Monte Pittman plays Three Links on Saturday.East Texas-born axeman Monte Pittman has no plans for slowing down. In fact, one could argue that Pittman is just now entering his golden years as a professional musician.
The longtime Madonna guitarist and collaborator has been taking advantage of the Material Girl’s downtime to rejoin the metal scene with his eponymous solo project, which has released several studio albums and is signed to Metal Blade Records — the same record label that discovered Metallica, Slayer and other heavy metal powerhouses.
He’ll return to Texas this Saturday when he brings his solo performance, dubbed The Monte Pittman Experience, to Three Links.
“I’m still doing my one-man show,” Pittman says, excited to return his home state. “I’ve been working on it, and it keeps getting better and better each show. I’m always changing up the set list, and then you never know what is going to work. I usually take what people want to hear and make that my set.”
Lately, that has meant an eclectic set of covers and originals, he says, and perhaps a riff or two from his old band, Myra Mains, which he co-founded in Longview in the early '90s. Myran Mains combined nu metal and rock ’n’ roll, and the band has a cult following in East Texas that is similar to Pantera's in North Texas.
“It was such a great band,” Pittman, 42, told his hometown paper last year. “People still talk about it now. It’s mind-boggling that there is still such a great respect for that band.”
Myra Mains, with a discography of a couple of demo tapes and two full-length albums, entertained fans from Louisiana to Oklahoma.
“We played in Dallas all the time,” Pittman says. “One really cool thing about being from Longview is that we also could sort of claim both Shreveport and Dallas. We played both places equally, and it was a great time.”
"I am going to be doing everything. I'm going to be producing it, mixing it, everything. It just sort of got to the point where, why present it to someone else when it's already how I want it?" – Monte Pittman on his new album
Pittman eventually quit the band and moved to Los Angeles in 1999, where he began working at Guitar Center and soon joined iconic groove metal band Prong. He eventually quit Guitar Center in favor of teaching private guitar lessons, which proved to be a great choice when he met his third student, movie director Guy Ritchie.
“Guy was my third student,” Pittman said in an interview with Boss. “That was before Snatch came out, and I didn’t know who he was. It turns out he and Madonna were dating. … He started taking lessons, and he got pretty good at it. I remember the day [Madonna’s CD] Music came out, and I taught him a few things from it. I thought it would be cool for him to play them for her.”
The Queen of Pop soon started taking lessons from Pittman, and a month later, she asked him to back her up for an acoustic rendition of "Don't Tell Me" on The Late Show with David Letterman. Eighteen years later, the East Texas guitarist has yet to leave Madonna's side.
Pittman’s solo project isn’t the only musical endeavor outside of his work with Madonna. He worked with Adam Lambert before the vocalist joined American Idol and performed with the Arena Football League's L.A. Kiss house band, owned by Kiss members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.
He’s got a couple of new things in the works, too.
“I’m working with Jill Janus from Huntress on a project,” Pittman says, adding that he is performing all of the music. “I’m co-producing that with Jay Ruston and really learning a lot. I’m kind of more excited about that than anything else. … I’m also starting a band, but I can’t talk about it.”
When pressed for more details, Pittman confides that it is a supergroup of sorts. “It’s a little bit of everything, and by me saying that, I’m being very descriptive because they’ll be elements of what each person has done,” he says.
Pittman is also working on his follow-up to 2016’s solo record, Inverted Grasp of Reality. In the past, he has relied on a team of renowned session musicians to back him up; the upcoming record will mark the first time he has produced, mixed and played all the instruments himself.
“I am going to be doing everything,” he says. “I’m going to be producing it, mixing it, everything. It just sort of got to the point where, why present it to someone else when it’s already how I want it?”
With this much going on, he better hope Madonna doesn’t call.
Monte Pittman, 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, Three Links, 2704 Elm St., $10 and up, ticketfly.com.