All posts in February 2015

Episode 58- Tom Guerra & “All of the Above”

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For more info on Tom Guerra- http://www.tomguerra.com

Tom Guerra – Saving Rock and Roll and “All Of The Above”

Tom Guerra All of the Above

Tom Guerra – Saving Rock and Roll and “All Of The Above”
Remember Rock and Roll? No, really do you remember honest, street wise, riff hungry, hook oriented cool rock and roll? Well, even though it may not get played much on terrestrial radio, it’s still out there. The only difference nowadays you gotta go the extra mile and seek it out, but when you find it…AH! you know it.

Such is the case with the new album from vocalist/guitarist and tone king Tom Guerra.

The new album “All of the above” is a love letter to the influences of some of rocks greatest tones and approaches and is both a tribute and a road sign pointing in a positive direction for our beloved genre. Weaving in and out of honed styles and layered textures with killer guitar tones, techniques and memorable hooks like “Cup of Tea” and “Refrigerator Blues” that just keep you coming back for more.

Guerra, guitarist and co-founding member of the Mambo Sons decided that it was time to step out (if only for a short while) from being one of the “Sons” to be the only child for this project that seems to be both a lyrical and vocal catharsis as well as a needed expression of his guitar prowess. You can hear and feel the angst AND the satisfaction.

Highlights for me are “Get offa my groove” a great title and great way to open a record. “Queen of the Autumn Moon” and its haunting tone with its too cool backward masking. The “Keef” approved “Cup of tea”, The bad ass street wise snotty rocker “Refrigerator blues” and the funky ditty that reminds me of the Garden State parkway “Down on the turnpike”

This disc assures me rock and roll is still alive and well and living in the hearts of rockers like Tom Guerra and man, thats a good thing.

Mark Daven
Guitar Radio Show

For more on Tom go to- http://www.tomguerra.com

500 Words with Adam P Hunt- Keith Levene

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500 Words on Keith Levene

Keith Levene probably isn’t the first name you think of when you hear then phrase “guitar hero” but he’s a player that seems to have been everywhere and done everything.

If Greg Ginn is the Jimi Hendrix of punk rock then Keith Leven is the Bill Frisell of punk.

As a founding member of The Clash in 1976 Levene is probably best known for two things during his time in the band 1) he convinced Joe Strummer to quit his pub rock band the 101ers and join The Clash and 2) he co-wrote the song “What’s My Name”.

While in The Clash Levene had a brief encounter with John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon during a show featuring both The Clash and the Sex Pistols. Levene and Lydon agreed that they should work together at some future point.

Levene soon quit The Clash and formed the short-lived band The Flowers of Romance. Even though The Flowers of Romance never recorded or played live it was noted for including a pre-Pistols Sid Vicious as well as Palmolive and Viv Albertine both whom would later form The Slits.

The Flowers of Romance lasted about a year but the name would live on as the title of a Public Image Ltd. album and was the Sex Pistols song “Belsen Was A Gas” had its origin in the group.

Lydon and Levin would reconnect after the Sex Pistols’ disastrous ’78 North American tour and the band’s disintegration after Sid Vicious’ death in ’79.

Public Image Ltd. was a radical departure from both Levin and Lydon’s previous bands. With the inclusion of bassist Jah Wobble PiL the core of the band’s first lineup was more-or-less solidified. PiL’s early sound was sparse and challenging to listen to and very anti-rock and roll.

What makes Levene’s playing unique is his ability to move in and out of melody and rhythmic patterns in a similar way to township and high life players while at the same time remaining minimalistic. This was in direct contrast to Wobble’s and drummer Jim Walker’s more solidified grounding.

This lineup would not last very long. Levene would record four studio albums with PiL and two live albums, “Paris au Printemps” and “Live in Tokyo”.

During the middle of recording PiL’s forth album “This What You Want… This Is What You Get” Leven and Lydon had an acrimonious split causing Leven to quit/fired.

Although Leven never completed the “This What You Want… This Is What You Get” sessions a recording known as “Commercial Zone” is available and features earlier versions of many of the songs.

Without a band Leven would act as producer on the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “The Uplift Mofo Party Plan”, as well as collaborations with Ice T and Tone Loc.

Leven would later reunite with PiL alum Martin Atkins on the Pigface’s “Easy Listening” and with Jah Wobble on “Psychic Life” and “Lonelady”.

Recently Leven has released a version of the PiL’s “Metal Box” called “Metal Box in Dub” and has written a book featuring original artwork called “I Was a Teenage Guitarist 4 The Clash”.

 

Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio Show.com.

500 Words with Adam P Hunt- Dan Armstrong Lucite Guitars

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500 Words Dan Armstrong Ampeg Lucite Guitar

Quick! What piece of kit unites Keith Richards, Dave Grohl and Greg Ginn? No, it doesn’t have anything to do with anything illicit it’s the Ampeg Dan Armstrong ADA6.

Originally made between 1969 and 1971 the ADA6 “Dan Armstrong Plexi” was a guitar that was ahead of its time.

For one thing the “plexi” was one of the first guitars to use a double cutaway body a 24-fret neck, and it was also one of the first guitars made with potted, ceramic magnet pickups.

The original “plexi” allowed the user easily swap out any one of seven different pickup options without having to solder in new electronics. Kent Armstrong with cooperation with famed pickup and guitar designer, Bill Lawrence, designed the initial pickups.

Not too long ago Ampeg reissued the Dan Armstrong but to call it a “reissue” is not terribly accurate. In a 2006 issue of Guitarist Dan Armstrong, Kent’s son, there were over 21 different changes done to the new Dan Armstrong and he felt the newer versions were, “Far superior”.

One point Kent Armstrong wanted to make abundantly clear was that the older “plexi” pickups will not work with newer reissued guitars. While the newer versions of the guitar only come with three pickups additional custom made pickups are available.

Keith Richards used a “plexi” extensively on “Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out” seen in the tragic concert film “Gimme Shelter” and was possibly used while recording “Exile on Main Street”.

Allegedly Keith’s “plexi” was stolen during the “Exile” sessions and as a result may have prompted him to start using Ted Newman Jones and Tony Zemaitis guitars.

Another famous “plexi” player was Black Flag founding member, Greg Ginn. Founded 1976 I’m sure Ginn was attracted to the “Plexi’s” unique look and low price. For a brief period of time the band’s drummer, Julio “Robo” Valencia used a transparent drum kit to help complete the look of the band.

Ginn used his “plexi” for the majority of the Black Flag recordings until his Dan Armstrong was also stolen. While Ginn used an assortment of Ibanez GRX prior to disbanding in 1986 the 2013 lineups have seen Ginn use a new plexiglass non-Armstrong guitar.

More recently Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) and Stephen Egerton (The Dscendents, All, FLAG) have both been spotted playing a variety of different Dan Armstrong “plexi” guitars. And Joe Perry has been seen playing a “plexi” upon occasion too.

Why so I feel there is so much veneration for such an unusual instrument? I think they are cool for the same reason why a DeLorean DMC-12 is cool; they are cool by association.

The Dan Armstrong “plexi” guitars are also cool for the same reason why Fender Esquires are cool; they do one job and they make you look great while doing it.

Isn’t that the essence of rock ‘n’ roll?

Rock ‘n’ roll is as much a visual language as it is about what stomp boxes you use or what vintage your Les Paul is.

If you’re looking to stand out, give one a try, it may be just the thing you’re looking for.

 

Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio Show.com.

Episode 57- FREEKBASS!

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For more on Freekbass go to http://www.freekbass.com

and for info on the film Beautiful Noise go to http:/http://beautifulnoisedocumentary.com

Episode 56- Adam Lopez & His Rhythm Review

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For more info on Adam go to- http://www.adamlopezmusic.com

500 Words with Adam P Hunt- The Tube Screamer

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500 Words The Tube Screamer

Since its inception the Tube Screamer has been carved itself out a niche in music history. Starting off life as fuzz pedal the Maxon made / Ibanez branded OD855 Overdrive II the OD855 was the first step in its long history of the TS -808 Tube Screamer.

Maxon (Nisshin Opan) made many effects pedals in the mid sixties and also supplied pickups for many Japanese guitar companies including Aria, Greco and Ibanez.

By 1979 the TS-808 version of the Tube Screamer was made available and gained notoriety for being one of the first pedals to offer a naturalistic overdrive sound. While Stevie Ray Vaughn may not have been the first player to use the Tube Screamer he did a lot to help popularize it.

Other noted Tube Screamer users have been Trey Anistasio, John Mayer, Derek Trucks, Kim Gordon, Billy Duffy, and Brent Hinds.

It’s hard to imagine a time before the TS and while DOD, MXR, Pro Co and Ross all offered some sort of distortion pedal the 808 was smoother and less fuzz inspired.

While not really the ungodly hell-box of distortion the 808 gives even a clean amp a very acceptable blues rock tone. Even though the TS won’t give you a Black Sabbath sound with an 808, a delay and Strat you easily get to David Gilmour land.

The Tube Screamer strength as a pedal is its ability to work well with almost any guitar with any amp for almost every genre of music. I’ve used it as a clean boost with a Fender amp and a Strat and I’ve used one to create some true sonic mayhem when plugging a Les Paul into a Soldano.

While original release 808s fetch a pretty penny on the used market Maxon has made a variety of reissues and both Keeley and Analog Man offer pedal modification services so you can get reasonably close to the original TS sound without with out spending a small fortune for a stomp box.

Owing to the TS popularity a host of imitators have come along and I think there are a few worth looking at:

The Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive. There’s a lot to like about this pedal especially the “clean” knob that acts like a blend knob for some effects loop.
The Barber LTD. Even though it’s not marketed as TS clone the tone and the “feel” of the pedal are very TS inspired, but the LTD is more sophisticated and richer sounding.
Xotic AC Plus. Like the Barber it’s not marketed as a TS clone but with enough experimentation with blending the two channels that sound is in there.
BBE Green Screamer. This is a very convincing 808-style pedal. Although I don’t have any experience with newer BBE G Green Screamer OG-1 the original green and sliver BBE Green Screamer runs about half the price of a Maxon 808.

These are classic pedals and can be used to enhance almost anything you play.

 

Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio Show.com.

500 Words with Adam P Hunt- Tony Zemaitis

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500 Words About Tony Zemaitis

 

Quick, name a guitar maker that made guitars for George Harrison, Greg Lake, Donovan, Peter Frampton, Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Keith Richards and Joe Perry.

Your first guess is wrong.

Throughout the sixties and on through the eighties Tony Zemaitis made guitars for the who of rock n’ roll.

Tony Zemaitis (1935-2002) was a British guitar and cabinetmaker that found fame by making high quality custom acoustic and electric guitars and basses.

Each of Tony’s guitars were unique and were often decorated with engraved duralumium tops made by Danny O’Brien.

The duralumium tops served two functions, the first decorative but secondly they acted like shielding for the guitar’s electronics.

Tony would also go as far as have bridges and tail pieces made out of duralumium partly due to the fact that during the sixties and seventies there weren’t a lot of after market parts that were available.

Speaking about “after market” parts pickup availability in England during the sixties and seventies was minimal and even though Tony preferred using Gibson pickups.

Even though Tony was partial to Gibson humbuckers Tony had pickups wound John Birch, Bill Lawrence, Kent Armstrong, Mighty Mite or whatever he could get his hands on.

Ever forward-looking Tony built a “mule” guitar in 1971 so he could test pickups with his own “power booster circuit and sound enhancer”, an onboard, battery operated pre-amp.

There are several rumors floating around about Tony and the first one was he himself didn’t play guitar. That’s false, while not a professional Tony did fancy playing the acoustic.

The second is that his guitars were not well made. Several years ago I talked to vintage guitar aficionado Phil Winfield at Maverick Music and he said that definitely wasn’t the case.

In fact Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones still tours with his 1971 metal front Zemaitis.

When Ronnie joined the Stones Keith Richards fell in love with the guitars and had several made for him too.

As the seventies turned into the eighties Tony’s guitars found their ways into the hands of younger players like James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Frandon of The Pretenders.

Tony’s guitars were still in demand throughout the nineties and were used by Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi.

Tony kept working up until his retirement in 2000 but sadly he passed away two years later.

After Tony’s death his son, Tony Jr., reached a licensing agreement with Greco in Japan where the high-end versions of Zemaitis guitars are produced today.

It’s safe to say that today that there is more Greco made Zemaitis guitars than ones actually built by Tony. That said, the Greco/Zemaitis guitars aren’t simply low cost knock offs, they are extremely high quality instruments.

There is a link to Zemaitis’ storied past because long time engraver Danny O’Brien still engraves the duraluminum elements for the Greco/Zemaitis guitars.

Few guitar companies can boast as enviable of roster of super star players as Tony Zemaitis, hats of Tony.

 

Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio Show.com.

Episode 55- Dani Rabin from Marbin

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For more info on Marbin go to- http://www.marbinmusic.com

Check out Mark Daven’s Review of Marbin’s new disc- The Third Set- http:/http://guitarradioshow.com/marbin-the-third-set-review/