SOULFLY Guitarist Answers The Million-Dollar Question: 'What's In The Backpack?'

Street Assault recently conducted an interview with SOULFLY guitarist Marc Rizzo about his influences and his solo project, among other topics. An excerpt from the interview follows:

Street Assault: What's up with the backpack, does it have any significance or is it just a trademark of Marc Rizzo? Do you have bottles of Yoohoo in there that you're shakin up for when you get off stage?

Marc Rizzo: "Ultimately, it's a Marc Rizzo trademark, but I'm getting tired of it now. It just got too big, haha. Not size-wise, but legacy-wise. From the first tour I've ever done I would get more questions about what's in the backpack than I would about my guitar playing. I'm sick of the backpack for now. Maybe one day it will come back. Until then you can view it at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Right next to Ziggy Stardust's boots. Haha."

Street Assault: Tell us about your solo album, how the heck did you ever get the idea to mix flamenco guitar with metal?

Marc Rizzo: "Good question! I've been a fan of PACO DE LUCIA and SLAYER forever. Both of them mean the same to me. I guess you could say it seemed like a natural progression to mix both styles into my playing. Both types of music exude the same vibe to me."

Street Assault: And you called that mixture phlamencore, also the name of the label you created. Tell us about that and how you decided on the bands on your roster.

Marc Rizzo: "The majority of the bands on our label are friends of mine from my hometown. That's not to say that's the only reason I put them on. I believe in all of their music.The label was originally created by myself and my brother, Luke, to release my solo instrumental CD before it got picked up by Shrapnel Records. After the success of that, I thought it would be cool to compile a sampler CD to be released all around the world through street teams as well as on the SOULFLY merch table while I'm on tour. We had a really great response from that CD and it garnered a lot of attention for all the bands. Thus, the label started to make a name for itself. Now every time I'm home and even when I'm not home, the label is doing record-release shows for the bands and such. It really turned out to be one of the bigger surprises in my life."

Street Assault: You also have a side project called COMMITTEE OF THIRTEEN. Tell us about that. Who's in the band, how did you meet them? Are COMMITTEE's songs yours exclusively or did the other band members contribute to the songwriting?

Marc Rizzo: "COMMITTEE OF THIRTEEN is myself and just real good friends from town. I took the best musicians from my town and put them in this band with me. COMMITTEE OF THIRTEEN are the true pioneers of the flamenco/metal movement. As far as the songwriting, I write all the music and Mike Viso (vocals) writes all lyrics and melodies. The band is rounded off by Dennis Kimak on guitar, Teddy Gibbons on drums, Spinny on percussion, and Rob Torres on bass."

Read the rest of the interview at


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