Steve Rothery: Wikis


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Steve Rothery

Steve Rothery onstage with Marillion at their 2009 weekend festival in Montreal, Canada.
Background information
Born 25 November 1959 (1959-11-25) (age 50)
Genres Rock, progressive rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Associated acts Marillion, The Wishing Tree, Enchant

Steve Rothery (born 25 November 1959) is the guitarist of the English rock band Marillion. He was born in Brampton, South Yorkshire, England. From the age of six he lived in Whitby, North Yorkshire.



Rothery began to play the guitar at the age of 15. In 1979, he saw an ad in the music press for a band called Silmarillion that needed a guitarist. He auditioned successfully for the band (19 August 1979). From this point he concentrated more on melody, composition and mood, and less on his technique. Later, Silmarillion shortened its name to Marillion. Rothery is the only member of Marillion's founding lineup who remains in the band to this day. As well as work with Marillion, he started a solo project under the name The Wishing Tree (with Hannah Stobart providing vocals), and released an album called Carnival of Souls.


Rothery is regarded by many fans of the band as providing their defining sound - with his signature clean toned, high-sustain Stratocaster soloing. His style of playing is heavily influenced by that of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and Camel's Andrew Latimer. In a 2001 interview with Total Guitar Magazine, Rothery named Jeff Beck and Larry Carlton as his favourite guitarists. Like Gilmour, Rothery is very tonal and is considerate of every note, as opposed to extreme speed and other forms of technical wizardry. When required, Rothery can still pull out all the stops. It has also been said of him that he knows, importantly, 'what not to play'...a case of 'less is more'. Other trademarks that recur throughout his career include clean picking arpeggios using digital delays and open voicings. Rothery has also stated that Joni Mitchell was another influence on his style. [1]

Some of his important personal quotes

My wife to be, Jo, asked me to explain how I came up with my musical ideas, picking up a nearby guitar I started improvising what later became the "Kayleigh" riff whilst explaining that I tried to combine melody and rhythm. I sometimes wonder if we would still have written "Kayleigh" if she had asked me if there was anything good on the telly instead! [2]
We still sell a lot of records. It's just people's perceptions that have changed. Unless you have a single in the charts, people don't know you're around.
Some people have already made up their minds about what the band stands for. The only way to get round that is radio play. We've had more airplay than in years, but on digital, so most people can't hear it.
The thing about the guitar is that it's such an emotional instrument, and I'm sure that people would much rather hear a guitar if it's played with emotion and feeling than just racing up and down the fret-board.
Kayleigh was a hit single [in 1985], and therefore the album, Misplaced Childhood, did well. But quite often success is driven by being fashionable, and we’ve never been fashionable. We’re not the elder statesmen like the Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd, but we are a band that’s been making records for 25 years, and we’ve become kind of an institution. And that’s a good thing, because we’ve still got 100,000 people around the world who believe very passionately in what we do, and new people are discovering us all the time. We’re like the band that won’t go away! [3]
I always wanted to be a musician, but when (Pink Floyd’s) Wish You Were Here came out – listening to that on the beach in Whitby – a small fishing town on the northeast coast of England, where I grew up – I thought, “This is it. This is what I want to do with my life”: to create something that magical. So, yeah, that’s kind of when I decided what I wanted to do with my life. [4]
I think we have probably one of the best audiences in the world, really. People who get this music, totally get it. It’s not just, “Hey, I’ve got something to listen to while I do something around the house.” It’s music that really absorbs you, and you tend to find that the people who come to the conventions are like a distillation of the people that feel the strongest, almost, about what you do – and at the concerts, as well. It’s just a great, great audience that we have. There’s not many bands that I’ve seen that have anything approaching that level of response and respect that we get from our audience.
The development of my style was at first influenced by the guitarists from the seventies like Andrew Latimer, Steve Hackett, Dave Gilmour and Gordon Giltrap. It was always the more melodic and emotional approach that appealed to me the most. My style is all about atmosphere and emotion with bending and vibrato taking precedent over the fast legato approach. I try to find a part that enhances or completes the song in the most sympathetic way possible. It shouldn't be about ego or wanting to show off your chops.


  • Laney Amplification
  • Laney VC50 & TT50 Heads
  • Laney 4x12 cabinet
  • Groove Tubes Dual 75 power amp
  • Groove Tubes Trio valve pre-amp
  • Roland Jazz Chorus 120 Amp
  • TC Electronic 2290 effects processor
  • Ground Control Pro MIDI foot controller
  • Lexicon MPX G2 effects processor
  • Roland GP16 effects processor
  • Adrena-Linn effects processor
  • Analogman distortion pedal
  • Rockman sustainer/stereo chorus & delay
  • Sound Sculpture switchblade 16 controller
  • Alesis quadraverb effects processor
  • Ebtech hum eliminator
  • Sennheiser wireless system
  • Hughes and Kettner Rotosphere
  • Jim Dunlop Crybaby Wah
  • Ernie Ball volume pedal
  • Ernie Ball super slinky 9-42 strings
  • Blade RH4 Classic Stratocaster
  • Blade Delta Telecaster
  • Blade Texas Standard Stratocaster
  • Steinberger Custom made double neck 12/6
  • Takamine 12 string acoustic
  • Takamine Santa Fe 6 string acoustic
  • Squier Stratocaster
  • Khaler Pro Tremolo System
  • Lindy Fralin Pickups


With Marillion

Steve Rothery appears on every Marillion release since their 1982 debut single; see Marillion discography

With The Wishing Tree

Guest Appearances


External links

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