We recently caught up with Monte Pittman to talk about his first solo album for Metal Blade (and his third overall), The Power of Three. And while he’s certainly a renowned enough artist in his own right, he’s also been Madonna’s guitar player for the last 13 years and logged time with Prong, among other endeavors. We asked him to rank his five favorite songs to play from both Prong and Madonna. Here’s what he told us:
5) “Beg To Differ”
We played this one a couple different times. A good sign that you have a killer song is if it will work successfully done in a way that’s different than the original. When I was 15 years old, my first guitar student ever brought me the cassette tape of Beg To Differ during his first lesson and said that’s what he wanted to learn. His name is Michael Anders and I’ll always thank him for that!
4) “The Banishment”
This is on the Power Of The Damager album where I played bass. I learned so much about playing guitar during the time I played bass in Prong. I saw everything from a different angle. This song was always fun to play. There’s plenty of bass acrobatics. It’s the last thing we recorded for this album and put the final pieces of it together as we were recording it. Looking back, this is another one of my favorite Prong songs ever. We had some great times and great laughs when we made this one. I’ve always admired Tommy’s lyrics equally to his guitar skills.
3) “Prove You Wrong”
This song helped pave the way for me to become a singer. On the original recording, Tommy Victor and Troy Gregory alternate vocal duties and I learned a lot by performing that live. When I played bass, I did the vocals with him. When I played guitar in Prong, Tommy and I both did the guitar solo together so it was doubled live. That’s something I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else do. Tommy’s guitar playing on this song is one of a kind. Carson Daly once told me “Prove You Wrong” was one of his favorite songs to play when he was in radio.
2) “Whose Fist Is This Anyway?”
This is another one of my favorite songs ever. Tommy was on a roll when he made Cleansing. Some of the most wicked riffs of all time. The end riff of this song is just devastating. If you haven’t watched the video for this one in a while, you need to! Tommy plays the guitar solo using a slide and that’s something you didn’t see a lot of then or now in a heavy/industrial, whatever you want to call it, song. Live, I always loved commanding the audience to get their fists in the air and introduce this song!
1) “Another Worldly Device”
This is one of my favorite songs ever of all time! Tommy would let me start this one live knowing that. I always thought it was cool when John “JB” Bechdel would sample Tommy’s guitar and play that live in place of a second guitarist. That also gave a completely different approach to the riff. I love how the riff modulates up and down. I love how the beat changes in the verse. I love the lyrics. I love the production. It also has one of the best guitar tones ever recorded. This is the track that starts off “Cleansing” and the first of two albums produced by Terry Date.