Neil Girlado Talks Bourbon, Music, Pat Benatar, More With 1071 The Boss (Audio)
Where were you on Aug. 1, 1981? If you were like many young Americans, you were probably parked in front of the television set watching the launch of MTV. Do you remember who was the first lead guitarist you laid eyes on? It was Neil Giraldo, shredding a righteous solo at the end of Pat Benatar’s rocking cover of The Young Rascals “You Better Run,” kicking the decade off into high gear.
Giraldo always makes it looks so easy, whether dressed like a shirtless sheik front and center with a pink B.C. Rich guitar ripping through a layered solo in the “Precious Time” video or creating pounding riffs for classics like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Shadows of The Night,” “Hell is For Children” or “Heartbreaker.” Still, those guitar parts are HARD to play.
Giraldo doesn’t do things the easy way, which is why when he started his own spirits company, Three Chord Bourbon, he chose the hardest liquor to distill, as you can’t add any flavorings, and “it’s got to be pure.”
“I wanted to do a bourbon, because it’s very difficult to do,” he tells 1071 The Boss host Michele Amabile. “In music, and that’s really all I know my whole life, I have never dumbed down and audience. I have always challenged the audience. Always. So when it came to bourbon it was a big challenge because it wasn’t always easy to do.”
Giraldo’s love of “brown spirits” and “conversation”–plus the idea of melding the rock ideals of “three chords and the truth” into the brand also came into play.
“It’s about conversations, sip and talk and just enjoy the moment,” he said.
Giraldo’s other motivation in creating the company in 2016 was to have a “give-back program,” way before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There are so many musicians out there that struggle, and Covid was a disaster for so many people, it’s awful,” he said.
To help, Giraldo’s company has partnered with the charitable organization A Need We Feed and Press Communications to help neighbors in need with a holiday giveaway. A Need We Feed–which provides nutritious prepared meals to veterans, children, families, seniors, and the homeless– purchases 150+ hot meals from local restaurants and delivers them to people in need in our community. This season, the organization is teaming up to give away $20,000 just in time for the holidays. To enter and find out how you can help, click HERE.
Listen to Neil Giraldo’s interview with 1071 The Boss mid-day jock Michele Amabile below for a wide ranging talk about music, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (“this music is for you… the music is yours…and the people that get into the hall, it’s really for you guys”), his work with John Waite, Rick Springfield and Steve Forbert, the stories behind “We Live For Love” and “Heartbreaker” (with Suzi Quatro in the studio!) the time he and Pat mentored on American Idol, a few guitar tips, his plans for a future holiday record, and why New Jerseyans always get his name wrong!