Y’know how KISS’s new album is going to be called Monster? And y’know how they just opened KISS by Monster Mini Golf in Vegas? Well I’ve been wondering… is the album called Monster because of some marketing arrangement with Monster Energy Drink or something? Just curious. Certainly wouldn’t put it past Gene Simmons to pull of such a marketing coup. If so, I wonder if it’ll set a trend. Will Ace Frehley put out a CD called Red Bull? Will Danzig’s next record be titled Fresh Step Cat Litter? Will the next Metallica album be called Tampax?
I recently had the chance to talk guitar backstage with Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti prior to the band’s sideshow with Steel Panther during the monstrous Soundwave festival. Alter Bridge are about to release a live DVD via Roadrunner which will hopefully keep fans sated for a while in between Tremonti’s solo album and the next Creed recording. Mark is, and I say this in the most respectful way possible, a guitar nerd just like you and me, so it’s always fun to talk shop with him. So, enjoy!
How have the Oz shows been going?
We came down here without knowing what the crowd response was going to be, and it’s just like we’ve been touring here our whole lives. It’s incredible.
It’s been great watching you guys grow and evolve as a band, and especially seeing how nuts they go for you in the UK.
Yeah! This is very reminiscent of the UK over here in Australia. It’s seeming to grow very quickly. This is the second time we’ve been here and it’s already been over the top.
Slash got up and played a song with you recently. What was that like?
Oh it was great. Slash has played with us a handful of times now, and every time the crowd just eats it up. We love it. We’re all fans and we’re just honoured to have him out there.
And you’re playing with Steel Panther on this tour.
Yeah. We’ve known them for a while. We did a few shows in the States, we’re under the same management and they had the idea of putting us together on these sidewave shows. And I’ve jammed with them before, but I probably won’t do that tonight because they’re two very different shows.
Mark Tremonti gear links:
PRS Mark Tremonti Signature Model Electric Guitar Mccarty Sunburst PRS Tremonti SE Electric Guitar Vintage CherryT-Rex Engineering Tremonti Phaser Guitar Effects PedalMorley Mark Tremonti Patriot Wah Guitar Effects Pedal American Flag
I’ve always been an admirer of ESP’s Horizon body shape, ever since I saw Devin Townsend holding one on the cover of Guitar World when he was in Steve Vai’s band. Part traditional, part sleek modern and, in Townsend’s words, “It looks like Satan,” the Horizon is a great platform for experimentation. The arched, carved top is comfortable and attractive whether it’s finished in a solid colour or a transparent finish over quilted maple, the recessed controls are comfortable, and it can be a wildly different guitar depending on whether you go for a Floyd Rose model or a fixed bridge one, and if you rock active or passive pickups. Part of ESP’s Japanese-made Standard Series, the Horizon FR 27 is an alder-bodied superstrat with a three piece maple neck, neck thru construction with super-comfortable neck/body carve, snappy 25.5″ scale length, and smoky-looking black nickel hardware. The fretboard is ebony, and the bridge is an original Floyd Rose double locking unit.
The neck features 27 — yes, 27 – extra jumbo frets, although the last one doesn’t quite extend all the way up to the low E string thanks to the curved fretboard edge. The neck pickup is a Seymour Duncan SHR-1n single coil-sized humbucker which slants along with the fretboard, while the bridge pickup is a Seymour Duncan TB-14 ‘Custom’ model. There’s a three way pickup selector switch, a master volume control, and a master tone pot which doubles as a push-push coil split. Oh and the fretboard is scalloped from the 12th fret to the 24th, which makes a huge difference to playability but is a subtle enough modification that you might not even notice it if you see the guitar hanging on the wall in a store.
Welcome to the second ‘My Top Five Guitarists.’ Last week journalist Angela Allan gave us her list. Today it’s Dave Higgins, host of Distortion on Triple M. Higgo’s out there really pushing metal in Australia – seriously, can you imagine any other commercial radio station playing “Poltergeist” by the Devin Townsend Project? Or Soulfly’s “Redemption of Man By God?” So take it away Higgo!
choosing your favourite is hard…
Let me explain.
I’ve recently been asked to submit my top 5 guitarists of all time, and trust me, this is truly like asking a parent which is their favourite child. Providing of course that their kids are relatively normal and that one isn’t like Charles Manson so as to give an unfair advantage to the other child, or children.I can play guitar, poorly, and basically, but my appreciation of axe wielders goes back to the first time I dropped the needle onto my first record “Chipmunk Punk”.
For those that aren’t familiar with the blinding awesomeness of Chipmunk Punk, Alvin, Simon and Theodore, those 3 mischievous critters turned their paws to covering some great songs back in 1980. None of which are actually punk songs, more new wave than punk, it featured songs like Queens ‘Crazy little thing called Love’, Blondies ‘Call Me’, The Knacks ‘My Sherona’, so for an impressionable 6 year old, this was pure spun gold, especially is you turned the record player up to 78 so the chipmunks squawked at a pitch that would drive dogs to insanity.
But I would jam on my wooden tennis racquet in the lounge room of mum and dads place, doing knee slides during the solo of My Sherona, not fully realising how much the music was actually influencing my taste in music and increasing my appreciation for the sounds a guitar can make.
So where do you start with a a list like this?