Equipped To Punish: In Music, Business and Life

At age 28, I've had the incredible honor to have worked with some of the most phenomenal musicians and producers on the planet, including George Lynch, Mike Mangini, Michael Angelo Batio, Chris Poland and Glen Drover (Megadeth), Mudrock (Alice Cooper, Avenged Sevenfold), George Marino (AC/DC, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix) and more.

I have been invited to appear on countless radio programs such as the nationally syndicated “Hard Rock Nights,” where they called my CD, The Call Of The Flames, the No. 5 Best Hard Rock album of 2010.

Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson hailed the CD as “a must-have album” on his BBC radio show. I self-released the album, wrote and produced it, and played 90 percent of the guitars, sang all the vocals and played bass.

I’ve also been on TV shows like Rusty Cooley’s “Guitar Asylum TV,” which featured me on their “Best of NAMM 2011” episode, along with Yngwie Malmsteen and Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen.

In addition to this, I've been blessed greatly in my life by earning the opportunity to appear in magazines from all over the world, including Guitar Plus in Asia and Hard Rocker in Europe (which gave my album a near-perfect 9.5-out-of-10 review).

I also got to fulfill a life long dream of mine by gracing the pages of Guitar World magazine in the October and November 2010 issues with Zakk Wylde and Jimmy Page on the covers, respectively. I've also appeared on Guitar World's awesome Lick of the day app alongside legends like Joe Satriani.

Why am I telling you all this?

It's not to blab on and on about myself, but to share with you the fact that ALL of this came to me through a really dedicated work ethic and a positive attitude.

I love to mentor musicians and help people reach their highest potential. That love to see people succeed is why I give guitar lessons and do business consulting with bands and artists.

This blog, I hope, will serve as an extension of that human connection that I enjoy when working or talking with fellow musicians. I want this to be a positive place where people can learn and grow.

In this blog entry and subsequent entries, I want to stress the fact that I didn't just wake up and “get lucky” one day. Everything I have done in my career has taken extreme hard work and tireless dedication on my part to make happen.

I wake up thinking about music -- and keep doing so until I go to sleep; and then I often dream about music. My guess is that many of you share a similar passion. Those who don’t have that fire and that relentless tenacity are probably in the wrong business.

In the coming weeks, I hope to pass on to you potential guitar heroes some knowledge that I have either learned the hard way or that I’ve earned through good, old-fashioned trial and error and a “never say die” spirit.

This column will be handled from many different perspectives. I want to share playing tips with you, as well as inspirational life advice that has landed me into some great situations and has gotten me through a lot of really bad ones.

I also want to share with you my knowledge of the inner-workings of the music business. I have my bachelor's degree in music business management from Berklee College of Music in Boston, and I've worked at Sanctuary Records in the Business and Legal Affairs department and at Virgin Records/EMI Music in the radio promotions and strategic marketing divisions.

While there, I helped market and promote acts like The Rolling Stones, Meat Loaf, Korn, Janet Jackson, KT Tunstall and others. So for some of you aspiring musicians, my advice could prove to be invaluable to you.

I want this blog to be interactive, so if you have any ideas for topics, want to make a comment, have questions, want career advice or just want to tell me what your all-time favorite guitar solo is and why, please comment below or on Facebook.

I will answer some of the best ones from time to time, and once a month the coolest question responding to this blog will win a free 30-minute guitar lesson with me on Skype. The second-coolest question will get an autographed The Call Of The Flames CD.

Thanks so much for reading! I look forward to hopefully inspiring some of you dudes out there to be “Equipped To Punish.”

Here's an episode of Rusty Cooley’s “Guitar Asylum TV.” Dave Reffett appears at 5:48.

Dave Reffett is a Berklee College of Music graduate and has worked with some of the best players in rock and metal. He is an instructor at (and the head of) the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal department at The Real School of Music in the metro Boston area. He also is a master clinician and a highly-in-demand private guitar teacher. He teaches lessons in person and worldwide via Skype. As an artist and performer, he is working on some soon-to-be revealed high-profile projects with A-list players in rock and metal. In 2009, he formed the musical project Shredding The Envelope and released the critically acclaimed album The Call Of The Flames. Dave also is an official artist endorsee for companies like Seymour Duncan, Gibson, Eminence and Esoterik Guitars, which in 2011 released a Dave Reffett signature model guitar, the DR-1.

Dave Reffett headshot photo by Yolanda Sutherland

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