The Spectra Of Plectra: Take Your Pick

big stubbyLemmie tell you a little story about plectrums. I used to always – always – use a Jim Dunlop Jazz III pick. It was my go-to pick no matter what I was playing: electric, acoustic, bass, 7-string, metal, blues, jazz. And it served me really well. But then one day I found myself in a foreign country on an unfamiliar guitar with an unfamiliar pick and I felt completely lost. Oh and it was during a lesson with Paul Gilbert, which is a real good way to feel intimidated, no matter how great Paul is at making his lessons seem fun and relaxed. A little while later, I went to a Marty Friedman clinic which was a hugely influential night in my development as a guitarist. Lemmie explain.   Read More …

Three Decades Of Roadrunner Records

RoadrunnerI don’t think there’s a single metal fan alive who hasn’t banged their head to an album released by Roadrunner Records. Sepultura, Slipknot, Type O Negative, Fear Factory, Dream Theater, Megadeth, Rush, Trivium – these are just some of the bands who have released albums on the label over the years. To celebrate three decades of brutality (and even some good old-fashioned rock), Roadrunner has compiled the ultimate four-CD box set, XXX: Three Decades Of Roadrunner Records, which looks at four particular aspects of the label’s output: the early years, the 90s, the 2000s-to-present, and the hard rock element. It also features extensive liner notes, which is always fun, at least if you’re a liner-note-nerd like me who loves that stuff. It’s out on September 27, and here’s the press release: Read More …

New James LaBrie Videos & Billboard 200 Debut

Impermanent ResonanceDream Theater vocalist James LaBrie’s new solo album, Impermanent Resonance, is out now and has just debuted at 198 on the Billboard 200 chart, exceeding the result of his previous album Static Impulse, which didn’t crack the 200 despute being awesome. Today LaBrie has released three videos related to the album: an official YouTube stream of the song “I Got You,” as well as a guitar play-through by guitarist Marco Sfogli for the song “Letting Go” and a compliation of drum recording footage featuring the monstrous Pete Wildoer. Check out all three videos and a press release below, and read my review of the album hereRead More …