Pyromania by Def Leppard, Stay Hungry by Twisted Sister and Shout at the Devil by Mötley Crüe…but yes, Thriller was the first!
8-If you had to go with 5 all time favourite albums(studio/live) what would they be?
This is an almost impossible question, and my list is ever changing….today, let’s go with
1984 – Van Halen
Hysteria – Def Leppard
Appetite for Destruction – Guns N Roses
Billion Dollar Babies – Alice Cooper
Live and Dangerous – Thin Lizzy
*this could change in the next hour….haha!
9-Arena/Stadium show? What is hands down the best show you ever saw as a member of the audience?
It would have to be Van Halen, August 1986, 5150 tour at CNE Stadium with Loverboy and BTO….first time I ever heard the power of Eddie Van Halen live, life changing experience.
10-Feel Free to plug whatever you’re doing here currently! Thanks so much for doing this!
Still performing with the amazing Lee Aaron in support of the Diamond Baby Blues album (so proud to be a member of this incredible band,a real blessing in my life) heading out on the road this fall for some dates with the legendary Coney Hatch, Alan Frew from Glass Tiger, and also working on some brand new music from Crash Kelly (single to be released before Christmas!). I am working on some very cool projects with my pal Steve Gillis at Guitars for Vets, and am also writing with Brian Vollmer from Helix (we have some kicking new songs in the works!)….along with that I am teaching Vocal Music with the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and still doing workshops/mentoring for Canada’s Music Incubator.
Thanks for the great questions, all the best Derek!
Photo of Mr Kelly taken by Alan Zilkowsky.