Monte Pittman Discusses Why “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna is “One of the Greatest Songs Ever Written”
Remember back in 2008, when Madonna shocked metal fans by covering Pantera’s “A New Level”? Well, the man you have to thank for that is her guitar teacher and live guitarist, Monte Pittman — who just so happens to be our very special guest on the latest episode of The MetalSucks Podcast!
Our primary source of discussion, natch, was Monte’s excellent new album, Inverted Grasp of Balance, which is out now on Metal Blade (get it here). But inevitably, at one point our conversation turned to Madge… and if you think that as a metal musician you have nothing to learn from The Material Girl, well, Mr. Pittman is here to tell you that you’re dead wrong. Speaking about her 1986 megahit “Papa Don’t Preach,” Monte had this to say:
“I always use that as an example of one of the greatest songs ever written, because of what that song does structurally. The beginning is just strings, which is a completely different kind of music, or genre or texture of music, then what the song actually is. And then the song kicks in and it’s the verse played instrumentally before she starts singing… [and] it’s not just verse, pre-chorus, chorus, post-chorus — every part has an A and a B to it, the melody kind of questions and answers [itself], they balance each other out… then you get to the bridge, and the bridge has the same thing, it kind of has an A, B, and C to it… and then you get to the end of the song, and then she changes the chorus. It’s like she’s got the main chorus… but then she flips it, and it’s like she’s added ANOTHER chorus on top of that [first one] that works.”
Speaking of being a guitar teacher when he’s not busy with a plethora of other projects, we also got Monte to give us the skinny on why he teaches, and what he loves about teaching. And it turns out, we have Toys “R” Us to thank for Professor Pittman:
“[Being a guitar teacher] keeps me on time of my own game… I’m always reviewing everything, scales, chords, whatever. Everything is fresh in my mind.
“[Also] I do love to give back. One of my favorite things is when a student ‘gets it.’ I get a lot of joy out of them understanding, and me being able to pass something on… ‘cause I know that feeling of when I’ve figured something out.
“And you gotta have a day job, you gotta work. I tried to going to Toys ‘R’ Us after a tour one time. I figured I’d get a discount on toys for people for Christmas and stuff like that. And I go in and I’m like, ‘Hey are you guys hiring?’ And they look at me and they’re like, ‘Uh, no, we ain’t hiring.’”
Hm. Bet they would have Jared Fogle a job based just on his appearance, though. Dummies.
And while we’re on the topic of professionalism, you’ll probably find Monte’s thoughts about his former tour mate, Glenn Danzig, to be of interest, too. Discussing the Misfits legend’s reputation for being, er, difficult to work with, Monte said:
“He’s so serious about what he does. Let’s say the monitors aren’t right, and he’s pissed off… I understand that. It’s his job. He can’t go out there and be like, ‘Hey, I don’t wanna piss you off or anything, but I couldn’t hear myself and so maybe things were a little pitchy and the whole show sucked,” and [the crowd] thinks [the show sucked]. So I understand that.”
All this and much, much more on the latest episode of The MetalSucks Podcast! Check it out!!!