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Interview: Mr Big’s Paul Gilbert Defying Gravity With His Guitar

By Andrew Catania

There are many guitarists out there, but only a few manage to make a lasting impression especially in a very crowded market. That’s one of the many things that made Paul Gilbert shine, to begin with, as he is a true professional and a great performer which you will enjoy quite a bit. He is known for being an excellent hard rock and heavy metal guitarist. He co-founded the Mr. Big band however he is also a member of Racer X, and he created a few albums with them as well.

Paul Gilbert was born on November 6, 1966, in Carbondale Illinois. However, his family moved to Greensburg Pennsylvania, and that’s where he was raised for most of his childhood. It’s important to note that Paul started to play music at the age of 5 and when he was 15 he had his band. The band was named Tau Zero, and he was touring the local clubs playing various types of music. Soon after that, he was featured in the magazine named Guitar Player with Yngwie Malmsteen.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

He contacted Mike Varney in 1981, and he asked to book a gig with Ozzy Osbourne which was already a megastar at that time. As you can imagine, Mike Varney didn’t think that a 15-year old would be ok to couple with a rock megastar. However, he did give the demo tape a try, and in the end, he was more than impressed with the stuff that he listened to. This led to a 3-year period in which they worked together on various musical projects.

Paul Gilbert moved to LA in 1984, and he started to attend the GIT there, a move that was followed by him being hired as a GIT instructor one year after that. He also recorded the Street Lethal record with Racer X very soon after that.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

The original lineup for Racer X which was created in 1985 included Juan Alderete, Paul Gilbert, Jeff Martin and Harry Gschoesser. The band had a lot of influence from Judas Priest at that time. Paul did work with them for three years, but he left in 1988. He did come back in 1996 after Mr. Big broke up.

Speaking of Mr. Big, he co-founded this band with Billy Sheehan, and they also added Eric Martin on vocals and Pat Torpey on drums. This made quite an unusual combination, and they did reach initial success in Japan. It was in 1991 when they got a lot of achievement with their Lean into It album. This was when they received an international stardom status, mainly thanks to the single named To Be with You which granted them a number 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

The music they played was very distinct and unique, something that still entices people up to this date. Thankfully, the style of Paul Gilbert did remain untouched, and you can easily see that nowadays in many of his projects.

The band did break up in 1996 due to personal differences that weren’t showcased to the public. This was the perfect time for Paul Gilbert to launch his solo career. As you can imagine, Mr. Big was reformed soon after that, but Paul already had a thriving career as a solo artist, so the band replaced him with Richie Kotzen. Mr. Big disbanded once again in 2002, yet Paul Gilbert did reunite with the original members in 2009 for a commemorative tour. They even created an album named What If which was released in 2010-2011, an album that was supported by a tour.

Aside from the Mr. Big projects, Paul Gilbert did work with Racer X many times. He did help them record the Technical Difficulties album in 1999, and he also collaborated with them on Superheroes, an album that was mixed by Bouillet.

Defying Gravity out on 7/21 via Frontiers Records

The band was very successful in Japan, and at that point, they performed to create a live DVD and CD at the request of Universal Japan. They ended up having their first live performance in around 13 years in front of a sold-out crowd in 2001, something that did impress most audiences.

The band finished recording the Getting Heavier album at Paul Gilbert’s house in Las Vegas. The tracks on this album were lighter, and this did upset some fans as they did expect a more conventional, heavier album instead of light tracks. The album did sell very well in Japan. In 2009 they had a massive NAMM show in California, and they performed with Andy Timmons. This is also when Paul Gilbert also had a solo set which was very successful.

Aside from working with Mr. Big and Racer X, Paul Gilbert did end up working with a broad range of other musical projects as well. In May 2003, he performed two different times with Yellow Matter Custard which was a Beatles cover band. They re-formed in February 2011 after many years of breaking up, but in the end, Paul Gilbert was not a part of that reunion. His performance impressed critics, but he did not resume working with YMC at all.

He collaborated with Mike Portnoy on that project, and they also worked on a Led Zeppelin tribute band which was named Hammer of the Gods. At that time, he toured Japan to support that band as well as his solo albums called Gilbert Hotel, Burning Organ and The Best of Paul Gilbert.

He also worked with Portnoy on two other projects named Cygnus and the Sea Monsters as well as Amazing Journey: A Tribute to The Who and he played three shows with the last band. The band destroyed all their equipment as an homage to the show, something that was quite common at that time.

Some of his other projects include an instrumental album released in 2008 which was called Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar; an album named the United States which was published with Freddie Nelson and some collaborations with Richie Kotzen, George Lynch, and many others. He also created two new albums named Fuzz Universe and Stone Pushing Uphill Man.  I spoke to Paul about Defying Gravity and his career.

I listened to Mr. Big a couple of days ago this new album, Congratulations, sounds good. What excites you most about the new album, that’s coming out?

Paul:  Ohhhh my goodness. Well, I like the songs, the melodies are hummable, the rifts are hummable, and I like the guitar playing, I like the singing, the base playing, I like the drumming. It was fun to work with Kevin Elson, that was a fun part of the process, to work with him again. And we get to play some new songs on the road. So all the things we want, and that, we did it at all. We all have other parties we do besides Mr. Big, and our schedules don’t always match up and at the end of if we only had about a week to record it. So I was delighted that that turned out to work out to our benefit because there was a good energy in getting it done quickly, there was no time to mess it up.

Now you only had six days to record the entire record?

Paul: Yes.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

Did you have anything written before you went into the studio?

Paul:  Oh definitely, pretty much everything. Well, I shouldn’t say that, but we had most of it written. There was a couple, I know a couple of my songs, that I had just the smallest pieces of, but it was so exciting to see how a song would go from just basic, you know some lyrics and a basic arrangement into a full sound in a Mr. Big Production. That it was inspiring for the first couple of days that I thought “man I’ve got a couple of little ideas, if I finished this before breakfast, I could bring this in, and it could turn into a finished tune. So a couple of my songs Be Kind  & Mean to Me were both songs that I finished up before breakfast on day 3 [ahahaah], and they turned out well.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

Who does the songwriting? Is it a collaborated effort?

Paul:  Yeah, everybody writes, and even it’s a song that one person wrote, we still put our musical fingerprints on it, and that’s nice. I mean in the end, it’s still going to sound like Mr. Big.


Speaking of music, how would you describe Defying Gravity regarding its sound and how it relates to previous Mr. Big albums?

Paul:  Oh my goodness. I don’t know if I’ve even thought about that. The thing to me that is most stable element is the members of the band. It’s Eric Martin’s voice, the way he sings and the quality of his voice, there’s nothing like it. As soon as he starts singing a song, you’re halfway there; it’s a Mr. Big song. And then, of course, Billy (Sheehan) is one of the most recognizable bass players in Rock, I think. Although he’s known for being able to play very sophisticated, complicated things, even if he plays something simple, just the tone in his hands, you can tell that’s it’s him you know that it’s him and I hopefully have a recognizable way of play guitar. Pat(Torpey) on this record, you see he has Parkinson’s disease. So his physical strength is much less than it was so we used our touring drummer to come in and play the sessions. But Pat was still there, basically as a drum producer and just to make sure that the drums sounded like they would if Pat had played them. Also Pat is an essential part of the vocal sound of Mr. Big, we always do a lot of harmonies and just a part of the decision-making process. During any album, there’s always so many decisions to be made about not only the drums, but which songs to pick, how the arrangements should go, so I was really happy Pat could be there for that, that’s an important part of being in the band.

How is Pat doing? Is he getting any better? Is he kind of stable?

Paul: He will know more specifics than I will, but from the outside, it seems like he’s doing. You know, he was in good spirits, and high energy and was an active force in making the record.

You guys are all collaborative effort in writing, how did you approach the writing of this album, personally?

Paul: Oh I just try to have fun, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was all fun songs. I mean it can be a sad song or a serious song. But I really want the process to be something that I enjoy and that’s a relatively new thing for me to learn. I used to think that song writing was a hard, effort & work and you have to sort of wrinkle your eyebrows just to get it done. And more recently I’ve learned the philosophy that anytime you start not enjoying the process, that just means that you have to change something to make sure that you are enjoying it, to make sure you’re kind of keeping it moving forward, because with songwriting you can get stuck. The trick is as soon as you find yourself getting stuck or getting bored with it or not enjoying it, you have to take the song in a different direction, so you will enjoy it. That’s what I try to do, to always make it so I’m excited about where the song is going, and I find if I enjoy the process, I usually enjoy the result.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

What is more important to you, speed on the solo or the melody?

Paul: Well, hopefully sometimes they can be the same thing. I would say at the beginning, a lot of the songs began as a lyric, because Mr. Big is very much a vocal band you know I had to lyric 1992 before I had anything, same thing with Be Kind, those were songs that began as lyric. But it can also start as a rift you know. Open Your Eyes began as a guitar rift and then later I came up with the lyrics for that one. Certainly Mean to Me was a guitar rift, well actually that was sort of drum part first, then I tried to make it into a guitar part and then gave it some lyrics on top of that and then, I’m trying to think of the other song that I wrote. Let me look. Oh, Nothing Bad About Feeling Good, in a way that was a lyric song as well, it was just the first part of the verse. I Know Who You Love, was another lyric I had then I tried to fit the melody to it. So really the guitar soloist is often the very last thing I’ll come up with. It’s something that I usually almost have to panic to finish because that’s when we’re running out of time and we’re like “oh yeah the solo”. As a songwriter it’s a very different way of thinking than being a lead guitarist, it’s really an entirely different art. For songwriting I’m thinking about the lyrics, the arrangement, the chords and the melody and then at the very end, I get to put on my guitar hat and be a guitar player.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

How do you find the balance between your songwriting and guitar soloing and which is more emotional for you and which is harder for you?

Paul:  We just want them to work together. As a soloist, it still notes and it’s rhythms so sometimes I’ll get musical ideas, and as I explore soloing, I’ll come up with a phrase that might work as part of a song. For example, in the song Open Your Eyes there’s a line that Billy and I came up with (musical note) and it’s a Jazzy line, it’s almost like a dominant 13 or something. I don’t use the route of it; I try to skip over the way, which is a very Jazz thing to do. I wouldn’t have known to do that without studying soloing, and it just became sort of a melody that we used in the song. So that’s where the two can kind of crossover, but a lot of times when I’m doing the song I have to make the decision you know, is this going to be improvised or is it going to be a set melody that’s important for the way the song works. And I just take that case-by-case, depending on how it’s feeling.

Are you going to do two months run and then take a break and then are you going to do your solo projects?

Two months this year is pretty much all Mr. Big stuff. I think I have a camp coming up where it’s two days with Joe Satriani’s G4 Camp, that’s a little thing I’m doing on my own. But, most of the rest of this year I’m doing with Mr. Big. I mean earlier this year I went to South America, I did a European clinic tour on my own, but from now on, the rest of the year is all Mr. Big.

Photo by Renee Jahnke

Are you doing your online teaching? 

Paul: That’s been going about five years, so I’ve done a lot of videos for that, about Five Thousand videos even more. So I’m very active with that; that keeps me quite busy. Any spare time I have goes into that, and I enjoy it. The teacher is always the person that learns the most because I feel an obligation to know what I’m talking about. You know, sometimes the questions I get from the student, at times I know the answers and sometimes I’ve got to research it. So I’ve learned an enormous amount about music & guitar playing from that experience.

Now, are you still offering VIP lessons or is that something you’ve stopped?

Paul: I usually do that with my solo tours, and with Mr. Big, it doesn’t make as much sense because you know, part of the VIP thing is coming in to see the sound check, and I think with Mr. Big we might still be doing that. When I do the VIP tours I do a guitar lesson with it and with Mr. Big is more just a few sound check and meet the band, get a photo and maybe get some goodies. So that’s the difference. When I do mine on my own, people sit down with guitars and spend an hour jamming.

From the day you were featured in Mike Varney’s article, which I still have, by the way, Racer X & Mr. Big and all that, how have you evolved as a musician, as a songwriter, as a guitarist?

Paul: That was when I was Fifteen years old I think and so it’s been a long time. I’ve explored a lot, I’ve learned a lot of songs and I’ve learned what you have to do to make a song work. At that time my guitar style was based on the songs I was hearing. I was playing a lot of UFO and Rush and Van Halen and Triumph and even Punk stuff like Ramones and Sex Pistols and Robin Trower, I mean those were the artists I was copying, so my style was reflecting that. As time has gone on I’ve expanded the music that I’m interested in and the music I’ve learned. Sometimes I’ll learn it in order to perform it but sometimes I just hear it for my own enjoyment. And so like in my Twenties I really got into I would call sophisticated Pop music. Stuff like Todd Rundgren and kind of Pep sounds and Beach Boys era, indeed the Beatles and rediscovering that. So that was a big thing, sort of getting into the way piano players write and trying to get those chords to work on a guitar. Then in my Thirties I sort of got into Punk Pop. I was into the Wild Hearts, a great band from England, and Green Day and I wanted to be a singer and I found that with kind of music you didn’t have to be like an opera, heavy metal Geoff Tate style singer to be able to have this sort of voice in order to do that kind of music. So that was appealing to me as a solo artist, and I should mention Cheap Trick which is also another sort of pioneers of Pop Punk.

Aren’t you a big Beatles fan?

Paul:, yeah, so that was earlier on. More recently I’ve gotten into Blues and also the Jazz players from the 50s & 60s that play Blues, but with a Jazz sophistication. It’s still music that a guitar could play but they know stuff that guitar players don’t know. So I listen to a lot of saxophone players and clarinet players and that kind of thing, to get new ideas.

Have you been trying to shred away that Shred term with your playing, you know, trying to expand on that? When people think of Paul Gilbert, they don’t just think of you as Shredder now because you’ve got so many different styles of playing.

Paul: Well I think what happened is if a guitar magazine took a list of people who are considered to be Shredders, a lot of them would really be very different from me in what they’re trying to do and actually the techniques they use are really different from mine. My methods are really based on 70s Rock guitar players. The way that my hand, the hand position I use is similar to what you would see from the guys that played in the 70s. Brian May and Robin Trower and Nick Ronson, and players like that, and Jimi Hendrix, players that tend to have their thumb way over the top of the neck when they play, Jimmy Page. Those were the guys that formed my voice on the guitar and that voice is related to that way of holding the instrument. It tends to be keeping it lower because that actually works well for having your thumb over the top of the neck.  Where a lot of the new Shredders wear their guitars up really high and have their thumbs behind the neck, more of a classical style, which to me works ideal for a traditional, conventional type of guitar but is really weak in terms of hand vibrato and actually sort of severs the Blues style from guitar playing. You can really get a traditional Blues sound that way and that classic Blues sound is so important to me even if I’m playing fast I want to have that as part of my voice. So I think that majority of people that are in the Shred category are more of that modern, wearing the guitar up high and having the thumb behind the neck style, which that’s not me. I really feel different from that in the way I play. And it’s funny I didn’t really know what it was at first, but I really learned about that from teaching and seeing, slowing training my eye to look for that. I felt something was different but I didn’t know what it was. Now I know very precisely that oh, they are holding the guitar differently, they’re playing with a different part of their hand. That kind of technique just doesn’t allow you to get the kind of bending and vibrato that you need, you know to sound like Brian May or Robin Trower the heroes that I had growing up. So I feel much more like a 70s Rock guitar player more than a Shredder, just because of that.

What musician would you like to work with that you haven’t?

Paul: Oh let’s see, actually anybody who just jams Blues. I would love to jam Blues with Angus Young, I would love to jam Blues with Robin Trower and the reason I say I would love to jam Blues is, because that’s the kind of music where jamming where really works. There are Heavy Metal musicians that I admire enormously, but that’s not a style that really lends itself to jamming. Heavy Metal you’re loud all the time and you’re fast all the time and there’s not as much room for conversation. Things tend to be worked out and the goal is to sort of have this military tightness you know, when you see like 300 Chinese military guys all moving the same way, that’s almost like what Heavy Metal should be. You’ve rehearsed and you got it perfect and it’s beautiful, but it’s not a place where you’re going to improvise and suddenly just be in the moment and do your own thing.  And that’s what Blues opens the door for, you can sort of take your time, you can relax a little bit, you can be quiet or loud, you’ve got a lot more space for improvisation, there’s not this panic that you’ve got to do it exactly or a certain set way. And so that’s why when it comes to playing with other people, that style is so welcoming, it’s part of the nature of it. I was listening to Saxton the other day and I love those early Saxton, Heavy Metal Songs but I wouldn’t think of that as a jam. I would think of that as, you learn the song exactly the way it is, you play it perfectly, don’t mess with it you know. It’s almost like learning classical music.

I was watching a NAMM video from this past January where you and John Petrucci and Steve Lukather were all at Earnie Ball booth, and that right there would have been a great G3 tour.  I mean you’ve got different styles. You’ve got Steve; you’ve got yours, you’ve got Petrucci’s. Regarding 2017, Are you going to be doing your camp as you did back a couple of years ago?

Paul:  I’m not doing the Great Guitar Escape this year, I’m a guest at Joe Satriani’s  G4. Which is basically, that’s not a tour; it’s a camp, G3 is the tour. I’m excited about it because of course, it’s always fun to play with Joe, but the other guys that are the featured artists are  Phil Collen from Def Leppard, and Warren DeMartini from Ratt and those guys are kind of from my era like I was telling you about. They are still like 70s Rock guys, they were made famous in the 80s, but they are from the same place that I’m from musically, and they’re also guys from bands. I like that. They play with vocalists, and I feel a strong connection to what they do.

Your solo record came out last year. Do you have anything you’re thinking about in 2018, putting another one out?

Paul:  Oh well, I haven’t thought about it yet, I probably will you know, I do as much as I can. It might be some solo stuff or some Mr. Big or even Racer X, I never quite know what. I usually think about three months ahead. When it gets to October, I’ll start thinking about January.

Mr. Big’s Defying Gravity will be out on July 21, 2017.

Please check out Paul’s links:

Rock Guitar Lessons with Paul Gilbert

Paul Gilbert Signature Series Guitars From Ibanez



Nita Strauss And Her Rise To Stardom

By Andrew Catania

With an outrageously exceptional talent, astounding skills, brilliant pieces of work and an incessantly growing fandom, Nita Strauss is a renowned name which has gained immense talent and expertise within a short span of time and a relatively young age. She is smart, gifted and knows her job.

Hailing from an ancestry comprised of a hierarchy of prominent and highly prized musicians of their time, this is from where Nita has derived her passion, and this is what makes the music flow in her blood.

Born on December 7th, 1986, in Los Angeles, Nita Strauss is also known by her stage name Mega Murray. Her initial exposure to music started in the early years of her childhood. Belonging to a family of musicians, she began to play and learn music a long time before reaching her teens. This allowed her to test her skills and explore her passions on a variety of music and instrument, before finally landing on playing guitars and taking it further as her passion and profession.

It is worth noting that unlike her contemporaries, Nita has not attended a music school nor has she received any professional education at home. Her gifted, inborn talents have only enhanced through her self-taught learning, and this primarily is the reason behind her strong and unique style and techniques.

Nita Strauss stepped in to conquer the metal music sphere as a professional musician the year she stepped into her teenage, in 1997. She started off playing for metal music shows that not only brought her exposure in metal music communities.

Her finely carved tunes are a real treat for the ears, and her enthralling stage presence is a delight to watch. It has not only boosted her confidence but has also brought her a strong repute among mental fandom, critics as well as music gear manufacturers. She has also extended her portfolio by also testing on her vocal strengths.

Nita Strauss career profile features some associations that he has established over time. By 2009, her name was making uproars and echoes in the metal music sphere. So much that she became one of the most sought-after names in the industry. She partnered with Bamboozle West and As Blood Runs Black, for their Europe and US tours, where she made impressive performances on the stage.

The year 2010 brought a break through the opportunity that took her career to a whole new notch. She was handpicked by Jermaine Jackson, the brother of the King of Pop. During her association with Jermaine, Nita Strauss played in the leading capacity for a series of public concerts that were held in Africa in 2010.

Aside from her partnership with Jermaine Jackson, Nita has also partnered with some famous bands and music groups including The Iron Maidens, Femme Fatale, Consume the Fire, Alice Cooper, LA KISSCritical Hit, and her new all-female band The Starbreakers.

Ranked as #1 among Guitar World’s Top 10 Female Guitarists, Nita’s professional profile is punctuated with some commercials, guest appearances, and gear endorsements.

Andy Timmons Talks Latest Record, Danger Danger, Bad English And New Teaching Website

By Andrew Catania

This interview was conducted with Andy in January 2017 before NAMM.

Whеn Ibаnеz dіѕрlауѕ thеіr instruments аt muѕіс industry trаdе ѕhоwѕ thеу рrоmіnеntlу feature thе wоrld’ѕ greatest guіtаr heroes; Vаі, Sаtrіаnі, Gilbert……..and Andу Tіmmоnѕ.

Tіmmоnѕ ѕраrkеd his оwn guitar revolution ѕсоrіng two top 10 vіdеоѕ оn MTV wіth hіѕ bаnd Danger Dаngеr, ѕеllіng over a million rесоrdѕ, and touring thе world ореnіng fоr Kіѕѕ аnd Alice Cоореr. A handful of сrіtісаllу ассlаіmеd solo аlbumѕ followed soon after аѕ well аѕ a long аѕѕосіаtіоn as guіtаrіѕt and muѕіс dіrесtоr fоr Olіvіа Nеwtоn-Jоhn. Often rеfеrrеd tо аѕ “The Kіng Of Tone,” Tіmmоnѕ scored another glоbаl success in 2011 wіth his еmоtіvе interpretation of Thе Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’ аlbum еntіrеlу arranged for guіtаr. Never оnе to sit still, Timmons also rесоrdеd fоur аlbumѕ wіth wоrld rеnоwnеd drummеr Sіmоn Phіlірѕ (Toto, Thе Whо, Jeff Beck) аnd рlауеd thеm lіvе асrоѕѕ muсh оf the world.

Fans wіll be еxсіtеd tо learn thе nеw Andу Tіmmоnѕ Band album was released in August 2016.

Trаvіѕ Lаrѕоn Band: With ѕіx ѕtudіо аlbumѕ аnd twо full-length performance DVDs, thе аwаrd-wіnnіng Trаvіѕ Larson Bаnd is firmly rooted as оnе оf іnѕtrumеntаl music’s рrеmіеrе acts, having worked оn rесоrd wіth Stеvе Lukаthеr (Tоtо), Vісtоr Wооtеn (Bela Fleck), Dаvе LaRue (Jое Satriani, John Petrucci, Dixie Drеgѕ), Vіnx (Stіng, Hеrbіе Hаnсосk) аnd hаvіng ѕhаrеd live bіllіng wіth Tеd Nugent, UFO, Stеvе Morse (Deep Purрlе, Dіxіе Drеgѕ), Ronnie Mоntrоѕе, and The Arіѕtосrаtѕ to nаmе a fеw. Travis Lаrѕоn Band’s 2011 rеlеаѕе ‘Sоundmіnd’ еаrnеd accolades as Guіtаr Plауеr Mаgаzіnе Editor’s Top Thrее and their recent CD/DVD расkаgе ‘Shіft Happens: Lіvе’ earned a five ѕtаr rеvіеw іn Progression Mаgаzіnе.


Timmons also has a Signature, Ibanez.  Thіѕ sweet-looking аldеr bоdіеd guіtаr features a double cutaway design wіth a bеvеlеd еdgе оn thе lоwеr bоut to make іt еаѕіеr tо access frets thаt give уоu thе most squeal арреаl. The guіtаr also fеаturеѕ аn AT 1-ріесе mарlе neck with KTS TITANIUM rоdѕ tо еnѕurе lоngеvіtу аnd a Wіlkоnѕоn WV6-SB Brіdgе wіth a whаmmу bаr. Hеlріng сарturе аnd ѕhаре уоur tоnе аrе DіMаrzіо Thе Cruiser рісkuрѕ at thе nесk and mіd роѕіtіоn, a Dimarzio AT-1 brіdgе рісkuр, a 5-way pickup selector, аnd Vоlumе, Neck & Middle, & Bridge Tоnе соntrоl knоbѕ. A hardshell саѕе is іnсludеd fоr when уоu’rе nоt rocking out of your ѕhеll wіth this Ibanez оrіgіnаl.


  • Nесk tуре: AT 1-pc Maple nесk wіth KTS TITANIUM rоdѕ
  • Bоdу: Aldеr wіth dоublе сutаwау dеѕіgn аnd beveled lоwеr bоut for easier ассеѕѕ
  • Frеtbоаrd: Maple frеtbоаrd wіth blасk dоt іnlау
  • Frеt: Jumbо frets wіth Prеmіum frеt еdgе trеаtmеnt
  • Bridge: Wilkinson WV6-SB
  • Nесk рісkuр: DіMаrzіо Thе Cruiser (H) nесk pickup
  • Middle рісkuр: DіMаrzіо The Cruіѕеr (H) mіd pickup
  • Brіdgе рісkuр: DiMarzio AT-1 (H) bridge pickup

Controls: 5-wау рісkuр selector ѕуѕtеm рluѕ Volume, Neck & Mіddlе Tоnе, Brіdgе Tоnе соntrоl knobs

  • Hаrdwаrе соlоr: Chrоmе
  • Sunburѕt finish
  • Hardshell саѕе included
  • Nесk dimensions:
  • Scale: 648mm/25.5″
  • Wіdth аt Nut: 40.5″
  • Width аt Lаѕt Fret: 56mm
  • Thісknеѕѕ аt 1st: 21mm
  • Thісknеѕѕ at 12th: 23mm

I caught up with Andy just as he was getting back from his latest tour.

How’s your tour going?

Man! We just got home basically.  We did three weeks in the states, and then we just got back from two weeks in Southeast Asia.   So I’m happy to be sitting in my office right now and just getting back from Goodwill,  the post office,  and the city dump you know, I’m getting stuff done here.


 The city dump

Yes, this is rock star stuff man!  When you’re traveling, these are the things you miss doing. Some grounded normalcy you know away from the craziness that is touring.  No,  but we had a great I guess it’s been about five weeks of gigs and getting out there and playing the new record.   It’s been remarkable.  Nice to get the new record out there.  The response has been good.  Home for the holidays and we’re getting out there again next year

Yes I like your new album 

Thank you,  man! I appreciate that

I’ve always wanted to ask you.  Are  you going from like they always considered Danger Danger hair metal or terms like that 

No that’s accurate

I always wanted to ask you-you were a University of Miami grad.  You graduated with your degree, and you went from hair metal to your style of playing is I believe it’s one spectrum to the other it shows as an artist you know

Well,  that’s the thing I should clarify that I did not get a degree from Miami.  I was there for two years it was my third and fourth year of college I started off as a traditional major at the University of Evansville where I grew up in Indiana but then transferred down there.  I would have had about a year to go to graduate, and it was clear that you know I got so much information and grew so much the time I was in Miami, but I was ready to get out and make money instead of going further into debt with student loans.   I got an offer to join a band at the time with Steve Bailey on bass and Ray Brinker on drums, and we moved to Texas.  That’s how I ended up in  Texas in the mid-80’s. I grew up as a straight-edged rock & roll guy in the 70’s playing KISS and Rush and Foghat and REO Speedwagon and kind of all the arena rock of the 70’s but we got into jazzier stuff and hence my path down to Miami  and yes it kind of came full circle when I got the opportunity to join Danger Danger .  It was at a time where I probably would have been happier to get a call from Miles Davis to take Mike Stern’s place, but you know what I mean.  But I was equally as glad to get this opportunity to join a  band that was signed to a major label because that was certainly particularly at that time, not so much now but at that time that was kind of the holy grail of the music business to be in a band and signed to a major label.  So these guy’s they already kind of had things kind of in motion and so all I had to do was hop on the train mainly and was happy to do it man like I said the Andy Timmons Band had already started in 1988 and it was actually the demo’s that I recorded with my first band that got the attention of some of these other bands so,  yes it took me on a detour indeed from where now but it was a great experience. I call it my music business education primarily


Well,  it helped me to define what I want and didn’t want  I had to find myself.  I was in my 20’s and still trying to figure it out

When you were growing up how did you get involved with the guitar?

I’m the youngest of 4 guy’s.  So I was the youngest brother all four years apart.  My oldest brother was 12 when I  was born in ’63, so there was always music around the house, and they all played a little bit of guitar.  So there were always acoustic guitars around the house, and I had a toy plastic guitar from 4 years old on so it was something I was always enamored with and I loved the sound and liked the look of it.  You couldn’t keep me away from it basically, even when I wasn’t supposed to be grabbing my brother’s guitar’s I was you know taking full advantage when they weren’t in the house.   Just trying to figure out you know how to make noise and how to watch them play the chords and know how to do it when they weren’t around.  That grew from there I certainly took it more seriously as years went on than they did.  They were always kind of hobbyist and could play a little bit, but they detained going any further with it.  That certainly was my inspiration from day one.  Music in general and all the 60’s rock & roll and just try to learn how to play

Who were your influences growing up?

By the time I was learning by ear after you get past all the Beatles and the 60’s stuff which still is my favorite era of music Ace Frehley and Ted Nugent were my teachers and Alex Lifeson you know I’d put the records on.  You know like now there is such a welcome of information at everybody’s fingertip’s with the internet even going back 15 -20 years ago cassette tapes and VHS tapes and your favorite guys showing you how to play back then you didn’t have that.  There was maybe you were lucky to get a chord book from the diagram company that would show you where to put your fingers.  But it was up to you to find a teacher which I didn’t have or put your records on and figure it out, and that’s what I did from the age of 5-16.  But in my early teen’s it was that 70’s rock so the KISS Alive record was literally how I played.  I learned how to play that and the first Ted Nugent record 2112 and All The World’s A Stage that was how I learned.  It was years later that I realized that when I started encountering students that wanted lessons from me and I realized they’re just getting everything from written transcriptions and or ever they weren’t developing their ear and that’s the biggest asset of a musician is their ear’s and being able to recognize what is happening.  So kind of unknowingly I eventually took lessons and learned how to read and all that but it was the formative years of having no choice than to dig it out and earn it you know on my own through listening.  That was my biggest asset and still is to this day.

During your teenage years did you have a band that you started?

Yes.  My first gig was my 8th- grade graduation dance in 1976 and the core of the band myself and drummer Glen Gore.  The band was called Thunder Road, and it was this trio bass, guitar,  and drums. We didn’t have a singer but we still got the gig and all we played was KISS, Rush and Foghat and Nugent and maybe a couple of the pop hits but we were pretty much power trio.  That drummer and I worked together for the next seven years we worked in a band called the Taylor Bay Band.  We became local heroes from where I grew up in Evansville IN we made a record and we were getting radio play and all that.  So it was a tough decision when I decided to leave for Miami in ’83 we were you know I was sending tapes out to record labels and getting a very positive response, but it was a situation where I didn’t feel the rest band was quite as motivated as I was.  They were all older I was a kid in the group so they were all getting married and you know, and real life responsibilities were taking hold, so I decided to move on down to Miami to continue my path.  It was a great band really, and we created some terrific tunes and could have easily been signed back in the day and gone a different route, but it just wasn’t meant to be.  It was a wonderful way to grow up because I was gigging on the age of 13 three nights or four nights a week eventually and as any musician knows you’ve got to get out.  Out of your bedroom, you know you’ve got to get out there and play and get in front of people.  You know for me the stage fright took a long time and I still get nervous before gigs you just learn how to channel it into a positive energy, but it means you care it means you want to do well.  So that band Taylor Bay from ’76 to ’83 I was gigging.  Those were my guy’s you know

Wow! That’s awesome.  How did you get hooked up with Ted Colby and all those guys’?

It was through Buddy Blaze at Kramer Guitars.  I had gotten a call from Buddy Blaze this was sometime in 1988, and the guys’  from Bad English were looking for a guitar player.  It was Johnathan Cain, Ricky Phillips, and John Waite singer for the Babys.  And Neal Schon had done demo were with this group but decided he was going to go on his own and do a solo record for Columbia.  So Ricky was a Spector endorser who was made by Kramer so they reached out to all their companies and said hey we’re looking for a bluesy kind of rock guitar player who can help you recommend?  So, Buddy, he didn’t know me at the time, but he’s from the Dallas area where I was living at the time, and he got ahold of a journalist friend of his asked David Hoffman who was up and coming, and my name came up.  And so through Buddy, I sent a tape to the Bad English guys’ and flew out to San Fransisco, auditioned, got the gig.  You know,  they had been auditioning all these big name guitar players, and I  got the gig.  They said hey we’d fly you out to LA for a month and we’ll see how it goes.  During that week Neal Schon changed his mind and said basically hey I’d like to redo the group, while I was out there rehearsing with the band. And so they broke it to me in a way like well we’re going to spend a week with Neal now, and we’ll let you know.  It was pretty easy to see that you know things were going well.  Ok,  they could have half of journey or some unknown kid from Texas.  So as history would show that didn’t pan out.  Buddy Blaze also knew the guys’ from Danger Danger, and they were looking for a guitar player, and they had been signed to Epic and already had been done with the record and were looking for someone to join the band and do the videos and tour.  So they sent my tape to Bruno whom likely heard flew me out to New York to play with the band.  I think I went on two different occasions to audition and got that gig you know. So that’s just kind of the way it worked out, but it was after getting the gig with John Waite and Johnathan Cain so.  And a very funny aside is that Bad English record and Danger Danger came out the same day on the same label.  So something was in the works there you know.  So anyway that’s the little story in a very Reader’s Digest version.

If you had to choose between doing Bad English and Danger Danger looking back, without Bad English releasing you, what would you choose before

I didn’t make the decision Bad English did. You know it’s funny though the decision I did have to make though is that I got an offer to join Tower of Power at the same time I got the Danger Danger offer.  I’m not sure if you are aware of Tower of Power but very cool Oakland-based funk rock band.  They made a bazillion records over the years.   I chose Danger Danger over that thinking that it would be better and bigger exposure.  It would have been a whole different path.  You can’t go back and say oh could of, would of, should of.  I’m pleased with my experiences in the band.  The band had a lot of fans, so that was certainly my introduction onto the world stage.  You know after the group I started putting out my music, and it was certainly different.  It was a little rock based, so it appealed to some of those fans anyways.  I did have to spend a bit of time you know on the credibility front where you know if that makes sense as far as Danger Danger did not have a credible reputation as far as on the musician front.  Very lumped in with the hair bands and that type of attitude.  So I had to kind of overcome that stigma that might be attached to that.  You know what I mean as far as being a little bit more beyond you know what the capabilities of a typical hair band player might be.  So I took the good with the bad and certainly have no regrets, but I won’t say that that was easy to step out of that particular shadow


Was that your first solo album in ’94?

Yes, Ear X-Tacy would have been the first solo record.  In fact, some of the recordings on that album were recorded before I joined Danger Danger.  There’s a song called It’s Getting Better which is the first track I ever did with my band in the studio.  That survived and made the record, and there were recordings I were doing while in Danger Danger like Cry For You and Carpe Diem you know these songs were being recorded when I had time off from Danger Danger.  I’d fly out to Texas and play with my guys.  And you know we all figured that we were just recording demos.  The demos came out so well you can’t replace that so we just kind of kept it.  When Danger Danger folded at that time I came back to Texas, and we recorded like Electric Gypsy and Farmer Sez and Turn Away and that flushed out that first record.  But yes that was indeed the first solo record

And that’s what you’re talking about having to come from a band that wasn’t musically thought about having any music and stuff

It certainly wasn’t the same respect that I was hoping to garner you know being that my heroes at that time were like Eric Johnson and Satriani and Vai, Steve Lukather and those guys.

Right.  So you came out with Ear X-Tacy in ’94 and kind of established


When you still did, I Still Have The Best Name Ever did you find it easier after putting out a second record that people were accepting you as a serious musician with immense talent?

You know, it’s hard for me to be exacting about it because how do you measure people’s opinions?  But I do think I heard from a lot of people if they only would have heard from that band they would have been surprised you know that kind of record from that type of guy.  There was the NAMM show in ’93 that preceded of that record in 1993 that played at the NAMM show back when I was in a group with Simon Phillips and Gerald Veasley we backed up Satriani and Vai and Shawn Lane and Paul Gilbert while in between playing with some of the music that I would later do with Simon Phillips which is a whole different level of ability than Danger Danger.  I mean that would be kind of a pivotal point as far as people having an awareness of ok this guy is not just this particular rock & roll thing there are all these other elements you know.  So I kind of think Ibanez made an effort to try to set me apart from the pack you know they saw the potential for what I was going to do after that band.  And even in spite of being in the band,  that’s what I was being told by the A & R guy we don’t like your band but we like you and your playing, but we want to work with you.  So a kind of interesting way to go about it but yes I think things like that and exposure in some of the guitar magazines.  You know even because of some of my experience with major labels I didn’t even send my solo records to the major labels.  I put it out on my own but still got it reviewed in the magazines and just sold on-line, and it just worked out great, and I’m still doing it until this day but now it’s a lot easier to get better distribution with all the independent companies like CD Baby or Tunecore that want to distribute your music.  You don’t need the major labels especially these days.  But back then I was bucking the trend.  Steve Vai was the first guy to come on with Favored Nations when he developed Favored Nations I was one of the first people he signed you know he had me in mind.  I think I might have been one of the first three artists he signed.  It was the perfect thing because he was one of the first guys to come along as a labeled entity to say ok it’s a 50/50 split after expenses artists and labels share equally.  That’s what kept me from pursuing labels after the Danger Danger thing I saw how fucked everybody got and they were without exception.  I said this is not why I play music.  I want to control what I play, how I play, and what I record.  I want to own it.  Because we recorded the third album for Epic called Cockroach that basically when we got dropped from Epic it made it impossible to regain the rights to that record and I thought why in the world would you work so hard on something and have it not belong to you? So that was my takeaway education to Danger Danger.  Own your work and don’t bow down to what anybody else’s demands are.  You’ve got to make the music that is in your heart you know that’s the bottom line. So that’s what I’ve been able to do ever since is make decisions based on not business or finances just what do I want to do?  And therefore I’ve got a much happier existence since then.

Wow! Yes,  I did not know that about Cockroach.  That’s interesting

Yes, Bruno and Steve finally got the rights to release that like ten or so years later.  I was thrilled for it to come out.  I was proud of that record.  I thought it was a good record.  You know there’s all this history with Ted leaving the band and getting Paul Laine to come in, and both versions of the album were great.  I’m glad they were finally able to get the rights to release it.  It killed the band for the label to do that; there’s no doubt.

With your varied background I mean you’ve done sessions with Paula Abdul, Paul Stanley.  You’ve done the G4 Experience with  Paul Gilbert.  Is there a particular favorite of those I mentioned that stick out more to you than the other?

Well for me it’s always just been a loving ability to do all those things.  I mean my favorite thing is my music and band of course, but I played with Olivia Newton-John for 15 years as her music director and guitar player but also being in Simon Phillips’ group.  It couldn’t be more at the opposite end of the spectrum as far as the chops that it takes to do, but they’re equally as defining and I’m equally proud of both.  I guarantee there are not many rock players that can do Simons gig and there are not many rock players that can do Olivia’s concert and do it well.  Not that I’m patting myself on the back it’s just the way it is.  It’s a pretty short list of guys that can do that. And I think for me that’s been a huge part of my ability to keep busy.  You know after Danger Danger folded you’ve got to pick up your pieces and make a living right? I’m able to get a guitar and fit into almost any situation because of a lifetime of really loving all styles of music and not being an elitist in any way.  There are some jazz players that are very elitists about oh man it’s got to be jazz or heavy metal guys that it’s got to be metal.  I love it all equally, and I love the process of learning and the process to try to assimilate most organically and authentically really and to be able to play these different styles.  It helped me make a living all these years and so it’s a lot of fun for me and very rewarding when I can get into some of these situations that are very diverse.  But to try to play what’s right and what’s appropriate, you know musically at that time.  Believe me; it’s not about when we shred this up what’s going to make her sound great? The same with Simon, you know.   It’s what’s going to be appropriate for this piece of music.  And that’s great advice for anybody wanting to be a professional musician and maybe outside as a solo artist in a particular band.  Just be interested and be open to playing a lot of different things.  If it’s truly in your heart, you know.

Yes, your versatility is amazing

Thank you! Thank you, man!

There are few people that can go from Olivia Newton-John to Kip Winger to Paula Abdul to Paul Stanley and then go with Vai back to Gilbert

Let me say, talk about somebody tell me the stigma of the hair band thing with Kip Winger.   This guy is easily by far the most talented guy I’ve ever worked with, and I’m including anybody I’ve ever worked with there are a lot of great guys on that list and girls.  But this guy is just a brilliant dude and for him to get bashed the way he did and that band of all bands they were the one band that could play.  Nothing against every other band in that genre but come on man, these guys were just freaking bad ass to the bone.  Every one of them was just basically virtuoso on their instrument and so to watch a guy like that just get beat down.  In television,  metal bands are making fun of him in concert.  You know this takes a toll on a person but for him to rise through that.  That first record he made This Conversation Seems Like A Dream was easily one of the top three or four favorite things I’ve ever done.  That was incredible to be a part of that was a great record, and he has gone on and writing more music, he’s writing more catchable music.  He’s writing for the New York Ballet.  There are a few notable names out there that I won’t mention.  I raise a huge middle finger to them.  Kip is a talented guy.  You’re getting the brunt of my frustration about that.

That’s ok!  I think the Beavis and Butthead show did a number on Kip.

That was a huge thing.  There was another notable group that threw darts at his picture.  I know it hurt the guy.  I’m proud of him rising above the shit.  The stuff he’s done on his own and with Winger is amazing.  We have some stuff on the back burner that was going to work on when we get a chance.  That will continue my friendship with Kip.  He’s one of the deepest cats that I know.

When you’re writing, do you write the lyrics first or the music?

It depends on the song.  Sometimes the melody or figure out the harmony.  The songs on my new album are about specific events that have happened to me.  I’m very proud of my new record.

With your new record, as a player myself, you take me out of my comfort zone from what I usually listen too.  The technical aspect of your new album is amazing.

Ok good!  That’s a big compliment!  Don’t get me wrong I still think the world of the shredders.  I recently just saw Yngwie play for the first time in the last two years and it was one of the best performances I’ve seen.  My shredding days aren’t over.  There might be another Ear X-Tacy record in the future.  I just want to continue and grow as a player.,

What’s your rig these days?

Mesa Boogie Lonestars.  I prefer 2 2×12 combos 2×12 rectifier cabinets.   JHS AT Signature Exotic BB Pre Amp, Kiley, Timeline echo sound, Carl Martin GNI multi fuzz, Dunlop expression pedal.

Your signature guitar is the  AT-10P

My main guitar is the at-100.  The AT-10p is an Indonesia made a version of at100.  The original AT-100 came out in 1994 and will have the 9th set of frets being put on.  So, hopefully, it will carry on.  I was skeptical about doing a lesser expensive of my AT-100.  They opened the plant and-and copied the specs.  They nailed it.  We just had two weeks, and Southeast Asia and I must’ve signed at least 30 of them.  One of my best stats is my 83 Squier.  The USA made guitars can be great.  So can overseas be made.

What are your plans for 2017?

I’ll be staying home for the first few months with my family.  I’ve been burning the candle at both ends touring extensively.  What I’ll be doing is putting up a website where I provide content and people will pay a monthly subscriber fee.  Doing a playthrough of all of my songs.  It will have all kinds of content.  I’ll still be promoting my new record.  I’ll be doing a special at NAMM with Tony McAlpine and others.

Check out Andy at his website http://andytimmons.com/

Buy Andy Timmons Band CD  https://andy-timmons.myshopify.com/collections/compact-disc/products/theme-from-a-perfect-world

Megadeth’s Kiko Loureiro Shredding Across the Globe

By Andrew Catania

Born on 16th June 1972 in the mesmerizing Rio de Janeiro region of Brazil, Kiko Loureiro is not a new name for the music enthusiast, specifically among the heavy metal aficionados who consider him as an ultimate legend, the ace master of the genre!

Kiko Loureiro has emerged as the present age music sensation due to his heavy metal guitar mastery as his signature forte. Kiko’s professional career incepted at a time when guitar playing was overshadowed in the midst of new, refined, and state-of-art musical instruments.

While the music industry was heavily directed towards improvisations and inventions in instruments and playing techniques, Kiko Loureiro opted to stick to the conventional patterns of guitar playing, something which eventually turned out to be quite a unique feat at that time. The prime motivation behind this decision was the bygone era of rock and roll legends that has always inspired the young Kiko Loureiro ever since his childhood.

Kiko Loureiro started practicing his fingers on a basic acoustic guitar at the tender age of 11, having learned the skills and tactics of Brazil’s legendary musicians, Mozart Mello and Pedro Bueno, and being immensely inspired by maestros such as Jimmy Page, Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Helen, and Jimi Hendrix.

Having mastered the intricacies of the electric guitar by then, Kiko Loureiro had started gaining prominence in the music spheres. Impressed by his brilliance and the depth of his skills, Kiko Loureiro was welcomed as a core member in ‘The Legalize’ and ‘A Chave’, 2 eminent bands of their time. This is how he kick-started his professional career.

Doing a good job by tackling all opportunities that came his way, Kiko Loureiro progressed, learned, and polished his skills along the way. By the time he turned 19 years of age, he had paired up with Rafael Bittencourt, Andre Linhares, Fabio Lione, Bruno Valverde and Felipe Andreoli at Angra’s platform. He has released 8 studio albums, 5 EPs, and 3 live CDs till date.

Aside from his band associations, Kiko Loureiro also focused on strengthening his personal mastery in the heavy metal genre. His extensive knowledge of the basic intricacies and his penchant to improvise and infuse his own flavor in the music he squeezed out of his instrument led him to produce a number of his own solo records which has resulted in him building an impressive personal portfolio over time.

His solo numbers include ‘No Gravity (2005)’, ‘Universo Inverso (2006)’, ‘Fullblast (2009)’, and ‘Sounds of Innocence (2012)’. Besides that, he has also imparted his personal learning and music knowledge through a number of tutorials, playing lessons, and instructional videos from 1993 until 2010.

A polyglot, being fluent in English, Spanish, French and Finnish, Kiko Loureiro paired up with Dave Rogers to play for his Eurobeat songs. Furthermore, at the platforms of Tribuzy, Tarja, Neural Code and Paco Ventura Black Moon, he has played for an extensive variety of records, EPS, and live jamming sessions.

The news of Kiko Loureiro joining hands with acclaimed American metal band Megadeth came as a great surprise for the music enthusiasts, with Kiko Loureiro replaced Chris Broderick Megadeth. After taking Kiko Loureiro on board on 2nd April 2015, they released their album Dystopia in 2016, one that has received immense applause from the critics and the audience alike.

Follow Kiko @ http://www.kikoloureiro.com

The Rise of Angel Vivaldi

By Andrew Catania

Influenced by the reverberating aura of the legendary ancestors and self-confined by the bars set by the ancestral musicians, the younger generations of musicians often refrain from risking their careers with an experimentation of techniques and tend to follow the set blueprints. It only happens once in a blue moon that an amateur minstrel emerges within the musical sphere and attempts to infuse their own imprints on the well-grounded skills and techniques. Angel Vivaldi is one such name; a young enthusiast with a penchant to lead the refinement and improvisation of the rock guitar genre in the present era.

Angel Vivaldi is a budding name whose works and techniques have stirred the long prevalent status quo of the music sphere. Born in New Jersey on 13th June 1985, Vivaldi got his hands on his first ever guitar at the age of 15. His fingers first encounter with the chords was the defining moment of his life and sparked his passion for music. He embarked on his mission to learn the basics and intricacies of the chords from Metallica, Nirvana and Chevelle, all of whom happened to be his primary influences. Vivaldi coupled his learning with his personal improvisations and after a strenuous haul of efforts, successes and setbacks, he stepped out of his incubation phase, releasing ‘Revelations’ in 2008.

The debut album turned out to the litmus test of his talent and his playing style resonated enough to attract multiple bands who later invited him to join their platform. Angel Vivaldi partnered with 40 Below Summer in a permanent capacity as the lead guitarist. The band later ventured into a joint feat with the detached member of Flaw to establish a new entity called the Black Market Hero.

Photo by Brian Fijal

Aside from strengthening his band associations and performing on a series of tours and concerts, Angel Vivaldi also focused on establishing his solo profile and released another solo album titled ‘The Speed of Dark’ in 2009. Later, Angel Vivaldi bid farewell to Black Market Hero and embarked on a solo fight. 2 years later, he released ‘Universal Language’ which brought him significant applause from the camps of the audiences and critics alike. The album turned out to be the beginning of a new association. Will Putney of The Machine Shop, one who refined and produced ‘Universal Language’, also funded and backed Vivaldi in releasing Volume 1 of ‘Away with Words’ in 2014.

Angel Vivaldi has performed numerous solos as well as on tours and has also made special guest appearances on TV shows. Volume 2 of ‘Away with Words’ is still a work in progress as Vivaldi slowly progresses to establish his signature forte of pure instrumental rock. Vivaldi aspires to inspire the music sphere with the purity of absolute instrumentals. Eliminating lyrics and vocals from a number bring the background score and supporting instruments to the forefront. Promoting rock and pop instrumentals through his captivating pulls, jolting breaks and ecstatic beats, Angel Vivaldi continues to pursue his passion to streamline instrumentals with modern rock and heavy metal.


Follow Angel Vivaldi @ http://www.angelvivaldiofficial.com/


The Professor Joe Satriani

By Andrew Catania

For most musicians, just being nominated for a Grammy is a dream come true in itself. However, being nominated for the Grammy Award a total of fifteen times and selling over 10 million albums makes Joe Satriani incomparable to most musicians.

The Midas of all instrumentalists, it would be nothing but fair to say that Satriani truly turns everything he touches to audio gold. Joseph “Joe” Satriani is an American born and bred multi-instrumentalist best known for his career as a rock guitarist.

Influenced by the death of the legendary Jimi Hendrix, Satriani was drawn to the world of guitars at the age of 14. How he started to play the guitar is a narrative made for the history books. He heard of Hendrix’s death on the football field during football practice, walked off to his coach and informed his coach of his decision to quit in order to become a guitarist. He fell in love with the legend Hendrix was and today, he is nothing short of extraordinary himself.

In 1978, Satriani moved to California to pursue a career in music. He started teaching the guitar during this period. His skills on the guitar and fluid communication methods as an instructor led to numerous of his former students achieving unparalleled levels of success. Some of his former students include Steve Vai, Rick Hunolt, Larry LaLonde, Kirk Hammett and Charlie Hunter.

In 1986, Satriani released his first studio album titled Not of This Earth. It drove in successful critical acclaim and led to Satriani recording his second solo album, Surfing with the Alien, the very next year in 1987. It was the first all-instrumental solo album to perform as well as it had and to have become a radio hit since a significant number of years.

The news of his talent spread like wildfire through people who had witnessed his firsthand success. In 1988, a decade after he became a teacher, Satriani was recruited by Mick Jagger as lead guitarist for Jagger’s first solo tour. In 1989, Satriani released his third album Flying in a Blue Dream, inspired by the death of his father who had passed away during the making of the album. In 1992, Satriani released The Extremist, which has proven to become the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful album of his till date.

With one successful solo album release after the next, Satriani soon rose to worldwide fame. In 1993, he was invited to join the incredible Deep Purple as a temporary replacement for Ritchie Blackmore who had just left the band.

With 15 albums released since 1986 and with 15 Grammy Nominations, Joe Satriani is a name recognized across the world, from every corner of the United States to developing nations across Asia. He is considered to have mastered extremely difficult performance techniques on the electric guitar. Influenced by blues – rock guitar icons such as Hendrix and Clapton, he is skilled alternate picking, legato, harmonics and extreme whammy bar effects amongst numerous skills.

The fact that a significant number of his students have achieved critical commercial success is only a reflection of the master’s trade. It’s a pleasure following Satriani’s success and we’re just around the corner – waiting for his first Grammy win because it’s about damn time.

Simona Soddu – Italy’s Young Shredder

By Andrew Catania

It’s exceptional that there’s many up and coming female guitarists.  Meet Simona Soddu.  Simona caught my eye when I was watching her YouTube videos.  Her acoustic version of Megadeth’s Tornado of Souls is phenomenal.  Influenced by John Petrucci, John 5, and Nuno Bettencourt, Simona showcases her talent through the passion you can hear in her playing.  Here’s some more information on Simona.

Simona Soddu was born in Cagliari (Italy), where she currently lives. She started playing guitar at the age of 13, learning from her brother first and then by taking private lessons from Brian Maillard (Solid Vision, Dominici).
In her teens, her main band was Grim Drowsiness (death melodic/prog metal), with whom she played live intensively and recorded a demo in 2009. During the summer of the same year she toured with Brian Maillard’s trio (progressive metal) to promote his first instrumental album called Melody in Captivity. Her role was to play the rhythm guitar parts. Between 2009 and 2011 she collaborated with Magic Salad (folk-rock) recording some guitar
parts in their first album “Every Forest has its Shadows” and playing with them in several live shows. Afterwards, she appeared as guest musician in the rock-opera ‘Checkmate‘ by D.G.I., performing the guitar solo on track 7. Between 2013 and 2014 she recorded her first instrumental solo album ‘Leftovers’ and started to actively run her YouTube channel with over 300 thousand views.
 ‘Leftovers’ is a collection of 11 instrumental tracks entirely composed by Simona Soddu during her whole music growth. All of these compositions were never been released for different reasons: some of them were supposed to be in the first album of her death melodic metal band Grim Drowsiness that eventually split up; others were rejected at the time; and some others were not suitable for the genre of the band she had at the moment of their conception. Thus after a while Simona decided to recover all of these ideas, literally “leftovers”, re-arrange them and put them together in this album. This is the reason why metal tones are often alternated to clean sounds or relaxed rhythms and the genre of Leftovers is overall highly diversified.
Simona recorded all the guitar and bass parts. The drums, as well as the keyboards, were written by Simona and emulated with a sample software, except for track 2, 4, 8 and 10 where drums were played by Davide Sgualdini who also co-produced, engineered, recorded, mixed and mastered the album. ‘Leftovers’ was released on November 14th 2015.

Simona is a talented player, who exuberates sounds of Satriani, and her influences of John 5 and Petrucci.

‘Leftovers’ is available on Spotify, ITunes, and Amazon.


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