INTERVIEW: Steven Wilson

theravenRegarded as a visionary and one of the driving forces behind the modern progressive rock/metal movement, Steven Wilson, the man who created Porcupine Tree, is an eclectic and prolific artist who is able to tap into the pure emotional heart of his music as well as the intellectual side without compromising either. Witnessing a Steven Wilson live performance is to be engulfed by mind-bending visuals and a bombastic aural surroundscape. His latest album, The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) is perfectly built for the live stage. Actually, scratch that: the album is so ambitious and enveloping that it requires a special stage setup in order to pull it off in a way that’s true to Wilson’s vision. So when Wilson tours Australia this month, he’s brought with him a quadraphonic PA system as well as multimedia visuals for a truly immersive experience. Accompanying Wilson is a collective of world class calibre musicians:  Guthrie Govan on lead guitar, Adam Holzman on keys, Theo Travis on flute and sax, Nick Beggs on bass guitar and Chapman Stick, and Frank Zappa drummer Chad Wackerman – drums. I caught up with Wilson on the eve of the tour to talk surround-sound, the guitar, the creative process and the shifting musical landscape. Read More …

Victory Amplifiers …what’s all this then?

victoryHmm… in my daily internet-rummaging I came across something that looks like it could be very interesting indeed: a new company called Victory Amplifiers. And according to the YouTube teaser video (below) they’re launching with three all-valve models: V10 (a 10-watt 1X12 combo), V50 (a 50-watt two-channel head) and the V100 (a 100-watt three-channel head). Now, new amp companies are a dime a dozen, but these appear to be handmade in the UK, and I don’t know about you but some incredible amp companies have come out of the UK over the years. They have a Facebook page where they’ve just unveiled pics of these three beauties too (below) and a sneak peek at a V100 circuit board which looks very cool! The Victory Facebook page says the head designer is Martin Kidd, who is well-known in British amplification circles, and word is that Guthrie Govan has been using them lately, so I’m super-excited to hear these amps in action!  Read More …

The Aristocrats’ Culture Clash Vinyl Edition

cultureclashIt’s been so awesome seeing The Aristocrats go from humble beginnings as a “let’s pick two songs each and play a set at NAMM” thing (I was there, woo!) to a fully fledged band with original material, two kickass studio albums, an awesome live album/DVD, and shirts that you see fans wearing around town even here in Melbourne. The band has just wrapped up a successful US tour and now they’re releasing a limited edition vinyl version of their second album, Culture Clash. Only 1,000 will be pressed so get in early! Here’s the press release: Read More …

Steven Wilson Oz Tour Announced

mini_poster_steven_wilsonMan, it’s a great time to be a music fan in Australia right now. In addition to the Yngwie Malmsteen clinic tour and Gus G’s Firewind tour, we’re about to be treated to a three-show mini-tour by Steven Wilson and band, including Guthrie Govan and Chad Wackerman. Wilson will be touring in support of his most recent album, The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories), as well as his other solo albums, Insurgentes and Grace For Drowning. More info – including VIP Meet & Greet packages – below or visit Metropolis Touring’s website. Tickets are on sale 9am Tuesday August 13. Read More …

Aristocrats DVD, plus Guthrie talks Charvel

The Aristocrats – Bryan Beller, Guthrie Govan and Marco Minnemann – are preparing to release their very first live CD and DVD, BOING, We’ll Do It Live!, just in time to awesomize the holidaysfor musicians everywhere. And get this: the 5.1 surround audio mix was done by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree!

I was lucky enough to catch the Aristocrats’ very first gig back before they even had a name, and I can’t wait to crank the new DVD up to neighbour-enraging levels at home. There’s more info about the DVD below, but before we get to that, Guthrie has shared a few words on the custom Charvel he’s been seen playing recently.

He says:

“Hello! Guthrie here, with a somewhat boring (but apparently necessary!) update… and a pretty picture ;-)

Well… the guitar I’ve been using lately has apparently caused something of a stir in certain sectors of the online community, so I figured it might be helpful if I explained what’s actually going on. Read More …

INTERVIEW: Periphery’s Misha & Jake

It’s been a year since we checked in with Periphery and in that time the mighty djent machine has grown and evolved at a rapid, startling rate. In the wake of a successful tour with Dream Theater, Periphery’s place as the centrepiece of the djent movement is now firmly established. It’s a genre characterised by heavy syncopated riffs, punchy mid-heavy guitar tones, the use of extended range instruments, clean-to-scream vocals and some of the most outrageous lead guitar work ever committed to hard disc, and Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal builds on the strengths of the band’s self-titled debut in every way. It’s more melodic, yet more extreme. There are more shredding solos but more moments of guitaristic introspection too. More colourful and dramatic. I Heart Guitar caught up with Misha Mansoor and Jake Bowen to talk shop.

Last time we talked, you said you were planning two albums, one of which would be a concept album. Is this still the plan?

Misha: I think we had a lot of expectations, and I guess our gut reaction to that is to just say ‘fuck it’ and do whatever we want. What we’d originally hoped would happen was that we’d get a tonne of time off to just write. We’re at a point where there are so many ideas. All was going to plan but then we got a Dream Theater tour offer smack in the middle of that session. It kinda came to a decision. And no matter what, you never turn down a Dream Theater tour! Read More …

Guthrie Govan appeals for help after gear theft

From Guthrie’s myspace:

An appeal for your help, after a recent van break-in in Rome :-(

 

 

The following isn’t exactly a fun read, but it would be hugely appreciated if y’all could have a quick look through the following: we need your help!
I’ve just finished a tour of Italy with Dave Kilminster, Seth Govan and Pete Riley. Unfortunately, someone broke into our tour van in Rome, during the afternoon of Dec 17th, and stole pretty much the entire contents.
This sucks on a number of levels: not only did the theft make it very difficult for us to play the remainder of the shows we had booked on our Italian tour, but also we’re now faced with the prospect of having to find some way of replacing a lot of equipment – both rental gear and personal stuff.
Some of the stolen gear – particularly Seth’s Warwick bass, which he’s played almost exclusively for the last 22 years or so – also has considerable sentimental value, as you can doubtless imagine.