News en Foo Fighters Perform "I Am a River" on 'The Tonight Show' — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>Before the weekend hit, Foo Fighters hit <em>The Tonight Show</em> stage to perform "I Am a River," the emotional closer to their new album, <em>Sonic Highways</em>. </p> <p>Thanks to the wonders of video, you can watch the performance below.</p> <p>Note that the band is joined by a sizable orchestra during the performance; all the better to bring the song to its cinematic conclusion.</p> <p>In 2015, Foos Fighters will kick off a North American tour, which will start with a Fourth of July bash in Washington, D.C. That show, which will celebrate the Foos' 20th anniversary, will feature performances by musicians that represent some of the cities the band chronicled in <em>Sonic Highways,</em> their HBO series. These artists include Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., Heart and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.</p> <p>We should point out that <em>Sonic Highways</em> made <em>Guitar World's</em> <a href="">list of the 50 Best Albums of 2014.</a></p> <div itemprop="video" itemscope itemtype=""><iframe src="" width="620" height="365" frameBorder="0" seamless="seamless" allowFullScreen></iframe></div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/foo-fighters">Foo Fighters</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Foo Fighters Videos News Sun, 21 Dec 2014 19:22:55 +0000 Damian Fanelli Sturgill Simpson Performs "Long White Line" and "Life of Sin" at RCA Studio A — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>Today we bring you two recent videos of Sturgill Simpson, whose latest album, <em>Metamodern Sounds in Country Music</em>, made <em>Guitar World's</em> <a href="">list of the 50 best albums of 2014.</a> </p> <p>Truth be told, it made our top 20.</p> <p>It should be noted that both videos were posted by <a href="">LR Baggs</a>; for the session, Simpson's acoustic guitars were recorded direct with LR Baggs' Lyric Classical internal microphone. </p> <p>This live-in-the-studio session was recorded at RCA Studio A in Nashville and produced by Dave Cobb.</p> <p>As I mentioned in my own <a href="">15 Best Albums of 2014 list,</a> Simpson's band features Estonian guitarist Laur Joamets, who can be seen in both videos below (playing a Telecaster). Keep an eye for this guy! We're also fond of Simpson's acoustic fretwork, which can be sampled in the top video.</p> <p>The top video features "Long White Line" (written by Buford Abner). The bottom video features "Life of Sin" (written by Simpson). Studio versions of both songs can be heard on <em>Metamodern Sounds in Country Music</em>. Enjoy!</p> <p>For more about LR Baggs, visit <a href=""></a>. For more about Simpson, visit <a href=""></a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Acoustic Nation LR Baggs News Sturgill Simpson Videos Blogs Videos News Sun, 21 Dec 2014 18:53:30 +0000 Damian Fanelli Cracker Premiere "King of Bakersfield" Music Video <!--paging_filter--><p>Cracker have premiered a new music video for "King of Bakersfield," and you can check it out below.</p> <p>The song is from the band's new album, <em>Berkeley to Bakersfield,</em> which, by the way, was one of my top 15 albums of 2014. </p> <p>You can check out my <a href="">complete Top 15 list right here.</a> You know you want to!</p> <p><em>Berkeley to Bakersfield,</em> which was released in December via 429 Records, is a double album dedicated to California; well, bits of it, anyway. </p> <p>Although the entire album is fun, spirited and engaging, I admit I prefer the Bakersfield portion, which features pedal steel guitar courtesy of Matt “Pistol” Stoessel. </p> <p>As its name implies, "King of Bakersfield" is from the "Bakersfield" half of the album. The music video features a photo essay by Bradford Jones. </p> <p>I have to say, it kinda makes me want to visit Bakersfield. Is this a normal reaction? I'm going to the NAMM Show in Anaheim in January; maybe I'll make a pit stop.</p> <p>To keep up with all things Cracker (and maybe even a few things related to Camper Van Beethoven), visit <a href=""></a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Cracker Matt “Pistol” Stoessel Videos News Sun, 21 Dec 2014 17:33:11 +0000 Damian Fanelli Whitesnake Guitarist Joel Hoekstra Demos EVH Striped Series Guitar — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>Here's a brief demo video that was created and posted earlier this year by guitarist Joel Hoekstra.</p> <p>In the humorous clip, which you can watch below, Hoekstra demos EVH Gear's Striped Series Guitar, which also was reviewed in 2014 by <em>Guitar World</em>'s Paul Riario and Chris Gill. <a href="">You can watch Riario's video and read Gill's review right here.</a></p> <p>Hoekstra is known for his work with Whitesnake (where he recently replaced Doug Aldrich), Night Ranger (as mentioned in the video, which was shot before he joined Whitesnake), Trans-Siberian Orchestra and the Broadway musical <em>Rock of Ages.</em> </p> <p>Check out our full <a href="">2014 interview with Hoekstra right here.</a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> EVH EVH Gear FMIC Specialty Brands Joel Hoekstra Whitesnake Videos Electric Guitars News Gear Sun, 21 Dec 2014 16:59:31 +0000 Damian Fanelli Mario Torrado's Formula 1 Guitar — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>As we've seen, especially here on (and other far less interesting guitar-centric websites), guitars can be used for many, many odd things. </p> <p>For instance, guitarist Mario Torrado uses his Gibson Explorer to make annoying mosquito noises as his poor friend tries to sleep (Check out the video at the very bottom of this story).</p> <p>He also uses it to mimic the gear-changing sound of Formula 1 race cars, particularly <a href="">Rubens Barrichello's</a> (apparently) famous 2004 pole lap record at Italy's <a href="">Autodromo Nazionale Monza</a> raceway.</p> <p>In Torrado's own words:</p> <p>"Experience the sound of a finely tuned Gibson hitting the frequencies of the 2004 V10 Ferrari engine. For maximum enjoyment, play [the top video] simultaneously with the [second] video and turn off its sound. Start [the second video] slightly before the 3-second mark of my video.</p> <p>"You have the two videos together in <a href="">my blog."</a></p> <p>We've also included them below. Note that the big green numbers in the top video represent the driver's gears. Um, good luck with all this!</p> <p>For more about Torrado and Formula 1 Guitar, follow him on <a href="">YouTube</a> and/or <a href="">Twitter.</a> Also, please note that Torrado's top video is from 2013, not 2004.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>As mentioned above, we've thrown in Torrado's "Mosquito Guitar" video. We hope it doesn't want to make you slap your iPhone or computer monitor. Or us!</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Mario Torrado Rubens Barrichello WTF Videos News Sun, 21 Dec 2014 16:27:43 +0000 Damian Fanelli Celebrate the Holidays with 'The Ultimate Christmas Guitar Songbook' <!--paging_filter--><p><em>The Ultimate Christmas Guitar Songbook</em> is <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=UltimateXmasSongbook">available now a the Guitar World Online Store for $19.95.</a></p> <p>The book features 100 songs in a variety of notation styles, from easy guitar and classical guitar arrangements to note-for-note guitar tab transcriptions. </p> <p>Includes: All Through the Night • Auld Lang Syne • Away in a Manger • Blue Christmas • The Chipmunk Song • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) • The Gift • (There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays • I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm • Jingle Bells • My Favorite Things • One Bright Star • Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree • Santa Baby • Silver Bells • Wonderful Christmastime • and more.</p> <p><strong><a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=UltimateXmasSongbook">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></strong></p> News Features Sun, 21 Dec 2014 15:55:29 +0000 Guitar World Staff Falling In Reverse Premiere New Song, "God, If You Are Above..." <!--paging_filter--><p>Falling In Reverse have premiered a new digital single, "God, If You Are Above... ."</p> <p>You can check it out above. I mean below!</p> <p>As always, tell us what you think in the comments or on Facebook. </p> <p>"God, If You Are Above..." is available now via <a href+"">iTunes.</a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Falling In Reverse News Sun, 21 Dec 2014 15:41:44 +0000 Damian Fanelli The Enigmatic St. Vincent Talks Technique, Out-of-the-Ordinary Gear Choices and Dimebag Darrell <!--paging_filter--><p>The first truly 21st century guitar hero? A post-modern chops monster? </p> <p>Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, is an enigmatic artist on many levels. As a player, her influences are all over the map. The niece of new agey jazz guitarist Tuck Andress, Clark had some of her earliest professional experiences as a roadie and, later, opening act for his duet Tuck and Patti. </p> <p>But Clark, born in 1982, is also a fully fledged child of the alt Nineties. One of the biggest honors of her career to date was being chosen to perform the Nirvana song “Lithium” at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. </p> <p>Sporting a funky, thrift-shop Harmony solidbody, she joined surviving Nirvana members Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear for a gig that implicitly positioned her as some kind of new, female incarnation of Kurt Cobain. </p> <p>“I can’t possibly put into words how much that meant to me,” she says, “and how grateful I feel to even be part of that history in the smallest of ways. Nirvana changed the world. You can’t say that about many bands. They changed my life. They changed millions and millions of people’s lives.” </p> <p>But Clark also has a serious metal side. Growing up in Texas, she delved deeply into the music of bands like Slayer, Metallica and Pantera. Dimebag Darrell is one of her all-time guitar heroes. Then again, she also spent three years at the Berklee School of Music mastering harmonic theory and other learned topics. Despite these antecedents, however, her music is devoid of wanky jazz chords or lengthy bouts of virtuoso shredding. She can do all that in her sleep but prefers to employ her considerable talent to create arty, minimalist pop music, as heard on her fourth and most recent album, St. Vincent.</p> <p>“It’s funny that you would categorize it as minimalist,” she says. “In the context of guitar rock, I could see what I do as being minimal. But in the context of pop music, it’s pushing the level of muso—pushing the limits of what people are hearing in pop music.”</p> <p>Fair enough. St. Vincent’s robotic, yet oddly vulnerable, post-modern pop songs are packed with subtle complexities, spiky discordant horn charts, polyrhythmic dance grooves and moments of Bowie-esque alien grandeur. In an overtly electronic landscape, she deploys her guitar as a stealth device, a heat-seeking missile. It sneaks up on you, and startles you at times. What seems like a synth line might turn out to be a guitar. What seems like a guitar might just be the sound of your own imagination. Like a ghost in some Orwellian machine, her guitar is very much an extension of her disarmingly dispassionate, yet somehow highly expressive vocal style. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p> With impeccable underground and alternative cred, Clark is eminently qualified to do this kind of stuff. Before debuting as a solo artist with her 2007 album, <em>Marry Me</em>, she was a member of the Polyphonic Spree and toured with hipster icon singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens. She’s also performed with one of New York avant-garde composer Glenn Branca’s guitar armies. </p> <p>One of her most visible projects to date has been her 2012 album, <em>Love This Giant</em>, with former Talking Head David Byrne. And there’s a clear connection between that band’s subversive Eighties pop and St. Vincent tracks like “Digital Witness,” although Annie insists she was thinking more of Tupac on that one. </p> <p> She is, as stated initially, an enigmatic artist. Even her chosen stage name introduces an element of gender confusion—a young woman with the name of a male saint. Officially, the pseudonym St. Vincent is an oblique reference to a song by post-punk songwriter and novelist Nick Cave, not to mention the middle name of Clark’s great-grandmother. </p> <p>But while her nom d’artiste may not arise from any sense of Catholic piety on Clark’s part, St. Vincent’s lyrics are indeed laced with Christian imagery, which coexists uneasily alongside images of brute violence, quiet tenderness and digitized dystopian ambivalence. </p> <p> You’ll never figure out St. Vincent on a first listen, or over the space of one interview. But it sure is fun to try. </p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: To my knowledge, you’re one of the few guitarists employing techniques like two-handed tapping in a context other than shred, metal or any of the other genres where you’d expect to hear that kind of thing. </strong></p> <p>[laughs] Yeah, that’s just a little bit of a party trick. </p> <p><strong>Isn’t that all it ever is? </strong></p> <p>It’s a little more like showmanship for me than pure sound. I mean, I like it; I’m into it. It’s not like I’m doing it for laughs. But it does make me smile, because it reminds me of being 13, being in the guitar store and picking up the Dimebag signature guitar and trying to figure out how he gets that crazy sound from “Cowboys from Hell.” </p> <p>What is that? I’d watch tutorials on YouTube. So tapping makes me smile a bit because it is that super-athletic zone of guitar playing that I totally love. But sometimes you have to do a delicate dance to put everything together in a way that doesn’t just feel like too many notes just for notes’ sake. That’s a big thing that I’ve learned in life. In order to serve the song, maybe it’s best to strip it back as opposed to adding more. </p> <p><strong>Do you always play fingerstyle? Do you never use a pick? </strong></p> <p>No, I’m using a pick more and more. In certain songs like “Cruel” [from 2011’s <em>Strange Mercy</em>], there’s a riff that’s kind of “Ali Farka Toure lite” and it needs that sort of African-style double picking. And there are a lot of other songs, like “Bring Me Your Loves” and “Huey Newton” on my new album, that I definitely use a pick for. I mean, I could play these things with fingers, but sonically it doesn’t read as well. </p> <p><strong>How concerned are you with getting away from any kind of obvious or clichéd guitar tones?</strong></p> <p>Well, I’m not precious about what I write on. I’ve written some of my favorite guitar passages on a computer. Or sung them first as a vocal line and then decided, “Oh, maybe that would be better as a guitar part.” The more you can get out of lizard-brain muscle memory—like the fast-blues idiom we all know as guitar players—the better it is. Because we all learned the same pantheon of rock music, so we all know the same pentatonic scales and riffs. And that’s amazing stuff, but it’s important to get away from it as much as you can. Get away from muscle memory and just let your ear be your guide. </p> <p><strong>What were some of your main guitars for your most recent album, <em>St. Vincent</em>?</strong></p> <p>I was playing this guitar that [producer] John Congleton had, the Thurston Moore edition of the Fender Jazzmaster. It’s super chopped—just a volume knob. You either like the way it sounds when you play it, or you don’t. I really like that on/off kind of thing. You don’t mess around with a million permutations. So I was using that a lot on the record, but I don’t play it live. For live work, I play the Music Man Albert Lee model a lot. I’m not a very large person, so even though I love the sound of a Seventies Les Paul, there’s no way in hell I could ever play one live unless I wanted to have a chiropractor on tour.</p> <p>There’s a lot of functionality in my choice of instruments, especially for playing live. I’m using a Kemper modeling amplifier for live work. Originally I was bringing out vintage ’66 Kalamazoo kind of small amps—the kind of little guy that you could ram a lot of signal through and get a nice breakup and saturation and all of that. But I just stopped. </p> <p>Those weirdo custom and vintage amps need a lot of attention on the road, and I didn’t want to make my guitar tech’s life a living hell. So I decided to go with straight-up Kemper. Which really works well, because my entire show is programmed, in terms of effects. I program my pedal board, and my keyboard player uses Ableton to send cues to switch programs, so I don’t have to look down at my pedal board. So both [co-guitarist/keyboardist] Toko [Yasuda] and I use Kemper modeling amplifiers, because they’re consistent. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>How did you discover the Kempers? </strong></p> <p>I got turned on to them by my guitar tech, who was on the Nine Inch Nails tour, and that’s what they were using. So I gave them a shot and really liked them. I don’t know if they’d be my go-to amp in the studio, but they’re definitely my go-to live. Hey, if they’re good enough for Trent…</p> <p><strong>Okay, so what are some of the army of small vintage amps you use in the studio but could never bring on the road?</strong></p> <p>Oh, things like a little Sixties Dan Electro. I use a lot of effects, but there are some amps where I just really love the sound of their distortion. I have a couple of little Kalamazoo amps with the built-in tremolo. I never use the tremolo, but the amp is nice. I have a few custom TRVR amps as well. It’s sort of like a boutique silverface Champ, and another one is kind of like a Sixties Deluxe. </p> <p><strong>A lot of effects, you said. Any must-haves? </strong></p> <p>The people at Eventide have been really rad to me over the years, and I’ve been using their H9. I have a couple of those going. I have all the Eventide effects at my disposal with those. So I just program those for synth sounds, tremolos, delays, reverbs…</p> <p><strong>In your song “Regret,” there’s a nice harmonized solo guitar section. Is that some kind of harmonizer, or are you playing the lines?</strong></p> <p>I play them. You couldn’t get a harmonizer to do that particular harmony. </p> <p><strong>I guess it’s too interesting to be a preset, you’re right.</strong></p> <p>Yeah, it would take too much time to program what that harmony is. It’s easier just to play it.</p> <p><strong>There’s a lovely distortion tone on that song as well. </strong></p> <p>I believe that’s a [Bixonic] Expandora that John [Congleton] had in the studio. I liked it so much I bought one of my own. It’s a Japanese distortion pedal. John said that’s what Billy Gibbons used.</p> <p><strong>You get this amazing sustain on some tracks. Is that the amp? Are you using any kind of sustain device?</strong></p> <p>I think I was using an Electro-Harmonix Micro Synth. The new generation of Micro Synth has a lot of sustain. I used sustain on the record for things like the solo in “Rattlesnake,” which is all on one string. Just a big slidey thing. I was trying to cop the style of a Turkish instrument called the saz. I was listening to a lot of Turkish music, and you know, they just overshoot the note and slide into it. It’s a really sexy approach. I spent a lot of time trying to play different melodies on just one string. And I have a slice in my finger to prove it! I remember, in the studio I cut my finger on my left hand really bad trying to do the “Rattlesnake” solo. </p> <p><strong>Just from sliding up and down on one string. </strong></p> <p>Yeah. My uncle Tuck Andress talks a lot about this kind of thing. You always have to have a contingency plan. If you blow a generator or something, you have to have a backup. So I just used my other finger to do it. But it was a painful process, that’s for sure. </p> <p><strong>You mentioned that Thurston Moore Jazzmaster. Are you very influenced by the New York avant-noise kind of thing—Sonic Youth, Marc Ribot, Arto Lindsay…</strong></p> <p>Yeah, absolutely. Marc Ribot is definitely one of my favorite guitar players. Nels Cline is incredible too. </p> <p><strong>So it’s Marc Ribot and Dimebag, eh? </strong></p> <p>Yeah, there’s a riff on my song “Bring Me Your Loves” that’s so “Cowboys from Hell” that I feel like I’m going to be sued…just in my mind. </p> <p><strong>If I didn’t know that, I never, ever would have guessed that you listen to that kind of music.</strong></p> <p>Really?</p> <p><strong>But that’s what’s really cool. You utterly transform your influences. </strong></p> <p>That’s the goal, right? The goal is to have your own voice as much as possible. For instance, there are plenty of people who can and should play the blues. But I’m not one of them. I had this period where I was super into Albert King and really trying to cop some of those licks. </p> <p>There’s a section in the live show where we stretch out and jam a bit, and I was trying to throw some of those licks into the song. I listened back to a recording of the show and I apologized to my band. It was like the worst white-blues hell! It was really bad. Not because it was poorly played—it was played well enough—but it felt so corny. It felt like I was trying on somebody else’s clothes. And that’s not a great way to go. I mean, it’s one thing to stretch and pull things from different influences. I try to do that everywhere, and with everything. But this was just like, “Ooh, maybe not.” That suit didn’t fit me quite right. And that’s fine.</p> <p><strong>If you want to play like Albert, you have to play upside down and tuned to some kind of open, dropped minor tuning anyway.</strong></p> <p>Exactly. </p> <p><strong>Which brings up the question, do you always play in standard? Do you use alternate tunings or anything like that?</strong></p> <p>Yeah, I use a lot of alternate tunings. I never play in standard E. I drop everything down a whole step, so it’s D G C F A D. That just ends up being better for my voice. And for songs like “Regret” and “Birth in Reverse” I was playing around with some tunings—and I honestly can’t remember exactly what they were now—that had multiple strings tuned to the same note. </p> <p>When I played with Glenn Branca a million years ago, what made it so interesting was that he has a lot of guitars and they’re all tuned to the same note. And there’s a whole other section of 10 more guitars tuned to another note. So I was really liking the sound of that natural chorus and I tried to approximate it with one guitar. Alternate tunings are also a great way to get out of your lizard brain. It’s a great tool for me if I’m feeling stuck, like my fingers are wanting to travel down the same old roads. It’s like, “Okay, you can travel down the same roads, but I’m gonna mess with the map a little.”</p> <p><strong>What are some of the important things you learned from working with David Byrne? </strong></p> <p>Oh, um, gosh. I just saw him last night. I think the collaboration worked well because he brings so much buoyancy and fun to his music, and I brought a little more of the melancholy side. We met somewhere in the middle. That’s what I think was fruitful. </p> <p>And also, he’s just such a wonderful showman and so good at constructing shows that are both entertaining and touching, but also strange. So I just sort of watched how he worked—the nuts and bolts of how he put the show together. And what I was able to bring to the show was a sonic palette. </p> <p><strong>Sonically, there’s kind of analogy between your work with him and the time when he was working with someone like Adrian Belew, who really brought an interesting guitar palette to the expanded version of the Talking Heads.</strong></p> <p>Yes, I love Adrian Below! And Robert Fripp is another one of my absolute favorite guitar players. </p> <p><strong>A lot of your own music employs a very contemporary digitized palette to critique digital culture in a way. </strong></p> <p>Well, I think it’s any artist’s job to take in the world, filter it through their lens and comment on the times that we’re living in now. But I don’t mean comment in some big, sad, moralistic kind of way. I’m a person just like everybody else, trying to sift through the big question of where are we now? And so I was finding myself being very Pavlovian about technology. I was salivating at the sound of a text message. And I wanted to ask, “Okay, what is this? Where are we now?” </p> <p>We’re living our lives so performatively. We take a picture of our food. We have to tell everybody about every experience we have and post a picture to show for it. And that drew me to the issue of, “Okay, it’s all performance, but very little of it is art.” But also, are we living for ourselves? Are we able to self-choose? Or are we living in order to project an image of life on the wall? Are we becoming a digital version of ourselves?</p> <p><em>Photo: Chris Casella</em></p> Annie Clark Holiday 2014 St. Vincent Interviews News Features Magazine Fri, 19 Dec 2014 21:24:07 +0000 Alan di Perna Sterling by Music Man Previews New JP60-MGR John Petrucci Guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>If you read the <a href="">Ernie Ball forum</a>, you'll already have noticed the company has sort of announced the new Sterling by Music Man JP60-MGR guitar.</p> <p>If not, check out the recent post about the new John Petrucci model right here:</p> <p>"Here's a quick preview of the new-for-2015 JP60-MGR: Mystic Green finish!</p> <p>"It's our first SBMM 'Chameleon' finish, and was selected by JP himself earlier this year between DT tours. Needless to say, it's probably our most requested finish since day one, and we searched high and low for something that could be our counterpart to EBMM's Mystic Dream finish. John personally selected this out of several samples we sent him.</p> <p>"This finish will only be available on JP60, and will be hitting stores in late January. $619 USA Street Price!</p> <p>"I'll be unveiling the entire New for 2015 SBMM lineup right here on the forum from now through New Year's."</p> <p>Stay tuned for more. Again, remember the Winter NAMM Show is coming up!</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/620%20version.jpg" width="620" height="432" alt="620 version.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/john-petrucci">John Petrucci</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/dream-theater">Dream Theater</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Dream Theater John Petrucci Sterling by Music Man Electric Guitars News Gear Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:53:06 +0000 Damian Fanelli Marilyn Manson Premieres “Deep Six” Music Video <!--paging_filter--><p>Marilyn Manson dropped the single, "Deep Six" from his forthcoming album, <em>The Pale Emperor</em>, which will be released January 20 via Loma Vista.</p> <p>Now he's released the video for the track. </p> <p>Watch the weirdness unfold below:</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src=";autoplay=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/marilyn-manson">Marilyn Manson</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Marilyn Manson Videos News Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:11:26 +0000 Guitar World Staff At the Gates Discuss New Album, 'At War with Reality' <!--paging_filter--><p>It’s been pouring rain for 48 hours straight when <em>Guitar World</em> wakes up in Gothenburg, Sweden, on the day of our photo shoot with At the Gates. </p> <p>We’d planned to take the melodic death-metal legends to a few outdoor locations around their home city before sitting down to get the story behind their first studio album in 19 years, the critically acclaimed <em>At War with Reality</em>.</p> <p>We’ve flown nearly 4,000 miles to complete this task, and we’re cringing at the possibility of being rained out. But as we throw back the curtains in our hotel room overlooking the Göta älv river, we see that the ancient Norse gods have granted us a respite. </p> <p>The season’s copious rainfall has momentarily subsided, allowing brilliant sunlight to illuminate the river and myriad autumnal colors of the tree leaves throughout the coastal city.</p> <p>It’s in the crucible of Gothenburg’s brutal climate and breathtaking old-world beauty that a community of young musicians in the early Nineties banded together and forged a new subgenre of extreme metal. </p> <p>At the Gates—along with contemporaries like Dark Tranquility, In Flames and Dissection—merged the melodic dual-guitar elements of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with the violent sonic assault of Florida death metal to create a new hybrid of melodic death metal, known now as the Gothenburg Sound.</p> <p>“Nineteen ninety-five was an important year for all of us,” says Anders Björler, At the Gates’ founding guitarist, when we meet later that day. “We released <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em>, Dissection had <em>Storm of the Light’s Bane</em>, Dark Tranquility released <em>The Gallery</em>, and In Flames recorded <em>The Jester Race</em>. Everyone signed to bigger labels, and we got on U.S. and European tours. It was a groundbreaking year for all of us, and it helped distribute that sound throughout the world. Things really took off.”</p> <p>But At the Gates were hardly an overnight success. The band—Anders and his twin brother, bassist Jonas Björler, guitarist Alf Svensson, drummer Adrian Erlandsson and vocalist Tomas Lindberg—had formed five year’s prior and released two ambitious death metal records: 1992’s <em>The Red Sky Is Ours</em> and 1993’s <em>With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness</em>. </p> <p>The following year’s exceptional <em>Terminal Spirit Disease</em> further established them in the underground scene and featured Martin Larsson replacing Svensson on second guitar.</p> <p>But it was with their fourth album, <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em>, that At the Gates found international success and influenced a generation of musicians.</p> <p>“Coming off of <em>Terminal Spirit Disease</em>, we actually had a sit down where we were focused on creating something special,” Lindberg says. “We were at a bit of a musical make-it-or-break-it point. Either we put all our effort into this and make a great album, or we might as well break up.”</p> <p>Their hard work paid off. <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em>’s tight thrashing songs were filled with precise dual-guitar work, catchy melodies, furious tones and shredded, howling vocals. The inspired 34-minute album isn’t just one of the best examples of Gothenburg death metal—it also ranks among the most influential metal albums of the Nineties. With <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em>, At the Gates effectively inspired the birth of the entire metalcore genre, which would dominate the extreme metal landscape throughout the new millennium in the hands of such bands as Arch Enemy, Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall.</p> <p>But while the guys managed to create the best album of their career, in an ironic twist, At the Gates broke up before they could enjoy any of the spoils from its success.</p> <p>“I had just had enough,” Anders Björler says of his decision to leave the band in 1996 after touring behind <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em>. “Eight months of touring and we got paid only in alcohol and beer!”</p> <p>“We were also so young, inexperienced and unused to coping with outside, or internal, pressure,” Lindberg adds. “There’s no real communication when you’re 20. If we were the persons we are today, that would have never happened. But, also, we probably wouldn’t be the persons we are today if that didn’t happen!”</p> <p>After At the Gates disbanded, the musicians stayed active with other groups: the Björler brothers and Adrian Erlandsson with the Haunted, and Lindberg with Disfear, Lock Up, the Great Deceiver and others. They also pursued vocations and passions outside the music industry. Anders went back to school for filmmaking, and Lindberg became a high-school teacher.</p> <p>“During the period we weren’t active as a band, everyone did other projects that allowed us to express ourselves without pressure,” Lindberg says. “I tried a lot of things, and we got rid of a lot of stuff from our systems.</p> <p>”With their internal conflicts laid to rest, the band members were able to entertain the possibility of a reunion. Which is exactly what happened in 2007 when they announced that they were embarking on a run of European festivals and Japanese dates. These shows revealed a reinvigorated group firing on all cylinders, but At the Gates were adamant that no new material was on the horizon. </p> <p>The band wanted <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em>’s legacy—which by that time had become a landmark in the genre—to remain their final album. But the success of the tours, as well as the band’s revitalized chemistry, eventually softened their position, and the musicians started working on a new album.</p> <p>“The music just sounded so much better than back in the day,” Anders Björler says of the motivation to write new material. “We had all been playing in different bands, and we all sounded better.”</p> <p>Now, nearly two decades since their last studio outing, At the Gates are back with <em>At War with Reality</em>, a powerhouse album that reaffirms their musical prowess and genre dominance, and contains the band’s most emotionally heavy performance yet.</p> <p>“We wanted to have a really honest and emotional touch on this record, not just mechanical and aggressive,” Lindberg says. “We wanted to color it up with a bit with frustration, desperation and melancholy. That was our intention, and I think we succeeded.</p> <p><strong><a href=",1">Go to Page 2 to read the full Q&amp;A with At the Gates</a>.</strong></p> <hr /> <p><strong>At the Gates is synonymous with the term Gothenburg Sound. But I’m curious to know, what does that term mean to you personally?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER To me it just describes a small musical scene in the beginning of the Nineties. It means friendship and helping each other out. We were part of this new scene. But later it was a post-construct by journalists to describe this musical scene from Gothenburg, even though all the bands were very different, sound-wise.</p> <p>LINDBERG We’re friends with all the bands in the [Gothenburg] scene. We hung out and inspired each other to make music and have an open mind about how you can do death metal. But we were all different entities at the same time. I think the Gothenburg sound was actually cemented by other bands afterward. You had stuff in Massachusetts, with Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and all these other bands, and also in Sweden with the second generation, like Soilwork and Arch Enemy. These bands emulated all the different aspects of all the Gothenburg bands into one sound.</p> <p><strong>One distinct aspect of that sound is a heavy melodic sensibility incorporated into death metal. Where do the roots of this melodicism lie for you?</strong></p> <p>LINDBERG We started out as kids listening to early hard rock and heavy metal. I think our generation was lucky. Our tastes evolved as the music scene evolved. From heavy metal to New Wave of British Heavy Metal, to hardcore punk of the early Eighties, to thrash. Then the death metal thing happened, as we were teenagers and just starting to play ourselves. It was all very natural. When we were eight we were listening to Iron Maiden; 10 it was Metallica and 14 was Morbid Angel.</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER And when At the Gates eventually formed, the way that things progressed in a more melodic direction had a lot to do with the other guitar player, Alf [Svensson]. He had some very original and weird ideas. He brought in a lot of classical, folk and even opera influences.</p> <p><strong>You and Jonas also have a connection with classical music, right?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER Yeah, our granddad was a music teacher and a violinist in a symphonic orchestra.</p> <p><strong>When you first started learning music, did you study classical instrumentation or just pick up a guitar and learn Morbid Angel riffs?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER I first started practicing the piano back at home. It wasn’t on a professional level. My mother just had a piano and I played around on it. I also started out on a recorder flute, which is a common thing in Swedish schools.</p> <p>LINDBERG Even I played that! [laughs]</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER Because it’s a categorically easy instrument to get into. It’s what everyone starts with. [laughs] But for me it turned into playing clarinet for five years and learning a little bit more about music theory. Then I met Tomas and got interested in guitar. I actually found some Metallica and Slayer tablature and learned by playing along with those records. I’m totally self-taught. You are as well, right, Martin?</p> <p>LARSSON I had classes as well, but I never did the homework. [laughs] My school was also figuring out Metallica riffs in my room.</p> <p><strong>Jonas, did your journey to playing bass follow a similar path as your brother?</strong></p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER Yes, I also played recorder flute. [laughs] Then nothing really happened until I was around 16. I heard some cool stuff like Metallica and Slayer and I wanted to be in a band. There was this crappy band that needed a bass player. They had a bass, so I didn’t need to buy one to join. I think they were called Demolition. They were a really crappy hybrid between AC/DC and Pestilence. It was the worst band you can imagine. [laughs]</p> <p><strong>Can you talk about how At the Gates’ style progressed from the more experimental early albums to the concise assault of <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em>?</strong></p> <p>LINDBERG In terms of songwriting, Alf was an influence on the weird stuff that was part of our early career. Me and Alf were both in Grotesque, and we left to form At the Gates with Anders and Jonas. He was the one that had experience of writing songs in a proper band, so we leaned against him.</p> <p><strong>Did your gear change as your sound evolved?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER All our records are examples of the situations in the studio and our finances. It was what we could afford to buy and what was available at the time. Equipment-wise, we got started because of something called Study Circles. It’s state-sponsored financial aid for artists. All the bands got this back in the day. It was a big help to buy equipment, because we were 16 when we started and really poor. They gave us money to buy amps, guitars and drums. That service is still available for people in Sweden to use.</p> <p><strong>Sweden better get ready for a bunch of American guitarists trying to move there!</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER [laughs] And it’s not even just music. It’s art in general. If you’re interested in having a book circle, you can get money for that as well.</p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER We also have free musical school for kids up until they’re 14 years old. So that’s really good. That’s a huge help.</p> <p><strong>Let’s step back to <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em> for a minute. That record went on to become a huge hit that influenced a lot of metalcore bands that would achieve success in the 2000s. Did you know you were onto something special when you were cutting those tracks?</strong></p> <p>LINDBERG We put a lot of effort into making that record, and it was a big step up for us. We were definitely doing things we hadn’t done before. But the scene was going nowhere, we were broke, and it wasn’t like a big career success at the time.</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER It wasn’t an instant success in any way. Signing to Earache Records was a big step, because it was the first album that had major distribution. It also allowed us to film a high-budget video and got us on U.S. tours.</p> <p>LARSSON Yeah, the support tours in the U.S playing with Morbid Angel and Napalm Death helped us reach a lot of people.</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER But the real hype came after we split up.</p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER The album’s success didn’t come until much later, like 1999. I mean the term Gothenburg Sound wasn’t even coined until the 2000s.</p> <p><a href=",2"><strong>Go to page 3 to read the conclusion of the Q&amp;A.</strong></a></p> <hr /> <strong>At the Gates broke up in 1996 after the support tours for <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em>. Were you all just burnt out at the time?</strong> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER I was the one who left. And I guess the other guys felt it was impossible to continue without me. Like I mentioned, we weren’t super successful at the time. And it was a pretty early stage in our lives, and I wanted to go back to school.</p> <p><strong>What did you study?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER I went to film school for three years. Also, about two months after I left At the Gates, I joined the Haunted. It was the right time and right place for something fresh. Going into the rehearsal room with no pressure was great.</p> <p><strong>When At the Gates reformed in 2007, you were all insistent that no new records were on the horizon. What made you change your minds?</strong></p> <p>LINDBERG After hearing those songs played live again, we understood how good that style could sound with all of us playing it again, and also how broad our spectrum is with At the Gates. There are probably limits as to how far we can progress within the frame of the band. But we have a very wide-open field compared to other death metal bands. We can do pretty creative stuff within this band. And that’s very inspiring.</p> <p><strong>Did you feel pressured by your own legacy?</strong></p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER No, actually for me it was just important to make it stand out from the Haunted stuff, because I was writing for both bands at the same time.</p> <p><strong>Did you have to scrap a lot of riffs because they were too similar to the Haunted’s sound?</strong></p> <p>LINDBERG Jonas didn’t have to scrap them. Anders did it for him! [laughs]</p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER [laughs] I did maybe 12 or 13 songs ideas, and we maybe used four or five.</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER [laughs] I also presented some ideas that Jonas wasn’t into. But our communication was on a much more mature level than it was as kids. Back then we would scream at each other and punch each other, for real.</p> <p>LINDBERG I remember a cobblestone being thrown once.</p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER Now it also helps that we live three hours away from each other. [laughs] But back to the question, in terms of tuning, the Haunted is D and At the Gates is B. So when we tune down three semi-tones [from D] to At the Gates tuning, you get into the feeling of the band. That makes a huge difference when you sit down and start writing riffs. At the Gates is going to be heavier because of those tunings. And the Haunted melodies are different than the ones in At the Gates, which are more melancholic and atmospheric.</p> <p>LINDBERG I think our viewpoint for this record was different, too. <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em> was a very reactionary, aggressive and angry album based on our experience at the time. It was an angry-young-man record. Even when we were touring on that one, I know Jonas said he was disappointed because that record was too one-dimensional and missing more of the emotional aspects of the earlier albums. So that was something we had in mind this time: we wanted not only dynamics in arrangements but emotional dynamics on different songs.</p> <p><strong><em>Slaughter of the Soul</em> was recorded 19 years ago, at a time when Pro Tools wasn’t on everyone’s laptop. How was the recording process different this time around?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER Back then we had to learn the song, rehearse it and then record it to a tape recorder and listen back. But it was still sounding terrible, because it was recorded in a rehearsal room. Now you can have a sketch in the computer in 15 minutes, and it sounds awesome.</p> <p>LARSSON It’s been much more transparent this time. It’s all home demos being bounced back and forth, and you can comment on anything right away.</p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER I like that format, but you shouldn’t forget you’re a band. You still need to play together. When we had all the demos together, we met and played through everything.</p> <p>LARSSON We wanted to make sure the whole album was playable live.</p> <p>LINDBERG When we’re in the studio, we want to use the new technology, but we had to remember to get good basic organic analog sounds as well. Because we’ll never be the band that sequences everything. So we embrace the new technology, but we had to make sure we don’t rely on it too much.</p> <p><strong>You recorded in Gothenburg at Studio Fredman with Fredrik Nordstrom, who also worked on <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em>. Did that fact alone make him the obvious choice?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER Well, we wanted something in Gothenburg, and there aren’t many studios left. And Fredman was a good choice because Fredrik was very influential on the sound of <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em>. He had many ideas, especially about guitar sounds.</p> <p><strong>Anders, I read a quote that for <em>Slaughter</em>, you played through a homemade cab that you and your dad built. Did you bring that into the studio this time?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER Back then I didn’t have money to buy a cabinet, so I built one. It was basically two 10-inch and two 12-inch Celestions in a big wooden cabinet. It sounded very good and compact. But I sold it a year after we recorded Slaughter of the Soul. Actually, Jesper of In Flames really liked the sound and he wanted to buy it. But I said no. [laughs] But they still got a similar sound on The Jester Race.</p> <p>LINDBERG Yeah they really tried hard on that one, no? [laughs]</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER [laughs] My guitar amp was a solid-state Peavey Supreme, and we did Boss Heavy Metal and Metal Zone pedals in serial. I played an Ibanez Maxxus, which I think is the predecessor to the Joe Satriani model. It was a hollowbody and very resonant, with lots of sustain.</p> <p><strong>You’re back with Peavey again this time, right?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER We switched to Line 6 HD500 for live use. It’s the most rewarding. But we usually play Peavey 6505s or 5150s. I play a custom version of the Ibanez Prestige R6 with one Lundgren bridge pickup. They’re a Swedish company that makes pickups for Meshuggah and Scott Ian from Anthrax. It’s the most powerful and aggressive passive pickup I’ve ever heard.</p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER It’s a very passive-aggressive pickup. [laughs]</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER Good one. [laughs] I like active pickups, too. We used EMG-81s in the studio because they were on my new baritone guitar from Ibanez, their new Iron-Label series. It sounds fantastic, and it’s pretty affordable, too, maybe $500. We actually played baritone on the whole album. I even did most of the solos on the baritone as well.</p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER It’s just guitarists trying to be bassists. [laughs]</p> <p><strong>Martin, what are you playing these days?</strong></p> <p>LINDBERG Copy and paste Anders’ setup. [laughs]</p> <p>LARSSON [laughs] I’m not so picky. I’ll play whatever I can get my hands on. It’s an Ibanez RG Prestige and the Line 6 as well.</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER I think he’s got the Seymour Duncan pickups, which are the factory default.</p> <p><strong>If you’re playing a similar setup, is it just your individual technique that helps distinguish the parts?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER The pickups separate the sounds. My pickups are really hot.</p> <p>LARSSON But our playing styles are very different as well. He has a really unorthodox way of playing.</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER I start from low, like an upstroke, when I play. I have this alternate triplet picking technique, which I actually wasn’t aware of until Jeff Loomis from Nevermore noticed and said, “You have a weird style!” [laughs] I had no idea. I do up-down-up; down-up-down. I alternate on every pair of triplets so it gets really fast.</p> <p><strong>Jonas, what’s your setup this time around?</strong></p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER I play EBS TD660 amps now. I used to use the 650, but the 660 has a better EQ in bass in mid. I have a new cabinet with 8x10 neodymium speakers, which is really lightweight and great for touring. I also have a Pro-Co Rat distortion pedal, which I set at three or four distortion level at maximum volume. I play a Warwick Corvette for touring, which is really lightweight and not too expensive. I also have a Warwick Streamer Stage I and Stage II. But for the At the Gates record, I actually used the Corvette in the studio.</p> <p><strong>Anders, you are known for deploying succinct solos that are lyrical, heavy and very well constructed. Can you speak to your process of composing them?</strong></p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER The purpose for solos for me is to basically make a melody that fits with the chord structure beneath it. I like simple notes. A great solo could be just one note. I like finding those powerful melodies that stick in your head. That’s my starting point. Almost like a classical theme in many ways. But there’s no real logic or thought behind it.</p> <p><strong>Tomas, let’s finish by putting you on the spot. What is your favorite guitar moment on the record?</strong></p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER The silence between songs. [everyone laughs]</p> <p>LINDBERG There’s a lot of great guitar moments on this record. A lot of classic thrashing stuff, a lot of different harmonics from the Russian neoclassicists I guess. I really enjoy our Slayer moment in “Heroes and Tombs.” That intro is very eerie, like “Seasons in the Abyss.”</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER I bought that riff online at [laughs] It was only $19.95!</p> <p>LINDBERG [laughs] Actually, didn’t that come from the Bolt Thrower riff that I ordered from you, Jonas?</p> <p>JONAS BJÖRLER It started as my song, but it ended up with zero of my riffs. [laughs]</p> <p>LINDBERG I asked Jonas for one Bolt Thrower riff, and he wrote one for me and it was perfect! But Anders didn’t like it, of course.</p> <p>ANDERS BJÖRLER It started as a Bolt Thrower song and ended up as a Slayer song with an Autopsy outro. So anything can happen!</p> At the Gates January 2015 Galleries Interviews News Features Magazine Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:19:37 +0000 Brad Angle Young South Korean Guitarist Sungha Jung Masterfully Covers "Billy Jean" — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>Here young South Korean guitarist Sungha Jung digs into a fingerstyle rendition of Michael Jackson's “Billy Jean.”</p> <p>Jung started playing at age 9, and as you can see, he’s progressed to prodigy level. His YouTube covers collectively have hundreds of millions of views. </p> <p>Jung was mentored by German guitarist Ulli Bögershausen, whose inspiration and instruction ushered him into pro-level performance.</p> <p>This performance took place when Jung was 14, and the song appears on his second album, <em>Irony</em>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="465" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Now 18, Jung has five albums under his belt and a signature Lakewood guitar. He says he’s taking drum lessons too!</p> <p>Jung doesn’t just excel on guitar. Check out this performance on harp ukulele of Kansas’ classic “Dust in the Wind.”</p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Acoustic Nation Kansas Michael Jackson Sungha Jung Videos Blogs Videos News Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:47:57 +0000 Acoustic Nation Ukulele Virtuoso Taimane Gardner Unleashed: "Stairway to Heaven" and Beyond — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>Another Friday ... and another viral video is making the rounds in stringed-instrument land.</p> <p>This time, it's a fan-filmed clip of Taimane Gardner, a Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso, performing at the 2014 San Diego Ukulele Festival.</p> <p>In the video, Gardner, who has been playing ukulele since she was knee-high to Don Ho, kicks things off with her mighty-appealing version of the James Bond theme before moving into "Stairway to Heaven" territory—and well beyond.</p> <p>She's quite a talent, and it's worth checking out for sure!</p> <p>And yes, Taimane—it sounds good!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/led-zeppelin">Led Zeppelin</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Acoustic Nation Led Zeppelin News Stairway to Heaven Taimane Gardner Videos Blogs Videos News Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:30:15 +0000 Damian Fanelli Springfield Rock City: Top 10 Rock Star Cameos on "The Simpsons" <!--paging_filter--><p>Outside of <em>Saturday Night Live</em>, no other current TV show can boast as many impressive musical guests as <em>The Simpsons.</em></p> <p>And <em>The Simpsons</em> has the edge because its many musical appearances are actually meant to be funny.</p> <p>Scores of rock icons—including three Beatles, two Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica—have appeared on the show as eight-fingered, yellow-tinted versions of themselves, and often in bizarre situations: the Ramones performing for Mr. Burns' birthday party (Who the hell booked that gig?) ... former Beatle George Harrison pointing Homer toward a platter full of brownies ... <a href="">Ted Nugent running for president</a> ... Aerosmith agreeing to perform at Moe's Tavern when free pickled eggs are offered. Even the Moody Blues have been on the show!</p> <p>And so, in honor of the show's 25 seasons and 500-plus episodes, here are 10 of our favorite rock-star cameo appearances on <em>The Simpsons</em>.</p> <p>We apologize for the poor quality of some of the videos below; we think they're good enough to get the point across.</p> <p>10. <strong>The Ramones</strong><br /> <strong>"Rosebud," Episode 85</strong></p> <p>New York City's original punk rockers perform at a special event in honor of Mr. Burns' umpteenth birthday. They start the set by screaming "I'd just like to say this gig sucks!" and end it with a warm and tender "Happy birthday, ya old bastard!"</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>09. <strong>The White Stripes</strong><br /> <strong>"Jazzy and the Pussycats," Episode 380</strong></p> <p>In an episode called "Jazzy &amp; The Pussycats," Bart is moved—literally—by the beat of the White Stripes' "The Hardest Button to Button" from the <em>Elephant</em> album.</p> <p>When Bart and his drum kit ram into Jack and Meg White on a Springfield street corner, we expect the garage-rocking duo to be kind, friendly and forgiving toward the well-intentioned, pointy-haired youngster. </p> <p>Instead, Meg screams, "Let's kick his ass!"</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>08. <strong>The Who</strong><br /> <strong>"A Tale of Two Springfields," Episode 250</strong></p> <p>Alas, there is no available video from this often-shown-as-a-rerun-around-7 p.m. episode. </p> <p>It features the Who—Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and a rarely seen (and never heard) drummer who looks like a young Keith Moon. Come to think of it, they all look like the mid-Seventies versions of themselves in this episode from 2000.</p> <p>The episode, "A Tale of Two Springfields," finds Homer trying to sabotage a Who concert in Olde Springfield. It features most of "Won't Get Fooled Again"; in fact, an A chord from the song destroys the wall between the two Springfields. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/thewho.jpg" width="620" height="485" alt="thewho.jpg" /></p> <hr /> <p>07. <strong>Spinal Tap</strong><br /> <strong>"The Otto Show," Episode 57</strong></p> <p>From a third-season episode called “The Otto Show." After Otto kills Spinal Tap in a bus crash, we find out he doesn't even have a driver's license. He winds up losing his beloved job and reevaluating his life.</p> <p>How does Spinal Tap fit in? Well, they don't, really—except that, before Otto kills them, they perform in Springfield, mispronouncing the town's name during the show and watching their gigantic Satan balloon deflate. </p> <p>“We salute you, our half-inflated Dark Lord,” chant the Tap, trying to make it look intentional. </p> <p>The role of Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls is, of course, played by <em>Simpsons</em> regular Harry Shearer, who voices Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Waylon Smithers and a million other people, regulars and transients alike.</p> <p>If you really need to see some poor-quality video from this episode, <a href=";v=hXE6z29jYiM">you can do that right here</a>.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/spinal%20tap.jpg" width="620" height="620" alt="spinal tap.jpg" /></p> <hr /> <p>06. <strong>R.E.M.</strong><br /> <strong>"Homer the Moe," Episode 272</strong></p> <p>After Moe's Tavern is turned into a swanky, upscale nightclub by the Formico, the self-proclaimed "Dean of Design," Homer turns his basement into a bar with the help of Lenny, Carl and Barney.</p> <p>When Moe finally ventures over to see what all the fuss is about, he finds R.E.M. playing in Homer's basement.</p> <p>The highlight of the episode is Homer trying and failing to sing along to "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)":</p> <p>"Leonardo What's-His-Name, Herman Munster, motorcade /<br /> birthday parties, Cheetos, pogo sticks and lemonade /<br /> You symbiotic, stupid jerk /<br /> That's right, Flanders, I am talking about you."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>05. <strong>Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr</strong><br /> <strong>"Lisa the Vegetarian," Episode 133 (McCartney)</strong><br /> <strong>"Homer's Barbershop Quartet," Episode 82 (Harrison)</strong><br /> <strong>"Brush with Greatness," Episode 31</strong></p> <p>We're going to cheat and count separate appearances by three Beatles as one entry. </p> <p>First there's Paul McCartney (and his wife Linda), who, of course, met Apu in India when The Beatles were hanging out with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in '68. "I read about you in history class," Lisa tells him. Then Lisa, Paul and Linda bond over the decision to go vegetarian.</p> <p>Then there's George Harrison. Homer is ecstatic to meet the former Beatle—but only because George is holding a brownie and is able to tell Homer where he can find many more brownies. This also happens to be the episode about The B-Sharps, Homer's vocal group, which features a parody of the Beatles' 1969 rooftop performance from <em>Let It Be</em>.</p> <p>And then there's Ringo Starr, the first Beatle to appear on <em>The Simpsons.</em> Unfortunately, there is no video available of his appearance. It turns out he's catching up on responding to his Beatles-era fan mail, including a portrait sent to him in 1966 by a young Marge. "We have French fries in England," Ringo writes to Marge. "But we call them chips." He goes on to tell her that her portrait of him is "gear." </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/ringo.jpg" width="620" height="415" alt="ringo.jpg" /></p> <hr /> <p>04. <strong>Metallica</strong><br /> <strong>"The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer," Episode 379</strong></p> <p>Poor Otto.</p> <p>When Springfield's hapless bus driver happened upon his favorite band's broken-down tour bus, all he wanted to do was help out and give them a ride to their show. But when he gets out to lend a hand, Bart takes advantage of the driverless school bus, stealing it while yelling, "Look at me, I'm Otto! I'm a hundred years old and I'm driving a school bus!"</p> <p>If that wasn't embarrassing enough, the band get a ride from a "real" fan, the elderly Hans Moleman, who we find out slept with Lars' grandmother. Bassist Robert Trujillo tells Otto, "Never listen to our music again!" before the band drive away in Hans' pickup truck playing "Master of Puppets."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>03. <strong>Cypress Hill, Peter Frampton, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth</strong><br /> <strong>"Homerpalooza," Episode 152</strong></p> <p>After the kids' school bus is destroyed, Homer is stuck driving Bart, Lisa and their friends to school in the morning. When Grand Funk Railroad's "Shinin' On" comes on the radio and the kids react in disgust, Homer takes it upon himself to take his children to Hullabalooza, Springfield's answer to Lollapalooza.</p> <p>Hoping to convince Bart and Lisa that he's hip, Homer gets mistaken for an undercover cop when trying to hang out with a group of Generation Xers and is tossed out of the show.</p> <p>Like any frustrated person would do, Homer takes his anger out on a nearby cannon, which in turn destroys one of Peter Frampton's inflatable pigs. The stunt lands him a spot taking cannon shots to the gut as as part of the festival's freak show, and Homer goes on tour with a group of guest stars that include the Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>02. <strong>Aerosmith</strong><br /> <strong>Flaming Moe's," Episode 45</strong></p> <p>"Hello, St. Louis!" screams Steven Tyler to the Springfield audience. "Are you ready to rock?" </p> <p>The Moe's Tavern crowd is indeed ready to rock, and the band kicks into "Walk This Way" (as Joe Perry plays what looks like a five-string guitar, perhaps to go with the four fingers on his fretting hand). </p> <p>Due to the success of a hot new drink invented by Homer (and allegedly stolen by Moe), Moe's Tavern has become such a happening place that the guys from Aerosmith are regulars.</p> <p>Should the drink be called the Flaming Moe or the Flaming Homer? That battle is still raging.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>01. <strong>Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Brian Setzer, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty and Lenny Kravitz</strong><br /> <strong>"How I Spent My Strummer Vacation," Episode 293</strong></p> <p>In a 2002 episode called "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation,” Homer—and several other Springfield regulars including Chief Wiggum, Otto and Apu—attend a rock 'n' roll fantasy camp hosted by the heart and soul of The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (who plays the opening riff to "Start Me Up" on a Telecaster that's not plugged in). </p> <p>When the one-week-long camp is over, Homer—understandably—doesn't want to leave. So Jagger offers him a chance to perform at a benefit gig, the Concert for Planet Hollywood. </p> <p>Among the camp instructors are Brian Setzer, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty and Lenny Kravitz, who deliver some great lessons and one-liners and add to the already-impressive star power of this episode. </p> <p>Classic: Keith Richards announcing that he has to put up the storm windows. "Winter's coming," he adds. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/metallica">Metallica</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/paul-mccartney">Paul McCartney</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/who">The Who</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/spinal-tap">Spinal Tap</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/aerosmith">Aerosmith</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/keith-richards">Keith Richards</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/george-harrison">George Harrison</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ted-nugent">Ted Nugent</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Aerosmith Damian Fanelli George Harrison Metallica Paul McCartney Red Hot Chili Peppers Rolling Stones The Who White Stripes News Features Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:12:25 +0000 Damian Fanelli, Josh Hart Gear Talk with Former Ten Years After Guitarist Alvin Lee, Who's 'Still On the Road to Freedom' <!--paging_filter--><p>From a guitarist's perspective, the 1970 <em>Woodstock</em> film, which documents the highs and lows of the August 1969 Woodstock Festival, has several highlights. </p> <p>There's Jimi Hendrix's immortal take on "The Star-Spangled Banner"; a mesmerizing performance by newcomers Santana; and Pete Townshend's high-flying Gibson SG acrobatics with the Who. </p> <p>But for a full-on blues-rocking experience, there's no beating Ten Years After's adrenaline-fueled reading of "I'm Going Home." The performance, an intense nod to vintage blues and '50s rock and roll, featured the lightning-fast fretwork of Ten Years After frontman Alvin Lee.</p> <p>"The solo on the movie sounds pretty rough to me these days," Lee told <em>Guitar World</em> late last week. "But it had the energy, and that was what Ten Years After were all about at the time."</p> <p>The performance made instant stars out of the British band, which led to more big-name festivals, a label change and their biggest hit, 1971's "I'd Love to Change the World." Although a version of Ten Years After tours today, they do it without Lee, who has found happiness as a solo artist, carefully choosing a handful of festival performances each year. </p> <p>Lee is releasing a new studio album, <em>Still On the Road to Freedom,</em> August 28 via Rainman Records. The album's 13 new tracks revisit various points in Lee's career, with nods to Fifties rock, psychedelic music and blues. Along the way, of course, is a healthy serving of Lee's trademark riffs and sounds. The album title is a reference to his 1973 LP with Mylon LeFevre, <em>On the Road to Freedom</em>, which featured contributions from George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Mick Fleetwood and Ron Wood.</p> <p>Lee recently sat down to discuss his new album and his gear over the years, including his famous "Big Red" Gibson ES-335. </p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How often do you pick up a guitar these days?</strong></p> <p>Pretty much every day. I write and record all the time; it’s my hobby and my passion. I have a Spanish gut-strung guitar, a Dobro resonator and a Line 6 Variax hanging on the wall, and they all get played regularly. The new Variax is very impressive.</p> <p><strong>Your new album covers a lot of musical ground, revisiting your past, looking to the future and offering a myriad of different guitar sounds. Did you intend to look back?</strong></p> <p>It kind of evolved from luck and circumstance, as if it were trying to get out on its own. I originally had 33 songs to choose from. As they developed and evolved, I picked out the ones that showed the most promise. As I continued to work on them, I realized they pretty much went through most of my musical influences and styles over the years, so from then on it became a time-warp concept.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>What gear did you use on the new album?</strong> </p> <p>Mainly a Gibbo [Gibson] ES-335 and a Martin acoustic. I used a Wal bass and a Gretch baritone guitar for bass, as well as Pete Pritchard’s Music Man and a doghouse double bass called Charlie Boy. Amp-wise, I used a Wem 15 Dominator and a very old Yamaha I bought from Mick Abrahams. I also used the original Pod, which is better than the new ones, as a pre-amp into a Fender Champ and Mustang. Plus Guitar Rig and Amplitude and too many others to mention.</p> <p>On “Listen to Your Radio Station," I used the Metalizer pedal Leslie West gave me. It’s quite radical and has to be tamed, as the slightest finger twitch comes blasting through the amp. Leslie came up to me at the Night of the Guitars sound check and said, “Alvin, you’re a damn fine guitarist, but you’re not loud enough." He then proceeded to give me loudness lessons. I like Leslie’s playing. He has excellent rock and roll phrasing.</p> <p><strong>What are some of your more prized pieces of gear, the things you'd rush to save from a fire, for instance?</strong></p> <p>My Martin acoustic. I bought it in New York in 1970, and the guy gave me a receipt for $150 for the customs. I walked into the “something to declare” channel and showed the guy the receipt. He opened the case and said, “A Martin guitar with Grover machine heads for $150?” I had found the only customs man who was a musical-instrument expert. Four hours later, I walked out with my Martin having paid a fine, a penalty and having had to buy it back. Ever since then, I’ve used the "nothing to declare" channel.</p> <p><strong>On the album's opener, the title track, you can immediately tell it's Alvin Lee on guitar—not just because of your note choices but also your sound. How would you say your sound has evolved over the years? Are you still using your Woodstock-era Gibson ES-335?</strong> </p> <p>I've still got the original Woodstock 335, but, sadly, I don’t use it these days as it has become too valuable. She’s now in a vault since some loony offered me half a million dollars for her.</p> <p>Sound-wise, I never use pedal effects on stage and seldom in the studio. I prefer to get my overload sustain from having the Marshall cranked up high, then by turning the guitar down to 5 or 6, you get a nice clean jazz sound. The crunch comes in around 7 or 8. What else do you need?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>How involved were you in the creation of <a href="">Gibson's Custom "Big Red" Alvin Lee ES-335</a>?</strong></p> <p>That all came about because of Pat Foley at Gibson. He asked me if I'd be interested, and I said of course, it’s a great compliment. So he came over to England to photograph and measure Big Red, and Gibson pretty much took it from there. I had no involvement until I got the first prototype. Then I made a few changes, which resulted in my getting several more prototypes. Now I’ve got a whole bunch of them—a gaggle of Gibsons.</p> <p><strong>Who were your favorite guitarists when you were growing up?</strong></p> <p>My favorite country blues player was Big Bill Broonzy. City blues was Freddie King, but I liked them all—Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Ralph Willis, Lonnie Johnson, Brownie McGhee and the three Kings, B.B., Albert and Freddie. Jazz-wise, I listened to Django, Barney Kessel and Wes Montgomery. Charlie Christian, Benny Goodman’s guitarist, was a great influence on my swing phrasing.</p> <p>My all-time favorite rock and roll players were Scotty Moore, Chuck Berry and Franny Beecher, and I listened to the country playing of Merle Travis.</p> <p><strong>Did you admire the other great fast bluesman of the time, Johnny Winter?</strong></p> <p>Strangely enough, I wasn't into fast guitarists. I preferred Peter Green’s subtle touch. I saw him with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers at the Marquee Club in London and was very impressed. He was the only guitarist I've ever seen to turn the volume control on his guitar down during a solo.</p> <p><strong>What kind of delay/reverb, amp and overdrive did you use on the solo on "I'd Love to Change the World"?</strong></p> <p>As far as I remember, it was a Wem Dominator used as a pre-amp into the old Marshalls. I had the Wem 15-Watt power amp padded down to guitar input level. The echo was an EMT plate.</p> <p><strong>The first time I saw the <em>Woodstock</em> film, I was completely knocked out by Ten Years After's performance of "I'm Going Home." It is, without a doubt, one of the movie's highlights. I remember thinking I'd never seen a blues/rock guitarist play that fast before, at least in the context of 1969. And then there was the intensity of the band. Where the hell did that come from?</strong> </p> <p>You’re obviously a man of very good taste! Seriously, though, I never really tried to play fast. It kind of developed from the adrenalin rush of the hundreds of gigs I did long before Woodstock. They called me "Captain Speedfingers" and such, but I didn't take it seriously. There were many guitarists faster than me—Django Reinhardt, Barney Kessel, John McLaughlin and Joe Pass to name a few.</p> <p>The solo in the movie sounds pretty rough to me these days, but it had the energy, and that was what Ten Years After were all about at the time. However, I often wonder what would have happened if they had used “I Can't Keep From Crying, Sometimes” in the movie instead of "I’m Going Home."</p> <p><strong>Anything else you'd like to add?</strong></p> <p>Rush out and buy <em>Still On the Road to Freedom</em>!</p> <p><em>Keep up with Lee at his official website, <a href=""></a>. You can pre-order </em>Still On the Road to Freedom<em> at <a href=";qid=1345807399&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=still+on+the+road+to+freedom"></a></em> </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Alvin Lee Damian Fanelli Ten Years After Interviews News Features Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:08:58 +0000 Damian Fanelli