Check out Richie Kotzen’s old Ibanezes

Here’s a very neat video from 2003 in which Richie Kotzen breaks out a few of his old Ibanezes from his pre-Fender days. He also shows off some of his signature model Fender Telecasters, which are super-high on my guitar wish list. I believe his signature model Strats and Telecasters are only available in Asia but I’d love love love to see them released by Fender Australia some day. Richie’s sound was a big reason why I traded my Ibanez Jem for a Fender American Vintage ’62 Strat last year.

Anyway, onto the video.

My interview with Tony Martin

The Black Sabbath albums featuring Tony Martin on vocals are some of my favourites – especially Cross Purposes and Eternal Idol. Martin is more than one of the coolest voices in metal – he’s also a talented multi-instrumentalist and lyricist. I recently interviewed him for and you can read it here. Here’s a snippet.

How did you develop your multi-instrumentalism? Did you have formal training or is it more organic for you?

Well I started playing things when I was five years old. I had my first guitar when I was seven, which I still own! It’s an acoustic guitar that is completely warped and the action is about half an inch! But I got sounds out of it and I kept exploring with other things – electronic projects and taking things apart and rebuilding them. The most famous of my musical explorations was harmonizing with my mother’s Hoover! I learned a lot about note interaction just by using the constant drone note from the vacuum. Also I had an AKAI 1721 reel-to-reel machine and I wanted to multi-track record stuff. I figured out that if I unsoldered the wires off the erase head, I could get it to record over a previous take. It of course faded the more times I recorded over it, but it was another step in exploring stuff. It hasn’t stopped to this day. I still explore with samples and sounds and electronic stuff. Guitars are my main instrument. If I want to write, I always pick up the guitar first. My original first pride was a Gibson 335 semi, which I am gutted to say I sold for £2 sterling when I was 14. Clearly had no idea what I was holding! And I also destroyed a Reslo ribbon microphone – a genuine 1940s-ish one – in the interest of exploring the inner workings… I don’t think I want to reveal anything else or I might slash my wrists!

RIP Kieran O’Reilly from Catwitch

I’m sad to hear of the passing of Catwitch singer Kieran O’Reilly due to cancer. Catwitch played a benefit gig for him on July 23, although Kieran was too ill to attend.

I used to catch Catwitch gigs a lot around town back in my goth days, and Kieran was unmistakable if you happened to see him in the audience at a gig. Dude had vampire fangs long before it was cool.

Catwitch were always a killer live band and it’s hard to find a video that does them justice, but “Burn” comes pretty close.

Denny Laine’s Guitar Book

Back when I was a little’un, we’re talking 8 or 9 years old, I was already way into guitar. I’d see guitars in music videos and totally bug out over them. My favourites were Rickenbackers, Gretsches, Guilds, Gibsons – anything with F-holes and shiny metal-covered pickups. Anyway, one day in the school library I happened across Denny Laine’s Guitar Book. At the time he wrote it (1979), Laine was a member of Wings with one Mr Paul McCartney.

I was obsessed with this book. I used to take it home all the time, pour through its contents, work through its lessons, and gaze at the guitar photos. There’s some really great stuff in there – tips on gear for beginners, lists of great players, a tour of Laine’s guitar collection, an interview with luthier Dick Knight, a tour of the production stages at the Gibson guitar factory… one page carries black and white pictures of a whopping five different types of Les Paul (Standard Natural, Artisan, Pro Deluxe, 55, Standard Cherry Sunburst). It blew my mind at the time that there could be five kinds of Gibson Les Paul (even though two of them were Standards).

Then there’s the lesson section – tips on tuning, chords, inversions, scales, strumming patterns – so much cool info. I hadn’t started taking lessons yet (although my Auntie Barbi had shown me a few chords – she’s a folkie and used to serenade me with “Banks Of The Ohio” whenever she’d come over), and I didn’t quite understand what tuning was, but even so, this book was hugely influential for me, and I continued to borrow it from the library even when I’d started taking guitar lessons with a great teacher named Peter Cominos.

I guess you could say that the way Laine covers a wide range of guitar topics from both personal and informational perspectives, sometimes within the same article, makes him the first guitar blogger – just in print instead of online.

This book is long out of print but I managed to track down a copy on If you’re a music book collector like me, it’s well worth it. Aside from having lots of great information that’s still relevant today, it’s also a snapshot of a different time in guitar, before you could just go online to find answers to questions like “How do I amplify an acoustic guitar?” or “What’s an octave divider?” or “How often should I change strings?”

Denny Laine’s Guitar Book on

Metallica marks 30 years with $6 concerts!


“Thirty years of Metallica… can you believe it? We think it’s cause for a major celebration!

“You’ve been asking for a while now, ‘Just what the hell are you going to do to mark 30 years as a band?’ closely followed by, ‘Why don’t we have more exclusive shows for fan-club members?’

“We’ve heard you loud and clear and are beyond psyched to announce that the week of December 5, 2011 will be a full-on Metallica week in the Bay Area, more specifically we will be playing four shows for Met Club members only at the historic Fillmore in San Francisco on December 5, 7, 9, and 10 to celebrate our 30th anniversary. These unique shows will include special guests and events, rare songs, varied set lists, odds and ends, and all the nutty stuff you expect from Metallica… fun for the entire family!

Read More …

Classic Rock to release Chickenfoot III fan pack

Wow, those fine folks at Classic Rock Magazine have done it again! After killer fan packs for Motorhead and Whitesnake, check this out from the Classic Rock website:

Classic Rock is cock-a-hoop to announce the launch of its latest Fan Pack, dedicated to Chickenfoot.

The Chickenfoot Fan Pack includes Chickenfoot III, the band’s eagerly anticipated second album, plus a 132-page magazine dedicated to the band.

Pre-order the Chickenfoot fanpack through before September 27 and receive a free very limited edition Chickenfoot bottle opener keyring.

Inside the Chickenfoot Fan Pack:

Fans who buy the Chickenfoot Fan Pack will be able to hear Chickenfoot III weeks before it appears in record stores. What’s more, the Fan Pack version of Chickenfoot III comes with two exclusive bonus tracks that won’t appear on the record store version of the album.

Read More …

So it turns out ProTools 8 might run on Lion

You may remember this post from a few days about about Pro Tools 9’s incompatibility with Apple OSX Lion at this time. (For a refresher, According to Avid, “As of this writing Pro Tools 9 and all earlier versions of Pro Tools software are not compatible and will not work with OS X Lion.”

Well here’s a piece of good potentially good news for at least some of us: it turns out Pro Tools 8.0.3 works fine on my 2007 Intel iMac running Lion. I can’t vouch for other systems, but if you happen to be a ProTools 8 user and you’ve already installed Lion and found ProTools 9 doesn’t work, maybe it’s worth installing ProTools 8 again to see if it’ll work on your system.

I guess my next move is to install Lion and ProTools 8 on my 2010 Macbook Pro to see if they will play nicely together. If not, I guess I’ll be doing all my recording on my iMac for a while.