Instrumental melodic rock fans will be rejoicing this September as renowned guitarist Joe Matera unleashes his new album Creature Of Habit on the world. The Australian native has built up a fine body of work to date and this may well be his best yet.
Following in the tradition of fellow instrumental artists such as Joe Satriani ,Matera has added a vocal track to the album as well as the eleven instrumental numbers (9 plus 3 bonus) on offer here. Adding a new dimension to his work, which fans will savour.
‘Fallen Angel’ is one such highlight, acting as a perfect showcase for Joe’s vocal ability, alongside his instrumental/guitar work. Other tracks include ‘Slide’, ‘Endless Summer’, ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Outland’.
Backing up Matera on Creature Of Habit are American drummer James Strickler ( Angelic Rage) handling drumming duties (as well as bass on several tracks), and Tony Dolan (Venom, MPire of Evil) on bass on three tracks and Rich Davenport on one.
Matera is also joined by a few guests, The Angels’ Rick Brewster, Smokie’s Mick McConnell – both who appeared on Matera’s 2011 EP Slave To The Fingers which received glowing reviews across the globe, make a welcome return, again making a guest guitar solo contribution on one track a piece.
(Brewster on ‘No Way!’ and McConnell on Outland) as well as Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday, The Color Fred, Terrible Things) who contributes a stunning guitar solo on Endless Summer.
A much admired artist and esteemed music journalist Matera is a man of many talents, COH easily highlights just how much his music means to him and how dedicated he is to producing the best album he can.
COH is scheduled for release September, 2012 via W.A.R Productions.
The tricky thing about making instrumental music is this: do you make it ultra technical for the musician crowd, or do you make it more accessible for the average punter? Every once in a while someone finds the perfect balance – Satch had it on Surfing With The Alien – and that’s what I dig about Joe Matera’s EP, Slave To The Fingers. Joe has captured that elusive middle ground where melody and musician-impressing meet.
Now this is going to be fun. What could possibly be more awesome than duking it out in a guitar battle royale where you must ultimately face the horned one him/her/itself, while being judged by an esteemed panel of respected guitar experts, and also me?
1ST ANNUAL DEMON ROCK OFF GUITAR COMPETITION
Celebrating ROCKTOBER, Rockstar Bowling proudly announces the first annual DEMON ROCK OFF GUITAR COMPETITION, to be held Sunday 16 October at 4pm at the venue’s Rock Bar.
Turning the volume up to “11” and inviting all amateur guitarists to showcase their signature “facemelting”, contestants will battle each other in a series of judged elimination rounds with two finalists selected for a soul-saving face off with the Devil himself. The Grand Prize winner will receive:
• A Gibson Epiphone Guitar
• $500 voucher to Gallins Musician’s Pro Shop
• Professionally Recorded Demo CD and Video
• Feature Showcase Gig at Rockstar Bowling Rock Bar
• Music Press Coverage Annoucements
• An Eternity of Free Bowling
British heavy/speed metal pioneers Atomkraft were formed by Tony Dolan (Venom) in 1979. Part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement, they make a welcome return with the Cold Sweat EP, which will be available in two formats: a 7″ EP limited to 200 copies only in colored vinyl and insert, and a CD limited to 1000 copies with two bonus tracks. The EP’s centrepiece is a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat” with I Heart Guitar’s good buddy Joe Matera contributing a ripping lead.
Oh and did i mention it features the most brutal cover art ever? Check it out.
Scared yet? You should be! The guitar tones are raw, dirty and unmistakably metallic with a sort of homespun vibe that works really well with the material and is in keeping with AtomKraft’s NWOBHM roots. In fact, the “Cold Sweat” cover almost has a Motorhead-meets-Rammstein vibe, with its Lemmy-esque vocals and fuzzy, fizzy rhythm guitars. Matera’s solo packs in some cool pentatonic legato licks and some tastefully-applied tapping, by the way – check it out.
Meanwhile “Dead Again” is classic speed metal, blisteringly fast and aggressive. “The Darkening” kicks off with the sound of angry dogs giving way to an angry riff and the sounds of an even angrier mob. Some almost Slayer-esque speed metal (and some very cool ‘angry bee’ guitar work) follow as the song twists and turns through evil forests of doom and other awesome metal stuff. Finally, “Gripped” opens with delicate Iommi-esque acoustic guitars before rocket fire and ominous industrial-edged riffing take over.
I love that bands like Atomkraft are still around. The Big Four of Thrash regularly pay tribute to NWOBHM these days, but live covers of “Am I Evil?” aren’t enough. We need the real deal to keep the sound alive. Hail Atomkraft!
Buy the EP here.
Here’s a nifty little promo video for Joe Matera’s track “Face Off” for you to check out. Meanwhile, Joe’s been a busy dude: he plays a guitar solo on a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat” by English thrash metallers Atomkraft, who were formed and are led by bassit/vocalist Tony Dolan, who took over from Cronos in Venom in late 80s/early 90s period. Tony plays bass on “Face Off.”
ATOMKRAFT “Cold Sweat”
7″ EP limited to 200 copies only comes in coloured vinyl + insert!
MCD limited to 1000 copies only comes with 2 bonus tracks!
Bonus 1:1985 ATOMKRAFT Intro…played at London’s Original, MARQUEE club ,opening for Slayer on the Hell Awaits tour…
Bonus 2: Gripped (unreleased track)
Out in summer 2011 at W.A.R. Production
I Heart Guitar buddy Joe Matera is preparing to release a new single, “Face Off,” from his forthcoming EP. It’s a more uptempo affair than the cruisy “Travellin’ West,” and I rather like the Shadows-esque approach to melody, placed within the contest of a more driving rock song. The track also includes a guest guitar solo by the great Rick Brewster of The Angels, which is damn fine.
Former Geisha guitarist Joe Matera is set to release his next original solo instrumental outing on May 2. Titled ‘Face Off’, it is an energetic rocker, and a full blown electric band affair, that features Matera’s signature melodic and tasty guitar playing. After having released previously two acoustic tracks, his original composition ‘Travellin’ West’ in Sept. 2010 and his cover of The Church anthem ‘Almost With You’ earlier this year, Matera decided it was time to return to his rock guitar roots.
On Thursday night Mrs I Heart Guitar and I went to the Roxy Music gig at Rod Laver Arena here in Melbourne. We don’t get to go to many concerts together – I’m a metalhead and she likes far classier music than involves far less shouting, skulls and demons – but occasionally our tastes overlap. Like Zappa, Steely Dan and David Bowie. The Roxy Music gig was great, with a balance of the rowdier, glammier moments that we live for, and the more poppy, radio-friendly early 80s fare that it seemed the rest of the audience was waiting for with folded arms. My buddy Joe Matera was also at the gig – he recently interviewed Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera for Guitar & Bass Magazine – and he was kind enough to let me accompany him backstage to say hi to Phil afterwards. Thanks Joe!
By the way, Manzanera used some great guitars during the gig, including his red Gibson Firebird, a 3-pickup Les Paul, and a Fender David Gilmour Stratocaster.
Here’s the setlist.
India (Tape, for walk on)
The Main Thing
If There Is Something
More Than This
Like A Hurricane
In Every Dream home A Heartache
To Turn You On
Same Old Scene
My Only Love
Love Is The Drug
Editions Of You
Do The Strand
Let’s Stick Together
For Your Pleasure
If you’ve never really checked out Roxy Music before, might I suggest this, which I hold up there with Bowie doing ‘Oh You Pretty Things’ as one of the greatest things ever to happen in the early 70s.
THE MAKING OF MY LATEST SINGLE, ‘ALMOST WITH YOU’
By Joe Matera
The decision to record a cover of The Church classic Almost With You was something that dates back a few years. Prior to joining my previous and last band Geisha, Ash Naylor – who many will know from Melbourne indie pop-rockers Even as well as Paul Kelly’s Band – and myself performed for a number of years around Melbourne in an acoustic duo under the moniker of Radio City. One of the songs that was included in our set was Almost With You, a track that remains a firm favorite of mine from many of Australian band The Church’s brilliant catalog.
Classic Aussie band Geisha recently released Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, a CD combining new tracks, greatest hits and covers. The guys from Geisha, founder Chris Doheny and recent addition Joe Matera (who is also a music journalist that you may remember from his excellent guest posts on I Heart Guitar), recently played email tag with me while I was swanning about in the US.
How you did you come to join Geisha?
Chris and I first met when I interviewed him for an article I was doing on Geisha’s debut album for Australian Guitar magazine. After the interview, I mentioned I was a guitarist and we got to chatting about similar interests. Later we jammed together and realized we had an incredible chemistry between us, and so started working together further and that eventually evolved into me joining Geisha.
‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ contains greatest hits, new tracks and covers. When you perform a cover are you consciously ‘Geisha-ing it up’ or is it an organic process?
I think whenever I perform any song, whether cover or original, it will always be performed ‘the Joe Matera way’. I am the sum of all my influences which will obviously come out in the way I play and approach things musically. I have always loved guitar harmonies, big riffs and melodic guitar solos, so they are in many ways integral to the way I will stamp things musically on anything. And when you add Chris and I together, because we share a similar musical background and outlook, then, every musical thing we play together will become “Geisha-ed” of its own accord.
There’s some pretty sweet guitar overdubbage on the cover of The Small Faces’ ‘Tin Soldier.’ What’s your approach guitar harmonies and multitracking?
I’m old school in the approach in that I love double tracking rhythm and lead parts as it thickens the sound of the guitar to make it sound huge. It also gives it a much fuller headroom sonic wise, where you can also pan the guitars left and right. Harmonies wise, it’s not always the typical building block of thirds I’ll use it’s usually what sounds good to the ears and will sit better with the rest of the chordal harmony. Some of the harmony guitars utilize not only thirds, but fourths, fifths and sixths. What was it like working with Tom Werman? What are your favourite albums he’s produced?
Working with Tom has been great and was a tremendous learning curve. Tom has an amazing knack for song arrangement, and an incredible ear for sonic detail, producing isn’t just about guitar tones, it’s about everything involved in making the song the best it can be. He also brings out the best in you as a musician. One of the many things I learned from him was about making a guitar solo as concise and appealing to the ears as possible. Some of my favorite Tom Werman produced albums are the “classic trilogy” of Cheap Trick albums – In Color, Heaven Tonight & Dream Police and Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry.
Your guitar tone seems quite clear and warm (and really has that ‘make you wanna crank up the stereo’ factor). What gear do you use?
In the studio, I play a Les Paul Epiphone and a couple of Fender guitars, a Fender Deluxe and a Fender Standard. Both are modified with Seymour Duncan JB humbuckers in the bridge. The other two pickups are stock single coils. On the single, Birthday, Gibson kindly loaded me a reissue of a 1958 Les Paul Custom which had an amazing sound and tone so I used that on for the rhythm tracks and the intro and solo. I also used my black Epiphone on some of the initial rhythm tracks and my white Strat for the outro solo. Live, I’m primarily using my Fender Deluxe though the Les Paul is my back-up. My amp of choice is a Laney GH50L head and Laney cab with 4 X 12s. As for effects, I use a Boss Chorus, Boss Overdrive/Distortion and a Boss Digital Delay. And I use custom made Grover Allman guitar picks exclusively. When it comes to acoustic guitars, I only play Matons. They’re the best damn acoustic guitars in the world. Period.
How do you set up your guitars? Do you make any modifications?
I like a low action on my guitars as I like the fluidity of playing lead and aside from that, I basically keep my guitars stock, with the exception of fitting all my guitars with a graphite nut. And as mentioned, all my Strats are fitted with humbuckers in bridge position; a Seymour Duncan JB which gives my Strats a real ballsy my tone.
How did you get started in music journalism?
In 2000 I started writing for some music websites and eventually scored my first “real” published interview in Australian Guitar magazine. It was with Killing Heidi who at the time was one of the biggest bands in the land. That interview led to others and eventually other magazines came along. My big international break came when I got an article – ‘Metallica In The Studio’ – published in US mag Guitar World. Soon after, I got a regular gig writing for UK’s Total Guitar magazine and the rest as they say, is history. What have been some of your standout experiences as a music journalist?
There have been many but the one that stands out the most was meeting and interviewing Sir George Martin and his lovely wife, Lady Martin. I spent half an hour with Sir George and we discussed The Beatles and music in general. And to hear many of his stories and being given a glimpse into his production approach…
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to work in the music industry, either as a guitarist or a writer (or both?)
I think as writer the most important thing is persistence. As you know yourself Peter, it’s a very hard work and solitary for the most part. So you have to have discipline, passion and be well researched. There is nothing worse than lazy journalism. Don’t ask an artist a question that can easily answered from a quick perusal off a press release and ask something that has been asked a hundred times before. Find a topic that engages the artist’s interest. Sometimes something totally unrelated to music can open up a discussion that leads to some of the best answers you may ever get.
As for advice for guitarists, I believe it’s important to always be playing with other musicians. And to also always be yourself, don’t try and imitate anybody else or your guitar heroes. Every player is unique in his or her way. At the end of the day, it is what makes up your character as a musician and person you are that will be your calling card.
Chris, you played bass and acoustic guitars on the tracks. Do you think being a singer influences your bass playing?
I think being a songwriter probably influences my bass playing more. I will quite often leave the bass part until last, even after the vocals. Then I spend a long time writing the bass lines around the melody and the rhythm. Sometimes I wish I did take being a singer into account more when I write the bass parts I would probably make them more “bass player/singer” friendly!
Being a multi-instrumentalist, do you find that the instrument dictates the musical idea, or is it the other way around, with the music as a whole influencing your choice of instrument?
I think when you have the seed of an idea; the instrument does dictate where you are going to go in terms of say, style or genre(I sometimes write on Keyboards, guitar, or even bass guitar to begin a song idea) However once you get a more complete structure (intro, verse, chorus, bridge and mid 8 etc..) I think the song gets a life of its own and it starts to tell you what instrumentation is going to be required.
The Sgt Pepper’s cover has a very cool drum sound, and an overall production that’s respectful to the original yet has its own personality. What is your approach to engineering?
Thanks. I treat most tracks individually in terms of recording construction. With this track though, I first recorded a basic rhythm track of the complete song (guitar, vocal, click track). I then had our drummer on this track bring his drums in to a very large woody and live sound room that I thought was suitable. We used a mixture of vintage mics and pre-amps (Neumanns, Shures, Sennheiser)It was also important that the drums were wacked pretty hard to get that slamming sound you hear on the track. The heads have also been tuned with the tension right down.
Could you tell us about Geisha’s history from your perspective, and the recent revival of the band?
The band has been around since 1983. We had 8 Australian top twenty hits and two albums in the top forty during the 80’s. I have had the pleasure to work with amazing producers and engineers throughout seven albums. Like Peter Dawkins (Dragon), Richard Lush (Beatles) Dave Marret (Little Heroes), Kevin Beamish (Reo Speed wagon), David Courtney (Leo Sayer), Peter Blyton (Choir Boys), and now Tom Werman (Cheap Trick, Motley Crue). Geisha made a come back in the late nineties and the reaction was fantastic. But it wasn’t until 2005 when I started work on the remastering of our back catalogue that it really clicked again. In 2006 Geisha toured in the States and when I returned to Australia. I met Joe Matera who was interviewing me about our debut album. We got to talking and pretty soon developed a connection with each other. I soon asked Joe to join Geisha as guitarist and after a few gigs started work on our eighth album “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. Last June we released the first single “Birthday” which was received well. In January 2010 we released a double A side “Mystery Writer / Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” which is already getting a lot of attention.
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow contains greatest hits, new tracks and covers. When you perform a cover are you consciously ‘Geisha-ing it up’ or is it an organic process?
The covers we have on the album are The Small Faces “Tin Soldier” The Beatles “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” recorded by us in late 2009) and “Come Together” (recorded for our the debut album in 1985 but never released on CD before and Geisha’d up 1985 style!). I have been playing these songs for years live because I love the songs dearly. I used to personally drag a 1973 Fender Rhodes piano to my gigs just to play Tin Soldier and get the authentic keyboard sound. It nearly killed me every time because that thing weighed 70 kilos! Sgt Pepper has been in my head since it was released in 1967. My Ma gave it to me for Xmas 1972 along with a little record player and I wore the record out, I swear! I think probably these songs get Geisha’d up because of the fact that we are Geisha and that’s just the way we play, if you know what I mean.
How did you hook up with Tom Werman, and what did you learn from him?
Joe became a good friend of Tom’s after interviewing him some time ago. When Joe and I joined up Joe asked me if I minded if he played some of my newer tunes to Tom. I said “Are you crazy? This guy only produced two of my fav albums ever!! I would be absolutely rapped” I was talking about Cheap Trick “Heaven Tonight” and “Dream Police.” It turned out that after listening to the tracks Tom did want to produce us and now here we are. Tom has a great ear for arrangement and he knows it when he hears a hit. He is a stickler for getting things just right. He also really understands melody, harmony, contrapuntal and parallel sound. We use a lot of harmony and counterpoint in our vocals and in our guitar work and Tom made sure that it was right every time! I also learned a lot about mixing from Tom (I mixed the single Mystery Writer with Tom overseeing my work).
LINK: Geisha’s website