Tag Archives: Michael Angelo Batio

ReverbNation Featured Artist Brennan Dylan


I  started playing sax & composing when I was 10, performing classical, jazz & swing in school stage bands. When I was 14 I picked up a guitar for the first time…….it was like I’d inherited freedom. My high school music teacher told me that guitar wasn’t an instrument. I ignored him &, studied rock/metal guitar for the 1st year. I wrote rock & metal songs which I started recording when GarageBand was released. I was 15 and switched to classical guitar study, but I listened to metal, i.e., Megadeth, Malmsteen, Deep Purple, Pantera, etc. I also started performing jazz, rock & blues improv guitar at a club then which lasted all through high school. I branched out & studied everything from Motorhead to Dick Dale to Bach. I was in a surf band one summer. I moved into electronic music & incorporated that into my hard rocking metal compositions before I moved to Boston to study Performance Guitar at Berklee College of Music. After Berklee, I moved to LA where I played the Strip as a solo artist. I performed with some major acts at the Whisky, i.e., Michael Angelo Batio, DeathRiders, Gorillaz, as well as many other established, acts.


I received my first radio play when I was 16.  2 Southern California University stations, picked up my music & I was away. Indie labels started sniffing around then & have been ever since, but nothing has gelled yet. I’ve been getting ongoing press since 2010. After LA I moved to NYC & in 2013 formed Men Without Armies. Our self-titled release ran across the USA, Great Britain, Europe, Canada & South America via radio & magazines, both terrestrial & the internet. That simple three man band was the formula I’d been searching for in the trees rather than the forest.

Pure ripping metal has been coursing through my veins since I first picked up a guitar. My adventures to incorporate every genre that has a beat, into my metal compositions was very necessary & still is. I want to study it all but most of all I want to become a better guitar player & composer. By straying from the herd, I think that I can accomplish that………no one has a monopoly on anything, even a flat tire kicks off a beat. I may not like all music genres, but I’ve always been able to find great guitar players &/or composers in all I’ve studied. Unique &, interesting guitar techniques & finger stylings might have been developed by a guitar player partial to a particular genre like I am, but that isn’t to say those ideas must stay in that type. There is no hard & fast guitar rule other than don’t try to trick your audience into playing back screaming guitar work that was recorded in the studio & doctored to death then pretending it’s you blinding fans with your live, mad axe. That’s as bad as lip syncing super stars.

The songs on Strapped & Loaded took more than a year to create. Over the course of a year, I wrote 53 new songs. Those were whittled down to 20 and expanded upon. I cut eight then fully developed the remaining 12 into complete works which I recorded with my gear. I also did something I vowed I’d never do………..I studied country music artists, focusing on great country guitar players, as well as, successful songwriters.

The compositions & arrangements are only part of the story for songwriting; lyrics are another. Dude listened to my new songs & wrote the lyrics before entering the studio. The problem with that is things always change when it go time. If we were signed & had months to lounge around a studio, there wouldn’t be a go time until the label’s A&R person laid down the law by calling in a pack of rabid dogs, to get our attention. Like most bands at our stage, money is extremely tight so burning almost two days of studio time was the difference between finishing what we set out to accomplish & not. But that’s life, the show goes on, and we’ll deal with the money issue later. Meanwhile, I didn’t like what Dude wrote because his lyrics didn’t mesh with my compositions. So Dude got up at four every morning, went to the motel’s TV room, put headphones on & wrote through each finished song until he found what he was looking for. He took those to the studio where he made adjustments & re-writes until we were in sync.

Now it’s no secret to any living professional musician that the internet crushed the music business model with such devastation that many just called it quits and went to work for peanuts & party leftovers. But that destruction is starting to be regenerated as more & more labels realize the size of the market for hard rock & metal. Besides, there are only so many years that people will tune into terrestrial radio stations blasting only Classic Rock before they tune out completely & tune into internet radio stations that are blasting new hard rock & metal. Somewhere along the way, Men Without Armies slipped a disc. Our original drummer & bass player/vocalist moved to what they thought were greener pastures, while Dude & I hunkered down in a bomb shelter. We landed Derek Bachtold, our new drummer; Vibe Studios was still a going concern plus Canada Council for the Arts awarded me a music creation & production grant. MONEY!!! I played all guitars, including bass & Johnny, lent us his tonsils. Suddenly the sun was shining; the truck was tanked up with gas and Men Without Armies is ready for round two.

Round Two – Strapped & ReLoaded Now this is the plan. Strapped & Loaded is now a six-song EP instead of a 12 song CD. But when we were at Vibe we also recorded the remaining six songs without vocals. These six instrumentals have been amped with searing guitar solos which have become our trademark & something our fans have come to expect, so they will also be released. This six-song EP will be called Strapped & ReLoaded. Plus…..we are readying for a fall 2017 tour


Strapped & Loaded (EP) speaks about our times, and 3 of the songs have a military theme. The song Strapped & Loaded is the recording’s single and has a double meaning. Dude also wrote it to help give my mom strength & courage to battle her cancer. Crash on Burn is all about Vegas. The title for Fast Life in Hollywood says it all. The Gun Show was written to help bring more awareness of living life inside of our inner cities, to those living the great life in places like Man Hat Tan – grab a coat, got a plane to catch, see ya man.


Brennan Dylan – guitar, compositions, producer, keys Derek Bachtold – drums Dude Diablo – lyrics *Bassist/Vocalist – auditioning


Guitar: Gary Kramer Illusionist Deluxe, I’m sponsored by Gary Kramer Guitar


Strings: D’Addario 09-42 Super Light, Nickel Wound

Cabinet: Orange 2 speaker closed back

Plant:1)  Furman M-DX Power Conditioner

2) FRACTAL Audio Systems Axe-Fx II preamp/processor – rather than use an amp(I like a heavy sound & live in a condo) I use a processor. The 2 amp settings I use are Friedman HBE & Eddie Van Halen 5150. I’m not big on  effects & don’t use them live but have them if I want to play around at home

3) ART SLA2 200 watt power amp

4) SKB shock loaded rig rack

This set up allows me to get a great sound at low volume for practicing at home but also gives me the muscle to step it up if a club’s sound person is too loaded to turn on my cab mic

EPK: www.reverbnation.com/MenWithoutArmies

Social Media

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MenWithoutArmys Facebook: www.facebook.com/menwithoutarmies Youtube: www.youtube.com/MenWithoutArmies Linkedin: www.linkedin/in/brennandylan Youtube: www.youtube.com/musicwithoutfear

Nitro Makes Its Next Move And Announces Producer Of New Album

NITRO makes its next move, and this revelation is just as impressive as last week’s when the band revealed that VICTOR WOOTEN would be the bass player on the new NITRO album and a previous announcement that drummer, CHRIS ADLER (Lamb of God), has joined the band.

Joining ‘Team NITRO‘ is multi-GRAMMY Award nominee, KANE CHURKO, who’s songwriting, producing and engineering credentials are second-to-none. CHURKO has worked with Ozzy Osborne, Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Hellyeah, Papa Roach and more. In addition to producing the new NITRO album, CHURKO will also be contributing his songwriting talents.

“It’s exciting to be part of NITRO’s evolution and the opportunity to record a legendary vocalist such as JIM GILLETTE was not one I wanted to pass up. We’ve had a lot of fun working on new music together at The Hideout Recording Studio. I think it’s going to please old and new fans alike. With such a phenomenal lineup, it should be evident that NITRO is back and ready to compete with the best-of-the-best.”, said CHURKO.

A release date for the new NITRO album, currently being recorded, is forthcoming. The band plans to debut a single from the new record along with a promotional video. Those and other exciting announcements are forthcoming.


Nitro Reveals Identity Of Guest Bass Player



NITRO_101216_167_copy 4

After months of public speculation on who will be playing bass on the new NITRO album, the band releases the following statement:

NITRO is proud, humbled and honored to finally tell fans and friends that VICTOR WOOTEN will be the guest bass player on the new NITRO album.  A five-time GRAMMY Award winner and widely-recognized as the greatest living bass player in the world, WOOTEN is also a Resident Scholar of Performance at the prestigious BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC and has been running his music retreat located near Nashville, TN for 18 years called VIX CAMPS.


“I’m so happy to be included as
part of the new NITRO project.
I’ve been a fan of MICHAEL
for decades,
are just as amazing. They’re
causing me to have to step up
my game. Fans will be thrilled
to hear what we are coming
up with; I’m really excited
about it!”, says WOOTEN.
Victor Wooten_photo_copy_550

, states: “I have been in awe of Victor for many, many years. His musical gifts, which are second to none, are matched by his ability to inspire. I am giddy, humbled and amazed to have the chance to share music with, and learn from, him.  Hearing him play music – or even speak about playing music for that matter, is truly a gift.  Playing this material with him is mind blowing, listening to what he brings to this is game-changing.”

“Victor is the best-of-the-best! He is a legendary musician and the most amazing bass player I’ve ever heard. Beyond excited is an understatement. We can’t wait for everyone to hear what we’re coming up with.”, says MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO.

JIM GILLETTE adds: “To have Victor on board is a dream come true. The caliber of musicianship is beyond anything the metal community has ever experienced. This takes the term ‘Super Group’ to a whole new level. The metal gods are definitely watching over us.”

A release date for the new NITRO album, currently being recorded, is forthcoming. The band plans to debut a single from the new record, along with a promotional video, within the next two weeks. Those and other exciting announcements are upcoming.


NITRO photo by Stephen D. Jensen,
F3 Studios / Wornstar Clothing

Francesco Fareri and his Fretboard Skills

By Andrew Catania

Francesco Fareri is a name that more people should know.   Born on April 15, 1978, Fareri is popularly known for playing shred style guitar.  At the age of 17, Francesco Fareri started playing guitar and used the electric option for a start. Most of Francesco’s core fans emanated from guitar-oriented websites in the likes of The Shred Zone, Shredaholic and just to mention a few. Among Francesco influencers in his guitar-playing career are Theodore Ziras, Marco Ferrigno, Gianni Rojatti, Rusty Cooley, Paul Abbott, Michael Angelo Batio, John Petrucci, George Bellas, Eric Clapton, Jason Becker, Steve Vai, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Tony MacAlphine and much more.

In 1999, Francesco Fareri debut instrumental demo came to the spotlight and reviewed on Whiplash and by Guitar 9 . The debut album of this majestic and fast-playing guitarist emanated from the enthusiasm of the feedback of his previous demo. Francesco unleashed his first album in late 2000 of an unequivocal record titled Suspension. The album is totally cascaded on shred instrumental that came to the spotlight in 2001. The personal label of Michael Angelo Batio, MACE, helped to distribute and market the first album both globally and nationally.

On May 2002, Francesco instructional strategies called Arpeggios was released by Chops From Hell at the same time of unleashing his debut album. On March 2004, Intense Guitar Playing’ carried out the same operation for Francesco album. High Shred Techs’ remain the company that helped Fareri in releasing his instructional methods in January 2003.

Around 2003, Fareri took part in a solo guitar performance with Vitalij Kuprij and other guitarists called Michael Harris, Borislav Mitic, Roger Staffelbach and George Bellas. Francesco unleashed his second album in title Forbidden Dimension after a couple of years later. The second album featured Vitalij Kuprij on the piano, Jon Doman as the drummer, Kyle Honea, and Bob Katsionis and unleashed on July 2005 by Lion Music.

In 2007, Francesco released his third album that comes with as gamut of extras such as mp3, photos, a diary, and tabs. The third album called Secrets Within emerged from the high invested ideas of Fareri. In 2011, Fareri released another album entitled Shattered Silence, which is a progressive metal band distributed by Last Debate Records.

The new era of Francesco Fareri’s works started in 2012. Francesco started to re-release of all of his old albums such as Suspension and Forbidden. The re-release of these albums came with innovative styles and backing tracks.

Mechanism Reloaded is the 4th album of Francesco unleashed in 2013. The album featured Jon Finn and Jeff Loomis. The album is being distributed by Power Prog across Europe, USA, Japan, Australia and other places across the globe. Francesco Fareri received an invitation in January 2015 to play at ESP and GHS. The event is slated to last for three days with other artists such as Frank Bello, George Lynch, Alex Skolnick and Gary Holt. The 5th instrumental solo album of this talented guitarist emerged in 2016. This album engineered the invitation Francesco received from ESP Guitars. In a nutshell, Francesco has had a good ride as a professional guitarist nationally and globally.


Elliott Rubinson: The Man Who Made it Happen

By Andrew Catania

At first glance, Elliot Rubinson seemed to be just another face in the plethora of musical talents in today’s hyper-competitive world. With a black and white bandana in place and a bass in hand – Rubinson could pass off to be just another musician in the crowd.

But for those of us who knew the former Dean Guitars CEO, we can assuredly say that Elliot Rubinson was anything but ordinary. Unfortunately, his flourishing career and adventurous life came to an untimely end on 5th February, 2017 after a long and hard battle against brain cancer.

The tragic news was broken to his acquaintances, followers and fans through the following post on Dean Guitars Facebook page “On behalf of everyone at Armadillo Enterprises, words cannot express how much we appreciate the kind words and condolences shared by many, regarding the loss of our dear friend and former CEO, Elliott Rubinson. As you can understand, this is a difficult time for the Rubinson family. Details regarding a celebration of life for Elliott will be announced in the near future. May our friend Rest in Peace.”

It seemed fitting and surreal that the news of Elliot Rubinson’s passing away would come from the very company he dedicated his life to. Although Dean Guitars was officially founded by Dean Zelinsky, the company truly gained popularity and prominence when Elliot Rubinson bought over the trademark through his company Armadillo Enterprises in 1977. From a small brick and mortar store, Dean Guitars grew to become a wholesale distributor of a variety of guitars and products.

Under Elliot’s guidance, Dean Guitars grew to be the instrument of choice for the twelve-year-old dreamer just starting out as well as the Grammy award winner trying his hand at something a little more complex. With Rubinson’s passion and dedication to the art of building the perfect guitar – owning a Dean became symbolic of success. Dimebag Darrell, the lead guitarist for the band Pantera is only one of the many raving Dean fans out there. He once asserted “As a kid it was always my dream to be with Dean Guitars, to play a Dean Guitar – to own one some day.”

From starting out by playing the bass at the tender age of 12 in the streets of Queens, New York – Elliot Rubinson breathed his last breath as the CEO of a multi-national guitar company that many guitarists in the world dreams of owning a guitar from. Elliot Rubinson was not just a business man – but an artist with an idea and it was his pursuit of creating the perfect instrument that will define his legacy.  We wish him peace and offer our condolences to his wonderful family.


For more information on the transition, please follow the Facebook page of President and CEO of Dean Guitars, Evan Rubinson.







Metal’s Best: Top Guitarists Ruling the Genre!

By Andrew Catania

Recent decades have turned out to be a booming era especially for rock and metal genre. Many eminent names have emerged and the influx of improvisations in playing techniques has expanded the scope of genre by a huge margin. They’re many talented metal guitarists.  Aside the usual big names we hear about, here are some of the most eminent metal guitarists who have been setting a milestone for their descendents in their individual capacities.


Vinnie Moore


Acclaimed for his harmonized and melodic style, Vinnie Moore is considered as one of the most virtuosic guitarists of the 1980s. Also known for his association with the UFO, Vinnie holds a unique identity when it comes to improvised shredding and licking. He establishes his tones on multiple parameters in octave and the resultant effect itself speaks for the mastery of his technique.

Rusty Cooley

A relatively new name on the heavy metal genre, Rusty Cooley has managed to outclass his contemporaries through his highly refined, self-improvised and incredible shredding technique. Rusty is characterized as the fastest guitarist of the world, for his exceptionally fast 17 nps alternate picks. His playing speed is the prime identity of his technique and over time, he has infused some considerable variation in his tones.

Michael Angelo Batio’s playing style clearly reflects his theoretical knowledge. His is acclaimed for speed as well as intricately designed and expertly articulated alternate picking. An expert when it comes to anchoring and using the extra fingers, his tones are dense and fluid and are also punctuated with arpeggios and taps.

John Petrucci

John Petrucci is a distinguished name in the metal genre and is acclaimed for his finesse over high-speed alternate picking. He has redefined the use of seven stringed guitars by using the additional string for dense and speedy riffs to extend the range. Petrucci also experiments on his tines by fusing a variety of skills such as blending metal shreds with soft solos.

Alex Skolnick

Alex Skolnick is acclaimed for the extensive variety and diversity of his techniques. From walloping thrash, rock-jazz blend, to audacious progressive metal, Alex Skolnick is an axeman when it comes to the intricacies, density and nuances of the tones. He has been declared as one of the greatest guitarists of all times on popular vote.

Kiko Loureiro 

Primarily known for his association with Angra and Megadeth, Kiko’s figures magically pull off a variety of techniques with utmost perfection and accuracy. His improvised styles of full sweep arpeggios, double-handed taps, blending staccato and legato, run on phrasing, and alternate picks are rendered as his best contributions to metal playing techniques.

Richie Faulkner

Richie Faulkner, the lead guitarist for Judas Priest, has contributed his skills for a number of releases from the band. Richie Faulkner is characterized for his fine, nuanced and excessive riggings and has made a significant mark in the music sphere in a short span of time.

Paul Gilbert

Paul Gilbert is the cofounder of Mr. Big. Paul Gilbert and has been ranked as one of the ‘Top 10 Greatest Shredders of all Times’. Paul enjoys an unrivaled supremacy when it comes to fast and furious picking. An axeman at staccato and a master at incorporating fats picking with legato, Paul’s signature playing style is intuitive and his tones flow out of the chord naturally.

Jeff Loomis

Primarily known for his association as the lead guitarist for Nevermore and later with Arch Enemy, Jeff Loomis is considered as the unrivalled wizard of shredding techniques. Jeff has aced a variety of playing techniques such as alternate picking, riffs, shreds and pulls. His signature shredding, in particular, is considered as an emblem of seer brilliance and aesthetic finesse.

My Personal Experiences with Sam Ash Music and Guitar Center Employees

By Andrew Catania

Keeping the “shred” alive and well is an ongoing process that must be passed onto to future generations. They’ll never be a generation that will have the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Angelo Batio, Steve Vai, Rusty Cooley, John Petrucci and other guitarists that can light up the fretboard.  I’ve rarely gone into big-box music retailers for fear of having prepubescents giving me answers such as, “who’s that?”.

I’ve documented my encounters with the millennial-aged prepubescent employees of Sam Ash Music and Guitar Center Employees.  I visited a Guitar Center location and asked the salesperson if I could see a Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Series Guitar.  With a puzzled look, I got the “Ing-we who?” answer I usually get.  What made this visit more interesting, is his fellow employee came over to join the conversation, knowing who Yngwie was, and stating his opinion that “Yngwie is a horrible player and I should look at a better quality guitar.”  This millennial said this as he saw my portrait tattoo of Yngwie on my arm.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Guitar Center sponsors Yngwie and his Guitar Gods Festival.  One employee asked me if “Ying-way” was a new guitarist.

Visiting Sam Ash Music was no better.  This time, I asked about Yngwie, which is usually a treat on its own, but, also about Michael Angelo Batio and Rusty Cooley Dean Guitar Signature Series.  The salesman said he’s never heard of any of them.  If “Ying-way” was a real person and gave his opinion on Dean Guitars.  “We don’t carry Dean Guitars and quite frankly I’m not apologetic about it.”  When I pressed why not, the salesman stated, “Dean makes junk and it all comes from China.”  I stated that most, if not all guitars that are $1,000 or less are made overseas by most guitar manufacturers.  I told the salesman that Dean also makes USA made models like other guitar companies.  “I didn’t know that.”

All it takes is one uneducated, employee to make a whole organization look bad in one person’s eyes.  If you’re not familiar with an artist, admit it.  Don’t bash an artist as the company you work for might be sponsoring them on a corporate level.  Why would you bash a guitar company when their headquarters is about 2 hours away in Tampa?

I don’t shop at either of these companies at the retail level.  The employees of there’s I’ve run into are these millennial-aged kids that aren’t quite educated about different artists and bash companies and guitarists.  With the talented people both companies have at the corporate level, they certainly can do a better job hiring people for the front lines that represent their brand and don’t bash artists or guitar companies they buy from.

The Wings That Make Dean Guitars

By Andrew Catania

The golden years that defined the transformation of the music industry under the influence of the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Johnny Winter inspired a young Dean B. Zelinsky to gain a sudden interest in rock and roll and more importantly, guitars.

Zelinsky started playing the electric guitar and tapped into his practice to create the perfect guitar in terms of shape, design, and sound. In 1977, the 19-year-old Zelinsky set out to form Dean Guitars – a company that has since revolutionized the instrument.

However, by 1978, Dean decided to sell the company to Armadillo Enterprises because he wanted to branch out on his own. Holding on to Zelinsky’s legacy and focus on creating the perfect instrument, Dean Guitars has embraced the guitar and created a whole range of electric, acoustic and bass guitars for amateurs and professionals alike.

In 2007, Dean began to produce its own artist signature pickups and in 2009, branched out to create amplifiers. The amplifiers were however discontinued shortly after.

Currently, Elliott Dean Rubinson who acts as the CEO of Dean Guitars is managing Dean Guitars. Since the past 35 years since it’s inception, Elliott Dean Rubinson continues to manage the brand as an American based brand that stays true to its heritage. Elliott has been famously known to state that people have recognized that “Dean Guitar” has had more great artists play their guitars than any other company in the world and that acts as a strategic advantage for us.”

One of the key reasons that make the above observation true is the fact that Dean Guitar has been present in the music industry for almost four decades – longer than most companies across the world. It is a rare, homegrown brand that has developed its instruments and story in pace with the musical developments without every dimming in fame. As a result, it is now recognized, as an institute in its own right.

This long established legacy has led to a large number of global rock and roll figures to own and treasure a Dean Guitar. Iconic guitarist and songwriter, Dimebag Darrell Abbott was famously known to have always dreamed of owning a Dean when he grew up when he said, “As a kid, it was always my dream to be with Dean guitars, to play a Dean guitar – to own one some day.”

A decade after his death, guitarists from all walks of life continue to play a Dean. Currently, world idols such as Eric Person, Michael Amott (one of the 100 greatest heavy metal guitarists of all time), Joel Bruyere from Thousand Foot Krutch, the legend Vincent “Vinnie” Moore from UFO, Eddie Veliz from KYNG and Dave Mustaine from Megadeth. They continue to stay loyal to Dean Guitar and inspire millions of young fans to one day own a Dean themselves.

Review: Jacky Vincent’s Cry Venom’s New Record Vanquish the Demon

By Andrew Catania

Jacky Vincent is the present-age music sensation that has literally exploded onto the musical horizon, jolting the contemporary trends through his expeditious, reverberating, and swift-sweeping playing techniques. His style stems from its own core, and this is precisely what accentuates his music’s originality.

His technique is an amalgam of nuances and extremity, with blistering effects and chiming sweeps. Besides that, his natural discontentment towards the ordinary trends and humdrum techniques compels him to experiment and play his magic.

Cry Venom employs Jacky’s superior playing with Aleksey Smirnov on vocals, Colton Majors on keyboards, Niko Gemini on bass, and Wyatt Cooper on drums.  Vanquish the Demon is a true power metal record.  It starts right out of the gate with the first single, “Prelude.” Aleksey’s vocals on “Wolfsbane” are incredible with the timing of the keyboards and drums.  “Stronger than Steel” is one of the more aggressive-sounding songs on Vanquish the Demon.

You have twelve songs to indulge yourself in musicianship that doesn’t come around often.  Cry Venom is a better outlet to showcase Jacky Vincent‘s superior guitar playing.  Welcome to the new age of Power Metal with Vanquish the Demon.  8/10 stars.

Follow Cry Venom

Email : cryvenomcontact@gmail.com