Posted at 2:35 p.m., Feb. 17, 2015

Ed Novotny


Instructor and former INSATIA guitarist Ed Novotny cannot get enough of the guitar as he practices the legato scales on his electric LTD.

Photo by Dlaton Lopez

Hard work comes before fame, fortune

Break a pick or snap a string--spares are in every dedicated guitarist’s case. Ed Novotny just opened up his case.

Novotny, a private guitar instructor in Cheyenne, has been hitting some high and low notes during the past few months. On Jan. 17, Novotny traveled to Tucson, Arizona, to record an album with a metal band called INSATIA. While there, the band worked with internationally acclaimed music producers and performed a show with two international bands. Unfortunately, members of INSATIA, including Novotny, left the group when the trip concluded. Currently, Novotny and some former INSATIA members are working to create a new band.

It’s hard to believe all this started from watching ‘80s’ hair band music videos.

Born in 1983 in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Novotny moved to Cheyenne in 1991. In late 1997, he began playing guitar. His love of hair band music videos first inspired him to pick up the instrument.

"I discovered a bunch of tapes my brother had from the 1980s, and I could not stop listening to them!" Novotny said.

His first guitar was a Gibson, given to him by his father. At the time, Novotny’s brother-in-law was learning guitar as well, and Novotny was able to glean bits and pieces from him. In 1998, he received a Fender Stratocaster from his father and began to collect lesson books, striving to learn as much as he could.

For college, he traversed from Wyoming to attend the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In college, Novotny was trained in various areas. He enjoyed listening to piano but did not enjoy playing it. He was also trained in choral performances but, for the most part, stuck to guitar.

In 2011, he was hired by Laramie County Community College to work as a private instructor. He has been involved in LCCC’s music department and has accompanied choirs and opera singers.

Novotny’s musical preferences are rooted in heavy metal, which led to him becoming involved with INSATIA. After Novotny moved back to Cheyenne, he attended numerous concerts in Denver, where he met Seth Booze, a drummer. Last year, Booze contacted Novotny and told him he had the chance to join a band, and the group might need a guitarist. Novotny was told to record himself playing along to an INSATIA song, and in October, the group asked him to join as the rhythm guitarist.

But shortly after his joining, Novotny was in a car accident that injured his wrist. Unfortunately, this limited the amount of material he was able to contribute, but it's hard to keep a passionate musician down. In an album of 10 songs, Novotny created two, while the lead guitarist, Jeff Swanson, created eight. The lead singer, Zoë Federoff, wrote the lyrics for the songs.

By the time for the journey to Arizona came, Novotny’s wrist had healed enough for him to perform. On Jan. 27, INSATIA performed an intimate show with the bands Dark Tranquility and Insomnium from Sweden and Finland, respectively.

“This was my first time performing with a band,” Novotny said. “You have to work with ensembles and everything in college, but this was my first real time on stage. It was great.”

INSATIA was also working hard in the studio with acclaimed producers Staffan Karlsson from Sweden and Fabio d'Amore from Italy. The group was working to record its second album, “Phoenix Aflame.” During this time, the group encountered some issues, and, suddenly, a majority of members left for personal reasons. The album was finished, and, according to the band’s Facebook page, it is still set to be released this spring.

Novotny and a majority of the members from what is formerly known as INSATIA are planning to create a new group, based out of Denver. Federoff retains the group name INSATIA and the lyrics she created, so the new Denver band is unnamed at the moment and is on the hunt for a new lead singer.

Despite the group’s demise, Novotny said his first experience as a member of a band was a great one. “I’ve always wanted to do it. To a certain degree, a musician always wants to prove themselves,” he said.

Novotny is now back at work teaching his students and is waiting for the group to take the next step. He laughed and said: “Who knows? I might get a call tonight, and the group will say, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do.’”

INSATIA: Facebook page

INSATIA: Ed Novotny Bio