Nili Brosh: Shreddelicious talks to Nili about life on the road

Nili Brosh with her trusty Ibanez
Nili Brosh is arguably one of the most exciting female rock fusion guitar talent of this decade. Based in North Hollywood California, Nili is not new to playing live either  having toured or played live shows with Tony MacAlpine, Vigilent, the Ethan Brosh Band and the Iron Maidens.  We caught up with Nili just after the release of her hot new album "A Matter of Perception", which is getting great reviews, to find out what it is like to play live in front of a horde of clamouring guitar fans.

[Shreddelicious] How many live gigs have you done?

[Nili Brosh] I've definitely done more gigs than I can think of or count. I've done many gigs of different sizes with many different bands…from big crowds in Russia with Tony MacAlpine, to screaming Maiden fans in Texas with The Iron Maidens, to a few people in a small room back in college.

Nili Brosh performs "Silence of Saturday" for EMGtv

[Shreddelicious] Have you had any special guests at your gigs?

[Nili Brosh] I've never really had special guests at my gigs, but I've had the privilege of being a special guest at other people's gigs! I've had the absolute honor of sitting in with Andy Timmons at a clinic, Guthrie Govan at a clinic, and The Aristocrats at one of their earlier concerts. These three instances are some of the most memorable and special appearances I've ever done, because - aside from it being such a dream come true to play with your heroes - they're opportunities to grow and learn so much, even in such a short amount of time. I think most people would agree that spending time with such experienced musicians is probably one of the best ways to improve.

As far as my own gigs go, I am about to do a CD release party for my new record in Los Angeles on December 10th, and that will actually be the first time that I will have the privilege of bringing my own special guest or two (more info soon). I'm very much looking forward to that!

Tony MacAlpine - Edge Of Insanity ( 3-7-2014 )

[Shreddelicious] Is there anything you would recommend people take on tour?

[Nili Brosh] Comfortable clothes and shoes are a must. Chances are that you will be sitting or lying down in the same place for a long while, and you want to make sure you're wearing clothes that will make it as easy on your body as possible. Also, sometimes a space heater can really come in handy if the dressing room or bus is cold, and you don't want to bother others around you with a change of temperature.

Nili Brosh with live rig

[Shreddelicious] How do you go about getting ready for touring?

[Nili Brosh] I make sure to have a set practice schedule prior to leaving for tour, so I feel confident that I'm ready for the gig by the time I leave. You never know how much practice or warm-up time you will necessarily have on the road, so feeling prepared always makes me a lot calmer.

Also, I try to exercise regularly and eat as healthily as I can before I leave, because again - you never know what the conditions will be in terms of food and eating/travel schedules. Your daily habits can really derail on tour, so I find it helpful to keep the routine together while at home.

Tony MacAlpine - No Place In Time ( 3-7-2014 )

[Shreddelicious] What guitar gear do you take on tour?

[Nili Brosh] The rig itself depends on the band, but my sound always comes from a head and a cab, with a pedal board. I find it really important to have backups of whatever you can carry - guitars, cables, 9V batteries, strings, etc…you don't always get a backup rig, but anything you can have a spare of may come in handy when there are technical difficulties or something goes wrong. It's pretty common that things fail or break on the road, so you want to make sure you're covered.

Nili Brosh and Tony MacAlpine

[Shreddelicious] What do you think of people taking photo/videos whilst you are at gigs?

[Nili Brosh] I have no issue with the photos, but like many artists, I have mixed feelings about the videos…I think it's nice that the fans can capture something to keep as a souvenir, but at the same time, they may also go out and share content that isn't truly theirs to share. Also, in my opinion, it seems that some people watch the entire show through the camera on their phone while filming, and I often wonder whether it defeats the entire purpose of being in the room and taking the live show in. I am very aware of the fact that this is the reality of the age we live in, but if it were up to me, I would hope that people just enjoy the experience of *being* at the show and leave the filming up to the artist.

Nili Brosh plays "A Matter of Perception" on EMGtv

[Shreddelicious] What is the worst thing you have happen live on stage when you were at a gig?

[Nili Brosh] Hmm…let me think about that one. Well, if you ask the perfectionist in me, I would probably say "choking up on a solo" or something like that! But seriously, I think technical complications are always annoying to deal with. There was one gig with The Iron Maidens where my boost pedal went out, and no one could hear any of my leads. Or there was one time recently where I literally tripped over *myself* (I can be quite clumsy) and fell flat on my butt on stage. It happened between songs, and the first thing that popped into my head was not "are my hands OK?" (since I used them to break my fall), it was: "damn! I hope my headstock didn't hit the ground and mess up my tuning!". Luckily, I was able to get back up right in time to start the next song. Spontaneous complications can be stressful, but you find a way to deal with them. Live playing is real, and I think the audience understands that.

Nili Brosh ready to record live at the EMG studio

[Shreddelicious] Which do you prefer recording or touring?

[Nili Brosh] I am a fan of both - each of them have their own pros and cons, just like anything else in life. There is nothing like the thrill of playing live, but sometimes the travel can be grueling and wear on your body and mind. Recording is great because you can document your work as an artist and really feel the creative process thrive, but it can be lonely work sometimes, and you can't always share it with the public right away. As I've said, everything comes with its own set of attributes and challenges.

Tony MacAlpine - The King's Cup ( 8-14-2014 )

[Shreddelicious] What are you current touring plans?

[Nili Brosh] I'm actually currently in the process of putting together a new band to play my solo material with, and have announced some live dates.

December 10th, 2014 at The Baked Potato in Los Angeles
December 11th, 2014 opening for Maragold at M15 in Corona, CA
December 13th, 2014 opening for Maragold at Ramona Mainstage in Ramona, CA

I will be posting more dates periodically as they come up, so I hope you keep in touch with me through my social media!

Nili Brosh social media sites

Nili Brosh with Ibanez Guitar and Hughes and Kettner Amp

[Shreddelicious] What do you do to protect your hearing during the live show?

[Nili Brosh] I always wear ear plugs! This part is very important! Even if I didn't need to protect my ears, not wearing ear plugs can hurt the show in other ways: for example, the stage volume can be so loud at times that if you're playing a two-hour show, your ears can really fatigue halfway through, and intonating and bending in tune can become very difficult. Your ears can really play tricks on you when they're tired, and the show can suffer.

Nili Brosh Band - Hat Tricks Live (Excerpt), November 2010

[Shreddelicious] What was your best ever live show?

[Nili Brosh] This is a hard one to answer, because one can interpret the word "best" in several different ways. I've had many gigs that were special to me, ones that made for extremely memorable days that stood out in my life - namely the examples from the previous question. As far as the "best" live show in terms of my playing goes…that's a tough one because I always strive to get better. A show I did in Moscow in 2012 with Tony MacAlpine definitely stands out. It was the last show of a long tour, and you do certainly tend to get better when you play the same set 30 times in a row! Especially when you know it's the last one and you want to give it your all. But to be honest, I think my best gigs were probably this past year, because as I've said - I really strive to get better with every show and every year of my guitar-playing life.

Tony Macalpine "Tears of Sahara" (

[Shreddelicious] Who maintains and sets up the musical equipment for your shows?

[Nili Brosh] It depends on the band or the gig. There have been just as many instances in which I've had a tech as ones where I hadn't. I think it's very important to know your gear well, and to be able to troubleshoot and tech for yourself in case something happens. Of course it's very helpful to know that someone has your back, but I think part of our job description as guitar players is to be familiar with our equipment and how it behaves.

[Shreddelicious] Do you write your songs when you are touring?

[Nili Brosh] It depends on how much time there is or whether there is a quiet place to focus. Sometimes I will come up with ideas if I have time to practice, or I'll hear melodies in my head that I will write down to revisit later. I just quickly document whatever ideas I do come up with while traveling, and then work them out to their full extent once I'm home. It is easier for me to really work on my writing at home because I can focus without distractions, by myself, for many hours at a time if I need to.

Nili Brosh Ibanez seven string at the EMG studio

[Shreddelicious] Do you improvise solos or stick to the solos as written?

[Nili Brosh] Once again, it depends on the band or gig. For example, when I would play with The Iron Maidens, I had to play all of Dave Murray's solos note for note, which is always the case in a tribute band. It was also the case with some of the solos in Tony MacAlpine's band, such as the George Lynch guest solo on "Tears of Sahara", or Jeff Watson's solo on "The King's Cup". However, in that band I also had a lot of room to improvise other solos in the set. That is probably my favorite situation - a gig where I have room to both do my own thing as well as do my best at paying homage to famous solos.

Tony MacAlpine - The Raven ( 3-7-2014 )

[Shreddelicious] Who is the best live guitarist you have ever seen?

[Nili Brosh] There are so many guitarists who are absolutely phenomenal live, even more so than you can comprehend when watching their live videos. When you are right in front of performer at a live show, there is a certain magic, spontaneity, and charisma that no YouTube video could ever truly convey. I think one of the best live shows I've ever seen was Mr. Big. I knew I loved the songs and all of the members' playing, but they brought this intense energy to the stage that I could have never imagined. Not to mention that their performance as a band was incredibly tight, the vocal harmonies were spot-on, and for an encore they all switched instruments *several* times and played some classic covers. It was as entertaining as it was amazing.

[Shreddelicious] I would like to thank Nili Brosh for talking in detail about her live experiences. I recommend you pick up a copy of her latest album from her online store. Nili Brosh: A Matter OF Perception

Nili Brosh: A Matter OF Perception