Category Archives: Guitar World Interviews
Their followup album, 1990′s In The Heart of the Young, maintained the momentum with the successful singles “Can’t Get Enuff” and “Miles Away.”
But the advent of grunge and changes in the musical climate, coupled with being the target of two notorious cartoon characters (Beavis and Butthead) eventually led the band to go on hiatus.
In 2001, however, Winger reunited, and they haven’t looked back since. They repeatedly win back fans and critics through their relentless touring, strong musicianship and inspired songwriting.
Winger’s new album, Better Days Comin’, which will be released April 22, is another testament to the band’s legacy and perseverance. Guitarist Reb Beach — who also plays with Whitesnake — and vocalist/bassist Kip Winger have put together a collection of songs that combine tasty riffs, infectious grooves and unique arrangements. The band is rounded out by John Roth (guitar) and Rod Morgenstein (drums).
Better Days Comin’ is available for pre-order now (See the link below), with a deluxe edition that includes a bonus track and a DVD that features a “making of” documentary and videos for the album’s first single, “Rat Race,” and the title track.
I recently spoke with Beach about the new Winger album and his early years and session work. He also gave me an update on his next solo album.
Read the rest of my Guitar World Interview with
Reb Beach by Clicking Here!
It was 12:01 a.m. August 1, 1981.
The music business was in the toilet when a fledgling channel named MTV hit the airwaves to start the engine again.
Throughout the decade, MTV became one of the biggest things on the planet and revolutionized the music industry with a new medium — music videos.
Viewers would regularly host their own MTV parties, tune in for Friday Night video fights and experience unprecedented musical events such as Live Aid. The MTV phenomenon was so big that Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler referenced the channel, incorporating its “I want my MTV” slogan in the band’s massive 1985 hit, “Money For Nothing.”
Four of the original MTV VJ’s — Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, Martha Quinn and Mark Goodman — have written a book about their experiences, VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave.
The book, which is co-written by Gavin Edwards, is a narrative-driven oral history of MTV, complete with behind-the-scenes tales and anecdotes as told through the VJs’ own voices (NOTE: JJ Jackson, the fifth original VJ, died in 2004).
From stories on how each VJ landed their job, the channel’s historic launch, the changing dynamic and their eventual departure, the book details the triumphs, pitfalls and everything in between. Today, in addition to acting and producing their own syndicated radio shows and films, the four original VJs can regularly be found on Sirius’ ’80s on 8.
I recently spoke to Hunter and Blackwood about the book and their days at MTV. They also discussed their favorite guitarists and other projects they’re working on.
You can read the rest of my Guitar World Interview with
Alan Hunter & Nina Blackwood By Clicking Here
Have you ever wanted to learn the nuances of songwriting and the music business from one of greatest guitarists of all time?
Look no further than the inaugural Vai Academy Song Evolution Camp, which takes place June 23 to 27 in Saratoga Springs, New York.
And yes, that’s Vai as in Steve Vai, the virtuoso guitarist, composer and producer. The camp is billed as the entire manual for being an independent musician — condensed into three days of classes.
The focus of the camp will be the evolution of a song. Attendees will learn how a song gets written, recorded, mixed, mastered, distributed and marketed. Camp admission includes lodging, meals, classes, live performances and jam sessions. Attendees who sign up by March 31 will receive a free Ibanez RG guitar, courtesy of Hoshino.
Guitar World recently spoke to Vai about his Song Evolution Camp. We also discussed his early practice regimen and what he considers to be the highlight of his career.
Read my Guitar World interview with Steve Vai by Clicking Here!
Michael Sweet, frontman for the multi-platinum rock band Stryper, will release a new full-length solo album, I’m Not Your Suicide, and his first autobiography, Honestly: My Life and Stryper Revealed, on May 6, 2014, via BIG3 Records.
Sweet is best known as the singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer for Christian rock pioneers Stryper, selling over 10 million albums worldwide. In addition to Stryper, Sweet has had a successful solo career, and he served as the guitarist and co-vocalist for the legendary classic rock band BOSTON from 2007-2011.
The future remains bright for a man who has endured heartbreaking tribulations throughout his life and career, including the 2009 passing of his wife of more than 22 years, Kyle. In 2010, Sweet remarried to Lisa Champagne-Sweet, a woman he describes as “a Godsend and the one who fits perfectly by my side.”
Sweet continues to record and tour with Stryper, as well as touring and recording as a solo artist, all the while making frequent trips to Nashville where he is writing with some of the biggest music writers in the business.
“After 30 years in this business, I feel honored and blessed to be able to continue doing what it is I love, making music,” said Sweet. “I’m extremely thankful to have the greatest fans in the world. God has blessed me with this talent and I plan to continue on this path as long as I can draw breath.”
Fans can get a sneak peak at the album courtesy of the all-new lyric video for the song, “The Cause” below:
Sweet’s autobiography, Honestly: My Life and Stryper Revealed, chronicles an amazing 30-year career and includes endorsements from Eddie Trunk, Dave Mustaine, Larry the Cable Guy, Jeordie White and Chris Jericho. Among the topics covered are:
- How Michael Sweet formed the first Christian rock band to hit #1 on MTV, paving the way for an entire genre of music.
- First-hand stories of the Sunset Strip, with never-before-told stories that include friends and musical peers such as Poison, Motley Crue, RATT, Whitesnake, Metallica and more.
- How Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker played a role in Michael’s life.
- The temptations and ultimate low-points of a notable Christian rock star.
- Never-before-revealed stories of life behind the scenes in Stryper.
- Why so many people have declared Michael Sweet a significant influence on their lives; from Larry the Cable Guy to professional wrestler Chris Jericho to Haitian musician and politician Wyclef Jean and more.
- Losing his wife to cancer and re-marrying shortly thereafter.
- An honest look at Sweet’s often tumultuous family relationships.
- The unlikely relationship between Sweet and national radio personality Don Imus.
- What led to the decline and fall of Stryper in 1992, and subsequent reunion and re-birth in 2001.
The new Michael Sweet website has also launched with a free preview of Chapter One of the upcoming book.
With the upcoming and long-overdue solo album, Sweet is finally delivering the project fans have been patiently waiting for. Self-produced, I’m Not Your Suicide includes special appearances by Tony Harnell (TNT), Kevin Max (dcTalk, Audio Adrenaline), Chris Jericho, Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Electra Mustaine (daughter of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine) and Stryper bandmates Robert Sweet and Timothy Gaines. Legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff played on the record as well. Track Listing for I’m Not Your Suicide:
- Taking on the World Tonight (featuring Tony Harnell)
- All That’s Left (For Me To Prove)
- The Cause
- This Time (featuring Kevin Max)
- I’m Not Your Suicide (co-written with Blair Daly)
- Coming Home
- Miles Away
- How to Live (featuring Robert Sweet and Timothy Gaines of Stryper)
- Heart of Gold
- Anybody Else (featuring Chris Jericho and Doug Aldrich)
- Heart of Gold (featuring Electra Mustaine) **Bonus Track
You can read my most recent Guitar World Interview with Sweet by Clicking Here!
For more information on Michael Sweet visit www.MichaelSweet.com.
Blacklist Union’s Tony West has seen more than his share of tragedy over the course of his lifetime. After an abusive childhood and a move to Hollywood at age 13, West had to overcome personal adversity, drug abuse and much more in order to rise to the top.
Through luck and hard work, West managed to make a career out of music. Although his is a true story of rock and roll in the streets, it’s an upbringing he certainly wouldn’t recommend to anyone else.
Blacklist Union’s most recent album, 2012′s Til Death Do Us Part, continues West’s trend of honest, high-energy rock. With its guest appearances by Wayne Swinny (Saliva) and Jon E. Love (Love/Hate), the album’s killer riffs, combined with West’s thought-provoking lyrics, create a powerful wall of emotion.
West dedicated the album to former Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr, who died in 2011. As a result, Til Death Do Us Part becomes more than just a tribute to one of his longtime friends; it’s therapeutic art and a constant reminder that life is fragile.
I spoke with West about Til Death Do Us Part, his own life and what’s next for Blacklist Union.
GUITAR WORLD: What’s the process like when it comes to writing a Blacklist Union album?
There’s really no set in stone process. We’ve written songs together as a band in rehearsal, and sometimes I’ll get music handed to me and I’ll write something to it. Then there are times where I’ll just sit down with a guitar player and write out the record. There’s no one set way of doing things.
Read the rest of my Guitar World interview with Tony West by Clicking Here!
Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart recently launched a unique performance-based contest called BeMyBand.
The purpose of BeMyBand — which you can check out here — is to ask aspiring musicians to compete for a chance to be part of Orianthi’s band.
The resulting band — which will consist of a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and drummer — will perform with Orianthi, a former Guitar World cover star, for one night at a Valentine’s Day (2014) show at a major venue in Los Angeles.
Interested musicians should submit videos of themselves playing at their very best. Up to 10 finalists for each instrument will be chosen; of those finalists, four will be selected to perform with Orianthi.
The winners’ performances also will be shared via Orianthi‘s social-media channels. Winners will receive six nights’ accommodation (and travel). Musicians should submit their work no later than January 24; the voting period runs January 25 to 31, and the winners to be announced February 5. This opportunity is open — globally — to musicians age 21 and older.
Read my complete interview with Dave Stewart and Orianthi by Clicking Here!
Zakk Wylde has announced the next chapter in the Black Label Society story, Catacombs of the Black Vatican.
The album, the first disc of all new material from the band since 2010’s Order of the Black, will be released April 8.
Wylde also has announced a new tour, “An Evening with Zakk Wylde.” The 13-city Canadian trek will feature Wylde and new Black Label Society guitarist Dario Lorina performing intimate versions of some of BLS’s most popular songs, plus readings from Wylde’s 2012 book, Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Berzerker’s Guide to World Tour Domination. You can check out all the tour dates below.
I recently spoke with Wylde about the new BLS album and upcoming tour and got his thoughts on Black Sabbath’s Grammy nomination.
GUITAR WORLD: What can fans expect from Catacombs of the Black Vatican?
I think everyone can expect a lot of fun and excitement [laughs]! It was like what Chris Farley did in that one skit, where he was selling that hair-care product. Make sure you always use the word “fun” when you describe it [laughs]!
Someone asked me what the difference was between this new record and the other nine. I told them that it’s basically all of the songs we used on the other nine records, except they’ve got different titles now [laughs]. It’s fun and exciting for the whole family!
Read the rest of my Guitar World Interview with Zakk Wylde by Clicking Here!
It’s been nearly 25 years since the members of Autograph completed their three-album deal with RCA records and mutually decided to go their own separate ways.
For guitarist Steve Lynch, that departure also meant the opportunity to get more involved in writing, teaching and hosting guitar clinics. Eventually, Lynch made his way back to his native Seattle and opened the Federal Way School of Music, where he continues to demonstrate, among other things, his legendary two-handed technique.
After a long hiatus, Lynch and bassist Randy Rand have reunited Autograph in 2014. Together with new singer Simon Daniels, the band plans to tour extensively — with shows that already include the Monsters of Rock Cruise, M3 and Firefest — before returning to the studio to record new material.
I spoke with Lynch about the reunion, his music and Autograph’s unique first gig in 1984.
GUITAR WORLD: It’s been 25 years since we last saw Autograph. What sparked this reunion?
In 2011, I saw Randy down at the NAMM show, and the two of us started kicking around the idea of doing a reunion. We saw a lot of bands out doing a “weekend warrior” sort of thing, and since I run a music studio and teach during the week, I thought it would be a great way to do it. We got our original drummer Keni Richards involved in early rehearsals, but he had to back out due to health issues.
Read the rest of my Guitar World Interview with Steve Lynch by Clicking Here
Many guitar fans know about the Commander-In-Chief from the amazing guitar duel she recorded with Thomas Valeur.
The duo met last summer at a music festival and decided to collaborate on Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen Op. 20, an extremely challenging piece of music, particularly because it was written for violin and orchestra.
The Commander-In-Chief is also a classically trained opera singer and has harnessed her guitar skills in master classes with Steve Smyth (Testament, Nevermore). She also worked with producer Sterling Winfield (Pantera, Hellyeah, Damageplan) on her debut EP, Evolution.
I recently spoke with her about the physical and mental preparation it took to create the guitar duel. We also discussed her gear, influences and more.
GUITAR WORLD: How did you and Thomas Valeur connect, and what inspired you to take on such a challenging piece of music?
We met at the Bergen International Festival in Norway, where we shared the stage. Thomas first thought we would cover something more mainstream, but I wanted to play something classical and step into a different world for a change. I grew up listening to Itzhak Perlman’s violin recordings and the “Zigeunerweisen” was always a favorite. I normally don’t play other people’s music, but it was very motivating to work on something this challenging.
You can read the rest of my Guitar World interview with
The Commander-in-Chief by Clicking Here