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- 06/26/15--14:20: _Epiphone Les Pauls ...
- 06/26/15--14:33: _Peter Frampton Anno...
- 06/26/15--14:39: _Agnostic Front's Vi...
- 06/26/15--14:43: _Leviathan's Jef Whi...
- 06/29/15--08:11: _Acoustic Nation Hos...
- 06/29/15--08:12: _Hear Indie Singer, ...
- 06/29/15--09:03: _Paul Gilbert Perfor...
- 06/29/15--11:12: _Dear Guitar Hero: S...
- 06/29/15--11:40: _Beyond the Fretboar...
- 06/29/15--12:03: _Vox Releases AC Cli...
- 06/29/15--12:17: _Roy Clark Mesmerize...
- 06/29/15--13:11: _Jeff Beck and Stevi...
- 06/29/15--13:30: _Acoustic Nation wit...
- 06/29/15--14:42: _Experiment: Does Do...
- 06/30/15--10:06: _Quick Lick: Pantera...
- 06/30/15--10:29: _Lamb of God Premier...
- 06/30/15--11:31: _Dustin Lynch is' Wh...
- 06/30/15--12:31: _Bedell Guitars: Ala...
- 06/30/15--14:23: _August 2015 Guitar ...
- 06/30/15--14:48: _Bedell Guitars Expo...
- 06/26/15--14:20: Epiphone Les Pauls Are 15 Percent Off Through June 2015 — Video
- 06/29/15--08:11: Acoustic Nation Hosts Nashville NAMM Stage
- 06/29/15--09:03: Paul Gilbert Performs Van Halen's "Spanish Fly"— Video
- 06/29/15--11:12: Dear Guitar Hero: Submit Questions for Buckcherry's Keith Nelson!
- 06/29/15--11:40: Beyond the Fretboard: Visualizing Your Own Scales, Part 1
- 06/29/15--12:03: Vox Releases AC Clip Tune Clip-on Guitar Tuner
- 06/29/15--12:17: Roy Clark Mesmerizes on 'The Odd Couple'— Video
- 06/29/15--14:42: Experiment: Does Down-Tuning Make Your Guitar Sound Heavier? — Video
- 06/30/15--10:06: Quick Lick: Pantera — "Cowboys from Hell"— Video
- 06/30/15--10:29: Lamb of God Premiere New Song and Music Video, “Overlord”
- 06/30/15--11:31: Dustin Lynch is' Where It's At'— Exclusive Interview
- 06/30/15--12:31: Bedell Guitars: Alaska Specialty Wood Profile
Guitar World's Paul Riario is here to remind you that all Epiphone Les Pauls are 15 percent off through June 30, 2015. It's all part of Epiphone's celebration of Les Paul's 100 birthday.
If you've never owned an Epiphone Les Paul, now's the time to get one!
The sale includes classic Les Paul models such as the Les Paul Plustop PRO, the Les Paul "Tribute" Plus Outfit, the Les Paul Special II and many more.
For more information, visit epiphone.com.
Peter Frampton has announced reissues of three previously out-of-print albums: 1986's Premonition, 1989's When All the Pieces Fit and 2003's Now.
Premonition and When All the Pieces Fit are set for release August 28, while Now is set for release September 4.
All three records are being released by Omnivore.
You can watch a trailer for the albums below.
He’s the founding guitarist of seminal New York hardcore band Agnostic Front, loves the Pittsburgh Steelers and has lived in the same Lower East Side apartment for 60 years. But what Guitar World readers really want to know is…
I heard you have a new signature guitar coming out with Artist Series Guitar. What can you tell us about it? — Tommy
On the front of it is the map of hardcore, with the boots, which is a logo of ours, and the awning of CBGB. I spray painted “Agnostic Front” on the original awning in like 1982. That’s not a Photoshop thing. I made a stencil and spray-painted it on the actual awning. I’ve got EMG 81 pickups in it and I use it as my main guitar now.
I’m so stoked for the new Agnostic Front album The American Dream Died. What’s it like writing now that [founding singer] Roger [Miret] lives out of state? Are you guys trading demos online? — Antony
We do a lot over the internet. You know how that works today. We lay out a cushion for Roger to lay his words on. We take care of the music and basic structure, and then he’ll put in his two cents. And then I’ll put in my two cents and go back and forth like that.
My drummer Pokey [Mo], who used to be in Leeway, works at a studio, and we go rehearse there. My guitar player is Craig Silverman, and he’s from Boston. They got snowed on really bad this year! He just had a baby, so he got to spend the winter with the baby. So that was good. Our last shows were right before Christmas, and we’re leaving to go to Florida and Puerto Rico then we’ll lay low and we’re off to Europe. All winter I’ve been hibernating. All I do is eat, practice and wait to go on tour.
Your new CD is called The American Dream Died. Do you think the transformation of New York City from the Eighties to now, with all the luxury condos and banks replacing music venues and bars, is a representation of that? — Craig
Definitely yes. Then again, the world changed too, not just New York. Now with the internet, everything’s so high-speed. But we didn't change. I don’t change! [laughs] For 60 years I’ve lived in the same place in New York with my family. I have a friend of mine, Tommy Lombardi, on Spring Street. The only way I get in touch with him is walk up to the building and yell, “Tommy!” And he yells back, “Hey Vinnie!” and throws down the keys. The real New York.
Anyway his landlords are trying to get him out because his rent is stabilized. He’s a disabled person, number one. Number two, they go into his house and they wreck it trying to “fix a leak.” They shut the water off and the gas off. Criminal acts! They’re doing it to another guy in the building too. Get this: he’s a retired soldier, an elder person and he’s gay. They wanna fight that? They’re gonna lose!
It doesn’t matter to me if you’re gay, old or in the service or not. I champion things like that, and I’m always fighting for people. That’s what hardcore and punk is about. We used to do canned food drives for the homeless, and I used to volunteer at the homeless shelter next to CBGB. I use the platform that I have to speak out for people that can’t speak for themselves.
When it comes to rhythm picking technique are you all downstrokes or a mixture of up/down fast picking. — Pauly
A lot of time the attack is down, but I also do alternate picking. I’ll do that old-school shuffling rhythmic thing. Today the picking is a little more sterile—especially with the metal thing—instead of natural and rhythmic. All the guys in the band yell at me like I should do that. [laughs] But I’m like listen, “This is the feel, the rhythm and the flavor!”
Who first inspired you to pick up a guitar? — Hollis
Jimi Hendrix. He was the most craziest muthafucka. I think he liberated the guitar. I come from that era of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Eric Clapton, right into punk rock. There was no hair or heavy metal for me. I went straight to punk when I heard it, like, This shit is the fuckin shit! [laughs]
Here’s where a kid can reach a goal, instead of like seeing some guitarist high on a hill that you’ve gotta praise. Punk taught me that you can be that guy. Like, “Hey, you! Get up there! You can do it even better!” That’s how I felt when I used to see bands. I’d watch them and think I can do it faster, louder and better. That’s the attitude the kids gotta bring.
I’ve seen you perform with Agnostic Front many times since the Eighties. Which country or city has the craziest hardcore fans? — Antony
Oh my god. It’s been 33 years with this band. I’ve seen a lot. We were in the Carolinas and these paratrooper guys came out and were jumping off the balcony! I played the Wacken [Open Air] festival, which was one of the largest pits in the Guinness World Book of Records. I’m not an internet guy, but somebody showed me a video and I was like, My god I can’t believe it! But I’ve seen so many things. I don’t even know where to start.
I know you trained in martial arts. Did you find it helped keep you focused in life and even in playing music? — Jeffery
Definitely yes. All of the above. Anything positive like that is good for you. I’m no guru or karate expert, but it’s just common sense. If one of my friends gets drunk, I say, “Hey, everybody’s got their night.” Then the next day you come out of the matrix and you do 10 push-ups. Martial arts did help me.
I just celebrated Chinese New Year’s the other day, and it’s my year, the Year of the Ram. It’s every 12 years and I’m 60 years old. [sings] Hells Kitchen, West Side, December 3, 1965. The world will never be the same, city’s got a new claim to fame! That’s how I write songs! Just about life and real things, not like those bands that write about blowjobs and the highway and girls. I mean that’s fine, okay, I’m down. But there’s just so many things going wrong with the world you gotta stand up and say something.
I know that Roger got into the custom car scene with the Rumblers. Do you have any hobbies like that? — Tim
I got a cigar club. Anybody can join that one, you know? [laughs] You don’t need much to join a cigar club, just a cigar and a book of matches. You go to your local cigar store, ask a few questions, try a few cigars, sit down, have a glass of wine, and boom. There ya go! Who’s betta than you, right? [laughs]
I’ve always loved Todd Youth’s playing no matter what band he’s with: War Zone, Murphy’s Law, Danzig, etc. You’ve got a history with Todd, right? — Dylan Fagan
Todd Youth is a very great player. He played for Glen Campbell, Ace Frehley and a bunch of others. When he was 12 years old he’d run away to come hang out with me at my house. I used to have to call his mother, like, “Hey he’s here now. You don’t have to call the cops. You want me to send him home?” I actually taught him how to play the guitar. That’s one of my great accomplishments. I also taught Sindi [Benezra] from the Lunachicks.
I always say one day when I retire I wanna teach guitar to children and old people. For the old people I wanna do it for the coffee and cake, and for children I wanna do it for a very selfish reason. When they grow up and someone asks them, “Hey, where’d you learn to play the guitar?” I want them to say, “Vinnie Stigma taught me!”
You’re one of the founders of New York Hardcore Tattoo shop in New York. But did you ever get into tattooing yourself? — Pauly
I tattoo every now and again myself, yeah. Actually I just had my new guitar shipped there because I get ground shipping at the shop. But yeah come on by. Every now and again I’ll do a guest spot, or we’ll have Lars [Frederiksen] from Rancid come by and tattoo. It’s fun.
I have been a fan of Agnostic Front for the past 20 years and I love your guitar sound. What is your current amp setup like these days? — Jay Perry
Mesa/Boogie, and to be honest with ya, I go direct. You get enough power out of that. Plus we have another guitar player with us. I just cushion him so he can do whatever he does. And that Mesa, god you just look at it and it gets loud. I’m practically afraid of my amp it’s so fucking loud. [laughs]
I had my friend hot-rod it, it’s got a thousand buttons on it and I’ve got a kid to take care of it. I don’t know what button to turn! [laughs] I turn ’em all to the right, that’s what I do.
Photo by Jimmy Hubbard
“I don’t really know why I’ve been talking with all these people lately,” says Jef Whitehead from his studio in northern Oregon.
Whitehead is the exceptionally private and talented multi-instrumentalist behind the one-man black metal band Leviathan.
Since he started self-releasing Leviathan demos in the late Nineties, Whitehead—or Wrest as he is credited—has chosen a solitary path that steers clear of today’s industry standard of press cycles, live shows, Twitter updates, video teasers, photo ops and tell-all interviews.
“To me it takes away from the mystique of the music,” he says. “The whole moniker thing in black metal is very important to me, along with the corpse-paint, feeling dead, creating otherworldly music and making something that’s not like Mel Bay: How to Play Guitar Correctly. I bet some of your readers would hear Leviathan and think, Hey that guy is not the best guitar player. Because I’m not! [laughs] But I ape my way through it.”
In talking with Whitehead it instantly becomes clear that he’s self-effacing and humble when it comes to his craft. He’s quick to flip questions about his own style into deep discussions about his eclectic influences, which range from Van Halen, the Police and Black Flag to Celtic Frost, Immolation, Ved Buens End and Judas Iscariot. But the fact is he just might be the most unique and creative black metal artist operating in America today.
As Leviathan, he’s released numerous splits, singles and studio full-lengths, including the recent Scar Sighted. He’s also issued some utterly haunting and beautiful ambient black metal as Lurker of Chalice, and has collaborated with a who’s-who of underground tastemakers including Nachtmystium, Twilight and Sunn O))). Along with his musical output, Whitehead is also a well known and sought-after tattooer and fine artist, who designs not only his own album artwork but has been commissioned to create pieces for bands like Converge and Today Is the Day.
Despite his prolific artistic output, Whitehead’s life has not always been on an upward trajectory. His struggles with alcohol and substance abuse and lapses in sobriety have caused him to languish at times, and descend into a dire self-destructive place.
One particularly grim moment occurred in 2011, when he was charged with a litany of counts stemming from an argument with an ex-girlfriend. Ultimately, it came out that the accuser had fabricated many of the charges, and all of them were dropped except domestic battery. Whitehead maintains that even that charge was bogus. While he chooses to not speak about the circumstances surrounding that particular incident, he’s open and candid when it comes to his sobriety.
“I can’t do anything when I’m getting loaded,” admits Whitehead. “I was sober for 11 years, from 1995 to 2006. All of the first part of Leviathan was done in that first sober stretch. I had a lot of anger and sadness and it was my form of therapy, as corny as it sounds. Then things just shit the bed in 2006 and I started a pretty rough seven years. During [2011’s] True Traitor, True Whore I was doing horrible things to myself during that whole thing. And you can hear it. We listened to it the other day and it’s so sloppy.”
It was about two years ago that Whitehead turned a corner and entered into a new, more productive chapter of his life. He moved to Oregon from his longtime home of San Francisco, got clean, and met his girlfriend Stevie Floyd, who also happens to be a pretty serious visual artist, tattooer and guitarist with the bands Dark Castle and Taurus. Together the two have an adorable eight-month-old girl, who, incidentally, is present throughout our interview, quietly observing the proceedings from her baby seat.
Whitehead has also softened, if only slightly, his anti-press stance. He has begun to speak with a few outlets, including Guitar World, about the wildly inspired, pummeling and dynamic new record. Thanks to his regained creative focus, Scar Sighted stands as the most ambitious, focused and fully realized Leviathan record to date. It encompasses the icy viciousness of his early lo-fi four-track black metal releases, dark atmospheric excursions (reminiscent of Whitehead’s side-project Lurker of Chalice), jaw-dropping drumming, and doom, noise, thrash and death-metal guitar departures. Whitehead performs all instruments and voices on Scar Sighted, and weaves a dizzying tapestry with his arrangement of these elements, which were expertly captured by the skillful producer/engineer Billy Anderson.
“At first it was daunting to work with Billy, because his résumé contains records that changed my life,” says Whitehead of working with Anderson, whose credits include influential records by bands like Melvins, Neurosis and Sleep. “I like shitty production. I played him a couple examples [of lo-fi black metal] and he was like, ‘Alright.’ Later I found he was actually thinking, Oh my god that’s terrible. [laughs] But working with him was amazing. There’s clarity in the new record, but it’s not Hot Topic bubble gum.”
You’re known for creating some of the most extreme metal out there. But I’m curious about where you started. Did you like Zeppelin and Van Halen like the rest of us?
There were three records that my mom had when I was growing up that I first noticed the guitar on: Led Zeppelin III, Mothers of Invention’s Absolutely Free and Spirit’s self-titled first record. Those left an impression on me, and in particular Randy California’s playing on the Spirit record. There was just something about the sound of the neck pickup and those warm solos. I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was about 13. My mom got me one. I was into punk rock and I would watch videos on MTV trying to figure out those stretchy chords Andy Summers [of the Police] was doing. Then when I figured out the barre chord, I remember the first song I learned was “Hungry Wolf” by X. But at the same time I was also listening to Dio, Ozzy and Van Halen. I was, and am, a huge Van Halen fan.
But even before guitar you were trained as a drummer, right? Did you find that helped make your transition to guitar easier?
Yeah, I’m mostly a drummer. My uncle had drums when I was a kid. Drumming has always come a little more naturally to me. I was in jazz band in junior high and high school. Absolutely. I’m way better with my right-hand rhythm playing than the left. Way better at strumming than fretting. It translates to bass too. Actually as far as my comfortableness with my ability to play I’d rank it drums, bass and then guitar.
So you’re growing up in California in the Eighties, playing drums and guitar. You also got into skate culture at the time, right? How was that tied in to your musical upbringing?
Yeah, I was balls deep in skateboarding. I was a sponsored amateur. I skated in a couple smaller competitions, and I got second a couple times. Anyway I ended up getting away from a living situation, and I was staying with a friend from high school. We were best friends, and we skated every day. He also had a guitar and we were trying to learn every Tony Iommi riff. Kill ’Em All had just come out, so we were trying to figure all that out, too, very ham-handedly. Then I found Venom and Celtic Frost. I was also way into trying to figure out how to play guitar like [Black Flag’s] Greg Ginn, [Anthony] Bones [Roberts] from Discharge and Rikk Agnew from Christian Death and the Adolescents.
Coming from your punk background, how did discovering bands like Celtic Frost and Venom affect own your own developing style?
It definitely upped the aggression for me. Celtic Frost’s Morbid Tales and To Mega Therion were way more pissed off. Punk is pissed and fast, but Celtic Frost also had that evil vibe to it. There wasn’t anything really like that. Then I got into weirdo rock.
What do you consider to be weirdo rock?
The more abstract stuff. I guess you’d call it post-punk. That angular discordant punk rock style done by people who can play. Guitar players like David Pajo and Duane Denison, or Ash Bowie from Polvo and Nick Sakes from the Dazzling Killmen. Oh and I love Paul Leary from Butthole Surfers, and [Kevin] Geordie [Walker] from Killing Joke. Fire Dances and Revelations were a huge influence on me.
In terms of black metal guitar influences, did the Norwegian movement in the early Nineties mean anything to you?
Of course. Snorre Ruch of Thorns, to me, really invented that minor-chord chromatic-progression thing. I’ve asked a bunch of people how he gets that sound and they say it’s direct with a bunch of mids. His songwriting and approach to guitar are perfect to me. And also Carl-Michael Eide of Ved Buens End and Virus. He’s one of my favorite all-around drummers and musicians. But as far as black metal guitar playing I’m more influenced by Andy Harris of Judas Iscariot. That guy’s a genius. Then there’s the death metal stuff, like [Incantation’s] John McEntee and [Immolation’s] Robert Vigna. I’m a huge Immolation fan. And also John Gossard from Weakling and Dispirit. He’s an amazing guitarist who thinks very differently.
You weren’t always a solo act. Can you talk about your experience playing in bands?
The first band I was in was called Home Brew when I was 15. Then I was in an Eighties metal funk band with slap bass called Gasm. Then it was Gift Horse in 1991. That guitar player, Doug Hilsinger, had a huge influence on me. Most of the stuff I was learning was power chords, and he encouraged me to play all six strings and let chords ring out. He used a lot of delay and he’s the one who influenced me to do volume swells with delay. Watching him play was really amazing.
What influenced you to break out and form Leviathan as a solo project? Did you lose interest in working with other people?
No, when we were in Gift Horse I just always had these songs. I wanted to sound like the Melvins and play songs that would break people’s bones. Doug was more into songwriting as a craft, stuff like Polvo and Chavez, and I was more into riffs.
He would always tell me to get a four-track. So I eventually got one. I found out about black metal in ’96 or ’97 and I was really influenced by it. I started doing Leviathan and another project called Renfield, which turned into Lurker of Chalice. A lot of it was instrumental. The first Leviathan stuff I did was with a Gibson Sonex, which I traded for a tattoo. But I could never get the pickups screwed in right so it made a shit-ton of noise. And I had this little Peavey combo. Some of that stuff is on the second disc of Verräter, the first thing that I ever put out.
You were programming drums on those early releases right?
I had a Roland V-Pro digital drum set, because I lived in San Francisco and we’re all on top of each other. All my neighbors would hear was the thud of the digital drums…and me screaming. [laughs] I would just plug it right in to the Tascam four-track. That’s before I got a Line 6 POD.
What guitars were you playing back then?
Tim Lehi, who I [tattooed] with, is an incredible guitar player. Really inspirational. We both fell in love with black metal around the same time. He helped me get my first good guitar, which was a 1995 neck-through Paul Reed Smith. We were super into Today Is the Day, and that’s the kind of guitar Steve Austin played. I miss that guitar. I did everything except Lurker with that guitar. For Lurker I borrowed a 1969 Les Paul from Tim, because I wanted the guitar tones to be heavier. But it’s still direct through a POD and a four-track.
Playing live has never been a part of Leviathan. Why is that?
I don’t think that a lot of this music is meant to be played live. I’ve actually never played guitar live in front of people. I’ve played drums a bunch in front of people. It’s not really a fear thing. Because if I was doing Leviathan, unless I sang, it would be a cover band.
You can’t rock the drummer-as-singer move.
[laughs] Nah man I can’t do the Night Ranger. Actually one of the first U.S. black metal bands was called Profanatica, and Paul Ledney sang and played drums. He sat really low so you couldn’t even see him. You would just see a tom, an afro and mic stand. But no, I don’t think I could do that.
2008’s Massive Conspiracy Against All Life is the first album where Leviathan’s sound really jumped up in terms of production.
Yeah that’s the first album where I had someone actually record it using a program instead of a four-track. That was the first one with real drums on it too. I was still using the Paul Reed Smith. On the following album, True Traitor, I used [engineer/producer] Sanford [Parker’s] Gibson V for most of that. And Scar Sighted is all Stevie’s custom Monson [Morningstar], and my neck-through Gibson Explorer that I used for the clean tones.
You recently got hooked up with your own custom Monson, right?
Yeah, Stevie got me one for my birthday in July. It’s called the Redemption and has a maple neck, ebony fingerboard with my “Freezing Moon” inlays and a set of custom Lace Drop & Gain pickups. But yeah they’re beautiful guitars and Brent [Monson] is a super nice guy. I’d like to have him build me another guitar.
You’ve expressed being unhappy with the final result of your last record, True Traitor, True Whore. Were there specific things you wanted to correct when you began work on Scar Sighted?
Well, I was sober this time, and I wanted to put some thrashy, for lack of a better word, stuff on there. Stevie’s from Florida, so there’s a lot of death metal being played in our studio. I’m not exactly sure what tuning is on her Monson guitar, but it’s a longer scale and has baritone strings so it’s a lot deeper. I played through a Peavey Triple X Atlas Custom and a Hovercraft Dwarvenaut and a 2x12 1x15 cabinet. But basically it’s the same as I’ve always done: try and make a record that I didn’t hate.
Is isolation still critical to your process?
It’s a huge part. With Lurker, and most of Leviathan, I was completely alone. I have a family now and things change. Stevie is totally supportive, but with our work and living situation there hasn’t been a lot of music making in the last couple months. But isolation has a giant effect on me when I’m making music. Just having people in the room when you’re working changes everything for me. It’s like, “Perform!” I’ve kinda gotten over that. But I’m still the guy who goes into the music store to try a guitar and I’m like, “Um, I’ll just buy it.” Because I don’t want to play in front of people. [laughs] It’s like that [HBO sketch comedy series] Mr. Show guitar lesson scene, “Wait, wait. No, wait, wait. No, wait.” [laughs] Seriously.
Your songs exhibit great dynamics and restraint, which really help elevate the chaotic parts when they arrive. Does that composition style come natural to you?
I’m not a patient person, but I work at trying to find that patience. [laughs] A lot of that is from listening to stuff like [Polish composer Krzysztof] Penderecki, but also stuff like Caspar Brötzmann’s Mute Massaker record. But dynamics are huge for me. And trying to figure them out is really hard, but really fun.
Another cool technique that you employ in the middle of “The Smoke of their Torment” is when you’re thrashing and then throw in an exaggerated rake of one chord.
Yeah the drag. That’s all influenced by Carl-Michael Eide. That’s listening to [Ved Buens Ende’s] Written in Waters over and over again.
You’ll also mix things up by adding acoustic passages, such as in “Dawn Vibration” and “Within Thrall.”
Stevie has a plug-in Chet Atkins nylon-string classical guitar that I used. Now I have a nice Takamine acoustic, but I didn’t have it when I was recording.
“Gardens of Coprolite” has some amazing drum sections. Do you typically find yourself writing drums or guitars first?
A lot of Leviathan begins with me playing drums and then writing guitar parts over it afterward. But I do have guitar riffs and then try and figure out a beat under it. That song is definitely drums first and then figuring the rest out later.
I’m curious about the creepy sound on “A Veil Is Lifted.” Is that a harpsichord plug-in?
Oh man, that’s an auto-harp that was in the studio. I tried it out and it wasn’t in tune but it sounded really cool. I knew I wanted to put it somewhere because it’s super creepy.
Between your art and musical output you seem to be in a pretty productive period of your life. Now that Scar Sighted is out what’s next?
We have a stack of Leviathan demos. Hopefully we’re gonna do four or five vinyl releases of just demos. I might just call it Wrest. Because it’s Renfield, Lurker and some demos that ended up on Twilight. And Stevie and I are gonna do a record as Devout too. We’re also building a recording studio at our new house. We hope to have a spot where we can wake up and go play in our boxers. Well, she doesn’t wear boxers. [laughs]
Will the studio be only for personal use, or do you plan to open it up to other musicians that want to record?
Open to friends and associates, and to have a place that Billy [Anderson] would want to work. And maybe Sanford would come out here from Chicago. Billy got us a mixing board, and we want to get a bunch of gear, guitars and drum sets for people to use. We want to build a comfortable setup with a kitchen, bathroom, shower and hopefully a place for bands to stay too. I mean, do bands even get label support anymore? So that’s why I’d tell your readers to support underground amp builders and guitar makers. Find somebody you can work with that fits well. And listen to more than one kind of music. Even if you only like death metal…
Listen to Van Halen.
Well, listen to Van Halen regardless. Even if you’re a hip-hop techno guy listen to fucking Van Halen!
If you're going to be in the Nashville area during the NAMM show, here's a treat for you.
Not only are tickets to get into the show super cheap, you'll be able to not only browse some amazing gear and meet company representatives, you'll be able to listen to some fantastic music as well.
On Saturday, July 11, from 10am to 4pm, the NAMM show is open to the public and we'll be hosting the Acoustic Nation stage front and center in the Music City Center lobby.
And check out our line up of extremely talented performers below:
10:00am Sabrina Lentini
The young and talented Sabrina Lentini has been playing stages for years.
At the age of 13, Sabrina participated in Majors and Minors, a reality based TV series on The HUB network. She was one of twelve young performers chosen from a nationwide search of over 40,000. During the course of the show, she received advice and direction from talented stars such as Jordin Sparks, will.i.am, Colbie Caillat, Jennifer Hudson, Avril Lavigne, and many more.
Sabrina was thrilled to recieve a golden ticket on this Season 13 of FOX's infamous American Idol, where she survived Hollywood week and was the youngest contestant to make it all the way to the Top 48 out of more than 75,000.
Not your average young musician, Sabrina is greatly influenced by artists that most her age are unaware of, such as Melanie Safka and Janis Joplin. She also pulls her musical inspiration from more current musicians like Colbie Caillat, KT Tunstall, and John Mayer.
11:00am Louisa Wendorff
Louisa’s passion took her from the warm Southern California coast to Nashville, Tennessee, where she attended Belmont University for Songwriting and Music Business. While in school, she began writing and recording for her first EP. She released the EP, Arrow, in June of 2014. Her EP soared to the No. 2 spot on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart, gaining her the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s HeatSeekers Chart.
Louisa’s talent was soon recognized when, in late December 2014, Taylor Swift discovered her latest mash-up video of Swift’s songs, “Blank Space” and “Style.” One word on Twitter from Swift herself, “OBSESSED,” launched Louisa into the spotlight. In no time, Louisa’s YouTube mash-up went viral, with over 17 million views in the first month alone.
In February 2015, Louisa performed live at E!’s Live Countdown to the Grammy’s Red Carpet, as she simultaneously released her “Blank Space/Style” mash-up as a single on iTunes. The single rapidly climbed to the #18 spot for all genres on iTunes. Louisa calls Nashville home, and is currently working on new music.
1:00pm Dustin Lynch
Broken Bow Records artist Dustin Lynch’s self-titled debut hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart – making him the only new male artist to achieve such a feat that year. The album’s lead single, “Cowboys and Angels,” exceeded platinum sales status while earning Lynch a legion of devoted fans. “Cowboys and Angels” became a modern day country classic, ending the year as one Billboard’s Top 5 Country Songs of 2012.
Since releasing “Cowboys and Angels,” Dustin Lynch has launched on to the country music scene. Racking up over 25 million views on YouTube/VEVO, soaring to #1 on the MTV Music Meter and selling 2.4 million digital singles, the Tennessee native brings a fresh combination of traditional influences and edgy intensity to the genre.
Producers Mickey Jack Cones, Brett Beavers and Luke Wooten showcase his progressive sound throughout his sophomore album, WHERE IT’S AT (Broken Bow Records), which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Country Albums Chart and has tallied over 750,000 tracks sold to date. Fueled by the scorching Top 25-and-rising single “Hell Of A Night” and multi-week #1, GOLD-certified smash “Where It’s At,” the buzz-worthy album has earned well over 23.6 million streams on Spotify.
Previously opening for Keith Urban, Lynch is igniting crowds nationwide on Luke Bryan’s 2015 KICK THE DUST UP TOUR. With recent shout-outs from superstar Reba and CBS’ The Talk co-hosts, media critics have taken notice of the rising newcomer. He was praised in ROLLING STONE COUNTRY’s “The Best Things We Saw at CMA Music Fest 2014” and ROLLING STONE’s 2013 Best of Rock Issue; named ELLE’s “Best New Country Music Artist of 2013,” and picked for both PEOPLE COUNTRY and US WEEKLY’s “2014 Sexiest Men of Country.”
3:00pm Tony Lucca
You may know him as a contestant on The Voice, but Lucca’s been honing his craft long before he appeared on the show. In fact, his current release is his eighth full-length album.
Tony Lucca is his first self-titled release, and his first entirely self-produced effort.
“We went in with the intention of making a record that was as live-sounding as possible,” Lucca shares.
“I wanted to close my eyes and be able to visualize the players in the room or up on the stage, actually playing the songs together. One guitar over here, the other guy over there, bass, drums, some keys? I mean, that’s the rock-n-roll I fell in love with when I was a kid.”
Lucca has made a record with Adam Levine, then toured with Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson. He was cast by Justin Timberlake to play “the cool guy” in Timberlake’s directorial debut.He was cast on the hit show “Parenthood” playing himself as a rock singer, and performed an original song. And now he’s here to play for you!
If you're a fan of the sitcom Louie, you might recognize Eszter Balint as Louis C.K.'s Hungarian-speaking violin-playing love interest in Season 4. (See video below.) What you may not know is that Balint is a bona-fide experimental indie folk singer and songwriter who's about to release her third album, Airless Midnight, August 7 on Red Herring Records.
It was recorded between 2014 and early 2015 in New York's Brooklyn Recording and Richmond's Montrose Recording. JD Foster handled production for Airless Midnight, which also features some killer guest guitar work from Chris Cochrane, Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello) and Dave Schramm (Yo La Tengo).
Check out Balint's performance of "Let's Tonight It," from Airless Midnight which features Chris Cochrane on guitars below.
More about Eszter Balint:
Eszter has been very busy for past few years. In 2014 she was making good progress writing material for the new album when out of the blue—after a long hiatus from acting—she was offered a part she couldn’t refuse. She agreed to be featured in a six-episode arc of Louis C.K.'s F/X series Louie, Season 4; her performance as his Hungarian girlfriend “Amia” earned her considerable critical praise. Eszter also improvised compositions, sang and played violin for the series. As soon as filming wrapped, Eszter returned to work on her album.
Airless Midnight boasts three of New York's most distinguished and original guitarists: Chris Cochrane (John Zorn, Zena Parkins, long time EB alumni) Dave Schramm (The Schramms, Yo La Tengo, others) and Marc Ribot (too many to name!). They are joined by drummer Brian Wilson (Johnny Dowd, Neko Case), JD Foster on bass, and Sam Phillips on vocal harmonies. Andy Taub and Don Piper engineered at Brooklyn Recording, and Adrian Olsen mixed with JD and Eszter at Montrose Recording. This is her third album working with Cochrane, producer Foster, and Taub, and her second with Ribot, with whom she has also worked on many other projects over the years. Eszter is featured on vocals, guitar, violin, melodica, mandolin, random sounds, whistling, and wrote all the songs.
After releasing her second album Mud in 2004, Eszter took a break from music and focused on parenting. Once her son started attending school, she began writing again, in part, "to keep sane while coping with a series of difficult personal circumstances." After a number of years spent writing and polishing these songs, doing studio sessions with other artists and resuming live performance, Balint felt she had a body of work worth capturing in the studio.
Eszter relates, “The songs were ripening. They were just at that point where they were starting to feel like they needed to be picked. And my desire to record was starting to burn me up. Not all of the tunes were completed when I decided to make a record, but the ones which were, it felt like they were going to be neglected in an unkind way if they didn't get recorded very soon."
What resulted is Balint’s most confident effort to date. The lyrics are cohesive and support strong, if mysterious, narratives with a decisive cinematic feel. The accompanying tunes are varied and strategically eclectic in approach. There’s more rock and punk influence here, which gives way to an eerie, calm spaciousness. These songs are artful, sophisticated yet earthy, there's guts and grit and beauty too; it’s an eloquent expression of her life experiences to date.
“My artistic education was first and foremost formed by growing up in an extended family of avant-garde theater makers, originally from Hungary, who created adventurous, surprising works and devoted their lives to taking artistic risks,” recalls Eszter. “My father was one of the founders of the Squat Theatre group, and my mother was also involved for a time. We settled in New York in 1977, when I was 11, and sometimes set W. 23rd Street, where we lived and performed... a little bit on fire with our performances which literally spilled out onto the street through the storefront where we lived and performed. My home during these formative years was not only where the company created and performed their plays, but it was also an open and revolving door welcoming the most adventurous musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, performers, and writers and painters of the time, as well as some of the renegades of hip hop culture. When we weren't performing, our space would be transformed into a music venue where among other jazz and blues greats, bands such as The Lounge Lizards, DNA, Sun Ra, Defunkt, and The Contortions regularly performed.
“By age 13 I had taken on my role as the house DJ, spinning records between sets. I believe these years were a pivotal moment in defining my sensibilities; I carried the blood of Central European artists, with all of their rich history, while during this time also becoming a full-fledged New Yorker, absorbing and integrating all around me with ease. It was during these years that I made my recording debut at age 15 playing violin on a track produced by artist Jean Michel Basquiat and featuring rapper Rammellzee. This life in the theater eventually also led to my being cast and appearing in a few films, mostly indie works, some of them quite memorable, and a few of which garnered much acclaim.”
Eszter starred in Jim Jarmusch's classic Stranger than Paradise, and was featured in Steve Buscemi's Trees Lounge, as well as worked alongside Mia Farrow and John Malkovich in Woody Allen's Shadows and Fog, among other film appearances.
She continues, “In 1995, while living in Los Angeles, I decided to fully devote my artistic energies to music-making and words writing, more specifically to becoming a performing and recording songwriter., I have two albums out, Flicker (1999) and Mud (2004), both produced by JD Foster, who has made wonderful records with Richard Buckner and Marc Ribot among many others, which were both received with critical praise.
“I have since been fortunate enough to have been asked to lend my violin playing and singing to works by people I consider true artists, most notably guitarist Marc Ribot, and Michael Gira of Swans fame," Eszter can be heard on violins on two Angels of Light albums as well as Swans' The Seer, and on vocals and other instruments on multiple Marc Ribot projects including Ceramic Dog's Your Turn, - a band she was a guest member of through 2009 - and on an upcoming album of Mr. Ribot's songs.
"But I'm most grateful of all that with the help of an incredible group of musicians I was able to finally build a home for these new songs. The process was such a joy."
Below, check out a video of Racer X/Mr. Big guitarist Paul Gilbert playing "Spanish Fly," a classic 1979 instrumental tune by Van Halen.
Although we're not sure when (or where) the brief clip was filmed, we do know it was posted to YouTube early last year.
Check it out and tell us what you think in the comments or on Facebook! Enjoy!
Got a question for your favorite guitarist? Let us be your go-between. The concept is easy — you submit your queries and we pass them on to some of the world's greatest guitarists. Only the sharpest and funniest questions will be used.
This month, we're giving you the chance to ask guitarist Keith Nelson of L.A. rockers Buckcherry anything you want! From his epic vintage guitar collection to his motorcycles to Buckcherry's upcoming full length, Rock 'n' Roll...nothing's off limits!
Just email your questions to email@example.com and put "Keith Nelson" in the subject line. Remember to include your name in the email body, so you can get credited in the magazine, and impress and annoy your jealous friends!
As guitar players, we sometimes get too comfortable with certain scale shapes because they can be easy to remember.
For example, think about the minor pentatonic scale; almost immediately, the mental image of that familiar box shape is probably conjured in your mind's eye. The fact that we can instantly recall various patterns due to their spacial layout over the fretboard is a great thing. But what if we're relying too heavily on existing scale shapes?
Scales are just pre-determined paths that get us from point A (root note) to point B (the octave). Some scales sound very musical, while others have a less-conventional harmonic architecture.
For some younger rock guitarists, the process of learning and memorizing existing scales might be the extent of their development when it comes to improvising.
But what about arpeggios? Arpeggios seem to be an intimidating concept to beginners, intermediates and even some advanced players for a few reasons:
01. The name seems "elitist" in nature and sounds like it should be reserved for classical music.
It simply comes from the italian word "arpeggiare," which either translates to "play on a harp" or "broken chord." All this means is we're playing each note of a chord separately, without any of the notes ringing out simultaneously. On a theoretical level, arpeggios and chords are basically the same thing. The only difference is in their execution; one is monophonic (one note at a time), while the other is polyphonic (multiple notes at the same time).
02. Arpeggios are viewed as being "synonymous with sweep picking."
Not everyone wants to be a shredder. For this reason, some people tend to underestimate or even completely ignore arpeggios because they have been popularly linked with sweep picking. Yes, a lot of technically advanced axe-slingers love using arpeggios. But truth be told, you NEVER have to learn sweep picking in order to effectively use arpeggios.
03. Some of the more popular arpeggio shapes seem difficult to play and memorize.
Since arpeggios are 'broken chord' patterns, they're usually laid out over the fretboard in familiar chord shapes (derived from the CAGE system). But this brings us back to the previous problem. After all, the most economical way to execute a "C shape" minor arpeggio would be to sweep pick it (because that shape consists of a one-note-per-string sequence).
So what's the best way to make arpeggios accessible to ALL guitarists? One way is to visualize them as if they are scales (the only difference is that they consist of chord tones).
That sounds reasonable, but there are a few practical limitations to this proposal. First, the most basic arpeggio (triad) is comprised of a meager 3-note grouping. This makes it rather difficult to plot the notes on the fretboard in a 'boxed' format without invoking the sweep picking approach.
As you can see, it's doable but challenging if you're not used to a wide shape, which involves tough hand stretching and some tricky finger rolling. But if you're up to the task, these patterns can definitely be useful.
Let's try adding an additional note to the mix. The most obvious way to do this would be to experiment with 7th arpeggios (or 7th chords). These chords definitely have a unique harmonic texture that distinguishes itself from the more conventional-sounding triads.
The quick theoretical explanation as to why they're called "7th chords" is pretty straightforward; both the major and minor scales each contain seven notes. Triads are simply the first, third and fifth notes of a particular scale played together (becoming a chord) or individually (becoming an arpeggio). If we add the seventh note in a scale to the existing triad, we arrive at a 7th chord (essentially, all of the odd-numbered notes in a 7-note scale played simultaneously; 1,3,5,7).
So let's see how these guys help in our quest of creating visually friendly shapes on the fretboard without resorting to sweep picking.
(Note: the numbers inside the circles are suggestions for which fingers to use for each note. These are just suggestions, so feel free to use alternate fingering schemes and even slides in some instances)
Not bad, but there's still some stretching involved and the shapes are a little too abstract. But at least we've started to look at arpeggios in a two-note-per-string context. Hopefully this is helpful for those of you who do not sweep pick and aren't interested in learning the technique anytime soon.
In my next column, we'll dig deeper and try to arrive at some comfortable box shapes rooted in the concept of more extended arpeggios. We might even sprinkle in a few passing tones.
Chris Breen is a New Jersey-based guitarist with 14 years of experience under his belt. He, along with his brother Jon (on drums) started the two-piece metal project known as SCARSIC in 2011. They've recently been joined by bassist Bill Loucas and have released an album, A Tale of Two Worlds (available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify). Chris also is part of an all-acoustic side project called Eyes Turn Stone. Chris teaches guitar lessons (in person or via Skype). For more information, visit BreenMusicLessons.com.
Vox has announced the release of its new AC Clip Tune clip-on tuner.
“High precision, a color LCD display and a flexible clip mechanism demonstrate the AC Clip Tune’s quality as a tuner,” said John Stippell, product manager for Vox.
The Vox AC Clip Tune will be available July 2015 with a U.S. MSRP of $29.99. Check out the specs below and visit voxamps.com to find out more.
• Scale: 12-note equal temperament
• Range (sine wave):
• Chromatic: A0 (27.50 Hz) – C8 (4186 Hz)
• Guitar: B1 flat5 (46.25 Hz) – E4 capo7 (493.88 Hz)
• Bass: B0 flat5 (23.12 Hz) – C3 (130.81 Hz)
• Precision: +/-1 cent
• Reference pitch: 436 – 445 Hz (1 Hz steps)
• Flat tuning: 1 – 5 semitones (in semitone steps)
• Capo tuning: 1 – 7 semitones (in semitone steps)
• Battery: CR2032 lithium battery 3V
• Battery life: approximately 8 hours (tuner continuously operating, A4 input)
• Dimensions (W x D x H): 61 mm x 65 mm x 28 mm/ 2.40" x 2.56" x 1.10"
• Weight: 26 g / 0.92 oz. (including battery)
• Included items: CR2032 lithium battery
I'm not gonna lie. I happened to watch an episode of The Odd Couple last night, and it reminded me of Roy Clark's sort-of-legendary appearance on that classic TV sitcom.
During the show's Roy Clark episode, which originally aired February 14, 1975, Clark showed his range and virtuosity on guitar with a performance of “Malagueña,” by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, as Tony Randall and Jack Klugman looked on, not really knowing how to react.
The song was written in 1928 and was originally the sixth movement of Lecuona’s Suite Andalucia. It has been covered by countless guitarists over the decades, including Brian Setzer on his brilliant Ignition! album.
Take a trip down memory lane and watch it again in the clip below. Clark turned 82 in April, BTW.
For this week's flashback video, we head to Honolulu, Hawaii.
That's where, in 1984, Jeff Beck joined Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble on stage to play an impressive mini-set that included "Jeff's Boogie," an instrumental track from the Yardbirds' 1966 Roger the Engineer album.
In the great-sounding video below, Beck and Vaughan take turns playing the solos in the Cliff Gallup-inspired tune. Jimmie Vaughan was also one of the featured performers that night (I know this because I have an old VHS of this show).
If you're not familiar with the original Yardbirds version, be sure to check it out; it's pure vintage Beck.
Note that this action took place five years before Beck and Vaughan's storied 1989 tour.
Jerry Reed (1937–2008), known by many as Burt Reynolds’ truck-driving partner in crime in the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, was also a highly accomplished and influential guitar picker—influencing the likes of Eric Johnson, Brent Mason, John Jorgensen, Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Morse and countless others—revered for his mind-boggling “guitar dueling” records with Chet Atkins, as well as a thriving songwriting career that spawned tunes that even Elvis Presley covered (“Guitar Man”).
How Reed managed to maintain his guitar chops while being a major film star—in later years, Jerry also appeared in Adam Sandler’s The Waterboy and with Robin Williams in The Survivors—is anyone’s guess.
Let’s look at some of the technical and stylistic elements that made Reed a great player.
He used a thumbpick, so if you have one, use it in every instance a thumbstroke (p) is indicated in the following examples.
In 1967, after having had songwriter success with “Crazy Legs” (as recorded by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps) and “That’s All You Gotta Do” (as recorded by Brenda Lee), Reed struck gold with “Guitar Man” (The Unbelievable Guitar and Voice of Jerry Reed), a groovy acoustic blues played in the highly unusual Dbmaj9sus4 tuning (low to high, Db Ab Db Gb C Db). (Think “drop-D, down a half step,” with the B string then tuned up a whole step.)
The song is propelled by a bass line similar to that in FIGURE 1a. Fret the bass notes with your index and middle fingers, reserving the ring finger and pinkie for the double-stop in FIGURE 1b; pick as indicated for the complete verse riff.
Atkins, long enamored with Reed’s playing (Chet produced JR’s “If I Don’t Live Up to It” single in 1965), joined forces with Reed in 1970 on the devastating guitar duo record, Me & Jerry, earning the two a Grammy for Best Instrumental Performance.
They paired up again in 1972 with Chet & Me (Jerry in the left speaker, Chet in the right), which opens with the blistering “Jerry’s Breakdown,” the signature line from which informs FIGURE 2. Fingerpick as indicated and let the notes ring together as much as possible. FIGURE 3 is similar to the tune’s middle section, where Reed fingerpicks arpeggios at lightning speed. Perfect the pattern in bar 1 first; in later bars, the fourth string’s notes descend in half steps.
In 1975, Reed issued Mind Your Love, an album ending with the drop-D-tuned solo guitar piece, “Struttin’,” its fret-hand insanity hinted at in FIGURE 4. Barre your index finger across the top four strings, then fret the opening chord, add an extra note, A (first string, fifth fret), with the middle finger “pre-fretting” a chord fragment that opens bar 2, and don’t move the fingers otherwise. You can then barre all the seventh-fret partial chords in measures 1 and 2 with the pinkie.
FIGURE 5 is inspired by the “free-time” ending of Reed’s signature solo instrumental “The Claw,” one of the most covered “super chops” solo guitar pieces by students interested in Reed/Atkins/Travis–style fingerpicking.
Internet gent and multi-instrumentalist Rob Scallon recently posted a video called "The Down-Tuning Experiment."
In it, he tests the theory that down-tuning makes your guitar, and your riffs, sound "heavier."
To do so, he plays the same riff on the same guitar, but he keeps changing the strings and tuning lower and lower, from E to drop-D to drop-C# to "drop-Q."
The cool thing is that, even when he's in what he calls drop-Q (Note: There is no drop-Q in real life; he's kidding), he's actually still playing the riff on these fat-ass bass strings that don't even fit into the guitar's nut.
Please use Scallon's findings for good, not evil. Enjoy!
In Quick Licks, we bringing you short, bite-sized video lessons that show you how to play classic riffs from your favorite songs.
In this Quick Lick, Matt Scharfglass shows you how to play the intro to Pantera's "Cowboys from Hell."
The song begins with a lick that's based on an E-minor blues scale played in the 12th position before sliding down to play a slightly altered version an octave lower.
Since you're in a "Cowboys from Hell" mood, check out Rob Scallon's new ukulele cover of the tune.
Lamb of God have premiered a new song and music video, “Overlord.”
Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook.
The band's new album, VII: Sturm Und Drang, hits stores July 24 via Epic Records.
Dustin Lynch is one hot ticket.
A Tennessee native, Lynch never turned away from the country music in his blood, and now he has the success to show for it.
His latest album, Where It’s At has been burning up the country charts, and its title single is just a joyful piece of pure goodness.
Lynch has a knack for meshing traditional musical influences with new territories that just equals a whole lotta fun.
Lynch’s self-titled debut hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart – making him the only new male artist to achieve such a feat that year. The album’s lead single, “Cowboys and Angels,” exceeded platinum sales status while earning Lynch a legion of devoted fans. “Cowboys and Angels” became a modern day country classic, ending the year as one Billboard’s Top 5 Country Songs of 2012.
Producers Mickey Jack Cones, Brett Beavers and Luke Wooten showcase Lynch’s progressive sound throughout his sophomore album, Where It’s At (Broken Bow Records), which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Country Albums Chart and has tallied over 750,000 tracks sold to date. Fueled by the scorching Top 25-and-rising single “Hell Of A Night” and multi-week #1, gold-certified smash “Where It’s At,” the buzz-worthy album has earned well over 23.6 million streams on Spotify. Previously opening for Keith Urban, Lynch is igniting crowds nationwide on Luke Bryan’s 2015 Kick Up The Dust Tour.
You can see Dustin Lynch live on the Acoustic Nation Stage at NAMM at the Music City Center, Nashville on Saturday July 11, 2015 at 1:00pm. The show is free with your NAMM ticket. Find out more here>
Here we talked with Lynch about music, songwriting, and of course, guitar!
You’ve been touring with Luke Bryan, how’s it going?
It’s honestly the tour we were really crossing our fingers and hoping to be on at least once in our careers. And being out here is really changing our world, because we’re getting in front of so many new, young fans. And Luke’s fan base is super hungry for new country music and the next new thing. Hopefully we can be one of those next new things for them!
You’re latest album, Where It’s At has been doing really well. That must be so satisfying!
We put in so much time and effort into making albums and making a body of work that is nice and round and says something. And I guess we’ve been working about two and a half years on the Where It’s At album. And so to finally get that out there for the world to hear and hopefully enjoy, we’re just ecstatic. And that’s why we’re touring so much, because those fans have really started showing up to our shows and singing back every word.
What was your approach to this project?
Album two was really a new chapter for us because we had so much room to grow. I asked our buddy, Mickey Jack Cones, to jump in and produce along with the other two guys we were working with, and he brought in a lot of new sounds and ideas with him. And for me, I was growing too because I had finally been out and toured around and seen what live music festivals and shows were like. The energy from those crowds really came out in the songwriting. We were writing and listening to a lot of songs on the road. So I think the energy from Keith [Urban]’s crowds and the festivals really shines through on the album.
We explored some new areas too. A little bit more of the rockin’ side of my music, and added some R&B flavors here and there and just had fun with that. And that’s something I really look forward to doing…exploring new music and seeing if we can mesh those worlds of country with other influences. Some days you go into the studio and magic happens, and you come out with a new sound, if not for the world, at least for me.
I agree. Sometimes if you just add an instrument that’s not typically on a country album, for example, it can be really fresh.
Yes, right! For example, the solo on “Where It’s At” is a ukulele. We’re actually playing slide ukulele on it! It’s out there. There are some fun moments like that which organically happened when we were goofing off and that’s fun.
You write a lot on the road. Do you have certain tools or methods that work for you?
It’s evolved from when we first started. Now I’m gone so much I love to have a track guy right there on the spot that I can throw vocals onto. Then in a week or so we have a recording that we can play and live with for a bit. Because I don’t have any time to get back to Nashville and demo songs. It all happens out here on the road. I actually have a couple of songwriters out here this weekend. I think it helps the songwriters see the energy fo the live crowd and what gets them on their feet.
Your latest single “One Hell of a Night” has a great video. That must have been fun to put together.
Yes, that’s made from a whole bunch of live shots of us out on the road at a bunch of different shows in the campgrounds and the music festivals. I love that we did that, because it shows the world the kind of energy we’re bringing to the stage and gives them a little sneak peek.
Let’s talk about guitar for a minute. What influenced you to start playing?
Well, I’m a left-handed guy, but my dad got me a right-handed guitar. So I learned how to play right-handed. A little junior guitar when I was 8. Of course, I didn’t want to play mine, I wanted to play his! But it was tough. I picked it up again when I was almost 15 and the rest is history. I didn’t want to give it up. I loved it. I’ve never had a guitar lesson, I just learned from looking at guitar tabs on the Internet and by ear.
What’s your go-to guitar?
That’s ever-evolving with me. I have a great relationship with Breedlove and we rotate several Breedloves out here. I’ll tell ya, there’s this little Breedlove parlor guitar that I play. It’s teeny, tiny but it’s got such a huge sound and I love it.
And I have another small-body Bedell and that has a really unique sound to it that I really like. Probably between those two. It’s bizarre. I started out really loving jumbos, because I would sit in a room with a couple guys writing songs and I wanted that huge, boomy sound. But now that we’re out on the road plugging in, I’ve gone into a smaller body model.
I love playing and whenever I play I have a whole lot of my acoustic in my mix.
You do a lot of co-writing, can you share some insight into your approach to a co-write?
To me it starts with an idea that inspires you, and you have something to say. You know, certain songs there’s not a huge message, they’re just fun. But I love an idea that was inspired by a situation that I was a part of personally, or just a fly on the wall. And then for me the phrasing and melody comes first. I have a huge book of ideas and then I pop the idea in. It’s a really neat puzzle to put together. It’s a fun thing to be a part of, and I am so blessed to be able to do it.
You’ll be playing at the NAMM Acoustic Nation Stage on July 11 at 1pm for Music Industry Day. What can fans look forward to?
We’re gonna throw a party, I can tell you that! It’s actually my first time getting to go to NAMM. I’m usually on the road. I’m excited to see everything!!
See Dustin Lynch live on the Acoustic Nation Stage at NAMM at the Music City Center, Nashville on Saturday July 11, 2015 at 1:00pm. The show is free with your NAMM ticket. Find out more here>
And find out more about Dustin Lynch at http://www.dustinlynchmusic.com
Brent Cole Sr. and his crew (including two of Brent’s sons) scour the forests of Prince of Wales Island and the surrounding islands and waters for Sitka spruce trees that have fallen, are floating in the water, or are being retired from service in a booming ground, bridge structure or floating house.
As a lifetime hunter of fallen and cast-off Sitka, Brent automatically scans the forest when he’s out hunting and fishing in the Alaskan wilderness.
A healthy old-growth forest has an even canopy – something will always grow toward the sun and fill in the holes. If there is a break in the canopy, it means a large tree has recently fallen.
From across the draw, sometimes he’ll spot an opening, where the forest looks thin, and he’ll hike a mile or more to investigate, and crawl up under the brush to check it out.
Whether on land or by sea, Brent and his team discover salvageable trees, one by one, and obtain individual permits for each individual tree and reclaim them, bringing the logs back to the ASW shop in Craig, Alaska for processing and drying. Read more at http://www.bedellguitars.com
Check out the video profiling their environmentally conscious outlook here;
Guitar World’s August 2015 issue pays tribute to American legend B.B. King, who influenced generations of electric blues guitarists. We also take a critical look at King’s 10 greatest guitar moments.
Then, North Carolina tech-metallers Between the Buried and Me solidify their status as one of prog-metal’s most forward-thinking groups with their new album, Coma Ecliptic.
Also, PRS Guitars celebrates its 30th anniversary as one of the leading manufacturers of U.S.-made electrics. Take an in-depth look at the shapely six-string stunner known as the S2.
Later, legendary Mahogany Rush guitarist Frank Marino sets the record straight about his mysterious career, his disdain for the music industry and how the guitar saved his life.
Finally, there's our new string roundup! Guitar World selects the best and the brightest strings to keep you in tune and playing longer.
PLUS: Tune-ups, including Megadeth in the studio, Armored Saint, Playlist with Hinder, Dear Guitar Hero with Todd Rundgren, Thy Art is Murder, and more. Soundcheck gear reviews include Bogner's Burnley, Harlow and Wessex pedals, the Vox Custom Series AC10C1 amp, Music Man StingRay Neck Through bass, the John Page Classic Ashburn electric guitar and more!
Five Songs with Tabs for Guitar and Bass:
• B.B. King - "Sweet Little Angel" (live)
• In This Moment - "Whore"
• Five Finger Death Punch - "House of the Rising Sun"
• Death - "Spirit Crusher"
• Ed Sheeran - "Thinking Out Loud"
When the U.S. surreptitiously conducted thermonuclear tests in the Bikini Atoll in the early 1950s, Pacific Islanders were transported from test sites to distant islands for safety.
In spite of this thoughtful gesture, atomic downfall drifted in the opposite direction predicted and ash rained down upon islander foreheads. In the aftermath, some people died quickly.
Some died slowly in the months and years following the tests. In the decade that followed, babies were born without faces and bones, little jellyfish destined to live on land. Today, traces of atomic matter are found in the DNA of fish inhabiting the waters enveloping the Atoll.
From DDT to Agent Orange to everyday urban smog, history is crammed with cases of contaminants furtively or flagrantly poisoning the environment and people, whether as an act of war, agriculture or forestry, industry, or plain human experimentation. We know how toxic these compounds are in doses large and small. We gasp in horror when we hear about entire communities suffering from pollutant-induced illness. And then we continue to disperse pollutants, tolerate pollutants, enable those polluting. In the small coastal community of Rockaway Beach, Oregon, citizens are drawing the line.
Here, private timber companies may spray herbicides from helicopters near waterways and residential areas, more or less, whenever they feel like it. It’s no secret; there’s no rush to relocate people who might be rained upon. In fact, videos of choppers spraying chemicals onto workers below have been captured and shared with the public.
Kate Taylor, a fishing guide and activist for Citizens of Rockaway Beach for Watershed Protection, can stand at her kitchen sink and look out the window to a clear-cut hillside. A few times a year from spring to fall, a helicopter putters to and over the denuded slope, spraying weed killer. At the base of this hill runs Jetty Creek, a waterway critical to Coho and Steelhead fish. The creek flows into the Pacific at Nehalem Bay, a popular spot for clam digging, crabbing, salmon fishing and recreation. The local high school is within a half mile of the timber site.
“It’s an insane practice,” says Kate. “This is one case happening in my community, but this is taking place up and down the Oregon Coast.”
Why is such a blatantly hazardous practice permitted? Under the Oregon Forestry Practices Act, an archaic set of rules regulating the timber industry on private land, companies may liberally manage their forests.
In Rockaway Beach, two companies share 1,400 acres of private land spread across a steep slope. From 2006 to 2012, more than 80% of the holding was clear-cut, including areas along feeder creeks, immediately to bank of Jetty Creek, and within a critical wetland. This denudation created increased turbidity in the formerly gin-clear creek. To protect drinking water, the town invested 1.5 million taxpayer dollars to upgrade filtration systems at the water treatment facility.
In order to re-plant trees for the next round of harvest, companies douse the slope with herbicide, to kill weeds that might choke out saplings. Spraying takes place from spring to fall. Residents living down- or upwind of the spray site do not receive notification when these spray session take place. Neighboring states with equally strong timber roots, Idaho and Washington, are much more stringent with buffer zones, public notification and corporate accountability.
For a $25 fee, Oregon residents may be placed on an advance notification list. The notification provides customers a loose six-week to six-month window as to when spraying will take place, that is, “We will be spraying somewhere between July 15 to September 25.” This means, a citizen of Rockaway Beach may be walking, fishing, or sitting on their back porch when a chopper arrives to spray. As Oregon Live explained, “The sound of an approaching helicopter will remain Oregonians’ only formal notice that chemicals are about to be sprayed next door.”
“You can’t protect yourself here,” says Kate. “It’s bad press for Oregon, which touts itself as the Evergreen State and a leader in forward-thinking sustainable solutions to everyday life and livelihood practices.”
This spring, Kate teamed up with Off the Grid Studios to produce a short film on the issue with the intent to raise awareness in communities up and down the coast. She and Citizens of Rockaway Beach screened the film locally in late April.
The group’s aim is to push legislators to ratify practices that protect human and ecosystem health: creating safe buffer zones, enforcing reasonable advanced notice of aerial sprays and public access to the chemicals employed by timber companies. Their aim is not to shut down logging.
“A logger needs clean, healthy water for his family just like the rest of us. Everyone wants clean water and air. We want to advocate for change so that we don’t have to worry. There are plenty of appropriate places to log, but in the heart of our small community is not one of them,” emphasizes Kate.
Join Citizens of Rockaway Beach for Watershed Protection in signing a petition to Oregon legislators to revamp the Oregon Forest Practices Act to protect humans, wildlife and waterways.
We know the legacy that contaminants leave upon our landscape and in our blood. Click here to sign the petition today.