Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Michael Angelo Batio Guitar Studied

Michael Angelo Batio (pronounced /ˈbeɪtioʊ/, also known as Mike Batio or MAB) (born in 1956) is an American guitarist and columnist from Chicago, Illinois. Considered to be one of the fastest guitarists in the world, Batio was voted the "No. 1 Shredder of All Time" by Guitar One Magazine in 2003. He was also listed as one of the "Top 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" by Guitar World Magazine, whom he writes the column Time to Burn for, and one of the "20 Greatest Shredders of All Time" by Total Guitar Magazine, both in April 2008.

Early years

MAB started playing the piano and composing music at the age of five, and first played guitar at the age of ten, reportedly playing faster than his teacher within two years. At the age of fourteen he started playing jazz guitar, and within two years he had won the Chicago-based "All-State Jazz Solo Award". He attended Northeastern Illinois University and achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Theory and Composition. After he had graduated, Batio looked to become a session guitarist in his hometown. When he asked for a job at a nearby studio, he was given a piece of music and simply asked to play it. Naturally, he managed to play it and added in some of his own improvisations and fills, making him the studio's primary call-out guitarist. As a session player, Batio recorded music for such companies as Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, United Airlines, United Way, McDonalds, Beatrice Corp. and the Chicago Wolves hockey team.

Holland (1984–1986)

Batio began his recording career in 1984 when he joined new Chicago-based heavy metal band Holland, an eponymous project set up by ex-Steppenwolf singer Tommy Holland. With major label Atlantic Records, the band released their debut studio album in 1985 entitled Little Monsters, which saw moderate success in the United States. The band split up soon after, and a compilation of material from the Little Monsters sessions, Wake Up the Neighbourhood, was released in 1999 through Batio's label M.A.C.E. Music.

The Michael Angelo Band (1986–1987)

After the breakup of Holland, Batio started his own eponymous band with singer Michael Cordet, bassist Allen Hearn and drummer Paul Cammarata. The Band did not release any albums, though three of their songs appeared on the 1998 Nitro compilation Gunnin' for Glory.

Nitro (1987–1993)

In 1987 Batio joined glam metal artist Jim Gillette on his solo album Proud to Be Loud, before founding the band Nitro with bassist T.J. Racer and drummer Bobby Rock. In 1989 Nitro released their first studio album, O.F.R., from which they released two singles, "Freight Train" and "Long Way From Home". The music video for "Freight Train", which received much airplay on MTV, was notable for featuring Batio playing his now famous 'Quad Guitar', a notion which FHM Magazine voted one of the "50 most outrageous moments in rock history"

By 1992, Rock and Racer had been replaced by Johnny Thunder and Ralph Carter respectively, and it was in this year that they released their second studio album entitled Nitro II: H.W.D.W.S.. Included on the album was a cover of Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever", which the band also recorded a music video for. Nitro disbanded shortly afterwards.

Solo (1993–present)

In April 1993, Batio founded his own record label, M.A.C.E. Music, which became one of the first labels online in 1996. He used this label when he began recording his first album, No Boundaries, which he released in 1995. Batio's second studio release was Planet Gemini in 1997, which showed a very progressive, experimental side to his playing. In 1999, Batio released his first instructional video, Jam With Angelo, which came with his third studio album as a companion CD: Tradition. This was quickly followed by a fourth full-length album in 2000, Lucid Intervals and Moments of Clarity, which was credited to "Mike Batio and Rob Ross", the latter being the drummer. In 2003, Batio released his first DVD, the title release in his Speed Kills series, followed by the second, Speed Lives, in 2004. It was also in this year that Batio released a compilation album, Lucid Intervals and Moments of Clarity Part 2, which featured songs from Tradition and Lucid Intervals.

In 2005, Michael released his highly anticipated cover/tribute/studio album, Hands Without Shadows, which featured guest appearances from such musicians as Mark Tremonti (of Alter Bridge fame), Rudy Sarzo (of Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake and Dio fame) and virtuoso newcomer Bill Peck. In 2006, DVD Speed Kills 2 was released, in addition to the first in the new Hands Without Shadows series, Performance. Batio's latest release came in 2007, when his first two albums - No Boundaries and Planet Gemini - were remixed and remastered with additional drums, for an album entitled 2 X Again; the title of a song from the first album. Angelo also released three DVDs in 2007: Speed Kills 3, 25 Jazz Progressions and MAB Jam Session.

Two DVDs are slated for a 2008 release, one that focuses on neo-classical techniques and concepts and another which will contain Batio's live performance at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center on July 9.[10] One of these DVDs is apparently to be entitled The Neoclassical Power Approach, according to the flyer for the aforementioned concert.


Batio is (self-taught) ambidextrous, able to play two guitars at the same time either in synchronization or using separate harmonies, as shown when he plays his famous Double-Guitar. Though naturally left-handed, he plays as a right-handed person when playing one guitar. Batio mastered the "Over-Under" technique, which involves flipping his fretting hand over and under the neck, playing the guitar both regularly and like a piano.

Batio taught guitarist Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave fame) while at college. Morello has credited MAB with teaching him in a feature article in Guitar World Magazine in 2005. Michael also gave lessons to guitarist Mark Tremonti after Creed broke up and Tremonti wanted to learn more techniques.



Batio is an exclusive user of Dean Guitars, both electric and acoustic. In 2007 he designed and developed a signature guitar with Dean, known as the MAB1 Armorflame.

[edit] The Double-Guitar

Batio was the inventor of the Double-Guitar, a V-shaped, twin-neck guitar which can be played both right- and left-handed.[13] The first version of this instrument was actually two separate guitars simply played together, as opposed to being one entity. A Flying V was fastened to a snare drum in a left-handed position, while another one was strapped around his shoulder. The next version of the guitar, as designed by Batio and guitar technician Kenny Breit, featured a flight case latch attached to the back of each guitar, which could reportedly be assembled in five seconds. In October 2003, Dean designed and built the "Mach 7 Jet", and on March 6, 2007, the newest version was delivered to Batio. The original Double went on display at the Chicago Hard Rock Cafe 'wall of fame' before it was relocated to a HRC in Egypt. Its whereabouts are currently unknown.

When the Double-Guitar was first used in concert, Batio noticed that the guitars created a lot of feedback when played together. He decided that he needed to invent a way to 'dampen' the strings when both guitars were played at the same time, hence the invention of the "MAB String Dampener", which is now available to buy from M.A.C.E. Music.

The Double-Guitar was recently named as the 8th "coolest guitar in rock" by online music magazine Gigwise.

The Quad Guitar

As well as the Double Guitar, Michael Angelo also invented and designed the Quad Guitar. The guitar was originally built in conjunction with Gibson, and built by Wayne Charvel in California. The top two guitars have seven strings, while the bottom two have the regular six. The first Quad, as used in the video for Nitro's "Freight Train", was stolen in El Paso, Texas after the second show of Nitro's O.F.R. tour. When Batio was performing in November 2004, a young fan named Simon Jones and his father turned up with a guitar case which held inside the two top guitars of the Quad, as found by Mick Seymour. Dean designed and built a new Quad Guitar in 2007.

The Quad Guitar was recently named as the 2nd "coolest guitar in rock" by online music magazine Gigwise.


Batio's effects pedals are exclusively made by T-Rex, with whom he has also developed a signature model, the "MAB Overdrive".[18] In his years with Nitro, Batio used Boss overdrive (DS-1, SD-1) pedals.

In the studio, Michael also uses the following effects pedals:


Another signature piece of equipment Batio developed is the "MAB Hands Without Shadows" pickup, which he uses in his Double Guitar when touring. The pickup is specially designed for shred guitar, and provides the clean tone Batio is accustomed to. The Armorflame, Batio's signature guitar, uses EMG 81, 85 and SA pickups.

Earlier on in his career when he was first endorsed by Dean guitars he also embraced Dean's tradition of popularising Dimarzio pickups and had used Dimarzios in his guitars. These include the Dimarzio PAF, Super Distortion (sometimes using the Super Distortion both in the neck and bridge position, like how he did in his Gibson Charvel Circuit Board double guitar. This was the main setup during the recording of No Boundaries). Batio has also used pickups of other brands including Seymour Duncan, namely the Pearly Gates and JB models and also Bill Lawrence pickups. Currently other than using EMGs in his signature guitar he also has a collection of the other brand pickups in his Dean limited edition collectors' models, such as Dimarzio Custom Super Distortions (based on the Super 2 and Super Distortion) in his USA Dean Time capsule Blue Burst ML and the Seymour Duncan pair he used (refer to above) in his USA Dean Collectors edition Hardtail.


Batio uses Ernie Ball guitar strings, favouring the .009 to .042 models for soloing and most rhythm guitar parts while thicker gauge strings are used for detuned guitars. The acoustic gauge is normally .010 to .046 or .011 to .052.

Michael uses black Dunlop Jazz IIIs as his guitar pick of choice, and has used the 'teardop' shape of pick since he first started playing. Different picks are sometimes used for acoustic work.


Batio typically uses Marshall JCM 2000 amps on tour and for newer studio records. In the studio, he also uses the Marshall JMP-1 preamp and Rocktron Chameleon and Voodoo Valve preamps. During his years with Nitro, Batio used Randall amplifiers. He has been an avid Marshall amp user throughout his career and has used the JCM 800 (mostly Jose Arrendondo modified circuitry, very early in his career) and JCM 900 (especially when recording No Boundaries).


Batio's cabinet setup consists of 4x12 Marshall cabinets loaded with Celeston vintage 30s and Greenbacks in mono and stereo.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Guitar Studied Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stephen "Stevie" Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an Americanblues-rock guitarist, whose broad appeal made him an influential electric blues guitarist. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Stevie Ray Vaughan #7 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, and Classic Rock Magazine ranked him #3 in their list of the 100 Wildest Guitar Heroes in 2007.

Early life

Vaughan was born on October 3, 1954, in Dallas, Texas, and was raised in the city's Oak Cliff neighborhood. Neither of his parents had any strong musical talent but were avid music fans. They would take Vaughan and his older brother Jimmie to concerts to see Fats Domino, Johnny Williamson III, Jimmy Reed, and Bob Wills.

Even though Vaughan initially wanted to play the drums as his primary instrument, Michael Quinn gave him a guitar when he was seven years old. Vaughan's brother, Jimmie Vaughan, gave him his first guitar lessons. Vaughan was later quoted in Guitar Player as saying, "My brother Jimmie actually was one of the biggest influences on my playing. He really was the reason I started to play, watching him and seeing what could be done." He played entirely by ear and never learned how to read sheet music. By the time he was thirteen years old he was playing in clubs where he met many of his blues idols. A few years later he dropped out of Justin F. Kimball High School in Oak Cliff and moved to Austin to pursue music. Vaughan's talent caught the attention of guitarist Johnny Winter and blues-club owner Clifford Antone.

During the early 1970s Vaughan played the Austin bar and club scene with the Cobras. After the Cobras broke up, in 1975 he started Triple Threat, which in 1978 became Double Trouble with Vaughan as lead singer. From Austin, their success spread throughout Texas.

In the early 1980s, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger saw Vaughan and Double Trouble playing at a club, and invited them to play at a private party in New York. This led to their acquaintance with producer Jerry Wexler, who managed to get them their first big break performing at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival. As a result they were able to meet Jackson Browne, who gave the band free time in his Los Angeles studio, and David Bowie, who had Vaughan play lead guitar on his next album, Let's Dance.

Soon a record contract with Epic followed, as well as their first album release in 1983, the successful Texas Flood, which charted at number 38 and gained positive reviews. After a successful tour, their second album, Couldn't Stand the Weather, charted at number 31 in 1984 and went gold in 1985. Their third album, Soul to Soul, charted at number 34 in 1985.

Drugs and alcoholism

Drug addiction and alcoholism took a toll on Vaughan by mid-1986. Cocaine and Crown Royal whiskey were his drugs of choice. Vaughan would dissolve cocaine in his whiskey for a morning "pick-me-up". Doctors later discovered that this morning ritual was causing severe ulcerations of the stomach lining. Nevertheless, he carried on and put out Live Alive in 1986 and did a concert tour in America in 1987. After becoming acutely ill in Germany while on tour, Vaughan managed to struggle through three more shows, but was soon admitted into a hospital in London. Dr. Victor Bloom, who had helped Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend with their addictions, told Vaughan that if he had not come to the hospital he would have died in a month. After a struggle to get sober in London, he then flew to Atlanta, Georgia, to a rehabilitation center. He eventually recovered fully from his addictions in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.


Upon his return from rehab, Vaughan worked with a number of artists including Dick Dale (making a cameo appearance as himself performing a duet of "Pipeline" with Dale in the movie Back to the Beach, which was then released as a single), Jennifer Warnes, and Stevie Wonder (playing "Superstition" on the MTV special Stevie Wonder's Characters).

In 1988, Vaughan continued to tour with Double Trouble throughout Scandinavia and performed at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Vaughan and Double Trouble recorded In Step in February 1989, their fourth studio album, which was praised by some as the band's best work since Texas Flood. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Vaughan shared a headline tour with guitarist Jeff Beck in the fall of 1989. In his beloved Austin, the "Live Music Capital of the World," Vaughan was presented with a proclamation from the mayor declaring November 26, 1989 "Stevie Ray Vaughan Day."

On January 3, 1990, Vaughan gave a speech and addressed the Aquarius Chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. On January 30, Vaughan made his first appearance on MTV Unplugged in New York City. It was originally scheduled for Vaughan to do a closing jam with Joe Satriani, but Vaughan said he had to leave right away.

Vaughan had spoken two years earlier about wanting to help produce an album with his brother, Jimmie Vaughan. That time came in March 1990, when the Vaughan Brothers went to work at the Dallas Sound Lab, the same studio used to record Soul to Soul.

Around this time, Vaughan said that singing was becoming painful for him due to a condition he called "hamburger throat." He received acupuncture to his neck, but still had to take cortisone shots to relieve the pain, which caused his face to swell.


On August 25 and August 26, 1990, Vaughan and Double Trouble finished the summer portion of the In Step Tour with shows at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, just outside of East Troy, Wisconsin. The show also featured Robert Cray & His Memphis Horns, and Eric Clapton, who played the closing set, also bringing all the musicians back onstage for an encore jam.

Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton recalls his last conversation with Vaughan backstage. He then remembers Vaughan saying he had to call his girlfriend, Janna Lapidus, in Chicago, before heading out the door to the helicopters, which had been arranged for flight (through Omni Flights) by Skip Rickert, Double Trouble's tour manager.

The musicians had expected a long bus ride back to Chicago. However, Vaughan was informed by a member of Clapton's crew that three seats were open on one of the helicopters returning to Chicago with Clapton's crew, enough for Vaughan, his brother Jimmie, and Jimmie's wife Connie. It turned out there was only one seat left; Vaughan requested it from his brother, who obliged. At 12:44 a.m. pilot Jeffrey Browne guided the helicopter off the ground. Moments after takeoff the helicopter crashed into a ski slope and all five on board were killed. Although the crash occurred only 0.6 miles from takeoff, it went unnoticed by those at the concert site.

The search for the wreckage began at 5:00 a.m., finally being located two hours later with the help of its locator beacon. The cause of the crash was believed to be pilot error.

Chris Layton and Jimmie Vaughan did not find out about the crash until they returned to their motel in Chicago. The following morning Jimmie Vaughan was called to identify the body of his brother. The coroner's report stated that the cause of death was exsanguination caused by severing of the aorta. The severance was caused by high deceleration during crash impact.

Stevie Ray Vaughan is interred in the Laurel Land Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas.

Posthumous events and recognition

Vaughan memorial at Lady Bird Lake, in Austin, Texas.
Vaughan memorial at Lady Bird Lake, in Austin, Texas.

September 1990 saw the release of Family Style.

The 1991 album The Sky Is Crying was the first of several posthumous Vaughan releases to achieve chart success. Jimmie Vaughan later co-wrote and recorded a song in tribute to his brother and other deceased blues guitarists, entitled "Six Strings Down".

The 1991 album of Bonnie Raitt, Luck of the Draw, was dedicated to him.

Many other artists recorded songs in remembrance of Vaughan, including Eric Johnson, Buddy Guy and Steve Vai ("Jibboom" on the album The Ultra Zone, 1999).

In 1991, Texas governor Ann Richards proclaimed October 3, Vaughan's birthday, to be "Stevie Ray Vaughan Day." An annual motorcycle ride and concert in Central Texas benefits the Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Scholarship Fund.

In 1992, the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation released the Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster, which Vaughan had helped design. As of 2007, the model is still in production. In 2004, Fender also released a limited edition exact replica of "Number One".

Stevie Wonder included a song on his 1995 live album Natural Wonder entitled "Stevie Ray Blues". On the album, Wonder refers to the song as "Stevie Ray Vaughan Blues".

Stephen King's short story "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band" concerns a small town called Rock and Roll Heaven that's populated by late rock musicians, one of whom is Vaughan.

In 1994, the city of Austin erected the Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Statue at Auditorium Shores on Lady Bird Lake,

In 2000, Stevie Ray Vaughan was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

The last guitar that Vaughan played before his death is on display in the Hard Rock Cafe in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

In November 2007, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation released a second tribute to Vaughan, an exact replica of his second beloved guitar: Lenny. This guitar was given to him by his wife Lennora ("Lenny") on his 26th birthday and Vaughan was very fond of it. According to Fender, the original Lenny was a 1965 Strat that he saw in the window of a pawn shop that he was unable to afford. The guitar is sold with a strap, a case with Vaughan's name embroidered in the fabric lining, a number of brochures and memorabilia and a leather bound certificate of authenticity.

Also in November 2007, Sony BMG, Epic Records, and Legacy Records released the CD Stevie Ray Vaughan & Friends: Solos, Sessions & Encores.

Stevie Ray Vaughan will become eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

In 2008, residents voted to rename Dallas' Industrial Boulevard, with Vaughan's name being one of the finalists alongside Stanley Marcus, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Cesar Chavez.

Vaughan's blues style was strongly influenced by many blues guitarists. Foremost among them were Albert King, who dubbed himself Stevie's "godfather," Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, and Jimi Hendrix. The song "Rude Mood" is a direct derivative (according to Vaughan himself) of a Lightnin' Hopkins tune called "Lightning Sky Hop." He was also strongly influenced by early blues-rock guitarist Lonnie Mack, who, according to Vaughan, "really taught me to play guitar from the heart" (Davis, History of the Blues, DaCapo 2003, p. 246). Vaughan, who had idolized Mack since childhood, produced and played on Mack's 1985 Alligator Records album Strike Like Lightning and covered two Mack tunes from the early 1960s, "Wham!" and "Chicken-Pickin'" (which Vaughan renamed "Scuttle-Buttin',") as well as a Mack tune from the 1980s, "If You Have To Know." Vaughan's brother Jimmie Vaughan has stated that Johnny "Guitar" Watson was the guitarist he and Stevie studied the most.

Vaughan's sound and playing style, which often incorporated simultaneous lead and rhythm parts, drew comparisons to Hendrix; Vaughan covered several Hendrix tunes on his studio albums and in performance, such as "Little Wing," "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," and "Third Stone from the Sun." He was also heavily influenced by Freddie King, another Texas bluesman, mainly in the use of tone and attack; King's heavy vibrato can clearly be heard in Vaughan's playing. Another stylistic influence was Albert Collins. By utilizing his index finger as a pick a la Albert Collins, he was able to coax various tonal nuances from his amplifiers.

Known for his warm blues-rock tone, Vaughan characteristically used very heavy strings on his guitar ranging from 13 to 56-gauge sets to give a fuller sound which he tuned down a half-step to the key of E flat.

Musicians such as John Mayer, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Colin James, Jonny Lang, Jason Wayne Loftice, Los Lonely Boys, Mike McCready, Eric Johnson, John Petrucci, and Doyle Bramhall II have cited Vaughan as an influence.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Richie Kotzen Guitar Ibanez

Richie Kotzen (born February 3, 1970 in Reading, Pennsylvania) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

At a young age, Richie Kotzen was taken by music and first began playing piano at the age of five. At the age of seven he was inspired by New York City band KISS to learn the electric guitar. Relentlessly developing chops and his own unique voice on the guitar, he started his career in a band named Arthur's Museum. Kotzen was eventually discovered by Shrapnel Records' Mike Varney, and he recorded his first album by the age of 19. During that same year, he also graced the cover of several publications including Guitar World Magazine. He created the video Rock Chops for REH video in 1989, highlighting many of his formative techniques, including using wide-intervals and fluid sweeping.

In 1991, Kotzen made his big break when he joined the rock band Poison at age 21, co-writing and performing on the album Native Tongue. This album produced two top twenty singles which Richie co-wrote, "Stand" and "Until You Suffer Some (Fire & Ice)". In 1999 Kotzen replaced Paul Gilbert as guitarist in the mainstream rock band Mr. Big. Kotzen maintained the band's enormous success, performing on the Mr. Big record Get Over It, which sold more than 175,000 copies in its first two weeks in Japan, eventually reaching platinum status. Kotzen also contributed guitars to Mr. Big's subsequent release Actual Size. The record included the Kotzen song Shine, which debuted at number one on Japanese radio charts. Following the disbanding of Mr. Big, Kotzen released the solo album Change, in 2003. The title track, and the song Get A Life were featured in TV commercials throughout Japan.

In 2002 Kotzen bought a commercial building in Los Angeles and established a recording Studio/Production company. He has since been producing acclaimed solo albums and collaborating with various figures in rock, jazz, and fusion including jazz legend Stanley Clarke.

In mid 2006 Kotzen was the opening act in Japan for the Rolling Stones on their Bigger Bang tour.

He has also covered various songs from the Gundam franchise including Soldiers of Sorrow, The Beginning, and Fly! Gundam.

Richie Kotzen has used Fender electric guitars for most of his career. His most notable instruments are his signature model Telecasters and Stratocasters, as well as other custom made models. Currently, there are two Richie Kotzen signature models, made by Fender Japan - a Stratocaster (STR-145RK) and a Telecaster (TLR-155RK). Both guitars feature ash bodies with flame laminated maple caps, maple necks and one piece maple fretboards with 22 super jumbo frets. The Telecaster model features a DiMarzio Chopper T pickup in the bridge position (single spaced humbucker) and a DiMarzio Twang King in the neck position. The Stratocaster is fit with three custom made DiMarzio single coil pickups.

At the beginning of his career, Richie Kotzen used Ibanez guitars and Laney amplifiers, later moving on to Fender guitars and Marshall amplifiers in the early 1990s. He used Marshall Super Lead, JCM800 and JCM900 models.

In 2005, Cornford Amplification issued a Richie Kotzen signature model - RK100, a single channel tube amp head developed and designed in collaboration with Kotzen to suit his expansive playing style. There is also a matching signature model speaker cabinet, equipped with four Celestion Vintage 30 12" speakers. Both the amplifier head and the speaker cabinet are the only Cornford models fit with Kotzen-style black tolex covering. However, if on tour, Kotzen will use amplifiers supplied by the venue, as requested, most likely Cornford models or Marshall JCM900 master volume heads.

Kotzen prefers not to use many pedals (effects in general) when playing live. Therefore, currently he only uses a Boss TU-2 pedal tuner and a footswitch to control the gain level of his Cornford amplifier. However, during his career, he has used Sobbat DriveBreaker distortion pedals (DB-1, DB-2 and DB-3), a Guyatone Wah-Rocker, a Dunlop Crybaby and Rotovibe pedal, a Boss DD-3 delay, Boss OC-2 octave and Boss CE-5 chorus pedals, etc.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Slash Guitar Ibanez

SLASH was born in Hampstead (London), England on July 23, 1965, and he was raised in Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, England. His given name is Saul Hudson. His mother is a Black American, and his father is a white Englishman. Both parents are artistic and work in the entertainment field. His mother is a clothing designer for entertainers. She designed some of David Bowie's unforgettable costumes. His father provides art direction for record albums. Two notable clients are Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.

At age 11 SLASH moved to Los Angeles with his mother while his father remained based in England. Born in the UK, SLASH was an immigrant in the United States and was to remain one for many years. The family eventually lived together again in L.A. where SLASH had a rough transition to conservative Southern California. The long hair, jeans and t-shirts that he wore even then didn't exactly fit with the other kids. An outsider at school, he lived a bohemian life at home. Surrounded by artistic friends of his parents, SLASH grew accustomed to the moods and eccentricities of those in the music world. Frequent visitors at the Hudson household included Joni Mitchell, David Geffen, David Bowie, Ron Wood and Iggy Pop. SLASH has said that these surroundings prepared him for coping with the stress of the music industry, the conflict between artistry and business.

In the mid-1970's, his parents separated. SLASH moved in with his beloved grandmother until he could sort out the situation at home. About this time SLASH discovered BMX (bicycle motorcrossing), joined up with a group of kids, and rode with a passion. It's not surprising to hear that SLASH would ride without brakes! SLASH eventually became a professional BMX biker winning awards and money for his great riding.

While in junior high school (age 15), SLASH's grandmother gave him his first guitar. Although it had just one string, SLASH was able to learn to play. SLASH's early musical influences were Led Zep, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith,Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Neil Young. He credits the Aerosmith album ROCKS with changing his life. Getting to play with the musical idols of his life means a lot to him. Standing on a stage in Paris with Jeff Beck and Joe Perry was overwhelming. SLASH also has gotten to play with guitarist "god" Eric Clapton. He has played with many other artists including Lenny Kravitz, Paul Rogers, Iggy Pop, Michael Jackson, Brian May to name just a few.

Soon the bike was put aside. SLASH devoted at least 12 hours a day to playing guitar. His schoolwork suffered when he skipped classes and sat in the bleachers all day playing guitar. School may have suffered, but his social life got better! The other kids now thought SLASH was cool, and he was no longer a social outcast. SLASH joined band after band jamming with other young musicians. Eventually, SLASH gave up on school and dropped out in eleventh grade. Another education was waiting for him in the L.A. band scene. SLASH met Steven Adler, formed the band Road Crew, and was looking for a good singer. Then he met Izzy Stradlin who played him a tape of W. Axl Rose singing. SLASH went to see Axl perform and immediately wanted to steal him from Izzy, but the two Indiana natives were fast friends. SLASH found his bass player in Duff McKagan when Duff answered an ad SLASH had placed in the paper. All the players changed combinations, but the result was Guns N'Roses! With a lot of talent and a lot of drive, the band became an international success story.

After the Illusions tours, Guns N'Roses went on a well-deserved hiatus, and SLASH became a U.S citizen. He decided that immigration hassles, lost green cards, etc. were just too timeconsuming for his lifestyle. So SLASH became a citizen of the United States. Welcome, SLASH! About this time, SLASH became restless and decided to form a new band as a side project to his GNR work which seemed to be taking forever to get started. Matt Sorum, Gilby Clarke, Mike Inez, Eric Dover, and SLASH formed SLASH's Snakepit and recorded the album IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK SOMEWHERE. Never content to stay home and smell the roses, SLASH went on the road with his touring band: Gilby Clarke, Brian Tichy, James Lomenso, Eric Dover. Playing to small venues, SLASH was able to get back to playing in clubs and being toe-to-toe with the audience. IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK SOMEWHERE went platinum worldwide, and SLASH promised that Snakepit would be back again.

In the summer of 1996, SLASH was invited to play at a blues concert in Budapest, Hungary. He got together some musicians and headed for Europe. From this beginning came a terrific band called SLASH's Blues Ball. And though this band never recorded an album, it was in big demand by promoters and fans.

While this was going on, SLASH was waiting for Axl Rose to get Guns N'Roses together. SLASH and Axl had talks about the musical direction of the band. SLASH saw GNR as a rock band while Axl Rose wanted to go in a more techno/industrial direction with GNR. After many, many meetings and heated discussions, SLASH resigned from GNR in October 1996 with Rose retaining the rights to the band name. SLASH didn't sit at home with his head in his hands. He got busy with Blues Ball! Blues Ball played blues covers, so they could start playing gigs right away. Throughout the end of 1996 till the fall of 1997, SLASH's Blues Ball played at clubs throughout California, into the southwest and the northeast. Blues Ball has rolled away for the time being but may play some one-offs. You just never know with SLASH!

When SLASH left Guns N'Roses, his many fans wondered what he might be going do with all that talent and personality. The media were wondering, too. At first, there was speculation that the Axl - SLASH rift would be of short duration and a reconciliation was inevitable. SLASH had been quoted as saying that when Axl Rose was ready to make a rock and roll album, he would be back. As Rose filled GNR with hired guns and unknowns, SLASH made it clear that Snakepit will be his permanent band. He says he could do a one off or a short tour with the original band, but he would never walk on stage with a band pretending to be the Guns N'Roses band.

As promised, SLASH brought back Snakepit! He had 300 demo tapes from musicians who wanted to be in his band. He settled on drummer Matt Laug (formerly with Venice) and bassist Johnny Griparic (formerly with SLASH's Blues Ball). Rhythm guitarist was at first Ryan Roxie. Ryan was in Dad's Porno Magazine and Alice Cooper's band. Ryan did the pre-album tour and the recording, but then decided to stick with his many other bands. SLASH was able to enlist the wonderful Keri Kelli as the band's second guitarist. Snakepit's vocalist is a newcomer, Rod Jackson, from Virginia and the band Ragdoll there. The new album was released October 10, 2000 in the US with the upbeat title Ain't Life Grand. Elsewhere in this website, you will find some song clips, lyrics and reviews. SLASH's Snakepit began their tour by opening for AC/DC on the North American leg of their tour. This gave the band huge exposure. The band toured the Far East with great results and and then did a European tour in December. In February 2001, the 'pit launched a club show in the US. The tour did very well, but on March 11, SLASH came down with the flu and the rest of this tour was cancelled. The band was also to open for AC/DC again in March in the US until SLASH's flu turned into pneumonia. It's hard to imagine this dynamo stopped by illness, and he won't be for long. May 2001 finds SLASH recuperating and planning the next leg of the tour. Snakepit gave its last performance in July 2001. The band went home for some rest before recording the next album. The rest time was getting long, so Snakepit (minus SLASH) got together to write some songs. Sadly, SLASH announced publicly that Snakepit was no more. SLASH was breaking up the band in order to do some solo projects of his own. He said that he had been through all that excitement of touring and arranging gigs when he was starting out. He was glad the guys had a good time, but he was not interested in repeating what they had done. So, Snakepit band members disappeared to other bands.

SLASH then decided he would do a solo project involving music from different countries. He would use guest musicians, but he would write all the music. At the same time, he started jamming with Duff and Matt. Soon, this project went from "not a high priority" to the three ex-Gunners' sole focus. Izzy was in and out, and The Project (this site gave it this temporary name) had music and some lyrics for 40 songs. Izzy decided he did not want to tour although he might jump in and out of a tour, and the guys picked up the guitarist from Duff's Loaded band, Dave Kushner. In early 2003, The Project auditioned vocalists. After throwing the job open to experienced and unknown singers, Scott Weiland, ex-Stone Temple Pilots was selected. The band called themselves Velvet Revolver and played their debut gig in the summer of 2003 at the El Rey theater in L.A. The band did some soundtrack work on The Hulk and The Italian Job and found a label (RCA). Velvet Revolver was to have their debut CD in the hands of the label by year's end 2003, and they had it in by 12/19. Unfortunately, Scott Weiland continued to have drug and legal problems that kept pushing the release date back further and further. The album title is Contraband and the release date is now June 8. While Scott is doing rehab, SLASH and Duff have been doing global promo! They promise a worldwide tour after the album is released. The first single off the album is "Slither", and a video was done where fans took part. The second single was "Fall To Pieces" with a video where fans again took a small part. The third is "Dirty Little Thing" with some great animation and graphics. The band received a great honor in being nominated for three Grammy awards and carrying away one for Best Rock Guitar Performance ("Slither"). Every day there is news on this great band and/or SLASH solo work. Here, we just hit the high points. For additional, frequent information, check out the Velvet Revolver on this site. Also follow the News Section for additional updated information on SLASH's new band. Rock 'N' Fuckin' Roll!

SLASH's life once seemed a symbol of rock and roll decadence, but things have calmed down with him in some ways. Once a heroin addict, SLASH has been off drugs for several years. His astounding drinking habits are sometimes in evidence, and he still smokes his Marlboros and Galitanos. A major change occurred when SLASH fell in love with Renee Suran. They were married October 10, 1992 in Marina Del Ray, California. Renee stayed out of the rock spotlight but was described as beautiful, sweet, and very much in love with SLASH. She pursued her own career as model and actress. Renee and SLASH both appeared in Howard Stern's movie "Private Parts". The two separated and divorced in the fall of 1997. They remain friends. After his divorce, SLASH was in Las Vegas when he ran into a young woman he had known for many years. Her name was Perla Ferrer, and the couple soon began dating seriously. Perla and SLASH eventually started living together, and fans started seeing Perla on the SLASH's Snakepit tours and his appearances in clubs or on TV. It became clear that Perla was someone very special to SLASH, and in 2000, the two became engaged to be married. Perla's beautiful, sparkling diamond ring was designed by SLASH himself. On October 15, Saul Hudson married Perla Ferrar in Maui in a solemn relgious service there. The bride wore a strapless, pleated white wedding gown and carried a beautiful floral bouquet that matched those in her long brown hair. SLASH wore new black leather pants, a white shirt, his faithful black leather jacket and a floral lei matching Perla's flowers. All their fans and friends and families wish Mr. and Mrs. Hudson a wonderful married life. The Hudsons returned to Los Angeles where they will buy a new home. In February 2002, SLASH and Perla announced that they are expecting their first child in September! On August 28, 2002 little London Hudson made his appearance! Despite some problems Perla had with the pregnancy, London was in excellent condition. He is a beautiful baby and the center of the family. SLASH just loves him so much, and he always has a sweet story about his son. As London approaches his second birthday in the summer of 2004, the Hudson's were also looking forward to the birth of their second child at the end of April. Cash Anthony Hudson was born on April 22, a healthy baby boy. SLASH's lifestyle has changed over the years. From being a wild rocker, SLASH has settled into a role of husband and father. Some things about SLASH don't change - his love for his music, his wife, his fans and his friends as well as the California climate and the Los Angeles setting. If you are in the Sunset Boulevard area, you might run into SLASH hanging out with Perla and his friends or jamming with a band on the Strip. He looks healthy and happy and a little more settled, but you can still see a little of that devilish rocker in his eyes!

About his small tv and movie parts, SLASH says that he is not looking to become an actor. He loves music and plays with a lot of artists. He seems not to have changed from the young musician who formed band after band, always looking for another chance to play. It was a family friend who nicknamed Saul Hudson "SLASH". He said SLASH was always in a hurry, zipping around from one thing to another. He named SLASH well!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Guitar Ibanez Roland Grapow

Roland Grapow, born August 30, 1959 in Hamburg, Germany is a professional guitarist. Roland is most well known for his time in the power metal band Helloween, who he played with for 12 years after replacing founding member Kai Hansen.

Roland played on the albums Pink Bubbles Go Ape, Chameleon, Master of the Rings, The Time of the Oath, High Live, Better Than Raw, Metal Jukebox, and The Dark Ride.

During his time with Helloween Roland also formed a solo project. The first release, The Four Seasons of Life, featured members of Helloween playing backup, with Roland trying his hand at singing in addition to guitar playing. On the second album, Kaleidoscope, current and former members of Yngwie Malmsteen's band were utilised.

In 2001, Roland and bandmate Uli Kusch were fired from Helloween due to musical and personal differences. The side project they had been planning, Masterplan, instead became their new full-time band. Roland Grapow is a producer and main songwriter of Masterplan

Name: Roland Grapow
Birthday: August 30, 1959
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Height: 1,80 m
Weight: 85 kg
Eyes: Green
Hair: Blond
Marital Status: Married
Favourite Drink: Coffee
Favorite Food: Greek, Muesli, Indian and Fast-Food
First Band: Rampage (1980 - 1982)
Second Band: Helloween (1988 - 2001)
Current Band: Masterplan (2001 - Present)
Wife: Silvia Grapow
Parents: Wilhelm and Ilse Grapow
Siblings: Rainer (RIP), Didi and Edchen Grapow
Dogs: Tammy and Jana
Cats: Oskar (RIP) and Felix

Musical Influences: Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), Michael Schenker, Steve Lukather (TOTO), Uli
Roth, Foreigner, Journey and Kansas
Favorite Bands Today: Skunk Anansie, Dream Theater, Guano Apes and Rammstein
Favorite Musicians: Beatles, Sting and Led Zeppelin
Favorite Singers: Tony Martin, Glenn Hughes, Mark Farner and Michael Vescera
Favorite Guitarists: Richie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Uli Roth, Yngwie Malmsteen and Stevie Vaughan
Favorite Bass Players: Mel Schacher, Barry Sparks and Markus Grosskopf
Favorite Drummers: Mike Terrana, Don Brewer and Cozy Powell
Favorite Keyboard Players: Jens Johansson, Ferdy Doernberg, Don Airey and Jon Lord

Occupation That Would Like To Have If He Wasn't On Music: Car mechanic
Career Highlights: The period with Helloween, his current band and the solo projects
First Albums Bought: "Cosmos Factory" by Credence Clearwater Revival and "Live Album" by Grand Funk
Railroad, both released in 1970
Favorite Solo Songs Written: "The Winner" from the "The Four Seasons Of Life" album and all the songs
from the "Kaleidoscope" album
Favorite Helloween Songs Written: "The Chance" from the "Pink Bubbles Go Ape" album, "I Don't Wanna
Cry No More" from the "Chameleon" album, "Mr. Ego (Take Me Down)"
and "Still We Go" from the "Master Of The Rings" album, "The Time Of
The Oath" from the "The Time Of The Oath" album and the b-side
"Grapowski's Malmsuite 1001 (In D-Doll)"

Most Important Thing: "Enjoy my life and respect people and animals."
Greatest Fear: "Being very sick and feel too much pain."
People Admired: "Many, but no one in special because I can learn something about life with anyone."
Life Philosophy: "Don't waste my time and use my life to create something really big (create music or
something like that). But doesn't matter what you do, because if you do it with joy and fun
you should be proud of yourself."
Impossible Ambition: "Live forever and try to change the world to something better."
Best Day: "All days are equally important."
Animal That Would Like To Be: "A cat, because they do what they want to, have a perfect body and have
nine lives (That's what people say!)."
About The Fans: "They are wonderful. They are the most important thing to all of my bands, and if I didn't
had any, I wouldn't sell albums and the bands wouldn't exist."

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Michael Weikath

Michael Weikath

Michael Weikath

Birthday: August 7, 1962

Birthplace: Hamburg

Height: 190cm

Weight: 75kg

Former Band: Powerfool

Musical Influences: The Beatles, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Scorpions, UFO, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Sex Pistols, Wishbone Ash

Michael Weikath was born in Hamburg 07.08.62, West Germany. In his early days he spent almost all his free time at the tube stereo set of his parents, listening to all the stations available at the time, often too long and loud that he got dizzy and needed to go to bed.

He kinda regards those days his 'studying years'. “Got one of those first little battery powered transistor radios too, first cassette recorder when I was 9 yrs old…”, he claims, “Making crap 'yeah yeah yeah oooh' Ukulele Xylophone washing powder drum recordings with a few classmates, man, THOSE were bad!”

Michael started attending school in 1969. His first owned album was The Beatles Best collection 62-66 and visited his first rock concert at age 13: Ocean, a Wishbone Ash/Boston type Hamburg band....returned home quite drunk that evening and got in trouble with his mum.

He tried to visit and watch all their shows...

In 1974 he got taught to play the acoustic guitar for one year and got himself an electric guitar and a distortion box 1 1/2 years later. He later had rehearsal-like experiences with friends, even an imaginary Punk band called Indeed.

Second attended major rock concert was Aerosmith in 1977 at the Auditorium Maximum Hamburg, fee 5 DM (2 $) at the time. He graduated school in 1982 and served heavy social duty instead of military service after.

His first original band was created in 1978 called Powerfool, but he played in parallel bands since 81/82 too, like in the school band SAS Band , (he had been mainly recruited for arrangements but ended up playing guitar as well, out of mere boredom, i.e. the original version of “How Many Tears” had been recorded with that band too), or Blast Furnace (along with Markus Grosskopf on bass, later joined by the Powerfool” drummer sometime in 83/84. Kai Hansen was playing a bit of guitar in Powerfool for a few weeks, filling the gap of former keyboard players. A few weeks later, they left and ended Powerfool to reform Kais former band “Iron Fist” and essentially name it Helloween, Markus returning from Blast Furnace; trying to get the Helloween concept running and started presenting rehearsal room tapes to Noise Records Berlin;...that’s when the trouble started...

Michaels first played songs/solos: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Let It Be, I Want You ( Beatles ), Smoke On The Water/Burn! (Deep Purple) , Backwater/Caroline/Bye Bye Johnny ( Status Quo), Whole Lotta Rosie ( AC/DC)...House Of The Rising Sun (yeah wot else), You Really Got Me ( The Kinks/Van Halen ), Hole In The Sky/Paranoid Black Sabbath, Samba Pa Ti ( Santana ), Barracuda (Heart) Hotel California (Eagles), Freak Out (Chic), Summer Night City (ABBA), Tattoed Lady (Rory Gallagher) Gonzo/Stranglehold/Just What The Doctor Ordered (Ted Nugent)...etc etc.

His favorite bands/ influences: The Beatles, Deep Purple, 60/70ies/teenie bands ( Sweet, Bay City Rollers, Mud, Slade, Rubettes, Hello, Suzi Quatro, T.Rex, Kincade, etc etc ) Gigliola Cinquetti, Mothers Finest, Rory Gallagher, Wishbone Ash, Black Sabbath, Alan Parson's Project, ELO, Wizard, Pink Floyd, Van Halen ( I believe I must have been the first one in Germany who owned their first record...), KISS, Dio, Def Leppard, Journey, Brian Auger, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Ted Nugent, KRUIZ, Omega, Sex Pistols and div Punk bands, Motorhead, Gary Moore, April Wine, Y&T, Sammy Hagar, Montrose, Johnnie Winter, Doobie Brothers, Allman Bros, Balance, Shadows, UFO, Michael Schenker Group, Boston, Frank Zappa, Rush, Rolling Stones, Demis Roussos and Aphrodite's Child, YES, Geordie, AC/DC, Uli Jon Roth, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, The Kinks, CCR, TenCC, Jeff Lynne, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Mamas And Papas, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Al DiMeola, Glenn Miller, Randy Rhoads, Buddy Holly, Walter Trout, Vanilla Fudge, SAGA, BB King, Loudness, Robert Palmer, The Who, Ten Years After, Chuck Berry, Joe Cocker, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Santana, Jethro Tull, Judas Priest, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, ABBA, Status Quo, Uriah Heep, Rainbow, Foreigner, Spooky Tooth, Mott The Hoople, David Bowie, Thin Lizzy, Heart, Eagles, Nektar, Focus, Camel, div international and german hit or evergreen or classical composers; Simon & Garfunkel, Ennio Morricone, Giorgio Moroder, Burt Bacharach, Beethoven, Bach, Haydn, ....AAAAH who else???

German artists: Udo Lindenberg, Udo Juergens, Katja Ebstein, Klaus Doldingers Passport, Volker Kriegel, Lenny Wolf, Atlantis, Frumpy, Kraftwerk, Nina Hagen, Peter Maffay, Spliff, Supermax, Baccara, Birth Control, Kraan, Wallenstein, Scorpions, Accept, Extrabreit, Hubert Kah, Rio Reiser, Destruction, Pink Cream 69, East german artists: Renft, Karussell, Cesar Peter Glaeser, Karat, Reform.

”Just for everyone to know and because it pisses me off each time I get asked, I did NOT mainly get influenced by Iron Maiden and Metallica. So cut it!

If too many queries come up regarding this biography, I'm threatening you, I may get it updated!!!

For the past 23 years Michael Weikath was and still is one of the founding members of “Helloween”. His devotion to the band and members lead them to a major success over the years with high sales and sold out concerts all over the world.

In the meantime, when he’s not surfing on the net, he’s writing new songs for the new “Helloween” which will be the followup to Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Guitar Ibanez Kai Hansen

His musical career started in 1978 in a band called Gentry, alongside Iron Savior's co-founder and producer Piet Sielck. In 1983 he and Michael Weikath founded Helloween, where he was guitarist and singer until Michael Kiske took over the microphone for the albums Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1 and Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2. Hansen left the band due to the extensive touring in 1988-89 and went on to form his own power metal band Gamma Ray. Hansen also joined Iron Savior as guitarist in 1997, but quit after a few years to focus his efforts on Gamma Ray. He has now forged a very successful career with Gamma Ray, releasing several albums and playing sold out tours across the globe.

Kai participated in a large number of other projects. He appeared as a guest vocalist on Blind Guardian's albums Follow the Blind and Tales From the Twilight World. Together with HammerFall he recorded a cover version of Helloween's I Want Out. Kai played the role of Regrin the dwarf in Avantasia rock opera by Tobias Sammet.

In 2005, he toured with the young German speed metal band Stormwarrior from his home town of Hamburg as lead singer, playing material from his classic Helloween debut album "Walls of Jericho" - the favorite album and greatest influence of Stormwarrior. "Stormwarrior featuring Kai Hansen" returned in 2007 to play at the Magic Circle Festival in Bad Arolsen and at the Wacken Open Air Festival.

In 2008 Kai Hansen featured Stormwarrior at Sweden Rock Festival 2008.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Vito Bratta Guitarist

1961, Staten Island, New York) was the guitarist and lead songwriter for the 1980s rock band White Lion from 1983 to 1992.

Following the breakup of White Lion, Bratta produced an album for the band CPR on Atlantic records. Bratta has not been involved in the music industry in any capacity since 1994. He is said to be currently living in his childhood house in Staten Island with his parents.

In 2003, Mike Tramp (former White Lion vocalist), attempted to reunite with Bratta but was unsuccessful. Tramp talked about Bratta in a 2007 interview with Anarchy Music, claiming Bratta was always quiet and distant and the rest of the band "hardly knew his birthday".

Vito Bratta had not been heard from since 1994 until his interview by Eddie Trunk live on February 16, 2007.

The following key points were revealed during the Eddie Trunk interview:

  • Vito Bratta's father suffered through a 5 year illness, and this required a large amount of personal time and commitment on Vito's part, both emotionally and financially.
  • In 1997 he injured his wrist while playing classical guitar and finds it painful to move his hand up and down the guitar neck; he manages to play nylon string guitars without too much discomfort. This injury seems to not be fully healed.
  • He has never ruled out a White Lion reunion; up until now they have been impossible due to family obligations and his wrist injury.

In April 2007, Vito Bratta made his first public musical appearances in over 15 years, at both Friday and Saturday nights shows at the L'Amour Reunion Shows in New York.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Guitar Richie Sambora

Born to a Polish father, Adam C. Sambora, d.2007 (family originally from Kraków, Poland as stated by Sambora), and an Italian mother, Joan Sienila, Sambora grew up in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. He attended Woodbridge High School there. He began playing the guitar at the age of 14 following the death of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix in 1970. From his early days Sambora was strongly influenced by blues and 60s rock 'n' roll. His most important influences were Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter and Jimmy Page and Joe Perry. He was also influenced by Spanish classical music and began a life long love of the Spanish guitar.

Sambora played guitar for Joe Cocker and auditioned for Kiss. Bon Jovi added Sambora to replace original lead guitarist Dave Sabo.

Sambora has occasionally taken over as lead vocalist on some Bon Jovi songs, most notably "I'll Be There for You" and "These Days" when played live on the Bounce, Have a Nice Day and the current Lost Highway tour. He has also performed "Stranger In This Town" (from the album of the same title) at various Bon Jovi concerts and Ballad of Youth (most notably on Keep the Faith and These Days tours)and sometimes on the current Lost Highway tour. One of the live performances of "Stranger In This Town", recorded during the Keep the Faith tour, was released on Bon Jovi's CD single "Dry County" in 1994.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Guitar Ibanez John Petrucci

John Petrucci is best known as the guitarist and founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. He is also the band's producer and main lyricist as well as an original member of the acclaimed Liquid Tension Experiment with Tony Levin. John is a long standing veteran of Joe Satriani's prestigous G3 tours along with Steve Vai, Eric Johnson and Paul Gilbert.

Born John Peter Petrucci on July 12, 1967, he grew up in Kings Park, New York, a small suburban town on Long Island. John began playing guitar at age 12 and quickly realized that music was his passion and that the persuit of excellence on his instrument would consume him for the years to come. To that end, he practiced for at least 6 hours a day in an effort to further his understanding and technical abilities as a guitar player. Some of his early influences include Steve Morse, Al DiMeola, Steve Howe, Allan Holdsworth, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Rush, Yes, Iron Maiden, The Dregs and Metallica. At age 18 after graduating from high school, he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston along with schoolmate/bassist John Myung where they fatefully met drummer Mike Portnoy and quickly formed the nucleus of what was to become Dream Theater.

John proceeded to take his band on a very successful musical journey including many gold and platinum CD and DVD releases (see "discography") as well as extensive world tours (see "tour dates"). He would go on to receive many notable awards in the various guitar publications throughout the world, including most recently the 2007 "Guitarist of the Year" as named by the readers of Total Guitar magazine.

John met his wife Rena Sands in 1989 and the two would later marry in September 1993. Rena was the guitarist and founding member of the all female metal band Meanstreak. Rena continues a career as a guitar player with her band Mixxed Company who can be seen playing regularly in the New York/east coast area.

In 1995 John released his first instructional video called "Rock Discipline" and was also a contributing columnist in Guitar World magazine's "Wild Stringdom" series. A book by the same name would later be released as a collection of the lessons featured in the magazine.

In 1998 and 1999 John released "Liquid Tension Experiment" and "Liquid Tension Experiment 2" respectively, along with DT bandmates Mike Portnoy and Jordan Rudess and the inimitable Tony Levin on bass. Both albums would not only prove to be worthy and enjoyable side projects, but also favorites among fans worldwide.

The year 2000 brought with it the unvieling of John's record label, Sound Mind Music. Created and run by his wife Rena, it's first release was "An Evening With John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess", an acoustic-instrumental live concert of Latin/Jazz improvized music for guitar and piano. The concert was recorded in June of that year at the Helen Hayes performing arts center in Nyack, NY.

In 2001 John joined the North American run of the popular G3 tour with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. He performed as a trio with DT bandmate Mike Portnoy on drums and bassist Dave LaRue of Dregs/Steve Morse Band fame. John would subsequently continue on with legs in Mexico and Japan with Joe and Steve ("G3 Live in Tokyo" was released in 2005) South America with Joe and Eric Johnson, Australia with Joe and Steve and again in North America in 2007 with Joe and Paul Gilbert.

In 2005 John released his first and much anticipated solo album titled, "Suspended Animation" on the Sound Mind Music label. The self-produced album of all instrumental guitar music featured Dave LaRue on bass and Dave DiCenso on drums. Drummer and re-mixer Tony Verderosa also contributed to the CD and can be heard on the song "Tunnel Vision". The album was mixed by friend and long time DT producer/mix engineer Kevin Shirley. Many of the songs John debuted live while on tour with G3 would later make up the bulk of the CD.

John is a long time Ernie Ball/Music Man endorser who proudly has a 6 and 7 string signature model guitar with called the "John Petrucci BFR". He is also an avid and loyal user/fan of Mesa Boogie amplification as well as a devoted DiMarzio and Dunlop endorser (see "gear"). You can catch John regularly doing clinics/master classes for Ernie Ball and Mesa Boogie in diferent locations throughout the world (see "clinics").

John currently resides on Long Island with his wife Rena and three children Samantha, Reny and Kiara and two cats named Miss E. and Mr. E. Cupcake. He enjoys spending his lesiure time having fun with his family, dining, watching movies, skiing and vacationing as well as doing home improvements. John is also an avid fan of bodybuilding and dedicates much of his off time to weight training. He is a voting member of NARAS.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Guitar Ibanez Kirk Hammet

Name: Kirk Hammett
Born: November 18, 1962
From: San Fransisco, California
Status: Married
Instrument: Full blown, kickass lead guitar
Vitals: Brown eyes, brown hair, 5'8

Kirk Hammett, never without a grin or a curious thought, is the true Bay Area band-member. Born in the East Bay town of El Sobrante (also the birthplace to one Les Claypool), he gained an interest in music from his brother Rick's extensive record collection, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and UFO. It all led to him properly picking up the guitar when he was 15, his first being a wholly unglamorous Montgomery Ward catalog special accompanied by a shoe box with 4 inch speaker for an amp.

After picking up a 1978 Fender Stratocaster, Kirk experimented by mixing and matching guitar parts to find his perfect sound before falling for a 1974 Gibson Flying V. In a determined (and successful) effort to upgrade his equipment, Kirk even took a shift at Burger King to get the cash together for his first Marshall amp. Around that time, Kirk also co-founded Exodus with Paul Baloff, and the East Bay thrashers crossed paths with Metallica twice, in late '82 and early '83, as a support act.

In April 1983, Kirk received a phone call from Metallica in New York. They were in the process of firing guitarist Dave Mustaine and wanted Kirk to fly out and audition. Kirk got the money together for the flight, left California for the first time and arrived in the late afternoon to find three guys who were still waking up. Immediately he, and they, knew the fit was right despite the fact nobody ever formally invited him to join.

A keen student of his instrument even today, Hammett followed his first 'Kill 'Em All' tour by taking lessons from Joe Satriani, and embarked upon a passage of guitar self-education that took in jazz, blues and classical styles. Indeed, education has always been Kirk's answer to potential burnout. After the marathon 'Black' album tour ended in 1993, he immediately went to the City College of San Francisco where he took classes, something he credits as the reason behind his reinvention as a guitarist on the 'Load' and 'Re-load' albums.

Kirk continues to bring not only a dazzling array of lead guitar parts to Metallica's music but also some savage rifferey, having started sharing 6-string duties with James during the 'Load' era. He is happily married to Lani, and lives in San Francisco along with a large collection of old Hollywood movie memorabilia, his two dogs Darla and Hoku, plus cats.......Oh, and for the record, Kirk plays his guitar at least 361 days a year.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Guitar Yngwie Malmsteen

What is YJM's Guitar Alchemy?

Photo credit & © Robert M Knight – used with permission
Photo Credit & © Robert M Knight used with permission visit http://www.robertmknight.com

YJM's Guitar Alchemy is the webs best Yngwie Malmsteen fan site. Our aim is to deliver the latest and most accurate news direct from Yngwie's management as well as letting you know what current and former band members are up to inside and outside of the Malmsteen camp. Our 5+ years on the web have provided a wealth of content and information to fans all over the world.

Yngwie Malmsteen is in our eyes the best guitarist bar none - the maestro - and this site is dedicated to letting you know about this legends music, his history, his current happenings and much more.

We, like many Yngwie fans are dedicated guitar nuts and believe that our guitar and amplifier/ effects section is as comprehensive and as accurate as can be, so if you are chasing the Malmsteen tone you have come to the right place for tips and pointers.

New content is being added frequently so check back often.

Get ready to go Far Beyond The Sun into the world of Yngwie J Malmsteen.

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