NEWS: Buy custom EVH Wolfgang, get a free 56 Chevy

Hmm, maybe I got that the wrong way around, but it makes a good headline so I’ll run with it anyway.

Eddie Van Halen is auctioning off two classic 1956 Chevys next week, and each of the cars comes with a one-of-a-kind custom EVH Wolfgang guitar pimped out to match the car. Not a bad combo, eh?

Here’s the press release:

EDDIE VAN HALEN TO AUCTION A PAIR OF 1956 CHEVY CLASSICS AT BARRETT-JACKSON SCOTTSDALE

Custom, Theme-Matching Guitar to be Auctioned with Each Vehicle

(Los Angeles, CA – January 5, 2009) A pair of Chevrolet classics from the personal collection of rock ‘n’ roll icon Eddie Van Halen will be sold at No Reserve during the 38th Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., Jan. 11-18, 2009. The 1956 Chevy 210 (Lot #1259) and 1956 Chevy Nomad (Lot #1259.1) will each be auctioned with matching, one-of-a-kind EVH Brand “Wolfgang” guitars and a pair of red, white, and black EVH striped sneakers. Hailed as “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions™,” the Scottsdale auction and lifestyle event will feature a diverse mix of the world’s most desirable collector vehicles. SPEED will broadcast nearly 40 hours of live, high-definition coverage of all six auction days.
“Rock ‘n’ roll and collector cars go hand in hand,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “And Eddie’s cars, although from the same year, represent the diversity of the collector car hobby. The Nomad is restored to original specifications while the 210 is a custom built street rod with modern performance gear. I expect these cars to enter special collections that salute both rock ‘n’ roll and automobiles.”

The maroon 1956 Chevrolet 210 is a Pro Street hot rod built by customizer Jim Van Gordon. The car features a powerful 454 c.i.d. big block Chevy engine that pumps out more than 600 horsepower, making it suitable for the drag strip while still street legal. Additional highlights include a narrowed 9-inch Ford rear end with Detroit Locker, Mark Williams axles, 4.30 gears, 4-link coil-over suspension, disc brakes, and custom wheels and tires. Racing gauges and a dark grey color scheme underline the interior of the 210.”

Van Halen’s 1956 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon sports a classic “Cashmere Blue” and white paint scheme and was once part of the famed “The Harrah Collection” in Reno, Nev. The car underwent a frame-off restoration and features a 265 c.i.d., 210 horsepower “Power Pack” V8 engine, power steering and power brakes. An upgrade to disc brakes was added for improved stopping and safer driving.”

“Out of all the cars I have owned over the years, I hung onto the ‘56 Sedan and Nomad because I was closely involved in restoring and building them, so they are very special to me,” explained Van Halen. “I almost hate to let them go, but I don’t have the time to drive them. It kills me to see them sit there when someone else could be driving them and have the pleasure and joy of owning these beautiful classic cars.”

“Since they are so dear to me, I thought I would make it even more special by having two custom made Wolfgang guitars built to match each car,” Van Halen added. “I hope the new owners enjoy these cars as much as I have and keep the guitars and cars in their families for a long time, because they are all one-of-a-kind.”

In 2007, Eddie, president of ELVH INC, partnered with Fender Musical Instrument Corporation to launch EVH Brand guitars, amps and musical products. A limited run of Van Halen FrankensteinTM replica guitars were introduced in addition to the EVH 5150III TM amplifier line and EVH guitar accessories. In January, Eddie will launch an all new Wolfgang guitar. More information on the EVH Brand is available at www.evhgear.com.

The Van Halen cars and guitars will be joined by the world’s most desirable collector vehicles and automobilia to be sold at the historic Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. Lifestyle attractions will also return to Barrett-Jackson in January in the form of luxury vendors, galas and fashion shows. Barrett-Jackson’s trendy night-spot, “The Garage,” will be the site of exclusive gatherings throughout the event.

Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Barrett-Jackson specializes in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners, astute collectors and automotive enthusiasts around the world. The company produces the “World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions™” in Scottsdale, Palm Beach, Fla. and Las Vegas. For more information about Barrett-Jackson, visit http://www.barrett-jackson.com/

CLICK HERE to buy the MXR EVH-117 Eddie Van Halen Flanger from Music123.

CLICK HERE to buy the EVH Premium Guitar Strap from Musician’s Friend.

CLICK HERE to search eBay for EVH and Peavey Wolfgang guitars.

INTERVIEW: John McLaughlin


There’s a handful of guitar players who changed the way the instrument is played, and with it the course of music itself. Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen spring rapidly to mind. But for those who seek a deeper path, there’s John McLaughlin. The soft-spoken English jazz fusion pioneer has worked with Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Jaco Pastorius, Tony Williams and Al Di Meola, just to name a handful. After decades of friendship and musical collaboration with pianist Chick Corea, McLaughlin and Corea have formed the Five Peace Band, a jazz rock fusion supergroup who are heading to Australia for a series of shows groundbreaking shows in February.

Scoring this interview was a touch of serendipity: A few months ago I marched into a CD store and marched out with a stack of jazz fusion CDs, and the most played of those since then has been Mahavishnu Orchestra’s ‘Birds of Fire,’ a landmark of the genre released in 1973. I confess my newness to McLaughlin. “Oh you’re a guitar player?” Yeah! “Great! Well Birds of Fire, that was about 35 years ago I think, wasn’t it? Well why not! You have to start somewhere! So you were involved in another kind of music or another style of playing?” I tell him I’ve been into the blues since I was really young, and then I discovered heavy metal, and now I’ve hit 30 and I kinda feel like I need to look elsewhere, expand my horizons beyond pointy guitars, demons, and all that other cool stuff that comes with metal. “Well you’ll never go wrong with the blues, that’s for sure. I started off with piano until the age of 11, but the guitar came into my hands simultaneously being exposed to the Mississippi Delta blues, which itself was a revelation. It marked me for life. Are you into playing jazz now, or jazz fusion?” I’m getting into fusion, yeah. “Well you’ll find that the blues is very much part of that also. You take the blues out of jazz and you don’t have much jazz left, you know what I mean?”

After some mutual geeking-out about the virtues of the blues, I figure I’d better ask about the Five Peace Band coming down to Australia. “Are you aware of Chick Corea’s music? Coming up in January Chick and I will be celebrating our 40th anniversary of friendship and musical collaboration. We actually met on the recording ‘In A Silent Way,’ which is a Miles Davis recording. Chick was in Miles’s group and I’d just arrived in New York, and Miles had me on the date, and that’s where we met. Although I knew Chick’s music already by 1967 when I heard a recording of him with Montego Joe. I was already a fan of Chick. He’s just one of the greatest musicians of our era. Anyway, we’ve collaborated on a lot of different things over the years. It’s a lifetime! We’ve been friends longer than you’ve been alive! But this is the first time we’ve had a group together.”

But far from being ‘McLaughlin, Corea and friends,’ the Five Peace Band is filled out by some quite respected named. “In the group we have another Miles Davis musician, Kenny Garrett, alto sax,” McLaighlin enthuses. “Great player, wonderful player. Christian McBride, who has gotta be number one or number two on bass today, he’s just outstanding. And we had Vinnie Colaiuta for the first five weeks – we just finished a five week tour of Europe – but I think we’ll be in Australia with Brian Blade, who’s one of the new, great young drummers of our era, so this is going to be very exciting, because Brian and I have never played together. But I’m really looking forward to it. He’s already got a reputation as an amazing player. And Chick and I, of course, we’ve got this connection going back so many years, and so many memories. And not only that, we were both very much, in a way, at the forefront of this fusion movement that happened in the early 70s, because in 1971 I formed Mahavishnu Orchestra, and I think it was just six or seven months later, Chick formed Return To Forever, and these two groups were pivotal in a way, in the fusion movement that began in the early 70s. They were probably the most well-known groups at that time. So we have a lot of music, a lot of history – mutual history, combined history. But strangely enough this is the first time we’ve had a band together. What we’ve done over the years is played many times in duo together, piano and guitar. And this is something that we really love to do, and we will certainly do it at some point during the concert that you’ll see in Australia. We do it every night at some point, we’ll just get together, just the two of us on stage. It’s very special, it’s really something. We have a very strong complicity, in a way. It’s just such a joy with this band. They’re such great musicians and great human beings too.”

I’m very curious about is McLaughlin’s personal approach to improvisation, obviously a huge part of jazz rock fusion. “In improvisation, if you’re thinking, you’re not playing. And if you’re playing, you’re not thinking. In true improvisation you have to learn a lot of things. You have to learn rhythm, melody, harmony, phrases. It’s like learning a language. You learn some words, then you put a couple together and you make a little phrase, then you learn some more words, and then you start improvising, you change the phrase, you add this word. And it’s the same in music. You need to start developing a vocabulary of phrases that correspond to the way you feel. And the other thing that happens in music is that every day is different. We’re changing constantly, and I’m different today than I was yesterday, and I hear a little bit differently. Now, one day to another’s not much, but over six months, you’ll really notice it. This is why I continue to work, because my phrasing that I hear in my imagination, which is behind my musical playing, is also evolving. So I have to work just to keep up to date with my own imagination, if you know what I mean.”

The conversation shifts to amplification. “I’ve been using (IK Multimedia’s) Amplitube 2, but not in the last year,” John says. “I went on tour last year with a new band, an electric band, and I was using a Roland Cube 60, which is a nice little amp, but at the end of last year I started using one of these Mesa Boogie tube preamps – very nice, very nice. I’ve known Mesa Boogie amplifiers since around 1973. They’re great amps, and he made these tube preamps that are really good. With Shakti I was using a laptop, because I was using synth guitar also, and with a laptop it’s great, to have something like Amplitube as a virtual amp that I can use simultaneously with some software synths. But with the electric band I’m not playing any synths, I’m just playing electric guitar, and it’s the same with the Five Peace Band, I’m just playing electric guitar.

The synth input to the laptop was achieved via a Godin guitar. “It’s a really great guitar,” John says. “One of the reasons I went with Godin guitars in the first place is it has a great MIDI pickup. Once you see ‘This Is The Way I Do It,’ you’re going to see a score that moves in sync to all the audio. To do this was quite a tricky problem, and what I found was that the Godin guitar had the best MIDI output pickup available, and it has a great audio sound too. So I recorded MIDI and audio simultaneously, and I was able to construct a score which was then exported, cleaned up and then reimported into the mainframe for video rendering. It had never been done before, so we had no reference. It was a tricky problem, but it actually came out very well.”

Five Peace Band Australian tour dates:

Wed 18/02/09 08:00PM
The Arts Centre, Hamer Hall, Melbourne

Fri 20/02/09 08:00PM
Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Sat 21/02/09 08:00PM
Sydney Opera House, Sydney

CLICK HERE to buy the Godin Freeway SA electric guitar from Musician’s Friend.