Features http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/5/0 en Eight Questions with In This Moment Guitarist Randy Weitzel http://www.guitarworld.com/eight-questions-moment-guitarist-randy-weitzel <!--paging_filter--><p>On the eve of In This Moment's latest round of U.S. tour dates, we tracked down guitarist Randy Weitzel and gave him the "eight questions" treatment.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: What got you into playing and made you think about doing it for a living?</strong></p> <p>Ever since I was a kid, all I ever I wanted was to be a crazy guitar player in a rock band. You can blame that on Ace Frehley and Angus Young.</p> <p><strong>You've been with In This Moment for about four years. In that time, the band has come into their own and grown pretty huge. Is there anything in particular you attribute the rise to?</strong></p> <p>When I came into the fold, they were down a couple members and had no management but still had one last album commitment for their label. There was a real "do or die" vibe in the air. They were just so focused on making something happen with that album. </p> <p> I remember Maria [Brink] and Chris [Howorth] playing me a few rough mixes from what was to become [2012's] <em>Blood,</em> and it sounded brutal. It sounded hungry, something I could relate to at the time, having struggled as a musician in my own career. Sometimes when doors close, new ones open, and In This Moment suddenly had a new album, new management, new members and a new fire. I think that's just what the band needed at the time to punch it into high gear.</p> <p><strong>Coming into the band, replacing Blake [Bunzel], did you have to alter your playing style or were you able to do your own thing?</strong></p> <p>When I got the call to do Shiprocked 2011, I had to quickly learn material from their first three albums, and Blake was cool enough to get me on the right track by letting me in on some of the effects and techniques he was using. Blake is a very unique player and definitely added his own flavor to In This Moment. Although my style is different from Blake’s, Chris and I discovered on that Shiprocked gig that our styles totally blended and sounded great together. </p> <p>Chris and I are cut from the same cloth. We were both raised on classic metal and we have the same guitar heroes. As we continued to tour and add songs from <em>Blood</em> to the show, I had the opportunity to translate my guitar parts from the studio to stage. Eventually, some of the older material was replaced with new songs like “Whore," “Burn," “Adrenalize,” “Blood," “Beast Within” and “The Blood Legion.”</p> <p><strong>In This Moment obviously has a very important visual and theatrical element. Was that something you were prepared for?</strong></p> <p>It's something I've always wanted to do, but the timing was never right. I grew up completely obsessed with Kiss, so this level of showmanship seems completely normal to me. I developed my guitar style from Eighties guitar heroes and very visually oriented metal bands. I've always had that theatrical side, but when I actually started gigging I was heavily influenced by bands like Metallica and Pantera, which had very heavy but visually stripped-down stuff. I feel like now with In This Moment, I'm lucky to be playing a mix of the two influences, the visual aspect of the early stuff and the heaviness of the later stuff. “The Sick Like Me” and “Big Bad Wolf” videos from <em>Black Widow</em> are perfect examples.</p> <p><strong>In This Moment are set to release their first greatest-hits collection, <em>Rise of the Blood Legion: Greatest Hits (Chapter 1).</em> How does it feel to get to that milestone?</strong></p> <p>I'm very proud to be a part of this. Travis [Johnson] and I were in a band that played with In This Moment on their very first show years ago. I've been friends with them ever since. Our bands toured together and I've done graphics and artwork here and there for them, but to be able to come in as a band member, perform and help take In This Moment to the next level is a very fucking cool opportunity. I'm blessed to be a part of the rise of the Blood Legion, and we really feel like this is only just the beginning.</p> <p><strong>You're quite an artist in your own right—with more than just a guitar. Tell us about your your work with acrylics.</strong></p> <p>I've always been the guy in every band I've ever been in who designed the logos and fliers. I've been able to do some spider designs for <em>Black Widow</em>, which I'm very proud of, as well as quite a few other designs for different things the band uses. At one point during the <em>Blood</em> tour cycle, we all started painting Tom's drum heads and selling them at the merch booth. </p> <p>Lately it's really taken on a life of its own and I've been getting a lot of side work doing rock and roll and horror-movie-type stuff: Kiss, Judas Priest, <em>Friday the 13th</em> and other slasher-movie-type drum heads and canvas work. I've done some pieces for charity events as well, like Ride for Dime and some others and was honored to paint a piece for Rob Halford honoring the 30th anniversary of <em>Defenders of the Faith.</em> Talk about a childhood dream coming true! Painting is my place of zen.</p> <p><strong>In This Moment is a Schecter band. Can you talk about your weapons of choice?</strong></p> <p>Schecter is amazing to us, and I love their Flying V7s. I have a few Hellraisers equipped with dual EMG 707 active pickups and Floyd Rose tremolos. I like to customize some of my guitars myself. I add the Weitzel touch with bolts and paint, then give them names like “War Machine," “White Cell” and “Atomic Beast." I just received a custom V made to my specs for the <em>Black Widow</em> tour with black with gold hardware that the fans named “Widow Maker."</p> <p><strong>You're hitting the road very hard for the remainder of April and all of May. Anything firm for the rest of 2015?</strong></p> <p>We have a couple of super-cool tours coming up in the fall, but I can't say what they are yet, since they haven't been officially announced. I can say that the Black Widow Headline tour will continue into the summer months. We are encouraging fans to put on their war paint and "Become the Show" with us.</p> <p><em>In This Moment’s current batch of U.S. dates runs through early June. See all the dates at <a href="http://www.inthismomentofficial.com">inthismomentofficial.com.</a> Follow Weitzel on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/RandyWeitzelInThisMoment">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://instagram.com/RandyWeitzel">Instagram.</a></em></p> <p><em>John Katic is a writer and podcaster who founded the <em><a href="http://www.ironcityrocks.com/">Iron City Rocks</a></em> podcast in 2009. It features interviews with countless rock, hard rock, metal and blues artists.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/eight-questions-moment-guitarist-randy-weitzel#comments In This Moment Randy Weitzel Interviews News Features Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:53:27 +0000 John Katic 24392 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Top 10 Concept Albums of All Time http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-concept-albums-all-time <!--paging_filter--><p>Rock music went to college in the Sixties. First it started pilfering from classical music and theater. Then someone had the psychedelic-induced idea to carry a single story over an entire album, just like in opera. </p> <p>And thus the genie was unleashed: the concept record, simultaneously emblematic of rock at its most ambitious and its most pompous. </p> <p>Some damn musicologist determined these to be the best examples of this form.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-concept-albums-all-time#comments list lists Top 10 Guitar World Lists News Features Sun, 26 Apr 2015 21:38:40 +0000 Guitar World Staff 1995 at http://www.guitarworld.com 100 Greatest Guitar Solos: No. 50 "Shock Me" (Ace Frehley) http://www.guitarworld.com/100-greatest-guitar-solos-no-50-shock-me-ace-frehley <!--paging_filter--><p>“I basically did the same solo every night on that tour, with minor alterations, so I had it kind of planned out when I did it the night we recorded it for <em>Alive II</em> album,” Ace Frehley says.</p> <p>"But if you listen carefully to the ‘Shock Me’ solo, you can hear me make a mistake about two thirds of the way through.</p> <p>"Instead of tapping a B at the 19th fret of the high E string, I accidentally hit the A# note at the 18th fret—that’s definitely a wrong note for the scale I’m using. </p> <p>"We could have fixed it in the mix, but I said to Eddie [<em>Kramer</em>, Alive II <em>producer</em>], ‘Screw it! Leave it in. The run sounds cool, so who cares—it’s rock and roll!’ ”</p> <p><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/article/100_greatest_guitar_solos_49_quoteuropaquot_carlos_santana">Next: 49) "Europa"</a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZQik0P65B34" 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="/ace-frehley">Ace Frehley</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/100-greatest-guitar-solos-no-50-shock-me-ace-frehley#comments 100 Greatest Guitar Solos 100 Greatest Guitar Solos Ace Frehley Kiss News Features Sun, 26 Apr 2015 13:52:50 +0000 Guitar World Staff 1690 at http://www.guitarworld.com '200 Acoustic Licks: Guitar Licks Goldmine' DVD Features Four Hours of Lessons http://www.guitarworld.com/200-acoustic-licks-guitar-licks-goldmine-dvd-features-four-hours-lessons <!--paging_filter--><p><em><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/mix-books/products/200-acoustic-licks-guitar-licks-goldmine-dvd/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=200Acoustic">200 Acoustic Licks: Guitar Licks Goldmine</a></em> (Hal Leonard): A guitar licks goldmine awaits in this incredible acoustic collection. With four hours of content, this DVD is jam-packed with lead lines, phrases and riffs personally taught to you by professional guitarists Matthew Schroeder, Ben Woolman, Peter Roller and Colin O'Brien. </p> <p>Every authentic lick includes a walk-through explanation by a pro guitarist and note-for-note on-screen tablature. Normal and slow-speed performance demos are included to really help viewers master the licks. </p> <p>Total running time: 4 hours, 4 minutes.</p> <p><strong><em>200 Acoustic Licks: Guitar Licks Goldmine</em> is <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/mix-books/products/200-acoustic-licks-guitar-licks-goldmine-dvd/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=200Acoustic">available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $24.99</a></strong>.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/200-acoustic-licks-guitar-licks-goldmine-dvd-features-four-hours-lessons#comments News Features Sun, 26 Apr 2015 13:34:06 +0000 Guitar World Staff 16721 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Top 10 Guitar Harmonies of All Time http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-guitar-harmonies <!--paging_filter--><p>What’s better than a master guitarist pouring his guts out through his strings? </p> <p>How about <em>two</em> master guitarists simultaneously pouring their guts out through their strings? You read me? </p> <p>Do I hear <em>three</em> master guitarists? Will these questions ever stop? </p> <p>Whatever the case, synchronized guitar work—which requires skillful harmonization—can take the multi-guitar lineup to its full potential—that is, make all lead parts sound bigger and badder. Here are some of the baddest.</p> <p><strong>10. Racer X, “Scarified”</strong></p> <p>That Paul Gilbert and Bruce Bouillet play these stunning neoclassical arpeggios with such apparent ease is enough to make any insecure guitarist closet his ax for good. The fleet-fingered duo speed-pick their way through a cycle of 4ths, sweep-pick across <em>all six</em> <em>strings</em>, and tap the fretboard like some four-armed guitar god that worshippers both fear and revere.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/isFPCMAcPZM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>09. Metallica, “Master of Puppets” </strong></p> <p>It’s rare for James Hetfield to play lead, but when he does he makes it count. The solo he composed for the gentle middle section of this rager about drug abuse is a true attention-getter thanks largely to the sweet melody and high-register trills. In addition, the harmonies here proved that Hetfield and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett were more than just heavy-handed thrashers.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kV-2Q8QtCY4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>08. Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan, “Shy Boy”</strong></p> <p>How does David Lee Roth make himself look good after parting with Van Halen? Well, he hires two Eddies. Sure, Sheehan is a bassist, but he plays the thing like a six-stinger. The breakdown at the song’s end, though short, displays some truly terrifying, ultra-meticulous two-hand tapping. The section functions much like a dangerous high-speed stunt—where a good deal of the audience’s thrill derives from a secret, morbid desire to see the stuntmen fall.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Kqc-Hfb9b-I" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>07. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, “Three Guitar Special”</strong> </p> <p>As the hired guns for Wills’s Western swing band, electric guitarist Eldon Shamblin, pedal-steel man Herb Remington, and electric mandolin player Tiny Moore held down three-part harmonies as though they were a horn section from a big band, all the while shredding through sophisticated jazz-based chromatic passages and arpeggios. Check out the ballsy amplification, especially of the mandolin. And this is 1947! </p> <p><em>Note: We can't find "Three Guitar Special" on YouTube, so we've included the audio of "Twin Guitar Special" from 1941:</em></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OxDD-XPr28g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>06. Ratt, “Round and Round”</strong> </p> <p>Of those hair-farmin’, lip-poutin’, pantyhose-wearin’ pop-metal bands from the Eighties, this combo—featuring guitarists Warren DeMartini and the late Robbin Crosby—has the distinction of scoring a dual-guitar hit that wasn’t just a sappy ballad. After DeMartini takes a Halen-esque lead, Robbin Crosby joins in for the sustained string bends and descending scales that steal the spotlight from vocalist Stephen Pearcy.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vuWD7VrHquU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>05. Thin Lizzy, “The Boys Are Back In Town”</strong> </p> <p>The trademark sound of the Scott Gorham–Brian Robertson tandem became the prototype for virtually every twin-ax metal band that followed. This sound is immortalized in this Top 40 hit, in which the guitarists' singing lines, adept phrasing and gradual ascension of the fretboard took the song to a dramatic climax above and beyond that of the final chorus.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vuWD7VrHquU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>04. Slayer, “South of Heaven”</strong> </p> <p>Love them or hate them for pioneering a style of metal lead that is more noisescape than it is either tuneful or technical, the team of Kerry King and the late Jeff Hanneman created some of the most instantly recognizable harmony leads around, owing mostly to intervals that will creep the hell out anybody within earshot. If the chromatic descent on this unusually slow pounder doesn’t make you crap your pants, you’ve earned the right to join the Freemasons.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qos9NgJPJ58" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>03. Boston, “More Than a Feeling”</strong></p> <p>When Les Paul pioneered multitrack recording, it was inevitable that someone like Tom Scholz would take it to the limit—by recording a solo six times over. Armed with pristine distortion, this one-man guitar army launched with this song what is perhaps the most evocative melodies in rock. Eventually, the consistent string bends, slurs and vibrato start to feel almost like a synthetic string section on the recording—a fact that would have disqualified Scholz from this list had he not hired Barry Goudreau and Brad Delp to help him reproduce the harmonies live.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4N7qdcBJzJs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>02. The Allman Brothers Band, “Jessica”</strong></p> <p>This joyous tune recorded shortly after the death of superhuman slide guitarist Duane Allman, with Dicky Betts and Les Dudek on electric guitars. They followed this theoretical formula on one of the most famous rock instrumentals of the Seventies: simple, catchy melody times two equals mondo hooks. The countrified harmonies that constitute this instrumental’s “verse” section are, arguably, the most lyrical in all of classic rock.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/c7bilvRfqc4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>01. The Eagles, “Hotel California”</strong></p> <p>Californian country-rock? Yeah, right. But throw in former James Gang guitarist Joe Walsh with Don Felder and Glen Frey and you’ve got a dreamy and dramatic chorus of electric guitars stacking arpeggios over a quasi-Spanish chord progression. Ah, you can almost detect the warm smell of “co-lee-tas” in the air…</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mj1i_yx5BV0" 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="/ratt">Ratt</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/metallica">Metallica</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-guitar-harmonies#comments Billy Sheehan Metallica Steve Vai The Eagles Guitar World Lists News Features Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:34:22 +0000 Guitar World Staff 1996 at http://www.guitarworld.com Guitar Legends: 100 of the World's Most Iconic Guitars — Available Now! http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-legends-100-worlds-most-iconic-guitars-available-now <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-legends/products/guitar-legends-100-of-the-worlds-most-iconic-guitars/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=100IconicGuitars">Guitar Legends: 100 of the World's Most Iconic Guitars</a> is available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $9.99.</p> <p>This special issue of <em>Guitar Legends</em> also features:</p> <p><strong>The 10 Most Expensive Guitars</strong>: Think you paid a lot for your new handmade acoustic or custom electric? Get a load of the prices paid for these babies.</p> <p><strong>The 50 Most Collectible Vintage Guitars</strong>: What axes are worth coveting today? Here's our comprehensive A-to-Z list of the most valuable-and enviable-models.</p> <p><strong>Randy Rhoads' Concorde</strong>: How he and Grover Jackson defined metal-era guitars with their 1980 custom ax.</p> <p><strong>Duane Allman's Gibson Les Paul</strong>: His long-lost Goldtop has been found and given a new lease on life.</p> <p><strong>Ace Frehley's Collection</strong>: The legendary Spaceman explains his devotion to the mighty Paul.</p> <p><strong>Kurt Cobain's Jagstang</strong>: How the grunge king created an entirely new animal for Fender.</p> <p><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-legends/products/guitar-legends-100-of-the-worlds-most-iconic-guitars/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=100IconicGuitars">It's available now at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/legend.jpg" width="620" height="813" alt="legend.jpg" /></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-legends-100-worlds-most-iconic-guitars-available-now#comments Features Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:56:46 +0000 Guitar World Staff 16316 at http://www.guitarworld.com ‘Peace Out’: Guitarist Gunnar Nelson Talks New Nelson Album, Guitars and ‘After the Rain’ http://www.guitarworld.com/peace-out-guitarist-gunnar-nelson-talks-new-nelson-album-guitars-and-after-rain <!--paging_filter--><p>Twenty-five years ago, two long-haired blond twins set the world on fire with their debut album, <em>After the Rain.</em> </p> <p>At a time when glam metal was giving way to grunge, Nelson touched a nerve with the album's hook-laden title track and “(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection," a Number 1 single.</p> <p>Today, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson are still going strong. They perform full-band shows as Nelson, pay tribute to their father with their Ricky Nelson Remembered shows and take part in all-star <em>Scrap Metal</em> performances across the country. </p> <p>While Nelson’s upcoming album, <em>Peace Out</em> [set to be released May 19] might be considered the rock band’s swan song, it might also be their best album, ever. <em>Peace Out</em> is an infectious collection of songs showcasing the maturity of the songwriting as well as Gunnar’s guitar prowess. </p> <p>Next year, Gunnar and Matthew will begin a new duo project focusing on guitars and vocals. So if <em>Peace Out</em> truly is the end of the rock version of Nelson, Gunnar and Matthew are certainly going out in style.</p> <p>I recently spoke with Gunnar about <em>Peace Out</em> and his gear and got his thoughts on the 25th anniversary of <em>After the Rain.</em></p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How does <em>Peace Out</em> compare to some of Nelson’s previous records?</strong></p> <p>Honestly, if I were to recommend a Nelson record to someone who has never heard the band before, it wouldn’t be our first record [<em>After the Rain</em>]. It would be this one. This one features the best of the songwriting, guitar work and vocals. Most of all, the theme of the record is positive, and that’s what this band is 25 years in. When most everyone else is trying to be tough and rock, we want to make people feel good about listening to music.</p> <p><strong>Why the title, <em>Peace Out</em>?</strong></p> <p>As Nelson the rock band, this will most likely be the last album that will ever be made. Next year, Matthew and I are going in a new direction that focuses more on two guys with guitars. So we really wanted to do an album that punctuates our career in the same way <em>After the Rain</em> heralded it. If this is going to be our swan song as Nelson, I want it to be done on our terms and to the best of our ability. </p> <p><strong>What was the songwriting process like for the album?</strong></p> <p>For guitar-centric things, most people start off with a riff, but that never worked for me. For me, it’s all about melody. Years ago, I remember reading an interview where Paul McCartney said he wants to write melodies that people can’t get out of their head and ones they can hum in the shower. That really made an impact on me. For this album, the ideas started with the melody first. It’s very organic. </p> <p><strong>Let’s talk about a few tracks from the album, starting with "Rockstar."</strong></p> <p>Being a rock star is a state of mind. I wrote that song after I pulled up to a stoplight one day. I looked over and saw this guy in the car next to me just blissfully banging his head to AC/DC. He literally looked like he was fresh out of 1985. As far as he was concerned, he was in his limo on his way to play a concert. I thought, “Man, that guy’s got it all!"</p> <p><strong>"Let it Ride"</strong></p> <p>I remember I was making a comment on something I saw while watching TV. I thought it was ironic that the poker championships were being broadcast on a sports network. Then the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be cool to make metaphoric reference to a poker game as far as how to live your life. Basically, you can quit halfway through the game or bet all of your chips on your instincts.</p> <p><strong>What are your tour plans like for this year?</strong></p> <p>This year, we’ll primarily be focusing on Nelson rock band and Ricky Nelson Remembered shows. We also have six shows already on the books for Scrap Metal where we’ll be doing some gigs with Lita Ford and Stephen Pearcy. It’s going to be a lot of fun. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9_d0YTF5fro" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong><em>After the Rain</em> was released 25 years ago this year. When you think about that album and era, what comes to mind?</strong></p> <p>I feel two different things. On one hand, I feel grateful that we were able to experience that kind of success so young. That was the end of a musical era. In fact, our record label actually signed Nirvana halfway through our tour cycle. I do wish our record company had released the record two years earlier, because that’s when we turned it in and they just sat on it. Had they have done that, we might have had the opportunity to release a few more records that would have defined our career a whole lot more indelibly.</p> <p><strong>What was the inspiration behind the title track?</strong></p> <p>It started out just being a typical relationship song, but then halfway into it I realized it had a greater meaning. I wrote a line that I really loved and it dictated my philosophy: “Don’t be afraid to lose what was never meant to be." That’s when I realized the title of the album was <em>After the Rain.</em> It was an autobiographical theme we were going for. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what your past was. You can always dictate your present and future.</p> <p><strong>What can you tell me about the song “Love and Affection”?</strong></p> <p>The interesting thing about that song was that at one point it was actually dropped from the album. Fortunately, we had some managers at the time who took the demo to David Holman [mixer] who said, “This is really special. Let’s work on it." So we spent a week working on it and giving it a pop level remix, and it became a Number 1 single!</p> <p><strong>What’s your guitar setup like these days?</strong></p> <p>My number one axe was made for me by John Cruz in the Fender Custom Shop. He made me a Mary Kay Telecaster. It’s got a Jeff Beck-style cutout and a set of Abigail hand wounds in it. It’s a beautiful guitar and matches my Mary Kay Strat perfectly. John also made me a Fender P Bass Mary Kay. My favorite thing to bring out is my Tele and a Mark Sampson DC30. It doesn’t matter if it’s for Ricky Nelson Remembered, Scrap Metal or Nelson. That’s my sound. </p> <p><strong>If <em>Peace Out</em> is to be the last go around as Nelson the rock band, how would you like the band to be remembered?</strong></p> <p>I would love to be remembered for our uniqueness, the strength of the songwriting and vocalizing and how we used our Southern California influences. Unlike many other artists, we didn’t grow up around the blues. We grew up around the Eagles, the Beach Boys, the Hollies and my dad’s Stone Canyon Band. So when I look back on our career, the thing I’m most proud of is how different we sounded and how unique our trip was. </p> <p>For better or worse. Back then, when people mentioned Nelson they’d always say, “Oh, you mean the guys with the long blond hair!” But that was planned too. Now here we are all these years later. The hair’s a lot shorter but I hope the songs are even catchier than when we started out.</p> <p><em>For more about Nelson, visit <a href="http://www.matthewandgunnarnelson.com/">matthewandgunnarnelson.com.</a></em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/peace-out-guitarist-gunnar-nelson-talks-new-nelson-album-guitars-and-after-rain#comments Gunnar Nelson James Wood Nelson Interviews News Features Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:43:28 +0000 James Wood 24374 at http://www.guitarworld.com Ten Questions with While She Sleeps Guitarist Sean Long http://www.guitarworld.com/ten-questions-while-she-sleeps-guitarist-sean-long <!--paging_filter--><p>U.K. rockers While She Sleeps have just released their second album, <em>Brainwashed,</em> via Razor &amp; Tie. We figured that gave us a fine excuse to pick the brain of WSS guitarist Sean Long. Here are our 10 questions.</p> <p><strong>01. While She Sleeps <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/brainwashed/id983791369">just released their new album</a>, <em><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/brainwashed/id983791369">Brainwashed</a></em>, in the U.S. How are fans reacting to it?</strong></p> <p>We couldn't be happier with how people are receiving the record. No one seems to have a bad word to say about it, which is quite amazing for us. </p> <p>After having the album with us for so long, working, changing and developing it, it can very easily become quite scary. For example, "Is it just us who thinks it's great and we've lost our minds?" [laughs] So when people finally hear it and actually love it, it is an amazing sigh of relief.</p> <p><strong>02. How did the writing process differ on the new album versus your debut, <em>This Is the Six?</em></strong></p> <p>We've always written our music off the back of our latest material, using it as inspiration, among other things, to keep our sound alive. So you could say, in a strange sense, we've been writing for each album since we started creating music. For example, I'm already writing for the next record, so there's never really a stand point to start writing. However, there is a point at which we decide to start to compile all our work together and begin to create block socks. </p> <p>The way in which it has differed this time is how staggered the whole song arrangement and writing has been. Due to Loz's [Lawrence "Loz" Taylor] throat problems, it made it difficult to stay on top of the music side of things for me, as I usually feed off of new vocal ideas from him, which makes me flow with the music. </p> <p>Also, because of the time we lost, it meant we had to leave a lot of the vocal and melody writing to Mat [Welsh] and Loz to track a lot of it on the day, and it left little room for group writing sessions. As always, it was a blessing in disguise as Mat and Loz really thrive on pressure because it forces you to produce what you really want because time is thin, and it will force out the truth.</p> <p><strong>03. What kind of gear did you use on <em>Brainwashed</em>?</strong></p> <p>For amps, we used a Marshall JVM205 and a Peavey 6505. Guitars ranged from an Ibanez FR, an Ibanez Roadcore, a Telecaster, a Gibson ES-335, the Epiphone Matt Heavy Signature model and a Les Paul Special. Plus a wide range of acoustics.</p> <p><strong>04. How does your gear differ from the studio to the stage?</strong></p> <p>I’ve tried my hardest to sound as much like the records a possible. In no way does that mean it’s all polished live, as we love the fact that a live show is completely different every time. But tone-wise, I take pride in trying to make it like the record just so kids can thrive off of our it sound from already listening to the record.</p> <p><strong>05. What's the first song you learned on guitar?</strong></p> <p>"Damn It" by Blink 182. Aaran [Mckenzie] our bassist used to play guitar when he was younger, and it was the first song he taught me. Blink rule!</p> <p><strong>06. Is there a particular style of music or any guitarists that inspired the way you play on the record?</strong></p> <p>Not really. Like I said, we like to take inspiration from our own lives and try and make our own vibe from that. But I have to say, introducing the whammy was definitely a blast of Rage Against the Machine, as they were one of the first bands I loved, and I hadn't listed to them in years.</p> <p><strong>07. There are plenty of heavy riffs and solos on the new record. What's your favorite song to play and why?</strong></p> <p>Either "Brainwashed" of "Life in Tension." "Brainwashed" because of the shred fest at the end [laughs]. I fucking love that riff and have been waiting for a long time to play and watch how it works live! "Life in Tension," on the other hand, is really fast but easy to play live, but then I get to rock a new whammy sort of vibe in the chorus, which is awesome.</p> <p><strong>08. The band is known for its DIY work ethic. How has this influenced your guitar setup and the way you play?</strong></p> <p>I’ve sort of stopped caring so much about if I have all the best gear, as when in was younger that’s all I wanted and thought that was the way to go. It turns out if you really enjoy playing live, it will shine through your playing. You can have all shiny gear, but really it’s the passion behind the writing that will dictate the power of the presentation.</p> <p><strong>09. If you could have any guitarist, dead or alive, join you on stage for a shred session, who would it be and why?</strong></p> <p> Tom Morello. Just because I wouldn’t be doing this interview and wouldn't of got hooked if it wasn’t for him. He's an absolute legend!</p> <p><strong>10. While She Sleeps will return to the U.S. in June for the Vans Warped Tour. What are you looking forward to the most? Is there anything you know now that you didn't when you played the fest in 2013?</strong></p> <p>Yeah; it's fucking hot as shit [laughs] We've all learned a lot about prepping for the tour beforehand and being ready on the first day. It’s a brutal tour for sure, but we're still stoked to get a fire going in the States. We can't fucking wait!</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/98028671%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-1ImDB&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/ten-questions-while-she-sleeps-guitarist-sean-long#comments Sean Long While She Sleeps Interviews News Features Thu, 23 Apr 2015 19:10:30 +0000 Guitar World Staff 24371 at http://www.guitarworld.com Eddie Van Halen Discusses 'Tokyo Dome Live in Concert,' Van Halen’s First Official Live Record with David Lee Roth http://www.guitarworld.com/eddie-van-halen-discusses-tokyo-dome-live-concert-van-halen-s-first-official-live-record-david-lee-roth <!--paging_filter--><p>Van Halen accomplished a lot during the seven and a half years between the release of the band’s debut album in 1978 and David Lee Roth’s departure from the band in 1985. </p> <p>However, one thing Van Halen never did during that period was release an official live album, even though almost every other rock band that was around during the late Seventies and early Eighties released one, and some bands even released several. </p> <p>It has now been about seven and a half years since Van Halen played its first shows in 2007 with David Lee Roth back as the band’s frontman once again, and finally the band has fulfilled the wishes of fans who have longed for years to hear a live album with Roth singing the group’s classic material. </p> <p>On March 31, Van Halen released <em>Tokyo Dome Live in Concert,</em> a two-disc package containing all 25 songs that the band performed during their concert at Japan’s Tokyo Dome on June 21, 2013. Featuring nearly two hours of material, the album includes songs from all of Van Halen’s first six albums as well as three songs from their 2012 studio effort, <em>A Different Kind of Truth.</em></p> <p>Unlike many live albums, which are compiled from several shows and liberally edited to correct mistakes, <em>Tokyo Dome Live in Concert</em> captures Van Halen’s Tokyo performance in its entirety as it actually happened, mistakes and all. The band hired award-winning engineer/producer Bob Clearmountain to mix the album and present the recordings in their best audio quality, and as a result the nuances of Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solos, Alex Van Halen’s drumming, and Wolfgang Van Halen’s bass lines come through loud and clear without diminishing the power and energy of their performances. </p> <p>Hearing Roth speak to the audience in Japanese is also a rare treat, but for readers of this magazine the best gift is Eddie’s eight-minute guitar solo—the longest track on the album—which combines “Eruption” and “Cathedral” with some of his most dazzling fretwork ever captured for posterity. </p> <p> Although Van Halen doesn’t crank out studio albums at the furious pace they did when Roth was first with the band (even today’s most prolific bands don’t release six studio albums in six years anymore), they have remained surprisingly productive since their last tour ended in the summer of 2013. </p> <p>The band is currently rehearsing for a new tour scheduled to start in July, and in January Wolfgang started work on his own project, which consists of himself and Eric “Erock” Friedman and is being produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette. </p> <p>Ed also took time to travel to Washington, D.C., in February to be honored by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, donate two guitars and an amp to the museum, and participate in Zocalo Public Square’s “What It Means to be American” interview forum.</p> <p> Ed also remains very busy with his EVH brand guitars and amps. He’s developed and introduced a steady stream of new models over the last couple of years, including a new affordable Wolfgang Standard model, a redesigned Wolfgang Special model, a 5150III 1x12 50-watt combo and the limited edition 5150III“S” touring head. </p> <p>In addition, EVH recently introduced the “Stripe Series” guitars based on iconic instruments from Ed’s past. Even in the midst of releasing a live album and rehearsing for a tour, Ed is working on several exciting new products with EVH and MXR/Dunlop that will be introduced later this year or early next year.</p> <p> Ed may have celebrated his 60th birthday on January 26 but, unlike most other people who reach this milestone, retirement is the very last thought on his mind. With the release of a long-awaited live album featuring David Lee Roth singing classic Van Halen songs behind the band and the release of Wolfgang’s project coming up, a new chapter in the Van Halen story is being written as the focus turns from the past to the future. </p> <p>While the lack of official news from the Van Halen camp between the last 2013 tour dates and the announcement of the live album caused many fans to speculate the worst, in reality the band has never been more functional, agreeable and drama-free, which is the best news any true fan could want. What the band’s next step will be remains unknown, but what is certain is that it will be a hell of a ride once it arrives.</p> <p><em>Guitar World</em> recently sat with Eddie Van Halen to discuss the making of <em>Tokyo Dome Live in Concert,</em> Wolfgang’s upcoming album and the secrets of staying youthful at 60.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/U2JqV7lPJr0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: What was the motivation for releasing a live album at this point in Van Halen’s career?</strong></p> <p>We realized that we have never made a live album with Dave. Since we had already released a studio album with Wolfgang playing on it, it also made sense for us to do a live album with both Wolf and Dave. Another reason why we put out a live record was to give people the experience of hearing us play our classic songs live.</p> <p><strong>Did you record any other shows or just the Tokyo show?</strong></p> <p>We have a Pro Tools rig out by the front of the house and have recorded every show since the beginning of the 2007 tour when Dave first got back in the band. But we never originally intended to put out a live record. We just recorded our shows to archive them. </p> <p>We have so much material that it was too overwhelming to listen to about 150 shows and pick the best one. I didn’t even bother listening to any of the past shows, outside of a few jams here and there. We played pretty much the same set every night, although we changed a few songs here and there. We played the classics. That’s what people want to hear. </p> <p>Because the performances by Alex, Wolfgang and myself were pretty consistent from one night to the next, we decided to leave it up to Dave to pick, and he happened to pick Tokyo. Performing live is a lot harder on a singer. Wolfgang and I sing backup vocals on the choruses, so we know how much the vocals can vary from one night to the next. When your voice is your instrument, you can be affected by a lot of different things. If you sleep with the air conditioner on or the bus ride is too long, you can wake up the next day with a fucked up voice. That’s the main reason we decided to let Dave pick.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>The sound quality is excellent considering that the recordings were originally just archives of your shows.</strong></p> <p>Bob Clearmountain wasn’t at the Tokyo show, and we didn’t have any special engineers recording at our shows. That’s also why there is no video of the Tokyo show—we didn’t originally plan to release a live recording of that show. Making a video of a live concert is a whole other production. The way we did it was more impromptu and unexpected.</p> <p>Bob did a great job mixing it. Alex and I listened at first to make sure that the basic instrument sounds were down, and then we let him go. Bob kept sending us mixes and we just said, “It sounds good to us!” As long as we could hear all the instruments it was good! [laughs]</p> <p><strong>If you recorded video of the show, you’d probably feel a lot more pressure to get everything right.</strong></p> <p>I already feel that pressure. Every time I get onstage I want to give the people the best performance possible. Since we record every night that doesn’t make things any different from one night to the next. To film it would have been much more time consuming. Then we would have had to look at all of the footage and figured out what to use. The fact that we weren’t planning it made it that much more special to us. </p> <p>That’s also why we decided to keep the recording completely live. There are mistakes. After it was mixed I listened to a few parts and went, “Okay, I fucked that up.” [laughs] But that’s how it sounded that night, so we just left it. It’s like a photograph of that evening, and we didn’t Photoshop it. We did nothing. When you fix parts or mistakes, it’s not a real live experience anymore. </p> <p><strong>The performances sound powerful, but what’s really impressive is that the band still sounds aggressive after more than 40 years.</strong></p> <p>Van Halen has been aggressive since day one. The rawness of the recording adds to the power. There’s this uncontrolled energy that exists in us that spills over the edges. It’s never really right or perfect, but it creates tension. It’s like, “Okay, who is going to blow it?” [laughs] When you keep waiting for someone to fuck up but no one does, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s just raw. It’s the real thing. If people are expecting a perfect live record, well, then it’s not really live anymore. </p> <p> I was really bummed when I heard from Andy Johns—rest in peace—that Cream’s “Crossroads” [<em>Wheels of Fire</em>] was put together from different shows! That ruined it for me. I thought it was one performance, but it wasn’t. I don’t know if anybody else has ever put out a live album that is really, truly live. </p> <p>The only exception I can think of is the old Monterey Pop Festival with the Who and Janis Joplin, where Hendrix burned his guitar. That was obviously not fixed. Woodstock was like that too. The only thing I hated about the Woodstock movie is that they had so many close-ups of things but you never got to see the big picture of the bands performing. Like “I’m Going Home” by Ten Years After—all you saw was close-up shots of Alvin Lee, and you never saw the whole band. I didn’t like the way it was filmed. </p> <p><strong>The show that Van Halen performed in Tokyo was kind of a combination of the 2012 tour and the 2007-08 tour. You performed several songs from the 2007-08 tour that you didn’t play often, if at all, during the 2012 shows, like “I’m the One.” </strong></p> <p>The Tokyo show was also one of our longer shows because we had no opening act. It pushed about two and a half hours. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0COXaAhjj50" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>What do you remember about the Tokyo show?</strong></p> <p>I remember it was long! [laughs] I was beat at the end of that show. Japanese fans are always so over-the-top and animated, especially since they’re now allowed to stand at shows. They used to be so controlled when they were forced to sit down, but now it’s mosh pit craziness. We played at “The Big Egg”—the Tokyo Dome, which is a baseball stadium. There were more than 50,000 people there, so it was loud. </p> <p><strong>It’s really cool to hear Wolfgang’s fills in detail on the record. Sometimes those details are easy to miss when watching a live show.</strong></p> <p>On the classics he embellishes in his own style. What blows my mind are some of the licks that he throws down during the breakdown in “Mean Street.” He’s hauling ass but still in the pocket and groovin’! It makes it exciting.</p> <p><strong>There’s a nice improv section during “You Really Got Me” that is longer and different than what the band did during the 2012 shows I saw.</strong></p> <p>The little jam sections were the only parts that changed from night to night. Sometimes we’ll play “Crossroads” or stray off wherever we feel like going that night. There might have been better ones, but that’s what we played that night. </p> <p><strong>At the end of “And the Cradle Will Rock” you played the “Smoke on the Water” riff.</strong></p> <p>We always have to figure out how to end that song. Since we were in Japan, we decided to play “Smoke on the Water.” Deep Purple’s <em>Made in Japan</em> album blew that song out of the water, so we thought it would be fun to play that song there. </p> <p><strong>Why didn’t the band release a live album with Dave back in the Seventies or early Eighties?</strong></p> <p>I don’t know. We used to tour so much and were on the road constantly, but it never occurred to us that we should record our shows. Back then you didn’t have Pro Tools so it wasn’t as easy to record shows. You had to hire a mobile truck. </p> <p>People ask why we’ve never released the rest of the 1981 Oakland show that we recorded on video. The reason is because we only recorded three songs—“Unchained,” “Hear About it Later” and “So This Is Love.” We actually filmed those three songs for two nights. On “Unchained” I broke a string the first night, and if you watch the video you can see my guitars change just for a few seconds then switch back. We used the second night of audio, so you can’t hear it, but we used video from both nights. The bottom line is we can’t ever release the whole Oakland show because we didn’t film or record the whole show. </p> <hr /> <p><strong>It seems like back then you were concentrating more on recording the next studio album.</strong></p> <p>On the bus all I would do is write songs. As soon as we got home people from the label would be asking me what new songs I’ve got. </p> <p>During our first tour in 1978, we were out for 11 months, but our contract stipulated that we owed our label our second record by the end of the year. We basically had three weeks left that year to finish our second record. We cranked out <em>Van Halen II</em> because that was what I had written. </p> <p><strong>Did your touring rig change at all since we last caught up with you in April 2012?</strong></p> <p>I’m always refining my tone because my taste changes. I used the 5150III“S” in 2013. We put out a limited run of the III“S” in 2014, and we just built another limited run for 2015. </p> <p>The second and third channels share a more common tonal DNA than they do on the main production 5150III head. You can’t tell when I’m changing back and forth between channel 2 for rhythm and channel 3 for solos because the tonal character of channel 2 is so complementary to channel 3. I like having more gain for my solos because it sounds buttery and is smoother to play. </p> <p>Just last week, we were working on a new amp. Everybody is always screaming for my old Marshall sound. Well, we’re working on it, and it’s in the pipeline! It’s a new amp head. We’re not sure what we’re going to call it yet, but I’m thinking of calling it the 5150-34, because it has EL34 tubes. It gets the exact tone of my Marshall plexi in the early days. When I plug into it I go, holy shit! It’s like my old Marshall on steroids. </p> <p><strong>It has the same tone but more sustain.</strong></p> <p>The classic Van Halen tone chasers are really going to love this new 5150-34, because if it literally blew my mind, it’s completely going to blow theirs. When Wolfgang checked it out he was saying, “Dad! I’ve got to have one of these!” I don’t know how Howard [Kaplan, senior electronic engineer at Fender/EVH] did it. He got that classic vintage sound but with more sustain exactly as I had envisioned it and asked him to do. He did an amazing job. </p> <p><strong>How did it feel to be honored by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for your contributions as an inventor and musical innovator?</strong></p> <p>It took me by surprise. To me it’s way beyond a Grammy or the usual music industry awards. To be acknowledged by the Smithsonian for my contributions to American music and pop culture is much bigger and more of an honor than any award I could think of. It’s amazing to think that I’ve contributed something to the history of this country, especially since I came here from a different country. I think it’s the highest honor you can get. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZuddpdSVh8I" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>One detail that really stood out to me from the event was your explanation of just how important your family has been to your music and motivation.</strong></p> <p>The four of us—my mom, dad, Alex, and I—were very tight-knit. When you come to a new country, you can’t speak the language, and you have no money, you’d better be a team or else we wouldn’t have made it. My mom was the one who basically wore the pants. She took care of the finances. We all worked, gave the money to her and she took care of the rest. It forced us to be close. There was nothing else we could do but work and try to make it through our weekly payments. </p> <p>I don’t even know how to explain how it feels to have Wolfgang follow in the footsteps of my father and me. He’s a third-generation Van Halen. When people ask me what it’s like to play with my son all I can say is that it’s the greatest feeling you can imagine.</p> <p><strong>How is Wolfgang’s album coming along?</strong></p> <p>He’s still working on it with Erock [Eric Friedman]. He used mostly old Marshall amps, a 5150III, an early Seventies Sound City 50 and a lot of my old guitars. He really fell in love with my 1959 Gibson ES-335. </p> <p>I don’t know how he got those Marshalls to sounds that way. I couldn’t get the sound out of them that he did! I guess there’s a benefit to playing both bass and guitar, as his fingers are so damn strong. He’s playing drums, bass, and guitar on the album. It’s like AC/DC meets Van Halen meets aggressive pop. The riffs are catchy. It’s a little of everything and sounds like a freight train coming at you. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. It’s so powerful that I’m jealous. </p> <p>Ah, to be young…. As you get older you get so many more things to deal with in life. I just turned 60, and my main priority now is to maintain my health. I’ve beaten cancer four times and dealt with other health issues. Now it’s all about working out every day and doing Pilates. </p> <p>I used to spend all day playing guitar, but now some of that time is spent in the gym. I’ve lost 10 pounds since people saw me at the Smithsonian and dropped a lot of body fat. You’ve only got one body. When I turned 60 something clicked inside me, and I thought that I’d better get my shit together. Being 60 sounds old, but I don’t feel any different in my head, which is scary in its own way, you know what I mean? [laughs] I feel like I should be smarter, but sometimes I feel like I’m still 12. But music keeps you young. </p> <p><strong>The first six Van Halen albums were remastered 15 years ago. Why did you remaster them again?</strong></p> <p>Mastering technology has changed a lot since then, so it made sense for us to remaster everything. Warner Bros/Rhino suggested that we release remasters of our two Diamond-award [sales of 10 million or more] albums—the first Van Halen album and <em>1984</em>—at the same time that we released the live album. That’s why those albums were remastered first. Chris Bellman did such a great job that we decided to do them all. </p> <p><strong>Were you involved with the remastering process?</strong></p> <p>It was pretty much the same as how we worked with Bob Clearmountain on the live album mixes. Once we heard what Chris was doing, we just let him go to work. We totally trusted him. He sent us roughs of each song and each disc as he went along. The main thing was to let him know what we were looking for so he would be on the right track from the beginning. Once he zoned in on that, we just let him go to work.</p> <p><strong>Had you listened to any of those albums much before this remastering project?</strong></p> <p>No. I was really surprised how well they still hold up. But I also realized that there is no music like that out there anymore. It’s really sad. What happened to rock and roll? That’s why I can’t wait for the world to hear what Wolf’s working on. I’ll be bold and say that what Wolf and Erock are doing is important. It’s like early AC/DC. It hits really hard. I think that people who hear it are either not going to believe it or they’re finally going to go, “This kid is the real deal.” When he plays drums, it’s scary. When he plays bass to his own drums, it’s even scarier. And then he’s playing guitar on top of it. It’s insane. The grooves are so locked in it’s ridiculous. </p> <p><strong>Will Wolfgang’s work on his album affect the upcoming Van Halen tour that’s starting in July?</strong></p> <p>He’s going to work around our schedule. He recorded seven basic tracks in January. All four of us just started rehearsing last night for the tour as well as our appearance on the <em>Jimmy Kimmel</em> show. I think we’re going to do seven songs on Kimmel, and they’re going to show four of those songs over two nights. When Dave first heard us at rehearsal he was surprised how good it already sounded. When he started singing it all fell together. It was exciting. It was our first time playing together since Japan—almost two years. It was so tight, and we had a lot of fun. </p> <p><strong>Does the band have any long-term plans beyond the tour?</strong></p> <p>We just take it as it comes. I’d love to do another studio record if everybody else is up for it. At the end of this tour Wolf is going to finish his record. After that we’ll see. We don’t ever plan that far ahead. That’s how the live album came about. The best things aren’t planned that far in advance. We like to keep it loose.</p> <p><em>Photo: Ash Newell</em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/EVHCoverGW_0.jpg" width="620" height="805" alt="EVHCoverGW_0.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="/eddie-van-halen">Eddie Van Halen</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/van-halen">Van Halen</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/eddie-van-halen-discusses-tokyo-dome-live-concert-van-halen-s-first-official-live-record-david-lee-roth#comments Ash Newell Eddie Van Halen June 2015 Van Halen Interviews News Features Magazine Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:17:13 +0000 Chris Gill 24358 at http://www.guitarworld.com '100 Acoustic Lessons' Book/CD Teaches Travis Picking, Strumming Techniques, Hybrid Picking and More http://www.guitarworld.com/100-acoustic-lessons-bookcd-teaches-travis-picking-strumming-techniques-hybrid-picking-and-more <!--paging_filter--><p>Expand your guitar knowledge with <em>100 Acoustic Lessons</em> from the Guitar Lesson Goldmine series! </p> <p>Featuring 100 individual modules covering a giant array of topics, each lesson in this acoustic volume includes detailed instruction with playing examples presented in standard notation and tablature. </p> <p>You'll also get extremely useful tips, scale diagrams, chord grids, photos and more to reinforce your learning experience, plus two full audio CDs featuring performance demos of all the examples in the book! </p> <p>A huge variety of acoustic guitar styles and techniques are covered, including: strumming techniques, basic to advanced chords, chord embellishments, basic to advanced fingerstyle, alternate tuning, hybrid picking, Carter style, percussive techniques, Travis picking, block-chord style, fingerstyle arranging and much more! </p> <p><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/new-products/products/100-acoustic-lessons/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=100AcousticLesssons">It's available at the Guitar World Online Store for $24.99.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/100-acoustic-lessons-bookcd-teaches-travis-picking-strumming-techniques-hybrid-picking-and-more#comments News Features Thu, 23 Apr 2015 12:42:52 +0000 Guitar World Staff 17972 at http://www.guitarworld.com Guitar World Launches 'Mastering Scales, Part 2,' the Sequel to One of Our Most Popular DVDs http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-world-launches-mastering-scales-part-2-sequel-one-our-most-popular-dvds <!--paging_filter--><p><em><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/mastering-scales-part-2-dvd/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=MasterScales2DVD">Mastering Scales, Part 2</a></em> is the followup to the <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/mastering-scales-part-2-dvd/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=MasterScales2DVD">Guitar World Online Store's</a> best-selling DVD of 2013, <em>Mastering Scales.</em> </p> <p><em><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/mastering-scales-part-2-dvd/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=MasterScales2DVD">Mastering Scales, Part 2</a></em> brings more than two and a half hours of valuable instruction from Jimmy Brown. </p> <p>The newest installment of <em>Mastering Scales</em> offers a deluxe crash course in guitar theory, including everything you need to know about major, harmonic- and melodic-minor and symmetrical scales. Plus, the seven modes, power picking, extended patterns with position shifts and much more!</p> <p><em>Mastering Scales, Part 2</em> also includes a bonus section featuring a complete Bach two-part invention, arranged for two guitars.</p> <p>Your instructor is Jimmy Brown, who over the last 24 years has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music editors through his work as transcriber, arranger and senior music editor for <em>Guitar World,</em> the world's best-selling magazine for guitarists. He is a busy working musician, performing regularly as a solo acoustic guitar/vocal act and rocking out with a full band a taverns, restaurants, resorts, weddings and private parties.</p> <p>Jimmy earned a bachelor of music degree in jazz studies and performance and music management from William Paterson University in 1988 and relies on much of what he learned then (and since then, as a professional musician-for-hire) to do his job effectively. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer, two skills that go hand-in-hand in his career at <em>Guitar World.</em></p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/mastering-scales-part-2-dvd/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=MasterScales2DVD">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-world-launches-mastering-scales-part-2-sequel-one-our-most-popular-dvds#comments News Features Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:43:36 +0000 Guitar World Staff 24361 at http://www.guitarworld.com Dear Guitar Hero: Peter Frampton Answers Readers' Questions About Gear, Django Reinhardt, the Bowie Tour and More http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-peter-frampton-answers-readers-questions-about-gear-django-reinhardt-bowie-tour-and-more <!--paging_filter--><p>Here's our Dear Guitar Hero feature with Peter Frampton, who answers questions about gear, particularly his long-lost (and since-recovered) 1954 Gibson Les Paul. </p> <p>He also discusses touring, his past, influences, roots and more.</p> <p>For the rest of this interview, where he discusses talk boxes and working with George Harrison on <em>All Things Must Pass</em>, <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/interview-peter-frampton-talks-talk-boxes-and-recording-george-harrison-all-things-must-pass">head here</a> and <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/interview-peter-frampton-discusses-new-live-dvd-fca-35-tour-evening-peter-frampton">here.</a></p> <p><strong>What’s the status of your long-lost 1954 Gibson Les Paul that went down in a plane crash and was recovered and returned to you a year ago? — David Wilcox</strong></p> <p>It’s doing great. I’m thinking of just touring the guitar, sending it out there on its own, because it’s more famous than I am. [laughs] There’s a segment about that guitar on my new DVD [<em>FCA! 35 Tour: An Evening with Peter Frampton</em>]. </p> <p>As soon as I heard we were getting it back, I got my friend to film its arrival in Nashville, just before Christmas 2011. You see me take the guitar out of the awful little case it was brought back in. You also see me taking it to be refretted and going over to Gibson to get it verified and have the NOS parts put in to replace the things that weren’t working anymore. </p> <p>I also tell the story of how I was given the guitar in the first place by Mark Mariano, who’s from the Bay Area. I got a hold of him in San Francisco when we were playing there recently and filmed that as well. And the look on his face when I hand him the guitar—I’m getting chills as I’m saying it. It’s priceless, because he hadn’t seen this guitar for as long as I hadn’t, or longer. As for the status of it—it’s never more than 50 feet from me, and it doesn’t travel on planes. </p> <p><strong>When you’re about to take a solo, do improvise or stick to a script? — Christopher Thumann</strong></p> <p>As often as possible, I like to play something completely different from what I played the night before. I’d say 98 percent of the solos are completely ad libbed. The only solo I play the same way every night is in an instrumental called “Double Nickels,” from <em>Fingerprints</em> [Frampton’s 2006 instrumental album]. </p> <p>It was ad libbed when I recorded it for the album, but I liked it so much that I figured out what I’d played—which is difficult, because I don’t normally do that. I might play it with a different inflection each time, but it’s basically the same solo. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s what I like, though: it’s hit or miss.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/dKX114s-4RU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>What guitarist has had the biggest impact on your playing? — Gary Owen</strong></p> <p>Django Reinhardt. My parents listened to Hot Club de France, with Stéphane Grapelli and Django, before, during and after the war. When I came along in 1950, they got their first record player, and the first thing I remember hearing was Django. I thought it was “old people’s” music and would much prefer to be listening to Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, the Shadows or Cliff Richard. Dad would put on Django, and I couldn’t get up the stairs quickly enough. </p> <p>What happened was, I’d start listening to it on my way up the stairs. And then one day I stopped halfway up, turned, came back and sat down in the room. I said, “Holy crap, this guy’s good!” I heard Django before I heard blues artists, so I was always more drawn to the jazz side in my rock playing than I was to blues. </p> <p>That all changed once I started going up to London to see Eric Clapton play with John Mayall &amp; the Bluesbreakers. Then there was a whole other influence that came from listening to the people Eric listened to, like Freddie, Albert and B.B. King, and everyone before them. I became more well rounded in my influences. </p> <p><strong>Excluding Frampton Comes Alive!, which of your solo albums are you most proud of? — Ted James</strong></p> <p>It has to be <em>Fingerprints</em>. Doing that album made me realize that to be scared of something is sort of good. I knew I wanted to do an instrumental record, and I guess I was always scared of failure. Every session was pretty scary. The thought of working with John Jorgenson, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Pearl Jam, plus Brian Bennett and Hank Marvin from the Shadows! </p> <p>If Django was the first guitarist I listened to, Hank was the first guitar player I chose to really study, because the Shadows were so huge. They were our homegrown Ventures. Cliff Richard would be Number One and Three on the charts, and the Shadows would be Number Two, Four and Five. They dominated the airwaves and were so influential to so many of my contemporaries. So to work with the Shadows—that was probably one of the best days of my life.</p> <p><strong>What was the inspiration for your arrangement of “Jumping Jack Flash”? — Kevin Brennan</strong></p> <p>That was one of the last tracks we recorded for <em>Wind of Change</em>, my first solo record. I was sitting around my kitchen with Andy Bown, who I’d played with in the Herd, and we were trying to come up with a cover song to record. We obviously all loved the Stones, and I said, “Well, I’ve always loved ‘Jumping Jack Flash.’ ” </p> <p>He said, “Why don’t you do it, but play it as if Wes Montgomery were playing the lick, in octaves?” So we messed around with it, and it sounded good. I think we recorded it the same day that we talked about it. It was just an experiment, but it turned out pretty good. Then I got Jim Price to do the wonderful horn arrangement on the studio version, and it became a staple as one of the encores of our live set.</p> <p><strong>You used to tour with a Pensa Suhr guitar. What happened to it? — Kurt Jenkins</strong></p> <p>Unfortunately, it was lost in the Nashville flood a few years back [2010]. John Suhr is a dear friend and a wonderful guitar maker. He’s threatening to make me another guitar, so not to worry. I think he’ll do it, eventually. It was a one-piece maple body, which was very special. It was a Strat shape but with humbuckers, and one Strat pickup in the middle. It was a very interesting guitar. I used it on the David Bowie tour. In fact, I think I got it in ’87 for the [Glass Spider] tour.</p> <p><strong>Did you go on the David Bowie tour as a way of retreating from the spotlight? — William Westhoven</strong></p> <p>I wouldn’t say I was retreating from the spotlight; I was already out of the spotlight at that point. [laughs] Things weren’t going very well for me. I wasn’t selling very many records and had been dropped by A&amp;M Records, who I’m now back with. David called me up and asked me if I would play on his album <em>Never Let Me Down</em>. </p> <p>While we were in Switzerland, where he was living at the time, he asked me if I’d join him for the Glass Spider tour. That was a great gift David gave me, because my career had faltered. David was doing extremely well and could command stadium-size audiences. It took me around the world and reintroduced me as Peter Frampton the guitar player, not the pin-up pop guy, which is where the perception had gone, wrongly. I’ve always been very thankful that David chose me to do that. </p> <p><strong>A lot of players consider the pentatonic scale their “go-to” scale for solos and improvising. What’s yours? — Victor La Squadro</strong></p> <p>I don’t know. Someone told me what it is, but I can’t remember what he told me. [laughs] My go-to scale is the “searching in the dark” scale. I guess someone else would have to analyze my playing. People have done it, but I couldn’t tell you what they’ve found out.</p> <p><strong>You recently got a 1960 Les Paul, but do you still have your ’59? — Drew Paradine</strong></p> <p>I’ve never had a ’59 Les Paul. After the plane crash, when I lost the ’54 Les Paul, I got a 1960 Les Paul “Burst,” which I’ve since sold. It wasn’t my favorite guitar, but if I’d have kept it I could’ve made a fortune. More recently, after the flood, I decided I wanted to get a 1960 Burst again. </p> <p>I bought one in Nashville—it was the one J.J. Cale used on his album 5, from 1979. J.J. sold it to his producer, Audie Ashworth, who has since died, and the producer’s wife sold it to me after the flood, because I’d lost so many guitars. I was in need of some new ones—well, some new old ones. </p> <p>But I’m out of the depths of despair from the flood. I’ve picked up quite a few nice pieces since then. Rather than having duplicates of everything, I have one really good one of each style of guitar. I’ve been able to cherry-pick and take my time. </p> <p><strong>What’s your favorite “guitar moment” out of everything you’ve recorded so far? — Damien Linotte</strong></p> <p>I’m not sure if I have a favorite moment yet, because I’m never totally happy with what I do. I like what I do, occasionally, but it’s always like, “I’ve got to be better next time.” I do enjoy playing guitar on “All I Wanna Be” [from <em>Wind of Change</em>]. Some nights I like it better than others, but I really enjoy playing over that vibe and that chord progression.</p> <p><strong>Do you regret your involvement in the <em>Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band</em> movie from 1978? — Brian Cancemi</strong></p> <p>Yes. Next question. [laughs]</p> <p><strong>How did you come to incorporate Leslie cabinets into your rig? — Michael Ellis</strong></p> <p>I’d often use a Leslie cabinet on its own in the studio because everyone in the late Sixties and Seventies was experimenting with them. We’d stick anything through a Leslie because it made everything sound so good. No one had a chorus, so the Leslie was the ultimate chorus when it was spinning very slowly. </p> <p>When my solo career was beginning, we’d open for Poco a lot, and their pedal-steel player, Rusty Young, got a Hammond B3 sound by playing through a Leslie. As soon as I saw that, I decided I’d play through my Marshalls and add a Leslie cabinet. It’s been part of my rig ever since. There have been some great electronic choruses, but there’s nothing quite like playing an instrument or a voice or anything through an actual Leslie.</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="/peter-frampton">Peter Frampton</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-peter-frampton-answers-readers-questions-about-gear-django-reinhardt-bowie-tour-and-more#comments Damian Fanelli GWLinotte March 2013 Peter Frampton Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 21 Apr 2015 21:48:33 +0000 Damian Fanelli 18026 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Top 10 Drinking Songs of All Time http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-drinking-songs-all-time <!--paging_filter--><p>Revelry and music go hand in hand. </p> <p>Having the best musical selections for an evening of imbibing—be it for your next party, the juke at your favorite watering hole, or your bar band’s set list—is as essential as knowing what <em>hors d’oeuvres</em> to serve. </p> <p>At the risk of over-intellectualizing the topic, our list was compiled through hours of pseudo-scientific research—the details of which we won’t disclose—among loosely assembled focus groups.</p> <p>But we will say this: The presence of both a singable chorus and a memorable guitar riff certainly won points. So, as the stars of the cult movie <em>Fubar</em> are apt to say, “Give'r.” </p> <p>Just remember, Bukowski, drink responsibly. And if you’ve had one too many, don’t crank up the amp and roll tape. You’ll be sorry.</p> <p><strong>10: “Beer Drinkers &amp; Hell Raisers,” ZZ Top</strong> </p> <p>Just how does this Texas trio keep their beards from being infested with froth? Billy Gibbons’ searing blues leads and proto-metal riffing on this song inspires two things: merriment… and wreckin’ shit up. Stay away from the lousy drunks when this one comes on.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KXswale5Kss" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>9: “Alligator Wine,” Screaming Jay Hawkins</strong> </p> <p>At some point of the evening, lyrics like “Take the blood out of the alligator/Take the left eye of a fish/Take the skin off a frog/And mix it up in a dish” will seem hysterically funny. Don’t let anyone’s sobriety ruin the joke.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MI3YzuzwK44" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>8: “Night Train,” Guns N’ Roses</strong> </p> <p>An ode to dirt-cheap wine should be uncorked when nobody present at the festivities can utter anything more insightful than “YEEEOOOWWW!!!” This one is only for people that can hold their rock ‘n’ roll.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-Gu3gDhESRY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>7: “Cold Gin,” Kiss</strong> </p> <p>Gin is the devil’s gasoline. Kiss are Knights in Satan’s Service. Get it? Any intellectuals on board should have an ironic chuckle when teetotaler Gene Simmons sings Ace Frehley-penned lines like “It’s cold gin time again/You know it’ll always win.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eC9A8wjojzY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>6: “Boob Scotch,” Bob Log III</strong> </p> <p>Party games, anyone? This psychotic Arizona bluesman has dreamed up a titillating concoction: one part Scotch, one part ice, and one part nipple. Try to follow: the nipple gets hard, and the scotch takes on a whole new flavor. Generally, this drink is best served once a few glasses of regular spirits glasses of regular spirits have been tossed back.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nPMpHepElIc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>5: “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” John Lee Hooker</strong> </p> <p>Talk about a ready-made chorus! Of course, cynical twerps call it subliminal advertising—and they may have a point. After all, bartenders love it when schnockered customers mindlessly order by repeating the song’s chorus.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZNknFH6asAs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>4: “Have a Drink on Me,” AC/DC</strong> </p> <p>Written for the memory of Bon Scott, a man who didn’t know when to cut himself off from the bottle (and choked accordingly), this one my seem slightly irresponsible. Nevertheless, it reinforces the concept of generosity. Also, that guitar riff will sure zing ya.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/R3eN6WvERaM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>3: “Whiskey in a Jar,” Thin Lizzy</strong> </p> <p>The Irish have no shortage of drinking songs, so it’s appropriate that a revved-up translation of a folk standard be included here. The song actually has less to do with drinking than it does with armed robbery and lust—but it does have one key attribute to a classic drinking song: a chorus written in gibberish.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wyQ-tScuzwM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong> 2: “There’s a Tear in My Beer,” Hank Williams</strong> </p> <p>How does the poor sobbing bastard in the corner make his drink last so long? He’s watering it down with salt water, of course! This and other secrets of alcoholic medication are contained in Williams’ prototypical self-pitying country song. And it’s not <em>all</em> pathos; indeed, perfectly happy people can sing this tune as a sympathetic gesture to the broken-hearted.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KR31easm__c" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>1: “Tequila,” The Champs</strong> </p> <p>Who needs words when a two-chord riff and a honkin’ sax melody scream, “Dance, sucka, dance!” This 1950s classic has endured the test of time because it reeks of mischief. Plus, not only is the chorus extremely easy to remember; it doesn’t require that anyone stay in key!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M5J802Hqsu8" 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="/acdc">AC/DC</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-drinking-songs-all-time#comments ACDC John Lee Hooker ZZ Top Guitar World Lists News Features Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:28:38 +0000 Guitar World Staff 24339 at http://www.guitarworld.com 'The Guitar Chord Deck': Select the Chord You Want and See Exactly How to Play it http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-chord-deck-select-chord-you-want-and-see-exactly-how-play-it <!--paging_filter--><p><em>The Guitar Chord Deck</em> is now available at the <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/the-guitar-chord-deck/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GuitarChordDeck">Guitar World Online Store</a> for $9.99!</p> <p>This instructional book contains life-size pictures of fingering positions. </p> <p>Select the chord you want and see exactly how to play it! </p> <p>It features basic chords for all popular keys. It's also the ideal gift for the beginning guitarist.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/the-guitar-chord-deck/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GuitarChordDeck">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now.</a></strong> </p> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-chord-deck-select-chord-you-want-and-see-exactly-how-play-it#comments News Features Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:21:53 +0000 Guitar World Staff 24338 at http://www.guitarworld.com Dear Guitar Hero: Richard Williams Discusses Kansas' History, Versatility and Lasting Influence http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-richard-williams <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Richard Williams. He’s played on every Kansas album since with the group’s self-titled 1974 debut. But what Guitar World readers really want to know is…</em></p> <p><strong>Why do you think the Seventies produced so many iconic bands? — Rich Fazio</strong></p> <p>It was a time of unrestricted experimentation. In addition to pop-music groups, there were bands that stuck out of the box, and it was allowed by the record companies. </p> <p>But the music business squashed that a long time ago. Bands are still playing challenging stuff, but in the popular world of music most of them are never going to see the light of day. The Seventies bands were immediately identifiable, and each had its own stamp. </p> <p><strong>Kansas sold out Madison Square Garden when they played there [June 28, 1978]. What do you remember about that show? — Carmine D’urso</strong></p> <p>Three things pop into my head right away. First, riding to the show in a limousine. It was just another arena show for us, because we were so unaffected by our success. In hindsight, though, I thought, Holy shit, we just played the Garden, and it sold out! The second thing that stands out is that, on the way to the show, Jeff Glixman, our road manager then, got pissed off after seeing people on the side streets selling bootleg Kansas T-shirts. </p> <p>So he got out of the limo and told some guy to stop selling them, and the guy pointed a pistol at Jeff and told him to get out of his face. The third thing that comes to mind is we wanted to record our live album, <em>Two for the Show</em>, at the Garden. We had the mobile recording track with us at the venue that night, but the American Federation of Musicians wanted to charge us $50,000 to use it, so we told the union we weren’t paying that sum of money and recorded the album in Philadelphia and elsewhere.</p> <p><strong>Although Kansas is best known for “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind,” to me those songs don’t accurately represent the group’s sound. Overall, on the majority of your catalog, Kansas sounds like an American counterpart to European progressive rock bands such as Yes and King Crimson. Would you agree? — Albert Morris</strong></p> <p>The heart of Kansas is in that style of music, but we don’t sound like any of those groups. We’re a ballsy American rock band above all. But those bands were our heroes and made us realize that you could assemble songs in weird time signatures and didn’t have to format music in a traditional manner. Those are the types of influences that, collectively, brought the original members of Kansas together. Personally, I loved early Yes, early Genesis and Gentle Giant, and each of the bands from that genre were completely and uniquely different from each other.</p> <p><strong>Kansas’ level of musicianship is awesome, yet you’ve channeled that virtuosity into many catchy, memorable songs. What makes the band so versatile? — Mike Sabatino</strong></p> <p>Coming out of Topeka, Kansas, there were a lot of guitarists I knew who were better than me. If music were all about virtuosity and chops, we’d all be listening to very high-brow jazz and the opera and symphonies. Individually, the members of Kansas are all pretty darn good, but collectively, the sum of the parts is incomparable. </p> <p>One of the great things about music is that you can sit down and play by yourself, but it’s far more joyful to hear the organic sound of people of like thought playing together. That’s what music is all about. The members of Kansas had a common direction. We were friends who stuck together and created something magical. </p> <p><strong>I saw the promotional video for Kansas’ documentary, <em>Miracles Out of Nowhere</em>, online. I was happy to see artists as diverse as Brian May and Garth Brooks gush about the band. Why do you think Kansas’ music appeals to not just the public at large but big-name musicians as well? — John Dinapoli</strong></p> <p>There’s an honesty to our music; all people can relate to it. We’re not contrived, we’re not an act, and we’ve never chased fame. We’ve always been a hard-working, blue-collar band. Kansas was the opening act for Queen’s first U.S. tour, and we bonded with those guys. Brian’s appreciation for us has always been heartfelt. </p> <p>I’ve known for years that Garth was one of our biggest fans. He’s been able to incorporate the rock-concert experience into country music, which I’m proud to say was partly inspired by Kansas and his admiration of us. Regarding the documentary, we just wanted to tell the story of the original band members coming from Topeka and climbing to the top of the mountain.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nzfUlCrjb8g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>When all the original members were in the band, Kansas could replicate its studio recordings with great clarity and precision onstage. How did you guys pull this off so effortlessly? — Vincent Macrino</strong></p> <p>It was the mindset at the time. Onstage, we’d play our most demanding songs from our albums and pull them off. We’d record the songs as if we were playing them live. </p> <p><strong>What was it like coming from Topeka to New York City to record Kansas’ first album at the Record Plant, where John Lennon and other famous artists also happened to be recording at the time? — Lauren Glaser</strong></p> <p>It was quite an experience. I didn’t get to see John Lennon—I would’ve shit myself had I did—because we were on the graveyard shift in Studio C while the big acts were recording in a different part of the building. The studio was near Times Square, which was not cleaned up like it is today. There were drug dealers, hookers and porn everywhere. It wasn’t safe walking those streets at night. </p> <p>People would approach you and say, “Wanna buy some shit?” It was terrifying. As for our first album, it was recorded, mixed and completed in three weeks. I cowrote the opening track, “Can I Tell You,” which was the song that caught [manager/producer] Don Kirshner’s attention and landed us a record deal.</p> <p><strong>Kerry Livgren was Kansas’ primary songwriter during the band’s heyday. How much input did you have on his songs? — Pete Bedrosian</strong></p> <p>It varied. Some songs were written entirely by Kerry, while others were a group effort. He has the remarkable ability to compose songs in his head in an evening; then he’d present them to the band, tell us what to play, and we’d help him arrange the parts and offer our suggestions. </p> <p>Kerry was influenced by classical music, and it shows in his writing. Besides being a superb guitarist and keyboardist, Kerry is a songwriting genius. I mean, here’s a guy who was able to turn a fingerpicking exercise, “Dust in the Wind,” into one of the most popular songs of all time! There is and never has been a song like that on the radio. </p> <p><strong>“Icarus (Borne on Wings of Steel)” is one of the heaviest yet most progressive songs I’ve ever heard. What inspired it? — Sid Rosenthal</strong></p> <p>The song revolves around the whole concept of flight. Kerry was very inspired by aviation. Both he and his father flew planes. The lyrics are about the story of Icarus, and musically the song has many shifts in dynamics. Whenever a band member would bring in a song, it would go through the Kansas “meat grinder,” in that we would just chew it to pieces. Each member of the band would challenge one another. Dave [Hope, bass], in particular, was brutal. He would say things like, “That middle section sucks! Crank it up! We need something with more backbone there.” “Icarus” goes over great live. The crowd goes wild when we play it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tH2w6Oxx0kQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Can you talk about the incident that led up to you losing your right eye one Fourth of July in your early teens when a homemade bomb blew up in your face? — Gary Deleo</strong></p> <p>It was the summer between seventh and eighth grade. It was hotter than hell, and I had already blown up all my fireworks. So I took money out of my coin collection and got on my bicycle and rode to the outskirts of town to buy more fireworks. Then I went down to my basement and dumped all the powder from the firecrackers into a glass medicine bottle with a porcelain top with the intention of making a bomb that would make more of a statement than simply blowing up a bunch of firecrackers. </p> <p>But when I twisted the lid shut, the friction from the threading on the bottle sparked, and the whole thing exploded and ripped me to pieces, and my parents rushed me to the hospital. I wore a prosthetic eye for a while, but I got rid of it because it wasn’t very comfortable. </p> <p><strong>What inspired you to play guitar, and who are your musical influences? — Jerry Egan</strong></p> <p>Seeing the Beatles on <em>The Ed Sullivan Show</em> in 1964 inspired me to want to be in a band. I didn’t begin playing guitar then, but that’s when I wanted to start. The guitarists in the Yardbirds had a huge influence on me—Page, Clapton and Beck contributed greatly to the development of rock guitar. And John Mayall’s <em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em> was mind blowing. It was an album where guitar was not a background accompaniment; it hit you right in your face. That was “Guitar 101” to me.</p> <p><em>Photo: Neil Zlozower/Atlas Icons</em></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="/kansas">Kansas</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-richard-williams#comments Dear Guitar Hero Kansas March 2015 Richard Williams Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 20 Apr 2015 21:30:53 +0000 Joe Lalaina 24336 at http://www.guitarworld.com