It’s been a ridiculously incredible week of rock awesomeness for me. Last Sunday I was a judge at the Demon Rock Off at Rockstar Bowling. The next day I went to the Steve Vai masterclass presented by Thump Music and I got to jam with the man himself. The next day I interviewed Shawn Drover of Megadeth for Tone Deaf. On Thursday I interviewed Keith Strickland from B-52s and on Friday, Glenn Hughes. Saturday was the Def Leppard concert. And yesterday, Monday October 25, I went to the Mattias Ia Eklundh clinic at Five Star Music. Phew!
If you haven’t heard Mattias, how would I describe his music? There’s technique, melody, humour, interesting harmonies, even more interesting rhythms, out-there tones, ear-catching sound effects and just a general spirit of adventurousness which is utterly addictive. Whenever I listen to him I come away with that feeling you get when you’ve been laughing really hard for so long that you almost think you’re going to throw up. So the opportunity to see and hear Mattias doing all of this craziness close-up was too good to pass up.
In contrast to the awesome Vai masterclass, which was largely dedicated to non-musical concepts such as setting goals and keeping a positive attitude, Mattias’s clinic was more about the guitar itself and music in general. Concepts covered included maintaining the groove even when faced with a bizarre time signature; his idiosyncratic approach to harmonics; the finer points of travelling with a belt full of marital aids, and the True Temperament frets on his Caparison Apple Horn guitar.
This last point is something a lot of people didn’t seem to have seen before. The best way to think of True Temperament fretting system is to imagine that each string has its own frets which are precisely aligned for perfect intonation at all points along the string, instead of the traditional compromise that we’ve all had to put up with for hundreds of years. It’s an expensive system to implement but the sonic results are incredible.
Speaking of incredible, Mattias came to Oz to promote Laney amplification (including the 60 watt version of the stunning new Ironheart amp) on behalf of Australis Music. Check out the Ironheart here – it sounded amazing during the clinic, perfectly and boldly reproducing every nuance of Mattias’s playing, from the ultra high gain stuff to clean and back again. His only effect was a Jim Dunlop Crybaby wah wah pedal: Mattias coaxes the vast majority of his sounds simply by manipulating the guitar in various ways.
After the clinic, Mattias hung around taking photos, signing autographs and answering fanboy questions. If Mattias ever plays within, oh, I don’t know, a 1,000 kilometre radius of your house, go go go go go! His sense of humour and his creativity are really inspiring and addictive, and you will definitely learn something you can use, even if your technique isn’t up to the ridiculously high level of Mattias.
By the way, Mattias hopes to bring his band Freak Kitchen to Australia for a tour. Aussies, I heartily encourage you to contact promoters such as Soundwave Touring and let them know you want to see Freak Kitchen!
The scenario: Kurt Cobain conspiracy theorist Richard Lee accosts Duff at a book signing, looking for comment on the flight Duff shared with Cobain shortly before the latter’s 1994 suicide. Lee gets pretty aggressive and a bunch of well-meaning folks try to herd him out of the building.
Duff to the rescue! Watch at 0:57 as Duff says what we’re all thinking.
Read my interview with Duff about the album The Taking by his band Loaded here (it’s totally one of my favourite albums of the year – some dudes go a whole career without writing one song as good as “Indian Summer,” “Dead Skin,” “Executioner’s Song,” “We Win,” “Easier Lying” or “Wrecking Ball” but Duff has the audacity to write all of them for one album! Seriously, check it out).
And you can get Duff’s book from Amazon.com here.
Hey. If you’re in Melbourne, come on down and catch my band The Upperhand live at the Gershwin Room at the Espy in St Kilda on Saturday November 5! You can buy tickets online here, but I have a limited amount available for the super-discounted price of just six bucks. Just email me if at iheartguitarblog AT gmail DOT com if you’d like one.
And check out our Reverbnation page here!
In the meantime, here’s our last gig in full. Enjoy!
BOSS, Musicians Institute and GuitarTV.com will be showcasing the US Finalists of the “BOSS Loop Station World Championship 2″ this Saturday, October 22 @ 6 PM PDT on GuitarTV.com!
Six truly talented (and coordinated) guitar players (and other musicians- like a Mountain Dulcimer-ist) will be showcasing their live looping songs & skills at the event. Among the judges are Steve Lukather (Toto, Michael Jackson, solo), Robert “BUBBY” Lewis (Bassist for Snoop Dogg), Michael Lloyd (Record Producer), Jude Gold (GIT Director, L.A. Editor Guitar Player Magazine) & Paul Youngblood (Vice President, BOSS U.S.)
Plus, GuitarTV will be giving away the new BOSS RC-3 to a lucky viewer who is present in the GuitarTV live chat when their name is called. They simply need to RSVP to the event here: http://on.fb.me/BOSSLSWC
RJM MUSIC TECHNOLOGY INTRODUCES THE RACK GIZMO
The Next Generation of Pro Level Effect Switching Systems
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The Rack Gizmo is the new flagship switching product of the RJM Music line. For years now, professional and amateur players alike have been relying on RJM Music Technology effect switching systems to be the core of their guitar rigs, helping them integrate all of their effects and amps into a reliable, easy to use system. The Rack Gizmo is the latest generation, building on the proven designs of the RG-16 and Effect Gizmo products and adding new features and improved performance.
Catalinbread presents the newly redesigned Semaphore Tremolo.
Dateline: October 20th, 2011 Portland, OR
The newly redesigned Semaphore combines a fantastic audio path, with a diverse tremolo that has a bottomless feature set including 8 different waveforms, tap tempo and divide, tap tempo input, and expression pedal capabilities. It’s small footprint combined with a feature set that suits both foot tappers and knob twiddlers alike, makes the Semaphore both versatile and pedalboard friendly.
At the heart of the Semaphore is a lush audio path that incorporates optically controlled JFET gain stages to sculpt a gorgeous clean boost sound, that is present and alive without being peaky or harsh. We’ve quadrupled the number of waveforms, everything is in there from classic square, triangle, and sine waves to ramping sounds, and a mind-bending random shape. And in conjunction with the Shape contour, which morphs the waveshape, numerous waveforms are waiting to be unlocked. The Semaphore sounds fantastic, and the Tap Tempo section is engaging and easy to use. We’ve even included a control voltage input to control the tap tempo with another unit.