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Rafael Moreira

Growing up in Brazil Rafael Moreira dreamt of ripping guitar solos in front of adoring masses. These dreams turned to determination, leading Moreira to LA where he attended Musicians Institute. Rafael’s skills were soon discovered and put to good use as the guitarist for P!nk, Christina Aguilera, The Voice, and American Idol (to name a few). In this episode we speak with Moreira about his experiences playing in house bands of hit TV shows, performing with artists from P!nk to Paul Stanley, growing up in Brazil, and much more.

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Transcript

Evan Ball:
Hello and welcome to Ernie Ball's Striking a Chord. I'm Evan Ball. Today I'll be speaking with guitar extraordinaire, Rafael Moreira. Rafael Moreira is the consummate pro. He's been the guitarist for giant acts, such as Christina Aguilera and Pink. He's been the guitarist on all kinds of TV shows, including The Voice, Rock Star and American Idol. So in this episode, we talk about these experiences. What's it like playing enormous venues? What's it like being in the house band of one of these shows? Other topics include such varied subjects as Brazilian culture and Portuguese pronunciations. Rafael is from Brazil, by the way. Soccer, Kiss cruises, his band Magnetico and more. Ladies and gentlemen, Rafael Moreira. Rafael Moreira welcome to the podcast.

Rafael Moreira:
Thank you for having me. Evan.

Evan Ball:
Of course. Maybe we can start there. Have you gotten used to people calling you Rafael instead of Rafael?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. I sort of gave up trying to correct everybody. Yes.

Evan Ball:
I bet. So for our audience, you're from Brazil originally?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. Grew up in Brazil, Southern part.

Evan Ball:
And before we get on topic, you're a good person to ask, I think. I've always kind of wondered, in Portuguese or at least Brazilian Portuguese, is an R in the front of a word always an H sound?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. It has an H sound in the beginning. Yes.

Evan Ball:
Only at the beginning. Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
In the beginning. In the middle, if you have a double R it will have an H sound.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
If it's R, you're just going to pronounce it like [Morrera 00:01:48] or we say Moreira.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
If it's double R like the formula one driver, [Hubens 00:01:58] instead of Rubens, it's Hubens and then his name is Barrichello, Italian. But in the middle has a double R so we call [Bahichello 00:02:08].

Evan Ball:
This is good. Here's something I've been wondering because I follow soccer and UFC.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
And so I hear like all the [Gracies 00:02:16], we actually [Hoise 00:02:18] or [Henzo 00:02:19]. But in soccer it's Ronaldo, Ronaldinho. Should it be-

Rafael Moreira:
[Honaldo Honaldinho 00:02:23]. That's how we say it.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
[Holberto 00:02:27] Carlos.

Evan Ball:
That's interesting. So even in Portugal, would it be Cristiano [Honaldo 00:02:33]?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah, Cristiano Honaldo. The Portuguese from Portugal, you hear the R little harsher, like [Honaldo 00:02:43]. You have the [inaudible 00:02:45]. [Khafael 00:02:45] instead of Hafael.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
Brazilian Portuguese is a little smoother, I think.

Evan Ball:
Well, we'll consider it a public service announcement for everybody on the Portuguese pronunciations.

Rafael Moreira:
Sure.

Evan Ball:
Interesting though that pronunciation translated in MMA, but not soccer, at least in the U.S you know?

Rafael Moreira:
Right. I hear what you're saying. Everyone in MMA knows that.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
I watch them, man. I watched the last one, with Derrick Lewis.

Evan Ball:
Oh, I missed that one. Yeah. I heard he got hurt though.

Rafael Moreira:
The guy who was fighting was amazing. Amazing jiu jitsu guy from Russia. But Derrick's so powerful. I mean, crazy.

Evan Ball:
He's climbing the ladder as far as fan favorite, for sure.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
To stay off topic for a little longer. I think we have really similar passions, music, soccer, following MMA.

Rafael Moreira:
Yes.

Evan Ball:
You're just way better at all these than I am.

Rafael Moreira:
No.

Evan Ball:
Okay, before we get on topic, I did see a video of you juggling a soccer ball. So, I kind of knew that you had that passion there.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. I grew up playing. We grew up in a farm, in Brazil. My dad had a farm. My mom still lives in the same property and my dad played a lot of soccer. He had his home and he had a soccer field. So we grew up playing and we rode horses, played soccer, BMX.

Evan Ball:
Did you play on soccer teams growing up?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah, I did. I did until I was maybe 15, 16.

Evan Ball:
Was there any competition between soccer and guitar for you?

Rafael Moreira:
Not really, but I knew I loved guitar playing and music, but every one wants to play soccer in Brazil. It's a very competitive thing, man. So if you're going to do it, you've got to sacrifice it all. Just like I did for guitar.

Evan Ball:
Right, right, right.

Rafael Moreira:
But I think the environment of playing music, it's a little more fun, less rigid in terms of taking care of yourself and being healthy and at an age where you want to have fun.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. All right. Moving onto more relevant topics to this podcast. I want to give people a taste of your career because you have quite an amazing resume. You've toured and recorded with a variety of huge artists, done guitar clinics around the world, played on every TV show you can think of. So, it's very varied. Could you maybe name three things you've done, highlights that maybe stand out that you could share?

Rafael Moreira:
Well, I did play Saturday night live with Christina. And-

Evan Ball:
That is Aguilera?

Rafael Moreira:
... Christina Aguilera.

Evan Ball:
Yes. Yes.

Rafael Moreira:
And it was during the More Cowbell Skit, with Christopher Walken.

Evan Ball:
Oh yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
It was a classic one. "More Cowbell? we're watching that." The Green Room, and I was like, "This is incredible. I can't believe my first big show, my first show ever is this one."

Evan Ball:
What year was that?

Rafael Moreira:
2000. 20 years ago.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
So, that was really cool.

Evan Ball:
Well, how'd you get that gig?

Rafael Moreira:
Through an audition, actually. I was at home and I got a phone call from a friend from a payphone, at MIH, Musicians Institute, in Hollywood.

Evan Ball:
Oh, okay.

Rafael Moreira:
The guy was like, "How far? You got to come down. They're auditioning people, at SIR." I wasn't in the scene. I was working, playing here and there. I was doing gigs at Baked Potato, my own gigs. I really wanted to do my thing there, but I loved rock. But I was in this fusion mentality really going deep, but I wanted to play. I needed to work. So, I showed up there and I sort of got called to do a second audition. Things worked out. The next thing I know I'm in New York doing SNL with Christopher Walken.

Evan Ball:
That's so cool.

Rafael Moreira:
The other one, I was playing Wembley with Pink. And I left the stage, this guy came up to me and said, "Man, you're a terrific player." And when I looked up it's Brian May.

Evan Ball:
Wow.

Rafael Moreira:
This is one of my biggest heroes. I always his loved vibrato and the statements he made in his solos. I love his playing. So, that was a very sweet thing.

Evan Ball:
That's awesome. Let me dig into that one a little bit. So, you're playing with Pink, was it just that one gig or did you play more gigs with her?

Rafael Moreira:
I played with her for close to six years. Then I went back to Christina.

Evan Ball:
Yeah, Yeah, yeah. So, these are giant acts. What is kind of the guitar player's role on a pop act like that? What I'm thinking is, there's certain songs where the guitar is much more prominent in other songs where it's really not prominent. I feel I've seen some pop acts where you can see the guitar player, but kind of have to strain to hear what the guitar player was doing. So, was it this kind of thing where the guitar roll would really vary song to song?

Rafael Moreira:
I think yes. In general, it is based on moments of the show and where you can actually come in. There's a lot to do with the personality of each guitar player. If you're a little more laid back more of... I don't know. Every gig I've done, I was able to sort of bring the guitar forward. Have four, four [welves 00:08:31] on stage and really dig in and [inaudible 00:08:34] it every single time. And you just got to know the melody of the music, be aware that sometimes you shouldn't play here. It's good to not play sometime.

Evan Ball:
So you have some discretion even with big acts like Christine Aguilar or Pink?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah, absolutely. I think we got to sort of play game. I don't mean the game per se, play the gig. When we serve, we serve that specific wave. Every wave is a little bit different, we adapt. But one thing that is really cool is that depending on the personality of the musician, you can really [inaudible 00:09:17]. And things are done in a natural way, there's a reason why you're there there's a reason why the singer might want to play with you and sort of use you to enhance the show and there's things that can be done that way, that is beneficial to the show. And you end up being able to showcase your guitar playing, or have a little bit of a voice. But it's not imposing, it's more on a natural sort of basis.

Evan Ball:
Right. So, you've already mentioned The Baked Potato and Wembley, two very different venues. How do you compare, because most people don't get to play on the size stage of Wembley. What are some of the big differences? I would think it's maybe feels more isolating. I mean, you're so far away from the other band mates, you have all this space. Is there anything that stands out, as far as your experience playing those kinds of gigs versus something The Baked Potato say.

Rafael Moreira:
You know, it's funny, that you asked that, because, when you're in a small setup like that, everything is so intimate. And most of the time when I'm playing places The Baked Potato, or even the House of Blues, with Paul Stanley, somebody I've been playing with, sometimes we do smaller 1,000 people venues. It's way more vulnerable man. It's like people are really zoomed in, in what you're going to do next.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
It's very interesting. When you're playing for a crowd like 80, 100,000, it is so cool, but you have to project. It's a bigger thing so you got really just think that way. Think in a broader, sort of a bigger picture way.

Evan Ball:
Do you feel disconnected from say the drummer at all? Say in a smaller club, he's right there. Everybody's right there. Does that feel strange at all?

Rafael Moreira:
It does. It depends on the gig you're in, it depends on the mix. How much you rely on... I mean, obviously in my opinion, the band is as good as its drummer, the drummer. That's what I think it's the most important instrument on stage that gives everybody a base. Let's say. That everyone relies on that beat, the groove. So yes, but I usually mix the drums kind of loud, regardless if I'm using [Yunior's 00:12:00]. I just like to hear drums so I can dig in deep. Go deep-

Evan Ball:
Yeah, still feel it.

Rafael Moreira:
... Yeah deeper pocket. Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
As much as I can.

Evan Ball:
That's cool. Okay. Any other moments from your varied career that you'd want to throw out there?

Rafael Moreira:
Man, there's so many, Evan. It's crazy. So many fun times, man.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
I think playing with Paul Stanley, like the first time we met, we were on a show called Rock Star on CBS. That was a really good show for me.

Evan Ball:
Just to expand real quick, that's where INXS, on the first season at least was looking for a new singer, right?

Rafael Moreira:
Yes.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
We only had two seasons unfortunately. Because at the time, people were comparing the show to American Idol and other bigger shows that were more popular, but the Rock Star was a great show. And if it was on today with the same ratings we would be doing great.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. No, it was a great show, man. I got to play a lot of rock and roll classics on national TV. That's when I made my move from Pink into staying town and doing the second season of the TV show. That's when we got a call from Paul Stanley's manager, Doc Mcghee, and we all went to dinner with him and it was a lot of fun. It's just weird. Like, "Wow, my God, that's Paul Stanley." I was a huge fan as a kid.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. So your band, you have the shirt, right? Magnetico.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
You guys played on the Kiss cruise. I was reading?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. We've done for Kiss cruise. We opened for Kiss. We went on tour with Steel Panther after the Kiss cruise, which was really cool. Those guys ended up liking the band a lot. [King Zacks 00:13:47] invited us to open for them. They were on the Kiss cruise. They became fans, bought t-shirts. Those were validations that we loved. When people that we love that are great musicians or music that we really like, if they turn around and like our band, it's a trio I put together a while back. And we have two albums. This two guys are here. The first-

Evan Ball:
Okay. There we go.

Rafael Moreira:
... songs about the world, which is this t-shirt and the latest one, which is Death Race to really do artwork. It's like post-apocalyptic. And this is my solo man. This is done a long time ago. It's called Acid Guitar. It's like 12 minutes, 13 minutes songs. No metronome. Just kind of...

Evan Ball:
And very different stylistically from Magnetico.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
That's why I kind of created Magnetico because I do a lot of acoustic music. I do a lot of that stuff and I don't want to mix it up. I don't want people to be a little bit confused.

Evan Ball:
Right. Well, you did mention Steel Panther, a moment ago, pretty funny band. I might as well ask, do they behave like they do in their videos when you're touring with them?

Rafael Moreira:
They're great guys. They're super funny, man.

Evan Ball:
I'm sure. Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
Satchel, my God. And he's a beast of a guitar player too. On that Eddie sort of a vein, I mean, it's ridiculous.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
Stix. I'm just telling their stage name. He joined us for soccer games on the cruise. Because we kind of do that every time we go on the cruise, maybe one guy of Magnetico is a trio, the drummer is Italian. So he's pretty good addition to the Magnetico team space.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
So we got, Steel Panther, joining in and it was so much fun, man. We played some other bands. This is actually a fun thing.

Evan Ball:
So what's the vibe on these cruises? I mean, that sounds fairly healthier. You're actually playing sports and exercising. What you picture is like people just getting out of control and throwing up over the edge of the boat. Is it both?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. I always look for healthy things to do anywhere I am. I love surfing. If I can play soccer, if I can go for hikes, ping-pong. Oh my God. I have my own paddles bought in Japan. They custom made it for me. And on the cruise I was playing with Ace Frehley, my guitar hero. And it was a fun. Because-

Evan Ball:
Did you beat him?

Rafael Moreira:
... I played a couple of nasty balls and he was like, "Oh, he's holding the paddle. Weird." He left. So I was like, "No, Ace, come back."

Evan Ball:
I'm sorry.

Rafael Moreira:
I love Ace man, come on. It's not cool. But I enjoy partying too, Evan. I like to do both. If you're just partying, you're not going to feel good. You're not going to be able to carry on the show or touring.

Evan Ball:
No, I met more of the clientele. The fans on the boat, if it's-

Rafael Moreira:
Oh yeah. It's partying, man.

Evan Ball:
... Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
It's good. I think it's not terrible. People love to drink. And there's a ton of shows going. Kiss stuff everywhere you look, as you could imagine you get out of your room and it's Kiss 24/7. It's pretty fun.

Evan Ball:
That's great. Well, let's get back to the shows. You were the guitarist for seasons three and four of The Voice. Like you said, Rock Star INXS and I think the next season was Supernova.

Rafael Moreira:
Yes.

Evan Ball:
What else were you on? You were on American Idol, right?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah, yeah.

Evan Ball:
So, this means you've learned pretty much every cover song under the sun, I would think. What is that process like to take in all these cover, are you sort of a sponge at this point where you just listen to it and imbibe the song and turn it real quick?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. I work best that way, where you just have a good idea of the music, the song, the song, and then you just do your own interpretation of it. It also depends on the gig. If you're on the gig, if it's your gig, you're the guitar player. Then, yeah you get a chart. If you have to dig in to learn the parts Dream On, from-

Evan Ball:
Aerosmith?

Rafael Moreira:
... Yeah. Then you got to learn the little part too. With the chart, it makes it a little faster, but as a guitar player, we have to dig in. It's not that easy like some people think it is. But you got to play rock and roll. You got to play it the way we understand it, is the correct way. Some people read everything. And it just sounds a karaoke band, everything-

Evan Ball:
Right. Right.

Rafael Moreira:
... it's not cool. So we got to play the music the way we like to hear it. So, it's not just go there in front of a piece of music and try to recreate something that was done in the 60s and 70s. But, when I'm on the gig, I have a little more time to prepare. I always love to leave room for improv parts. If the solo is not that recognizable, I'm definitely going to throw in my own one time solo I would never play it again.

Rafael Moreira:
And I love that. That's my favorite thing to do. If I play Bohemian Rhapsody, I'm going to pay respect to one of the coolest solos and guitarist that we ever had in this world. And I like to put my own spin, the half-ish stamp I love it. But I forget all the songs after, I don't retain them whatsoever. It comes in, I do it and then I'll never think about that song again. I like to keep a lot of room to writing and coming up with new things, new music.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. No, I'm just curious behind the scenes, because I feel like the band is such an underappreciated aspect of these shows. I mean, is it a ton of practice working with the contestants? Are you drilling those songs over and over before that actual real show?

Rafael Moreira:
So, here's how it works a little bit. If I have 20 songs for tomorrow, I'm going to shed them a little bit, because of that rock concept that we just talked about. You got to play rock and roll the way it should be. I don't care how professional you are, or "No, semi charts." "Don't ask me charts for Jimi Hendrix, please. Just learn to tune play the thing. That's what we do." That piss me off. Like, "Hey, can you send me a chart for Jimi Hendrix?" "No."

Evan Ball:
Yes.

Rafael Moreira:
I hate this thing man. But, it's tough, Evan. Because we're working with a lot of younger... People that probably missed a lot of this type of music that maybe I grew up with.

Evan Ball:
True. Yeah. Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
Then they will come in and give their two cents and change the whole song. The whole, Dream On, that you worked the night before to learn each little double start. "Oh, no, I don't like any of that. Let's change." "Oh, great".

Evan Ball:
Yeah. I'm sure you have to be pretty quick on your feet for a job like that?

Rafael Moreira:
They change keys all the time, left and right. "Forget if it sounds good like that only guitar. We're going to play in B flat man. It was in E before open string. Now we're going to play in B flat. So, cool." "All right. Just let's do it. No problem." It's kind of cool and challenging for us because we make it happen. If you're on tour with 20 songs, the songs get better. You play every week. And all of a sudden you're able to create things on top of what you already knew.

Rafael Moreira:
In these TV shows you always on your toe, "Oh, change." There's nothing to grab on to. Only your instinct. Once we're going to perform, finally, we're going to perform on this 20 songs with all this changes. Key changes. "Now, is there anything left for me to do on this? Or any creativity left that haven't been killed?" We still we'll add some things, we still improvise. I mean, I don't know.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Well, related to that, something I think about often is the pressure may be to not mess up because everyone just assumes the band's going to nail the parts. It's really all about the contestant, but there's so much at stake with the contestant. Is there pressure being in the band that you could mess up their opportunity if something goes wrong?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. There is always the chance that somebody might make a mistake, but it's so rare. I'm talking about really good musicians, people are very confident.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. It's completely necessary. You can see to have the highest level of musicianship in a scenario like that.

Rafael Moreira:
And it's great.

Evan Ball:
Real pros.

Rafael Moreira:
Yes. Real pros. I love doing rockstar because I'm a huge performer. I love performing. I started when I was six years old and I always been on stage. I love the stage. I love playing in front of people and it feeds my soul, and it makes me even do crazier stuff on the spot that it's sort of on the improv side. When you're not being seen or having the interaction with the people, it's tougher on me. 100%. Because it's not as fun. Right? It's not as exciting.

Evan Ball:
Yeah for sure.

Rafael Moreira:
Some people are okay with that. I know musicians that if they've never been seen or they never left the room that they're... It's okay. It's completely fine.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
So we all a little different.

Evan Ball:
Right. Okay. So did you move to the U.S because you wanted to go to Musicians Institute?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. 100%. Yeah. It was either going to be Berkeley or Musicians Institute. I was so hungry at the time for playing that I just didn't want to... the whole live situation and the recording.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
They had some amazing teachers.

Evan Ball:
So how old were you when you moved over

Rafael Moreira:
20.

Evan Ball:
20. Okay. And previously you'd been in a band in Brazil, gigging around Brazil?

Rafael Moreira:
Well, I've never done the so-called sideman before I moved to the States, because it wasn't something I even knew about it. I wasn't listening to Janet Jackson then. I didn't really pay attention to Madonna.

Evan Ball:
Right.

Rafael Moreira:
None of it. It was all rock and roll bands, fusion, Chick Corea Elektric Band, Metallica Pantera, all the British rock, Ritchie Blackmore and Jimmy Page. That's what I loved. That's what I wanted to do. And when I moved to the States, to Los Angeles and I went to MI, I was very open minded with all the styles. I didn't mind really failing in class, going to adjust ensemble and just... It was horrible. But I figured this is the time to do it.

Evan Ball:
The right attitude. You just got to jump in?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. I had a long hair, man.

Evan Ball:
Don't be bashful.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah, man. I was playing a lot of the shredding thing. I grew up playing a lot of that stuff and I had an hybernese that I bought in Miami when I was 15. So it was kind of getting to that. And I was very passionate about that.

Evan Ball:
Did you already speak English when you moved?

Rafael Moreira:
No.

Evan Ball:
Really?

Rafael Moreira:
Nah. Not, nothing. I learned in school. I was thinking music and playing for 100,000, as a kid. Every day, all day long. It's tough for me to focus on school. I loved it.

Evan Ball:
Right, right. Okay. So you knew exactly what you wanted to do early on and you were going to do it?

Rafael Moreira:
Since I know myself, guitar hero too. I am very honest about this, man. I loved playing guitar I wanted so bad.

Evan Ball:
Hey, did you think you would move back to Brazil, after you went to MI or was your plan to make it in the music business in the States?

Rafael Moreira:
You see, I didn't think that way at the time. I didn't have an agenda like that. I was way more pure. I was kind of experienced because I was a kid that enjoyed life to the max growing up. I had a lot of fun, a lot of freedom.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
Lots of fun, man. Oh my God. So moving to LA and staying in school for three and a half years with scholarship after. I graduated, they awarded me scholarships because of my writing. And I won this guitar competition and MI called GIT masters. It was really cool for me, but I was having a great time. I never missed school. I was the first one there. I would spend the night over, in school rehearsing with the band mates. I mean, we lived and read music, playing guitar and playing and try to play the Brecker Brothers, and transcribing, really getting into this.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. I don't know if you heard, I just did a podcast with John Myung from Dream Theater. But, he had a similar experience over at Berkeley, on the other coast, just so immersed when they got Dream Theater together. You're just living it, day in day out.

Rafael Moreira:
I'm just getting good thought so you're talking about those guys. Because I love their first album a lot.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
It's so good. And when they came out, I remember listening to the CD, I don't know it was a CD, it wasn't a vinyl. It was early 90s. Right?

Evan Ball:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rafael Moreira:
I listen to that album every out here to this date.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Yeah. But they got the band together during their college experience.

Rafael Moreira:
It is incredible. I'm very thankful. And I love the American Music School vibe, and the mentality, and the language. There's a language within the country and how people communicate and I love it. I'm totally based on that now, how we converse during jams, how we maintain the conversation. I learned here and I love it.

Evan Ball:
That's great. So, how are you spending your time these days? Are you writing a lot for the band?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. I'm using a lot of this stuff. This guy.

Evan Ball:
That's nice.

Rafael Moreira:
Just to give you a taste, let me just get this guy right here.

Evan Ball:
And for our listeners that looked an open strum with a cable on the fifth thread, what is that? Seven thread?

Rafael Moreira:
Thread. But I have so many different tunings. And I sing on top of this and I love that. [crosstalk 00:30:06]

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Those are great chords.

Rafael Moreira:
And it keeps going. I'm writing a lot. I'm writing just melodies lyrics, the whole thing. (singing). Yeah, just writing a tone. I have a new song with Magnetico coming up, that I recorded on a baritone Les Paul.

Evan Ball:
Nice.

Rafael Moreira:
It is just crazy rock with a little bit of... It's a weird feel like there's some... With the baritone. It's crazy. I can't explain, but I wish I-

Evan Ball:
With distortion that part?

Rafael Moreira:
Oh yeah. [crosstalk 00:31:49]

Evan Ball:
Yeah, yeah. So it's heavy.

Rafael Moreira:
[crosstalk 00:31:50] And then it just gets into this crazy POG Octave, Allure Octave from the B.

Evan Ball:
So, wait, is that a single that's coming out soon?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah, yeah.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
With Magnetico and I have all this acoustic material that I'm working on right now. Yeah. I mean, I'm just trying to stay busy, teaching. I teach, moved some of the lessons to Zoom and I produce. I produce other bands and act, which is fun for me because of the arrangements and knowledge that I sort of was able to apply on the TV shows. We all give input.

Evan Ball:
For sure. Yeah. Your experience base is so broad.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
I'm sure you could be used in any capacity.

Rafael Moreira:
I offer all the services on my website. People, when they go to my website, they can check out the writing and producing and things like that. Guitar lessons.

Evan Ball:
Cool. Yeah. We'll put your website in show notes. Is it your name.com?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
Rafaelmoreira.com.

Evan Ball:
All right. Cool. All right. Let's do a lightning round. Let's see what happens. Some random questions here. If you could tour with any band or artist, past or present, who would it be?

Rafael Moreira:
But it's just too many. Do I have to just take one?

Evan Ball:
Pick as many as you want. Just toss them out there.

Rafael Moreira:
I love Sting. I love The Police.

Evan Ball:
Yeah

Rafael Moreira:
I really like them, it's huge band for me. Yeah, Sting is a cool guy I think it would be good to sort of play with.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
I know he's got Dominic, but you never know. Hey, Dominic, you played with Sting for too long, dude. Just pass the torch a little.

Evan Ball:
Sting is a huge fan of this show. So I think you're in. Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
Whitesnake, because of John Sykes, one of my favorite guitar players.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
I just love that '87 album, man.

Evan Ball:
So was that his era, John Sykes, late 80s?

Rafael Moreira:
John was in thin Lizzy for a while. And then he went to do that album with Whitesnake '87. Has, is this love?

Evan Ball:
Oh, he's on that song. Okay. Was that Adrian Vandenberg too? Trying to remember.

Rafael Moreira:
It was John Sykes that record the whole album and co wrote the songs. Dave Coverdale brought in Adrian Vanderburgh to do one solo on, Here I Go Again.

Evan Ball:
Oh, okay

Rafael Moreira:
That solo is not John Sykes. You can hear John playing all the rhythms and he had my bridles in the rhythm. Yeah, it's so wide and crazy. But then you have Adrian playing the solo and the biggest song.

Evan Ball:
Gotcha.

Rafael Moreira:
And I was like, "Why you don't you let John Sykes, man." I got upset. I'm going to side with the guitar players. Right?

Evan Ball:
Right, right. Okay. Ideal set length. You get to choose. You're just out on tour, you get to pick your set length. What would it be?

Rafael Moreira:
As far as the time, how long it is?

Evan Ball:
Anything. Just how long you want to work that night? How long do you being on stage?

Rafael Moreira:
I think two, two hours.

Evan Ball:
Two hours? Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
All right.

Rafael Moreira:
It's two hours. I mean...

Evan Ball:
Well, you're playing with giant bands too, so that makes sense.

Rafael Moreira:
You have so many songs. I mean, yeah, you can do an hour and a half. That's fine. I think an hour. When you're used to playing, an hour gets to be not long enough. So I think an hour and a half would be the normal, and two hours is a pretty good show.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
If you have a lot of songs and a lot of hits. If you're coming up 45 an hour tops.

Evan Ball:
All right. So we talked about some of your best gigs or most memorable. Do you have a worst gig ever?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah, man.

Evan Ball:
All right.

Rafael Moreira:
I'm not going to say it.

Evan Ball:
No.

Rafael Moreira:
I've done some pretty, pretty weird gig.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
Do I say it? No-

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
... I mean there's many. Okay. Well, let me just go off, not off the record, but off the scene before I got the gig with Christina, I was working it with a disco band. It wasn't fun, man. It was supposed to be crazy and fun because it's a disco thing, and we're all young. But the band that I joined, they were older than me. And they wanted me to invest in it to buy more platform shoes. I'm like, "Hell no, I don't want to do it anymore. You guys kill the vibe. It's supposed to be fun." Disco bands are fun, man. It's a party, but it wasn't like that. So, I ended up letting... they let me go, I guess, after a year. And then I got to keep with Christine. I was super thankful.

Evan Ball:
Okay. So, it was an overall project. It wasn't one single gig where you fell off the stage or people threw stuff at you.

Rafael Moreira:
No, I don't think it ever happened. Never, but I did get a little bit of a couple people getting upset in the beginning of Paul Stanley's gigs. When we were doing all Kiss material, we were on tour with Paul Stanley playing Kiss music. And like, "Guys, so you know, this is not going to... I want you guys to bring your own thing, do your thing." Obviously, some of the parts we got to play the way it is. Actually, went to Paul's house to learn all the cool parts, [A's part 00:37:39]. Great.

Rafael Moreira:
But some of the solos, some of the things he encouraged me to be knee and add my own thing. Which is actually cool because you can't really do that on Kiss that much because you got to play note by note. So, improvising a little bit on Kiss. Some people, it just doesn't go well with them.

Evan Ball:
Right. Right. Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
But after two songs, I think they were in tune. They were like, "I won them over." So, that was good for me.

Evan Ball:
That's funny. That's similar to... I was talking to Steve Morris and when he first joined deep purple, he had some tough customers to win over for sure.

Rafael Moreira:
I love Steve. What a great guitar player.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. But it took some getting used to from some of those purest fans to accept someone new.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. Yeah, I got dirty looks, man. It's like [inaudible 00:38:37]

Evan Ball:
Okay, we're getting more random here. You're a world traveler though. So, if you were to buy three houses around the world, what cities would they be in?

Rafael Moreira:
I think I would like to have a house somewhere in Italy. Well, I was in Lucca and Lucca was really cool. Not far from the Pisa Tower.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
Leaning Tower? I liked that. I think it's Tuscany. My mom's side. My grandma's family come from that area. My dad's sides as well. So, I can't kind of like-

Evan Ball:
Okay. So, you kind of feel you have some roots there.

Rafael Moreira:
... It'll be kind of cool to have a place in Italy.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
I would like to have a place in the North part of Brazil, which is the opposite where I grew up.

Evan Ball:
Oh, interesting.

Rafael Moreira:
It was just more tropical, like more... And maybe somewhere...

Evan Ball:
Where are you right now? Are you in LA?

Rafael Moreira:
I'm in LA. My little studio here in my house.

Evan Ball:
Okay. But it's not making the top three yet?

Rafael Moreira:
No, because I'm already here. I already have a little place here. I would to live somewhere like Costa Rica. Where it's just beach every day. I don't know.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
It'll be kind of fun. Surf and play soccer in the beach, man.

Evan Ball:
Oh yeah. When I was 16, our club team, we had a Costa Rican adventure and went over there for two weeks and played Costa Rican teams and stayed on the beach. It was amazing.

Rafael Moreira:
What position you play?

Evan Ball:
I was in the midfield somewhere in club. I was usually right mid. High school I played in center mid

Rafael Moreira:
Played the same position, man.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
I love it.

Evan Ball:
We got get together to play some soccer.

Rafael Moreira:
I would love to, Evan, any time. I was playing on a league, they let me in. It's old English dude's, they used to have Billy Duffy. He brought me to this league and I've been playing for 20 years.

Evan Ball:
So he's a soccer player too. Huh?

Rafael Moreira:
He's a soccer player.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. That sounds familiar actually.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. Probably to play at Robbie Williams house. So he kind of-

Evan Ball:
Does Robbie Williams play soccer?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah, man. Robbie did. Yeah. It was a lot of fun. It's like, "Wow." Ziggy Marley, Rohan Marley, all these the Marley guys came and played.

Evan Ball:
How fun? So there's kind of a network of musicians that play soccer. Huh?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
All congregating at Robbie Williams house?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. At one point everybody went there and I remember going up to the house and get getting yelled by Joe Pesci. I swear to God, man. I was like-

Evan Ball:
Was he the cranky neighbor?

Rafael Moreira:
... Yes. I swear to God, Evan. I got yelled by Joe Pesci, "You guy should shut up." And I was like, "Good fellas, Pesci?" I was like, "Dude, this is amazing. Everybody lives here." And yeah man, and all this guys basically for two, we used to play leagues.

Evan Ball:
Justin Chancellor, he was my first interview for this podcast.

Rafael Moreira:
That's crazy. Yeah. I played with him a couple of times-

Evan Ball:
And I know he's a Chelsea fan.

Rafael Moreira:
... Yeah. Chelsea. I think they just lost Willian. Willian?

Evan Ball:
Willian? Yeah. The Brazilian. Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. I think he left. Didn't he? Right? Didn't he?

Evan Ball:
Yeah. I don't know if he's gone yet. But he is leaving.

Rafael Moreira:
To Arsenal?

Evan Ball:
Yeah. No, I, like a lot of Americans started kind of supporting Chelsea after Christian Pulisic went over there.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. He's a good player. Is he?

Evan Ball:
Yeah. He's very good. I think he's the best American we've had and he's scoring lots of goals for Chelsea, a top team. So, it's been fun to see him in there. I think it was a good move for them. They probably pulled in a lot of American fans, for Chelsea, financially.

Rafael Moreira:
[crosstalk 00:42:25] We get on it, that we get better. There's no reason why not.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Well, like you said, it's just the culture is so deep in so many of these countries. Obviously, in Brazil where it's just probably, nothing but soccer from two years old for some of these people. Right?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. [inaudible 00:42:43] you like other things. Surfing's huge. It's always been huge. And now, the Brazilians are up there with John John Florence. I mean, that's a great surfer, man. If he's not there, the Brazilians dominate, but every time he comes back, it's like, "Whoa, this guy is Hawaiian dude. Wow." But yeah. MMA, volleyball. Brazil, we love volleyball. Since we were kids, I played plenty teams. It's a big deal.

Evan Ball:
Oh, I didn't know that. Okay. I thought soccer was just completely dominant. Well, probably is, but there's other stuff too.

Rafael Moreira:
Volleyball is big. We are really good at volleyball. We had MMA, Formula 1.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Rafael Moreira:
Indycar. All the Brazilian guys, Helio Castroneves, Pietro Fittipaldi, Tony Kanaan. So we have love for racing as well.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
But yeah. We don't have football, like American football. I mean, we do, but it's not baseball. Basketball, we're up there kind of trying to get with everybody on talk. I think we had some good runs, but nothing compared to NBA. Oh my gosh. Are you kidding me

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Yeah. All right. Well, Hey, before I let you go, we've got one more question in the lightening round. What's your favorite set of guitar strings?

Rafael Moreira:
Man, I think regularly I use the M-Steels.

Evan Ball:
Oh, okay. Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
The 10-46

Evan Ball:
10-46, you said?

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. Just regularly.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
But if I go on tour, I'll probably go in to use the paradigms. It just holds the-

Evan Ball:
Extra strength?

Rafael Moreira:
... Yeah, man. It's just a little harder to break the strings. It lasts a little longer for me. I just got these guys from Derrick, that I just put on my guitars. The Earthwoods.

Evan Ball:
Okay. 12 to 54.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Does that falls for 80/20. It looks 80/20.

Rafael Moreira:
This is 80/20.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Rafael Moreira:
I usually like the phosphorus. But I like this as well.

Evan Ball:
Rafael thank you so much for your time. This has been great. I've really enjoyed it

Rafael Moreira:
Thank you so much, Evan, for having me. I really appreciate you guys for having me on the company and on the podcast.

Evan Ball:
Our pleasure. Thanks for tuning in to Ernie Ball's Striking a Chord podcast. Check out Rafael's website, rafaelmoreira.com. Remember that's Rafael with an R, like [Raphael 00:45:16]. If you'd like to contact us, please email strikingachord@bernieball.com.

Evan Ball:
Okay. I need to check, Rafael or Hafael?

Rafael Moreira:
[crosstalk 00:45:37] Hafael.

Evan Ball:
Hafael.

Rafael Moreira:
Yeah. Hafael. That was great, man.

Evan Ball:
All right, let's kick it off.

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