Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas and Upcoming News

First off, merry christmas to all from the whole Shred Academy team, we hope you have a great one and a succesful new year. Remeber to have more shred as part of your new years resolutions!!

And now for some news which i am quite excited about.
I have been given permission to do my first interview (not sure how good i will be at it) with upcoming talent Dallton Santos. Dallton is a player i am very excited about as he shows great chops and musicallity and shows a lot of promise. Here is a video of a short composition by him. http://youtube.com/watch?v=7fJbYpVIFk8

Dallton is also working on an exclusive lesson for the Shred Academy website and im sure it will be great.
If you guys know of any up and coming players you think deserve a mention in the blog then please feel free to give one of the team an email and well see if we can get in touch.

Once again, Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Album review - Theodore Ziras "Hyperpyrexia"

The 3rd instrumental album from Theodore Ziras, Hyperpyrexia, is here and "The new Ziras Era" is upon us. Featuring the legendary Derek Sherinian (ex Dream Theater), the guitar/keyboard solo duels are enough to leave any shredhead for dead.

Ziras blazes through all 10 tracks at speeds that must have almost set his Palm Bay guitars on fire. But as speedy as he is, Theo’s got some interesting things to say as well (instrumentally speaking). Having your chops together is one thing, but if your phrasing is anywhere nearly as good as Theo’s, then you’re on the right track.

The first track, “Child of Scotland”, reflects "The new Ziras Era" in a big way. The Celtic melodies are light hearted and easy on the ear, while Derek’s solo remains faithful to the theme.

You can immediately hear one of Ziras’s biggest influences on the second track, “Such and Such”. The dance between the Dorian and Aeolian modes in the solo are undeniably “Satch”.

“Rapid Eye Movement” is the burner of the album. Theo cranks the Greek God speed up to 280bpm in some runs, sweeping and shredding his head off. Look out for the keyboard and drum solos at the end.

Track 4, “Solitude”, is very dark and broody. You can tell that Theo was in an intense place in his life when he wrote this track. Purists might not call the solo shredding, while others might say that it’s the best solo Theo has ever played.

A first for Ziras, the odd time signature in “Seven Courses” is a great match for the powerful Phrygian Dominant melodies. Yngwie Malmsteen, another massive influence on Theo is hugely present here.

“Salvation” is probably the easiest track on the album to listen to. The melody is singable and apparently even Theo’s mom likes this track.

In the seventh track, “Number One”, Derek cunningly uses traditional Greek grooves in his solo. (Some licks to steal, for sure)

“Night of the Dead” has gone down very well when Theo has played it live. Some might hear a bit of Metallica in the mix, others might not. All I know it that the riffs are huge.

Number nine is the title track and it’s a mind-blower. A nod to John Petrucci, with diminished intro, a mystical verse, a catchy chorus and odd meters floating all over the place. This is my favourite track.

The last track, “Go East”, showcases the insane drumming chops owned by L.A. resident Brian Tichy. But don’t be fooled, Theo comes to the fore with some tasty “East orientated” melodies.

A unique blend of progressive, fusion and shred comes together in this masterpiece. Definitely Theodore Ziras’s best yet.

Track listing:
1) Child of Scotland
2) Such and Such
3) Rapid Eye Movement
4) Solitude
5) Seven Courses
6) Salvation
7) Number One
8) Night of the Dead
9) Hyperpyrexia
10) Go East
Thoedore Ziras - Guitars
Derek Sherinian - Keyboards,
Brian Tichy – Drums
Manos Markopoulos - Bass

Visit http://www.theodoreziras.com/ for more info

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The History of Shred in a Nutshell, Part II: The Sweet Eighties

Hello shredheads! Last time we did a quick run through the most important guitarists of the pre-shred era, so today we’re gonna explore the golden age of virtuosic guitar – the 80s. After Eddie Van Halen had impressed the world with new soloing methods, dozens of young guitar hero wannebees began to practice patiently day and night, trying to match with the master. That lead to tons of great guitar music being recorded in the decade often associated only with pop and new romantic. There have appeared so much talented players that time, that we’ll just name really those biggest and most influential in here. Here we go!

RANDY RHOADS. While Eddie Van Halen was like “Page on steroids” due to his awesome technique and blues feel, Randy went rather the Blackmore path, bringing some stunning classical music ideas into the rock territory. He was an actual master in connecting various scales and arpeggios, also one of the first to use the diminished scales, which he mixed fluently with more traditional, pentatonic licks. It’s no doubt that his tragic death in an accident (at the age of merely 26) is one of the greatest losses for the rock guitar ever. He left way too few records, but enough to become a major influence on the next generations of players – his solos to Ozzy Osbourne’s hits like “Crazy Train”, “Mr. Crowley” or “Flying High Again” are still regarded one of the best ever written and played. And there is often said that nobody could mix melodic and virtuosic playing in such a perfect ratio as Randy did. He was an excellent classical and acoustic guitarist, too!

YNGWIE MALMSTEEN. That name speaks for itself. One may like Yngwie or not, but it’s no doubt he’s one of the players who influenced the whole rock and metal music the most. You may also find his solo albums a bit repetitive, but such masterpieces as “Black Star” or “Far Beyond The Sun” have unquestionable place in the history of modern guitar playing. Yngwie was heavily inspired by Ritchie Blackmore, especially from his Rainbow days, and took his soloing approach on a new technical level, making everyone’s jaw drop by playing superfast sweep-picked arpeggios and fabulously precise scalar lines. He is also credited for introducing the harmonic minor scale to the world of rock. Beside that, an essential element of Yngwie’s style is his wide, passionate vibrato and distinctive tone of his Stratocaster. Every shred fan should have a listen or two to Yng’s solo debut – “Rising Force”, which is simply a classic today. I also recommend his best live release – “Trial By Fire” which shows how fervant an improviser is he.

JOE SATRIANI. For twenty years on the top, Joe is definitely one of the greatest stars of the guitar business. To save space and time, we’ll run thrugh his achievements and innovations rather briefly:

- superhuman legato playing and frequent use of stunning pick-tapping

- “piano like” two handed chordal tapping in pieces like “Midnight” or “Day at the beach”

- unparalleled mastery of the whammy bar and feedback

- unique mix of “feely” blues-flavoured playing and syntetic and exotic scales

- and above all that “technical” matters – AWESOME sense of melody! Listen to “Surfing With The Alien” and “Crystal Planet” albums to see what I mean!

Joe was also a great guitar teacher and some of his students have become actually huge rock stars. And STEVE VAI is perhaps the greatest player of all them. Technique-wise, he picked up many of Joe’s tricks, but developed his very own, unique style. Unlimited technical ability and creativity have been helping him with making insane, exciting music and go beyond all the borders. Whereas his great teacher has always had an amazing flair for catchy melodies and pleasant harmonies, Steve is more of a musical explorer, keen on experiments, some of which are hardly accessible to the average listener. However, when he hits the target – like in legendary “For The Love Of God” or the thrilling “Whispering a Prayer” – he can give the audience some sensations no one alse can give. Check out “Passion & Warfare”, “Fire Garden” or amazing live DVD “Live in Astoria” – one of the finest rock shows I’ve ever seen. It can take some time to become a Vai fan, but then I ensure you – you’re gonna be rewarded!

Next week we’ll learn a thing or two about the Shrapnel Records. See ya!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Album review - Katrina Johansson "Love Surrender Forgiveness"

Influenced by Gary Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Joe Satriani, Michael Angelo Batio, Jimi Hendrix, Ty Tabor and Peter Lindgren, Katrina Johansson is back with a follow-up to her first EP, Guitarsongs Volume I (2005).

Produced by Mike Hoffmann, with additional recording and mixing at Studio One with Chris Djuricic, Katrina’s new EP, Love Surrender Forgiveness, shows an undeniable leap in composition and technique.

The first impression I had after listening to the first three of the four tracks, was how much self expression was conveyed and how personal each song sounded.

Katrina has garnered a lot of respect and become a female icon in the male dominated genres of shred and instrumental rock, and this new EP puts her in contention for the “new queen of shred” title.

The first track, “Scar Tissue”, starts with a big, foot-stomping riff and a very singable melody line. This track really shows off Katrina’s legato phrases and the outro solo has some amazing alternate picking.

The “eastern” feel of track two, “Bellydance”, has a very interesting melody (something to do with Katrina’s love of sweat inducing Indian food, maybe?). Look out for the nice build-up of tension before a very seductive break at around 2:24. This song got me thinking about Mesopotamia and pretty ladies behind coloured veils.

The title track, “Love Surrender Forgiveness”, is (to my ears at least) the most personal and reflective track. Katrina plays beautiful phrases throughout the song which keeps a very tender feel compared to the rest of the tracks on this hard rocking EP.

The remix of K-9 Lullaby showcases (for those who missed her first EP) Karina’s wonderful call and answer phrasing, with none other than the powerful Michael Angelo Batio on bass.

This new EP is definitely a step in the right direction for this vegetarian and Dean Guitars endorsee. Just one question: When will we see a full album?

Track listing:

1. Scar Tissue
2. Bellydance
3. Love Surrender Forgiveness
4. K-9 Lullaby


Katrina Johansson - Guitars
Wolfe - Drums
Mike Hoffmann - Bass, Slide Guitar, 12 String Guitar
Michael Angelo Batio - Bass (K-9 Lullaby)
Brad Rohrssen - Drums (K-9 Lullaby)

For more about Katrina visist www.katrinaguitar.com/

Monday, December 3, 2007

Keep this name on mind - SIMONE MULARONI

I have discovered that player recently and I can say nothing else than: he simply blew my mind! Just have a look. Up to date I've managed to learn only that he plays in a prog-metal band called "Empyrios" and is working on a solo material... well I suppose it will be something big. Now all we can do is to remember this name and keep track of his career... at least I wanna do so :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The History of Shred in a Nutshell, Part I: When It All Began (60s and 70s)

Hi again! It’s high time we dug into musical past a bit. Don’t worry, no Bach or Chopin in here (I’ve got no objections against those great guys, but remember we’re on Shred Academy site…)! Anyway, today I bow to those, who are quite new in virtuoso guitar music, trying to describe the most important and influential musicians and albums. Starting from the very beginning…

RITCHIE BLACKMORE – Although there were more than a bunch of amazing players in the late 60s and 70s, it was the Deep Purple axeman who made a breakthrough in rock soloing by implying some techniques formerly associated with classical music. Ritchie liked to replace pentatonic clichés with more “dramatic” lines based on minor scales. He was also the first to make an extended use of triadic arpeggios and fast pedal-tone licks, not to mention his picking technique, which remains impressive after almost four decades (ever heard “Highway Star”?). All of those allow us to call Blackmore the “Godfather of Shred”. Beside that, his riffing was no less excellent than his lead playing… well, ain’t “Smoke On The Water” among the best and most famous riffs ever written? If you don’t know Ritchie’s music well, I’d recommend to you some Deep Purple classics, such as “In Rock”(1970), “Fireball”(1971) and “Perfect Strangers”(1984), but also check out his second band, Rainbow, where he cooperated with some great singers, such as the almighty Ronnie Dio. The group’s second CD, “Rainbow Rising” (1976) is one of the best and most underestimated hard rock albums ever recorded!

FRANK MARINO hasn’t probably achieved the fame proper to his outstanding talent, however, he is mentioned as a major inspiration by many of the business’s biggest names, such as Joe Satriani and Paul Gilbert. Being rooted in blues and funk music, Frank was a perfect, grooving rhythm player and great improviser, but on the other hand, his speed and accuracy exceeded most of his peers. He was equally brilliant playing Jimi Hendrix or Chuck Berry covers and doing his own stuff. Marino was also a tireless effect explorer, making creative use of delays and wah-wah which added spice to his excellent technique. When you want to enter the Marino land, start with “Live” album from 1978 – sounds as fresh and rocking as it did at first release!

EDDIE VAN HALEN. I guess all of you know the “flying Dutchman” of rock, but this article simple couldn’t do without him! After recording “Eruption” (1978) – a minute of ultimate frenzy that turned the guitar world upside down – he could totally withdraw from music and would still have a place in it’s history. Fortunately, he did quite the opposite, making a long, successful career with Van Halen and sharing his talents to other artists, ranging from Michael Jackson to Roger Waters. Treating Eddie as the man, who brought tapping into public eye or simply one of the best wankers of all time is very unjust. He was also a brilliant composer, songwriter, and a soloist with unique style – tapped arpeggios, blazing tremolo picking and cool use of phaser were just a few tricks from his bag. Edward has also discovered new ways of using harmonics and the whammy bar, achieved stunning effects with the volume pedal and played the guitar with an electric drill years before Paul Gilbert; his impact on modern approach to the instrument is just more than impressive. The highlights of his playing can be heard on “Van Halen”, “1984” and “F.U.C.K.” albums. If you haven’t checked them out yet, go on and do it!

Sometimes I wonder, how many of those, who just can’t stand “Wind of Change” going on the radio over and over, have heard marvelous Scorpions albums from the 70s. They sounded fresh and original, they rocked hard, and ULI JON ROTH was the man! Being one of the flashiest players of his generation, and also the pioneer of using the diminished scale in rock soloing, he never forgot to put necessary amount of melody, feeling and emotions into his playing. The highlight of his Scorpions era was the gorgeus LP “Virgin Killer” (1976). After quiting the band, Uli began a solo career, making more ambitious and classical-oriented music and becoming a guru for aspiring shredders of younger generations. When we talk about the roots of neo-classical guitar rock, we simply cannot omit Uli. What is also worth mentioning, are the unusual instruments he’s using. They are called “Sky guitars” and have consideraply extended scale, equipped with 36 or even 42 frets! That’s more than a technical curiosity – that’s what helps the master unleash his ideas and emotions.

You want more? Soon we’ll go to the glorious 80s - flashy soloing heyday. But that’s for the next week – see ya!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cool Shred Vids

Hello again. Current results of the blog's poll show precisely, that some of you want some links to good shred videos. So here we go!

There are some players on YouTube, who earned considerable popularity and became a kind of YT guitar community stars; I suppose many of you know the names of Gustavo Guerra, Cesar Huesca, Mattrach, or Toni Lloret and have seen at least a few renditions of Canon Rock. However, you can find dozens of equally gifted and skilled guitarists out there... sometimes you just have to search a bit.

Stephen Ross has already released a Shrapnel album entitled "Midnight Drive". It's nothing shocking as he's the man of outstanding skill. Just watch!

Matthew Mills is an amazing neo-classical player as well as Shred Academy instructor. His videos demonstrate just insane technique and also the cool "Yngwish" sound fitting that music style perfectly.

If Muris Varajic had been born in the USA instead of Bosnia, his name would have probably been as big as Vai's today. On the other hand, he wouldn't have composed such an amazig, Balkan-feel song like Mojo Oro. Extremely versatile, extremely creative, extremely precise and accomplished.

Dave Celentano is more known as a renowned guitar teacher and author of several instuctional books than as a player. Despite that fact, his abilities can make your jaw hit the floor and stay there for some time. On of the best tappers out there! Take a look.

Dr.Viossy - great Italian shredder. An awesome rendition of famous Paganini's 24th Caprice.

Fantastic take on Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight Of The Bumblebee by very talented young player - Fernando Dutra. Check out also his version of MAB's No Boundaries and keep this name on mind!

And here's Rainier - another guitar prodigy, this time from Philippines.

Enjoy and wait for more to be posted soon!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Six-string-stars from my country

Time to become a patriot :). Like almost everyone, I began my fascination with guitar after listening to the greatest names in the business (it was Carlos Santana and Brian May where it all began, then some Satch and so on…), however, I quickly realized that I can find equally amazing players much closer, in my home country. Now I’m nothing but pleased to introduce the biggest guys of Polish guitar to you.

Marek Raduli began his musical journey as a drummer, then mastered the art of jazz guitar, made a career as a studio musician and member of some mainstream bands and recently has returned to his origins, playing vigorous jazz and fusion in various ensembles. During his pop-rock days he managed to play a gig in Carnegie Hall and release two solo albums with instrumental material, proving his extraordinary skills. Recently, his most notable project is a powerful fusion trio “πR2” – the “Polish Tribal Tech”, as thery’re certainly influenced by the famous group; however, the band members are enough accomplished musicians to develop their own style and sound. Raduli is the main composer in here, and his cool leads are one of the biggest attractions of πR2 gigs; on the other hand, I cannot skip the trio’s amazing bassist, Wojtek Pilichowski, who provides Mark-King-influenced insane slap solos along with groovy walking lines. The band has released one CD, entitled “Transporter”.

Although Marek is certainly a feel-oriented, melodic player, his chops are no less impressive than his soulful vibrato, bending and whammy work. During long, improvised solos he shows stunning ability to create moving and interesting phrases over complex chord progressions, as well as fantastic legato and arpeggio technique. Recently he’s celebrated 25 years of artistic work, and I think all the Polish players wish him at least twice more. Go on and learn more on http://www.myspace.com/raduli , http://www.raduli.info

Jacek Królik is as incredibly versatile player who was unconsciously heard a thousand times by all Polish people, as he played with almost everyone as a “hired gun”, including pop stars, rock bands, orchestras on TV shows, various jazz ensembles and many more. Well, “gun” is a good term here, as Jacek can probably overtake Kalashnikov machine with his marvelous picking technique. Local guitar fans love him for the passion to throw flashy solos sometimes even in smooth pop songs; anyway, he always fits the piece he’s playing to perfectly, providing diverse range of tones and colors. One of his coolest acts was a folk-rock band “Brathanki” which won considerable popularity. Jacek does a unique job there, creating very original, licks mixing folk melodies with great technical ability - someone named it perfectly as “folk-shred”. However, nothing’s shocking when we talk about the man who’s done studio jobs probably in every possible genre, and sounded always brilliant, regardless of style.

http://www.jacekkrolik.com/ unfortunately, a page available only in Polish, but you can find some great Królik videos on YouTube, e.g on this channel.

He has also collaborated many times with a bit older, but no less amazing player – Ryszard Sygitowicz, who also deserves a few words here, but let his YouTube channel speak for himself - probably I won't describe this great axeman better than he did here.

Marek Napiórkowski is also a regular guest on Polish TV, spicing up shows and festivals with warm, passionate guitar tone, however, he’s mainly a great jazz player. He’s got everything a great improviser should have in his bag of tricks: fast picking and legato lines, odd-time phrasing, crazy chordal stuff, awesome control of dynamics and impressive scale knowledge. Add to this emotive rock drive and decent use of CryBaby and you’ll get a player without weak points. This year (2007) Marek’s second solo album hit the market and was as enthusiastically acclaimed as the previous one. He’s also cooperating with his father-in-law, superb saxophonist Henryk Miśkiewicz (by the way, his daughter and the guitarist’s wife, Dorota, is a brilliant singer) in various jazz bands. Sadly, you can read his website only in Polish, too, however, just type his name in YouTube browser and relish listening to one of the finest jazz/fusion players out there!

The last one I ‘d like to mention here, Jacek Polak, is not as popular as the previous ones and has probably never appeared on the TV or the radio. What a pity!

I accidentally attended a concert he played with his brother on drums as “Mr. Pollack” duo, and what I saw simply made my jaw hit the floor and stay there for some time. A rather short, inconspicuous man, equipped with only one shining Ibanez axe, gave a stunning show-off, playing hi-tech neo-classical stuff and screaming blues licks with enough ease and passion. I’ve heard perfect renditions of Van Halen, Pink Floyd, Gary Moore and Santana classics, as well as thrilling versions of Bach’s "Badinerie" and the famous "Flight Of The Bumblebee". Only a perfect coverman? Never ever! The brothers’ own songs were among the gig’s highlights – nice, melodic, with really impressive soloing.

“Mr. Pollack” has released several albums with their own material and some with cover songs, a notable one is the “Air On 6 Strings” with compositions by Mozart, Bach and many more – probably the best neo-classical shred playing ever done by a Polishman. Some years ago, Jacek has also recorded an instructional DVD, showing his favorite licks and techniques.

And one more thing… can you imagine improvising to Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” using a pick and Ibanez JEM, and throwing sweeping arpeggios here and there, without losing the Knopfler feel, only making it flashier? Yes, he did it, too. Top man!


If have any comments or questions, please send me a message - I'll read it for sure! And if you like that stuff, I'll try to provide you with more information about those and many other guitar wizards from Poland.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Album Review - Outworld "Outworld" (2006)

Some time ago, in the news post, I've mentioned the band Outworld and their eponymous debut CD. After that, I thought some of you may be unfamiliar to this group and the album... so here I give you the chance to learn a thing or two about them :)

Ever heard of Rusty Cooley? Yes, I mean that crazy dude who easily rips 18 notes in a second using any technique you want. Such players are often said to be unable to become an integral part of a band, as their overgrown ego forces them to solo all the time. Well, those who believe in such myths should immediately get a listen to Rusty’s band’s self-titled debut which proves them wrong.

Warning! Despite containing some of the craziest shred lines ever heard, it’s NOT a typical shred album! Instead you get over an hour of a very good, complex thrash/prog metal.

From the very first seconds of the very first track you know where you are! Outworld doesn’t waste time on soppy ballads – their music is heavy, intense, and technical from the beginning to the last note.

Although it’s their first full-time release, Outworld consists of five mature, experienced musicians who have been playing together for a couple of years. So it’s no surprise that they have already developed their own, distinctive sound, relying heavily on Rusty’s guitar style and Carlos Zema’s vocal manner. He is an example of my favorite kind of metal singer, having a strong, masculine voice and great phrasing skills. What caught my attention, is his rare ability to sound aggressive and melodic at the same time, avoiding growling and pointless screaming, keeping everything under control instead.

Mr. Cooley shows that he fully deserves the “Metal Guru” title, under which he led an instructional column, by masterful use of a vast range of patents and textures used in modern heavy music. He builds a solid rhythm basis with an extremely thick tone, while his clean parts perfectly create a dark, thrilling mood. When it comes to soloing, the best adjective to describe Rusty’s work would be “intense”, but it absolutely doesn’t mean mindless shredding all the time! The axeman perfectly combines fretboard-melting lines with slower, more melodic phrases. Personally, I really enjoy the “City of the Dead” solo every time I listen to it – by the way, the whole song is a great composition with Symphony X – feel. However, the album’s guitar highlight is “Riders”, where a technical climax turns into an anthem-like melody reminiscent of Jason Becker at his best! Another memorable moment is the crazy instrumental part from “Outworld” that shows the whole band’s skills and great cooperation.

The shortest, and probably also the strangest track in here is “Prelude To Madness”. Notable feature of this small composition is quite unusual arrangement – just heavily distorted guitar with intriguing piano backing. I personally find Rusty’s approach to the tune slightly annoying, as what worked perfectly over typical metal background (wide vibrato, „gain knob over 10” tone and superhuman picking) doesn’t go that well with delicate keyboard sound. However, the benefit of this short piece is a break in the overall metal mayhem.

I’ve picked up some of the songs in above description, simply because these are the ones that drawn my attention the most. But the rest of Outworld’s musical material firmly keeps up to high level, and each of you can mark another tracks as the album picks, it’s just a matter of your taste as we really have eight equally good compositions in here. But some of you must rely on my opinion just as long as you haven’t heard the whole record… hey folks, time to change it!

Overall Rating: 8/10

Track Listing:

1. Raise Hell
2. Riders
3. Warcry
4. Outworld
5. The Never
6. City Of The Dead
7. Prelude To Madness
8. The Grey Tide
9. I Thanatos


Rusty Cooley – Guitars
Carlos Zema – Vocals
Shawn Kascak – Bass Guitar
Matt MacKenna – Drums
Bobby Williamson - Keyboards




Friday, November 9, 2007

Album Review - David Shankle Group "Hellborn" (2007)

Although I have known David Shankle’s name well from his glorious Manowar days, I must admit that “Hellborn” was my very first contact with his solo project (I feel slightly embarrassed with this fact ;). Anyway, memories of Manowar’s “Triumph of Steel” have prepared me or a solid dose of intense, high quality heavy metal, so have done the cover and the title. And the musical content definitely met my expectations.

An interesting feature of the record is that despite a pretty cool opening, it steadily gets better when getting closer to the album’s end. The first tracks precisely define the overall sound, as they’re full of heavy riffs, blazing solos and majestic, melodic choruses. What’s also worth mentioning is the rhythmic section, which can be described briefly but accurately as “ground-breaking”. The singer, Dennis Hirschauer, also does his job well, as his distinctive voice is an integral part of the quartet’s tone. These are all essential elements of a cool heavy/power metal record, but from a musician of Shankle’s experience and ability I would expect something more… and I finally get it in “The Tyrant”, one of the best songs here, which provides great, catchy melody without losing the impact of the previous ones.

Right after the last measures, there come “When Is It Wicked” and “Sins and Promises” two seven-minute-long epics that stand out from the rest due to their more complex and sophisticated structure and arrangement. David skillfully builds up tension making bigger use of clean guitar sounds and more diverse soloing approach (mixing hyperspeed licks with more intriguing, slower parts). I dare say the band enters the prog metal territory here as you can hear echoes of Dream Theater in some of the riffs… I’ve described probably my two favorite tracks together, anyway, on the album they’re separated with shorter song “Monster”, which brings you back to well-known heavy metal world. Setting the track list this way prevents the album from sounding monotonous. Then, as we move towards the CD’s end, we get a nice piece entitled “No Remorse” with very “Yngwish” riff (anyway, the Malmsteen spirit can be felt on “Hellborn” from the beginning, but do you know a neo-classical player who hasn’t been inspired by the fabulous Swede?). However, some top-class stuff has been put aside for dessert.

Now, shredheads, there comes something for you! “The Voyage” is the track none of you can miss out! Why? Because you rarely get the chance to hear four of the music industry top virtuosos crossing their axes in such a shred battle, like the one we hear on “Hellborn”’s last song. Just take a look at these names: TD Clark, Joe Stump, and the mighty Michael Angelo Batio (yes, yes, yes!). Then you can just imagine the sonic firestorm they create. They shred with no mercy, striking over and again with mind-boggling arpeggios and fiendishly fast and precise picking lines. Of course, David gets his piece o’ cake, too. Although there are some moments on the whole record when I’d rather hear more melodic soloing than Shankle’s beloved speed frenzies, no one can argue that his playing skills are simply jaw-dropping, and “Voyage” is the best proof for it. Seven minutes of pure guitar wizardry pass by quickly so… it’s time to listen once again! At least I did so :).

To sum up, “Hellborn” should satisfy a vast range of heavy sounds enthusiasts, as it contains enough hi-octane shredding for guitar-maniacs, as well as enough cool riffing and songwriting to be enjoyable for an average metal fan. Worth checking out!

Overall Rating: 8/10

Track listing:

1. Asylum God
2. The Lie
3. Bleeding Hell
4. Living For Nothing
5. Left To Die
6. Hellborn
7. The Tyrant
8. When Is It Wicked
9. Monster
10. Sins And Promises
11. Cold And Diseased
12. No Remorse
13. The Voyage

David Shankle - Guitars
Dennis Hirschauer- Vocals
Jeff Kyloe - Bass Guitar
Brad Sabathne - Drums

For more about David and the band, go to www.davidshanklegroup.com

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Oscar Ortega interview - This shredder-on-the-rise gives us some tips on the industry

What steps have you taken to forge a career in the music industry?
Read as much as possible about the music industry and its laws.
I bought a few books before starting a mentoring program that Tom Hess has created. I am currently in this program and have not needed to purchase any more books. However, I am confident in recommending the following books:

Legal Aspects of the Music Industry by Richard Schulenberg, All You Need to Know About the Music Business: 6th Edition by Donald S. Passman, The inner game of music by Barry Green.

What advice do you have for people looking to get into the music industry?
Understand that the music and the music industry are separated by a very, very fine line.
When you are in the music industry/business you have become a product.
It doesn’t matter if you like it or not, the music business IS a business and the product to sell is your music and you.

Before you take a leap into the unknown, I would recommend you do some research and try and find info about managers, laws, copyrights, agents and what they do for you. They all have an important role in the music industry and sometimes you might not even need a few of them because you can do it on your own, it just takes more time.

Completely lose your ego. Talk about karma at its best - your ego could potentially destroy your musical career if you use it in a negative way. In the music business you have to be smart, humble and own the ground you walk on.

What are the pressures in the industry and how do you cope with them?
There are no true pressures in the music industry (unless you are a huge pop celebrity). The pressures are made because of the choices you take. You can have either a successful career without the drama or you can have a successful career WITH drama. It just depends on how the person handles the celebrity status they gain after a few touring shows. The ego could play a huge part in this.

During your formative years, what sort of practice regime did you have?
In all honesty, I practiced about 3 to 4 hours a day. Sometimes I would try to practice for 12 hours but with my case of ADD, that wasn’t really practical. Now, I have a schedule for each day and only practice for an hour or two, tops. I concentrate on my weaknesses but also evaluate my strong points and make them stronger. This could mean in composition, technique, scales and chord shapes, reading jazz charts, sight reading, slide guitar, etc.

What advice do you have for beginner and intermediate players who are trying to achieve a highly advanced level of playing?
Take the time to make mistakes. And once you notice that you have made a mistake; correct it. Muscle memory could have a huge impact on you if you have done something wrong for several years then try to correct it. I am mostly self-taught and I learned some bad habits that I am not trying to change.

Check out who is the best teacher in your community and try to take lessons from them. The value of the guitar lessons from a great teacher is something that you will carry for the rest of your life, so why not learn the right way from the start?

What gear do you use and (more importantly) why?
I am currently endorsed by Halo Guitars. This guitar is a beast! It’s an 8 String guitar with EMG pickups. The most amazing guitar I’ve ever owned. Action is really low, and I can get a massive low with the F#. I use the best cables out there IMO, guitar-cable.com, I am also endorsed by them and they make the cables to your preference! They are fantastic.

I’ve wanted the best instruments possible, always. Not for bragging rights, but more because of the dynamics I have to have when performing gigs. One day I can play in a metal band and the next day I could be hired to do a latin jazz combo.

My guitar, cables, amps and pedals HAVE to be there in order for me to be the best. However, equipment is a 10% part of what makes a guitar player amazing. It’s the heart of the player that communicates the most, not the 25K replica guitar.

For my guitars I like to use a mahogany body with maple neck to achieve the most sustain. I only use BOSS pedals. I think they are the best for my situation. The guitar picks vary. I sometimes use the lightest I can find or the heaviest I find, it all depends on the type of gig I have to do. For metal, I use Jim Dunlop (the purple picks) and for jazz I use a Jazz III guitar pick.

What parts of your playing reflects your personality and self expression most accurately?
Everything I play on the guitar reflects my character and personality.
Every time I grab my instrument, I become close to it and in return I leave a little part of my soul in that performance or recording. In music, I either have to give it my all, all the time, or nothing at all. Freedom exists in music and this is where I am free.

What are you trying to achieve compositionally?
I try to achieve self expression. It’s a real simple concept, but a few people understand it. Since I am no poet with words I have to make my instrument tell a story with music. For example, in my song ”Power of One”, the song is an achievement of what 1 person can do. 1 person can make a difference and when I wrote that song I was filled with adrenaline! I was ready For the world and the world wasn’t ready for me! That’s why the song has a fast passed groove and an intense solo and interesting riffs that make it powerful.

Talk about the process of recording your album. Are there any tips and trick that you could pass on? How did you choose the other instrumentalists (if you did).
I could go on for days on this, but I’m going to give you a list of things to do before you set foot in the studio.

1. Know your songs
2. Choose the right musicians for your project
3. Have a schedule for the musicians you are going to hire
4. Write a contract for the musician’s time. If you are paying them or not.
5. Copyright your material after it has been recorded
6. If possible, rehearse the songs with the musicians before they go to the studio
7. ONLY use the time needed at the studio and don’t fool around at the studio. The more time you spend at the studio, the less money you will have.
8. If you have an engineer working on the CD, talk to that person and express your gratitude in working with them. No matter if you pay them or not. They can either make your CD crap or make it awesome.
10. Enjoy the process of recording and learn from the things you do there. It’s a huge eye opener on how much time artists spend time doing a full CD.

My tip to everyone: Enjoy, live and breathe music. Set goals for yourself and try to achieve them. You have the power to become great or to become weak and powerless. What will you choose?

Oscar Ortega

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Free Example From Upcoming EBook

Hey guys, here is an example from my upcoming ebook (which is now complete, it needs only the recordings to be done) based on Arpeggios. How to form them, how to play them, and how to use them. The book deals mainly with the sweep picking form but also ventures slightly into tapping and other techniques. The book covers playing arpeggios right from simple lines on one string, all the way upto six string progressions and eveything in between. There is also a section at the end that focuses on more advanced shapes and a few licks in the style of some well known players. The book will probably be for sale at Shred Academy sometime around christmas. Until now, i hope you find the following example page useful.

Click on the link to download your free sample http://files-upload.com/files/602203/arpsample.pdf

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Zack Uidl interview - The busy shredder tells us to get organized.

Zack Uidl is a professional guitarist, studio/session musician, instructor, and composer in the Chicago-land area. He is in high demand for performances, both live and in the studio, instructing, and for his compositions for film and other projects. Zack has taught several clinics, master classes, workshops, and seminars including the internationally acclaimed Camp Jam. He currently is an instructor both privately and at JC’s Guitars in Algonquin, Illinois. Zack also is a highly acclaimed author of online lessons and articles on numerous instructional websites.

Zack has studied with the best guitarists in the industry including Tom Hess, Zvonimir Tot, Mike Walsh, Jody Fisher to name a few. He has also studied advanced music theory, piano, and other instruments as well.

Zack has released:

The Ultimate Sweep Picker’s Guide along with Mike Philippov
Progressive 7-String Guitar Instructional DVD
Serious Improvement for the Developing Guitarist Instructional E-book

He will also be featured on the upcoming Chronicles: City of Sound compilation album.

Zack Uidl is currently endorsed by Conklin Guitars, Q-Tuner pick-ups, Fast Axe, and Turbo Trem. He is currently working on numerous albums and instructional products while maintaining a steady performing schedule both live and in the recording studio.

What steps have you taken to forge a career in the music industry?
There are many things involved in my creating my career in the music industry. However, there are a few main steps that I took in order to accomplish my goals.

To begin with, I found professional guitar and music instructors that I knew would be able to help me reach all of my goals. I mainly studied with Tom Hess, but also with Zvonimir Tot, Jody Fisher, Mike Walsh and a few other instructors on different instruments. Practicing efficiently was important for me to reach my goals.

I also became a part of the Music Careers Mentoring Program that Tom Hess offers. That really changed my perspective on a lot of things and has honestly taught me much of what I needed in order to create a successful career as a professional musician.

The main thing, however, is that I have never waited for things to happen. I have made them happen on my own. Many people do not consider this very important thing. Too many people are in bands and are waiting for someone to give them an opportunity. Well, why not create the opportunities for yourself. Everything that I have accomplished, and will accomplish, is directly related to the amount of work that I put into it. If you want to be a professional musician, you have to make it happen.

What advice do you have for people looking to get into the music industry?
To begin with, someone looking to get into the music industry needs to realize that it has nothing to do with “luck.” Everything that I have done, or others have done, are the direct result of what they have worked hard to achieve. The only kind of musicians that I know have either stuck with it and are successful or have quit and given up. Anyone interested in becoming part of the music industry should realize that it takes work, dedication, and perseverance.

Secondly, everyone who wants to create and maintain a career in the music industry should know exactly what he or she wants to do. Map out goals, just like should be done in a practice routine. How will you know what to do if you do not know what you are working towards achieving?

Thirdly, realize that absolutely nothing is impossible. Every single goal and dream that you have can be achieved. If you realize this, you are already ahead of the majority. Too many people get in the mindset that there are certain things that will be impossible for them to make happen.

Fourthly, everyone interested in creating a career in the music industry should take Tom Hess’ Music Careers Mentoring Program. It has helped me out an immeasurable amount, and has done the same for many other.

What are the pressures in the industry and how do you cope with them?
There are numerous kinds of pressures in the music industry. Some minor and some are more significant. For me, the main pressures that I have, being a studio musician especially, are related to deadlines. Many of the projects that I am involved with have predetermined deadlines.

To manage them, and to manage pressure in life in general, comes down to very detailed time management. If I were not a very organized person, I would not be anywhere near where I am. I plan out a detailed schedule for each day, week, month and year. I make sure I do not go to sleep without doing something that will advance my career. I am very specific in my scheduling to allow for maximum efficiency in what I will be working on.

Also, I am kind of thankful that I am an insomniac. I do not get a lot of sleep, which allows me to have more time to get things done. Thank God for coffee!

During your formative years, what sort of practice regime did you have?
During my formative years, I had a very organized practice schedule. I would try and group certain topics together in order to make sure that I was being most efficient. For example, I would group things like chord studies, arpeggios, sweep picking, and music theory related to chords and chord progressions together since they are all using the same fundamentals. Then do things like scales, modes, directional picking, and the rest of the theory on another day. I would also set time aside for practicing songwriting, phrasing, rhythm playing, site reading and improvisation depending on my schedule and how much time I had available that day.

I never really had the time to practice for a ridiculous amount of hours each day. So, in order to make sure I still would advance to the level of guitar playing and musicianship that I wanted; I would make sure I was particularly organized with everything. And, I can honestly say that this method really paid off.

What advice do you have for beginner and intermediate players who are trying to achieve a highly advanced level of playing?
To begin with, stay very organized. Create a practice schedule that will allow you to and assist you in reaching your goals. This is very important. Create detailed lists for your short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. Do not limit yourself simply because you think that some things are impossible. This will help you realize what you need to do to reach all of your goals.

Secondly, get a professional instructor. A professional instructor will know exactly what you need to reach your goals and will be able to coach and mentor you in becoming very efficient with your practicing. You will reach your goals in a shorter period of time than if you tried to accomplish things on your own.

What gear do you use and, more importantly, why?
I use a rather simple set up, especially playing live. I am not someone who is into using a bunch of effects. For me, I have 2 rhythm distortions, two clean channels and 2 lead channels set up for live performing.

Currently, I use Carvin V3 and Mesa Boogie amplifiers. Occasionally, I do use another kind of amplifier, but not very often. I use Carvin and Mesa Boogie because they are so reliable for both live and studio environments and have great tones.

For my guitars, I use various acoustic guitars, D’Angelico archtop guitars, and Carvin and Ibanez 7-string electric guitars. However, I am very excited. I recently started talking to Conklin Guitars and I am now endorsing them. I am having a custom 8 string guitar made right now and it should be ready in 2008.

As for my guitar and what I look for in a guitar, the basic specs are:

Jumbo Frets
Locking Tuners
Thinner Neck Style
Neck Through Design
Ebony Fingerboard
Large Cutaway

I have found that the things that I mentioned are best for sustain and vibrato. Playing Progressive-Rock, Metal, and Instrumental music, the thinner neck works better for me. Having pretty large hands, I need a larger cutaway so I do not have any physical restrictions from the guitar.

What parts of your playing reflects your personality and self-expression most accurately?
I think my personality is best shown through my instrumental works. I think that the elements of my playing such as odd meters, shows my unique style of composition. I have been told that I have a unique voice when it comes to soloing also. I just express whatever is in my mind and emotions through my compositions. So, in a way, everything that I compose has some element of my personality in it.

I am currently working on my solo album, so all of what I have talked about will be evident on that album.

What are you trying to achieve compositionally?
Compositionally, I simply want to create music that expresses my emotions. That is, after all, the purpose of music. I have influences in every genre of music and each of them is portrayed in my works. I compose music that accurately expresses ideas and emotions that I am feeling at that moment. Pretty short and simple.

If the readers want to get in touch with you, what is your website and e-mail address?
Contact me at zack@zackuidl.com or visit my website www.zackuidl.com
or MySpace page www.myspace.com/zackuidl.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mike Philippov interview – One of the nicest guys in shred shares some secrets

Mike Philippov is a guitarist, instructor and music composer based in Indianapolis, playing in the neo-classical and progressive styles.

He began playing guitar when he was 14 and has had 2 years of formal classical training at the Jacob's School of Music at Indiana University. He also studied virtuoso guitar playing and music composition with world renowned virtuoso Tom Hess.

He has taught instructional guitar clinics as well as private guitar lessons.
Let’s see what keeps this shredder so insanely busy.

What steps have you taken to forge a career in the music industry?
Currently I am writing and recording music for two albums. The first one is my upcoming debut solo CD, "Reflections" and the second one is an album that I am writing together with a great metal player and songwriter, Dave Cardwell (www.cardwellmusic.com). Both albums will be all instrumental and will feature music in the neo-classical and progressive styles. I am also going to be playing on a Compilation CD, “Chronicles-City of Sound” to be released later in 2007. I also co-manage and run an instructional website: www.thenextstepguitar.com as well as teach guitar privately and through clinics. I am also involved in several partnership projects with Tom Hess. (www.tomhess.net)

As far as what I did to get started, one of the most important steps for me was to join Tom Hess' Music Careers Mentoring Program. The things that I've learned in that program redefined the way I approach my career in some huge ways and helped me get off the ground. Anyone interested in a music career must check this program out!

What advice do you have for people looking to get into the music industry?
Many musicians make the mistake of spending all of their time only polishing their musical skills, but completely neglect studying the music business. This is one reason why there are many musicians who are great musically but cannot make enough money with their skills. Of course, it is important to work on the musical skills, but studying music business is equally important for becoming a music pro. Nowadays it has become easier to search for resources and advice on music business. If you can find a successful musician to take lessons on music business from, that will be a very smart thing to do and will save you A LOT of time and frustration! Other than that, be determined, motivated and ready to work really hard for your success. But success will come if you work on it the right way.

What are the pressures in the industry and how do you cope with them?
One of the benefits of being an independent artist is that there are no pressures on me by anyone other than myself. This is good from a creative and artistic standpoint. However, the biggest obstacle for me right now is lack of time to do all that I want to accomplish. This is probably the one thing that all professional musicians have in common! It’s a great place to be though, being a professional musician sure beats any other kind of job!

During your formative years, what sort of practice regime did you have?
During high school I played and practiced 4-7 hours a day on most days. I was always highly organized in my practice, and would write out practice routines for myself every day and change things that were not bringing results. I also had the opportunity to study with some truly amazing teachers that helped me tremendously in getting my playing together. In 2003 I had a consultation on virtuoso guitar technique with Ney Mello, and in 2004 I started studying music composition, improvisation and virtuoso playing and music business with Tom Hess and he has been a tremendous sort of wisdom inspiration (musically and personally) on many levels. In 2005 I began attending Indiana University Jacobs School of Music to study music theory, ear training and music composition. I firmly believe in studying with the best teachers that you can find and practicing constantly. I was also always very motivated and passionate about everything to do with music and guitar. I believe that the above mentioned things (strong desire, great teachers and lots of practice) contributed the most to me developing my skills.

What advice do you have for beginner and intermediate players who are trying to achieve a highly advanced level of playing?
Find the best teacher(s) that you can and practice constantly! Surround yourself with the music that you love to keep your motivation and desire strong. Find out about proper practice methods and apply them every day to develop your technique. If you plan to write your own music and/or learn to improvise, then study music theory and develop your Aural Skills (ear training)! The more you practice the faster you will get to your goals, so make time for practicing something every day!

Who are your most significant musical influences?
I have many influences in various areas of music, so I can break them up in different areas of musicianship:

For composition: George Bellas, Tom Hess, Vitalij Kuprij, L.V. Beethoven, J.S. Bach, Ennio Morricone, Fryderyk Chopin, Dream Theater, Symphony X

For guitar technique: Rusty Cooley, Theodore Ziras, George Bellas, Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane

For phrasing: Tom Hess, Andy Laroque, Mike Walsh, Vinnie Moore, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker.

There are many more, but this is my top list. All of the above players and musicians are incredible!

What gear do you use and (more importantly) why?
I love Ibanez guitars for their playability, tone and feel. I use an Ibanez RG 42. I like this model a lot because of the neck through body that allows great sustain. Sustain is a huge part of my sound and tone. I use Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wire Pick Ups for the same reason (they are the hottest pick ups around!). I like the tone and feel of D’addario strings (I use string gauge 0.10-0.46). The string action on my guitar is incredibly high, higher than that of any other guitarist I’ve ever met. I do this also for sustain. Also the string tension is pretty tight to fit my playing style and the strong pick attack that I like to use. As for amps, I like the sound of Peavey 6505, the rhythm tone on it is very heavy and tight! For my lead tone, I like the sound of the guitar recorded direct through a pre-amp and I do not use an amplifier or mic the guitar when recording lead.

Talk about the process of recording your album. Are there any tips and trick that you could pass on? How did you choose the other instrumentalists (if you did).
For recording, one of the most important things is to have your music ready to go! The other is to have some idea of the sound/tone you are going for before you start recording. Otherwise, you are going to spend a lot of money in studio costs (if you record at a studio) by changing things around to experiment with different sounds. The other option is to buy your own gear if you can afford it and learn to use it yourself (which can be frustrating at first but has its advantages over recording at someone else’s studio)About other instrumentalists, I worked with an awesome bass player from Milwaukee, Ben Kuzay to play bass on a tune that will be featured on the Chronicles-City of Sound compilation release. Ben is an awesome player technically and has a good sense of counterpoint and melody. Check out his myspace at: www.myspace.com/benkuzay

What parts of your playing reflect your personality and self expression most accurately?
Interesting question… I would say that my phrasing and harmonic ideas are pretty strong in reflecting my personality. However, this is a never ending process, as any self-expressive artist knows… I am always working on bridging the gap between all my musical skills and complete self-expression. The art of self-expression is one of the most important things I have learned from my friend and mentor Tom Hess during my years of lessons with him.

What are you trying to achieve compositionally?
As I alluded to above, self-expression and personal fulfillment are my two biggest musical goals. I am not interested in writing music for the whole world to like. I would rather write the music that fulfills me personally and artistically. I believe that if the music is truly expressive and creative in the artist’s own unique way, then there will always be enough people to like it for that music to get noticed.

If the readers want to get in touch with you, what is your website and e-mail address?
www.mikephilippov.comwww.thenextstepguitar.com My e-mail is: mike@mikephilippov.com
I always respond to e-mails, so don’t hesitate to write to me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

News Of The World ;)

Liquid Tension Experiment back in the game! The legendary Dream Theater based supergroup re-unites to blow people's minds up once again in Philadelphia during the upcoming NEARfest (North East Art Rock Festival)! Before seeing the group in action, we can listen to "Spontaneous Combustion" - the brand new release by Liquid Trio Experiment. Under this name you can find almost the whole original LTE line-up lacking only for John Petrucci. That means we should expect more keyboard-driven music, however, Jordan Rudess's name is a guarantee of amazing sonic sensations. The CD hits the market right today (Oct 22nd).

Gear News: New PRS model!
This month the world met Paul Reed Smith's youngest child - The Mira. This beautiful guitar with mahogany body and Brazilian Rosewood fretboard combines traditional, classic-rock design with modern components. The new pickups help with creating trusted rock tone - sweet, spacious clean and warm, crunchy overdriven lead. For more information, go to www.prsguitars.com or look for the Mira clip on the company's YouTube channel.

Studio News: Rusty Cooley back in studio! The shred demon came to studio with his band Outworld to make a new demo. Does it mean we should expect a full-length successor of their amazing eponymous debut? We'll see, now all the shred fans must wait for the demo songs.

Tour News: Dream Theater along with Symphony X still on tour! All the prog metal fanatics, who missed their chance to see two of the genre's greatest bands on stage during one evening can still make up for this. The shred giants common tour lasts for two more weeks, moving across the Europe. For accurate dates see www.dreamtheater.net

More news coming soon!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

New Randy Rhoads Documentary Features MAB

Michael Angelo Batio (ex - Nitro) was interviewed and filmed back on September 22nd for a new documentary about Randy Rhoads which is set for a 2008 release.

The film will also feature a performance of Angelo's masterpiece Tribute To Randy from his album Hand Without Shadows.

Here is what film director Peter Margolis said about his time with Michael. (Taken from www.angelo.com).

''Last Saturday I was honored to be able to spend 10 hours filming two performance pieces and an interview with Michael Angelo Batio.We arrived at the studio at noon. Michael arrived on time and with his guitar tech ready to work. He was extremely accommodating and kind and polite and happy to be a part of this film. We shot 14 takes of his performance as I manipulated the camera in every conceivable position to properly photograph this event. He never once complained and replicated his tribute to Randy with 100% perfect accuracy every time. My respect level for him rose exponentially as the day progressed. Not only is he probably the most technically gifted hard rock/ heavy metal guitarist I have ever witnessed up close, he is equally adept at many other styles of guitar as he played anything and everything for the crew between takes.Then to top it off, after a grueling day of filming he sat down for a candid interview.He was articulate and passionate about how Randy affected the path he chose with the guitar. This interview was a highlight for me and I am certain will be for the viewers of the film.''

In 1982 Randywas killed when his small plane struck Ozzy Osbournes touring bus before and the film hopes to capture the importance and significance of the 25th anniversary of Randy's passing.

The film is directed by Pater Margolis and will be released courtesy of Dakota Pictures.

For more information on the project - www.myspace.com/randyrhoadsfilm
For more information about Michael Angelo Batio - www.angelo.com

New George Bellas Album - Planetary Alignment

George Bellas has set an official date for the release of his next album Planetary Alignment.
The album is set to be released on February 15th 2008.

More information and the concept behind this album can be found at http://www.georgebellas.com/PlanetaryAlignment/

Friday, October 19, 2007

German Shauss interview - The Lightspeeder speaks

German born guitar virtuoso German Schauss has pushed the boundaries of rock guitar music through his architecturally epic music structure and lush soundscapes. He combines ideas of modern instrumental rock guitar music with influences of old masters Bach, Beethoven and Chopin.

After graduating magna cum laude from the world renowned Berklee College of Music, German immersed himself in the Boston music scene. This led him to play guitar for several big music productions and he subsequently played concerts all around the world with his solo band and other projects. He quickly gained a reputation for his remarkable solo guitar and compositional skills for which he was asked to teach at Berklee College of Music, write articles for MelBay and develop an advanced Rock Guitar course on “Shredding Techniques” for the National Guitar Workshop’s online school “WorkshopLive.com.”

German is an endorser of Parker Guitars, Randall Amplifiers, DiMarzio, DR Strings Maxon, Rocktron and Morley, for whom he plays clinics and concerts at international music fair and trade shows such as Musikmesse Frankfurt, the NAMM Show, and other shows around the world. He has also been awarded in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, the ASCAP Plu$ Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

German lives now in Los Angeles where he is busy teaching, performing, and promoting his new CD release “The Lightspeeder.”

Let’s find out how he does the things he does, and why.

What steps have you taken to forge a career in the music industry?
The music industry can be a very tricky thing. It is important to have the right education but also to have an identity as a musician or artist. I studied music from an early age, went to music school and all that, but the most important thing in my opinion is your artistic qualities and also your character. I have worked on many projects to build up my career. I am an actively performing guitarist, composer, guitar instructor and author. I am also an Endorsee and Clinician for Parker Guitars, Laney Amplifiers, Dimarzio Pickups, Maxon Pedals, Rocktron, and DR Strings. The American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), has awarded me the Plu$ Award for writers and composers in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. I have written instructional articles and online interactive video lessons for MelBay Publications and NGW’s “WorkshopLive” on Modern Rock Guitar Soloing, taught guitar at Berklee College of Music and other national and international music schools, wrote and recorded music with my original band, and toured with many bands nationally and internationally.

What advice do you have for people looking to get into the music industry?
To get started in the industry, you need exposure, exposure, exposure. Find an outlet, like the internet and try to promote yourself. You can use networking platforms such as Friendster, Myspace, Facebook, Sonicbids.... the list goes on. I started in the late 90’s with MP3.com. I made a lot of connections and sold my music to a great, attentive audience.

What are the pressures in the industry and how do you cope with them?
In my opinion, the music industry is very similar to other industries. It’s about image and marketability. Of course people will judge you on your artistic and musical qualities, but this can be very personal and sometimes even hurtful. You have to develop a thick skin to cope with all the trash talking and bad mouthing. But remember, people that do that usually don’t really have anything to contribute. They are mostly jealous or have some other personal issue or vendetta. Don’t be discouraged, keep working on yourself and your artistry. On the other hand if you are working as a studio musician or side man, you need to have the right image, clothing, haircut.... in order to get the job playing guitar for Jessica Simpson or other high profile, mainstream recording artists. So you always have to keep up with fashion :)

During your formative years, what sort of practice regime did you have?
I love practising and working on new ideas. I am very disciplined when it comes to practising. I usually practised 1 hour before I left for school when I was 15 to 19 and when I came back another couple of hours, learning scales, arps, theory.... and of course learning songs of my favourite guitar players. I was and am very organised when it comes to practising.

What advice do you have for beginner and intermediate players who are trying to achieve a highly advanced level of playing?
Be patient and try to learn as much as you can from all types of teachers, styles and music. There is so much music to learn that you will always find something that can spark your imagination and creativity.

What gear do you use and (more importantly) why?
I use Parker Guitars with DiMarzio Pickups. These are the best guitars ever made, high quality and wonderful tones and playability. For amps I use the Laney TT Series and I am also using the Lionheart series by Laney. Awesome tone and amps!! As for effects I am using the Rocktron Xpression unit, a Maxon OD 808, Morley Power Wah/ Volume, Digitech Whammy pedal and DR Strings “Hi Beam LTR 9”.

What parts of your playing reflects your personality and self expression most accurately?
That is a hard question. I strive for a balance between chops, melody and composition. Sometimes, I play too much, but I always try to keep everything balanced.

What are you trying to achieve compositionally?
Composing music is not an easy thing to do. I get my inspirations from everywhere, but translating them into sound is a different problem. It takes time when I work on a piece, sometimes I work on 2 or 3 simultaneously. I write different parts like strings, drums, or keys and tie those parts with my guitar, sometimes I start from the guitar part or I write out some lines that I will superimpose or integrate into new ideas. I like to “paint a picture” with my music, some times it’s kinda cheesy but I like it. I also use constant structure and serial techniques to add more dissonance to my music.

Talk about the process of recording your album. Are there any tips and trick that you could pass on? How did you choose the other instrumentalists (if you did)?
Recording my album was not an easy thing to do. Thankfully, I had great musicians and other artist help me. I was very fortunate to have such a support. I basically recorded and wrote all the music in between teaching and playing gigs. I teach about 40 students per week and work on a lot of other projects, so sometimes it is really hard to find the time or energy to start working on my music. I used Dp 4.12 and Logic 7 to record my stuff. I used a live drummer for “The Awakening” but during the tracking session my drummer and keyboard player moved home to NY and I had to send files and have them play separately, which worked for the keyboard but not for the drums, so I programmed most of the drums with Drumkit form Hell. When the tacking was finished, I did some overdubs and started mixing. It was then mixed further and mastered by 2 friends of mine in Germany, who run a professional Recording studio and they wanted to mix it for me. I also had a friend of mine design my album artwork which helped a lot and saved a lot of money. Once I had all the material together I sent it to Diskmakers to have it replicated. After that I sent a copy and the necessary paperwork to the Copyright office and registered all the titles with ASCAP and other Performing Rights Organisations. This took some time but, it is very important that all the legal stuff is taken care of, so that you can earn money and your art is protected.

If the readers want to get in touch with you, what is your website and e-mail address?
Please feel free to visit my website at http://www.germanschauss.com/ or www.myspace.com/germanschauss for more inforation or for questions email me at german@germanschauss.com

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Welcome all, to the new Shred Academy blog which will keep you updated on all the latest happenings in the guitar world. Expect lots of content added on a very regular basis, starting very soon!