INTERVIEW: Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt

Opeth Opeth unashamedly alienated some of their fan base with their 2011 album Heritage. While a large portion of their fans were drawn to the Swedesh masters for their progressive death metal leanings, Heritage was primarily inspired by 70s fusion in the style of John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra – and there wasn’t a single death-growl to be heard anywhere. And now, with Pale Communion, Opeth has moved sideways again, a little away from some of the jazzier moments of Heritage and towards more of a 1970s progressive rock feel, while still a million miles removed from death metal. It’s an album which will challenge some fans while thrilling others, but the overall impression from a chat with frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt is that he’s driven solely by his artistry, and this is what he’s feeling right now.  Read More …

INTERVIEW: Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani

Across 14 studio albums Joe Satriani has redefined instrumental guitar, led the charge in popularising shred, introduced all sorts of techniques to the guitarists’ lexicon, and spearheaded innovations in gear that have influenced countless luthiers and modders. While Joe is always looking forward – to the next guitar, the next gig, the next album – 2014 finds him also taking stock of how he got to this point, if only for a moment. This year has already seen the release of TThe Complete Studio Recordings, a 15-disc box set which brings together each of his albums (the studio disc of the two-CD Time Machine album is represented) plus a disc of alternate mixes, unheard tracks and rarities. And he has also released Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir, which explores his creative output album-by-album, offering unprecedented incites into the conception and execution of his albums, the origins of the G3 tour, the success of Chickenfoot and of course those early days teaching guitar to the likes of Steve Vai, Alex Skolnick, Kirk Hammett and Larry LaLonde. With plenty of touring booked for this year already, Joe has just announced a tour of Australia for November, which means it’s high time we had another chat. Read More …

DiMarzio Releases The Satch Track

DP425_Satch_Track_NeckPRESS RELEASE: DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Satch Track™ Neck hum-canceling pickup for electric guitars. Created for renowned guitarist Joe Satriani, the Satch Track™ Neck pickup is available for retail sale from DiMarzio. Joe Satriani is continually refining and sharpening his sound. Two years in the making, the Satch Track™ Neck is Joe’s first single-coil size signature pickup. Articulate, vocal and musical, it is our most advanced Fast Track-style pickup to date. Read More …

The G4 Experience With Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Andy Timmons & Mike Keneally

Joe SatrianiI know what I want for my birthday.

PRESS RELEASE: From August 11-15, 2014, musicians of all ages and levels will converge in California’s scenic Central Coast for the G4 Experience with guitar virtuosos Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Andy Timmons, and Mike Keneally. This unique music camp that combines entertainment, education and a vacation experience will be held at the picturesque Cambria Pines Lodge in Cambria, California, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
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The Fabulous Tale Of The Billy Gibbons Pearly Gates Pickle Jar At Seymour Duncan

IMG_9676The Pearly Gates is one of my favourite Seymour Duncan pickups. Designed with Billy Gibbons, its voice is vintage and sweet but with a slight edge to it. (Joe Satriani liked this pickup so much that he had them installed in one of his chrome Ibanez JS signature guitars and named it ‘Pearly’ – unfortunately that guitar was stolen in 2002). Many years ago, Billy asked Seymour if a pickup could work under water. They decided to try it by submerging a very early Pearly Gates pickup into a pickle jar and testing it to see if it still had a signal. It still worked – so they decided to put a lid on the jar and test it again some other time. That was almost 30 years ago. It lives in Seymour’s office and he and Billy still take the jar out every now and then to test the pickup. It looks pretty damn gnarly by now, covered in gross brown stuff, but it still works perfectly. Below are some pics of MJ from the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop testing the pickup a couple of weeks ago when I was at Seymour Duncan HQ.  Read More …

Joe Satriani: The Complete Studio Recordings

vrq3_SatrianiProductShot640x402When you really step back and look at it, Joe Satriani’s musical output thus far has been utterly immense. Of course there’s the incredible one-two punch of Surfing With The Alien and Flying In A Blue Dream, but Joe’s discography is bursting at the seams with great tracks, bold experiments, wild solos and catchy riffs. And now you’ll be able to get them all in one place, with Sony Music Entertainment about to release Joe Satriani: The Complete Studio Recordings, a 15-CD box set which includes not just Joe’s studio albums but also a disc of bonus tracks. Oh and before we get to the press release below, lemmie just drop this video here… heheh.

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Am I Jealous Of Steve Vai?

steve-vai-to-tour-australia-in-july-1-300x225Last week the magnificent Steve Vai played here in Melbourne (read my recent interview with Steve here). I was lucky enough to be offered some free tickets so I invited my old school buddy and his friend, as well as a guy I know who’s had a bit of a hard time recently and who I thought might enjoy the chance to take him mind off it with a gig. Like all Vai gigs it was a wildly diverse experience: blinding virtuosity, humour, melody, showmanship, and all-round good vibes. And I got to meet quite a few I Heart Guitar readers before and after the show, which was really cool. But something my buddy said afterwards really jarred me. Nodding back towards the venue, he asked, in an almost protective tone: Read More …

Rockschool Introduces New Hot Rock Guitar Books

RockschoolPRESS RELEASE: Rockschool’s best selling Hot Rock Guitar series has just been expanded with the launch of the new Grades 4 and 5 books. The acclaimed Hot Rock range brings you eight classic tracks in a variety of music genres giving you a choice of musical styles to play. The new books include songs from some of the most respected, best selling and famous bands on the planet and are an excellent tool for the ‘Free Choice Pieces’ in graded exams. Each massive new book comes complete with edited exam versions of eight classic rock songs drawn from a range of musical styles. Read More …