I hope he doesn’t mind, but I’m copying and pasting the following from Bryan Beller’s BellerBytes email update. (By the way, you should totally sign up for it at the recently redesigned bryanbeller.com).
WesFest 5 Headlining Band: Tal Wilkenfeld, Vinnie Colaiuta, Oz Noy and John Beasley
Yes, that’s right. Tal’s band for WesFest 5, at The Roxy in L.A. on Sunday, 2/28, is as follows:
Oz Noy – guitar
John Beasley – keys
Tal Wilkenfeld – bass
Vinnie Colaiuta – drums
Getting an itchy trigger finger for tickets? Understandable. Go with it:
CLICK HERE NOW FOR TICKET PURCHASE
I’m also really pleased to announce this year’s WesFest sponsors. Their generous and gracious support is key to making this event a success:
I appreciate, as always, your indulgence in reading about a cause that’s near and dear to my heart, the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship at Berklee College Of Music. This show raises money for that scholarship fund, which benefits some of the best bassists coming out of Berklee today.
And if you’re in L.A. or anywhere close, it’s going to be quite the scene. Check it:
WesFest 5: A Concert To Benefit The Wes Wehmiller Scholarship at Berklee College of Music
Sunday, February 28, 2010
The Roxy Theatre
9009 West Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Doors open at 7:00 PM
**ALL AGES WELCOME!**
WesFest 5 Performing Artists
* Tal Wilkenfeld (HEADLINER)
* John Montagna
* Joe Brooks
* Danny Mo & the Exciters (featuring 2009 Wehmiller Scholarship Winner Justin Schornstein)
* The WesFest All-Stars (featuring Mike Keneally, I, Claudius, Tamara Silvera, Kira Small, and Ali Handal)
$35. per pair of tickets in advance (advance tickets are available through February 25, 2010)
$20. for single tickets in advance
$30. for single tickets at the door.
* All advance tickets will be held for pickup at the box office. Paper tickets will not be mailed.
Guitar legend Steve Vai will release his concert film and live CD Where The Wild Things Are September 29th, 2009 on Favored Nations Records. The show was recorded and filmed at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN before a sold-out audience as part of Vai’s successful Sound Theories world tour.
Where The Wild Things Are is Vai’s 21st solo project contributing to his 20,000,000 unit worldwide sales that have accumulated over his 30 year career. Vai chose the State Theater to film because of its large, lush acoustics and the historical theatre’s gorgeous interior.
Vai is widely known for both his unprecedented guitar playing techniques and the unique design of the instrument. But his fans have become inextricably drawn to his melodic depth, and dynamic stage performance. The continued evolution of his craft is made apparent in the astonishing musicianship presented in Where the Wild Things Are.
The 2 hour and 40 minute set contains several new tracks and re-orchestrated pieces culled from his rich catalog. His guitar-wielding extravaganza in “The Murder” is an artistic performance piece that must be seen to be believed. The addition of virtuoso violinists Alex DePue and Ann Marie Calhoun add a dazzling dimension to Vai’s compositions and stage show, delivering fans the unexpected edge they always expect. Other world-class musicians chosen for Vai’s band are: Bryan Beller (bass), Jeremy Colson (drums), Dave Weiner (guitar and sitar) and Zack Wiesinger (lap steel).
“When I put a band and a show together I try to create an entertainment experience that I would like to have if I was sitting in the audience,” explains Vai. “I like to witness great musicianship but nothing too cerebral or overindulgent, I like to be stimulated by a large dynamic range of emotional intensities and melodic richness, I enjoy when people love their instrument and it shows by their oneness with it, I like to feel as though I’m part of a family with the audience and the band, and I like to walk away feeling uplifted and not beat up by somebody’s ego or the things they hate about themselves and the world. And of course I want a cool t-shirt.”
PERFORMANCE TRACK LIST:
1. Paint Me Your Face
2. Now We Run
4. Building The Church
5. Tender Surrender
6. Band Intros
8. The Crying Machine
9. Shove The Sun Aside
10. I’m Becoming
11. Die To Live
12. Freak Show Excess
13. Apples In Paradise
14. All About Eve
15. Gary 7
16. Beastly Rap
17. Treasure Island
18. Angel Food
19. Earthquake Sky
20. The Audience Is Listening
21. The Murder
23. Whispering A Prayer
24. Taurus Bulba
27. For The Love Of God
Where The Wild Things Are is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and audio CD.
The latest Mike Keneally Kennealist email today features an extremely interesting and awesome offer: Mike and Bryan Beller play a gig in your house! Now, Mrs I Heart Guitar and I are both big Keneally fans (I commissioned Mike to write a song for her last Christmas and it’s gorgeously amazing). Unfortunately this MyKeneally Tour concept is not yet being offered internationally but if it was I would so be into it. We wanna have Mike and Bryan perform Eno & The Actor, with Mrs I Heart Guitar and I playing the parts of Eno and the actor.
Anyway, take it away, Mike:
Announcing the MyKeneally Tour, featuring Mike Keneally and Bryan Beller performing live at the venue of your choice — your living room, your favorite local club, your school auditorium — you name it, you set it up, and Mike and Bryan are there!
MyKeneally lets you present a customized Keneally concert for you and your friends. You can work with Mike in advance to put together the setlist YOU want to hear. Mike and Bryan play for you…hang out with you…they can have dinner with you and your family…answer that question you’ve been wondering about…leave an insouciant outgoing message on your answering machine…the possibilities are somewhat endless!
For more info go to keneally.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hot off the presses (well, Myspace actually), Mike Keneally says he’s finishing work on the first disc of his multi-album mega-project, Scambot, at this very minute.
Here’s an excerpt from Mike’s Myspace blog posting:
I’m finishing Scambot today
volume one of it, anyway…I’m posting regular updates from the studio on my Facebook and Twitter pages if you want to check out that action. Right now we’re bouncing down the final mixes of each song from the album in sequence.
SPOILER ALERT! Here’s the names of the songs on the album:
Big Screen Boboli
Cat Bran Sammich Part 1
You Named Me
Cat Bran Sammich Part 2
We Are The Quiet Children
Life’s Too Small
Behind The Door
You can follow real-time Scambot updates on Twitter.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 Guitarworks 996 South State Road Greenwood, IN 46143 7:00 p.m. Admission $5 Info: 317-885-1510
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 Tumbleweed Trading Post & Guitars 7831 Airport Highway Holland, OH 43528 7:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 419-861-3512
Thursday, May 14, 2009 Firehouse Music 3125 28th Street SW Grandville, MI 49418 7:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 616-532-3473
Friday, May 15, 2009 Midlothian Music 15645 South 94th Avenue Orland Park, IL 60462 7:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 708-389-4041
Monday, May 18, 2009 Music Makers 3611 W. Willow Knolls Drive Peoria, IL, 61614 7:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 309-692-9000
Saturday, March 7, 2009, 9pm
the Bryan Beller Band (special Cleveland lineup!)
at The Winchester
12112 Madison Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44107
Also appearing: Doug Johns, Tony Pulizzi
The Cleveland lineup is:
Rick Musallam – guitar
Tony Pulizzi – guitar
Rock Wehrmann – keys
Bryan Beller – bass
Chris Ceja – drums
I’ve been embarking on a bit of a jazz discovery kick lately, so it’s perfect that I discover Razl, or Raúl Huelves, at this point in my musical journey. We were originally put in touch by Bryan Beller after I interviewed him, and Razl sent me his amazing CD, Rotonova, to check out. The music is funky, varied, passionate, always interesting, and is packed with emotion and groove. The cover art is also awesome (who doesn’t love robots?), winning the immediate approval of my 2-year-old, which is always a good sign cos he has impeccable taste.
PETER: Why do you play guitar? What was it about the guitar that drew you in?
RAZL: I remember well when I got a guitar in my hands for the first time. I think there was an old classic guitar in the basement of the Pharmacy where my father used to work, it had several cracks and it had almost no strings. One day, my father showed up with that thing when my brother in law happened to be around. He played a couple of Dire Straits and Eric Clapton songs and right there and then he draw a simple guitar method. Then I went to my room and stayed there the whole day practicing. Two days later I called him for more material, since I had already learnt the two songs.
PETER: So where did you go from there? What was your next guitar after the cracked-up classic? And did you take formal lessons?
RAZL: The next guitar after the classic “thing” was a red strat from korea, I don´t know the brand. Few years later I had to sell that guitar to buy a better one, and at that moment I knew how I loved that axe! I took some formal lessons from time to time, but I consider myself as a self-taught guitar player because all that I really know about playing, I learnt it from the music that I listened to the albums that I loved.
PETER: How was the album recorded? It sounds very live and real.
RAZL: Rotonova has tracks that I wrote a really long time ago. Groovin Ants has been in my head for several years but others like Glow Pig just came out while I was recording the album. It¹s quite complicated to gather all musicians at the same time, especially if their names are Mike Keneally or Dean Brown and live a thousand miles away from you. Some of the musicians recorded their part when they were on a tour in Spain or just visiting and others did that in their home studios or studios they liked. In order to keep the live and real touch, I tried not to give many instructions about what each of them had to do, just simple guidelines so they could feel as free as possible and leave room for improvisation, which was the main ‘directive.’
PETER: I like how you start the album with Glow Pig, and finish it with Glow Sheep it’s like a book-end either side of the album. I find that it makes me want to go back to the start and listen again.
RAZL: Well I like that you have noticed that because that’s really what I tried to get. I’ve always liked albums that tell a story, like when you read a book. For many years I¹ve followed symphonic or progressive rock bands and one of the things I liked the most was to ‘read’ the music, so to speak. I just had to listen to the albums from the begging to the end because listening to just one track meant losing the meaning the album had for me. Obviously Rotonova doesn’t have anything to do with those bands musically but I think this perception has somehow remained in my brain and subconsciously the album took that ‘reading’ feel.
RAZL: I’m a fan of the organ sound, I love the way it naturally integrates itself in the sound of a band and it’s especially amazing when it¹s a trio band. I’m a big admirer of music with a big presence of organ, especially funk and blues. I love Medeski, Martin & Wood and their aggressive sound, dirty and elegant at the same time. I¹m actually listening to the last Stanton Moore trio album right now and it’s brilliant. Since I discovered the Rotosphere pedal (that simulates a Leslie amplifier) it has become part of my sound, it gives the guitar a great expression. It also has been one of the main sounds of Charlie Hunter for many years. From my point of view, Charlie took a giant step in guitar expression with his way of playing, extraordinary.
PETER: What was Jungle Karma influenced by? I like the way that the nice ringing notes are balanced out by fast little runs it has a very effective use of space.
RAZL: Jungle Karma is one of the most complex tracks in the album. It also has a complex story since I wrote parts of it a long time ago, while others I just improvised when I recorded the album. It’s influenced by some Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny and Erik Truffaz bits and pieces, especially when it comes to rhythm. I love what you have mentioned about the use of space, especially in more contemporary tracks when there is a dialog between the main player and the drummer that I particularly admire. It’s really incomparable.
PETER: The album features guest appearances by Bryan Beller and Mike Keneally. What was it like working with them? Are you a long-time Mike Keneally fan?
RAZL: To be honest, I still can’t believe that these incredible musicians have participated in my album. I thought of it at the beginning of the project in a very naive way and then I saw that all of them were delighted to accept the invitation. I obviously liked their professionalism and how easily they understood my suggestions but most of all, I saw that they were all really great guys. In fact, I had been a fan of Mike for many years, he has always been one of my favourite musicians since he has many of the qualities I like in a guitarist: his unique sound, his sense of humour at the guitar and the ability to move in very different styles but always making them his.
RAZL: Wow! This is a very difficult question because there’s a lot of favorite Keneally songs for me. I think that maybe the album that contains the great majority of favorite Keneally songs is ‘Dancing.’ I love that album from the beginning to the end, and it’s very special for me because it was very hard for me to find it here in Spain. So once I had it in my hands I felt very happy.
PETER: What guitars do you use?
RAZL: The one I normally use, both in gigs and in the album, is the Carvin SC90. It has a spectacular thick and percussive sound, and that goes perfectly with my finger-picking style. I also use the Gibson ES 137 Custom a lot, it has a more classic tone and it sounds incredible even if you plug it into a toaster.
PETER: What amplifiers and effects do you use?
RAZL: Through out the years I’ve been reducing my equipment to the minimum. I had a really awful period when I had to set up a thousand pedals, effect processors and stuff like so after the concerts I ended up being really pissed at the end because something had gone wrong. At some point I decided to get rid of all that and I¹m happy now just plugging my Carvin to my Fender Blues Deville 4×10 amplifier, my pedal H&K Rotosphere and my wha-wha Carl Martin.
PETER: How did you develop your style? It’s very complex, yet natural and relaxed.
RAZL: Well, I’m not sure if it’s complex but it’s certainly relaxed. I really like the natural sound and that¹s why I started to leave my pickup behind and play only with my fingers. That has given me the expressive qualities that I was looking for. You find a great deal of nuances playing like that and for some reason it enlarges my vision of the fretboard. I’m still investigating finger-picking possibilities although always turning them into my style.
Congratulations to I Heart Guitar reader MJK, who is the winner of a copy of Bryan Beller’s new solo CD, ‘Thanks In Advance.’ MJK, get in touch so you can claim your prize! Email email@example.com.
Steve Vai has long referred to himself as more composer than guitarist. Until now his compositional complexity has been somewhat masked by the undeniable ferocity of his guitar playing. In an effort to further feed his orchestral muse, and perhaps to be taken a little more seriously outside of guitar playing circles, Vai teamed up with Holland’s Metropole Orchestra in 2004 for a series of shows combining bombastic fury and the more intricate, little-black-dots aspects of his musical personality.
This DVD, culled from the second round of such shows in July 2005, includes the songs “Kill The Guy With The Ball”, “The God Eaters”, “The Murder Prologue”, “The Murder”, “Answers”, “Lotus Feet”, “I’m Becoming”, “Salamanders In The Sun”, “The Attitude Song”, “Gentle Ways”, “Liberty” and “For The Love Of God.” These tracks feature Vai (accompanied by bass player Bryan Beller) in conjunction with the Metropole. Two more tracks, “Shadows And Sparks” and Frangelica Pt. I & II,” are Vai-free, and allow the listener to more fully experience the little Italian virtuoso’s skills as a composer, free from the conceptual baggage that comes with having one of the world’s foremost electric guitar virtuosos standing in front of an orchestra.
The performance is world class, and Vai’s phrasing is more considered and more clear in this setting than it is on previous live releases, where his showman’s flair tends to get in the way of his playing to an extent.
The rearrangement of the opening of “For The Love Of God” is part sophisticated modern classical, part kung fu movie. “The Attitude Song,” which was recently nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, is even more over the top than the original. But the real joys of this DVD are the tracks “The God Eaters” and “Answers,” both of which were recorded with sampled instruments originally and are given new life here by the inclusion of real instruments and a cracking 5.1 surround sound mix.
“Salamanders In The Sun,” a somewhat forgotten track from Vai’s 1984 debut, ‘Flex-Able,’ is another stand-out, and again the orchestra adds dimension and colour to the track, while staying largely faithful to the original arrangement. “The Murder” is an obscure track from Vai’s box set, and its inclusion here is a bold one. The overall darkness of the melodic theme sits well with “Kill The Guy With The Ball” and helps keep the program from sounding too happy and bright throughout.
DVD features include an entertaining and informative audio commentary, 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound audio, PCM Stereo, an orchestra-only performance of “Bledsoe Bluvd”, a behind the scenes featurette, and an interview with Vai.
Those who wish to hear more of the Metropole Orchestra would do well to check out “The Universe Will Provide,” an album by another former Zappa guitarist (and former Steve Vai band member) Mike Keneally, recorded with the Metropole in 2004.
In association with Bryan Beller, I Heart Guitar is giving away one copy of his new solo CD, ‘Thanks In Advance.’ To enter, leave a comment below this post, about your thoughts on the site: What would you like to see? What have you enjoyed reading so far? Anything you don’t like?