Shredfest ’93, Or The Paul Gilbert Duet That Never Was

Mr Big

I’m a daydreamer. I always have been. One of my current favourite hobbies is going to zillow.com to check out super-expensive homes for sale or rent in Laurel Canyon, then kinda just blissing out over the idea of waking up there, making a coffee, strolling out to the deck with an acoustic guitar and tweedling out some licks while while taking in the aroma of the eucalyptus trees. I’ve met people who don’t daydream at all, or who mistake daydreaming with goal-setting. I’d bloody love to live in Laurel Canyon but I’m not actively working towards it and I’m not fussed if it never happens: it’s just nice to go there in my head for a bit. Anyway, while pondering the nature of daydream recently, I remembered one of my favourite daydreams.

It was in December 1991. My family used to go to the seaside town of Bermagui every year right after Christmas. The seven-hour drive was always pretty brutal, but by ’91 I had a kickass tape deck that fit right behind my seat in dad’s four-door Ford F-150. Jam some headphones in that sucker, crack open a MAD Magazine and zone out until the next pee/snack break (my favourite was the town of Adaminaby, with its giant Rainbow Trout sculpture. Seriously, you’ve gotta go see that thing). That year my brother Steve gave me Mr. Big’s Lean Into It album for Christmas, and I brought it along for the ride, along with a few of my other favourites at the time: Steve Vai’s Passion & Warfare, Metallica’s ‘Black’ album, Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.

img_0161So here’s where the daydream comes in. I remember this as clear as if it happened yesterday. As I listened to Lean Into It‘s opening track “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” I started to think about how awesome it would be to record a song with Paul Gilbert. I could picture it all so clearly. It would be an instrumental shred duet. We’d both be playing Ibanez PGM models because Paul would totally have given me one because we’d be best mates of course. Our song would start with a driving riff then kick into an awesome call-and-response verse. Then badass harmony chorus. An even wilder call-and-response second verse. Badass harmony chorus again. Then we’d each take extended solos. Paul’s would be really cool. Mine would utterly wipe the floor with him. I mean it would slay that dude. Poor Paul. And he’d be cool about it, of course, because he’s such a nice guy. And we’d make a video for it. It would be Paul and I, walking along a highway (the highway we happened to be driving along while I was having the daydream), kickin’ dirt on the side of the road. The camera would focus on a nearby snake before re-focusing onto me and Paul shredding on the road in the distance. We’d do some takes of us shredding in the middle of grassy fields. Maybe put a foot up on a fallen tree for a killer rockstar pose.

And the name of the track would be “Shredfest ’93” because I was a realist and I figured I wouldn’t be good enough to wipe the floor with Paul Gilbert within one calendar year, but I’d probably be able to do it by ’93.

Of course part of the thing about daydreams is they’re allowed to be impossible.

Let’s Talk About Stratocasters

lets-talk-about-strats

Stratocasters have been on my mind a lot lately. Part of it is that I just had my Strat set up by the wonderful Joseph ‘Soxy’ Price, who does incredible work. Part of it is that I’ve barely been able to let my Strat out of my sight ever since, because it’s just such a joy to play. And part of it is probably the new Seymour Duncan Jimi Hendrix Signature Strat Set, which I’ve got to get into my guitar ASAP. Whatever it is, I’m daydreaming about Strats a lot at the moment.  Read More …

Schecter Robert Smith UltraCure-XII

ultracure-12-string

Schecter has plenty of great Robert Smith models (as you may have seen in this article) and they’ve just added another: the UltraCure-XII, a 12-string version of his signature guitar featuring a Diamond Adjustable-12 bridge, Schecter locking tuners, Seymour Duncan ’59 humbuckers with push-pull coil splits, mahogany body and mother-of-pearl block inlays. Head to this link for more info. Read More …

PRS Guitars Private Stock October Custom 24

PRS Guitars

(STEVENSVILLE, MD) October 11, 2016 – The Custom 24 is the instrument that started PRS back in 1985, so of course the Guitar of the Month program would not be complete without celebrating this model. Since its introduction, the Custom 24 has been a favorite of internationally-touring artists, gigging musicians, and aspiring players who demand quality, reliability, and versatility. The Custom 24 features PRS’s patented tremolo system, PRS Phase III locking tuners, and dual humbuckers with volume and tone controls and a 5-way blade switch. Read More …

Cool Gear Alert: Roger Mayer Visage

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In honour of the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix landing in London and changing the world, Roger Mayer has announced the Visage, a new fuzz pedal which lets you reconfigure its internals for 45 different tone options, mirroring the myriad modifications Roger made to Jimi’s gear as the demands of the studio required. “I am constantly asked about our tone secrets and of course there was not one but many with a F1 approach to obtaining the ultimate solution for performance and tone for whatever the situation might be,” Mayer says. “So I decided to manufacture a new cutting edge design with heritage roots and configuration to bring today’s modern players a solution that will offer them many of the same parameter changes and electronic techniques that Jimi and I shared and developed.”

For full details on how it works, head to this link.

INTERVIEW: Devin Townsend

Devin Townsend Project

Transcendence is the latest album from the Devin Townsend Project and in many ways it feels like a culmination of musical explorations that Devin begun in 2009 with Addicted! and that flowed through Epicloud and Sky Blue. It’s alternatingly melodic and crushing, ethereal and imposing, and in true Devin fashion it’s an album that reveals more about itself on each subsequent listen.

I love the new record. Y’know how every now and then an album comes along that’s just what you needed to hear at that point in time? 

That’s awesome. Thank you, Peter. It’s a special one for me in a lot of ways, and especially the latter half. The processes that went into it and the challenges that came into it, the control issues, letting go of things and trying to participate with other people and be analytical and aware enough of myself that I could call myself on my own shit is one thing. But it also coincided with what feels like a real tangible shift in my own psyche. Now, whether or not that was because of the fact that I took myself on vacation for the first time in my life, or something to do with age, or something to do with circumstances I’m not sure. But something shifted at the same time as the latter half of this record and now I find myself in a place that is new and foreign in a lot of ways and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. Read More …

Meet The Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40

The new Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40 uses Deluxe Tone Technology which pairs groundbreaking new circuit design advances with renowned tone-shaping capabilities, all inspired by our flagship TriAmp Mark 3. H&K says “From sparkling vintage clean to throaty crunch, a beefy brown sound and crushing levels of all-out gain, sonic freedom the touch of a button away with GrandMeister Deluxe 40!”

Use the optional FSM-432 MK III MIDI board, which lets you store up to 128 presets and recall them with the tap of a toe. All of the amp’s parameters are saved, including gain, EQ, and all effects settings, giving you a practically inexhaustible library of different sounds. Pot values are saved via our ingenious Smart Rotary Control technology – which also lets us keep the GM40’s panel clean and easy to use, with only 9 pots instead of 14 per channel!

It includes Red Box AE, the latest version of H&K’s award-winning DI box with speaker emulation, which features DSP-driven Ambience Emulation to authentically mimic the room-filling sound of a 4×12 cab and the amp’s power section by tapping the signal between the power amp and the Power Soak.

There’s also a free GM40 REMOTE App for iPad which lets you watch, touch and control all your amp’s features on one handy screen, and you can also back up, store and share all your favorite sounds.

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