When Monte Pittman was 14 years old he had a dream that he was onstage playing guitar with Madonna. Pittman isn’t sure why he had this dream, since he was more of a Metallica/Anthrax/Slayer kid at the time. But the dream was so vivid that he remembers telling people about it. One of the people he told, eventually, was Madonna herself.
After starting out as her guitar teacher 12 years ago, Pittman has become a core member of Madonna’s band. When she brings her “MDNA” tour to the TD Garden on Tuesday it will be Pittman’s fifth live go-round as her lead guitarist.
“She’s the best boss you could ever ask for,” says Pittman on the phone from a Philadelphia tour stop. The Texas native has worked with Madonna since he was 24 and co-written several songs with her.
Not only, says Pittman, is she open to collaboration, but she also tells a good joke. He adds with a laugh, “but I’m not repeating any of them.”
Even more valuable, the boss supports her band members, says Pittman: “She’s selling my CD at her merch booth.”
Like many of Madonna’s band members, Pittman is also an artist in his own right and hopes to tour for his 2011 solo release, “Pain, Love & Destiny,” after the “MDNA” tour and get started on album number three, which he says will be “heavily influenced by classic Metallica and Pantera.”
On Tuesday, Pittman will be operating under the watchful eye of musical director/keyboardist Kevin Antunes, a New Bedford native who became Madonna’s right-hand man on her “Sticky & Sweet” tour.
Antunes, who designed the soundtrack for the recent “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil,” says Madonna fans are in for some serious spectacle.
“It’s visually stunning,” says Antunes on the phone from a Paris tour stop. “The stage that we have, nothing has ever been built like this.”
Both musicians say to expect interesting re-arrangements of familiar tunes as well, on which they both had input. “It happens a bunch of different ways,” says Antunes of the live arrangements that find songs being mashed-up, medley-ized, stripped down, and reimagined. “But nothing happens with Madonna’s music without her blessing. It’s a nice little situation where I’m fortunate to be her copilot, just kind of riding along.”
A dream come true, for both musicians.
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