Saturday, 26 March 2011

Jason Becker, Greg Howe: jet lag, what jet lag... flying on guitar!

Another review of the day gone by... wow what a day... it's like I'm in heaven or something, so many cool things and insights, so many super people, from Jason's friends to cool band guys from local Oakland bands... Testament were rehearsing in the studios for example!!! Crazy!

We'll first things first... got a little jet lag, woke at 04:00, I think that is like 10:00 in the UK? finally get back to sleep and then wake around 08:30. Time for some filter coffee before heading out for breakfast. We head out to Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf. Kris gives me a camera lesson... I feel like a fool... the old adage.. RTFM springs to mind. But I'm happy... at least now my photo's will be in focus.

We walk along the road a bit and find a Starbucks with free Wifi. Time for another coffee and some breakfast... a glazed doughnut, lemon drizzle cake, banana walnut cake and a couple of Americano coffee's. This might sound a lot for breakfast, but by the end of the day, this is a good idea... no lunch and then nothing to eat until 22:30! Hey but don't let that put you off, the pay back is an afternoon with the awesome Greg Howe!!

Kris makes some calls to Jason Becker's friend Dave Lopez, the organiser of this amazing festival. Dave is organising the rehearsals for the bands who are playing... but later I find out the guy is the same Dave Lopez from hugely successful Oakland based Hip Hop Rock band cross over Flipsyde.. hey I'm from the UK, I'm a little slow on the significance of things!

Dave advises us to get to West Oakland, via the San Francisco Light Rapid Transit System. First we have to use the tram cars to get to the metro station. We pay the guy 5 dollars for the ride, but no change :)... when we get to the metro it's a case of trying to find out how the ticket machines work... we may speak the same language, but it still like a foreign country, you feel a little lost, a little vulnerable, but that might be the information that we already know. Kris has already done the research from someone he knows in the area and from the Internet... we know a little about Oakland... this is the hood man, the area with the highest homicide rate in San Francisco, also the highest rate of Crime and Asthma. I put my dark glasses on, may be they won't see me, I'll blend into the background, yes?

The metro ride is only four minutes or so, but it goes under the bay and comes out on the West Oakland side. We get out and get our bearings. We call Dave and he tells us he's just sorting some stuff and he'll be right over in his Volvo car. We wait outside West Oakland station for the Volvo to arrive. You don't realise how many Volvo's there are until you have to wait for one! Each time one passes we say... that must be the one... but it's driven by an old guy, or young girl. Then we finally see Dave arrive. Man the guy is cool, the real deal. He makes the Volvo look cool just by the very nature of his driving. He tell's us... I drive a Volvo so no one breaks into the car!! We laugh... but he's serious, a lot of crime... but may be not if you drive a Volvo!

We stop at a Starbucks to get a whole boat load of coffee's. Americano, Cappucino, Choco Mocha Chino or whatever. Dave borrows my "SAP" pen to mark the coffee cups up, we just don't know who for though, not just yet. As we get out of the shop, a dude pulls up in a sports car... "Hey guys want to buy a flat panel TV?"... um... I'm guessing the TV does not belong to him. I think I'm right... but I guess we'll never know as his car accelerates away and we get back into the Volvo.

We arrive at the Soundwave studios in Oakland Soundwave... this place has a lot of history, lots of million seller albums made here, lots of bands record their albums here and lots of bands rehearse here. In fact this is why we are here... we enter the studio and there on the stage is Greg Howe, Dave Tweedie, Phil Bennett and good old Jimmy O'Shea from Cacophony days! I'm in heaven, just sitting down to take it all in. These guys know how to play. They hear the things that the mere fan misses... "hey guys can we do that bit again... it doesn't sound right to me" To me it sounds perfect! We run through the set for tomorrow... three songs in all played through at least five times... so cool.

We are joined in the studio on various occasions by people who've come to see Greg Howe rehearse, fans, friends of Jason Becker's family and other musicians who are playing at the studio. Greg Howe stops at one point to explain the use of the hair band to help mute the strings. He tells us he learned that from Jason Becker... I paraphrase, he says there's this kid who is 15 years old is playing all over the neck, incredible technique. Greg says he asks Jason why he has some cloth over the strings. Jason explains... the penny drops in my mind... Then I hear a female voice from across the room. "Hey did you tell Jason that story?"... like me, she thinking that a cool story... Then I here here name... "Serrana" another penny drops... boom!!, now I know where the Serrana arpeggios are from!!

When the rehearsal is finished we get a chance to talk to the band. Jimmy O'Shea is a great guy he's playing with Michael Lee Firkins too. Greg Howe is calm and happy. We talk about all things guitar... he's down to earth. With Greg we talk about the players, Gary Moore, Steve Lukather, Allen Holdsworth... and the use of hair bands! LOL Which side are you on?... I'll leave you to say to Greg he's not a real man because he uses a hair band... because from what I saw this guy could play most people off the stage!

Other names of the people we see at the studio include Erik Peterson, Jon Allen and Bryan Kehoe... apologies to anyone I forgot... but when you get to my age it's difficult to remember them all!

We get back into the Volvo and had back to the station passing Nicole Kidman's new movie set, an old train station. Finally we leave Dave Lopez and Greg Howe to pick up Steve Lukather from Oakland airport. They head off for some Sushi, we head off to the metro and back, in the rain, to Fisherman's Wharf. We go back to the hotel... then off for some more American food... Johnny Rocket's original ham burgers... not sure if the amount of fat is what I can handle, but if you've not eaten all day... food is food!

These are some of my photos from the Android. Need to process my RAW images before I get some online, but in the meantime you need to get a feel for what it is like here.

Greg Howe's pedal board

Greg Howe and Jimmy O'Shea in jamming mode

Greg Howe's awesome orange guitar!

Greg Howe checks out the drummer for a signal

Jimmy O'Shea with Laurie Monk


Andreas Oberg,Martin Taylor: namm 2011

BFMN Catches Andreas Oberg and Martin Taylor jammin' at NAMM

BFMN Catches Andreas Oberg for an interview and some amazing guitar playing at NAMM

Ian Crichton: Saga Tour dates

Saga have lined up the following co-headling tour dates in November with MARILLION:

11 - Munich, Germany - Circus Krone
12 - Würzburg, Germany - Post Hall
14 - Münster, Germany - Jovel Music Hall
15 - Offenbach, Germany - Stadthalle
16 - Mannheim, Germany - Mozart Hall
18 - Stuttgart, Germany - Hegel Hall
19 - Idar-Oberstein, Germany - Exhibition Hall
20 - Cologne, Germany - E-Werk
22 - Berlin, Germany - Tempodrom
24 - Hamburg, Germany - Docks
25 - Mülheim, Germany - RWE Arena
26 - Pratteln, Switzerland - Z7

Alex Masi: metal exiles interview

Metal Exiles: You are one of the top guitar players in the world. Why do think you do not have the same notoriety of the Vai's or Satriani's?

Alex: Hey, thank you for that! I feel that notoriety is tied to circumstances. Steve Vai, besides being a great guitarist, had the opportunity to play for Zappa back in the day which opened up a whole universe of opportunities for someone as smart and talented as he is but for every Steve Vai or Satriani I can bring up an Allan Holdsworth or a Shawn Lane who are unique, absolute gems. They were never popular with the masses but worthy of the highest form of universal recognition in the pantheon of all-time greats in any art form, period. I do what I do and if it becomes popular that's great if not i promise I’ll still have a great time doing it. more

Kostas Karamitroudis: Gus G Firewind Euro Tour dates

Tour dates:

9 - Southampton, England - Talking Head
10 - Manchester, England - Moho
11 - Glasgow, Scotland - Apollo 23
12 - Reading, England - Sub 89
14 - Zoetermeer, Netherlands - Boerderij
15 - Den Bosch, Netherlands - W2
16 - Kerkrade, Netherlands - Rock Temple
17 - Vosselaar, Belgium - Biebob
18 - Cologne, Germany - Underground
19 - Aschaffenburg, Germany - Colos Saal
20 - Hamburg, Germany - Knust
22 - Vienna, Austria - Szene
23 - Brunico, Italy - UFO
24 - Pisa, Italy - Borderline
26 - Paris, France - Le Nouveau Casino

Russ Parrish: Steel Panther Journey tribute

Don't Stop Believing

Steve Vai: world record guitar lesson

Steve Vai and, the online continuing education division of Berklee College of Music, have accomplished their goal of setting the Guinness® World Record for the world's largest online guitar lesson. The lesson attracted over 7,000 students who participated in a celebration of online music education and earned Vai a spot in the record books at the same time.

Guinness certified the world record after attracted 4,455 students over the first 15 minutes to the lesson. donated $7,000 -- a dollar for each student that took part in the lesson -- to the Steve Vai Online Scholarship Fund. more

Glen Drover: classic rock revisited interview

Ryan: The album is almost an hour long. Did you try any other songs or was there anything left over?

Glen: No. Well, I shouldn’t say that because there were a few pieces that were left on the side, yes there was. But we didn’t have anything resembling a complete song, where we said ‘Nah we don’t want to include this’. Everything that we completed, we liked. The true test when you’re doing something is after a while if it sticks with you and you still like it, then that’s a good sign. I think that was also part of the reason why it took two and half years to complete, because it wasn’t worked on for two and half years. It was all very sporadic and laid back. It was all done in between other things or whenever we felt like doing it. As the song progressed slowly, I spent a lot of time listening to them. Not only listening to the progress, but also to see if I still liked the tune. I had to see if it was going to grow on me or not. I still liked the songs, even though it was a different picture later on as the songs progressed and once I started to really hear the potential of the song. Regardless, at the end of the day I still liked the songs and I felt that we should include them. full interview

Zakk Wylde: a Linea Rock interview

Zakk Wylde a Linea Rock

Yngwie Malmsteen: Please help the people of Japan

Yngwie Malmsteen has released the following message about the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that shook Japan on March 11 and left more than 8,000 killed and over 12,000 missing:

"I wanted to personally write about the huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan. My prayers are with everyone in Japan! Seeing all of this footage in Japan is truly devastating!

"Please, Please help the people of Japan by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

"God Bless."

Devin Townsend: new album ghost details revealed

* Feather
* Radial Highway
* Fly
* Monsoon
* Infinite Ocean
* Moonshine
* Texada
* Blackberry

Jeff Loomis: euro clinic dates


March 24 – 18:00 Dom Omladine, Hall Americana, Belgrade


March 26 - 21:00 Eightball Club, Thessaloniki
March 27 - 21:00 An Club, Athens


March 29 - 15:30 Signing Session - Pavia - Guitars and Basses
March 29 - 19:00 Clinic - Vercelli - Dosio Musica
March 30 - 15:30 Signing Session - Vicenza - D-Music Store
March 30 - 21:00 Clinic - Verona - Guitar Shop c/o Il Blocco Music Hall
March 31 - 15:30 Clinic - Firenze - Plug 'n Play c/o Black Dog
March 31 - 21:30 Signing Session - Sarzana (SP) - Music Store c/o Jux Tap
April 01 - 15:30 Signing Session - Como - Little Wonder
April 01 - 21:00 Clinic - Milano - Lucky Music Network
April 02 - 11:00 Signing Session - Torino - Casa Musicale Scavino


April 08 - 13:00 and 16:00 Signing Session - Frankfurt, Musikmesse
April 09 - 13:00 and 16:00 Signing Session - Frankfurt, Musikmesse

Ron Thal: new private lessons via Skype

Ron Thal: is now offering private lessons via Skype. He says, "One-on-one lessons, any age is welcome, any skill level is welcome — if it's your first time picking up a guitar, that's OK. :) Lessons are about what you need, what you want, it's different for everyone.
"Start by writing to me... Tell me about yourself — where you're from, how long you've been playing, the kind of music you like, if you've played with a band or just in the bedroom, what your strengths are, what you want to get better at, what you want to learn specifically. Things like that.
"Lessons are $1.50/minute, choose however long you'd like to go. We'll set up a day and time, I'll send you a confirmation email, PayPal me and we'll get crackin'..."

Michael Romeo: Symphony X Iconoclast covers

The track listing for the jewel-cased version of "Iconoclast" is:

01. Iconoclast
02. The End Of Innocence
03. Dehumanized
04. Bastards Of The Machine
05. Heretic
06. Children Of A Faceless God
07. Electric Messiah
08. Prometheus (I Am Alive)
09. When All Is Lost

The track listing for the 2-CD special edition digipak version of "Iconoclast" is:

CD 1:

01. Iconoclast
02. The End Of Innocence
03. Dehumanized
04. Bastards Of The Machine
05. Heretic
06. Children Of A Faceless God
07. When All Is Lost

CD 2:

01. Electric Messiah
02. Prometheus (I Am Alive)
03. Light Up The Night
04. The Lords Of Chaos
05. Reign In Madness

Pat McManus: Schijndel 2010


Keith Merrow: The Piscator

Keith Merrow- The Piscator (song)

Dario Cortese: Brent Mason double stop lesson

Dario Cortese - Secret Lick of the Week: 21 March 2011 (Brent Mason double stop)

Tony Waka: Rock And A Hard Place Impro

Tony Waka:
Hi guys, I was in a Alex Hutchings clinic yesterday and I was so inspired that I came up with this improvisation ... so, I just wanna say thx to Alex for the support and for being such a nice guy ... hope u like it !!!!!
ps: I think I m gonna move to Suhr, this Richie Kotzen telecaster sounds great but has a very very big fat neck !!!!

Rock And A Hard Place Impro

plus in case you missed it

GuitarPlayback Morley Contest

Wallimann Wah Competition

Mejdi Sulejmani: Ballad jam

Mejdi Sulejmani - Ballad jam featuring Amer Murguz

Jason Becker: ebay custom guitar auction for Jason!

Custom Paul Gilbert Ibanez

Michael Miller
: Everything Michael P Shannon of ALS TDI has on his EBAY account goes to Jason Becker for his "NOT DEAD YET" Festival tomorrow in SF. Guitars and Gear signed by: Ozzy/Gus G, Paul Gilbert, Joe Bonamassa, BRIAN MAY, Doobie Brothers. Take a look at this. BTW, "Dinner Tickets" should be up soon...courtesy of ROALS - Seattle.

Bub Zulu: Dingle solo competition

Dingle1 competition: South of Sheol solo

Dingle solo competition

Jack Zucker: Eastman El Rey guitarsnjazz

Eastman El Rey guitarsnjazz Henriksen Jazzamp