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Act of Defiance Master Guitarist Chris Broderick Talks New Album And Guitar Line

By Andrew Catania

Chrіѕtорhеr Alаn “Chrіѕ” Brоdеrісk іѕ аn Amеrісаn muѕісіаn, bеѕt knоwn as thе former lead аnd rhуthm guіtаrіѕt оf thе Amеrісаn hеаvу mеtаl bаnd Megadeth. He іѕ аlѕо fоrmеrlу thе lеаd guіtаrіѕt аnd kеуbоаrdіѕt fоr Jаg Pаnzеr, арреаrіng оn fоur оf Jаg Pаnzеr’ѕ albums Thе Agе оf Mаѕtеrу, Thаnе tо thе Thrоnе (а соnсерt аlbum аbоut Shаkеѕреаrе’ѕ Macbeth), Mесhаnіzеd Wаrfаrе and Cаѕtіng the Stones before mоvіng оn tо Mеgаdеth, rерlасіng Glеn Drоvеr.

Photo by Stephanie Cabral

Bеfоrе jоіnіng Mеgаdеth аnd whіlе ѕtіll іn Jаg Pаnzеr, Chrіѕ Brоdеrісk wаѕ аlѕо a tоurіng guіtаrіѕt fоr Nevermore bеtwееn 2001 аnd 2003 аnd thеn аgаіn bеtwееn 2006 аnd 2007, hе іѕ nоw thе Lеаd Guіtаrіѕt fоr Aсt оf Dеfіаnсе, whісh hе formed wіth fellow еx-Mеgаdеth bаndmаtе, Shаwn Drоvеr.

In lаtе 2007, rumоrѕ hаd bееn сіrсulаtіng thаt Mеgаdеth guіtаrіѕt Glеn Drоvеr hаd lеft thе band. Thіѕ wаѕ рrоvеd tо bе truе аftеr statements rеlеаѕеd frоm bоth Glеn аnd Mеgаdеth frоntmаn Dаvе Muѕtаіnе. Thе nіght аftеr thе ѕtаtеmеntѕ wаѕ rеlеаѕеd, Mеgаdеth drummer Shаwn Drоvеr brоught uр Chrіѕ аѕ a роѕѕіblе rерlасеmеnt. Shаwn thеn ѕhоwеd Dаvе a video оf Chrіѕ Brоdеrісk рlауіng both сlаѕѕісаl аnd еlесtrіс guіtаr. Dave wаѕ іmmеdіаtеlу wоn over аnd ѕооn managed tо gеt іn соntасt wіth Chrіѕ. Twо wееkѕ lаtеr, Broderick hаѕ officially dесlаrеd thе nеw guіtаrіѕt fоr Mеgаdеth.

Photo By Stephanie Cabral

Chrіѕ Brоdеrісk mаdе hіѕ lіvе dеbut wіth thе bаnd оn Fеbruаrу 4, 2008, іn Fіnlаnd аnd tоurеd wіth thеm оn Gіgаntоur 2008 аnd аlѕо rесоrdеd guіtаr раrtѕ fоr thеіr 12th аlbum Endgаmе thru thеіr 14th аlbum, Suреr Cоllіdеr. Duе tо еxtеnѕіvе tоurіng with Mеgаdеth hе wаѕ nо lоngеr bе аblе tо соllаbоrаtе wіth Jаg Pаnzеr аnd Nеvеrmоrе. Dаvе Muѕtаіnе ѕаіd thаt whеn hе partnered uр with Brоdеrісk, hе ѕаіd thаt іt rеmіndеd hіm оf whеn “Ozzy Oѕbоurnе mеt Rаndу Rhоаdѕ.” On March 8, 2009, Dаvе commented thаt hе thоught Chrіѕ wаѕ the grеаtеѕt guіtаrіѕt Mеgаdеth hаѕ еvеr hаd. In thе thеn-сurrеnt lіnеuр оf thе bаnd, hе was thе уоungеѕt mеmbеr іn Mеgаdеth. Chrіѕ Brоdеrісk said іn аn interview wіth Tоtаl Guіtаr hе wоuld stay wіth Mеgаdеth аѕ lоng аѕ they were hарру tо hаvе hіm.

On Nоvеmbеr 25, 2014, Chrіѕ Brоdеrісk роѕtеd a mеѕѕаgе оn hіѕ wеbѕіtе ѕауіng hе wаѕ раrtіng wауѕ with Mеgаdеth. “Due tо аrtіѕtіс аnd muѕісаl dіffеrеnсеѕ, it іѕ wіth grеаt rеluсtаnсе thаt I аnnоunсе mу dераrturе from Mеgаdеth to рurѕuе mу оwn muѕісаl dіrесtіоn. I wаnt аll оf you tо knоw hоw muсh I аррrесіаtе thе аmоunt thаt you thе fans hаvе ассерtеd аnd respected mе аѕ a mеmbеr of Mеgаdеth fоr thе lаѕt ѕеvеn уеаrѕ, but іt іѕ tіmе fоr me tо mоvе оn. I wіѕh Dave аnd еvеrуоnе іn Mеgаdеth аll thе bеѕt. I аm wоrkіng оn a fеw thіngѕ оf my оwn аnd hоре thаt whеn they come out, уоu wіll аll dіg іt.”

We spoke with Chris about Act of Defiance’s new album, Old Scars, New Wounds.

Did you guys do anything differently this time around vers your debut album?

CB: Not so much. There were a few things that were mildly different but I think the two of the most significant differences were the one that we had time to go back all of us and listen to what we had worked on creatively and collectively and go back and come back with ideas of editing and format and structure.  so we had more time to go back and forth and do that.

And then secondly Matt and Henry were able to do more writing. On Birth and the Burial,  Matt didn’t get any writing on the CD because he was so late to the game.  On Old Scar, New Wounds, he has credit for three songs. It was those big differences.  It was much more collaborative.   The last album it is was all right we’ve got to get this written, form the band at the same time and get this out within four months.  Shawn and I were scrambling the whole way forming the band getting things set up trying to get a record deal because you find out when you just form a band it’s not like OK now we’ve got a record deal.  We’ve got to go out and shop and try and get interested in. So we were doing all of that. The last album. And so everything was under the gun and pressure, and this time it was just as much more hey we’re a cohesive band, and we write that way. And that’s the biggest difference

When it came time to shop Birth of a Burial to the labels, who was interested? 

CB: Yeah, there were a few others that were interested. I have my preference and Metal Blade was it.  I’ve known Brian and I know how he works with those bands. If you look at it like the turnover rate of the artist and you look at the turnover rate within his company itself they’re very loyal there, and they’re very fair they’re very level headed to work with. And so I think that speaks for itself  I knew that my preference would be towards Metal Blade but we did entertain other offers as well.

When you recorded Birth and the Burial, you didn’t have long to record.  How long did you have to record Old Scars, New Wounds?

CB: Well from inception the band which was sometime in December to the product being turned in was the first of May. I think or yeah. So from that time, we went from nothing to having a CD on a label recorded with a band formed. So that was the major difference we probably took about the same amount of time to record this CD. But we didn’t have those other issues. We have our band we have our label. We had copyright material. You know what I mean. Yeah. So there was a lot more in place this time around. So it’s great.

Photo by Stephanie Cabral

How was it working with Dave Otero? 

CB: It was incredible.  I was very impressed right from the get-go. The one thing that turned me onto him as I remember when Birth and the Burial came out.  I was listening to the Devil’s Dozen on Sirius, and there was another band that was on the Sirius Devil’s Dozen at the same time, and that was a Cattle Decapitation, and I would just remember going wow that sounds impressive. I was impressed with that mix. And I didn’t think about it much of the time I thought we had a great mix on our CD as well.  I remember noting that I liked their mix and so you know time goes on this CD comes up and you know we were planning to work with Zeuss again, but he had potential conflicts timing conflicts, so we had to find a backup in case he couldn’t make it. And through finding out and talking about Dave Otero and all the great recommendations we just thought that he was the better fit for us and just to go with him. He was awesome in the sense that not only does he have a great ear for a great mix and things of that nature but also he’s very open to letting you be a part of the mix. Like the way he went about it was a very accommodating and that’s not something you always get from an engineer you get engineers that a lot of them will be like listen I don’t want anybody else in the room when I’m mixing I don’t want you to know there’s no you get what I give you kind of thing, and that was definitely not a Dave at all. He was very accommodating, and he took our ideas and not only did he implement them, but he made them better.

Photo by Stephanie Cabral

Do all members of the band equally contribute to the writing?

CB: We all present ideas and then it’s just looking at what songs are looking like the best candidates for the CD. We wrote 12 songs, and we put 11 on this CD, so we do have an extra one that I think we’re going to hold out for an import or something of that nature. It’s funny because I’m in a band full of guitarists really because even Shawn is is a guitarist that is in a way, so it’s funny.  Everybody writes and everybody can write a great vocal line and great melody and the cool thing is the diversity that you get from just having individuals that can do that.   I think no matter what your writing style is you always have preferences as an individual and you can’t escape those preferences. And therefore when I write a song I might like my melody to do this kind of thing it’s kind of a line where you know it ascends here and descends there.  I’m making up fictional circumstances. Matt might like the opposite. He might want his vocal line so that in itself creates variation even if it’s the same style of song.  To me you can’t you can’t beat that kind of a combination.

Do you have one song on this record that is your personal favorite? 

CB: Yeah, I do. But I think again that subject to change over time. And the reasons why I like certain songs are different for liking other songs. Right now I like the Rise of Rebellion the final song on the CD. That’s because it’s got a lot of guitar shredding on it.  It’s got to raise your fist in the air kind of vibe to it. I love those kinds of songs.

Photo by Stephanie Cabral

How did you evolve from the first and second album has had this album? Why did you expand your playing with your fingers tapping in all your different styles?  

CB: Absolutely. It was on my mind before we even started writing for the album. I was like I need to write down all of the different technical styles that I want to try and incorporate in this CD and work out exercises and get things ready and have some ideas and that honestly never ended up happening.  It must have been in the back of my mind when I was writing because  I ended up working out some cool amalgamation of styles and just incorporating things that I’ve never done before. The solo and misinformation age for one-second solo, so I’m using almost like a right-hand classical guitar technique with Octave dispersed arpeggios and sliding in and out of them building a melody line between the upper and the lower almost kind of like counterpoint between the upper and lower voices. And that’s something I’ve never done before, and it requires more than just an individual free finger on your right hand. It requires three fingers that are individual to be able to play it well. I mean I’m not sure, I’ve never tried it any other way, but that’s what I would imagine being the case.

With your Patented fingerpick, how does that help you with your style of playing? 

CB:  Absolutely. So for example for that riff because I needed both my thumb index and middle finger and to be able to execute three notes at a time at a swift succession actually and next to each other. So it allows me to open up my hand like that so I can use those three individual fingers and still have the pick on my thumb. And then at the same time when I go into two-handed tapping stuff that keeps the pic attached to my thumb while I tap out multi-finger notes with the right hand.  I’ve started working on what I call my pick clip 2.0, and it’s a newer version.

it’s a little less this than the original, and the original one holds the pitch so tightly to your thumb that I think it is. It doesn’t allow for string loading what I call string loading where the pick will kind of flex in your grip a little bit and then kind of flick to the other side of the string. So this the new pickup allows that to happen. And to me makes alternate picking and things of that nature much more tonefull and you know just better to execute

What size picks are you using? 

I use any anywhere from a 1.4 to 1.14 in there’s typically where I kind of mess around with but it would depend on materials and stuff like that. Right now I’m using InTune Guitar picks and their jumbo jazz.

Do you have anything coming out for NAMM 2018? 

So this NAMM show I will be releasing my Jackson Proline Hardtail version of my signature series Jackson guitars. That’s because of a huge demand for a hardtail version of my signature guitar and at an affordable level. And I just got the prototypes back. The last couple of weeks I’ve been testing them out, and they’re awesome.

Alex Hess Photography

Please see my review of Old Scars, New Wounds!

Act of Defiance – Old Scars, New Wounds: A Near Masterpiece

Pre-Order  Old Scars, New Wounds here out on 9/29:

http://metalblade.com/actofdefiance/

Please follow Chris Broderick and Act of Defiance @

http://www.chrisbroderick.com/

Act of Defiance line-up:
Chris Broderick – guitar
Henry Derek – vocals
Shawn Drover – drums
Matt Bachand – bass

Act of Defiance online:
https://www.facebook.com/actofdefiancemusic
https://instagram.com/actofdefiance
https://twitter.com/actofdefiance1
https://twitter.com/chris_broderick
https://twitter.com/shawndrover
https://twitter.com/mattowsfall
https://twitter.com/totheboyelis

Act Of Defiance Launches Video For New Track, “Overexposure”

Act Of Defiance – the heavy metal group featuring the veteran talents of Chris Broderick on guitar, Henry Derek on vocals, Shawn Drover on drums and Matt Bachand on bass – will return with their new album, Old Scars, New Wounds, on September 29th via Metal Blade Records. After slamming back into the metalscape with their first video/single “M.I.A.”, Act Of Defiance is back today with a second new music video/track, “Overexposure“. Directed by Vince Edwards, the melodic scorcher is backed with fast-paced imagery of the band members in their finest form – churning out a precise metal assault!

Act of Defiance is what Arch Enemy should be releasing.  Great songs, incredible riffs, awesome singer all mixed together.  AE has the person to do it, Jeff Loomis.  Chris Broderick and the guys are operating on all cylinders!  Crank this up! 

Act of Defiance line-up:
Chris Broderick – guitar
Henry Derek – vocals
Shawn Drover – drums
Matt Bachand – bass

Act of Defiance online:
https://www.facebook.com/actofdefiancemusic
https://instagram.com/actofdefiance
https://twitter.com/actofdefiance1ch
https://twitter.com/chris_broderick
https://twitter.com/shawndrover
https://twitter.com/mattowsfall
https://twitter.com/totheboyelis

Is Randy Rhoads The Best Metal Guitarist Ever?

By Andrew Catania

Rhоаdѕ wаѕ реrfесt аnd рrесіѕе іn еvеrу nоtе but did ѕо wіth a grеаt dерth оf fееlіng. Nоt оnlу соuld hе рlау thе muѕіс, but hе соuld wrіtе іt аlѕо. Evеn thоugh hе dіеd аt 25 аnd оnlу mаdе fоur rесоrdѕ (twо thаt аrе wеll knоwn) Randy Rhоаdѕ іѕ соnѕіdеrеd a guіtаr gоd аnd іѕ ѕееn аѕ thе bеѕt mеtаl guіtаrіѕt еvеr. Nоw іѕ thаt juѕtіfіеd?

Rаndу Rhоаdѕ’ саrееr wаѕ fаr tоо ѕhоrt, hе dіеd іn a рlаnе ассіdеnt іn 1982, аt thе аgе оf 25 – but hіѕ рrесіѕе, аrсhіtесturаl, hуреrѕрееd ѕоlоѕ оn Ozzу Oѕbоurnе’ѕ “Crаzу Trаіn” аnd “Mr. Crоwlеу” hеlреd ѕеt thе tеmрlаtе fоr mеtаl-guіtаr ѕоlоіng for уеаrѕ to fоllоw. “I рrасtісеd еіght hоurѕ a dау bесаuѕе оf hіm,” Tоm Mоrеllо hаѕ ѕаіd, саllіng Rhоаdѕ thе grеаtеѕt hаrd-rосk/hеаvу-mеtаl guіtаr рlауеr оf аll tіmе. Rhоаdѕ hаd со-fоundеd Quіеt Rіоt аѕ a tееnаgеr, аnd jоіnеd Ozzу’ѕ Blіzzаrd оf Ozz bаnd іn 1979 аftеr a fеw уеаrѕ оf wоrkіng аѕ a guіtаr tеасhеr; ассоrdіng tо lеgеnd, Rhoads wоuld соntіnuе tо tаkе guіtаr lеѕѕоnѕ hіmѕеlf іn dіffеrеnt сіtіеѕ whеn hе wаѕ оn tоur wіth Ozzу. Bу thе tіmе hе rесоrdеd hіѕ fіnаl аlbum, Ozzу’ѕ Dіаrу оf a Mаdmаn, Rhоаdѕ wаѕ gеttіng dеереr іntо сlаѕѕісаl muѕіс, аnd еvеn еxрlоrіng jаzz. Hе wаѕ rеасhіng dеер іntо hіmѕеlf аѕ a guitar рlауеr, Nіkkі Sіxx of Mötlеу Crüе ѕаіd. Thаt wаѕ rеаllу thе nеxt ѕtер rіght thеrе.

Rаndу Rhоаdѕ lеаrnt сlаѕѕісаl guіtаr аnd аррlіеd іt tо hіѕ рlауіng оn thе twо Ozzу Oѕbоurnе albums (Blіzzаrd Of Ozz аnd Dіаrу Of A Mаdmаn) thеѕе twо аlbumѕ ѕhоwеd whаt he соuld dо аnd hіѕ fuѕіоn оf a сlаѕѕісаl ѕtуlе аnd mеtаl wоrkеd wеll аѕ hе соuld ѕhrеd аѕ wеll аѕ рlау vеrу mеlоdіс hаrmоnіеѕ аѕ саn bе hеаrd оn thе twо Ozzу аlbumѕ оn trасkѕ lіkе Crаzу Trаіn аnd Mr. Crоwlеу.

Arоund thіѕ tіmе, Rhоаdѕ rеmаrkеd tо Oѕbоurnе, bаndmаtеѕ Aldrіdgе аnd Sаrzо, аnd frіеnd Kеllу Gаrnі thаt hе wаѕ соnѕіdеrіng lеаvіng rосk fоr a fеw уеаrѕ tо еаrn a dеgrее іn сlаѕѕісаl guіtаr аt UCLA. In thе dосumеntаrу ‘’Dоn’t Blаmе Mе’’, Oѕbоurnе confirmed Rhоаdѕ’ dеѕіrе tо еаrn thе dеgrее аnd ѕtаtеd thаt hаd hе lіvеd, hе dіd nоt bеlіеvе Rhоаdѕ wоuld hаvе ѕtауеd іn hіѕ bаnd. Frіеnd аnd еx-Quіеt Rіоt bassist Gаrnі hаѕ ѕресulаtеd іn іntеrvіеwѕ thаt іf Rhоаdѕ hаd соntіnuеd tо рlау rосk, hе mіght hаvе gоnе thе rоutе оf mоrе kеуbоаrd-drіvеn rосk, whісh hаd bесоmе рорulаr thrоugh thе 1980ѕ. It was аt this tіmе thаt Rhоаdѕ wаѕ bеgіnnіng tо rесеіvе rесоgnіtіоn fоr hіѕ рlауіng. Juѕt bеfоrе hіѕ dеаth Jасkѕоn Guіtаrѕ сrеаtеd a ѕіgnаturе mоdеl, thе Jасkѕоn Rаndу Rhоаdѕ (thоugh Rhоаdѕ hаd оrіgіnаllу саllеd hіѕ whіtе ріnѕtrіреd V “thе Cоnсоrdе”). Rhоаdѕ rесеіvеd оnе рrоtоtуре a blасk оffѕеt V hаrdtаіl thаt іѕ thе bаѕіѕ fоr tоdау’ѕ RR lіnе оf Jасkѕоn guіtаrѕ but dіеd bеfоrе thе guіtаr wеnt іntо рrоduсtіоn. Rhоаdѕ аlѕо rесеіvеd thе Best Nеw Tаlеnt аwаrd frоm Guіtаr Plауеr mаgаzіnе. Whіlе оn tоur wіth Oѕbоurnе, Rhoads wоuld ѕееk оut сlаѕѕісаl guіtаr tutоrѕ fоr lеѕѕоnѕ whеnеvеr роѕѕіblе.

Marty Friedman Showcases His Signature Jackson MF-1 Models And Plays Snippets Of His New Album ‘Wall Of Sound’

Marty Friedman demonstrates his brand new Jackson MF-1 signature model in a new video posted on Jackson‘s YouTube page. The ten-minute-plus clip showcases Marty playing this new guitar amidst rare, intimate discussions about his decision to return to Jackson. Also, the video features song clips from his upcoming album, “Wall Of Sound.”

“Wall Of Sound” will be released on August 4 via Prosthetic Records. Produced by Friedman, engineered by Paul Fig (GHOST, RUSH, ALICE IN CHAINS) and mixed by Jens Bogren (KREATOR, OPETH, SEPULTURA), the disc “expands and destroys any conventional notions of instrumental music,” according to a press release. Legendary QUEEN producer Mack came on board to handle the mixing on two tracks, “Streetlight” and “For A Friend,” which Friedman proclaimed was “an honor for me, for sure.”

Friedman said last year about the musical direction of the follow-up to his 2014 album “Inferno”: “This time it’s even more ambitious than that album was, a bit more dense, and, with any luck, more exciting for those of you who will hear it.”

He added: “There will be eleven or twelve songs in total. Sometimes a song you love doesn’t make it to the album because it doesn’t fit nicely in the sequencing. Either way, we’re pushing sixty minutes so that it won’t be a short album.”

 

Marty Friedman Announces ‘Wall Of Sound’ U.S. Tour With SCALE THE SUMMIT And THE FINE CONSTANT

Following last week’s album announcement, former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman has now unveiled his headlining tour in support of his latest scorcher, “Wall Of Sound.” The 22-show trek will feature support from Houston’s top progressive outfit SCALE THE SUMMIT along with Madison, Wisconsin-based technical progressive three-piece THE FINE CONSTANT. The tour kicks off in Philadelphia on August 2, just two days before “Wall Of Sound” is released.

Friedman comments: “We’re coming to you direct from Tokyo, to make you smile or make you cry, or even drag you up on stage with us. What’s for sure is that we will get your blood pumping.”

About the band, Friedman states: “Kiyoshi is the most aggressive bassist on the planet. You will either fall in love with her, admire her skills or both. Jordan Ziff is an up-and-coming guitar superstar. The youngest of the select few who have played beside me in the band. Anup Sastry (on the first week of the USA tour) played drums on ‘Inferno’ as well as ‘Wall Of Sound,’ and is the most innovative young drummer I’ve ever seen. Chargeeee (on the remainder of the USA tour) has been my touring drummer for eight years — he steals the show from me every night. He has an inhuman amount of energy.”

U.S. fans who preorder Friedman‘s new album at Prosthetic Recordsofficial store will be entitled to a VIP meet-and-greet for one of the dates below. Once ordered, please email martyvip@prostheticrecords.com with your order number and what date you would like to attend. Please note, tickets to the show will still need to be purchased. The pre-order VIP offer will expire on June 30 at which time VIP packages will only be available at MartyFriedman.com.

Image result for marty friedman

Aug. 02 – The Foundry at the Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA
Aug. 03 – Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA
Aug. 04 – Highline Ballroom, New York, NY
Aug. 05 – Crossroads, Garwood, NJ
Aug. 06 – Baltimore Soundstage, Baltimore, MD
Aug. 08 – Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH
Aug. 09 – Diesel, Chesterfield, MI
Aug. 10 – Reggie’s Rock Club, Chicago, IL
Aug. 11 – Studio B at the Skyway, Minneapolis, MN
Aug. 12 – Sokol Underground, Omaha, NE
Aug. 13 – Fubar, St, Louis, MO
Aug. 16 – Scout Bar, Houston, TX
Aug. 17 – The Rock Box, San Antonio, TX
Aug. 18 – Trees, Dallas, TX
Aug. 19 – Tower Theater, Oklahoma, OK
Aug. 20 – The Riot Room, Kansas City, MO
Aug. 23 – Marquis Theatre, Denver, CO
Aug. 24 – Launchpad, Albuquerque, NM
Aug. 25 – The Rebel Lounge, Phoenix, AZ
Aug. 26 – Whisky A Go Go, Los Angeles, CA
Aug. 27 – The Parish @ HOB, Anaheim, CA
Aug. 28 – Brick By Brick, San Diego, CA

“Wall Of Sound” will be released on August 4 via Prosthetic Records. Produced by Friedman, engineered by Paul Fig (GHOST, RUSH, ALICE IN CHAINS) and mixed by Jens Bogren (KREATOR, OPETH, SEPULTURA), the disc “expands and destroys any conventional notions of instrumental music,” according to a press release. Legendary QUEEN producer Mack came on board to handle the mixing on two tracks, “Streetlight” and “For A Friend,” which Friedman proclaimed was “an honor for me, for sure.”

Friedman said last year about the musical direction of the follow-up to his 2014 album “Inferno”: “This time it’s even more ambitious than that album was, a bit more dense, and, with any luck, more exciting for those of you who will hear it.”

He added: “There will be eleven or twelve songs in total. Sometimes a song you love doesn’t make it to the album because it doesn’t fit nicely in the sequencing. Either way, we’re pushing sixty minutes so that it won’t be a short album.”

Marty‘s new CD was recorded in part at Dave Grohl‘s Studio 606 in California with engineer Paul Fig (ALICE IN CHAINS, RUSH, DEFTONES) and was previously described by Friedman as “a way more intense version” of its predecessor: “deeper, sadder, happier and more aggressive.”

Like “Inferno,” Friedman‘s upcoming album will feature several guests, including prog-thrashers MUTOID MAN, Jørgen Munkeby of the Norwegian avant-garde jazz-metal outfit SHINING and Jinxx of Los Angeles theatrical rockers BLACK VEIL BRIDES.

Regarding how the collaboration with Jinxx came about, Friedman told Guitar World: “I’m a big fan of Jinxx and BLACK VEIL BRIDES. He came to my show in L.A. in 2015. Right after that, I was told that he plays the violin. I didn’t even know that! Then light bulbs went off. I thought now’s the chance to turn some heads by doing something that’s a little bit, well, a lot, unexpected to my fans and his fans.”

Check Out Marty Friedman’s New Single ‘Self Pollution’ Off His Upcoming Record “Wall Of Sound”

Guitarist Marty Friedman’s new single, ‘Self Pollution‘ is available to hear in a twenty-second snippet on his website.  ‘Wall of Sound”  will be released August 4, 2017, via Prosthetic Records.  Here’s the link to listen and pre-order Wall of Sound.

http://smarturl.it/MartyFriedman

 

EMG Marty Friedman MF Passive Humbucker Pickup Set

http://smarturl.it/MartyFriedman

 

Former Ratt Guitarist Robbin Crosby’s Last Two Years Of Life Documented

This is a Journal of the last two years of the late Robbin Crosby’s life.  Curt Dudley was nice enough to share it.  It’s rather long so buckle in for a great read!

Copyright Curt Dudley used with permission

By Curt Dudley

July 2002

I have been waiting for the right time to let some of this out. I have struggled with it since the day Robbin died. I wanted to express some of it publicly June 14th 2002, at Robbin’s memorial service, but the pain was still too much to bear…I felt I would fall apart in front of the 200 odd people (mostly strangers to me) there…so I just stood frozen on the beach & didn’t say anything.

I met Robbin through Photographer Neil Zlozower. I had gone to Neil in search of some professional photos of Robbin in action with his cherished Jackson Guitars. I am a guitar collector and had acquired a few of Robbin’s guitars and I REALLY wanted some good shots of ‘The King’ from the glory days of RATT with the guitars I now own….just makes having them that much more personal & special.

In talking with Neil he mentioned ‘Hey, Robbin is in the hospital just a few miles from here…I bet he’d sign these prints for you and in any case I know he would appreciate the company, just take him a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps if you go’. Hmmm….I took down the address & went the next day. Armed with a few prints, a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps and a silver pen, I went to see Robbin.

 

Meeting a King

‘Do I know you….????’ Is the first thing he said to me. He had that characteristic ‘King’ tone in his voice. After explaining why I was there, we got to talking. Just some small talk & some superficial talk of the ’80’s & RATT. I was there about an hour and something happened to me that day…I left there with a new appreciation for life. Here was this giant of a man lying there unable to walk or even to sit up (he had just had major back surgery) and obviously in a lot of pain and very lonely…yet he was willing to talk with someone he didn’t even know.  When I got up to leave he says …’Hey, nice to meet you, would you mind visiting me every once in awhile’. I promised I would. I left there without any autographs…I just didn’t have the heart to ask.

 

I was not prepared for the wild ride of emotions I would experience over the next 2 years. I learned a LOT about what is important in life from this gentle giant. I’ll put them in sort of Diary form & only quote Robbin where I remember EXACTLY what he said. They are just snapshots of things I remember and only meant to offer some insight into the last years of his extraordinary life…

Copyright Curt Dudley used with permission

Robbin on Spirituality:

One day we started talking about Religion and Spirituality & he gave me his thoughts. “I wouldn’t consider myself religious, per se, I would say I’m more spiritual’. He explained it more in terms of ‘Karma’ and a ‘natural flow’ of things in the universe. I asked him ‘So do you believe in god …or not?’ He said ‘I don’t know, but one thing is for sure…You & I ain’t drivin’ the boat!’ …Classic King.

 

Robbin on RATT:

We talked often, naturally, about RATT & his thoughts about success, his bandmates & life the road. He had a lot to say about his bandmates…not all of it good . He would say ‘Listen to the EP…that’s the real RATT…we just got too polished after that’. He loved Warren, ‘ He’s like my little brother’ but he felt that Warren didn’t respect his playing after RATT had attained some success. As for Bobby, I asked him one day ‘If you could have ANY drummer play with you on your new project…who would it be? His answer: ‘Blotz….he’s the best there is ‘. What did he think of Pearcy? ‘Pearcy is a punk and only cares for himself….he can’t even sing in key live…we had a lot of problems with that on tour’. Juan was his favorite bass player and a very close & dear friend….although they did have their differences.

 

El Paso ’96 and War Party

In 1996 Robbin was living in El Paso Texas with his girlfriend, Jolie Gregory’s, family. He had left LA to, in his words, ‘go & get well’. He was using Heroin heavily and things had not gone well for him, as a result, since he had left RATT. He accepted an invitation to go there and spend some time with Jolie’s family and just get away from LA for awhile. While living in El Paso he started playing again…In a COUNTRY band!!! An all original ‘up-tempo’ country rock band  It was called ‘Bill & Kev and War Party’ . I’ve never seen anything funnier or cool at the same time. I have the video from a Sept. ’96 gig. The King onstage with War Party at a local joint. Robbin seems rather subdued at first but then after he warms up a bit, he proceeds to just RIP the most killer lead guitar through these country songs!! Picture Jimi Hendrix playing lead through a Travis Tritt song and you have the idea. Also in the video can be seen his beloved black labrador ‘Rosie’ mingling with the crowd. At one point during a song the singer can be heard saying ‘Ladies & gentlemen, Mr. Robbin Crosby’ as Robbin begins a BLISTERING lead!! The crowd is just dumbstruck and looks as if they’ve NEVER heard anything like that before …at least not in a country song! Robbin was very proud of this band…not because of the quality of music or talent…but because it allowed him to regain some lost dignity & start playing live again. He said he was forever indebted to Jolie’s family for helping him get back on his feet & getting him in contact with the local El Paso music scene.

 

The Ill fated 1996 Reunion

At some point in late 1996 he got a call from either ( I can’t remember which) Warren or Stephen…’Get your ass back here, we’re putting RATT back together’ . Robbin was extrememly excited about the prospect of getting back to LA & putting the band back together. He sold most of his belongings in order to travel light and start fresh in LA. He boarded a plane for LA carrying only the clothes he had and a few carry on items. The night he arrived he met Stephen at a club to talk and immediately got a strange vibe from him. They talked but Stephen seemed distant and cold. He spent the night at a friends house & met Warren the next day for lunch…he got the same vibe from Warren. Frustrated, he finally asked “What is going on …we’re gonna do this , right?” He said Warren said something about ” Well… maybe we’ll let you play on a few songs on the record” Robbin said ‘What the FUCK??? LET ME play on a few songs??? I just sold all my shit to move back here to do this!!” Needless to say the reunion didn’t happen. I asked Robbin ‘Well Why? What happened?’ He started to tear up and said that they thought he was ‘too fat and was still using drugs’. He was devastated and felt betrayed BUT…in typical Robbin fashion… he was realistic about it. He said ‘Well I WAS overweight & still using…so I could understand it’.

 

Part II

 

Peppermint Schnapps and ‘Gasoline’

It became a habit when visiting him at Hancock Park Hospital to bring a bottle of 90 proof (HAD to be 90 proof!)Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps. One of the first things I asked Robbin was ‘Why Peppermint Schnapps? SURELY you don’t actually LIKE it!’ He said ‘Hell NO!…but it’s the only thing I can get away with drinking in here…the nurses

can’t tell I’ve been drinking because it smells like I just brushed my teeth!’ The nurses at Hancock Park were pretty strict about alcohol in the building so we had to be careful. When talking about it around anyone Robbin would say ‘Hey, can you bring me some gasoline?’ His code word for booze.

Copyright Curt Dudley used with permission

Isolation & Frustration

I HATE hospitals, as most people do, but from the beginning, I realized that he was extremely lonely & depressed. He told me ‘Virtually no one comes to visit me….’ He told me that the first day and I vowed to make sure that he had company at least once or twice a week. If I couldn’t get away from work for a few days, I would ask a friend or family member to drop by if they could and just talk to him….that’s all Robbin wanted…someone to talk to. He was too proud to ask for help or charity.

 

He was in this place, confined to bed,  24 hours a day 7 days a week for over 2 years. Realistically the place was just a dumping ground for elderly people who were too sick or incapacitated for family to care for. I must say, they did take good care of the people there but it was a very depressing place to be…Robbin had at least 20 different roommates while I knew him…..I would show up one week & see an empty bed next to his and ask ‘what happened to Don?’ RC would say ‘Oh him…he died yesterday’. This went on week after week & after a while I stopped asking. I could see it in his face the effect it had on him but he wouldn’t really express it.

 

One thing that really shocked me at first…totally SHOCKED ME….was that his family  rarely visited. Robbin talked on the phone to ‘Momma‘ or ‘Daddy‘ almost daily, but they live in La Jolla CA (about 100 miles south of LA near San Diego) and are ‘getting up there in age’ & didn’t travel to LA much. I sensed a lot from what Robbin DIDN’T say about his family, that he had put them thru a lot over the years and had ‘burned a few bridges’. He was….as usual…pragmatic about it & understood. His attitude was ‘Oh, its just too far for them to drive…’ He didn’t ever say much about his family. One of the few things I know is, he was VERY fond of his father and ‘missed the vacations in Mexico with dad when I was a kid.’

 

Another thing that hit him really hard was that the guys in RATT would rarely come to see him…despite the fact that they all lived within a 1/2 hours drive. He would talk with them on the phone, sometimes Warren, sometimes Bobby, sometimes Juan, and he would hint around that ‘maybe if you are in the area you could swing by’. They didn’t…

 

I’m not passing judgement on any of them. I’m sure they all have their reasons. He said to me one day ‘WHERE ARE all of my friends? No offense, but isn’t it sad that YOU are my best friend? I’ve only known you a year’. He had a way of cutting to the chase….

 

The only one of his old friends that did stop by often was his old friend ‘Zloz’ …Neil Zlozower.

 

Nicknames and Mexican Food:

Robbin LOVED Mexican food and Sushi….those were his 2 favorites. A couple of his favorite places in town were the famous ‘El Compadre’ Restaurant on Sunset Blvd and ‘Casa Vega’ on Ventura Blvd.  in the San Fernando Valley. I would often call him before stopping by to ask if he wanted lunch. He would say ‘Mmmm…Ropa Vieja from El Compadre would do nicely…’ or ‘Yeah, Get me some Toro & handrolls (sushi) from Yamakasa on Highland’ He really was a connoiseur of food and the only thing he really DIDN’T like to eat was…PIZZA!! I couldn’t believe it! He said ‘Nah…Pizza just plugs me up…for days!’

 

He was big on nicknames. It seemed EVERYONE had a nickname. Mine was ‘Schmengie’ or ‘Schmeckel’…I had NO IDEA what they meant until weeks later. It seems they are yiddish terms for the male organ!! We would be joking around & he would say ‘You’re such a Schmengie’ One of the nurses at the hospital was ‘Speedy’ or the next week it was ‘Rompopie’ or ‘Lima Bean’. Another friend was ‘Bloomer’. All of them were meant

as terms of endearment and he had a million of them. A friend told me once that he sort of felt left out he didn’t have one!!

 

History Lesson:

One day he was talking about the ancient Inca Indians from South America and I was fascinated listening to him tell me all about them…their culture, what they ate, how they lived etc. Now I know he was well-traveled…but the Incas!? !!!  I must have been staring intently at him because he stopped suddenly and said ‘Are you OK?….or am I boring you?’ I said ‘No I’m just surprised  that you know so much about them.’ He said ‘Ahhh….you think I’m just some big dumb rocker who doesn’t know how to read!! Actually you know, I’m fairly intelligent for my size. I’m smarter than the average bear!!’

 

The Time of Day….

Looking back on my 2 short years knowing him, Robbin never ceased to amaze me with his  intelligence, realistic outlook and pure honesty. He was definitely not the sort to ‘sugar coat’ anything….he would always tell you EXACTLY what was on his mind!! We were talking about RATT’s heyday and what it was like to tour the world & meet new people every day in different countries and I said to him, jokingly,  ‘I bet that if I had approached you back then, as opposed to now, you wouldn’t have given me the time of day’ He stopped for a second and said VERY SINCERELY…’You know man…all kidding aside… you’re probably right…. but you have to understand… back then, I didn’t HAVE the time of day!!’

 

Rather than patronize me & tell me what he would suppose I would want to hear…he was honest, forthright and directly to the point. Thinking back on that, I realized just how rare that kind of answer is….

 

Tawny Kitaen & the ‘Rumpleminze Incident’.

I stopped by one afternoon to bring Robbin one of his 3 new guitars, A bright turquoise Epiphone ‘Wildcat’. I had them because there was no room at the hospital to store them. I walked in & froze in place… There was a pretty redhead sitting next to his bed. I said ‘You look really familiar…’ Robbin without missing a beat says ‘Duh…it’s Tawny, you idiot!’ WOW! I have to admit having had a MAJOR crush on her back in the ’80’s (Remember the ‘Back for More’ video?) and there she was!!

 

We talked for awhile and she showed a genuine concern for his condition, she hadn’t seen him in almost 10 years!! Whatever personal problems she may be having, I’m here to say she is a sweet & caring person. Robbin called her his ‘high school sweetheart’ and ‘first and only true love’.

 

After she left ( Robbin had fallen asleep) one of the nurses found a bottle of ‘Rumpleminze Peppermint Schnapps’, A gift from Tawny, in a drawer and went ballistic…So I told her I would take it away.

 

I had, some weeks before, stopped bringing ‘gasoline’ because I realized I wasn’t helping him get any better by providing him with it. In fact, we argued about it. I told him ‘I’m not bringing you anymore gasoline…it’s not helping you’ He said ‘Oh…so you don’t drink eh?

Gimme a break!’ in a very sarcastic & nasty ‘King’ tone.

 

When Robbin inevitably went to look for the bottle HE went ballistic because it wasn’t there. He exploded at the nurse for taking his gift. She didn’t tell him that I had actually taken it. Robbin mentioned it to me one day and I felt like crap… I told him ‘She didn’t take it…I did’ He said ‘Dude…that was a GIFT from a very special person…you had NO right to take my shit, and another thing, I’ll do WHAT the fuck I want, WHEN the fuck I want to!!’. Indeed.  Naturally, I still had the bottle and returned it to him.

 

Here’s the kicker.

 

Robbin called me that night and apologized TO ME as if HE had done something wrong!! ‘Dude I’m sorry I shouldn’t have been so harsh’. That’s just the way he was…I learned from him again, another important life lesson on compassion.

 

Sweet Rosie

Robbin was a true animal lover. He once said ‘I probably love animals more than I love people, they love you without conditions’.   He was one of those people who just came totally unglued and would get all mushy when around animals…you know ‘Awwww…..look at that beautiful dog’. In the late 1980’s shortly before he was married to Playboy Playmate Laurie Carr he got ‘Rosie’, a sweet natured black labrador, as a pup. Rosie remained his constant companion throughout most of the ’90’s and he talked about her often.

 

On one of our outings one day he saw a black dog sitting in front of a store and perked up ‘Oh my god…Is that ROSIE???….Rosie, here girl.’ It turns out it wasn’t her,  but I asked him ‘What ever happened to Rosie?’ He got real quiet & after a couple of minutes of silence he said ‘I don’t really know…I left her with a friend to take care of when I went into the hospital the first time….When I got out of the hospital, he said she had run away & I never saw her again, she was my best friend’. I could tell he was getting emotional and his eyes were moist with tears. He really missed her.

 

Part III

 

Getting up & Around…

After his back surgery,  it took Robbin quite awhile just be able to sit up in bed. He had been in bed so long, immobile, that all of his muscles had atrophied and he had put on quite a bit of weight also. He joked about it a lot. I would walk in & half the time he would have nothing on but his hospital gown…hiked up around his waist! He would say ‘Hold on let Jabba put the ‘magic mushroom’ away!’ You can guess what he was talking about! He had a well known reputation as a nudist as I found out from stories I heard later at his memorial service. He constantly joked around & laughed about it…his spirit was unbroken.

 

3 or 4 times a week he had physical rehab at the hospital. The 2 rehab guys were known as ‘The Alpha Males’ by Robbin. They would come in & literally have to muscle him into a sitting position and then, with the help of a special board, slide him off the bed & into his wheelchair. Those guys loved Robbin & didn’t even blink an eye when Robbin was frustrated and started spewing TORRENTS of expletives in all directions!

 

The rehab room was down the hall on the other side of the building. I would sometimes show up when he was in the middle of his session. I would stand back out of the way & out of his view & just watch. It was amazing to see him working HARD just to lift his legs off the ground in a sitting position. The pain & effort on his face were intense. At this point he wasn’t even close to walking yet or strong enough to stand.

 

I would encourage him to do more. “the more you do, the faster you’ll get out of here’. He would say ‘Yeah, Yeah..I know I’m trying as hard as I can’. One day I overstepped my ‘encouragement’ & suggested that maybe he wasn’t trying hard enough. He let me have it immediately. “Don’t fucking preach to me! I’m doing the best I can!’  I was only trying to motivate him but I guess I hit a nerve with my comments. The King still was ‘The King’!! I took it as a good sign….

 

One day in November of 2001, I got a call from him ‘Dude, I walked today!! I took about 20 steps on my own!’. That was a MAJOR accomplishment for him. ‘Will you come down tomorrow? I want you to see for yourself’. The next day at 12:00 noon I went & watched as The King took about 20 more steps…with the help of a parallel bar setup. He was so overjoyed, tears were streaming down his cheeks. He said ‘I am getting OUT of here man…. SOON!’ .

 

‘ Panda Claus’ and Christmas 2001

Early in December 2001 he started answering the phone ‘Panda Claus…Ho HO HO Ho’ in a very low ‘Jabba the Hut’ like voice! It was hilarious to hear….he did it EVERY time he answered in December.  I thought he was just in good spirits and looking forward to the

holidays….I found out differently. He told me ‘I don’t care about Christmas..it doesn’t really matter to me, It’ll be just like last year…alone in the hospital…big fun’. Despite his obvious depression, he was putting on the happy face when answering the phone…just so that he wouldn’t bring people down during the holidays. Typical unselfish King. ‘This Christmas will be different’….I thought to myself.

 

He asked me one day around December 20th. ‘Hey, I hate to ask but do you have a VCR I could borrow? I want to rent some movies, I’m sick of TV’.  All he had in the room was a 9″ (!) TV that got only 3.5 channels. Invariably he was stuck watching ‘Oprah’ or ‘Judge Judy’ type shows all day. It was funny cause he would sometimes be totally engrossed in Judge Judy when I stopped by. He would say ‘Sshh….wait a minute this is almost over, Let me see what happens here.’ Totally comical & very un-King-like!!

 

I told him ‘Well no…I really don’t have a spare VCR…besides your TV doesn’t even have an input for one’. He said ‘Ok it was just a thought…I  thought you might have an old one lying around’. I was lying to him…I had already bought him a 19″ TV/VCR combo for

Christmas. and I had put out the word to my family & Guitar collector friends. He started to get ALL KINDS of stuff in the mail, Movies, CD’s, Xmas Cards/letters, A small Xmas tree, flowers….even some frozen chocolate dipped Strawberries shipped from New York! All from people he didn’t know.

 

He would say ‘WHERE is all of this stuff coming from??? WHY are these people sending me gifts?? This is so wonderful…Do YOU know anything about it?’ I would just look at him deadpan and say ‘Nope…It must be your fans out there that love you’. He said ‘But HOW do they know where I am??’ The look on his face was priceless when opening these gifts…just like a little kid. He made me keep a list of names of everyone who sent something, no matter how small, so that he could send out thank you cards.

 

My wife & I visited on December 23 and surprised him with the home cooked Steak & Baked Potato dinner he had said he was craving…my wife Tracy cooked it all up fresh & we left immediately so that it would still be hot when we got there. We took our 2 children, Erich 5 & Kayleigh 7 and they sang ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ for him. He was in tears…as they were singing.

 

I talked with him late Christmas eve on the phone & he was soooo happy….just on cloud 9. Bobby Blotzer & his girlfriend (Misty I think?) had been there that evening to visit and had brought some awesome framed candid photos from the RATT days…you know those

intimate/private shots of them just clowning around on tour!. Warren had also been by & they had had a WONDERFUL visit just laughing & joking around. Those 2 guys coming to see him at Xmas meant the world to him….more than any gift ever could. Just the fact that they cared enough to come & see him. I wanted to tell them that at Robbin’s memorial service but i just didn’t want to intrude on their privacy that day…It was tough enough for them.

 

This was my most meaningful/special Christmas EVER. A Christmas I’ll NEVER EVER forget. I never realized fully…giving is definitely a lot more rewarding & fun than receiving. I got my best gift ever just seeing him happy…happy like I’d not seen him since I met him.

 

Another life lesson from ‘THE KING’….

 

 

 

Part IV

 

‘King for a day’

December 2001 was a month full of hope & progress for Robbin. He was finally feeling better and his physical rehab was going very well. By new years day he was sitting up on his own and much more alert & peppy largely because the doctors had backed off on his medication. On New Year’s day he said to me ‘This year is gonna be the year of ‘The King’….the year the King comes back…I’m gonna show people I can still do it!’. I fully believed him…he was so full of confidence and energy all of the sudden. He had even written 2 new songs….

 

If December 2001 was positive for him….January 2002 was a month of contradiction, confusion and sorrow for me.

 

From January 4th -7th I had a friend in town from Chicago…of course a RATT/Robbin fan! He was looking forward to seeing the King after speaking on the phone with him a few times and sharing Christmas gifts/cheer with him. Robbin liked him already….just talking to him on the phone….and was looking forward to meeting him. He asked me

New Years’ day ‘When’s Sully Comin?’ I picked him up at the airport the night of Friday January 4th and LITERALLY while we were leaving LAX my cell phone rings….It’s King…’Are you guys comin’ tonight?’ I said ‘Well, it’s late, we’ll come tomorrow so you can get some rest‘. He said ‘NO!…I want you guys to come tonight and watch a movie with me’

 

The first thing he says to Sully is ‘Hey man, glad you could make it….You don’t own any of my guitars do you?’ Sully, bewildered says…’Uhh… no’. King says….’Good. I like YOU then!’ …while shooting me a mock scowl!!  We talked & joked for about an hour until Robbin fell asleep in mid sentence around 12:00 am….we quietly left.

 

The next day was supposed to be a fun day….a memorable day. Robbin & I had gotten permission from his doctor to go out on pass!!!! We got a 5 hour pass. We had it all planned out: we were going to ‘El Compadre’ for lunch and then to the movies to see “Lord of the Rings’. He was soooo looking forward to seeing that movie on the big screen…he had read all of the books and was a HUGE fan of that series. He was also looking forward to getting outside that hospital for the first time in almost 2 years.

 

I asked another friend, Brad Kelley, to come with me & Sully just to make sure we had enough help getting Robbin and the wheelchair in & out of my vehicle safely. I was in a great mood because I recognized that this day was a big step in his recovery. He was going to get a taste of the outside world again. I was not ready for the 180 degree

turn the day was about to take…

 

We arrived at 11:00 am and something is definitely wrong….Robbin was incoherent and sweating PROFUSELY. He wasn’t making any sense and kept asking for his father. I had left the room to talk with a nurse & Sully comes running out of the room saying ‘Get somebody QUICK…he’s passed out & turning blue!!’ Within 15 minutes the nursing staff had administered CPR, pumped his stomach & called 911. The paramedics were there immediately….They rushed him away to Cedars Sinai Hospital as the 3 of us were standing there in total shock. We stuck around to see if we could find out anything about his condition but they wouldn’t tell us anything. We 3 decided to go to ‘El Compadre’ anyway & have a few beers for Robbin….but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was just not right. What just happened??  He was fine last night….

 

Robbin was at Cedars for a week….He was not eating at all in the hospital and looked pale, withdrawn & groggy. He lost 20 lbs. That week. He told me that someone at Hancock had ‘accidentally doubled up’ his medication and that is what caused his problems. I was skeptical, I suspected something far more sinister had caused the meltdown…but I kept it to myself. I went to see him on tuesday and brought with me his 3 new Epiphone guitars that had arrived that monday. I thought they would cheer him up & maybe he could play them a little to pass the time.

 

He seemed uninterested, apathetic and very down. ”All I want to do is sleep. But I keep having horrible dreams so I can’t even do that’ . His nurse there was WONDERFUL…I wish I remembered her name. She was so concerned about him and was physically beautiful on top of that!! I think she was 25 or so and had absolutely no clue who RATT was!! As always…He had a nickname for her ….’Florence‘….as in ‘Nightingale’.

 

After getting back to Hancock Park he seemed energized & started in again on his physical rehab with a passion….sometimes. For the rest of January, visiting him was ‘like a box of chocolates’…I never knew which Robbin I would be getting. The determined energetic, hopeful Robbin, or the groggy, sleepy, grouchy Robbin. He had started drinking again but even that couldn’t account for the sometimes dreamlike state he seemed to be in. Then I found out that a few of his old ‘friends’ had started visiting him again. People from his past that should have stayed in his past…. for his sake.

 

Later that month, we had planned to order Chinese food in & watch the Superbowl together at Hancock Park. That morning just as I was getting ready to leave home, he calls….’Dude, I’m sorry…I’m at Cedars again.’ Basically it was a repeat of what had happened on January 5th. Something was definitely going on….

 

February/March and Light at the End of the Tunnel:.

During these 2 months he made solid progress, physically, and was getting stronger & stronger. One day in February we finally got to go out on our Pass. I was amazed when I walked in…he sat up and got into his wheelchair by himself…effortlessly. He was dressed in streetclothes, shaved, hair pulled back into a ponytail & ready to go!! We had a GREAT day, we went for lunch at ‘El Compadre’ and when we got there he had another surprise for me….he said. ‘I’m going in there on my own 2 feet…get the crutches’ I thought there was NO WAY he was ready for that.. ‘Are you…sure???’ It was 60 long feet from the back parking lot to the tiny table…but he made it!! Immediately the 2 guys ‘Flaco’ & ‘Chiquito’ that had served Robbin since the RATT days came over ‘Robbin…you look soo good, you look clean, It’s good to see you’. He said ‘Gracias me amigos, Dos Cervezas…por favor!’

 

After we had ordered Robbin told me a story about those two guys…’You know, when I was really down & out and didn’t even have the money to eat McDonalds…me & Rosie (his black labrador) would show up at the back door & beg for a taco or something….they never refused me. I love those guys.’ Now I understood why he was so in Love with that place. We ate a fantastic meal & had a few more ‘Cervezas’ and even a few shots of Tequila….At one point I said ‘No, no…no more…I have to drive’. He ordered them anyway and ended up drinking them both! He insisted on paying the check…$20 food bill & $40 alcohol!! He left a crisp $100 bill and we left quickly. We had just cashed his Royalty check from ‘Wicken Music Publishing’ and he had a few bucks in his pocket…He was on top of the world. He didn’t have a lot of money but his generosity ruled over all….It almost seemed like a tonic for him to be able to give.

 

In March he started talking about getting an Apartment and began looking thru the papers & literature from some local places. He said ‘What I really want is one of these quaint local ‘cottage’ type houses…just a 2 bedroom…but I just can’t swing it without a room mate, do you know anybody??’ He ended up settling on a 1 bedroom Apt. in a local landmark of sorts…the mid-Wilshire district ‘Park La Brea’ complex…He said ‘Reasonably priced & reasonably fashionable, fit for a King!’ He made several more attempts at getting a roommate, including a friend from Seattle, but it just didn’t work out. He would say ‘I’ve got to find a roommate…I can’t live alone’.

 

We started going out on pass regularly, looking for new furniture and furnishings for the place. We bought a set of beautiful black leather couches and put them on hold…waiting for the day he moved in. They were ‘Just like the ones I had in my house’. He had me on the hunt for some small oriental rugs to use on the hardwood floor in the living room area. He was scheduled to move in on April 1st…my birthday!!

 

Part V

 

A Day at the DMV

On March 22nd we went to the DMV to get him a California ID card. He had not had an ID or Driver’s License in almost 10 years!!! He was very nervous & uptight about going …but he had to get an ID in order to rent his Apartment. On the way there he told me why he was so freaked out about it…’Man I had a Ton of tickets that I never paid…they might not let me get an ID until I pay them, let alone a Driver’s license.’ He said he was prepared to pay all of them if necessary. We started talking about cars too..he says ‘I’d like to get a new car….I’ve been the seeing the TV ads for the new Daewoo ‘Leganza’…that would be perfect, only $139 a month.’ I burst out laughing and he gives me the furrowed brow and a ”WHAT?????” I said…’Oh man…the KING stuffed into a Daewoo…too funny! I can’t picture it!’

 

We get there, fill out all of the paperwork and go up to the window. The lady says ‘That’ll be $10 for your ID’….He looks at me in disbelief & I ask her. ‘Are their any restrictions on him getting a license?’ At that moment I say ‘license’ he gives me a TREMENDOUS kick in the shin!!! She looks it up in the computer and says ‘No…would you like a book to study for the test?’ He says sheepishly….’Uhhh….yeah’. I never saw a bigger smile on his face when we left there with his temporary ID…

 

We leave the DMV and he says ‘Lets go to Casa Vega & celebrate!!’. He explains that ‘Casa Vega’ is a place he & his wife, Laurie, used to frequent back in 1991-1992. They would fly down windy Laurel Canyon Blvd. in his Ferrari into the San Fernando Valley from his home in the Hollywood Hills…about a 20 minute drive.

 

I’ll never forget this as long as I live…we are on the way and we see a 7-11 convenience store. He says…’Pull in there I want a Snapple.’ …’OK, what kind?’ he says ‘Any kind’. He takes 1 big drink and then pours the rest (about 80%) on the ground!! I ask ‘What….are….you…..doing????’ He says ‘Last time we went out to lunch they made me give a urine sample so that they could see if was using drugs out on my pass….they gave me an assfull over the alcohol in my urine….this time we’re gonna take precautions’.

I still didn’t know what he meant. Duh….!

 

We pull into the ‘Casa Vega’ parking lot which is kinda secluded behind the restaurant. He sits on the tailgate of my 4Runner and says ‘Gimme the bottle’. He proceeds to pull down his shorts right there & starts peeing in the bottle, in broad daylight!! I turned my back in horror/ embarassment and try to shield him from the pedestrians walking down the sidewalk!! I hear over my shoulder…’Oh shit…here take this and empty some’ I take it and run around the side of the car to empty it…I look at him & he’s sitting there holding himself trying to stop the flow and….there’s urine squirting in all directions!!!!! He’s cursing & sputtering ‘Hurry up!!!!’ I get back to him & he’s apparently done….just one problem…THE BOTTLE IS NOW EMPTY!!!! He looks at me and at the bottle & says….’YOU SCHMENGIE!!!…you didn’t save ANY!!???!!!!’  He was sooooo irritated with me the rest of the day. He never let me live that one down….

 

A Tough Day

On April 1st he called to wish me happy birthday but I could tell immediately something was up.  We talked a little…. but he seemed really depressed and VERY emotional. He had been drinking and I asked him “Is everything OK?’ he says ‘No….I know it’s your birthday but can you come…I need to talk to you’.. It’s a 60 mile drive for me to Hancock Park, but I went.

 

When I get there he is laying in the dark…sobbing quietly. I ask ‘What’s wrong??’ he says to me through the sobs ‘I need you to promise me one thing….I don’t know how much longer I have and when I’m gone, PLEASE don’t let people forget about me…. I’ve screwed everything up, my marriage, my career, my cars, my house, my guitars… EVERYTHING!!….I don’t want people to think of me as a junkie loser…please let them know I’m sorry’. It’s my turn to start crying and the 2 of us are sitting there in the dark in tears. I stayed there about 3 hours & tried to cheer him up without success. He fell asleep around 12:00am & I left for home. I did make him the promise….

 

Fade to Black….

He finally moved into his Apartment around April 8th (I forget the exact day) and he began to settle in. It became apparent that he was not going to be able to care for himself 24/7 so a nurse was scheduled to visit 2 times a week. His medications were another problem…some of them the nurse could bring & others he would have to go to a clinic across town to see a doctor for them….the wait was usually 3 hours!

 

He seemed happy but a bit frustrated by his lack of mobility…still he was able to get around the Apartment in the wheelchair and even cook a little for himself. He caught a severe cold the first few nights there & also fell and banged up his feet pretty badly. I would call to see if he needed anything & he would always say ‘No….You don’t need to keep helping me…you’ve done enough’ I told him ‘That’s nonsense….that’s what friends are for’.

 

In early May I found out that his old friend Patrick had moved in with him…sounds great right? WRONG! Patrick was his old roommate & Heroin buddy. I  tried to convince him that Patrick was no good for him & would only tempt him again. He wouldn’t listen…he told me ‘I Love him like a brother and we’ve been thru a lot together….besides, he has nowhere else to go’.

 

I knew right then that this was the beginning of the end….He would call once in awhile just to say hello but it wasn’t like before. He did everything he could to discourage me from visiting him…’Oh I don’t feel good’ or ‘The place is a mess’. I could tell he was using again…his speech was slurred & he just didn’t sound good.

 

Late in May he started calling me asking me if he could borrow some money…Now, I knew that he had around $9k in cash when he moved into the apartment only a month before. ‘Robbin….where did all your money go?’.  He made some vague references about his ‘medication‘ and ‘groceries’. I would lie to him & say “I’m broke….now is a bad time, I’m sorry’. It just about killed me to put him off…but I was not about to HELP him destroy himself.

 

On the night of Sunday June 2nd he called & finally cornered me. “Hey, I need you to do me a favor…I need money for my medication….what I want you to do is take my Breedlove (Acoustic Guitar) and pawn it….bring the others to me here. I need at least $300 and I need it tomorrow morning’. I tried to talk him out of it but he insisted. So I did as he asked….

 

I showed up at the apartment at 11:00 am with the $$$ and his guitars….

 

Oh my god, Please NO!! Please don’t let it be as bad as I imagined.

 

It was….even WORSE than I imagined. Robbin ‘King’ Crosby was sitting in the middle of the room, nude from the waist down in a filthy T-shirt, unshaven, unwashed and barely able to sit upright. He had gained even more weight and had grown a full beard. There were several LARGE open sores on his legs as well. He was white as a sheet & clammy with sweat.

 

He says ‘Awwww, come here & give me a hug….I’ve missed you’. The room was a mess, everything you would expect from a typical bad R rated movie drug den scene. Bottles of piss, cigarette butts, dirty ashtrays & clothes, beer cans….just about every inch of the floor was covered in trash. The heat & stench in the room were overpowering. His beautiful apartment was a shambles…

 

He could see the horror on my face. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I asked him just one question….’WHY?????’ He was trembling and turned away. He said, stuttering ‘Please… don’t hate me…please’. I told him that I loved him and could never hate him….There were no words left….nothing else I could say would change anything…I thought about trying to reason with him but I knew that he wouldn’t listen

 

I couldn’t stay…I just couldn’t bear to see him this way. I left quickly & in shock, knowing full well I probably would not see him again. I was frustrated & wanted to do something but deep down I knew that he could not stop. He would not stop….His Demons were just too strong.

 

The afternoon of Thursday June 6th I got the call from my wife (I was at work) She was crying & just said ‘Robbin’s……..Gone’. Even though I knew it was coming, it still hit me like a ton of bricks…I almost passed out. All of his hopes & aspirations for the future were now meaningless…all of the hard won progress he had made in the last 6 months was meaningless….I just felt so empty. I still feel that empty spot.

 

Epilogue

On June 14th, Along with 200 or 300 other folks, I made the journey down to Windansea beach in La Jolla to say goodbye to ‘Robb’ as his childhood friends knew him. It was a beautiful San Diego California day, One like I’m sure Robb saw many, many of in his youth. The service started around 6:00pm, Robbin’s father starting things off with a moving 20 minute tribute to special people in Robbin’s life. 10 or 12 friends got up & said a few words…some told stories. It was rather strange to see the 4 surviving members of RATT copiously avoiding each other…they didn’t even LOOK at each other!! BUT they were ALL there and I give them credit for at least saying goodbye. Warren was definitely emotional as he spoke about his friend. It looked to me like he wished he had done some things differently…but that’s just my opinion.

 

The sun was setting at the end of the service…A bright red ball of fire melting into the sea….The sun was setting on Robbin’s life too. He once told me ‘Don’t feel sorry for me…I lived enough for ten men…I did everything I wanted to do’. I’d like to believe that…I do believe that.

 

One thing I took away with me that day was the pleasant revelation that there had been SO MANY other people that had stepped into his life over his last 10 years to lend him a hand when he needed it. It almost seems like we were all part of a predestined ‘Team’ that passed along the reins silently so that King could be more comfortable…I felt more at ease knowing that so many people HAD cared…people that recognized a free & loving spirit…despite his flaws, we took him as he was…Warts & all.

 

I wish things could have been different but I know that I am a better person for knowing him, As is anyone who had spent any amount of time with him. He just had a way of putting out that vibe…of Love.

 

Love ya King, I miss you…I’ll see you again.

 

Journal Outtake:

 

Originally when I wrote the ‘Journal’, it was more than twice as long and after finishing it there were a lot of things that I felt at the time, were either too personal or not really worth including …also it was so long, I wasn’t even sure people would want to read the damn thing! Some of the sections were rambling and VERY long winded….Here’s a sample chapter that was removed.

 

 This one was really the first section written, the section before ‘Meeting a King’ but after the intro, at the Very beginning of the journal. It seemed rather irrelevant and kinda silly because of my extreme ignorance, so I cut it out…the first of many chapters to go…looking at it now I guess it lends some perspective to the overall story.

 

Like a Dream

After leaving Neil’s I started getting excited, thinking about all of the things I wanted to ask Robbin. I might not get a second chance to talk with him and I wanted to make it count so I actually wrote a long list of questions so I wouldn’t forget anything.

 

They were mostly things related to the guitars I had, but also some questions about that magical time between 1984-1987 when RATT was on top of the hard rock world…one of the biggest bands from my home turf of Los Angeles.

 

I felt sort of special because I had what I considered to be a ‘special ticket’ to go & see him. His close friend Neil Zlozower (whom I was also rather awestruck at meeting!) had just given me ‘permission’ to go & see him…Neil said it would be alright, so surely Robbin would take a few minutes to talk with me. Hopefully I wouldn’t stick my damn foot in my mouth!

 

I had a plan, I would shamelessly drop Neil’s name. You know, ‘Hey Robbin, how are you? I talked to Neil & he said it would be OK to come & visit’

 

Even though I had been vaguely informed of his current situation, In my excitement, I pictured him just as he appeared on the cover of all those magazines back then, the larger than life presence and the leader of RATT. I figured he would look much the same….surely a little worse for wear because he had been ill….but still largely unchanged.

 

It was August and a typically warm day in Los Angeles somewhere in the mid 90 degree range…bright & clear with some scattered billowy white clouds and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, what a great day to go & see Robbin, to finally meet one of my favorite guitarists of the ’80’s’.

 

Driving over, I checked & re-checked the address of the place ‘Hancock Park Convalescent Hospital’. The Hancock Park area of LA is considered kinda upscale and ‘riche’ so my mind conjured an idyllic setting with well manicured grounds and lots of security. I initially drove right by the place, mainly because the area didn’t match my mind’s image of what it should look like!!

 

I doubled back and found parking on the street in front of the hospital…I was surprised to say the least. It faced a busy, noisy street and there were no ‘grounds’, just a plain looking entrance in a somewhat dingy looking building. This couldn’t be the right place. Could it?

 

I went inside and a young, attractive Asian receptionist smiled and said ‘How may I help you?’ As I looked around the rather bare & plain lobby, I said ‘I’m here to visit a patient, Robbin Crosby’, half expecting her to tell me there was no one here by that name. Instead, she looked a little surprised and, handing me a clipboard to sign in, said quietly ‘I’m so glad you’re here, he hasn’t had many visitors. Are you a friend or family?’

 

At this, I felt my eyes shift slightly as I fought to comprehend what she had just said….I finally blurted out ‘Uh, No I’ve never met him, he doesn’t know me’. She said ‘Oh, well OK the elevator is there and he’s on the second floor, room 203’.

 

On my way up I thought to myself. ‘Something isn’t right, am I in the right place?’, then the elevator door opened and I stepped out. I looked left & right and immediately felt disoriented because there were elderly patients everywhere I looked, crowding the narrow hallway. I had never been in such a hospital so I was completely unprepared.

 

I walked toward a nurses station and I felt I was in a surreal movie….elderly ladies were grabbing at me from wheelchairs and old men were leaning up against walls seemingly catatonic or mumbling to themselves.

 

A nurse, without saying a word, pointed to a door near the end of the hallway when I asked where Robbin was. I walked over and with my heart jumping out of my chest, silently entered the room.

 

There were two beds, one was occupied by an elderly man with sunken cheeks who merely looked at me blankly…I looked to my left at the bed closest to the door and my knees went weak. My throat felt like it had suddenly closed & dried up.

 

I saw a man whom I didn’t really recognize, a large man with long greasy, lank hair who was sound asleep and snoring gently. I stood transfixed slowly taking in the details.

 

The darker hair, the sweaty bloated face, the dirty stained hospital gown, the enormous body, the messy small table cluttered with all sorts of stuff, the two get well cards taped to the dingy wall, the faint odor of human waste, antiseptic and sweat.

 

It WAS Robbin Crosby but my mind could not process the reality…

 

Without realizing it, I had dropped the paper I had brought with my questions on it….I stood for what seemed like forever trying to figure out what I should do….should I leave? Should I cough? Should I wake him? Should I ask a nurse for help?

 

In the end, I just stood there… looking from the quizzical look on the face of the man in the next bed, back to Robbin sleeping peacefully.

 

Robbin…… Is that really Robbin? How can it be?? This is not what I expected…I suddenly felt very foolish and utterly stupid at my naive notions of this man and his very real state. This was not what I expected…this is not what I expected!!

 

After a minute I silently placed the brown bag containing the bottle of Peppermint Schnapps on the table and left the room. I don’t really remember leaving the hospital…I just remember the tears I felt on my cheeks and the helpless feeling that I had somehow intruded, seen something too private…yet he never knew I was there.

 

To me it was like a dream. Did it really happen?

 

It took me a week to gather enough courage to go back…to try again.

Remembering the Icon Randy Rhoads

By Andrew Catania

In this world, there are certain personalities that leave their mark in the hearts and lives of others around them. To such personalities doing what makes them happy and good is what matters the most. Such people are not bound by time or place to be liked or loved by others. Some, although, left this world to remain alive in someone’s heart and soul.

There’s such a person who, though, not being among us anymore remains inside us forever. That person is named Randy Rhoads a famous and talented guitarist of all times.

Randall William or commonly known as Randy Rhoads was born on December 6th, 1956. He was a famous heavy metal guitarist. Randy Rhoads is the one who integrated his own heavy metal style with his classical music influences. Although, having short career tenure, Randy Rhoads played a very vital role in neoclassical metal. Apart from this, he was also considered a great influence by many other guitarists, and made on many lists of “Greatest Guitarist”

Randall William, Randy Rhoads, was born in Santa Monica, California. He was the youngest of his two other siblings: a brother named Doug and a sister named Kathy. His brother Doug is also a musician, but he performed under the name Kelle. Rhoads parents, Delores and William, both were music teachers.

When Randy Rhoads was 1 ½, his father had left the family, and Rhoads mother had to take care of all the kids. Delores, Rhoads mother, afterward opened her own music school in 1949 called Musonia. She had opened this school in North Hollywood to support her family financially. Rhodes’s mother had a bachelor’s degree specializing in music; apart from this she also played the piano on a professional level as well.

In 1979, attempting to establish a new band, ex-Black Sabbath vocalist, Ozzy Osbourne came to Los Angeles. Rhoads was contacted by Dana Strum, future Slaughter bassist if he was interested in the offer. Rhoads discussed this offer with his mother to come to a decision, and when his mother asked him if he would accept an offer like this one; his answer was a yes. Rhoads received a call for his auditions, just before he was going to perform in his final show with Quiet Riot in September 1979.

The day before Osbourne’s departure back to England, Rhoads walked right into the hotel room of the vocalist along with his Gibson Les Paul guitar and a practice amp and started to warm up. Osbourne who was feeling quite inebriated that day just listened to Rhoads and immediately gave him the job. Rhoads, Osbourne, Strum and Drummer Frankie Banali spent their couple of days jamming together before Osbourne left back to England.

When Osbourne went back to England, he met and was introduced to ex-Rainbow bassist, Bob Daisley, by Jet Records employee named Arthur Sharpe while in a pub. There he told Daisley that he had met with a talented young man who was a good guitarist. On November 27th, 1979, Rhoads flew to England and met with Osbourne and Daisley at the Jet Records’ Office.

On March 18th, 1982, Rhodes played his last show and was dead on March 19th of 1982 because of his plane crash. To this day, Randy Rhoads is still considered one of the best guitarists of all time.  He left this world but also left a mark in this world.

Interview: The Iron Maidens Axe Master Courtney Cox

By Andrew Catania

It isn’t very often that we get to see a female musician breaking barriers and setting milestones in the primarily male-dominated music sphere. Luckily, there’s a whole group of them that has emerged as a popular present-age music sensation. The Iron Maidens, an all-female English rock and heavy metal band, was formed in 2001 to pay tribute to the former 1970s classic English metal band ‘Iron Maiden’.

The band has gained immense popularity over time and has become the voice of millions of hearts, establishing a sound ad crazy global fandom for the beautiful and talented maiden members. Courtney Cox, the Iron Maiden’s lead guitarist, in particular, has enthralled the music world with her power and her audacious and explosive shreds, rocking the rock and roll and heavy metal genre through her refined techniques and extremity of pulls.

Having set her fingers on her very first guitar at the tender age of 13, Courtney decided to pursue her passion for music. By the time she turned 15, she was accepted at The Paul Green School of Rock Music that polished her natural playing skills through guidance under music maestros.

During her time at The Paul Green School of Rock Music, she received immense practical exposure during her tours and stage acts with established artists such as Adrian Belew, Jon Anderson, Perry Farrell and George Lynch. She co-founded Queen Diamond, a tribute band to the King Diamond.

Courtney’s natural playing skills refined and improved under the mentorship of the maestro Chris Gordon. After celebrating her 18th birthday in her native town in Philadelphia, Courtney moved over to Los Angeles where she made shared the stage with the Iron Maidens as a guest performer. Having sensed that she was just perfect missing puzzle piece of the band, the Iron Maidens offered her a permanent position as the lead guitarist.

Courtney Cox joined hands with the Iron Maidens replacing Heather Baker. The event turned out to be a professional milestone and brought her into the national as well as global limelight. Courtney plays for The Iron Maidens under the pseudonym Adriana Smith, to pay tribute to the Adrian Smith of the original Iron Maiden and has staged many shows and guest appearances in the United States and in Japan.

Aside from her guitar playing feats for The Iron Maidens, Courtney has successfully attained numerous other highlights on her professional profile. Courtney shared the stage with the Phantom Blue members at the Michelle Meldrum Memorial Concert, held at the famous Whisky a Go Go Nightclub in Hollywood, California. Courtney also made it to the Guitar World Magazine’s Buyer’s Guide Model Search list, where she was successfully bagged the 1st runners-up position.

After becoming a part of The Iron Maidens in 2008, Courtney has played on the band’s latest album titled Metal Gathering Tour Live in Japan, which was released back in 2010.  Make no mistake about it, this young lady can shred.  Courtney and her fellow guitarist, Nikki Stringfield, are the modern day Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing.   Talented, precision, and dedicated to their craft.

We recently had a quizzy and interactive session with the young, lively and super-talented Courtney Cox. Here’s what she shared about her career hallmarks and future aspirations.

courtneycox4

When did you first pick up the guitar?

I randomly picked up the guitar around thirteen/fourteen. I was definitely a late bloomer but I always took to music quickly. I was playing Metallica tunes within my first week of getting a guitar!  I never looked back after that.

When you started playing, we’re you taking lessons or self-taught?

I am self-taught. I tried taking lessons but never was comfortable with it. I didn’t enjoy lessons because I didn’t want to sound like the teacher. I wanted to find my own sound and found it easier to just figure things out my own way. Some things you just can’t teach I believe. Even when I was enrolled in the School of rock way back when, I never went to lessons, which I got in trouble for. I just went on the tours! lol

Your first guitar was a black Cort electric.  Do you still have this guitar in your possession?

HA! That guitar! When I wanted a guitar, I went to my father randomly and asked him to take me to the music shop in a nearby town called Glenolden in Delaware county, music .Pa. The shop was called Top Ten Music.It was a small shop and my father was still kind of confused over why I wanted a guitar because it was literally soo out of the blue but I just had the feeling I wanted one! I went in not knowing anything about guitars, models, woods, set ups , but saw this black thing on the wall and wanted it ( now thinking back I know there was a pretty cool green Ibanez on the wall that I should have picked up.. Ha oh well )… It was horrible haha but I guess it taught me how to make anything sound good because it was a challenge ! And yes I still have it back at my home in Essington, Pa.

When you enrolled into The Paul Green School of Rock Music, what kind of bands were you listening too?

Since I had no friends (ha) , music was everything. I always surrounded myself with heavy metal, thrash , hair metal etc.   At that time I was really into old Metallica, Mercyfulfate/KingDiamond, Pantera, Priest , Anthrax, Exodus, Vio-lence, Overkill, Kreator to Ratt, Winger, and Queensryche and so on. A good song was a good song. I listened to everything.

When you were playing in the all-female tribute band Queen Diamond, was Andy Laroque an influence on your playing? Who were your other influences?

Andy is still a huge influence on my playing. A lot of my vibrato and whammy bar work comes from playing those tunes back when I was fifteen/sixteen. We were just babies! I still get excited when jamming on tunes like 7th day of July 1777 or black horsemen!   Other influential players are Darrell Abbott, Glen Tipton, Reb Beach, Adrian Smith, Vinnie Moore, Warren Demartini, Jason Becker, Paul Gilbert, Kiko Loureiro, Rob Marcello, Nuno Bettencourt, the list goes on and on. I love players that still make me air guitar to bends and solos!  If I had to name one player that started everything for me, it would be Kirk Hammett.  When I started I had to have everything he had. Same picks, strings, even moves on stage. I was obsessed.  He is probably the only person that would make me feel star struck if I ever met him.

When you moved to Los Angeles from Phili, how did you get an invite to try out for the Maidens?

I always heard about the Maidens on the east coast while I was still in Queen Diamond. I moved out to California at 19 with a backpack and a guitar. I was filling time as Ace in a Kiss tribute when I heard the Maidens had an opening for Adrian. I was all over it. I contacted them through MySpace at that time ( ha MySpace seems so ancient now), but didn’t realize I turned off the reply function so they could not reply back to me! Ha, I thought they hated me until I realized duh they can’t respond. Once I turned that function on, I received their invitation for an audition. I went in and was nervous because I knew Linda from Phantom Blue and I was a huge fan. Nerves aside, I nailed the audition, second one, first show and that was that! A family was forged and is still gaining momentum every day!

When you started with the Maidens, what guitar/s were you primarily using?

I was fortunate enough to have an endorsement with Jackson since I was fifteen. Soo I was using Jacksons, but you could find me also playing an Ibanez or vtype peavey from time to time.

When did you get your Raspberry Peavey Vandenberg?  Are you still playing that presently?

I acquired my vandy from Peavey a few years ago after I recorded a video for one of Peavey’s self-tuning guitars at Namm that received over a million views.  They asked what I wanted for such a rewarding video and I said there is only one thing- A Vandenberg.  They had a few left in the vault and luckily there was a raspberry one!   I play the guitar at home. I used to take it out on the road until an unfortunate situation where some idiot tried stealing it at a jam I took it to. Nice try jerk! It’s irreplaceable at this point so I keep it safe at home.

How about your lime green Jackson Adrian Smith?

My green Adrian Smith model is a one of a kind gift Jackson had made for me. I saw that green when it first came out on a Flying V they released at Namm a good hmmm seven years ago? I had to have it! They were on board with the idea but had to get the blessing from a very important person – Adrian Smith himself. After he gave the green light, Greeny was on its way to me. I love that thing. I still play it today. It has taken a break from tours the last year or so but it may show its face again. You never know.

You being a big Maiden fan, was it easy for you to copy the band’s moves and playing styles?

Yes. The music was second nature to me since I grew up listening to all of their tunes. When it comes to my favorite music, I view myself as a chameleon of sorts. I like tearing things apart and becoming one with anything I am playing. Try to step inside their shoes or brain and try to understand why they choose this note or that phrase. After you do that for awhile you step back and see the huge canvas for what it is and how the paint works.

Do you improvise in the band?

I do. I’d probably go insane if I didn’t. As much as it is a tribute band, I am not Adrian Smith. I have my own twist on things, my own sound.  I embellish on things when it feels right. I don’t intentionally do this but when you are live you get lost in the music and just play from the heart. There is nothing wrong with that.

What does your rig consist of?

My rig has been the same since I’ve been 16. Scary right? I use a valve king half stack from Peavey,  Boss pedals ( chorus, delay, tuner), newly added BBE pedals ( boosta grande for solos) and that’s pretty much it. I get my distortion from the vk head.  I like things simple. Less is more sometimes.

Are you presently endorsed by a Guitar Company?

I have been playing Caparison guitars lately.  Their luthier used to make some of the original Jackson’s so the feel is very familiar. I highly recommend them to all players. Handmade in Japan.    Caparisonguitars.com.   Find them on Facebook as well… Facebook.com/caparisonguitarco.     I still have my Jacksons but after nine years of torture on the road, they need some work. Once I have them serviced I will slowly incorporate them back into my arsenal.

What size strings do you use to play the Maiden songs?

Nines.  We play in standard so they get the job done.  Ghs.

What size picks are you using?

Hmm good question ( tries to find pick in purse) haha.   I use Dunlop tortex Jazz picks 1.0 mm.

Do you have any specific preparations you do before any show?

I stretch and really just try to zone out and listen to music. I try to avoid the green room by sitting at the bar with fans or just walk around.  I usually don’t even look at the set list until I walk on stage ha.  I consider this my ” me” time.

Are you playing with other bands aside from the Maidens?

Yes! I currently play for Femme Fatale and recently joined another group called the ” Chelsea Girls” which is sort of a super group of female musicians from other bands.  I swear I never sleep lol.

With your talent, Have you thought about, or been approached to do a solo album?

Original music is definitely in my near future. I have already been laying down tracks in my small home studio. The solo album thing really doesn’t interest me. I don’t believe in having my name alone on an album. I want a kick ass band that shares all duties and just has fun! I prefer to be in a family then be thrust to the front.  You need people who have your back, not people who want to put a dagger in it haha. I kid I kid.  Stay tuned for the originals.

What other types of music do you listen too? What other guitarists do you listen too?

I listen to everything. A good song is a good song regardless of genre.  Even at the heaviest of shows, you can find me rocking out to let’s say. Backstreet Boys. Not kidding. I’ve been listening to a lot of Duran Duran too.   The guitar work is very intriguing to me. Simple, well placed. And don’t get me started on the bass lines… perfection.

Do you have advice for any aspiring guitarist? 

It’s not easy, not an easy lifestyle but if you truly love what you do there are no boundaries. Everyone has ups and down, we are only human. Play because you want to play. Not because you want to be famous or rich. Passion is something a lot of people lose over the years and it is sad. I’ve seen it happen to many friends. I even tell myself the minute it becomes a job for me I’m done. So stay true to yourself and push forward. Even if you fail, there is only one way to go once you’ve hit rock bottom and that is up.

What should we expect from you in 2017?

We shall see. I plan to take this new year by the horns and completely destroy. With every passing year you learn new things, embrace the tools you have learned or forget things that didn’t work. I’m ready for 2017 and what it has to offer.

 

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