NEWS: DJ Ashba, Slipknot, Gene Kirkland

DJ Ashba’s “Stars” Guitar Lesson

SIXX:A.M, the modern rock band featuring Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, Guns n’ Roses’ DJ Ashba and vocalist James Michael, have released “Stars,” the first track from their forthcoming album Modern Vintage. LINK.

Slipknot Album Title Confirmed

Slipknot has unveiled the title, cover and track listing for their new album, their fifth record and first without late bass player Paul Gray and former drummer Joey Jordison. LINK.

Rock Photographer Unearths Unseen Pics

Rock n’ roll photographer Gene Kirkland photographed the biggest names in rock and metal throughout the 80s and 90s (and still shoots to this day). Twelve months ago he unearthed a stash of shots that had been unseen since those glory days; images that hadn’t been seen in 20 years – even ones that he hadn’t seen himself! LINK.

My Sammy Hagar Interview

SammyI recently had one of those huge ‘career highlight’ things: I interviewed Sammy Hagar about his new album. I’ve always been a bit of a Sammy fan – Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge was one of the first real rock albums I ever owned – so it was really great to get the chance to spend 20 minutes talking guitar with the Red Rocker himself. In particular I was curious about how Sammy rates himself as a guitarist, because he’s pulled off some pretty impressive shreddage over the years and gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriani. You can read the full interview here, but here’s a snippet: Read More …

Angus Young: SG Master

Here’s my latest for Gibson.com. Enjoy!

There are few players – OK, maybe only Tony Iommi – who have done as much for the popularity of the Gibson SG as Angus Young. Sure, there have been other greats like Duane Allman, Gary Rossington and Robby Krieger who have taken the SG and made it their own, but if you show an SG to a non-guitarist, often their eyes will light up and they’ll say, “Oh! The Angus guitar!” The sleek contours, devilish pointy horns and no-nonsense electronics make the SG the perfect guitar for Angus’s blues-gilded rock and roll swagger.

Click here for the rest!

Check out my latest for Gibson.com and Tone Deaf

Hey! So I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve and all that fun stuff. Here are a few articles I wrote recently:

 

My interview with Stix Zadinia from Steel Panther

 

Let me set the scene for you. It’s my very first time in LA – my first time overseas, in fact. I’ve been in town for about a day, and I’m in the crowd at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. I’m surrounded by a bunch of Aussie musical instrument industry chaps who happened to be on my flight – scratch that, who happened to be drinking heavily and keeping everyone awake on my flight, and who I may or may not have told to shut the hell up cos I was trying to get some friggin’ sleep, dammit – but now we’re all the best of buddies as the beverages flow. Somewhere in the crowd is Lindsay Lohan, in between court appearances, I guess.

 

And in front of me on the stage is one of the hardest-working, hardest-partying, ass-kickinest bands LA has seen since the 80s glory days of the Sunset Strip. Also on that stage are some slammin’ hot LA ladies with their boobs out. One of them is being encouraged to lay down on her back and show the crowd whether her boobs stay put or whether gravity forces them to move away from each other and make her chest look “like a hammerhead shark.”

 

Welcome to Steel Panther.

 

Three-Note-Per-String Scales And Neck Gymnastics

The three-note-per-string pattern is one of the easiest ways of remembering scales on the guitar, and it’s a format that lends itself especially well to high-speed playing techniques like economy picking or legato, too. And they work equally well as a springboard for melodic ideas and as finger-warming exercises. Here are a few tricks that I’ve put to extensive use in my own playing.

These days it’s common – nay, expected – for a big blockbuster movie to have a kickass soundtrack packed with original new tracks by the big heavy-hitters of the day. But it wasn’t always like that. Once upon a time, the movie soundtrack section of a record store was populated largely by recordings of the actual orchestral music scores of films. If a soundtrack featured pop songs, they were often classic tracks that everybody knew.

Even in the case of big blockbuster soundtracks that featured a healthy amount of original new songs – like the album that accompanied the release of Dirty Dancing in 1987 – the tracks were very much mainstream radio-friendly pop. So the 1993 release of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Last Action Hero and its soundtrack sent shockwaves through the hard rock and heavy metal scene of the day.

So I’m jamming with Steve Vai, and…

If you follow me on Twitter or the I Heart Guitar Facebook page you would know that a couple of nights ago I had the incredible honour of jamming onstage with Steve Vai at his Alien Guitar Secrets masterclass here in Melbourne. It was an amazing experience and when my buddies at Gibson.com heard about it they asked me to write a few words. ‘A few’ quickly turned into 1200 or so but what the heck, I like long articles. If you want to read about my experience, check the article out here. And a big big big thanks to Thump Music for making a dude’s dream come true.

(Oh and if you’re wondering, it was a tough decision but the guitar I chose to use was my Ibanez UV777BK Universe with DiMarzio Crunch Lab and LiquiFire pickups).

Get Down: A Brief History of Tuning Down

Check out my latest for Gibson.com – a brief history of tuning down.

Tuning down is extremely common today. In fact it’s almost a quaint curiosity when a band chooses to perform in standard tuning. But it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, almost everybody played in standard tuning (E A D G B E). But guitarists, like Indiana Jones and astronauts, are always striving for adventure and discovery, and this quest has led them to all sorts of lowered tunings. These tunings are of course distinct from the popular chord tunings (such as Open G) traditionally used in blues music, and generally their raison d’etre is to increase the heaviness of a riff.

Click here for the rest!