Tony Iommi Talks New Epiphone SG

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It feels like Tony Iommi Week here at I Heart Guitar. I interviewed Tony the other day for Mixdown magazine (and they let me set aside a few questions for I Heart Guitar, which you can see here). I have an Epiphone Limited Edition Tony Iommi Signature SG Custom here to review. And now Epiphone has published a new interview with Tony talking about the new guitar. You can read the interview here, and there’s a press release and video below. Read More …

Tony Iommi and the Laney TI15-112

Check this out! Laney’s new TI15-112 Tony Iommi Signature Amp. Laney says it takes all the raw power and tone of the TI100’s high gain channel and crams it into a compact single channel all tube amp. Laney’s unique dual wattage input option means you can push the EL84 output section hard and get 15 watts RMS of full on tone or plug into the “less than 1 watt” and get exactly that – your same great tone but at less than 1 watt. There’s also a speaker-emulated recording out. More info here.

INTERVIEW: Killswitch Engage’s Joel Stroetzel

joel_stroetzel_03_smKillswitch Engage are in an enviable position as one of those metal bands who have survived the steady rise to fame of their youth and managed to sustain their audience 15 years into their career without sacrificing their principals or their aggression. If anything the Killswitch Engage of today is more brutal, precise and refined than ever. The band was last here in Australia for Soundwave 2013 just prior to the release of their sixth studio album, Disarm the Descent. Now nearing the end of the touring cycle for that album (and with original vocalist Jesse Leach now firmly back in the line-up after leaving in 2002), Killswitch Engage are headed back to Australia to give the album one last hurrah before moving on to their next project. “Australia’s one place where we’ve had some time to check out some cities and the wildlife and stuff,” says guitarist Joel Stroetzel. “It’s a pretty good time!”  Read More …

MUSIKMESSE 2012: Laney TI100 Tony Iommi signature amp

Laney has offered an official Tony Iommi amplifier since 1994, but this year they’ve announced a new tube beastie, the TI100. It’s a 100 Watts RMS head with four 6L6 valves in the output section, twin channels, footswitchable variable Pre Boost on each channel, 3 band EQ, Volume, Enhance, and Presence controls.

The Metal Lord says:

“Almost 40 years ago I embarked on my musical journey with Laney. My first signature Laney amp, the GH100TI came out almost 20 years ago and it served me faithfully on the biggest stages in the world with Black Sabbath as well as recently with Heaven & Hell. Read More …

REVIEW: Mattias “IA” Eklundh clinic

It’s been a ridiculously incredible week of rock awesomeness for me. Last Sunday I was a judge at the Demon Rock Off at Rockstar Bowling. The next day I went to the Steve Vai masterclass presented by Thump Music and I got to jam with the man himself. The next day I interviewed Shawn Drover of Megadeth for Tone Deaf. On Thursday I interviewed Keith Strickland from B-52s and on Friday, Glenn Hughes. Saturday was the Def Leppard concert. And yesterday, Monday October 25, I went to the Mattias Ia Eklundh clinic at Five Star Music. Phew!

If you haven’t heard Mattias, how would I describe his music? There’s technique, melody, humour, interesting harmonies, even more interesting rhythms, out-there tones, ear-catching sound effects and just a general spirit of adventurousness which is utterly addictive. Whenever I listen to him I come away with that feeling you get when you’ve been laughing really hard for so long that you almost think you’re going to throw up. So the opportunity to see and hear Mattias doing all of this craziness close-up was too good to pass up.

In contrast to the awesome Vai masterclass, which was largely dedicated to non-musical concepts such as setting goals and keeping a positive attitude, Mattias’s clinic was more about the guitar itself and music in general. Concepts covered included maintaining the groove even when faced with a bizarre time signature; his idiosyncratic approach to harmonics; the finer points of travelling with a belt full of marital aids, and the True Temperament frets on his Caparison Apple Horn guitar.

This last point is something a lot of people didn’t seem to have seen before. The best way to think of True Temperament fretting system is to imagine that each string has its own frets which are precisely aligned for perfect intonation at all points along the string, instead of the traditional compromise that we’ve all had to put up with for hundreds of years. It’s an expensive system to implement but the sonic results are incredible.

Speaking of incredible, Mattias came to Oz to promote Laney amplification (including the 60 watt version of the stunning new Ironheart amp) on behalf of Australis Music. Check out the Ironheart here – it sounded amazing during the clinic, perfectly and boldly reproducing every nuance of Mattias’s playing, from the ultra high gain stuff to clean and back again. His only effect was a Jim Dunlop Crybaby wah wah pedal: Mattias coaxes the vast majority of his sounds simply by manipulating the guitar in various ways.

After the clinic, Mattias hung around taking photos, signing autographs and answering fanboy questions. If Mattias ever plays within, oh, I don’t know, a 1,000 kilometre radius of your house, go go go go go! His sense of humour and his creativity are really inspiring and addictive, and you will definitely learn something you can use, even if your technique isn’t up to the ridiculously high level of Mattias.

By the way, Mattias hopes to bring his band Freak Kitchen to Australia for a tour. Aussies, I heartily encourage you to contact promoters such as Soundwave Touring and let them know you want to see Freak Kitchen!