Described as his most personal work to date, Greg Howe’s new album, Wheelhouse—which will be released on September 1— marks the guitar legend’s highly-anticipated return to solo instrumental work.
Tracks like “Tempest Pulse” and “Throw Down” showcase Howe’s infectious tone and fretboard wizardry while eclectic tracks like “2 In 1” combine a funk-infused vibe with Forties swing. But perhaps one of the biggest highlights on Wheelhouse; and one that long-time followers of Howe’s career will certainly find appealing, is the track, “Shady Lane”.
A song originally written by Howe and his brother back in the early Nineties, on Wheelhouse, “Shady Lane” is given a 21st century spin with an emotionally charged vocal performance by Richie Kotzen (Winery Dogs, Mr. Big). Kotzen also complements his fellow Shrapnel alumni by contributing a blistering guitar solo to the track as well.
Wheelhouse is an album that will once again raise the bar for guitarists, and a fitting return for one of the genre’s most dynamically diverse artists.
I recently spoke with Howe about Wheelhouse and more in this exclusive new interview.
How would you describe Wheelhouse in terms of its sound and maybe as it relates to some of your previous work?
From a guitar perspective, I’d describe it as an almost higher quality of the type of tone I was getting on Introspection. It’s very clean and there’s a lot of gain behind it but it doesn’t sound like it. I was also getting a little more into single coils and more “Strat” kind of tones, so it’s a different kind of expression. As far as direction, I feel like it’s a little more honest.
I can get carried away in the studio sometimes, and then I’ll listen back to what I recorded and decide to scrap it and end up writing something that’s either really complicated or putting together solos that border on unrealistic in terms of what I would sound like. I really wanted this to be a lot of one-take stuff and the material to sound like something I would want to play over. It’s a very natural, honest record.
What’s your writing process like?
There isn’t really a process. It ranges anywhere from going through drum loops and finding something cool that inspires the riff to waking up in the morning with a song idea already in my head. Sometimes, if I’m searching for inspiration, it can come from just watching a movie, thinking about something or connecting to something that’s happening in my life at the time. It’s a starting point that inspires and triggers the creative process.
Let’s discuss a few tracks from Wheelhouse, beginning with “Tempest Pulse”
That song was one of the first I wrote for the album and has a slight Latin feel to it. I went through a phase where I was listening to a lot of Michel Camilo and that opened up some of this Cuban influence. There’s also something really festive and sexy about not hitting on the downbeat.
Lita Ford’s new memoir, Living Like a Runaway, is jam packed with stories of a truly eventful—and impressive—rock and roll life.
In the autobiography, Ford details her years as a teenager with the Runaways, getting caught with a young Eddie Van Halen in a bathroom, her battles with management and trysts with guys like Nikki Sixx, Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore and Glenn Tipton.
She even devotes ample space to her turbulent marriage and how she subsequently lost access to her sons through parental alienation. Simply put, Living Like a Runaway is a story of life and love from the reigning Queen of Metal.
I recently spoke with Ford about the book and her new album, Time Capsule, which is a collection of previouly unreleased material from the Eighties. You can check out our full interview below.
What made you decide to write a book at this stage of your career?
I really wanted to tell my story. As a female in the music industry—a man’s world—trying to become successful, I wanted to document it, and I wanted to be able to leave something behind so people would know what was going on inside of my life. The hurdles I had to jump and the things I had to do to be where I’m at today and to hopefully carve a path for others.
What was the writing process like?
At first, it was difficult trying to get a co-writer who could follow me. Because there’s so much crammed into my life, it was sometimes hard for me to get the point across. But I didn’t want the book to come out in any other shape or form. It had to be true and it had to be real…and we did it.
You can read the rest of my
Interview with Lita Ford by Clicking Here!
Born out of the jam sessions of drummer Ray Luzier (Korn), bassist dUg Pinnick (King’s X) and guitarist George Lynch (Lynch Mob), KXM’s self-titled album is an inspired collection of song and musicality that stretches the limits of traditional power trios.
Taking its name from the combination of each member’s ‘day jobs’, KXM delivers a very deep, thought provoking debut. Songs like “Stars”, “Rescue Me” and “I’ll Be Ok” showcase elements from each’s respective bands, but the album is more than worthy to stand on its own. For a project that was neither pre-determined or planned, there’s a lot of unique interaction going on within the confines of KXM. It’s the trio’s strong musicianship and creative personalities that’s produced such an inspired, eclectic album.
In addition to KXM, guitarist George Lynch is working on several other projects, including a second Dokken-esque album with Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown and another super-group project with Michael Sweet (Stryper), James Lomenzo (Megadeth, White Lion) and Brian Tichy (S.U.N, Whitesnake). He’s also in the finishing stages of editing the “Shadow Nation” documentary. A film which illuminates the cost of destruction of the Native American community; to both the indigenous population as well as to their European conquerors.
I spoke with Lynch about KXM and also got an update on some of his other projects.
How did the KXM project come about?
Initially, the three of us were together at Ray’s house for a birthday party and wound up hanging out in the studio. That was when one of us brought up the idea of maybe throwing some stuff down. And it wasn’t like we all just went home the next day and didn’t think about it again. We kept following up and enthusiastically pursued it. The interesting thing is that we didn’t do any pre-production or write any songs going in. We just found this eight-day window of opportunity where we all trucked our gear up to this place in the mountains. We all hung out there and just started writing. It was that simple.
How would you describe the sound of this album?
One of the good things about this record is that it has a unique sound and formula to it, and that’s a product of the chemistry of the three of us. We had no preconceived idea of what we were going to write. Maybe I would come up was a riff that was a little “Lynch Mobby”. Then Ray would come in with a beat that was more syncopated, tribal and complex. Then dUg would come in and do things that were very unique and unexpected, which I loved.
What was the process for writing lyrics?
dUg wrote most of the lyrics. He and I got together for a few days at my studio. We really got to know each other and had a lot of long talks and I really enjoyed that. Some of the subject matter from our conversations late into the night translated into the lyrics. dUg’s lyrics are very personal, but those are the kind that really resonate with people more than anything else. You’re telling the story or describing the emotion. It’s direct, meaningful and cathartic.
What do you enjoy most about these collaborative projects?
I enjoy playing different kinds of music and building something up from nothing and turning it into something tangible. Also, most of the people I play with I love musically and as people. I like to say that my bands are like my second family. They’re people you care about, respect and create with. Even if it’s just a brief relationship on a project or for something that’s more longstanding.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Dokken Tooth and Nail album. What are your thoughts when you think back to those days?
That album was the turning point for Dokken. We had already done one record [Breaking The Chains] and had learned a lot, but were really determined to let people know that we mattered. Tooth and Nail was our real shot to prove that we had what it took to be where we thought we should be. We had a lot of energy and a lot to prove and were also starting to mature in our songwriting and tightening up as a band. All of that really peaked with the Under Lock And Key album, but I think what people love about Tooth and Nail is that it really captured the band when it was very hungry.
What’s the status of the second T&N album?
We’ve got six Dokken re-records finished but are going to change things up a bit. We’ve been talking about it and there are two things that could happen. First, we’ll change the name of the project and instead of using multiple singers, we’ll stick with two dedicated ones: [Jeff] Pilson and possibly Michael Sweet. Michael has such an angelic voice and a great sense of melody and hooks. It’s an obvious, wonderful replacement for the Dokken-esque sound that we’re known for. But then there’s a very slight chance that it could actually become a Dokken record, if a miracle happens and Don decides to play ball and play fair.
What can you tell me about your other collaboration with Michael Sweet, Brian Tichy and James Lomenzo?
It should be out sometime this Summer. Anyone who loves the older Dokken stuff and Michael Sweet is going to love this record. It sounds like the Dokken record we should have done after our last big one (Back For The Attack).
Do you have an update on the Shadow Nation Film and Shadow Train band project?
We’ve been working really hard on finishing up the editing. It’s a complicated process that takes a lot of man hours but we’re very close to finishing and then it will move on to post (production). After that, we’ll have the business of distributing it, getting it out to people and into film festivals. What I’m excited about too (beyond the film) is the record. Initially, we recorded a one CD record a few years ago that has a 70′s vibe to it. Then we went back in the studio a few more times and decided to go in a whole different direction. We went heavier and more in your face. Afterwards, we realized that we had really evolved as a band and with our writing and decided to put it out as a double CD. So, there will be a volume one and two with 19 songs that will be the companion to the film/DVD. It’s a very eclectic soundtrack.
What other projects are you working on?
Right at the moment, I’m working with Mandy Lion and an engineer and a programmer who came out of the Rob Zombie & Nine Inch Nails camps. We’ve finished seven songs a few weeks ago and have another big session where we’ll finish up the writing and recording of the basics for the rest of the record. I’m also working on another project called The Infidels with Sal and Pancho, the rhythm section from War. They’re monster funk/rock players who are just great. It’s a fun bunch of heavy, jammy funk songs with a Hendrix “Band Of Gypsys” kind of vibe.
Will Lynch Mob be touring this year?
We have some dates coming up in April and then we’ll be going to Europe this summer for some of the big festivals. We also have some plans for the States once we get back.
Has there been one moment over the course of your career that you consider most memorable?
There’s been a lot of beautiful moments and smaller ones that were just as gratifying. There was the Loud Park gig that Lynch Mob did last October in front of 25,000 people where we tore it up. That was beautiful. But then it could just be in a little club packed with 300 people. Where it’s all hot and sweaty and you just come out and blow the doors off. Or it could be as simple as a solo in the studio that you just nail. There are a lot of those kind of moments that stand out. There really isn’t just one.
For more on KXM, check out the band’s official site 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.
Following the success of her true comeback album, 2012’s Living Like a Runaway, Lita Ford took to the stage at LA’s Canyon Club to record a live performance as a gift to her fans.
The result is The Bitch is Back…Live, the new album from the reigning queen of hard rock and heavy metal.
In addition to live material from her latest studio release, The Bitch is Back also digs deep into Ford’s catalog, showcasing songs from Out for Blood, Dancin’ on the Edge and 1988’s monster album, Lita.
Ford is hard at work on her biography [set for release in 2014] as well as becoming an advocate for Parental Alienation Awareness. I recently spoke with her about the live album, her current setup and an encounter she once had with Led Zeppelin.
GUITAR WORLD: What made you decide to do this live album?
It was kind of spur of the moment. After we did the tour with Def Leppard and Poison [in 2012], I really wanted to give something back. So we jumped into this club in LA, mic’d up the room and recorded it. It’s really a gift to the fans. Everything came together like magic and I’m very happy with it.
Check out the rest of my Guitar World interview with Lita Ford by Clicking Here.
After the departure of longtime vocalist Josey Scott, Saliva’s Wayne Swinny (guitar), Dave Novotny (bass) and Paul Crosby (drums) weren’t sure if they’d be able to find a suitable replacement.
Thankfully, after a month of deliberating, the search for a new frontman led them to singer Bobby Amaru, whose arrival kicked off a new chapter for the band, one that Swinny equates with hitting the lottery.
Saliva fans will get their first taste of Amaru’s vocals on the band’s eighth studio album, In It To Win It, which will be released September 3 via Rum Bum Records. Produced by Bobby Huff (Halestorm, Drowning Pool, Papa Roach), the album not only forges the band into new territory, but also stays true to the classic Saliva sound.
I spoke with Swinny about In It To Win It, his gear and the best advice he’s ever been given as a guitarist. Check out the interview by Clicking Here!
In 2008, Frontiers Records asked guitarist and producer Erik Martensson (Eclipse) to write six songs for an album project with Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman) on vocals. At the same time, keyboardist/guitarist Robert Säll (Work Of Art) was also asked to contribute six songs of his own to the project. After listening to each other’s material and discovering how differently it sounded, the duo decided to scrap the songs and start writing together. Soto loved the result of their efforts so much that what started out as a solo project instead morphed into the super group W.E.T. (whose initials stand for the names of each member’s other respective bands).
“Rise Up”, the new sophomore album from W.E.T. continues to build upon the cohesion of talent that won critical acclaim for Martensson, Säll and Soto. Together with guitarist Magnus Henriksson and drummer Robban Bäck, the album presents a combination of massive production quality, impressive songwriting and blistering solos by Henriksson that takes the new “classic rock” sound well into the 21st century.
I spoke with Martensson about the new “Rise Up” album and more in this interview.
This new W.E.T. project has been a long time coming.
It has. The album was actually finished at the end of May 2012, but after a summer break we decided to go back and do three more songs. “Walk Away”, “Rise Up” And “The Moment” were the ones we recorded. I remember we drank a lot of coffee, but came up with a lot of great songs. [laughs]
You can read the rest of my Guitar World Interview With Erik Martensson
by Clicking Here.
Guitar Center’s Blues Masters, through a partnership with Joe Bonamassa, is offering ten musicians the chance to perform in Los Angeles backed by Bonamassa’s band as well as provide one undiscovered blues guitarist with a career-altering opportunity for development and exposure under the tutelage of one of the biggest names in blues rock.
Now through the end of April, guitarists can submit videos of their best lead guitar performance to one of ten official Joe Bonamassa backing tracks. The videos will then be judged through a series of selection processes by both industry professionals and eventually, Bonamassa himself.
The grand prize winner will receive an opening slot at Bonamassa’s headlining show in Los Angeles this fall as well as a cash prize and gear from Gibson, Ernie Ball, Marshall Amplification and Dunlop. In addition, the winner will also receive an in studio mentor session with Bonamassa and producer Kevin Shirley, who has worked with the likes of Journey, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden and more.
I spoke with Bonamassa about Blues Masters as well as some of his latest projects.
GUITAR WORLD: Tell me a little about your involvement with Guitar Center and Blues Masters.
I’ve been involved in Guitar Center’s King of The Blues Competition for the past several years and it’s been a lot of fun. Everyone is playing so well that it makes me wish I was 18 again. These guys are so unbridled and enthusiastic. The Blues Masters is a chance for aspiring blues guitarists from across the U.S. to submit their best lead guitar performance to one of my tracks. There‘s a submission and selection process and I’ll be getting involved more towards the end of the year when they finalize the selection, and then we’ll pick a winner.
Check out the rest of my Guitar World interview with Joe Bonamassa Here.
Since taking their name from a caption on a W.C. Fields photo and signing a record deal more than twenty years ago, Gin Blossoms have been synonymous with catchy melodies and jangle pop. But it was their breakout 1992 album, “New Miserable Experience” that solidified them on the charts for nearly three years and threw the band into the mainstream. With singles like “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” “Until I Fall Away,” and “Found Out About You”, New Miserable Experience went on to sell over 4 million copies and made the band a 90’s radio mainstay.
After a four year hiatus that began in 1997, the band reunited in 2001 and continues to record and tour, performing as many as 120 shows a year. In 2010, Gin Blossoms: Robin Wilson (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Jesse Valenzuela (Vocals & Guitar), Scott Johnson (Guitar) and Bill Leen (Bass) released “No Chocolate Cake”, an album which shot straight to # 1 on Amazon, hitting Billboard’s top 200 at # 73 and the Indie chart at #14 and landing them back on the singles chart again with the single, “Miss Disarray”.
2013 will once again bring the band to over 100 cities, as well as a five-artist rock cruise, international shows and perhaps even another new album. The band is also partnering with Fretlight Guitars to give fans a chance to win an autographed Fretlight FG-421 at several stops during the Northeastern winter tour.
I had the chance to speak with guitarist Jesse Valenzuela and get his thoughts on the origin, music and future plans of Gin Blossoms.
After tracking songs for what was once to become a new Lynch Mob album, it was drummer Brian Tichy who proposed the idea of bringing together George Lynch, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown (The “Big 3″ of Dokken) for a project similar to what Heaven & Hell was to Black Sabbath. The result is T&N and a brand new album, Slave to the Empire.
The new album is both melodic and thought provoking music with a purpose. The message being, you don’t have to be a slave to the empire. Featuring seven original songs (with Pilson on vocals) as well as five re-recorded Dokken classics with vocal performances by Tim“Ripper” Owens, Doug Pinnick (Kings X), Sebastian Bach, and Robert Mason (Warrant). Slave To The Empire also adds to the mix the hard hitting, multi-talented drumming of Tichy as well.
A second album of new material and classic remakes of Dokken material is slated for next year that will also coincide with a tour.
I spoke with George Lynch to get his thoughts on Slave to The Empire as well as his other passion: the documentary “Shadow Train”.