Tag Archives: guitar player magazine

Tony MacAlpine – A Modern Music Virtuoso

By Andrew Catania 

An accomplished solo artist with his signature style, a competent band member, an enthralling session player, a master producer, and a crackerjack bitten by the travel bug – Tony MacAlpine is a name that rhymes and resonates in perfect unison with the modern techniques and contemporary trends of the guitars and music acoustics of the present age.

His style is unique, majorly inclined towards classical, rock and fusion. Holding a substantial expertise on his instruments and chords, he sure knows how to squeeze the tones and carve out music planes, in rock as well as metal domains, through guitars and keyboards alike.

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Born on 29th August 1960, Tony set his hands on a piano at the age of 5 and moved on to explore and ace the intricacies of guitar chords by the time he was 12. Having started playing at such a young age, it came as no surprise that Tony MacAlpine was introduced as an emerging music sensation in the Guitar Player magazine in an article by Mike Varney in 1984.

Having started learning the tidbits and intricacies of the chords, keys, and strings, Tony MacAlpine made a brisk and promising start to his professional career in the 1980s, launching his debut studio album ‘Edge of Insanity’ featuring Billy Sheehan and Steve Smith in 1986. A year later, he teamed up with George Lynch, Deen Castronova, Atma Anur, and Jeff Watson to produce ‘Maximum Security’ in 1987. Both records received a tremendous applause from the music enthusiasts and critics alike. Not looking back since, he has progressed to ace his domain and has produced some records and releases, solos and joint ventures, to extend his music profile.

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Tony MacAlpine is known for the variety of his fusion techniques. He possesses this magical tendency to play complex shreds and pulls. One of his most famous techniques is the eccentric modification of sweep picking into sweep tapping, which he manages to pull through a perfect blend of his skills. Once influenced by the neoclassical metal genre, Tony MacAlpine explored and tapped into a variety of, not only experiencing it through his fingers, but leaving his signature mark on them before he finally landed in to play and ace the rock metal domain.

Besides his natural brilliance and learned expertise, the credit for the nuances and variety of his techniques can also be accredited to the equipment and instruments that he plays. From the Kramer, BC Rich, Mason Bernard, Peavey, Washburn Mercury Series, Carvin, and Ibanez guitars to DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan pickups, and from GHS and Ernie Ball Strings to Peavey, Rockman, and Hughes and Kettner amplifications, Tony MaCalpine’s fingers have befriended an extensive myriad of instruments over time, and a chronology of his releases and discography clearly indicates his passion for experimenting with new equipment and chords.

Some of the most notable highlights on his professional career include ‘Eyes of the World’, ‘Premonition’, ‘Madness’, ‘Evolution’, ‘Chromaticity’ as a solo, ‘Universe’ Live from Oz’, ‘Moon Babies’ with Planet X, ‘Cab Saga’ with the CAB, ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Edge of the World’ with Mark Boals, ‘Live at Astoria London’, ‘G3: Live in Denver’, and ‘G3: Live in Tokyo’ with Steve Vai.

Check Tony out @ http://www.tonymacalpine.com/

ReverbNation Featured Artist LoNero!

Here’s my first featured artist from my ReverbNation campaign.

In 2008 LoNero released their first CD “Relentless” and coined the genre “Guitarcore.” From that moment on, they have defined what that genre is. Unlike most instrumental artists, who’re songs emphasize solos and arpeggios, LoNero’s music features illustrated verses, choruses, and emphases on melody and structure. Apple and QuickTime did a month-long promo for “Relentless” and helped build LoNero’s fan base from the ground up. This album features the song “Loose” which has been licensed by Discovery Channel, MTV video Music Awards, “That Metal Show,” BBC and much more.

2010 saw the release of “J.F.L.”, a stripped down instrumental rock and roll album produced by Grammy Award winning engineer Michael Rosen. This album had influences of punk with the songs “Fat Tat” and “Good Luck” and was a more straight ahead approach to Guitarcore but still had the definable LoNero sound.

In 2014 LoNero were handpicked by guitar legend Tony MacAlpine to be the primary support for his first solo U.S. tour in 10 years. That tour went so well that LoNero were asked again to be main support on a second U.S. tour in 2015. Traveling from coast to coast and into Mexico, LoNero proved they could hold their own even with the best.

In 2017, LoNero released their most advantageous album to date, “The Defiant Machine.” TDM is a thematic instrumental powerhouse focusing on war throughout the last 100 years. With old speeches from Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, and George W. Bush intertwined with piano interludes, blistering guitar harmonies, solos and seamless time changes, TDM is unlike any instrumental album to date. The album features the song “Burning of Ideals (a date which will live in infamy), a 12-minute epic auditory journey. This song was recently chosen to be included in Guitar Player Magazine’s first compilation CD coming out summer of 2017 with distribution and promotion by Universal Music. Rounding out the theme for TDM, all photos for the album artwork were shot aboard the historical and legendary U.S.S. Hornet aircraft carrier. The same ship that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule which carried the first men to walk on the moon and one of the most decorated war vessels to ever sail the seas.

At the end of the day, LoNero is four guys that want to create music their way. Not by following a mold, but by breaking the mold. To harken back to the days when music was a journey and not just a product to sell. When music was the complete package and not just bits and bytes on a computer.

LoNero is:

Bill Lonero – Lead/Rhythm/Harmony Guitars

J.R. Manalili – Rhythm/Harmony/Lead Guitars

Mike McKaigg – Bass

Will Sharman – Drums

LoNero uses: Dunlop, Furman, Vigier, Straptight, EMG and Dr. J pedals

www.LoNero.net
www.Facebook.com/LoNeroMusic
www.Twitter.com/LoNero
www.YouTube.com/LoNeroMusic

Interview: What Makes Gretchen Menn A Fantastic Guitarist

By Andrew Catania

What comes to your mind when you think of a guitarist? Or a pilot? Riddles and jokes abound that play with our expectations, and we are now living in a time where those gender biases and assumptions are becoming less and less relevant. But the popular perceptions have started to change, and it’s quite refreshing to see talented women musicians rocking the industry with competence and fervor.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

Gretchen Menn is one such name – talented, meticulous and high on life! Music is etched in her genes and flows within her veins. From the child who dabbled on whatever instruments her parents allowed her to rent, to the teenager who couldn’t keep her fingers off the fretboard, to a current student of orchestration and large-scale composition, Gretchen is always exploring new areas of music and expanding her skill set.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

Unlike many of her contemporaries. Gretchen Menn didn’t leave her education to pursue her musical passion. She rather made his studies be in furtherance of her artistic tendencies and completed a degree in music from Smith College. During her time there, she studied classical guitar, yet also convinced a very classically-focused department to allow her to do individual studies on the music of Frank Zappa.

After graduation, Gretchen decided to pursue a career in aviation to have a “responsible day job” to supplement the less-than-certain income in music. She enrolled in a flight school. Two years after starting her training, she had obtained some licenses, worked as a flight instructor, and was flying regional jets for an airline. After less than a year, Gretchen’s heart won over, and she oriented toward a more direct route to her musical dreams.

Although Gretchen was never away from her instrument while at the airlines—her guitar had gone with her on every trip—leaving the airline allowed her to make music the main priority. And she dove in. From progressive to jazz, and from rock to classical, multiple genres and a multitude of associations, versatility characterized her interests and studies.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

She has studied classical guitar with Phillip de Fremery, a student of Maestro Segovia. She has delivered Jimmy Page’s lines since the foundation of Zepparella, a noted tribute to Led Zeppelin. She has backed up singer/songwriters, slept on floors while touring with a metal band, was a primary creative force in various instrumental projects, and is producing original music of her own.

Gretchen Menn cites early and enduring inspiration from Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, and Django Reinhardt.

At present, Gretchen has just released her second album of original, instrumental music, Abandon All Hope, a concept album based on Dante’s Inferno. With accompanying imagery from Max Crace, libretto by Michael Molenda, and co-artistic production by Italian virtuoso guitarist and composer Daniele Gottardo, it is an album that has surprised audiences with its musical scope and compositional depth.

Your new album is out, do you have any plans of touring?

I’d like to. It is such an epically long and compositional record and would mean a larger budget than I’ve got right now to do it properly.  I’m not going to go out and play it with just backing tracks, as that would be encouraging people to hear it guitar-centrically, and it wasn’t intended to be that. I do have lots of shows coming up with Zepparella and a bunch of various other things here and there. I’m always writing new music, too.  Lots of juggling of different projects, but that’s just sort of how I roll.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

How long did it take you to write Abandon All Hope?

It took about four years. Right in the middle of that, I had some pretty intense personal stuff go on, so there was about a year or so where I wasn’t operating at full capacity. I started writing it in around December of 2011, and then it was three or four years of composing, and then a year or so of tracking, mixing, and all of that. So the whole process was about five years, almost to the date.

You’ve got 15 tracks on there.  Do you have any personal favorites or are all of them your favorite?

I could never pick a favorite.  All of them serve a different purpose.  It’s a concept album, so everything was geared to fit the need of the storyline.

I like your cover of Django Reinhardt’s “Minor Swing.” 

That was so much fun to learn.  Django is one of my all-time favorites, and the whole thing came about very organically. I just wanted to hear some of his lines. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. Then the Grappelli parts were too cool not to try as well. It was totally an afterthought to record it. I played the Django parts on my Stephen Strahm Eros acoustic, which is not a Gypsy Jazz guitar, but I love it so much. I put on nylon core strings, which gave it a little taste of the gypsy tone. Then I played the violin lines on my Ernie Ball Silhouette Special though my Two-Rock Bi-Onyx amp. Absolute heresy to purists, but I see no harm in honoring the music we love in our way.

That was a very very interesting cover. You’ve got such a virtual background of various types of music that you do which brings me to my next question.  Did you grow up playing classical guitar?

The classical guitar is where I started.  I had the important piano lessons when I was five or so, which meant virtually nothing other than I had seen music in front of me and some very, very basic training.  The most memorable part was after the piano lessons my mom would take my sister and me to 7 – Eleven and we’d get to pick a treat—memorable and delicious bribery. But my first voluntary instrument was the flute, which I played for about three years, starting at around age 10.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

What got you into playing guitar?

The music I was listening to, and I think that’s where the disconnect was with the flute.  Even though I liked playing it, the repertoire wasn’t what appealed deeply to a kid, at least not to me. I was a regular kid.  I wasn’t one to willingly forgo soccer or skateboarding or running around to sit inside practicing a bunch.  I enjoyed playing the flute to a point, and I liked my music lessons. But I’d pick it up when I felt like it and had zero discipline around it. I got into music at the age I think a lot of people do—around 12, 13, 14. I was listening to Led Zeppelin when I was around 14 or so, and by the time I was 15, I was listening to Django Reinhardt, The Dixie Dregs, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, Eric Johnson.  Not what was the current music of the day—but good stuff passed along by cool parents.

Did your dad have any influence on your music career?

It’s such a common assumption, and it makes tons of sense that people would naturally assume so. But my dad never pressured me to do anything. I didn’t even really know what he did until later. As a kid, you never sit down and grill your parents on the fine points of their jobs. You’re just like, “Okay, my dad’s a writer. Whatever, I’m going to go play now.” So I knew my dad was a writer, and I knew the stationery we had said GPI with a guitar logo, so I think if pressed I would have been able to tell you his writing had something to do with guitars.  But it wasn’t until I got into music on my own that dad was like, “Hey, I know something about this. If you’d like Led Zeppelin, check out Jeff Beck. If you think Steve Vai is the man, then also check out Steve Morse.” He was quick to be helpful once I got interested on my own. But he’s never urged me or directed me in any way. He just wanted me to figure out what it was I wanted in life and was ready to help cheer me on, whatever that was.

That’s Awesome!  Learning classical guitar, did that help you as playing rock music as a musician?

I think it’s a mixed bag because there are a lot of things that maybe do help—it’s good for left-hand finger independence and placement. A lot of electric guitar players will use their pinky like once a week. But I think probably more than anything else for me, studying classical guitar helped with learning how to work.  I’ve never been a patient person, and with the classical guitar, you don’t have the option of not being patient. You may be told to only work on four measures of music in a week, and to get those tests perfect.  So it helped develop an area of personal weakness—focus and patience.  On the other hand, there’s a lot that is very different between classical and electric. Initially, one of my biggest challenges was not to approach electric guitar with too much of a traditional attitude—to throw caution to the wind sometimes, rather than become rigid or stiff when attempting to nail something perfectly. Not that my classical teacher would have ever endorsed a stringent performance! But in playing Jimmy Page, being overly surgical is not the right approach.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

 

You’ve been a guitarist and an airline pilot which you know there’s not a lot it’s more like a male dominated areas and all that do you have to have a typical type of mindset to succeed in a male-dominated industry like those? 

You know, it’s so funny the gender question never even entered my mind until much more recently—and mostly because of how much I get asked about it. I’ve always had as many guy friends as girlfriends. I’ve approached things with the mindset that if I wanted to do something, I just tried or worked or studied hard until I could do it. Gender being a factor in the acquisition of ability never even occurred to me. Do people go around like all day long thinking about their sex?  I can only speak for myself, and I certainly don’t and never have. For me, the times it did enter my consciousness was in situations like realizing I was the only girl in my ground school class for airline training. But that didn’t make me uncomfortable beyond the fact that it made some of the guys uncomfortable. So I just tried to make it clear that it was all fresh and they didn’t have to be on eggshells around me. I’ve always been comfortable hanging with guys. I have wonderful male friends; I have wonderful female friends. I’ve got an amazing dad.  There are heroes and allies of either gender.

Is there something that as a musician most people wouldn’t know about you?

Yes, I’m trying to think of what that thing might be… I’m super boring (laughs). After shows, people are often like, “Hey are you going to party?”  “No, I’m going to go back to my hotel room and read a score or a book and go to sleep so I can practice tomorrow.”  So I think from the standpoint of people who might associate playing rock music as being a lot of fun at a party, I’m a big letdown. I am totally not a lot of fun at a party. I’m not at the party!

(laughter)

Wow! 

(laughter)

 Regarding your rig, tell me your rig set up

Okay, I’ve got a couple of different things going on for various projects.  My Zepparella rig is guided by Jimmy’s sounds and iconic guitars. I have two Gibson Les Pauls and a Danelectro. My pedal board has a Cry Baby Wah Wah, a Boss TU-2 tuner, a Providence Phase Force, an Xotic Effects AC Booster, and a Providence Chrono Delay.  My Les Pauls have DiMarzio 36th Anniversary pickups. The amp is a Two-Rock Bi-Onyx. I had used using an old 1977 Marshall JMP for a long time, which I still have, but then I fell in love with this Two-Rock.  They had lent it to me for the She Rocks Awards when I played in the house band for the event a couple of years ago. It just happened to look like it was made for me—it had this white Tolex, and Zepparella wears all white on stage. I plugged into it, and was like, “Oh My God!” They were kind enough to let me borrow it for quite awhile, and eventually, I coughed up some money so I could keep it forever. For all my projects I use Dunlop Jazz III picksDiMarzio cables, and Ernie Ball strings gauge 0.10 – 0.52.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

I was going to say your rigs must differ for your albums like Zepparella and then your latest stuff I would imagine

 Yes, exactly.  I mean the pedals are the same.  I don’t use a ton of pedals even though I’ve got more than I ever use. For my original music, I use almost exclusively Music Man Guitars regarding electrics—I have two Silhouette Specials, a Silhouette, and a Majesty.  My main Silhouette is the one that is white with a black pickguard, and it has stocks DiMarzio single coil pickups.  I love that guitar. It’s the guitar I play like 90% of the time… obviously except for with Zepparella.  For amps, I have a ’66 Fender Deluxe Reverb that sounds amazing. It is what I used for “Limbo” on the new album, Abandon All Hope.  My Engl SE 670EL34 was used for virtually all of the electric stuff on the album.  What I do to save money, which is imperative on an album of this scope, is I do my guitar tracking at home and reamp it in the studio. I have my Engl in my garage all mic’d up, and then I run a direct line, so I’m getting both a take with a tone that’s going to be pretty similar to the final sound as well as a clean, direct signal. Then I can go into a pro studio and bring all my amps—the Engl, the Marshall, the Two-Rock, the Fender—and I run that right signal through each of the different amps and audition tones. I can hear objectively which one is giving the best sound for the mix—blending properly or cutting through or whatever is the goal.  I ended up using the Engl for almost everything on Abandon All Hope, as it just fit what I was going for. I used my Kenny Hill Ruck classical guitar on “Hellward Swoon,” “Lake of Ice,” and “Grace.”

Do any of these products endorse you?

Yes—Ernie Ball/Music Man, Two-Rock, Engl, Providence, Dunlop, DiMarzio, Stephen Strahm. I only work with a company if I love what they’re doing, and if what they’re doing fits me. I don’t like having a lot of stuff.  I’m not at all a gear collector, so if I’m using something, it’s because I genuinely love it. I’d rather invest time in improving my abilities. At this point, if I can’t get my rig to sound good, it’s not my gear’s fault!

Photo by Renee Jahnke

 

What are your plans for 2017?

Ah, that’s a good question! Zepparella has a bunch of stuff on the books.  I’ve got some things that are coming up that I’m going to be releasing soon regarding some other videos and stuff that has to do with Abandon All Hope.

You can follow Gretchen Menn @ http://www.gretchenmenn.com 

and http://www.zepparella.com/

Special thanks to Renee Jahnke for the fantastic photos!

Vinnie Moore – The Man Behind The Strings

By Andrew Catania

Eight solo albums, five collaborations, 6 UFO albums, 2 Hot Licks’ guitar video clinics, one virtuoso… Of course, we are referring to Vinnie Moore, the “Vin Man” as we the fans know him! He has accomplished quite a lot during his 30+ years of performance, but one wonders: who’s the man behind the strings? Well, to give you a proper answer in a few words is not fair to his career, so let’s take a look at those 30+ years of speed, accuracy, articulation and advanced lead guitar techniques!

He was only 12 when he got his first guitar; a teenage boy who looked up to the great guitar legends of that moment. Records by the Beatles like their eponymous double album from 1968 (from which he has covered While My Guitar Gently Weeps many times), Jeff Beck’s ‘Wired‘, Led Zeppelin’s ‘IV Zoso’, Deep Purple’s ‘Machine Head and ‘Burn, Queen’s ‘A Night At The Opera, Van Halen’s self-titled album and many other bands; all of them were among his early influences. His first guitar was a Teisco and made him, in the Vin Man’s words, a “guitar freak,” always improving and crafting his unique voice through his youth.

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After taking guitar lessons with a private instructor when he was 13, he started to put his skills to work by joining his first band, doing jam sessions and covers of their favorite songs in a typical setup of drums, bass, vocals and two guitars. From there on, he started to work on his ideas buying a 4-track tape recorder and experimented with many fragments, which later evolved into songs, showing his proficiency on the six strings.

By 1985 Vinnie Moore already was a prolific composer. He decided to pursue an opportunity and sent some of his recorded music, in the form of a seven song demo tape, to Guitar Player Magazine, and it caught the attention of Mike Varney and his Spotlight column in said magazine. It turns out that Varney was also owner and producer of Shrapnel Records, and Vinnie’s talent didn’t go unnoticed to him. This event allowed him to get into a Pepsi commercial (see video below) thanks to a Los Angeles agency that saw Vinnie’s picture and submission to Guitar Player; and even when it showed his hands only, it made his sound reach a national audience, getting recognition as a new emerging talent from Delaware!

In this commercial, we can hear an accomplished 23 years old guitar player showing his alternate picking technique: clean, accurate and fast. We can hear every note during the scalar passages, the arpeggios, and the pentatonic licks being perfectly well played along the video. Also remarkable was his sense of climax during the finishing sequence opening the last Pepsi bottle where he pulled off a scalar running which ended up at a high E vibrato, a very neo classical musical approach that he would go deeper into in his first album, but we are just about to get there!

Following the repercussion of the Pepsi commercial, Vinnie Moore and Mike Varney started to work together in Shrapnel Records to conceive the Vin Man’s first album: ‘Mind’s Eye.’ The album was released in January 1987 and represented a milestone for virtuoso guitar playing of the moment for various reasons. With all the neoclassical hype at the moment, it is hard to stand out among a great number of imitators since it became so popular back then, and yet the Vin Man managed to pull out one single record that earned a deserved recognition by the specialized press, the critics, and other guitar personalities. Although there are some obvious references to the neo-classical style regarding harmony, chord progressions, harmonic minor scale and phrasing, we can hear progressive rock riffs (In Control’s opening, Saved by a Miracle for example), preference for modal harmony and a tendency to put melodic phrasing above non-sense runs all over the neck that were so popular back then (Daydream, Hero Without Honor).

All these innovative elements were combined to bring a new, different and unique sound approach to the guitar world. Vinnie just did the alchemy and made an album that is real modern guitar history for all generations that came after. Shrapnel Records opened a new world to this 23-year-old guitar virtuoso. By 1988, with the release of Time Odyssey, he took his game another level up by emulating and surpassing the success of his previous album, also parting from Shrapnel Records. The Vin Man’s experiments on the progressive, futuristic and melodic approach of virtuoso playing went even further to craft this masterpiece!

The opening Morning Star fusion of classical and passionate melodic main theme’s phrasing, progressive cuts like Prelude/Into The Future or Message In a Dream (in collaboration with Jordan Rudess!), George Harrison’s tribute to While My Guitar Gently Weeps, beautiful rock ballads like As Time Slips By that showed Vinnie’s musical sensibility…the whole album was the refined version of himself as a musician, an accomplished composer that also has the technical ability. This time Vinnie would go for a total reinvention of himself.

By 1991 Vinnie Moore was a worldwide recognized musician and guitar artist, and his career would take a major turn with the Meltdown album. Vin decided to experiment with a groove-infused rock and roll style that became his signature for the following years, combining powerful riffs, virtuosic playing and an even more melodic tendency over the quick runs than his previous albums. The transition from metal to slow, mellow songs were smooth and remarkable (Meltdown, Earthshaker, When Angels Sing, Check It Out, Coming Home). And by 1996, when the grunge and alternative rock reign was at its best, Vinnie, once again proving himself a musician over a guitar virtuoso decided to go for an elegant instrumental approach for his next album, Out of Nowhere, which brought us memorable cuts that reflected Moore’s maturity as an artist: With the Flow, Echoes, Thunderball, Time Traveler, Move that Thang or this writer’s personal favorite VinMan’s Brew.

The Maze in 1999 marked the Vin Man’s return to Shrapnel Records and what a comeback I have to say! It was considered by many critics an epic return to his first two albums, with a modern and progressive approach that doesn’t leave out his accomplished musicianship. Memorable tracks? The whole album! However, special honorable mentions go to The Maze, Cryptic Dreams, Rain and Fear, and Trepidation.

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Excellence and perfection are in Vinnie’s blood.  More albums came with an excellent backup personnel behind: his first live recorded album Live! in 2000 with Barry Sparks on bass (Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, UFO), Shane Gaalaas on drums (Glenn Hughes, Jeff Kollman, $ign of 4) and Wayne Findlay doing keyboards (MSG also). In 2001 he followed The Maze’s trail and released Defying Gravity which had Dave LaRue on bass. Remarkable tracks from these periods: Check It Out (Live), She’s Only Sleeping (Live), Daydream (Live), Cryptic Dreams (Live), Defying Gravity, If I Could, Emotion Overload, Last Road Home.

Taking a little break from the Vin Man’s great solo career we got a question to ask you: how cool would it be to play with one of the bands you loved as a kid? It would be incredible, right?

That’s exactly what happened to Vinnie Moore in 2003 when he was recruited to play with one of the world’s most recognized rock acts: UFO, the legendary band that gave us such classics like Doctor Doctor, Rock Bottom, Lights Out (which is Vinnie’s favorite according to an interview), Love to Love and many others. Guitarist Michael Schenker left the band in 2002, and the Vin Man’s talent was required to enrich UFO’s sound. The idea was to relaunch the band career, and to do so they signed with SPV Records and producer Tommy Newton to work on the forthcoming album, You Are Here, for which Vinnie did major songwriting work in 11 of 12 songs the album has.

This collaboration proved successful, and it meant to him the most logical step in his career musically speaking, as he was joining the band he grew up listening to and crafting more solo material, he viewed this as a great opportunity that he took as soon as it knocked on his door. In addition to You Are Here, there are four more albums in which he has been playing and songwriting The Monkey Puzzle (2006), The Visitor (2009), Seven Deadly (2012) and A Conspiracy to Stars (2015). Remarkable tracks from the UFO new recordings, written by the Vin Man himself are: When Daylight Comes to Town, Mr. Freeze, Who’s Fooling Who, Stop Breaking Down, Year of the Gun, Devil’s in the Detail.

Vinnie Moore, the excellent musician, is also a wonderful person. A very down-to-earth guy he likes to keep in touch with his fans via his Facebook account (which he manages) where he comments on his daily life and his projects, and he’s also supportive of new guitar material that many of his fans submit. Firsthand talking with them during his clinic time and shows is also important to him to see how they experience the music he creates; maintaining this contact enables him to connect with their energy, to create emotions in people doing what he loves most, all thanks to the art he considers as a gift.

His creative process is the one of the inspiration. Vinnie likes to sit and explore many melodies, riffs, rhythms and guitar sounds and let the inspiration do the job while he is working, he follows it and lets himself drown into wherever it takes him. He is not the planning type of songwriter; he likes to give each song the proper meaning once the melody has arrived. To him, the melody and the feeling are the keystones of his music and trademark sound

Regarding the technical aspect, Vinnie Moore has always been a guy ahead of his time. Impeccable alternate picking technique which seems clean in every passage of his discography; he gladly explains how to achieve this level of mastery via daily workouts in his 2 Hot Lick’s video clinics: Speed, Accuracy and Articulation and Advanced Lead Guitar Techniques. Vinny is also one of the precursors of sweep picking technique, being a constant musical resource during his early and most virtuosic repertoire. He shows a preference for the modal approach to music, in which he explores the many possibilities of the eight Gregorian modes of pre-tonal music and combines it with his rock and roll influences, as we can hear in many of his most popular ballads for example.

When it comes to his gear, he has been working it out through the years and changing it constantly – as the search for the right sound never ends. Ibanez made for him a special Roadstar model in 1987 called VM1, which was his trademark axe until he started to work with Music Man, which made first Axis and Silhouette models for him. In 2007 he is endorsed by Dean Guitars and developed a very productive relationship with them, crafting the instruments with his very own specifications, here’s a list of the models used by him: USA VINMAN 2000 which comes in Gloss Natural/Trans Amber/Trans Black/Trans Red and the unique Vinnie Moore Signature – Mind’s Eye design. Regarding amplification he relies on the good old Marshall JMP 2000 DSL, the always delightful Marshall JMP 100w head and ENGL amps to get his particular tone.

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As for today, Vinnie released his latest production Aerial Visions last year under his label, Mind’s Eye Music, and in the VinMan Studios. In this album, he takes his music even further by exploring his most melodic side in songs like Faith or Looking Back. It was created during part of his development of UFO’s new material for their most recent album, and as a matter of fact, two songs made for this album were heard by Phil Mogg, who wrote lyrics to it and were also included them in A Conspiracy of Stars. Aerial Visions represents another point of inflection in his career due to the wide variety of styles explored in this record in cuts like Mustang Shuffle, Aerial Vision and his tribute to ZZ Top’s La Grange.

As you can see, there’s just so much more than meets the eye in the career and style of the Vin Man, a creative musician who reinvents himself in each new production and is always in the search for real, emotional and memorable guitar music.  Vinnie Moore is one of the best guitarists and a real inspiration for all of us guitar players!