The new Kenny Wayne Shepherd Strat can get it

FENDER® INTRODUCES THE ALL-NEW ARTIST SIGNATURE STRATOCASTER®  WITH BLUES, ROCK LEGEND KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD 

Second Fender Launch, The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Signature Stratocaster® Custom “Hot” Vintage Pickups, Block Inlay Neck and Unique Faded Transparent Blue Finish

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (September 15, 2020)— Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today released the all-new Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster®, the newest result of Fender’s collaboration with one of the most powerful guitarists in Blues-Rock today. It features a chambered ash body, Transparent Faded Sonic Blue lacquer finish and early ‘60s “C”-shaped maple neck. This guitar delivers a punchy, full-throated Stratocaster® tones with three custom voiced pickups created with design input from Shepherd himself to meticulously complement his personal sound. Today, fans can own and play a part of that legacy with the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster®.

“I have been playing Fender guitars for essentially my entire life. To me, Fender defined the sounds of countless music genres and was played by most of my musical heroes. The playability of Fender guitars is unmatched, and the quality of instruments unsurpassed. Our new creation is one I’m exceptionally proud of,“ said Kenny Wayne Shepherd. “I was heavily involved in every aspect of the guitar – from specs to design, especially the Custom “Hot” Vintage Pickups – carefully designed to have a very natural sound; the block inlay neck which really sets this Stratocaster® apart visually; and the matching headstock which I just think has an unbeatable aesthetic. I can’t wait to see what this guitar can do in the hands of other players – I hope this guitar is a tool that inspires others to find their own voice and to truly express themselves and their own love of music.”

There are only a handful of artists whose name is synonymous with the guitar, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd is one of them. Shepherd was inspired to pick up the guitar at the age of 7 after hearing the likes of legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, B.B. King and Muddy Waters – still some of his current musical influences . “Listening to, and consequently learning, their music gave me the foundation and the knowledge to learn the instrument, which freed me up to explore further and find my own identity within the guitar.” Louisiana’s guitarist and songsmith now boasts a 20-year-strong recording career and has established himself as the leading force behind the blues-rock revival, bringing renewed commercial success to the much-loved genre. A consistently in-demand live act, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has headlined tours worldwide as well as played on major tours with the likes of Buddy Guy and The Rolling Stones in addition to his solo recording career, which now spans nine critically acclaimed studio albums and radio hits including “Blue on Black,” “True Lies”, “Dark Side of Love” and “Somehow, Somewhere, Someway.” Kenny discusses his inspirations, playing style and a glimpse into his new Signature in an episode of Fender’s serialised social video series, Fender Demos. Fender Demos is an educational video series focused on providing a deep dive into Fender’s newest products. The series focuses on showcasing not only the key features and benefits but also the sonic quality of Fender’s instruments, amplifiers and pedals. In addition to product demos, the series also provides valuable beginner, intermediate and advanced tone tips, set-up and maintenance guides and insights to getting the most out of your Fender gear.

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster® features a chambered ash body for a vibrant and resonant tone, while the Transparent Faded Sonic Blue lacquer highlights a beautiful ash grain. The early ‘60s “C”-shaped maple neck and bound rosewood fingerboard – with a 7.25” radius – offer comfort and playability straight out of Fender’s golden age. Kenny Wayne Shepherd himself worked on the design of the three custom pickups, giving the sound of the guitar its unmistakably striking tone.

“Fender has worked with Kenny Wayne Shepherd for over twenty years and he is an artist who constantly strives for better and never stops innovating, so it’s a perfect match,” said Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. “In 2008, we brought fans his first Signature Series model, which offered up Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s legendary playing power at an accessible price point. We see this brand-new Stratocaster® as the next evolution – a testament to what we can create together when the sky is the limit. This guitar is all about quality and personalisation and we can’t wait to see what fans make of it.”

In true tradition, the Fender Artist Signature Series honors iconic musicians through product progression and storytelling, creating instruments inspired by the unique specifications of the world’s greatest guitarists and bassists. Learn more about the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster® here; product and images of Kenny Wayne Shepherd with his Signature Stratocaster® can be found here

For additional information on new Fender products or to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.

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KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD STRATOCASTER® – $3,999 

Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s fiery leads, meaty rhythms and hard-driving songs have propelled his robust career through nine solo records –three certified platinum, major tours with Buddy Guy, Van Halen, and The Rolling Stones, and an ongoing collaboration with blues-supergroup The Rides, a band he co-founded, with Stephen Stills. The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster® features a chambered ash body for vibrant and resonant tone, while the Transparent Faded Sonic Blue lacquer finish highlights the beautiful ash grain. The early ‘60s “C”-shaped maple neck and bound rosewood fingerboard—with a 7.25”radius—offer comfort and playability straight out of Fender’s golden age. Loaded with three Kenny Wayne Shepherd custom pickups, this guitar delivers punchy and full-throated Stratocaster® tones

ABOUT KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD:

Kenny Wayne Shepherd is over two decades into a recording career that began when he was just 16. He has sold millions of albums worldwide and, in addition to his five Grammy nominations, he has won two Billboard Music Awards, a pair of Orville H. Gibson awards, the Blues Foundation’s Keeping The Blues Alive award and two Blues Music awards. He’s had eight #1 blues albums and a string of #1 mainstream rock singles. His latest release, The Traveler debuted at # 1 on the Billboard Blues Charts and remained in the top 10 for over 26 weeks.

ABOUT FENDER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION:

Since 1946, Fender has revolutionized music and culture as one of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers, marketers and distributors. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC)–whose portfolio of brands includes Fender®, Squier®, Gretsch® guitars, Jackson®, EVH® and Charvel®–follows a player-centric approach to crafting the highest-quality instruments and digital experiences across genres. Since 2015, Fender’s digital arm has introduced a new ecosystem of products and interactive experiences to accompany players at every stage of their musical journey. This includes innovative apps and learning platforms designed to complement Fender guitars, amplifiers, effects pedals, accessories and pro-audio gear, and inspire players through an immersive musical experience. FMIC is dedicated to unlocking the power of musical expression for all players, from beginners to history-making legends.

The new Kemper OS is out now and it has some neat new effects

KEMPER PROFILER OS 7.5 released – New Features for the PROFILER and Rig Manager 3.0
Acoustic Simulator, Phase Widener, Delay Widener, Autoswell, etc.

KEMPER GmbH/ Ruhr Area/ August 27th, 2020 (ictw) – KEMPER announce the immediate availability of the KEMPER PROFILER OS 7.5 adding Acoustic Simulator, Phase Widener, Delay Widener, and Autoswell to the PROFILER’s arsenal of FX.  The KEMPER Rig Manager Version 3.0 brings next level Library management and detailed Rig editing features. Both are free downloads for PROFILER players.

Acoustic Simulator 
This is a simple Stomp that turns an electric guitar signal into a pretty authentic acoustic sounding tone. This is designed for the in-between strumming or fingerpicking parts during a live performance: The exact situation where guitarists would step up to an acoustic guitar mounted on a stand. PROFILER players from now on just switch their rig.

For the right seasoning and setting it up for the various guitar and pick up models, the Acoustic Simulator offers the parameters Pickup, Body, Bronze, and Sparkle.

Don‘t expect perfect results, as the mechanics of an acoustic guitar are quite different. The Acoustic Simulator though will simulate the characteristic body resonance and crispness of an acoustic guitar so closely that you might feel able to leave your acoustic guitar at home when you only need it for two or three songs that night.

Phase Widener
The Phase Widener is an effect invented by KEMPER. It creates a wide stereo signal from a mono signal without coloring the result at all. Even when summed back to mono, no coloring will occur.

Delay Widener 
This is the condensed version of the well-known stereo-widening trick of delaying one side of a stereo signal by several milliseconds. In contrast to the Phase Widener, the Delay Widener is not mono-compatible and should be checked for coloration when used on a recording. Additionally, the Delay Widener will tend to emphasize the non- delayed side – this is a psychoacoustic artifact. Setting the Delay Widener to about 30 ms should lead to a pleasing result. For all Widener effects, it is mandatory to place them after the Stack section, where the effects are processed in stereo.

Auto Swell 
Auto Swell mimics a volume pedal swell with every new strike of the strings. The parameter Swell Rate controls the time of the swell, up to a maximum of 4 seconds. While the Swell Rate controls the attack, a complimentary compressor is also included, to shape the decay of the instrument once it has faded in. The Compressor parameter controls the intensity of the compression.

And then some … 

Output Filters – Low Cut and High Cut filters are available. These will affect all outputs.

S/PDIF Slave Mode
Recent models of the classic PROFILER units (Head, Rack, PowerHead, and PowerRack) now provide the option to run as a slave to an external clock, as all PROFILER Stage units do. This is based on a hardware modification introduced during 2018 and enabled by this OS revision. Units with this capability will show an additional option “Auto/Internal” in the Output Section — this can be found on the same page as SPDIF Volume and SPDIF Clock.

Audio and clock signals are sharing one S/PDIF cable per direction. To avoid crackles and other artifacts two SPDIF cables need to be connected if your PROFILER follows an external clock and sends an audio signal for recording. Two cables need to be connected, too, if the PROFILER is configured as clock master and receiving an audio signal via SPDIF. We recommend affording two SPDIF cables and leaving them plugged in.

For further information please visit: www.kemper-amps.com

Factory-Evertuned Jackson 7-string brings some joy into this hell-year

JACKSON® EXPANDS PRO SERIES DINKY™ DK PLATFORM; ADDS NEW COLOR FOR X SERIES SOLOIST™ SLX DX 

Scottsdale, Ariz. (August 26, 2020) – Jackson® today announces the expansion of its Pro Series Dinky™ platform with the brand new Pro DK Modern EverTune® 7 and Pro DK Modern HT6 MS, new finishes for the Pro DK Modern HT6 and Pro DK2 Ash, as well as a fresh new finish for the X Series Soloist™ SLX DX.

The Pro Series Dinky™ DK Modern EverTune® 7 model provides the ultimate high-performance experience for today’s modern players.

Featuring a 26.5” scale length, this modern 7-string guitar’s basswood Dinky body is paired with a sturdy graphite-reinforced bolt-on three-piece maple/wenge/maple neck. The satin finish on the back of the neck creates greater playing comfort, while a heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel makes for quick and easy neck relief tweaks. Designed for fast and intricate playing, the 12”-16” compound radius bound ebony fingerboard hosts 24 jumbo frets and offset pearloid dot inlays, while Luminlay® side dots provide fretboard guidance even on the darkest of stages.

Active multi-voiced Fishman® Fluence® Open Core PRF-CO7 bridge and neck humbucking pickups give this powerful instrument its dynamic tone — capable of over-wound hot-rodded crunch or vintage snap. With the five-way blade in pickup positions one (full bridge) or five (full neck), leverage the tone control with push/pull activation to switch from voice one to voice two. Pickups positions two, three and four all feature voice 3’s single-coil tone.

The EverTune® F7 bridge never goes out of tune, making this DK Modern the perfect instrument for both the studio or live performances. Other next-level features include a single volume control, Gotoh® locking tuners, Graph Tech® TUSQ® XL nut and Dunlop® dual-locking strap buttons.

No-nonsense style also arrives in the form of a Primer Gray finish, complete with a reverse 3×4 AT-1 color matched headstock and black hardware.

The Pro Series Dinky™ DK Modern HT6 MS features premium appointments catering to highly technical playing, multi-dimensional tone and ergonomic design.

The HT6 MS accommodates two scale lengths on one fingerboard (25.5”-26.5”) and improves overall playing comfort while improving tension and intonation. Its basswood Dinky body is paired with a sturdy graphite-reinforced bolt-on three-piece maple/wenge/maple neck, featuring a satin finish on the back for greater playing comfort. The 12”-16” compound radius bound ebony fingerboard hosts 24 jumbo frets, offset pearloid dot inlays, Graph Tech® TUSQ® XL nut and Luminlay® side dots.

A pair of multi-voiced Fishman® Fluence® Modern PRF-MH7 pickups are directly mounted to the body for improved vibration transfer. This re-imagined set delivers the most sought-after humbucking tones, from modern active pickup sounds to super-hot high-output humbucking tones. This instrument’s versatile voice can be explored with a five-way blade switch, single volume control and tone control with push/pull knob to switch from an active to passive tone for more dynamic picking attack.

The HT6 MS also features Gotoh® locking tuners and a Hipshot® 6 fixed bridge for improved intonation and enhanced sustain.

Unparalleled style arrives in the form of a dazzling Snow White finish, complete with a reverse 3×3 AT-1 color matched headstock and black hardware.
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The Jackson Pro Series Dinky™ DK Modern HT6 is now available in a Baked White finish with a color matched reverse 3×3 AT-1 headstock and black hardware.

This next-level model features an ash body, sturdy graphite-reinforced bolt-on three-piece maple/wenge/maple neck, Graph Tech® TUSQ® XL nut, heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel and 12″-16″ compound radius bound ebony fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets, offset pearloid dot inlays and Luminlay® side dots.

Active multi-voiced Fishman® Fluence® Open Core PRF-COC bridge and neck humbucking pickups provide dynamic tone. With the five-way blade in pickup positions one (full bridge) or five (full neck), leverage the tone control with push/pull activation to switch from voice one to voice two. Pickups positions two, three and four all feature voice 3’s single-coil tone.

The versatile HT6 also features a single volume control, Gotoh® locking tuners and a Hipshot® 6 fixed bridge for improved intonation and enhanced sustain.
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The Jackson Pro Series Dinky™ DK2 Ash is also now offered in a Baked White finish with a color matched pointed 6-in-line headstock and black hardware.

The Pro DK2 Ash features an ash body with sculpted shredder’s cut heel, bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement and scarf joint and a heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel for convenient neck relief tweaks. The 12″-16″ compound radius ebony fingerboard features 24 jumbo frets and offset pearloid dot inlays.

A pair of direct mount Seymour Duncan® humbucking pickups—JB™ (bridge) and ’59™ (neck)—deliver powerful punch while retaining clarity with enhanced note definition. This instrument is also equipped with single volume and tone controls plus five-way blade switching to tweak and refine tone, and a recessed Floyd Rose® 1000 Series double-locking tremolo bridge system for improved tuning stability.
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The Jackson X Series Soloist™ SLX DX is a distinctive and affordable model offering many fine features desired by today’s shredders, including a poplar body and a through-body maple neck with graphite reinforcement and tilt-back scarf joint headstock. Hosting 24 jumbo frets and pearloid sharkfin inlays, its 12”-16” bound compound radius laurel fingerboard curves more dramatically at the nut for easy chording and flattens out as it approaches the neck joint for low-action bends without fretting out.

Duncan Designed™ alnico HB-103N neck and high-output ceramic HB-103B bridge humbucking pickups power this metal beast with an expansive voice loaded with crunchy, full-bodied tone ideal for brazen lead work or punchy rhythms runs.

Tone is fully customizable with three-way blade switching and single volume and tone controls, while a Floyd Rose® Special double-locking tremolo bridge system provides excellent tuning  stability and dynamic tremolo action.

Sleek and sinister, the SLX DX is available in a new Silverburst finish with black hardware and pointed 6-in-line black headstock.

The new Bill & Ted movie is gonna be loaded with Gibsons

Remember Bill and Ted’s customised Flying V and SG from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey? I sure do. That movie was huge for me as a teenager, loaded with cool guitars and badass guitar playing (and even a cameo from Jim Martin of Faith No More). I’m sure every guitar company in the world tried to attach themselves to the new Bill & Ted Face The Music (I even helped one get a meeting with a producer) but it looks like Gibson was the lucky one to clinch the deal, with the movie featuring Gibson, Epiphone, Steinberger and Kramer instruments. Here’s a press release about the movie’s guitars, including a list of everything you’ll see onscreen. Cool huh?

Gibson: The Official Guitar Brand Of ‘Bill & Ted Face The Music’
New Film In Theaters And On Demand On August 28

Gibson, Epiphone and Kramer Guitars To Be Featured In The Movie

Iconic American Guitar Maker Collaborates With Creators Of Film, TV And Pop Culture

NASHVILLE, TN (August 26, 2020) Gibson Brands–the iconic American instrument maker–has partnered with Orion Pictures on the new film Bill & Ted Face the Music as the official guitar brand of the movie. The film finds the duo–now middle-aged best friends who have yet to fulfill their rock and roll destiny–as they head out for a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it. Along the way, the Wyld Stallyns will be helped by their families, old friends, and a few music legends. The third installment in the film franchise starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter is due out on Friday, August 28, in theaters and on demand, pre-order here: https://billandted3.com/watch.

Over 30 guitars from Gibson, Epiphone and Kramer are featured throughout Bill & Ted Face the Music including “Bill” S. Preston ESQ. (Winter) and “Ted” Theodore Logan (Reeves) epic Wyld Stallyns hero guitars, the classic Gibson SG Special, and the Gibson Flying V (see full list below).

To celebrate the release of Bill & Ted Face the Music, Mark Agnesi of Gibson TV recently sat down with Alex Winter to discuss the making of the film and what it was like to reunite with his co-star Keanu Reeves after 29 years; watch the clip HERE.

For the release of the film this week, fans can enter to win the following guitars below, as well as codes to watch Bill & Ted Face the Music for free. Open to U.S. residents only.

Enter to Win a Gibson SG Special just like Alex Winter aka Bill S. Preston ESQ. plays in the new Bill & Ted Face the Music film: HERE.

Enter to Win the Kramer Baretta in Purple played by WEEZER’s Rivers Cuomo in Weezer’s video for “Beginning of the End” the lead single from the film soundtrack to Bill & Ted Face the Music, HERE.

Gibson’s Entertainment Relations team worked with the producers of Bill & Ted Face the Music to get the right look and feel for the film. “Gibson Brands have been a huge part of the Wyld Stallyns story from the very beginning,” says Jonathan Leahy, Music Supervisor, Bill & Ted Face the Music. “When Rufus presents Bill & Ted with Steinbergers at the end of ‘Excellent Adventure’ that’s just an iconic movie moment, especially for all the guitar players in the audience. The customized Gibson SG and Flying V that Alex and Keanu play at the end of ‘Bogus Journey’ were a perfect match for the second film. In ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’, we wanted to deliver for the fans and get the gear details right. Gibson came through for us in a big way; you can’t make a third Bill & Ted film without Gibson.” Bill & Ted Face the Music film producers Scott Kroopf and Alex Lebovici added, “Gibson has been a part of Bill & Ted since its inception and they have been amazingly supportive in the making of Bill & Ted Face the Music” (Kroopf); “You don’t need to know anything about guitars to be totally blown away by the Gibson guitars featured in the film. Gibson really made its mark on the film” (Lebovici). Ashley Waldron, Executive in Charge of Music/Co-Producer added, “Having Gibson continue to be an integral part of the Bill & Ted story has been a testament to their vision and brand.”

For the Gibson Entertainment Relations team, collaborating with filmmakers and producers is all about character development and working with both the actors and the film producers to find the right match, tone, and validity for the narrative. The guitar itself can take on a character of its own and help the story come alive. “Bill & Ted Face the Music celebrates the power of music to unite and save the world, which is a message we believe in and share at Gibson” says Beth Heidt, Global Director of Entertainment Relations at Gibson Brands. “This film is a great partnership and it’s been a lot of fun to explore the instruments that best fit these beloved characters and the music they create.”

Gibson Brands’ guitars have starred in thousands of Films, TV shows, and commercials across the world. Gibson specially created the two guitars which Bradley Cooper performed with in A Star Is Born including an acoustic guitar, the Gibson J-45 (“Shallow”), and an electric guitar in the film’s opening scene, a custom Gibson ES 345 in olive drab. Look out for Gibson in the forthcoming Bob Dylan film Going Electric, as well as the new Elvis Presley biopic, Elvis, co-written and directed by Baz Luhrmann, and starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks. Other recent film collaborations include Many Saints of Newark (Sopranos prequel), Crazy Heart (Jeff Bridges), Blaze (Ethan Hawke), Ray (Ray Charles, guitars and pianos), I Still Believe, Coda (doc), School of Rock, Iron Man (1-3), among many more. TV collaborations for Gibson include, The Voice, This is Us, Silicon Valley, Nashville, Empire, Dead To Me, Jeff Garlin Comedy Special (Netflix), Songland, Daybreak, and Neighborhood, to name a few. In addition, global ads have taken center stage, including the Apple (Elvis), DHL (Bryan Adams) filmed at Gibson USA Nashville), Dior (Johnny Depp), and more.

Following is a list of the Gibson, Epiphone, Kramer and Steinberger instruments featured in Bill & Ted Face the Music:

TED (Keanu Reeves) HERO GUITAR – Gibson Flying V – Classic White
BILL (Alex Winter) HERO GUITAR – Gibson SG Special – Vintage Sparkling Burgundy
WEEZER MUSIC VIDEO – Rivers Cuomo – Kramer Baretta Special – Purple
Gibson Les Paul Standard 50s – Tobacco Burst
Gibson ES-335 – Pelham Blue
Gibson ES-355 – Custom Blue/Black Smoke
Gibson Les Paul Standard 60s – Bourbon Burst
Epiphone Slash Les Paul – Tobacco Burst
Epiphone PR-150 – Vintage Sunburst
Epiphone DR-100 – Ebony
Epiphone Faded G-400 – Worn Cherry
Epiphone Ltd Ed 1958 – Korina Flying V
Epiphone Casino – Vintage Sunburst
Epiphone Ltd Ed Bjorn Gelotte Jotun Les Paul Custom Outfit
Kramer – Voyager
Kramer Pacer Classic – Fl Green
Epiphone Ltd Ed 1984 Explorer
Epiphone Olympic
Epiphone DR-212 – Natural
Epiphone Les Paul Standard PlusTop Pro
Kramer Parra Nite V
Steinberger Spirit GT PRO – Hot Rod Red
Steinberger Spirit GT PRO – White
Epiphone Ltd Ed Electra Century Amplifier
Epiphone Dave Rude Signature Flying V
Epiphone Lzzy Hale Signature Explorer
Gibson 5-string EB Bass – Wine Red
Gibson HP Acoustic
Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

Across all of Gibson’s brands and collections, the story continues to be told with iconic and emerging artists that inspire the now and nurture the next generation of Gibson, Epiphone, Kramer, and Steinberger fans.

About Gibson:
Gibson Brands, the world’s most iconic guitar brand, has shaped the sounds of generations of musicians and music lovers across genres for more than 100 years. Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Nashville, TN, Gibson Brands has a legacy of world-class craftsmanship, legendary music partnerships, and progressive product evolution that is unrivaled among musical instrument companies. The Gibson Brands portfolio includes Gibson, the number one guitar brand, as well as many of the most beloved and recognizable music brands, including Epiphone, Kramer, Steinberger, and the Gibson Pro Audio Division, KRK Systems. Gibson Brands is dedicated to quality, innovation, and sound excellence so that music lovers for generations to come will continue to experience music shaped by Gibson Brands. Learn more at Gibson.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Gibson TV, and Instagram.

About MGM:
Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television content across all platforms. The company owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content as well as the premium pay television network EPIX, which is available throughout the U.S. via cable, satellite, telco, and digital distributors. In addition, MGM has investments in numerous other television channels, digital platforms, interactive ventures, and is producing premium short-form content for distribution. For more information, visit https://www.mgm.com.

Listen to Jack Bratt’s new single

JACK BRATT ANNOUNCES NEW SINGLE + VIDEO THE OUTSIDER

Vast storyteller, and rocking troubadour Jack Bratt has today announced the release of his ripping new single The Outsider, a song about self-identity and perception [Listen: The Outsider], complemented by an entertaining spaceman-themed video clip [Watch: The Outsider].  

A grand, existential exploration of fitting in when feeling like an outcast, The Outsider hits notes of timeless rock that will have fans of Holy Holy and Foo Fighters salivating. Recorded and produced by Joel Myles at Hunting Ground Studios in Brisbane, and mastered by Mat Bartlem (Matt Corby, Jarred James, Boo Seeka), Bratt’s timeless new single is a thoughtful and moving piece; an exciting next step from one of Australia’s favourite newcomers.

Jack Bratt’s emotive vocal strikes a chord from the outset with sharp, moving lyrics that reflect on feelings of isolation widely felt during this worldwide pandemic. “It’s about being left of centre, about not fitting in,” the Brisbane musician says about the song, “it’s about perception. You may have an idea about how others view you, but that’s not necessarily who you are. It’s easy to think somebody might be doing really well, but that could just be a front, while they’re dealing with a lot of problems. I think what I’ve learned from being in lockdown and having conversations with friends, is that nobody is really okay; we all have our own struggles.”

With plans of heading to New York City in June for a three month artist residency (thanks to his recent Grant McLennan Fellowship accolade) momentarily quashed due to the virus, Bratt’s new single speaks to the current halted state of the music industry and the effect it has had on mental health, explaining, “Anxiety is at the core of the song. It’s really about trying to get by, but everybody is carrying around some sort of pain with them. It’s alarming how many people I know especially in the music industry who suffer with anxiety and mental health.”

The video clip for The Outsider brings an extra-terrestrial element into the fold, spaceman cometh! Directed by Bradley Murnane from Spilting Films, the video tells a story of an astronaut who has fallen to Earth and is trying to find his way home, only to find love along the way. “I was just thinking about the most extreme version of somebody who doesn’t fit in and stumbled on the idea of a man who falls from space and is trying to find his way home,” Bratt says of the charming clip, “but in the end, he transitions into a normal life on earth, adding a fun little twist.

Jack Bratt has begun work on his debut album which is set for release in early 2021, and with new music on the way his fans are champing at the bit to hear more from this exciting rocker.

The Outsider is out now.

 

The Last Action Hero: best soundtrack ever

These days it’s common – nay, expected – for a big blockbuster movie to have a kickass soundtrack packed with original new tracks by the big heavy-hitters of the day. But it wasn’t always like that. Once upon a time the ‘movie soundtrack’ section of a record store was populated largely by recordings of the actual orchestral music scores of films. If a soundtrack featured pop songs, they were often classic tracks that everybody knew. Even in the case of big blockbuster soundtracks which featured a healthy amount of original new songs – like the album which accompanied the release of Dirty Dancing in 1987 – the tracks were very much mainstream radio-friendly pop. So the 1993 release of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Last Action Hero and its soundtrack sent shockwaves through the hard rock and heavy metal scene of the day because it was fricken loaded with crushing tracks by metal, thrash, grunge and alternative icons.

This was an album which featured new, never-before-heard tracks by some of the biggest names in heavy music at the time, including two of thrash’s Big Four. Check out this track listing:

“Big Gun” – AC/DC
“What the Hell Have I” – Alice in Chains
“Angry Again” – Megadeth
“Real World” – Michael Kamen and Queensrÿche
“Two Steps Behind” – Def Leppard
“Poison My Eyes” – Anthrax
“Dream On” [Live] – Aerosmith
“A Little Bitter” – Alice in Chains – 3:53
“Cock the Hammer” – Cypress Hill – 4:11
“Swim” – Fishbone – 4:13
“Last Action Hero” – Tesla – 5:44
“Jack and the Ripper” – Michael Kamen & Buckethead – 3:43

AC/DC’s “Big Gun” kicks off the album, and although they’ve never played the track at a concert, it was heavily visible at the time of its release, particularly due to the pervasive presence of Arnie himself in the video. A classic driving AC/DC twelve-bar-blues-based track with a monster single note riff punctuated by a slinky, bendy melody, the song is classic Acca Dacca. Check out the video, and watch for Arnie doing his own version of Angus Young’s famous duck walk, complete with Gibson SG. While the SG looks huge on Angus’s diminutive frame, it looks like a ukulele in Arnie’s hands.

Alice In Chains’ two contributions, “What The Hell Have I” and “A Little Bitter,” are especially noteworthy entries in the band’s catalog because they represent the first tracks recorded with bass player Mike Inez, who was fresh from Ozzy Osbourne’s band at the time, replacing the departed Mike Starr. (Trivia buffs will know that Inez wrote the bass riff to Ozzy’s “No More Tears”). The two songs were mixed by Andy Wallace, although both were remixed by Toby Wright for the band’s 1999 Music Bank box set.

Three of the soundtrack’s songs continued to be played live regularly by their respective creators for quite a while afterwards. Def Leppard’s “Two Steps Behind” was released in two versions: an electric version from the band’s Retro Active compilation of rare and unreleased tracks (the song was also a B-side to the “Make Love Like A Man” single) and a stripped-back acoustic version. It’s the acoustic rendition that was used for the Last Action Hero soundtrack, and this is the version of the song that the band still plays live to this day.

Another enduring live track is Megadeth’s “Angry Again.” Written specifically for the film and later appearing on Megadeth’s Hidden Treasures rarity EP, the song was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 1993 Grammy Awards. Apart from Marty Friedman’s brilliant guitar solo and the impressive handlebar moustache sported by Dave Mustaine in the video, the song is particularly interesting for a neat little songwriting trick used in the verses. During the first verse, Mustaine sings over the second half of a two-bar riff, but in the second verse he sings over the first half. It’s a great way of creating a sense of movement from one verse to the next, and probably one of the reasons it’s such a fan favourite.

The album’s other thrash legends, Anthrax, contributed a song leftover from the sessions for their 1993 album Sound of White Noise, their first with Armoured Saint vocalist John Bush and last with lead guitarist Danny Spitz. While the song features the same big riffage as the Sound of White Noise tracks, it has a much more adventurous arrangement, including the use of record scratching.

Queensrÿche and composer Michael Kamen collaborated on “Real World,” a sweeping epic in the vein of their previous work together, “Silent Lucidity.” In fact, “Real World” represents a step beyond “Silent Lucidity,” with Kamen set free to push the Pink Floyd-esque progressive elements of the band’s sound even further. Like “Angry Again” and “Two Steps Behind,” “Real World” was performed live on many Queensryche tours.

A few of the album’s tracks had been released previously, including Fishbone’s “Swim” (from their album Give A Monkey A Brain And He’ll Swear He’s The Center Of The Universe). Cypress Hill’s “Cock The Hammer” is from their 1993 classic Black Sunday. And of course Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” presented here as a live version with orchestration by Michael Kamen. Tesla’s “Last Action Hero” is a powerful 80s rocker, although it felt a little out of place in the grunge-friendly climate of 1993, even on an album with such 80s megastars as Def Leppard and Queensryche. But it’s a rockin’ song with some very cool Thin Lizzy-esque twin guitar harmony work.

The album is closed out in spectacular fashion with another collaboration between Michael Kamen and unlikely partner: Buckethead, whose alternatingly haunting and rocking guitar weaves through orchestral ambience and electronica. Although Buckethead was already known to hard-core guitar fans, this was probably his first ‘big time’ exposure, and as an introduction to the world at large it’s a very impressive one.

There have been plenty of innovative soundtrack albums since Last Action Hero – the rap/rock collaborations of Judgment Night later in 1993 being a particularly noteworthy example, pairing Dinosaur Jr. and Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Helmet and House of Pain, Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul, Living Colour and Run DMC, Slayer and Ice-T, Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill, Mudhoney and Sir-Mix-A-Lot, Pearl Jam and Cypress Hill, Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. and more. In fact the Judgment Night soundtrack may have been a big factor in the rise of rap-rock and nu metal a few years later. But perhaps that’s a story for another time.

Star-studded charity ‘Tower Of Strength’ cover

Wayne Hussey has brought in a bunch of his goth mates to record a new version of The Mission’s ‘Tower Of Strength,’ with proceeds going to COVID-19 related charities chosen by each contributor. It’ll be released digitally on August 28 and on CD and vinyl on October 2, but you can hear a little preview in the video above.

Credited to ReMission International, there will be various versions released including vinyl, CD and a digital bundle.

Collaborators include: Andy Rourke, Billy Duffy, Budgie, Evi Vine, Gary Numan, James Alexander Graham, Jay Aston, Julianne Regan, Kevin Haskins, Kirk Brandon, Lol Tolhurst, Martin Gore, Michael Aston, Michael Ciravolo (Beauty In Chaos, Schecter Guitars), Midge Ure, Miles Hunt, Rachel Goswell, Richard Fortus, Robin Finck, Steve Clarke, Tim Palmer and Trentemøller.

“When Covid-19 hit I started receiving messages asking ‘why don’t you re-issue Tower Of Strength for the front line workers?’,” Hussey says. “The song had apparently been adopted as an anthem by some NHS workers, and it got me thinking that I would like to contribute something to the greater cause at this unprecedented time and the only thing I could really contribute is music. So in conjunction with my good friend Michael Ciravolo, I came up with the idea of recording a new version of Tower Of Strength for charity by enlisting the help of musician friends and acquaintances. Tower Of Strength was first released by The Mission as single in 1988 and then again in 1994. It charted twice in the UK top 40 and has proved to be probably our biggest song and the one we generally close our shows with. It is anthemic. I wondered if recording a more well known song might have a greater reach but neither Michael or I could come up with any suggestions that seemed to fit lyrically without getting too corny. So Tower Of Strength it was then.”

“Usually I detest things that are done for charity that are also self-serving, but I came up with a plan that satisfied my conscience. I spoke with my fellow Mission band members who co-wrote the song – Craig Adams, Mick Brown and Simon Hinkler – and we agreed to give up any publishing income generated by the new version to nominated charities, including mechanical and performance royalties and 100% of any revenue raised by sales. TOS2020 has been renamed to divert funds from the original version, and the charities will all be personally nominated by the people involved in its recording and release. Because the musical contributions are global our idea is that the proceeds will be divided and distributed equally among all the beneficiaries.”

“Whilst all the versions will be available to listen to on all streaming platforms I’m gonna ask you to help the cause by buying at least the digital package which is priced at only £2.99. It’s not much, is it? For the price of a coffee you’ll receive all five versions. Come on, help us to help others.”

Pre-order here now: www.themissionukband.com
Digital release date 28th August
CD & 12” vinyl release date 2nd October
Merchandise available here: www.themissionukband.com

TOS2020 – ReMission International track-listing:

Vinyl Side A (cat no: SPV 243541 LP)
1. TOS2020 (Beholden To The Front Line Workers Of The World mix)
2. TOS2020 (single)

Vinyl Side B
TOS2020 (Trentemøller Remix)
TOS2020 (Albie Mischenzingerzen Remix)

CD (cat no: SPV 243542 CD-EP)
1. TOS2020 (Beholden To The Front Line Workers Of The World mix)
2. TOS2020 (Trentemøller Remix)
3. TOS2020 (Albie Mischenzingerzen Remix)
4. TOS2020 (single)

Digital Bundle (cat no: SPV 24354D)
1. TOS2020 (single)
2. TOS2020 (Beholden To The Front Line Workers Of The World mix)
3. TOS2020 (Trentemøller Remix)
4. TOS2020 (Albie Mischenzingerzen Remix)
5. Tower Of Strength (original – new remaster) – The Mission (free bonus track with bundle only)

Charities to benefit from the single include: NHS Charities UK,St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Memphis, Music Venue Trust UK, Covenant House, New Orleans, Disasters Emergency Committee, MusiCares, Plan International, Direct Relief, Alzheimer’s Scotland, Liberty Hill Foundation, The Shrewsbury Ark, Memorial Sloan Kettering Center NYC, Prostate Cancer UK, The Teddy Bear Clinic, Red Rover, Help Musicians UK, Crew Nation, Venice Family Clinic, The Anthony Walker Foundation, Projeto Cáo Communitário and The City Of San Francisco COVID-19 Fund.

By the way, have you seen Wayne Hussey’s signature Schecter Corsair-12? Beautiful instrument with a unique pickup configuration.

Roland Launches New Multimedia Editorial Platform, Roland Articles

The platform features a curated selection of enriching stories, product guides, interviews, and more
Los Angeles, CA, August 4, 2020Roland today announces the launch of its new multimedia platform of written editorial, in depth mini-documentaries, and more, Roland Articles. The new long-form platform features a curated selection of enriching stories, product guides, and interviews, marked by a focus on artists, instruments, and the Roland brand.
Content on Roland Articles is organized into two distinct collections: Stories and Learn. Articles in the Stories section provide in-depth journalism by contemporary voices that appeal to music fans interested in thoughtful, investigative writing. The Learn category educates musicians, producers, songwriters, and content creators by providing them with extensive music-based educational content written by subject matter specialists.
“We are thrilled to officially launch Roland Articles,” said Toshi Ikeda, Roland Head of Global Marketing. “We created this platform to provide Roland fans and newcomers with a unique destination to learn and explore new sounds, discover new artists, improve their skills, learn about Roland gear, and read compelling stories.”
The first slate of articles available on the platform includes a marquee feature on up-and-coming dance/electronic artist Linafornia, an interview with American electronic musician, producer, and visual artist Mux Mool, a guide to the Roland TD-17 V-Drums, as well as a piece about Jay Weinberg of Slipknot and the new VAD506 V-Drums Acoustic Design kit.
Roland has also published the first installments of two ongoing Roland Articles series: Scene Reports and Sound Behind the Song. The former features a deep dive into the music, food, and cultural vibes of Nashville, Tennessee, while the latter offers a written history of the sounds used to create the song “Buffalo Stance” by Neneh Cherry.
To curate content for the platform, Roland is working with a contributor network that represents a diverse range of writers including Martin Douglas (KEXP, Pitchfork), Kristin Spruch (Billboard), Jake Uitti (Vanity Fair, American Songwriter), Francis Preve (Music Radar), Jason Heffler (EDM.com), and Jordan Blum (Kerrang!, Consequence of Sound).
For more on Roland Articles, please visit https://articles.roland.com/.
For the full press kit, including press release and hi-res images, click here.