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Tony MacAlpine Discusses His New Record Death Of Roses

By Andrew Catania

The existence of the soul within often reflects on the accomplishments on the outside. Tony MacAlpine unearthed the alchemy of soulfulness in the mirth of music from when his fingers played with the keys of the piano at the age of 5.

Strumming through the cords as a solo, rock instrumentalist, pianist, and guitarist, Tony MacAlpine has artfully succeeded in coalescing the elements of jazz, hard rock, metal and classic beats on both, guitar and keyboard – crafting melodies as sinful as they are virtuous.

The dominating dazzle of neoclassical rock, the Hartford graduate, released his debut masterpieces – Edge of Insanity and Maximum Security in the late 80’s. But Tony’s teeming talents stretch beyond abysmal. In mid-1986 his thuds as a heavy metal guitarist in M.A.R.S drove flocks of frats wild, uncloaking an all new side of this innovative rock star.

A more commercially inclined endeavor in the hard rock led to the manifestation of Eyes of The World in the 90’s, but with the strike of realization, Tony resumed his passion for instruments and consecutively crafted magnum opuses as renowned as Madness, Premonition, Evolution and Violent Machine. Truly outshining his work, Tony sealed the decade of success with a blockbuster album Master of Paradise where he contributed with his authentic vocals as well.

The sweep trapping trickster was compelled to join aboard a hiatus when he revealed a health scare in the last couple of years.  After the release of Concrete Gardens, MacAlpine was pummeled with the revelation of a colon cancer, marking a pause to his musical accomplishments.

But like an unstoppable tornado, the legend has stormed back into the realm of harmonies with his album, Death of Roses.

Is this EP part of a set?

TM: it’s the start of we have another. It’s an ep we have a set of songs coming out shortly to complete the whole process of this writing of 14 songs.

What made you split the EP’s up?

TM:  I’m composing some material that I would say is descriptive exposure to a particular style that I’m unveiling now. I mean the next songs are something from a different era. They’re all part of the same suite, but they’re flavor and a different type a whole different approach. So I didn’t want to put the two on the same record because you said that your records are connected, so that’s why I chose to separate them.

Where did you find Nasser Abdalla?

TM:  Nass played in a band that opened for me a couple of tours ago.  He caught my attention back then and when it came time to find players I gave him a call.  He was all ready for it.

You have tour dates for September and October.  Do you have any plans to tour Europe?

TM: I delayed the European tour when I was sick, and the instability of situations going on in Europe happened at once.  I’m doing fine now.  Trying to book this tour came about we just realized that it’s just not a safe environment right now.  So we’re going to wait and see what happens.

Are you 100% healthy now?

TM:  Yeah, everything is fine. I’m doing great, and I’m happy to be out there and healthy just working again.

How did you creatively coming up with the music for Death of Roses?

TM:  Each record that I do is an exposee of where I’m at. And so at least five months or a year before when the record comes out, I’ve moved on to some other things that I find musically interesting, but I play lots of music. I play lots of piano music. I play music from many different genres, and so my influences are very far and wide. But the problem is with music that you become known for if you’re a solo artist you know you can’t just keep changing you don’t know the direction as soon as you feel like you know you need to you have to kind of bring things along at a slower pace because you know people build up a certain listening to your memory. And for them to be able to play when he records they want to hear something that they think reminds them of your style. Even so, your style might be evolving. It’s important for an artist to do things slowly. So I mean there’s so much stuff that I do, but just having the right combinations of musicians is one of the things that makes it whether or not it’s you know plausible or not. And that mix of musicians is here now. Obviously piano was my first instrument, so I’m employing lots of keyboards live now on this thing, and then we have not spent a lot of different guitar parts. We do a lot of guitar parts to be together. So it’s this music this whole thing is more of a freedom of sounds, and when the listeners get down, they get to more of your adventure instead of a songwriter that from one direction. So that’s really what it is. It’s just a combination.

Has your rig changed?

TM:  It’s always evolving.  Live now I’m using Hughes and Kettner Core Blades which are all tube heads with all of the processing built inside of the head. So it’s a real simple setup but very consistent. I also I also use the Hughes and Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40 which is the same idea of that it’s a better amp and a much smaller package about the size of a lunchbox.  Everything’s evolving,  the guitars are.  I’m using an extended range seven string. Even as guitars with various EMG setups you know the guitars are active and have one passive guitar.

Did you recover your gear that was stolen in Texas?

We got all the guitars back except one.  I didn’t get the TV back or the floorboard.  That’s easily replaceable.  All of the Ibanez guitars are back.  I had some friends in Mexico that went to a guitar swap and they some them there.  They brought them back for me.

Do you have a signature guitar coming out?

We’re working on something.  I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. So unless I come up with something that I think is a must for all players to have I don’t know if I’m going to do it, but we’ll see what happens regarding a future.

Any advice for aspiring guitarists?

Music is its art, and an artist is fostered by practicing and confidence. And one of the things that you really must come to the realization is whether you love you know the sacrifices you have to make because it’s a huge one. You know the time that it takes to write practice songs and cause the other bands and do that type of thing is it’s the rewards are not as great as many we think. You know they come along in time and so just really make sure that this is something you want to do and work extremely hard at it and love it.


Nili Brosh On Top Of Her Game

By Andrew Catania

An overview of the post-1980s music scene hint at some promising names that made their marks in music sphere and have emerged as the worthy descendants of the exuberant rock and metal shredding legacy that has become a characteristic hallmark of the decade.

Nili Brosh is one such name who has bagged prominence and fame at a young age, accomplishing new heights and paving her way to the top with zeal, zest, and fervor.

Young, passionate and exceptionally talented – Nili Brosh stands at the forefront, among the cohort of modern musicians and is leading the modern era of rock and heavy metal music.

Born on August 13th, 1988, in Rishon LeZion region in Israel, Nili Brosh has established a strong repute as a master guitarist and a professional songwriter. Her interest in music stemmed from her brother who was already into music and guitars. Having learned the basics of the instrument, she decided to pursue her passion as a profession and got herself enrolled at the Berklee College of Music. During her academic pursuits, she got an opportunity to test her skills on a variety of guitars and playing techniques and also partnered to perform with the institute’s top notch guitar instructors.

Her extraordinary talent and brilliance landed her a job at her alma mater, right after her graduation. Fresh Bachelors in Music, Nili Brosh became the youngest member of Berklee faculty for summer programs at the tender age of 19. This in itself is a tremendous recognition of her exceptional brilliance and talents.

Aside from rendering her services in the teaching capacity, Nili has also sought to focus on setting up her personal portfolio. She set up her YouTube Channel and started to broadcast her work to the world. Her first video post bagged over 180,000 million views, and each new video update fetches immense appreciation and applause from her fandom and rock and metal enthusiasts from across the globe.

Performing with premiere instructors, maestros and top-notch band and musicians, and also due to a consistent and tireless haul of intense jamming sessions, Nili’s style has evolved, matured and refined a great deal over the course of the time. Having established a strong reputation of a skilled musician over time, Nili has become one of the most sought after guitarists in the modern music industry. This has also provided her with numerous opportunities to establish partnerships and engage herself in associated acts with credible musicians of the post-1980s era.

Her career profile entails multiple cynosures to her claim. She has been into successful partnerships with renowned musicians, including Andy Timmons, Stuart Hamm, Joey Molland, Guthrie Govan, Pat Travers, and Terry Ilous.

Aside from that, she has also played for Seven the Hardway, Tony McAlpine and The Aristocrats as the lead guitarist, for The Iron Maidens as the guest solo guitarist and also for Ethan Brosh Band. She has also been touring across continents with Tony McAlpine. Additionally, she has two solo albums along with a multitude of endorsements for Inspire Guitars, Ibanez Guitars, EMG Pickups, Xotic Effects and Peavey Amps.

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.

Nili Brosh: Close To Perfection As You Get

By Andrew Catania

Nili Brosh is a 28-year-old guitarist from Israel. She specializes in heavy metal and hard rock music.  When Nili was 12 her and her family moved to Boston where she began studying the electric guitar, she then went on to study the discipline at Berklee College of Music. She got into the hard rock and heavy metal genre due to her brothers who were always playing music. This opened her up to all types of music that were created before her time. She soon became one of the college’s youngest faculty members and began to teach at the summer guitar program.  Nili started posting videos on YouTube that received incredible attention for her superior playing skills.

Her YouTube page began like any other, with a few followers and a small fan base. Her first video showed a great nimbleness in her fingers and the skill level was insane for that of an 18-year-old. Soon her video was to become viral and to this day has racked up just under 200,000 views on YouTube. Over the next four years, people spoke more and more about this rising talent and she began to attract a lot of followers. She was soon a professional guitarist and instructor after teaching at Berklee Summer Camp since she was 19. 

Nili has released two albums to date. The first one was called Through the Looking Glass and was released in 2010 which also features guitarist Andy Timmons as a guest soloist.  When Tony MacAlpine auditioned Nili,  he was so amazed by her skills he contacted Nili and asked her to take part in one of his solo bands along with the bass guitarist Bjorn Englen and drummer Aquiles Priester. This dream team ended up touring America and Europe.  This is where she began to work on her latest album A Matter of Perception which was released in 2014.

No one knows what the future holds but she plans to continue touring and creating albums with amazing talent other than herself.

Follow Nili @ http://www.nilibrosh.com/

What Makes Alexandra Zerner So Talented?

By Andrew Catania

Alexandra Zerner is one of the renowned musical moguls in the Bulgarian musical industry; one cannot talk Bulgarian music without talking of Alexandra Zerner.

She was Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Alexandra Zerner who is a solo artist, a guitar player, numerous instrumental player and a composer as well. She has been able to take part as a sessional musical, sound technician and a guitar lecturer since the year 2001.

In 2013, she took part as a guest musical artist to the album by the name ’Thoughtscanning” from the band We All Die (Laughing). In January 2014, she started on her solo career path as a guitar player, she worked on her solo album by the name –9 Stories which was out on November 19, 2014.  it was able to receive positive response in the musical industry market

In 2015, she was called by Déhà Amsg to be a part of the Post-Rock-Ambient production by the name “Aurora Borealis ”, where they all together worked on the album by the name ’Path To Atlas”. This was released onNovember 20, 2015.

Since September 2014, she was part of the- worldwide “Another Destiny Project” as a leading guitarist. In October 2014, Alexandra Zerner was already in the 15th number of Hard Rock and Metal Female Guitarist player list by Metalholic web page

In  2015, Alexandra started working on her number second solo album, going by the name –Aspects which was released on December 22, 2015.  it took the musical industry by storm it did so well.

Meanwhile, she was named by Jason Becker in October 2015 series of Guitar Player publication, along with Jeff Loomis, concerning her cover of Jason Becker’s classic- Perpetual Burn.

In January 2016, Alexandra began competing in projects like –Vivaldi Metals Projects as a leading guitarist. Since February 2016, she has been able to work with a band to showcase her albums lively, while she was also working on her number third solo album, which she believes will be released in 2018.

In August 2016, Alexandra Zerner was able to win herself Nili Brosh’s – Matter of Perception- Melody Competition, competing against many guitarists from different countries all over the world. She was named by a number of guitarist greats – Nili Brosh, Greg Howe, Jason Becker, and Marco Sfogli, and she was awarded the EMG endorsement award.

In October 2016, Alexandra was able to be highlighted  Shredder of the Month title at All That Shreds website.

In the same year- November 7th, 2016 she and her band we able to perform as a supportive act for the Stu Hamm and Greg Howe in her country Sofia, Bulgaria.

Few days after, on November 11th, Alexandra Zerner was able to releases her acoustic E.P, which she called –An Evening Walk which also did very well in the Bulgarian musical industry and the general world.

Alexandra was also named one of the top 10 female shredders by All That Shreds.

Alexandra’s playing will be demanded across the globe!

All That Shreds List of the Top Ten Female Shredders!

By Andrew Catania

There are so many talented female guitarists out there it was hard to choose the top 10.  I watched countless hours of YouTube videos, watching these ladies tone, technique, skill, and playing.  This is my top ten female shredders.  Most of these ladies are more than just shredders.  They’re overall extremely talented guitarists that can play any genre!

  1. Gretchen Menn.   Gretchen tops this list for her incredible talent.  Gretchen has a beautiful feel for the instrument.  Her cover of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli’s “Minor Swing” is out of this world.  She uses her guitar talents on a daily basis practicing her favorite artists. Gretchen held a BA in Music and studied classical guitar and composition.  She’s a talented player in Zepparella.  She released her first solo album in 2011 titled “Hale Souls.”  Her 2016 release, “Abandon All Hope,” is phenomenal.  Gretchen can shred and play any other genre with ease.  She has played with some of the all-time greats in her career.
  2. Nili Brosh.  Nili has a sound technique.  Playing with the likes of Tony MacAlpine, Nili has to be an excellent player.  Born in Boston. MA she studied music at Berklee College of Music. She has self-released an album in 2010 “Through The Looking Glass” an instrumental album. In 2011 she joined the metal band Seven the Hardway. In 2013 she joined the Ethan Brosh band as the second guitarist, August 2012 she joined Tony MacAlpine for the Maximum Security tour.  Nili also released her latest record, A Matter of Perception in 2014.
  3. Alexandra Zerner.  Bulgarian guitarist who is a session musician, sound engineer, composer and teacher. She is a solo artist and the lead in Another Destiny Project since Sept 2014. In 2016 she started playing with “Vivaldi Metal Project.” She is also ranked in the top 15 guitar shredders by Metalholic.com.
  4. Tina S.  17-year-old French guitarist is into heavy metal, and her latest exhibition is shredding “Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata” She has done previous videos of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” Jason Becker’s “Altitudes” and Dragon Force Z’s.  Tina has a bright future ahead of her where I hope we can hear some original material from her.
  5. Courtney Cox.  “CC Shred” can play the strings off the fretboard.  Courtney was in a female fronted band called Queen Diamond before her current gig with the Iron Maidens.  Courtney has proving she has the talent and skill to play anything.  I hope Courtney puts out some original material so all of us could enjoy her dedication to the guitar!
  6. Nikki Stringfield.  Strings are the other  1/2 of the female tribute band The Iron Maidens.  Schecter Guitars endorse this college educated Texas native.   Like Courtney, Strings can tear down the house with her playing.  I’m hopeful Strings can get out of the shadow of tribute bands and start recording original material.
  7. Jennifer Batten. Jennifer was hired by Michael Jackson in 1987.  She was a guitarist for his upcoming tour “Bad” she worked with him for 18 months, then off and on through the years. In 1998, she joined Jeff Beck’s backing band. Staying with Beck, she has played on 1999’s “Who Else!” And 2001’s” You Had It Coming” albums and several tours.  Jennifer continues to dominate the fretboard and tour with the likes of Uli Jon Roth and Andy Timmons.
  8. Orianthi.  This Australian born female guitarist has plenty to her credit. Her music has been on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2010, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and other shows where her guitar can be heard. She was the last guitarist to work with Michael Jackson on the “This Is It” production.  She’s currently working with Ritchie Sambora.
  9. Lita Ford English-born American, she was a guitarist/vocalist with “The Runaways” in the late 70s. She embarked on a solo career in the 80s to 1985 that debuted with a solo album “Out For Blood” in 1983 and then a second in 1984 “Dancin on the Edge” her solo efforts gained moderate success. She had done songs with Ozzie Osbourne and went on hiatus when she moved to the islands with her then husband, Jim Gillette.  Lita came back and has released solo releases lately that have been produced by Gary Hoey.
  10. Sarah Longfield is a guitarist from Madison WI. She plays various musical styles from progressive to experimental sounds. The band she plays with is called The Fine Constant. She composes, records, and mixes her music for the band and her solo endeavors.

Congratulations to these talented guitarists for their dedication to the guitar!  Please check out each guitarist’s respective websites: