Category Archives: Music
Zakk Wylde has pretty much done and seen it all — and tonight he’ll take the stage at New York City’s Iridium Jazz Club, aka “The Home of Les Paul,” to pay tribute to the legendary guitarist and inventor.
Wylde, known for his incredible six-string skill, work ethic and custom bullseye-painted Gibson Les Paul, was recently invited to perform with the Les Paul Trio at the Iridium tonight, June 10, as a tribute to the late guitarist.
The Iridium celebrates its patron saint (who performed there weekly for more than a decade until his passing in 2009), every Monday night by inviting special guest guitarists to sit in with the trio.
Wylde’s appearance at the Iridium include two additional shows — June 11 and 12 — during which the Black Label Society guitarist will perform acoustic versions of his own material and host a Q&A session and read from his book, Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Berzerker’s Guide to World Tour Domination, which recently was released in paperback.
Following his performances, Wylde is scheduled to return home and complete Unblackened, a DVD filmed at the Nokia Theater that also coincide with an accompanying CD. Black Label Society will then begin gearing up for this year’s Gigantour, which features Megadeth, Newsted and other metal greats.
I spoke with Wylde about his Iridium shows and Les Paul. We also discussed his days with Ozzy and Sharon Osborne, two people he still affectionately refers to as “the Boss” and “Mom.”
Check out the rest of my Guitar World interview with Zakk Wylde by Clicking Here
Her solo career has yielded six albums that have topped the Contemporary Jazz charts, along with producing 10 No. 1 radio singles.
But saxophonist Mindi Abair is definitely no stranger when it comes to rock and roll. A product of the public school music program, Abair has shared the stage with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Duran Duran.
But it was Abair’s performance as part of the American Idol band that caught the attention of then-Idol-judge (and Aerosmith frontman) Steven Tyler, and ultimately led the band to add its first sax player in 30 years for last summer’s Global Warming Tour.
On Abair’s latest album, Summer Horns, she’s joined by fellow saxophone greats Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot in covering some of the greatest songs of a generation; including infectious renditions of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” as well as others made famous by the likes of Chicago, Tower of Power and Sly & the Family Stone.
Abair also is busy with her next solo album project and was recently elected president of the LA Chapter of NARAS, the company that oversees the Grammy Awards.
I spoke with Abair about Summer Horns and her time on the Aerosmith tour. We also discussed the importance of keeping music-education opportunities alive in schools.
Read the entire interview by Clicking Here.
For more information on Mindi Abair and Summer Horns, check out her website:
Maxine Petrucci likes to call what she does “evolved music.”
The former Madam X guitarist [and sister of former Vixen drummer Roxy Petrucci] has taken much of what she’s learned from the ’80s and ’90s to a completely different level. It’s a sound and style some may find not suitable for the “commercial” world, but Petrucci says that suits her just fine.
Bassist Billy Sheehan has called Petrucci “a true rarity, a lady who has powerful command of her instrument and her voice.” Rick Derringer cites Petrucci’s guitar playing as “masterful” and has referred to her right-hand picking technique as “the hummingbird effect, so fast, it’s a blur.”
Continuing to forge her own path, Petrucci’s third solo album, Back to the Garden, is an eclectic mix of riff and shred, one that will make even the most jaded critic stand up and take notice. Her new band features Imminent Sonic Destruction members Pat Delon (drums) and Bryan Paxton (bass), plus guitarist Rachel May (Broadzilla).
I spoke with Petrucci about Back to the Garden, her time spent with her sister in Madam X and much more.
GUITAR WORLD: Tell me about Back to the Garden.
This is my third solo album, and it’s completely different from anything I’ve done before. I don’t have a label, so I have the luxury of doing what I want to do when I feel like doing it. For Back to the Garden, I wrote all of the songs and did all the guitars, bass and vocals. Pat Deleon wrote and played the drum parts, and Gaetano Di Falco illustrated the album cover
Bonus: Know which famous metal singer once fronted Madam X
before hitting the skids? Then read the rest of my Guitar World interview with Maxine Petrucci – Click Here
Styx’s new DVD/Blu-ray, Styx: Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight — Live, captures the band performing their two classic multi-platinum ’70s albums live in their entirety for the very first time.
The DVD, which was filmed at the historic Orpheum Theater in Memphis, is the ultimate showcase for the albums helped establish Styx as a global phenomenon and defined their sound for a generation of fans.
I spoke with Styx guitarist James “JY” Young about the new project, plus his early days, seeing Jimi Hendrix perform and the future of Styx.
GUITAR WORLD: How did this project get started?
It started as a notion that a promoter who’s close with our manager came up with. He had the idea of us performing the Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight albums live in their entirety in the order in which they originally appeared on the vinyl LPs using the latest in HD technology. For us, it was an experiment and also a way to give our real die-hard fans the chance to hear some songs that we had never played live before, and some others we haven’t played since the late ’70s.
Read my Guitar World interview with Styx’s JY Young by Clicking Here
Greg Howe and I have a few things in common. First, we have a mutual interest in a certain instrument and both cut our teeth playing music in clubs in the Lehigh Valley, PA area. But that’s pretty much where our similarities end. While I remained, Howe went on to score major success with his fretboard prowess; releasing critically acclaimed albums and supporting some of the biggest names in music. Now, Howe finally gets the chance to return to his roots with his new band, Maragold.
Together with bassist Kevin Vecchione, drummer Gianluca Palmieri and powerhouse vocalist Meghan Krauss, Maragold’s debut album is a refreshing change to the monotony that is the current state of music. Bluesy, tasty and soulful are just some of the adjectives that describe an album that’s reminiscent of summer and demands to be turned up.
I spoke with Howe to discuss the new album, working with a female vocalist and his days playing the Lehigh Valley. Howe also lets me in on the real secret to becoming a successful guitarist.
How did you hook up with Meghan?
Meghan was gigging on the east coast in some cover bands and Kevin had heard of her. He was doing some gigs there as well in the Philly area. He went to check her out one night and thought she was great, so he had her come over to his apartment to do some recording. He sent me a picture of her and at the time, I had never even considered having a female in the group. But after he had sent me the recording that was it.
Check out the rest of my Guitar World interview with Greg Howe by Clicking Here.
Guitarist Frank Turner’s preferred method of swaying people to his cause is just getting in front of them and playing. With his upcoming Guitar Center Sessions, he gets the opportunity to showcase for the world. Filmed during his hectic SXSW schedule, the show not only includes performances by Turner and his band but also an in depth interview Turner as well.
Since leaving the band Million Dead and going solo in 2005, Turner has released four acclaimed albums and played more than 1,400 live shows. His recently released fifth album, Tape Deck Heart is one of emotional revelation and change. It’s the kind of album Turner says he’s always wanted to make.
I spoke with Turner about the Guitar Center Sessions as well as his new album and one of his most memorable shows.
GUITAR WORLD: What can you tell me about your Guitar Center Sessions appearance?
It was filmed in the middle of SXSW and the schedule I was on was hectic. There was one day where we played a show in Austin in the afternoon, and then we flew to Denver for a breakfast show and then flew back to Austin for two more gigs. Throughout my career, the way things have gone for me is getting out there and playing, and that’s what we’re doing with this Sessions performance. Getting in front of people so anyone around the world can watch it. There’s also an in-depth interview session we also did which was great.
You can read the rest of my Guitar World interview with Frank Turner by
A musical prodigy from as early as age three, singer/songwriter Frankie Moreno is a modern-classical genius who’s resume not only includes scoring #1 hits on multiple Billboard music charts, but also serenading industry VIPs like Paul McCartney, performing on the hit ABC show “Dancing With The Stars” and traveling all over the world in search of songwriting inspiration. In between, he still manages to find time to headline his own successful show in Las Vegas to enthusiastic crowds.
For his latest single Angel Town, Moreno discovers a happy medium by mixing the elements of classical, pop and rock genres into one eclectic groove. With an infectious dance beat combined with a tinge of big band sound, “Angel Town” is already a huge success. Moreno is currently working with songwriting powerhouse Diane Warren on new material for an album expected to be released later this year.
I spoke with Frankie about “Angel Town”, his songwriting inspiration and more in this exclusive interview.
Tell me how the song “Angel Town” came to be.
I write a lot with my brothers, Tony and Ricky. We take trips all over the world and bring along our guitars to become inspired and write music together. We were in Vienna, Austria walking around the city and at that time, I had been doing a lot of traveling back and forth to LA from Las Vegas. I began thinking about the way the whole LA scene works; with everyone wanting to be famous and that whole idea of a guy with the big cigar sitting at the bar watching the band play and saying “Hey kid? I can make you a star!” I wound up writing that song in about 30 minutes and we came home and recorded it.
You’re now in the studio with Diane Warren working on new material. What’s it like working with her?
It doesn’t get any better. Diane is an awesome person. She writes the greatest power ballad love songs of all time. Right now, she’s over in London working with Adele. For me to have the opportunity to work with her is amazing.
Tell me how you got on Dancing With The Stars.
The whole cast of the show came and saw my show one night and one of them took a video of me performing “Tangerine Honey”. They sent it over to ABC and three weeks later, I was on the show. Lacey Schwimmer choreographed the entire dance around it.
Let’s discuss your upcoming PBS Special.
We start filming in mid-summer and it will probably be out towards the end of the year. The special will feature our songwriting and traveling around the world just to write music. It begins in Santa Cruz, California where I’m from, then travels the world as we take the songs we write and bring them back to put them on the stage in Vegas.
You also performed for Paul McCartney. How did that come about?
Joshua Bell, a classical violinist asked me to play on his record and we did a version of Eleanor Rigby. After we recorded the song, it became a #1 single and eventually got the attention of Paul, who invited us to play it for him at a private event. It was an amazing experience. Paul McCartney is what every songwriter aspires to be.
Were you always into music?
By the time I was three, I was already playing piano. I was really into Mozart and when I five, I started taking lessons to learn how to read music. Around that same time, the movie “Amadeus” came out as well as “Great Balls of Fire”. I remember wanting to be Mozart, but also wanted to be Jerry Lee Lewis too! [laughs]. So I began thinking of ways to combine being technically good along with the rock and roll fun and doing all of the tricks.
Tell me more about traveling the world to write songs and how you got started.
My brothers and I have been doing it for about five years now. I remember when I first heard about how the Beatles used to go to India, I wanted to see what it was all about. The thing is, we don’t just travel to countries for fun. We like to go to places where musical or artistic events have taken place. Like, sitting where Michelangelo used to paint; or going to Mozart’s house, or sitting on the park bench that Beethoven used to sit on. Maybe not the exact same bench, but in that same spot. You can feel and pick up on the creative energy that’s there.
What does the future hold for you?
I’m shooting for a fall, early winter release of my album and will be putting out a few more singles until then. I recently won headliner of the year in Vegas and really want to start touring the US. The band is awesome and we have such an eclectic group of fans. Word of mouth is really pushing “Angel Town” and in a way, it’s kind of old school. Like the way it was done back in the 50′s. The music business is a fun thing to be a part of. I’m going to leave my little stamp on it and see how far I can take it.
For More on Frankie Moreno, check out his official website by Clicking Here
It’s been a busy year for former Heart guitarist Howard Leese. The man who played alongside sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson for more than twenty years has spent much of 2013 performing in the Las Vegas musical “Raiding The Rock Vault”.
In addition, Leese will once again be joining Paul Rodgers and Bad Company for the band’s 40th anniversary tour which kicks off this summer. Then there’s the little matter of his recent induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and reunion with the rest of Heart. With a successful Vegas show in full gear and having worked with arguably the greatest male and female vocalists in rock history, Leese shows no sign of slowing down.
I spoke with Leese from his home in Malibu where we talked Raiding The Rock Vault, Heart, Bad Company and of course, guitars!
Read my entire interview with Howard Leese by Clicking Here
There’s an old addage that says there’s strength in numbers, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to bringing four of the greatest saxophone players together for the very first time.
Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot & Gerald Albright each have had successful albums and tours in their own right, but for the Summer Horns project, Koz and friends join forces to create a truly one of a kind, all star section, and an album that tips it hat to an era when classic, big horn, feel good songs ruled the airwaves.
Among the songs included on Summer Horns are slick renditions of Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4″ as well as the Lennon/McCartney classic “Got To Get Get You Into My Life” (the latter of which borrowing a bit from the Earth, Wind and Fire arrangement). There’s also a tribute to Dave Brubek with a version of “Take Five”, one of the greatest sax melodies of all time.
Trombonist Brian Culbertson makes a guest appearance on a cover of the 1969 Sly & the Family Stone hit, “Hot Fun in the Summertime”. Jeffrey Osbourne delivers a powerful version of the Blood Sweat Tears inspired “God Bless The Child”. And Michael McDonald contributes a version of Tower of Power’s “So Very Hard to Go” that is quite possibly one of his all time best vocal performances. To coincide with the release of “Summer Horns”, the group will be taking their unique sectional sound on tour across the country.
Summer Horns not only offers the listener material that covers the real breadth of the instrument, but it also features songs with a little more “meat on the bone”. Sure, it’s a tribute to summer and good times, but more importantly, Summer Horns is an album about the real power of friendship.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Dave Koz about Summer Horns as well as his thoughts on the importance of music programs in the public school system.
What made you decide to do this type of album?
It was an opportunity for us to do something special and different for all of our fans and also a labor of love. The interesting thing was that even though we were always big fans of each others work, we had never all been in the studio together before. The four of us have such a great love and appreciation for this era of music. We all come from the same perspective of having been reared on horn section songs and horn bands.
How did you determine which songs to include?
We initially saw this as a total party record, but the more we got into it the more we realized that we had four saxophone players (each with our own unique individual sound) coming together to create this completely new horn section sound. So we decided to dig a little bit deeper and find some real melodic gems. The songs themselves are familiar, but they’re songs you may not have heard in a while. They’re classics, but they sound new and fresh.
What was it like recording the album?
We didn’t want to leave anything to chance, so we enlisted the talents of some amazing arrangers. We brought in Greg Adams (the principal arranger for Tower of Power) and Tom Scott (who’s worked with Quincy Jones and Paul McCartney among others). We really didn’t know what to expect, but I remember the first day we were recording. We all got on our mikes and were side by side and heard the sound that the four of us made to generate the section for the first time, and it was a moment of complete excitement and elation. That was the sound that we mined for this record.
What do you think makes jazz such a great genre of music?
By nature, it’s ever-changing. The target is always moving and there’s never a set standard show that you do day in and day out. It’s that element of chance and being in the moment that makes it so exciting and inspiring. It’s a surprise every night, at every show.
What are your thoughts on how music programs in schools are disappearing?
I’m a 100% product of the public school system and first picked up the sax in 7th grade. There was a saxophone class and a band and a teacher all there. That option was open for me at 13 years old. At the time, I had no idea that this would be my life’s work. but at least the opportunity was there for me to experience it. The thought that might not be the case for kids now weighs heavy on my heart, because where will the next generation of musicians come from?
It’s not just instrumental music, but also choir, drama and all of the other arts as well. Art is what keeps this country alive and moving forward. It’s also a great socialization tool. The sax is what brought me out of my shell. I was so awkward as a kid, and it really became my trusted ally. I’d love to see more kids be able to find their own “saxophone” or expression to help them become a more full human being.
Dave Koz and Friends Summer Horns will be released on June 11th, 2013
For more on Dave Koz, visit his official website by Clicking Here.
Vocalist and guitarist Janet Gardner is ready to “Rev It Up” again. The blonde beauty whose tenure with the band Vixen brought us the hits “Edge of a Broken Heart” and “Cryin’” is back with a vengeance with JSRG; a band comprised of 3/4 of the classic Vixen line-up.
Gardner, along with bassist Share Ross and drummer Roxy Petrucci had been in discussions with guitarist Jan Kuehnemund for several years about the possibility of doing a full-on Vixen reunion. But after several unsuccessful attempts to reunite due to timing issues, the trio recruited guitarist Gina Stile (who, coincidentally had worked with Gardner and Petrucci on the mid-90′s Vixen project, ‘Tangerine’). In order to avoid confusion but still offer fans the “Vixen” experience, the band decided to use their names and become JSRG.
Gardner’s own story is a journey from the high school choir and small town club scene to the biggest stages in the world. She’s shared the stage with some of the biggest rock groups in music history; including Scorpions and Deep Purple. Hers is a tale not only of hard work paying off, but also one of dreams coming true.
Fresh off a successful run on the Monsters of Rock Cruise and M3 Music Festival, Gardner and the rest of JSRG now set their sights on recording new music and performing at this year’s Firefest.
I spoke with Gardner about JSRG, Vixen, songwriting and more!
What was your experience like at M3?
It was a blast! Everything was so well done. It was such a cool vibe and all of the bands were great! There’s still some confusion over who we are, but people are starting to catch up with it.
Are you working on new music?
Gina and I have been tossing a few ideas around and we’re planning on getting together over the next few months. We’re also coordinating times with Roxy and Share to write and record some rhythm tracks. Our hope is to get it done this summer.
What’s your writing process like with Gina?
Gina and I have written a lot together over the years and in many different ways. Back when we were working on the Tangerine album, we had written somewhere in the range of fifty songs. Sometimes she’ll have a guitar idea or a chorus and we’ll hammer it out together. Other times, she’ll play guitar and I’ll play bass. Then we’ll discover some good melody parts and work on lyrics.
Tell me about the origin of the song “Rev It Up”.
Share had been working with Ron Keel. He had a different set of lyrics for the song at the time and Share was the one who came up with the “Rev It Up” idea. She got together with me, and I worked on the melody for the verse.
Video: Randy Gill
How did you get started in music?
My mom was a pianist and the organist at our church and I would go turn pages for her. I eventually started taking piano lessons myself, but by the time I was twelve I remember really wanting to play guitar badly. My parents finally got me one, and that was the end. I was hooked! The piano was OK, but it was nothing compared to when I was playing the guitar and singing.
When did you decide that you wanted to become a singer?
Growing up, I was actually really shy and would never sing alone in front of anyone. When I would sing, it was always alone up in my room. But I remember it was when I was in junior high school; I was in the choir and no one really wanted to audition for any the solos. Then one day, the director said “Ok, everyone’s going to sing along and I’m going to come around and listen.” As he walked by me he stopped and said, “You’re it. You’re doing it!” and I nearly freaked out. But little did I know, he created a monster! [laughs].
How did you get involved with Vixen?
The cover band I was in was playing a club one night when some girl came up to me and said she knew of a band that was looking for a singer and that I’d be perfect for them. So I gave her my card, but really didn’t think much of it. Then a few days later, I got a call from a manager who gave me a little more info and said he wanted to come down and see me play. So he came out and after he saw me perform said that he wanted to introduce me to the band. So I started looking around for the conspicuous looking guys with long hair. You know, “musician” guys. But then he says, “Oh, they’re over there at the bar.” I look over, and it was a bunch of girls. I had only ever been in bands where I was the only girl, but after meeting them and learning a few of each other’s songs, that was it. Everything just felt right.
What did you find different about being in an all-girl band?
The beauty of it was that there was no weird tension. There’s also less chance of getting involved with someone and screwing up the chemistry of the band. Also, when you’re the only girl in a band with a bunch of guys, there almost always comes a time when somebody’s wife hates you, or a girlfriend wants to beat you up! [laughs]. It was refreshing to not have any of that. Share, Roxy, Gina and Jan are the sisters I never had.
Tell me about making the first Vixen album.
It was an amazing time because we had a major label deal, but as soon as we got into the studio the pressure started to mount. All of a sudden, there were people with their own opinions on what songs we should do, what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. People wanted a say in the matter where before, it was just us. We were just girls from Minnesota and Montana who loved playing live, so it was a bit of a rude awakening.
How were songs chosen for the record?
We originally had a whole bunch of material; a full 90 minutes worth of originals that we had played live. Some of it was a little heavier and maybe not as radio friendly, but the record label had the idea of back loading the album with ten possible singles instead. So a few of our really good songs, ones that we should have fought for, wound up not making it. At the time, we did what we had to do. Having said that, I loved “Edge of A Broken Heart” and “Cryin’” from the first time I sang them.
Let’s discuss that first tour.
It was amazing. We started out touring with Eddie Money, which at the time seemed like an odd pairing, but it worked. We played a lot of colleges and were very well received. Then we did the Scorpions tour in Europe and it was “Welcome to the Big Leagues!” [laughs].
Were you ever intimidated being a girl band on the Scorpions tour?
Not really. Everyone was actually cheering for us. We were a little afraid of how we might be received with their audiences, but we worked hard to win them over. Sure, there were some nights when we walked out there and during the first few songs you could tell the crowd was checking us out and probably thinking, “What is THIS? Who are these chicks?” But by the end, pretty much every night we got them.
What would you say are the highlights of your career thus far?
The first show we played with Scorpions in Copenhagen was a great moment. I remember the lights came down and you could hear the roar of the crowd. It was incredible! Then there was the first time I heard “Edge of A Broken Heart” on the radio. It was on KLOS, the premiere rock station in Los Angeles. I was driving down the street and the radio station I had been listening to for the last six years while living in LA had played it. I just about flew out of the car. I was so excited, I couldn’t even drive. I had to pull over and just listen to it. That was a big moment, because I had spent my whole life listening to music on the radio and now, the coolest rock station ever was playing us. Those were both once in a lifetime events.
For more on JSRG, check out their Facebook page by clicking here!