By Andrew Catania
Acclaimed for his astoundingly fast minor scaling, wide vibratos and rated among the best metal guitarists of the world – Warren Justin DeMartini aka Torch is an acclaimed musician who ruled in the limelight in the music sphere for the entire decade of the 1980s.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, on 10th April 1963, and the youngest of the five brothers, Warren DeMartini’s family moved to settle in San Diego during his early childhood. Two of his elder brothers Bernard and James held a strong affinity towards rock and later ventured into forming their band. His grandmother too was a professional musician and used to play piano for background score for silent movies in her time. So, music was kind of an old legacy that transcended into Warren DeMartini and his brothers.
DeMartini’s first exposure to guitar was when his mother bought him one, at seven years of age. It was a small guitar that went out of tune after a couple of jams. Angrier than aggrieved, little DeMartini demolished the instrument, and it was not until he turned 14 that his fingers came back in touch with the chords. This time it was a Cimar Les Paul copy of an electric guitar.
It was right since his childhood that DeMartini what he wanted to do in life. Music was his lifeline, and rock and metal had become his passion. With a proper instrument in hand, DeMartini delved headlong into the pursuit of his dreams and started to strengthen his grip and refine his skills over the tact and intricacies of heavy metal, glam metal, and hard rock.
DeMartini staged his first concert at the age of 15, with ‘The Plague‘ in an event held at La Jolla High School. Although it was not a huge feat, the concert sure brought DeMartini the exposure that he needed. DeMartini’s name started creating waves in the local music industry and was declared as the ‘Best Emerging Guitar Player in San Diego.’ After graduating in 1981, DeMartini enrolled himself at a local college. Until then, his name had started resonating in the music sphere and eventually landed him an invitation to join Mickey Ratt. He accepted the offer and moved to Los Angeles where he joined the band’s lineup as the lead guitarist, replacing Jake E. Lee.
DeMartini’s role as the lead guitarist paved new ways to success for the band. Aside from rendering his playing skills in the leading capacity, DeMartini also started experimenting on his musical penmanship. He has contributed great lyrics for some albums released by Ratt. Ratt was releasing successive hit records, including for platinum albums. The band ruled the entire decade of the 1980s and disbanded after DeMartini parted ways in 1992.
After bidding farewell to Ratt, DeMartini played for a short while for Dokken and later for Whitesnake. He also set up his solo profile, with an EP ‘Surf’s Up!‘ and a full-fledged album ‘Crazy Enough to Sing to You, and two more albums titled ‘Collage’ and ‘DeMartini. He also played for Dio for some time. In 1997, Ratt was revived, and DeMartini is an integral part of it til this day.
By Andrew Catania
Doug Marks, a prominent figure in the contemporary rock and metal guitar community thanks to his more than 30 years of experience as a guitar teacher. He developed what would be known as one of the most popular guitar methods of the world: The Metal Method. Doug’s early days as a teacher started doing private guitar lessons in Denver, Colorado as a way to help other fellow guitar players to develop their potential; he also learned from his students’ questions: when he didn’t know about something, he did the necessary research to find the answer, making him grow as a musician and teacher. When he later moved to Los Angeles, his students were interested in keeping in touch with him. They thought that Doug’s method of instruction was excellent, so he was encouraged by his pupils to find a way to give long distance guitar instruction.
By 1982 he was pursuing a career as a heavy metal musician with his band, named Hawk. Doug had the opportunity to work this project with many great musicians that were not so known at the time: Charlie Morrill (ex-Black Night), Teddy Days (ex Hellion), Scott Travis (Judas Priest, Racer X, Thin Lizzy), David Fefolt (Forgotten Realm, Valhalla) and Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver). Doug managed to release the first Hawk studio release independently in 1986 as his personal project, a solid ten track album with Marks taking the leading guitar role, demonstrating a clean, bright and virtuosic heavy metal sound that was going to support his reputation as a metal guitar teacher.
The Metal Method
To keep in touch with his former students from Denver, and to make his method available to a larger audience, Doug Marks started to develop what was going to be known as The Metal Method. Metal Method Guitar Lessons has founded in 1982 thanks to his students’ questions; this was the way in which the method was shaped from the very beginning, and it owes his success and popularity to the fact that, to this day, Metal Method answers your needs as a guitar player.
The method consisted of a mail-order business in which Doug made his lessons available through audio cassettes and video tapes, where he explained the foundations of guitar playing, from the very beginning, under the assumption that you never picked up a guitar before. This was going to be known as the Basic Course in 1982, and it was the genesis of all. Doug takes you step by step into the paths of heavy metal technique and musical theory in a moderately increasing difficulty that is reasonable regardless of your playing level, avoiding you the pain of getting frustrated with impossible goals and overwhelming information.
The examples are played at different speeds, so you can easily keep up with the music, allowing you to analyze and practice each lesson in a way that you can get the most out of it, without being overwhelmed trying to play them at full speed right away. One of the most successful factors of this course was the fact that you can feel how Doug Marks is talking to you, not to a microphone or recording equipment, but to you as a student, as someone who’s eager to improve! That’s something that was not being offered in the market back in the day: a personal relationship between tutor and student, which is something the Metal Method offers.
The method was successful right from the beginning thanks to the philosophy of great guitar lessons at a lower price, with a high volume of sales. It was expanded into many editions that focused on specific areas of the guitar technique: Speed and Accuracy for Lead Guitar, Easy Guitar Modes, Guitar Mastery Package, Classic Guitar Licks and many others made in collaboration with guitar legends like Michael Angelo Batio: Speed Kills 1 and 2, Star Licks Master Series videos are an example. The Method has grown into a thriving business with plenty of information for all guitar players out there. In Doug’s website, he interacts with the people, answering their doubts and hanging around with them, showing how down-to-earth he is, and proving that he cares about the students and their learning process.
The Metal Method Legacy
It is amazing how the Doug Marks legacy is evident to this day. Worldwide known guitar masters such as Rusty Cooley or Myles Kennedy have said how important the Metal Method was to them! Doug is right when he states the following on his website: “We’ve been in business since 1982 for one reason – our program works!” The basic course is still going now in his 2016 revision! In the field of guitar lessons, we are always searching for the perfect answer to questions like “how can I play faster?” “How can I approach lead guitar?” “What is the musical theory I should know to play what I like?” and the Metal Method is positively answering these questions to all of us!
The influence of the Method has been around for 34 years already, helping many guitar players out there to achieve the desired improvement in their guitar playing technique. And don’t let the word “metal” fool you: if you are into any other genre like blues, country, jazz, rock, and roll…you will get plenty of advice and useful information from the Method, because of all the resources it has to give to any aspiring artist.
By Andrew Catania
If you’re thinking about iconic guitarists, think about Jake E. Lee. Lee is a famous guitar aficionado who has been imbued with the music business since early childhood. He is known for his amazing guitar work for Ozzy Osbourne from 1983 to 1987 and his work with the Red Dragon Cartel more recently. When you hear him, you’ll know that this master of music is in it to make beautiful sounds and he’s a natural.
Lee was born on February 15, 1957, to a Welsh father and Japanese mother. They instilled an appreciation of music in him from an early age. His mother was a fan of classical and his father was a jazz fan. Together, this created a real passion for sound and music. Although he was geared towards the piano by his mother, it was clear that he had rock and roll deep in his veins. A curious thing called to him: his sister’s guitar!
He picked up the guitar and immediately was hooked. It was The Who’s “No Time” that he first mastered and performed. Although piano wasn’t his chosen instrument, it did help him to understand the music-making process. He drew from his training on the piano to concentrate on the guitar and how to make it sing. In the end, he proudly developed into a self-trained rock-musician. He played in bands throughout high school and even at that young age was drawing attention due to his already-evident amazing guitar style.
San Diego was the place where Lee started to get into professional guitar playing. He began in a band that called themselves “Teaser” but soon transitioned to a different band by the name of “Mickey Ratt.” Soon after they evolved into just “Ratt.” Lee was a formational part of the glam rock band. Soon he left though and joined “Rough Cutt,” a band that was produced by the legendary Ronnie James Dio. It took just a few listens for Dio to realize Lee’s expertise and he soon asked him to join his band, Dio.
The gig with Dio led to being suggested to Ozzy Osbourne after Randy Rhoads passed away. Lee auditioned and got the gig! From 1982 Lee toured with Osbourne. Along with Bob Daisley, Lee began writing for “Bark at the Moon,” an album that would sell over 3-million copies in the states alone. Much of the music that Lee penned was used for “The Ultimate Sin,” by Osbourne.
Jake moved on to form the band Badlands after his gig with Ozzy ended. Badlands was fronted by Ray Gillen. Ray died of AIDS-related complications in 1993. Jake tried a replacement singer. Things didn’t work out and went off the radar for a long time.
In 2005, Jake released a record called’Retraced.’ In 2007, he released a covers album called ‘Guitar Warrior’ with several special guest vocalists ranging from Stephen Pearcy to Lemmy from Motorhead
In 2012, Jake made a cameo appearance in a Beggars and Thieves video. The response from the video on YouTube made Jake realize that he’s been missed after all of these years. This was the start of the collaboration for Red Dragon Cartel.
One thing you can rely on is that Jake E. Lee will perform and write fantastic music. He has honed his craft carefully throughout the years and is a true guitar legend. If you need proof, just listen to how he can play guitar. Not only will it keep your feet tapping, but you’ll realize that you are truly in the presence of guitar greatness.