Herman Li Opens Up on What People Get Wrong About Him and DragonForce, Shares Honest Opinion on Poison Guitarist

In his recent YouTube video where he interviewed Polyphia guitarist Tim Henson, DragonForce axeman Herman Li opened up on some of the biggest misconceptions about him and his band. As he explains, DragonForce had a certain image that they never took seriously, ultimately leading some people to think that he was an “arrogant prick” as he explains. Herman said (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“In the past, Dragonforce… We partied a lot on stage, we have a fun show, right? We have beer attached to microphone stand, we drink them on straws while we playing solos. It’s part of the fun thing. It was like — we have a good laugh. We made music. We never thought we’d do this as a career.”

DragonForce - Twitchcon 2019 Opening Ceremony

“So we just go out and have as much fun as possible. We say stupid stuff in interviews. And it’s very hard to shake that. Because at that point, we were on every single magazine, on the cover of guitar magazines and all that.”

“So it’s almost like they want to freeze that image. And they want to keep selling it.  And now, still today, some people say ‘Oh, DragonForce, aren’t they like a bunch of drunk people that can’t play on stage?’ It’s hard to shake certain image sometimes that was like so strongly put into the press and stuff that they’ve clickbaited a million times.

“They probably think, ‘Well, we don’t want to change the narrative. We don’t want to change the story on this.’ You want to keep on this because that’s what was selling the last time. I feel like it’s difficult. Sometimes we shake that image.”

Joji - Run with Herman Li Guitar Solo

While discussing the issue, he also compared it with Poison guitarist C.C. DeVille who was long labeled as a poor guitar player due to one live solo that was recorded on tape. Herman Li explains:

“And I remember, was it C.C. DeVille from Poison? I think he did, like, one live album, in which he didn’t do a good enough guitar solo. They talk shit about him for ages. And C.C. DeVille was awesome. He’s got how many platinum albums, he can write great songs, he can play the guitar and make a great catchy solo. But sometimes it’s like, you got to have a villain, right? You gotta have something out there to talk about.”

The Worst Guitar Solo of All Time .. CC DeVille of Poison 1991 (Swallow This Tour)

Going further into the matter, Herman also reflected on how he was perceived over the years, explaining that he managed to shake the whole thing after launching his Twitch account. He adds:

“People thought I was an arrogant prick for years because of the way I perform on stage. And because of the way that it was put together, the package of the media, how they want to interpret it.”

“Actually, it took a long time for me… Actually, only really when I started doing Twitch, people say, ‘Oh Herman is actually a normal person, he’s not such a prick after all.’ But when you see me on stage, you think I got my head up my ass or something.”

Photos: Michael Stollmann (Herman Li – Dragonforce – Foto by Michael Stollmann – fotoglut), Matt Becker (CCDeVille)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.