Morley Artist Peter Gusmano is on a mission to raise awareness of and to foster research for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. We caught up with Peter to learn more about his inspiration to start his charity to help Project A.L.S., to talk gear and more:
How did you start working with Morley?
“I’ve always been a fan of Morley. Ever since seeing Steve Vai stomping all over his Wah when he released the Bad Horsie, I fell in love with the tone and the idea of the Switchless concept. Also seeing Cliff Burton’s crushing bass solos! My music is mainly instrumental rock guitar focused, and I love the idea of being able to paint in the Morley tone with bringing the Wah in and out. My first Wah was the Bad Horsie and since then I have been using so many both live and in the studio. My faves are the Tremonti, Mini Maverick and the Mini George Lynch. The pedals are truly an integral part of my sound and songwriting.”
Who are some of your guitar influences, some of your favorite bands?
“I always say that the idea of melding together Lukather & Landau, Alice In Chains, Satriani and Sabbath would be the culmination of the style I love to perform and write. VH, KISS and so much of the 80’s and 90’s rock scene were my thing and still continue to inspire me to this day. Easy to say my biggest influences are EVH, Ace Frehley, Jerry Cantrell, Tony Iommi, Steve Vai, George Lynch, Warren DeMartini, Steve Lukather, Mark Tremonti, Nuno Bettencourt and John Mayer.”
What is your “Go-to” gear?
“My go-to gear is my EVH & Peavey Wolfgang guitars or my modded Charvels into my Soldano Hot Rod 50+ head, or my EVH 50watt 5150 EL34 or 6L6 heads. I generally run a TC Electronic Flashback and Boss RV6 in the loop. Out in front is my Morley Wah, followed by various modulation pedals such as the TC Electronic Dreamscape, MXR Micro Chorus, Keeley Drive for a Cure Pedal (Collaboration I did with Robert Keeley) as well as the new BOSS Wireless WL50. I run this rig into two 2×12 cabs … one loaded with Vintage 30 Celestions and the other with Celestion Lynchbacks. Sometimes I’ll use my Marshall 1960BX cab. To me, this is my comfortable zone for a rig both live and in studio. Of course it changes now and then but whose doesn’t? The one constant is ALWAYS my Morley Wah!”
Tell us about www.guitarforacure.com, how did that come about and what do you want people to know about this endeavor?
“Guitarforacure.com is a project that I formed after losing my mother, Lillian Gusmano, to a 16-month battle with ALS. Music and creating rock and roll are my lifelong passion. My mother gave me this gift as did my father. When she passed I decided to channel all of my emotions and song ideas into a project that could raise awareness for those who are unfamiliar with ALS and how debilitating it is to a loved one … especially with no known cure. I registered to become an official 501c3 nonprofit organization for ProjectALS.org, the world’s largest independent fundraiser for ALS research. The Estess sisters at Project ALS are remarkable and truly embraced what I was trying to do in the music community. To date, we have raised over $60,000 for Project ALS via music sales online and through my website, as well as fundraisers and proceeds from shows. I am honored to be a part of Project ALS and to help them share their efforts and amazing work to find a cure. ProjectALS.org has raised $90,000,000 in 19 years … which is simply astonishing. I do believe they will find a cure. By 2050, 1 in 25 people will be diagnosed with some kind of neurodegenerative disease … and that in itself is something I want to say I contributed in some way to helping find a cure.”
Any particular stories of inspiration since you started guitarforacure.com you’d like to share?
“The feedback from those who are losing a loved one to this disease, or those who went through the battle of caring for someone are always touching. Music inspires me, and makes me feel like nothing else in the world. My mother who passed from this disease gave me that gift … and I hope in this lifetime we can see a cure. I am always inspired by the support from many of those whom I have worked with … their passion to create with me. Upon releasing my last single “Fact & Fiction,” I had someone write me to tell me how they lost their spouse to the disease. How someone told them of my project and they wanted to thank me for spreading the word. Its amazing how many folks don’t know what ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) is. Each day I am alive and healthy and able to write music is a gift.”
What does the future hold for guitarforacure.com and for Peter Gusmano?
“My mission is to continue to share my passion for music and raising awareness with Project ALS. Music has always been cathartic for me … and the joy of building music from scratch and seeing it come to life. My goal is always to write what inspires me, talk to people about why ALS is so important to me and finding a cure.”