Just a heads-up, there’s an interview with me over at the always-awesome Jemsite blog. You can see the interview HERE. In the interview we talk about topics such as my first guitar, my favourite players, when and why I started playing, and some other fun stuff. Check it out, it was really fun to do.
Jemsite Blog also mentioned I Heart Guitar HERE a few weeks ago, and I’ve written two guest posts: I Want Candy about my Ibanez Talman, and I Was A Teenage Ibanez Geek, about, well, the title pretty much explains it.
Just found this awesome video of Paul Gilbert rocking his new Ibanez Kikusui Ginjo Junmai Fireman guitar (the one he wrote about for I Heart Guitar in his guest post HERE). The song is ‘Addicted To That Rush.’
CLICK HERE to buy Next Time Around – Best Of MR.BIG from CDJapan. Warner Japan is also re-releasing four Mr. Big DVDs: Lean Into It, Live And Kickin’, Live and Big. Bigger. Biggest! The Best Of MR.BIG. Click any of the titles to buy the DVDs from CDJapan.
For starters we have a single cutaway electric guitar with two humbucking pickups, 22 frets, and a fixed bridge. The body outline is somewhere between a melted Fender Telecaster and a custom Manson guitar like those used by Matt Bellamy of Muse.
What makes this guitar different to the similar-looking Sheena model offered by First Act is its built in preamp. First Act says this system is designed to work with a stere, desktop recording console, mixing board, computer, headphones, or even through a standard guitar amplifier. The preamp utilizes V-Stack analog modeling technology to impart a little valve-inspired tone. The guitar itself features a basswood body in a very funky metallic platinum colour which further enhances the slight Manson look. The maple neck has a rather un-flashy rosewood fretboard, and the Alnco 5 pickups are of First Act’s classy semi-enclosed design. The guitar’s playability was fine straight out of the box, with the perfect amount of neck pitch to make the bolt-on neck feel more like a set-neck design. Those used to Les Pauls will feel immediately comfortable with this guitar.
The preamp has an on/off switch, a clean/distortion switch, and a voicing switch. One of the voices is round and full of harmonic overtones, almost like a wah wah pedal left in the stationary position. In clean mode, this is a good setting for jazz, but in distortion mode it’s a great, expressive lead sound. The other voicing sounds nice and sparkly in clean mode, and in distortion mode it creates a very listenable, nearly “Van Halen brown sound on a budget” kind of tone, especially through headphones or a mixing desk. This system would be perfect if there was some kind of ambience option, but as it is it’s a great way of getting very usable recorded sounds down, or to practice without the hassle of a tiny amp or a bunch of cords – just plug in a pair of headphones and off you go.
The preamp is also a great addition to a regular guitar amp, because you can kick the distortion in as a solo boost, or completely change your tone with the voicing switch. I found the distortion setting to be especially effective at squeezing a little more juice out of the crunch channel of my Marshall DSL50 head.
ELECTRONICS: 2 Alnico 5 Humbuckers, V-Stack Preamp
EXTRAS: Soft case, headphones.
Hey, I figured out why the new Epiphone Zakk Wylde Graveyard Disciple guitar looks so familiar.
King Zarcon of Voltron, you diabolical dictator, I expect you’ll be modifying your coffin-shaped ID badge with a Floyd Rose now?
Devin Townsend has updated his website with info – including the cover – for his next CD, Addicted. Take it away, Dev!
We are just readying the release of album 2, Addicted so here’s a few brief words:
With Ki, I kind of strode out in uncharted territories for myself musically, and loved the experience. But during the course of writing this 4 record project, it was inevitable that I would end up writing a selection of tunes that were very much in line with my back catalogue. This group of songs is the second record in the series, and it is called ADDICTED.
Musically, Addicted is along the lines of the big, wall of sound hard rock / heavy metal of Ocean Machine and Accelerated Evolution (even Physicist at points). It is a very direct and ‘to the point’ album with an emphasis on groove and the chorus. In the past, lots of my records end up taking a kind of Pink Floyd-ish route (between song meandering etc.) … Addicted is really simple: 11 rocking songs and no bullshit.
I wanted to make a record that was heavy, without being dark or depressing. When I got into metal it was for the energy behind it, but somewhere along the way that energy started getting really negative. In music right now, there’s a ton of heavy bands that are really depressing to listen to loudly. I wanted to make a record without any real deep metaphor on the surface. Something that sounds good, has a good beat, and a positive feeling. It is still heavy as-all-get-out, but I think there’s a differentiation to be made between being ‘peaceful’, and being peaceful but wanting to celebrate loud, crushing music.
The vocal duties on this record are handled by myself and Anneke van Giersbergen. (I wanted to have male and female vocals kind of ‘tell the story’ so to speak). It’s an honour to work with her and she has a lovely, lovely energy. The other musicians on this record are Ryan Van Poederooyen on drums, Brian Waddell on bass, and Mark Cimino on guitars.
I love this record, it affects me in a way that I wasn’t prepared for. It’s a fully rocking album of optimism. If you just want to ‘play it loud’ without any crazy metaphor, this album might be for you!
On other notes:
I have been rehearsing with a new band, and we will start touring in early 2010, representing all the back catalogue of solo material, from Ki, Addicted, Physicist, Ziltoid, Terria, Ocean Machine, dtb, Infinity etc… I have some big plans for this and rehearsals are sounding amazing. The touring entity will be called ‘Devin Townsend’ and is essentially a way for me to get out there and interact again and showcase 15 years of music that never really got it’s fair shake. We look forward to seeing you out there!
I will start the work on the fourth record Deconstruction in Los Angeles in October, some great plans for that… (and btw, THAT is a heavy record with a lot of metaphor…) news on that as it comes!
So I hope you will enjoy Addicted, in the theme of the dtp, the reason Addicted exists is maybe a little deeper than what the record sounds like up front. But up front, it kind of states: ‘Life is tough, the world can be an ugly place…so lets forget about the dramas and ROCK – here’s some heavy guitars, big choruses and killer beats’
UNIVERSE IN A BALL
BEND IT LIKE BENDER!
THE WAY HOME
Haven’t got Ki yet? What’s wrong with you! Buy it from Riot Act.
Check out this video of the next evolutionary step for the groundbreaking Moog Guitar. I’m sure I’d be blathering on about how awesome this video is if YouTube worked on this dodgy office computer, but it doesn’t so I can’t. You go ahead and enjoy it though, and tell me what you think!
Since its introduction at the Summer NAMM tradeshow in 2008, the Moog Guitar has received numerous industry honors including Guitar Player Magazine’s 2009 Reader’s Choice Award, Electronic Musician Magazine’s 2009 Editor’s Choice Award, 2008 Summer NAMM “Best In Show” honors, a 2008 Best of Whats New Award from Popular Science magazine and a 2009 Mix Foundation TEC Award nomination. More importantly, it has inspired players to new creative heights, and opened the door to totally new forms of expression with a guitar.
Introducing the next step in the evolution of The Moog Guitar: The Model E1.
The Model E1 is the production model of The Moog Guitar. It uses the same innovative electronics and pick-ups as the original Paul Vo Collector Edition, with some exciting new changes. Its available in three new finishes; Butterscotch, Candy Red and Black, and now sports chrome hardware, a solid alder body, a choice of fixed or tremolo bridges and a new lower price tag.
Visit moogguitar.com for more information
Scary Good Looks! You may have already caught a glimpse on YouTube of Zakk performing on the 2009 “Peddle to the Metal” tour and caught a glimpse of this monster on stage. Designed by Zakk in cooperation with Epiphone, the new Graveyard Disciple combines killer sound with equally killer looks. Shaped like a coffin, the edges of the body are tapered and “pin-striped” in silver giving it a striking visual appearance and depth while providing for a comfortable feel. Pick one up on stage and you will raise the dead!
Dying to be Played: While looks are important, the new Graveyard Disciple doesn’t compromise in the performance department either. As with most all Zakk’s guitars, the neck is made of Hard Maple for bright attack and glued into a solid Mahogany body adding a touch of warm and of course, sustain. The neck features a “D” profile, SlimTaper neck with a smooth, satin finish for fast and effortless lead work. Top it off with a bound, Ebony fingerboard and medium-jumbo frets with easy access to all 22 frets and you’ve got a real performance guitar that’s dying to be played.
EMG Pickups and Floyd Rose Tremolo: Perfectly paired for hard rock and metal, the Graveyard Disciple combines an original Floyd Rose(tm) tremolo with EMG HZ pickups. The tremolo cavity allows for serious dive bombing as well as pull-ups. The EMG HZ-4A is positioned in the bridge position for optimized lead performance while the EMG HZ-4 is voiced for and positioned in the neck position. Designed to emulate the sound of their active counterparts (the EMG 81 and 85), these HZ’s are probably the quietest passive pickups available. And unlike actives, you never have to worry about these babies showing up dead.
Attention to Detail: Other features on the new Graveyard Disciple include a multi-bound headstock with mother-of-pearl “cross” inlay, black hardware with premium 16:1 ratio Grover(tm) machine heads, Mother-of-Pearl topped metal knobs, Epiphone’s non-rotating output jack and Zakk’s signature silhouette on the back of the headstock. For added comfort and convenience while playing in the seated position, the guitar features the brilliantly designed and patented Steinberger LegRest. Fold it down and rest it on your leg. Fold it up and it practically disappears.
Premium Add-Ons: With a guitar like this, you need to carry it in style and so it comes with a custom-made Coffin(tm) case featuring the “Graveyard Disciple” artwork on it. And for this limited edition model, you also get a Certificate of Authenticity.
It may look dead but it will last a lifetime! As with every Epiphone, it features their Limited Lifetime warranty backed by world famous 24/7/365 day Gibson Customer Service. Plug one in and wake the dead today!
I just got an email from my buddy, Geisha guitarist and journalist extraordinaire Joe Matera (you may remember his recent guest post about Martin guitars HERE) telling me about a book he is featured in, All Pens Blazing: A Heavy Metal Writer’s Handbook.
I’m nothing if not a geeky collector of music books, and this sounds brilliant! Can’t wait to pick up a copy.
ALL PENS BLAZING: A HEAVY METAL WRITER’S HANDBOOK
By NEIL DANIELS
(Foreword by MARTIN POPOFF)
Ever wondered what it takes to be a heavy metal journalist? In this comprehensive collection, Neil Daniels has interviewed a staggering 65 of the world’s most successful writers of heavy metal and hard rock. Many of these writers are successful biographers, editors and long-standing freelancers who have interviewed some of the genre’s leading artists from KISS to Metallica and Black Sabbath to Slayer. They’ve travelled the world over, lived in tour buses, got drunk with their idols, attended some of the greatest gigs in history and are still alive to tell the tale. It’s all here; the wild stories, the anecdotes…and the advice!
All Pens Blazing offers a potted history of the genre as well as the publishing industry from the legendary Sounds and Melody Maker to metal bibles Kerrang! and Metal Hammer to modern day magazines like Terrorizer, Powerplay and Classic Rock. There’s also a wealth of information on fanzines and webzines as well as long-gone magazines like Metal Forces, RIP and RAW. With a foreword by the Canadian metal historian Martin Popoff, this collection makes essential reading for the heavy metal fan. It is also a worthy historical document for the serious enthusiast and can be used as a handy reference tool for the aspiring metal writer.
Includes exclusive interviews with: Geoff Barton, Dante Bonutto, Paul Brannigan, Steffan Chirazi, Ian Christe, Dave Dickson, Malcolm Dome, Paul Elliott, Lonn Friend, Neil Jeffries, Howard Johnson, Dave Lewis, Dave Ling, Peter Makowski, Matthias Madder, Joe Matera, Joel McIver, Alexander Milas, Derek Oliver, Martin Popoff, Greg Prato, Dave Reynolds, Steven Rosen, Xavier Russell, Brian Slagel, Paul Suter and Jeb Wright, et al.
There will be a bit of a giveaway spectacular on the big day, and I’ve just started the process of sorting out prizes. So stay tuned and hang tight for the announcement on September 2!
If your company is interested in providing something for the giveaway, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s one for us Melbournites. Now, my son’s not quite 3 yet and while he loves bashing around on his ukulele and my old Casio ToneBank keyboard, he’s not quite ready for this. But it’s totally something I’d shuffle him along to in about a decade or so.
Beyond Guitar Hero: Teenagers Live The Rock Star Dream In Melbourne
Melbourne entertainment company, ‘Rockstar Experience’ has announced the launch of “MasterBlast” – a music program for teenagers that helps kids join a band, learn the ropes and play a live show – all in one weekend! Featuring tuition and coaching from professional musicians, “MasterBlast” helps hopeful teenage musicians get out of the bedroom or off their Guitar Hero games and meet other kids, gain real performance experience, learn about studio and performance equipment and make industry contacts.
Running from Friday October 2nd to Sunday October 4th 2009 at Sound Rehearsal Studios in Moorabbin VIC, “MasterBlast” participants will be grouped together according to music ability and interests, and will spend the weekend rehearsing and getting to know their band mates. On the Sunday evening, they’ll perform the songs they’ve learned live at Melbourne’s Manchester Lane rock club complete with professional lighting, sound production and photography.
Many teenagers find it difficult to meet other musicians and feel frustrated playing in their bedroom night after night. MasterBlast aims to give kids the chance to spread their wings, meet other musos, and offers inspiration in seeking out future performance and career opportunities.
Rock Star Experience also aims to run sponsored music camps in 2010 for disadvantaged and troubled youth. Participants will work together in various industry disciplines to produce, direct and stage a live rock show where they will learn about stage production, logistics, promotion/marketing and wardrobe/make-up. Rockstar Experience’s Director, Leah Andrews says “Most kids would love the idea of working in the music industry, but have no idea how to go about it, what they would be good at, or who to talk to. We’re hoping that by providing the chance to step up and take responsibility for a whole show, disadvantaged kids might have the chance to realise just how much they can achieve.”
Four selected “MasterBlast” participants will also receive a full scholarship to attend the first sponsored music camp and will be the headlining act for the Camp’s live production. A documentary film is planned for the first sponsored music camp, which is yet to be named.
Numerous studies have shown that musical expression can achieve reduction in stress levels, improvement in mental capacity, improved social interaction and has been shown to reduce the incidence of drug and alcohol abuse in teenagers and young adults. This is one of the primary drivers in bringing the Rock Star Experience to the disadvantaged youth of Australia.
DETAILS: “MasterBlast” will take place from October 2-4, 2009 at Sound Rehearsal Studios in Moorabbin and is currently open for registrations at www.rockstarexperience.com.au.
The total cost per student is $499 all inclusive of tuition, provision of all equipment, live performance, professional photography, graduation certificate and a pick-up/drop-off service from and to Moorabbin train station (on request).
Tickets for the live performance will be available from September 1st at a cost of $15 (adults) and $10 (under 15’s). Manchester Lane allows children under 18 when accompanying diners, until 11pm.
Rockstar Experience was launched in early 2008 and last year ran an eight week adults program that caught the attention of Melbourne’s Age, SBS World News and 3AW. It was also featured on Melbourne radio station Vega 91.5, when breakfast show host Chrissie Swan completed the “Bachelor Of Rock” adult course and performed live on stage in front of a packed audience including her co-hosts Ian “Dicko” Dickson and comedian Dave O’Neil.
More information including full program details, video, testimonials and media coverage is available at: http://www.rockstarexperience.com.au/
Another installment in my awkwardly-abbreviated ‘What I Listened To On The Way To Work Today’ (WILTOTWTWT) series. I keep using that name for them because it makes me think of a little birdy trying to catch the attention of Queensryche’s Michael Wilton. See previous WILTOTWTWT posts HERE.
Monday morning. Time to catch the tram into the city. Incidentally, there’s a dude who catches the same tram as me that looks a lot like Steve Lukather. I call him the Lukalike. The last time I saw the Lukealike I was inspired to listen to Luke’s Ever Changing Times album. Man I love having my entire music collection sitting in my pocket so I can follow inspirational whims like that. Anyway, today I was in an Andy Timmons mood despite the presence of the Lukealike, so I loaded up Timmons’s ‘Resolution’ album. I’ve had this CD for a while and I return to it every now and then.
There are a few things I really like about this album, and I’ll list them in point form because that’s fun:
* Live vibe. Just guitar, bass and a single guitar. Gives the music a lot of space and dynamics.
*Tone. Timmons’s guitar tone has increased midrange and attenuated treble which makes it easier to listen to for long periods. As someone who grew up on stuff like Pantera and Sepultura, bands who favoured pretty treble-heavy mixes, I’d often feel a bit let down that while my raging teenage adrenaline still wanted to rock out by the end of the album, my ears would feel a little strained and I’d guiltily turn down the treble. Then I’d feel like a total pussy for compromising something as awesome as ‘Far Beyond Driven’ for something as lame as being able to hear into my 20s.
* Songs. Timmons is under no illusion that he’s writing music for the world at large to listen to. I don’t even think he’s writing specifically to please guitar audiences. He writes to please himself. And if that means traditional song structures are all but abandoned as he chases a particular sonic idea, so be it. Not everything should be verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-solo-chorus-modulate-fade.
And yet for all its awesomeness, there’s something about this album that keeps it from crossing over into my list of favourites, and indeed something that keeps Timmons out of my list of personal Guitar Gods (oh, he’s on my Guitarists I Really Really Dig list, don’t you worry about that). And I finally figured it out. It’s the lack of rhythm guitar. Now, I really dig the live vibe of ‘Resolution.’ I like the arrangements, and all the space. Yet part of me also wishes I could hear it with intricate double-tracked rhythm guitars. When I think back to a great instrumental album like Passion & Warfare, it wasn’t just the lead guitar that grabbed me. It was the whole production. If you listen closely to Vai’s rhythm stabs during tracks like ‘Erotic Nightmares’ and ‘Greasy Kids Stuff’ there’s some really complex stuff going on there. True supportive rhythm guitar rather than riffsmanship or rhythmic strumming. And it’s taken me a while to realise that the thing that’s keeping Timmons out of my list of Guitar Gods is that I feel I’m missing an aspect of his playing by not having that rhythm guitar happening throughout the songs on ‘Resolution.’
I have no doubt that Andy is a more than capable rhythm guitarist, and that the lack of rhythm guitar on ‘Resolution’ is a compositional choice. I also get the irony of loving the live vibe but wishing there was a bunch of overdubbage too. But I feel that by leaving rhythm guitar out of the songs, I’m not getting the full picture of who he is as a guitarist. When that happens, I’m sure I can move some chairs around to find some room for Andy in my personal Guitar God banquet table, instead of giving him the VIP key for the Guitarists I Really Really Dig self-serve buffet.
Musician’s Friend shopping links:
DiMarzio DP224 AT1 Andy Timmons Humbucker Pickup Black Regular Spacing
DiMarzio DP224 AT1 Andy Timmons Humbucker Pickup Black F-Spacing
Save Up to 90% on Almost Everything at MusiciansFriend.com (exp: 8/31)
The tracks are:
BBW #2 mix1 Joe steps out in this ultra-funky jam infused with healthy doses of Big Bad Wah and Time Machine delay.
BBW #3 mix The track that started it all! This is the soundtrack to our Big Bad Wah demonstration video—an amazing, high energy performance featuring the Big Bad Wah.
BBW DDL JAM mix Trip out with this drum and bass-style performance featuring the Time Machine delay in its time-bending element.
BBW WAH JAM mix An alternate take of the BBW DDL JAM mix featuring the Big Bad Wah.
BBW WAH VERB JAM mix A remix of the BBW WAH JAM mix featuring the Time Machine delay used as a reverb.
Musician’s Friend shopping links:
Vox Joe Satriani Time Machine Delay Guitar Effects Pedal
Vox Joe Satriani Satchurator Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal Red Metallic
Vox Joe Satriani Satchurator Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal Red Metallic
Save Up to 90% on Almost Everything at MusiciansFriend.com (exp: 8/31)