Your Daily Dose of Guitar News & Reviews
Guitar Karaoke! Courtesy of JamVOX
Personally, I've never been a huge fan of karaoke—listening to drunk people sing out of time and out of key just doesn't do it for me, no matter how brutally bad it can be. But when the Guitar Hero video game came out, I figured it wouldn't be long before someone organized real guitar hero competitions—karaoke style—using real guitars. Now that would be fun, right?
Now, thanks to the good folks over at Vox Amplification, my dream has come true! The company is sponsoring "JamVOX Nights," a series of free nationwide "guitaraoke" events for guitarists of all levels. During April and early May, guitarists are invited to visit local music stores to check out and test-drive the new JamVOX guitar entertainment/training system. The series has been created to bring together the local communities of guitarists and their friends to showcase their talents on their own guitar in a fun, non-competitive environment.
The JamVOX system features software that lets users extract the lead guitar parts from their favorite songs and then play along in place of the original guitar tracks (hence, "guitaraoke"). At each event, everyone will be shown how to use the JamVOX and then invited to come up and show off their inner guitar hero using their own guitar playing along to any song they choose from a wide selection of classic tunes. Anyone who plugs in will receive a limited-edition VOX t-shirt. Other door prizes will be available as well. For more information, please visit the JamVOX page at the Vox website.
"JamVOX Nights" dates and locations (7:00 pm start except where noted):
April 8, 2009
7229 Forest Oaks Blvd
Spring Hill, FL 34606
April 10, 2009
Ken Stanton Music
North 41 Plaza
119 Cobb Parkway North, Suite A
Marietta, GA 30062
April 15, 2009
CA House Music
52335 National Road
St. Clairsville, OH 43950
April 16, 2009 (6:00 pm)
Cascio Interstate Music
13819 W. National Ave.
New Berlin, WI 53151
April 17, 2009
4120 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803
April 22, 2009 (6:30 pm)
Daddy's Junky Music
159 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02115
April 22, 2009
JB Hart Music
417 Main St
Grand Junction, CO 81501
April 22, 2009 (6:00 pm)
4673 Highway 280 East
Birmingham, AL 35242
April 24, 2009
2705 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
April 29, 2009
7120 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111
May 1, 2009
13107 NE 20th St # 3
Bellevue, WA 98005
May 1, 2009
517-B S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
ALLMAN BROTHERS Confirm Summer and Fall Tour Dates
Coming off of their annual March residency at New York City's Beacon Theater, the Allman Brothers Band have announced the next two legs of their 40th Anniversary celebratory U.S. tour. Following their May dates along the West Coast with the Doobie Brothers (at select shows), the rock and roll icons will share the stage with fellow Georgia road warriors Widespread Panic for their summer and fall run of shows beginning August 21 in Camden, NJ.
After years of relentless touring, Athens, GA's Widespread Panic continues to be one of the biggest selling bands on the road today. They have sold out venues across the country, ranging from New York's Madison Square Garden to their record string of sold out nights at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Although both bands have shared the stage at a number of festivals, this will be their first extensive joint tour outing.
ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND confirmed tour dates are:
Tue 5/12 Oakland, CA
Wed 5/13 Oakland, CA
Fri 5/15 Portland, OR
Sat 5/16 George, WA
Tue 5/19 Los Angeles, CA
Wed 5/20 Los Angeles, CA
Fri 5/22 Valley Center, CA
Sat 5/23 Indio, CA
Sun 5/24 Las Vegas, NV
Sun 5/31 Hunter, NY
Fri 6/5 Live Oak, FL
Sat 6/6 Live Oak, FL
Wed 8/19 Holmdel, NJ
Fri 8/21 Camden, NJ
Sat 8/22 Canandaigua, NY
Mon 8/24 Gilford, NH
Thu 8/27 Wantagh, NY
Sat 8/29 Mansfield, MA
Sun 8/30 Hartford, CT
Wed 9/2 Chicago, IL
Sat 10/3 Charlotte, NC
Sun 10/4 Charlotte, NC
Wed 10/7 Portsmouth, VA
Sun 10/11 Raleigh, NC
Tue 10/13 Knoxville, TN
Wed 10/14 Nashville, TN
Fri 10/16 Dallas, TX
Sat 10/17 Houston, TX
SMASHING PUMPKINS Seeks Drummer - Must Rock
Yeah, OK, so it's not exactly "guitar news," but if you play with a smashing drummer—and we mean really smashing—and want to pass along a smashing opportunity, here goes: The Smashing Pumpkins will be holding auditions on Friday, April 10, in Los Angeles, to replace the recently departed Jimmy Chamberlin.
Interested skin-bashers should send background info, photos, and performance web links via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
BURN HALO Gets Down and Dirty '80s Style
While I'd like to say that I've been in an '80s rock mood lately, truth is, I'm almost always in an '80s rock mood. While I find great pleasure in tossing the old Journey, Def Leppard, Dokken, or even INXS discs into regular rotation, it's almost as much fun to find new music from new artists whose roots are obviously more Sunset Strip than they are, say, Williamsburg.
One recent discovery along these lines is Burn Halo, an Orange County rock quintet fronted by former Eighteen Visions singer James Hart. "Dirty Little Girl," the leadoff track and first single from the band's self-titled album, conjures visions of big spiky hair, striped spandex, and studded leather reminiscent of sleaze rockers Motley Crue and Faster Pussycat. Far from being simply retro fluff, the song's main riff and chorus each offer meaty hooks to hang your leather-fringe jacket on. The song also features a guest appearance from Avenged Sevenfold guitarist Synyster Gates.
The second track, "Save Me," is a solid rocker and likely the second single, but it's a little too 21st century stock rock for my tastes. However, the '80s party continues on the album's third track, "Here With Me." The catchy melodic guitar hook, as well as the solo, borrows heavily from Slash's "Sweet Child O' Mine" neck-pickup-of-a-Les-Paul lead guitar tone. While lead guitarist Joey Sin is a fine picker, it's actually the guitar solos that remind you most that Burn Halo is not an '80s band. The solos just don't have the explosive feel and technique that was so evident in that glorious era of excess. It's not just a question of technique, either. Even Mick Mars will admit he couldn't hold a candle to technicians like George Lynch, Reb Beach, or even more blues-based players like Slash and Neal Schon. But what Mars lacked in virtuosity, he made up for in near-perfect note selection and a compositional quality to his solos that made them jump right off the record. That's lacking here.
That being said, Burn Halo does have what thousands of budding rock stars would give a Flying V for: the ability to write a hook. Alternative Press said the songs on the album are "way more Motley Crue than Nickelback." That may be true, but when it comes to the hook, Nickelback would be proud.
Burn Halo streets Tuesday (3/31). Click on the band's photo above to visit their MySpace page for music, tour dates, and more!
New Details on Highly Anticipated CHICKENFOOT Release
As reported here earlier this month, Chickenfoot's self-titled debut album has been confirmed for a June 2009 release. Just this past week the quartet comprising Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony, and Chad Smith posted two tracks—"Soap on a Rope" and "Down the Drain"—at their official web site, in the band's well-scripted slow rollout to build excitement among the fans. The news that they had pooled their inordinate talents to one collective whole quickly spread like wildfire across the internet and rock metal pages over the last year as each member slowly disclosed more and more details about the mystery project.
It all started well over a year ago, with an innocent jam session. "I really wasn't looking to have a real band," says Hagar. "But the minute we started jamming it was obvious that this is something that needs to be heard."
"After just a few songs, it became stunningly obvious that we shared a musical agenda and an overall agenda," adds Satriani. "When I play with Chickenfoot, I find myself wanting to give them more all the time. I don't hold anything back. I think the rest of the guys feel the same way."
The self-titled debut, which was produced by Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones) and mixed by Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Metallica), is an 11-track hard rock album that clearly demonstrates the band is not lacking energy or enthusiasm in this project.
"[These are] the kinds of songs I could never do on my own," says Satriani. "I needed a band like this to make those songs come alive."
Here is a full track list for Chickenfoot:
"Soap on a Rope"
"Sexy Little Thing"
"Get It Up"
"Down the Drain"
"My Kinda Girl"
"Learning to Fall"
"Future in the Past"
Acoustic JIMI HENDRIX Demos Going to Auction
After years of legal wrangling, a quarter-inch tape containing 14 acoustic demos Jimi Hendrix recorded in 1968, in advance of Electric Ladyland, is going to auction on April 28. The tape also includes Bob Dylan's "Tears of Rage," which was left off the album in favor of "All Along the Watchtower." You can hear a snippet of Hendrix's "Tears of Rage" demo on the video below, as well as some background information on the tape from Ted Owen, memorabilia expert and CEO of the Fame Bureau, the site that will auction the tape.
"This tape shows his very sensitive, creative side," says Owen. "The wild man of rock is not there at all."
As reported by The Independent, Jimi himself gave the tape to Carl Niekirk, who worked in a photography studio below the rock star's flat in Brook Street, central London. As there was only one entrance to the flat, Mr Niekirk would often let Hendrix and his friends – including George Harrison – into the flat. "It was a constant stream of people coming and going and partying," he said. At one point, Hendrix asked Mr Niekirk if he could borrow some milk and sugar. When he took it up to Hendrix's flat, the singer gave him the tape. Mr Niekirk said: "Because I asked him, he just gave it to me. As simple as that." The tape then passed to Mr Niekirk's sister, who ran a pub in Epping Forest, and there it languished in a box in a wardrobe.
Mark Sutherland and Paul Jackson, who run the Cafe Music Studios in east London, bought the tape for a nominal sum 10 years ago. They expect the tape to fetch between £50,000 and £100,000.
Taylor Guitars Announce Spring Limited Series of Guitars
Taylor Guitars has announced the Spring Limited series of guitars, including the 400 Series-LTD, 700 Series-LTD, and T5-LTD. Featuring exciting and inviting Madagascar rosewood, Tasmanian blackwood, and ovangkol tonewoods, they are set to be released in early April and available at Taylor dealers worldwide.
The 700 Series LTDs are available as a 710ce-LTD, 712ce-LTD, 714ce-LTD, or 716ce-LTD. Each guitar is carefully crafted from a back and sides of Madagascar rosewood, a Sitka spruce top, and rosewood binding. On the inside, the series includes Taylor's proprietary CV bracing and patented relief rout for greater tonal resonance. Finished in a high gloss, the series includes the premium appointments of a Madagascar rosewood backstrap trimmed with maple and ebony, an Indian rosewood peghead overlay, along with Taylor gold tuners, and mother-of-pearl dot inlays on the fretboard.
The 400 Series Limiteds feature a honey-colored Tasmanian blackwood back and sides and are dramatically accented with creamy maple binding and mini-wedge. With a Sitka spruce top, a sparkling abalone rosette, stylish mother-of-pearl diamond fretboard inlays, and a high-gloss finish on the top, back and sides, the blackwood 400 Series Limited Edition is available as a 410ce-LTD, 412ce-LTD, 414ce-LTD or 416ce-LTD. Along with the 700 Series, the 400 Series features a sloping Venetian cutaway and Taylor's Expression System for high-fidelity plugged-in playing.
The best-selling acoustic/electric hybrid, the T5, will also be offered in a Spring Limited Edition model at an exceptionally low suggested retail price. Featuring Taylor's propriety pickups and a five-way pickup switch, the T5 offers players plenty of versatility in its range of voices. Finished in an organic, satin top of ovangkol and a body of sapele, the guitar comes ready to play in a Taylor gig bag.
Suggested retail prices for the 400 Series-LTDs start at $2,698; 700 Series-LTDs, $3,498; and the T5-LTD, $1,798.
To view the Spring Limiteds online, please visit www.taylorguitars.com/news.