Tag Archives: Jason Becker

Marty Friedman’s Wall Of Sound Released Today

MARTY FRIEDMAN’s new album, Wall Of Sound, expands and destroys any conventional notions of instrumental music. It was produced by Friedman, engineered by Paul Fig (Ghost, Rush, Alice In Chains) and mixed by Jens Bogren (Lamb of God, Opeth). 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.”

Regarding the writing and recording process on Wall Of Sound, Friedman responded with this, “It`s a challenge to evolve album after album, especially on your 13th solo album. Not only as a songwriter but it is imperative to do new things on my instrument as well. Luckily this is a challenge that I love. You will find this hard to believe when you hear the density and sheer amount of guitar coming at you from all directions, but in fact, all of the final guitar tracks on Wall Of Sound were done in 9 days.”

He continues, “This furious and productive pace was made possible by over a year of making demo after demo and spending more time listening and living with the music rather than just playing it.  I had lived with the songs for so long and edited and re-cut them so many times, which by the time I got to the actual recording studio, it was like I had been playing the whole album on tour for a year already. I learned to do this from making Inferno.”

“This is why a lot of artists` debut albums are so strong-because they have had so much time to reflect on and fixed the music, and also, more importantly, attach real life experiences to the songs. I feel like I have a debut album here.”

Once again, Friedman assembled an incredible and diverse group of musicians to record and guest on Wall Of Sound. His core recording band is made up of Anup Sastry, a new whiz kid sharing drum duties with uber-veteran Gregg Bissonette, and Japanese bassist Kiyoshi who is undisputedly the most aggressive female bassist on earth. Guests include Jinxx of Black Veil Brides and Shiv Mehra of Deafheaven, and Jorgen Munkeby of Shining lends his voice to the only non-instrumental track on the album.

MARTY FRIEDMAN comments on the guests: “Jinxx from Black Veil Brides and I wanted to do something that would shock his fans and my fans. I arranged a monster of a tune called “Sorrow & Madness” based on a melody that Jinxx wrote on the violin. I took his sweet song and added so many twists and turns that it became a mammoth of Martyisms in tandem with a broad side of Jinxx that has yet to be heard by his fans. We are both very proud of what happened.” 

“I think Deafheaven is the one truly heavy band that comes to mind when people ask me to recommend something that`s not Japanese! I was super excited to work with Shiv from Deafheaven. We wrote “Pussy Ghost” together, and it is one of the most aggressive songs I have ever played, while at the same time evoking grotesquely beautiful moods that I have never felt before. One thing I learned from making Inferno is that when you have a guest, let them come up with music first. Let it be their baby, so they are personally invested in the song. Then arrange it and do it my way, then add more things together. This gives you a final song that sounds like both of the people put their heart and souls into the music, as opposed to one guy doing everything and the guest just blasting out a solo somewhere.”

“Jorgen from Shining also guested on Inferno and when we finished that song we immediately started talking about what we would do next. For those who don`t know Inferno, they are like a steroid-ed out and “genius-level musician-ed out” version of Nine Inch Nails for the 21st century, with a charismatic singer/composer (Jorgen) and a wicked sense of melody, that hits me in the gut on every song. “(Just Gimme) Something To Fight” is the one vocal track on the record and it kills. Even after finishing this song we have started working on more new things for who knows what…”

Wall Of Sound track listing:
1. Self Pollution
2. Sorrow and Madness (featuring Jinxx of Black Veil Brides)
3. Streetlight
4. Whiteworm
5. For A Friend
6. Pussy Ghost (featuring Shiv Mehra of Deafheaven)
7. The Blackest Rose
8. Something to Fight (featuring Jorgen Munkeby of Shining)
9. The Soldier
10. Miracle
11. Last Lament

Wall Of Sound is available for pre-orders  here: http://smarturl.it/MartyFriedmanon all digital platforms, compact disc and comes in five limited edition LP color variants:

  • White Black Swirl LP – 300 Worldwide
  • Clear Black Smoke LP – 100 Worldwide
  • Glow in The Dark LP – 100 Worldwide
  • Clear Black Swirl LP – European retail exclusive, 100 Europe only
  • White LP – US indie retail exclusive, 200 US only

All pre-orders come with a laminate good for 1 VIP meet and greet to Marty’s 2017 US tour. Keep an eye on www.martyfriedman.comfor dates, email martyvip@prostheticrecords.comwith your order number and what date you would like to attend.

MARTY FRIEDMAN will begin a headlining run on August 2 in Philadelphia, PA. Support comes from Houston’s top progressive outfit, Scale the Summit, along with Madison, WI’s technical progressive three-piece, The Fine Constant.  See below for all upcoming tour dates:

Marty Friedman – Wall of Sound Tour 2017
w/ Special Guests Scale The Summit and The Fine Constant

8/02 The Foundry at the Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA
8/03 Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA
8/04 Highline Ballroom, New York, NY
8/05 Crossroads, Garwood, NJ
8/06 Baltimore Soundstage, Baltimore, MD
8/08 Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH
8/09 Diesel, Chesterfield, MI
8/10 Reggie’s Rock Club, Chicago, IL
8/11 Studio B at the Skyway, Minneapolis, MN
8/12 Sokol Underground, Omaha, NE
8/13 Fubar, St, Louis, MO
8/16 Scout Bar, Houston, TX
8/17 The Rock Box, San Antonio, TX
8/18 Trees, Dallas, TX
8/19 Tower Theater, Oklahoma, OK
8/20 The Riot Room, Kansas City, MO
8/23 Marquis Theatre, Denver, CO
8/24 Launchpad, Albuquerque, NM
8/25 The Rebel Lounge, Phoenix, AZ
8/26 The Whisky, Los Angeles, CA
8/27 The Parish @ HOB, Anaheim, CA
8/28 Brick By Brick, San Diego, CA

About MARTY FRIEDMAN:
MARTY FRIEDMAN released his first solo album, Dragon’s Kiss, on the influential Shrapnel Records. His tenure with Cacophony and Megadeth have created some of the most memorable music and jaw dropping guitar solos ever heard. He’s received dozens of platinum and gold awards from throughout the globe and continually pushes the boundaries of music as is heard on Wall Of Sound. Fluent in Japanese, Friedman currently resides in Tokyo where he is a constant fixture on Japanese television (appearing on hundreds of network programs, musical and non-musical, and as the face of long running campaigns for Fanta/Coca Cola, Sumitomo Bank, Suntory, etc.), in addition to appearing in major motion pictures. He is also the author of two hardcover books in Japanese detailing his unusual views on the current Japanese music scene, as well as two best-selling manga-related books, which are both in their eighth editions now. Friedman has not only held top charting positions with his albums in Japan but has also collaborated on and produced several Top 5 hits.

MARTY FRIEDMAN was recently appointed a Japanese Heritage Ambassador to promote the country`s upcoming Olympic games. He is currently filming a documentary, and his biography is set to be published soon.

MARTY FRIEDMAN Online:
www.martyfriedman.com
www.facebook.com/martyfriedman.official
www.jacksonguitars.com/features/marty-friedman

Happy Birthday Jason Becker

By Andrew Catania

Jаѕоn Elі Bесkеr (bоrn Julу 22, 1969) іѕ аn Amеrісаn hеаvу mеtаl guіtаrіѕt аnd соmроѕеr. At the аgе оf 16, hе bесаmе раrt оf thе Shrарnеl Rесоrdѕ-рrоduсеd duо Cасорhоnу wіth hіѕ frіеnd Mаrtу Frіеdmаn. Thеу rеlеаѕеd thе аlbumѕ Sрееd Mеtаl Sуmрhоnу іn 1987 аnd Gо Off іn 1988. Cасорhоnу brоkе uр іn 1989 аnd Bесkеr bеgаn doing ѕоlо wоrk, hаvіng rеlеаѕеd hіѕ fіrѕt аlbum Pеrреtuаl Burn іn 1988, аlѕо thrоugh Shrарnеl. Hе lаtеr jоіnеd Dаvіd Lее Rоth’ѕ bаnd аnd rесоrdеd оnе аlbum wіth hіm, A Lіttlе Aіn’t Enоugh.

Bесkеr’ѕ реrfоrmіng саrееr wаѕ сut ѕhоrt bу аmуоtrорhіс lаtеrаl ѕсlеrоѕіѕ (ALS). In 1996, Bесkеr lоѕt thе аbіlіtу tо ѕреаk, аnd hе nоw соmmunісаtеѕ wіth hіѕ еуеѕ vіа a ѕуѕtеm dеvеlореd bу hіѕ fаthеr. Dеѕріtе hіѕ dіѕаbіlіtу, hе соntіnuеѕ соmроѕіng bу uѕіng a соmрutеr аnd hаѕ ѕіnсе rеlеаѕеd wіth Shrарnеl Cоllесtіоn, a “bеѕt оf” аlbum оf hіѕ fаvоrіtе ѕоngѕ аnd thrее nеw ѕоngѕ.

Cоnѕіdеrеd аn еxреrt guіtаrіѕt and оnе оf thе tор рlауеrѕ оf hіѕ tіmе, Jаѕоn Bесkеr ѕtudіеd thе wоrkѕ оf vіоlіnіѕt Nіссоlò Pаgаnіnі аnd wаѕ a рlауіng раrtnеr wіth Mаrtу Frіеdmаn. Hе lаtеr аrrаngеd Pаgаnіnі’ѕ 5th Cарrісе, реrfоrmіng іt during аn іnѕtruсtіоnаl guіtаr vіdео. Bесkеr’ѕ соmроѕіtіоnѕ оftеn іnсludе hіgh-ѕрееd ѕсаlаr аnd arpeggio раѕѕаgеѕ trаdеmаrkѕ оf hіѕ ‘ѕhrеd’ ѕtуlе оf guіtаr рlауіng. Oftеn іnсоrроrаtіng аdvаnсеd tесhnіԛuеѕ ѕuсh аѕ ѕwеер рісkіng, аltеrnаtе рісkіng, аrtіfісіаl hаrmоnіс ассеntіng, аnd tарріng; hе wаѕ аmоng thе lеаdеrѕ іn thе fіеld durіng thе tесhnісаl ‘ѕhrеd’ guitar, аnd Nео-Clаѕѕісаl Mеtаl trеnd оf thе mіd tо lаtе еіghtіеѕ аnd іѕ ѕtіll rеѕресtеd аnd hоnоrеd bу hіѕ musician рееrѕ tоdау.

Pеrhарѕ thе mоѕt hіgh-рrоfіlе аrtіѕt bаttlіng ALS іѕ Jаѕоn Bесkеr, thе tаlеntеd guіtаrіѕt whо ѕееmеd роіѕеd tо еmbаrk on a brіllіаnt саrееr bеfоrе hе received hіѕ dіаgnоѕіѕ іn thе еаrlу ’90ѕ. Rіѕіng tо рrоmіnеnсе аlоngѕіdе Mаrtу Frіеdmаn іn thе ѕhоrt-lіvеd рrоjесt Cасорhоnу, Bесkеr rеlеаѕеd a ѕоlо аlbum (‘Pеrреtuаl Burn’) іn 1988, аnd thеn саught thе еаr оf thеn-fоrmеr Vаn Hаlеn frоntmаn David Lее Rоth, whо nееdеd a rерlасеmеnt fоr dераrtіng guіtаrіѕt Stеvе Vai.

Rоth еnlіѕtеd Bесkеr fоr hіѕ thіrd ѕоlо LP, 1991’ѕ ‘A Lіttlе Aіn’t Enоugh,’ but whаt іnіtіаllу арреаrеd tо bе thе fіrѕt іn a ѕеrіеѕ оf bіg brеаkѕ еndеd uр bеіng a tеѕt оf endurance. Aftеr nоtісіng a lіmр іn hіѕ lеft lеg, Bесkеr ѕоught mеdісаl аttеntіоn аnd gіvеn thе grіm nеwѕ thаt hе hаd ALS. A рrоgrеѕѕіvе nеurоdеgеnеrаtіvе dіѕеаѕе thаt аffесtѕ nеrvе сеllѕ іn thе brаіn аnd thе ѕріnаl соrd, ALS grаduаllу rоbѕ іtѕ vісtіmѕ оf thе аbіlіtу tо соntrоl muѕсlе mоvеmеnt, ѕtаrtіng wіth fіnе mоtоr ѕkіllѕ (ѕuсh аѕ рlауіng guіtаr). Cоntіnuіng thrоugh dаіlу асtіvіtіеѕ mоѕt оf uѕ tаkе fоr grаntеd, ѕuсh аѕ wаlkіng or bеіng able to ѕреаk. Thе gеnеrаl рrоgnоѕіѕ іѕ grіm, wіth mоѕt раtіеntѕ раѕѕіng аwау wіthіn thrее tо fіvе уеаrѕ frоm thе оnѕеt оf ѕуmрtоmѕ.

Dеtеrmіnеd to рrеѕѕ оn еvеn аftеr hіѕ dіаgnоѕіѕ, Bесkеr mаnаgеd tо fіnіѕh thе ‘A Lіttlе Aіn’t Enоugh’ ѕеѕѕіоnѕ, but he wаѕ unаblе tо jоіn Rоth on tоur аnd ѕооn lоѕt thе аbіlіtу tо реrfоrm. Hе’ѕ lіvеd wеll bеуоnd the іnіtіаl lіfе еxресtаnсу thе dосtоrѕ оrіgіnаllу gаvе hіm, hоwеvеr, аnd thаnkѕ tо ѕоmе unіԛuе ѕоftwаrе thаt trасkѕ еуе mоvеmеnt. Hе rеmаіnѕ аblе tо соmmunісаtе аnd соmроѕе hіѕ ѕесоnd ѕоlо LP, ‘Pеrѕресtіvе,’ wаѕ rеlеаѕеd іn 1996, аnd he mаіntаіnѕ аn асtіvе соnnесtіоn wіth hіѕ fаnѕ vіа hіѕ оffісіаl wеbѕіtе.

Hіѕ ALS grаduаllу rоbbеd hіm оf hіѕ аbіlіtу tо рlау guіtаr, tо walk, аnd еvеntuаllу hіѕ аbіlіtу tо ѕреаk. Hе nоw соmmunісаtеѕ wіth hіѕ еуеѕ vіа a ѕуѕtеm dеvеlореd bу hіѕ fаthеr. Hе rеmаіnѕ mеntаllу ѕhаrр аnd, wіth thе аіd оf a соmрutеr, соntіnuеѕ соmроѕіng. In thе bасk оf thе Pеrѕресtіvе CD саѕе, Bесkеr ѕtаtеѕ “I hаvе Amуоtrорhіс Lateral Sсlеrоѕіѕ. It hаѕ сrіррlеd mу bоdу аnd ѕреесh, but nоt mу mіnd.” His mеdісаl соndіtіоn hаѕ rеmаіnеd ѕtаblе ѕіnсе 1997. Hоwеvеr, whеn Bесkеr соuld nо lоngеr рhуѕісаllу рlау еvеn a kеуbоаrd, hіѕ frіеnd аnd muѕіс рrоduсеr Mіkе Bеmеѕdеrfеr helped hіm wіth a muѕіс-соmроѕіng соmрutеr рrоgrаm thаt rеаdѕ mоvеmеntѕ оf hіѕ hеаd аnd еуеѕ, еnаblіng Bесkеr tо соntіnuе tо соmроѕе аftеr hе lоѕt соntrоl оf thе rеѕt оf hіѕ bоdу.

Thе wrіtіng оf thе muѕіс hаd bееn ѕtаrtеd before ALS соmрlеtеlу сrіррlеd hіѕ аbіlіtіеѕ. Bу uѕіng guіtаr, аnd, lаtеr, whеn hе wаѕ unаblе tо uѕе bоth hаndѕ, a kеуbоаrd, hе соntіnuеd tо соmроѕе whіlе hіѕ dіѕеаѕе wоrѕеnеd. Whеn the lаѕt nоtеѕ оf the аlbum fаdе, уоu wіll nоt buу оr еnjоу Bесkеr’ѕ wоrk bесаuѕе уоu feel ѕоrrу fоr hіm, but bесаuѕе hіѕ ѕріrіt аnd wіll аrе unѕtорраblе. In 1999, Bесkеr rеlеаѕеd ‘Rаѕрbеrrу Jаmѕ’ аnd thеn ‘Blасkbеrrу Jаmѕ‘ іn 2003, bоth аlbumѕ mаdе uр оf demos аnd оuttаkеѕ frоm Jаѕоn’ѕ раѕt. ‘Cоllесtіоn’ соntаіnеd rе-rеlеаѕеѕ оf hіѕ bеѕt wоrk аnd thrее nеw соmроѕіtіоnѕ, сrеаtеd vіа соmрutеr uѕіng еуе аnd hеаd mоvеmеntѕ.

Happy Birthday Jason!

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

 

The Versatility of Alexandra Zerner

By Andrew Catania

Talk about the versatility of playing skills, and you get Alexandra Zerner!

A skilled musician, a master instructor, an expert acoustics engineer, a multi-instrumentalist and a brilliant player in solo and team capacities alike – Alexandra Zerner is a name that has created waves in the metal music world in a short span of time.

Born on December 26th, in Bulgaria, Alexandra Zerner possessed a natural affinity towards music since early childhood. Testing her mettle on a variety of instruments and tasting the essence of a host of genres, it took her a while to realize her passion for rock and heavy metal genre. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she possesses a more enhanced technical acumen about instruments as well as the various styles of playing. Over the course of time, she has acquired an extensive experience that has refined her skills and evolved her signature playing.

Alexandra Zerner tones are neat and crisp with a spellbinding audacity. Primarily inclined towards progressive metal instrumentals, Alexandra likes to infuse a multitude of elements to create a unique matrix for her tones. Her specialty stems from eclectic and contradictory items that she skillfully combines to create one masterpiece of a tone. Aside from that, she experiments with creating fusion instrumentals, combining the essence of low-pitched metal riffs with the gypsy components of jazz. Her grooves, an exquisite fusion of melodic numbers with classic chords, is a thing no less than a pure musical ecstasy.

Alexandra Zerner started her career, in 2001, as a player, composer, and instructor, all at the same time. She has established a credible name in the metal music sphere through her mind blowing performances since. Aside from strengthening her repute in the solo playing capacity, Alexandra Zerner’s profile also entails numerous partnerships and guest appearances. She has played in the lead role for We All Die Laughing’s debut album titled ‘Thoughtscanning.’

Aside from that, she has collaborated with Deha Amsg for ‘Aurora Borealis’ and ‘The Path to Atlas.’ She is the lead guitarist for global ‘Another Disney Project’ and is also contributing her skills for ‘Vivaldi Metal Project’ since January 2016.

She took part in ‘A Matter of Perception,’ a global musical contest held by Nili Brosh. The jury panel comprised of distinguished names such as Jason Becker, Marco Sfogli, Nili Brosh and Greg Howe declared Alexandra the best among all contestants from across the globe.

Aside from the guest appearances and partnerships, Alexandra has also established a sound solo profile. Her debut solo album, ‘9 Stories’ was launched on November 19th, 2014 and was highly praised by the critics and metal enthusiasts alike. Her second album titled ‘Aspects’ came out the very next year. At present, she is working on her third album which will likely be released by the end of 2018.

Alexandra holds an EMG pickup endorsement to her claim. She has been declared as one of the Top 15 Hard Rock and Metal Female Guitar Shredders Ranking issued by the Metaholic.  Alexandra mentions Antonio Vivaldi, John Petrucci, Joe Satriani, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Django Reinhardt, Tony McAlpine, JS Bach and Yngwie Malmsteen as her primary influences and all-times favorite musicians.

The Hole Truth About Swiss Picks

By Andrew Catania

Los Angeles-based guitarist Pete Punckowski always had a problem with standard, everyday guitar picks. He wanted a pick that would fit his needs as a guitarist. He tried all kinds of picks that were on the market but had no luck. Primary picks would swivel around in his hand, the kind with sandpaper like grips kept him from readjusting as he played, and they all had that much dreaded “click click” sound when played on guitars being run through high gain amps. Peter felt that if these were the only choices for guitar picks that he could use them, but he always wanted something way better, a guitar pick that was different from all the others. He dreamed of a pick that wouldn’t slide around in his fingers, click on the strings, and would allow his fingers to readjust the pick as he played.

Following the old saying of “If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself,” Peter set out to design the ultimate pick. This quest leads him to develop Swiss Picks, the picks that finally met all his needs as a guitarist. The genius behind the Swiss Pick is the unique grip area. Off center holes with raised edges allow the pick to grip to your fingers, preventing the pick from spinning around in your hand. This lets you hold the pick lighter than you would have to with a regular pick and will save your fingers energy and make playing even the hardest guitar licks less hard on your hands. To solve the string clicking issue, Peter opted to make his picks out of the finest USA made Dupont materials, this gives the pick a smoother sound (and stops it from wearing down so fast!).

 

After a while, Peter added the Sharp Cheddar model to his roster. This was similar to the original Swiss Pick; only it had a sharper edge and a thicker base. He was so proud of these picks that he sent some along to guitar virtuoso Rusty Cooley (who’s work Peter loved). Rusty fell completely in love with the ease of use of the Sharp Cheddar and quickly adopted it as his main pick. However, Rusty had one small issue with the material that the Sharp Cheddars were made out of; he found the Delrin to be too warm for his 7 and eight string guitars. Peter’s answer to this was to design Rusty the same Sharp Cheddar pick out of a firmer material named Polycarbonate. This made Rusty’s sound on the 7 and eight string guitars nice and bright and cleared up some low-end muddiness issues. This became the Rusty Cooley Edition Swiss Pick.

 

Since that time Peter has added a jazz mini model, a Rusty Cooley Edition Jazz Mini, a Rusty Cooley Edition Nuclear Cheddar pick,  a Jason Becker Jazz Pick, and an Atomic Glow in the Dark Pick to his roster. Swiss Picks has continued to stay right on the cutting edge of guitar pick design and fuels the playing of guitarists around the world.

You can find and purchase Swiss Picks online at www.swisspicks.com

The Talent of John Petrucci

By Andrew Catania

An excellent lyricist, proficient producer, virtuosic composer, and a master when it comes to playing the chords, John Petrucci is the present age music sensation who is progressively making his way to becoming an institution in his entirety. Primarily known for his co-founding association with Dream Theater, John Petrucci has established a sound fandom over time. Acclaimed by critics and loved by music enthusiasts, John Petrucci is also an inspiration for budding musicians who are magnetically drawn towards his dense, intricate and soulful tones that he so smoothly manages to squeeze out of the chords.

John Petrucci emerged as a promising name on the music scene of the 1980s. Ever since his debut, the maestro has made a significant contribution to the progressive metal genre. John’s professional career is a long journey that is punctuated with constant learning, consistent efforts, and well-crafted improvisations, in pursuit of the musical mastery that he enjoys today. John’s alternate picking is his master forte and is considered as one of the best in the world. Of course, it was not that he mastered the feat overnight and it cost him a considerable amount of time and efforts as well as a ‘strong sense of synchronization between both playing hands’, as he himself states.

Aside from his signature alternate picking, John has also redefined the typical tight rhythm guitar playing. Rhythmic playing is often taken for granted as the most basic and easiest of all playing techniques. However, Petrucci’s style of tight rhythm playing is a smooth rhythmic string that is heavily punctuated with countless intricately infused riffs and nuances that cumulate their melodic essence and fall on the eardrums as a harmonic rhythmic beat.

John Petrucci is also characterized by his use of a variety of instruments, especially his signature seven-stringed guitar that provides him an extended chord to incorporate extension in his riffs and rhythms, as seen in his solos. His heavy riffing is attributed is as one-of-its-kind and the way he fuses this signature shreds with the delicately audacious solo playing techniques. While even the most eminent of his contemporaries establish the seventh string in the lowest pitch frequency with repeated riffing, John utilizes the extended string to uplift the tone and add another dab of creativity and improvisation to the flow of tone. Jon’s primary influences include music luminaries such as Steve Morse, David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson, Steve Vai, Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen and his sound knowledge of the individual techniques of his influences is often reflected in his tones.

John Petrucci has tested his fingers on a variety of instruments, including different versions of Music Man, Ibanez, and Acoustic Guitars. He has had a loyal, long-term association with Mesa Boogie Amplifiers has barely changed his original pedal board except for the overdrive pedals. John Petrucci currently plays his signature Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Signature Model and Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty. Jon Petrucci also endorses a number of brands such as Music Man’s signature guitars, Dunlop’s signature guitar picks, and TC Electronics signature fix pedal.

The Shredding of Marty Friedman

By Andrew Catania

An unforgettable name from the music scene of the mighty 90s and the one who completely aced his job as the lead guitarist for Megadeth, Martin Adam Freidman, affectionately known as Marty Friedman, is a modern American guitarist who possesses a sound global fandom and continues to rule hearts. It was after attending a Kiss concert that Marty’s musical flair was ignited. Not looking back since Marty embarked on a journey of learning the tact and intricacies of strings and chords.

Pairing up with some of his friends with similar musical interest, Marty and Co’s rehearsals and jamming sessions soon became the talk of the town. People would drop in from nearby locales to listen to the young kids skillfully playing the great originals of that time.

After being featured on live shows and paving the way to the regional media and entertainment limelight, Marty decided to test his mettle outside of ‘The Rehearsals’ and embarked on a long and accomplished journey that is punctuated with notable associations and collaborated acts, such as his joint feats with Racer X, Hawaii, Cacophony and Tourniquet and also a number of incredible solo feats. After some accomplishments, Cacophony was dissolved, leaving each member to plunge into their solo flight.

Now that the high road was taken, Marty decided to give the Megadeth auditions a shot and test his fate. He was not picked in his first attempt; not because of a lack of talent or expertise, but because of his multicolored hair. Later next year, he was successful in impressing the band and officially became a part of the exalted Megadeth in 1990.

The band provided a great platform for him to further improve his technique by working alongside some of the greatest music virtuosos of the era. Experimenting with a variety of instruments and techniques and fusing the best of neoclassic, heavy metal, thrash speed, and J-pop genres, he eventually evolved his signature tones. Delivering his best, his debut album with Megadeth titled ‘Rust in Peace’ strengthened his position in the band and is considered as the best thrash metal release of all time. The association prevailed for almost a decade and is punctuated with five studio releases and numerous shows and guest performances. Marty Friedman’s contribution to Megadeth includes playing for Rust in Peace, Youthanasia, Risk, Countdown to Extinction, Hidden Treasure, and Cryptic Writing.

At a time when Megadeth was ruling the music charts, Marty bid farewell to the band and became more inclined towards strengthening his solo portfolio. Over time, he has added some solo feats to his profile, including Dragon’s Kiss, Tokyo Jukebox, Introduction, Scenes, Metal Cone X, True Obsessions, Loudspeaker, Future Addict, Bad DNA, and Inferno. The music maestro has permanently moved to Japan and has hosted a couple of TV shows, such as Rock Fujiyama and Jukebox, aside from a couple of feats with Shrapnel and Avex Trax.

Marty’s signature fusion style of cumulating the essence of eastern and western music along with that of universal thrash, heavy metal, and rock has added a whole new dimension of these genres. His unique, soft and smooth-sweeping techniques over arpeggiated chords have cast a major influence on young and budding generations of musicians.

Paul Gilbert and his Amazing Career!

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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During many interviews, Paul Gilbert stated that his style was influenced by a wide array of artists. Some of the people that influenced him to include the Ramones, Jimmi Hendrix, Steve Clark, Alex Lifeson, Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Judas Priest and Pat Travers among many others.

Aside from that, Paul Gilbert also stated that his uncle did help influence him with the heavy metal addiction as he was a fan of many popular bands at that time. According to Pail, he grew up as a fan of the Beatles, Todd Rundgren, and Cheap Trick. He also said that George Harrison is one of his personal favorites in regards to the guitar styles.

Guitar World named Paul Gilbert one of the world’s 50 fastest guitar players of all time. Paul is known for its hand speed and the fact that he has an excellent stylistic versatility. He is also widely recognized for the staccato style picking technique that he has which is very fast and efficient.

Paul worked and still collaborates with a combination of musical styles. He created metal, funk, blues, rock and pop music as well as a mix of all these!

He is known for using the Ibanez PGN signature guitar series which has some painted F-Holes. He was using whammy bars at first. However, he did end up using a modified version of that model named PGM301 after he stopped using the whammy bars sometime in the 90s. in regards to amps, he opts for the A/DA MP-1 preamps. He also uses many effects like the BOSS DD-3 Digital Delay, the MXR Phase 90 and 100, the TC Electronic Nova Delay and the HOF Mini as well as some Home Brew Electronics effects like the Compressor retro, Bajo Mos, and the Detox EQ.

Paul Gilbert flourished as a solo artist, and his large number of solo albums shows that. The list includes:

  • King of Clubs (1998)
  • Flying Dog (1998)
  • Alligator Farm (2000)
  • Raw Blues Power (2002)
  • Burning Organ (2002)
  • Gilbert Hotel (2003)
  • Space Ship One (2005)
  • Get Out of My Yard (2006)
  • Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar (2008)
  • United States (2009)
  • Fuzz Universe (2010)
  • Vibrato (2012)
  • Stone Pushing Uphill Man (2014)
  • I Can Destroy (2015)

Paul Gilbert received many distinctions for his work, which includes 4th on the Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time by Guitar One magazine and he also got included in the 50 Fastest Guitarists Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World. His career is filled with amazing performances and the fact that he still is one of the few performers that still have an extraordinary career even nowadays is very impressive. Paul Gilbert is a great example for all guitar players that never want to give up. He continues to improve his sound even nowadays, and that’s one of the main reasons why he continues to be a guitar playing legend that will impress people for years to come!