I love Anthrax

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Let’s see here: mid June of 1987. I was graduating from Silver Creek High School in eastside San Jose, California in a few days. MY gf’s brother’s friend had Among the Living on casssette and we were hanging out in someone’s garage and someone popped in the tape. I heard the title track and blew my fuckin’ top, pretty much. I had never heard songs nor double bass drumming played at that speed before. The guitar was heavy and muted, the singer actually sang, and they were kinda silly dudes. I loved that. They’re from New York? RAD!!

During my graduation ceremony where you walk across the stage, I did my “walkin’ dude” strut. My dad was less than impressed. Killjoy.


At this point in time, Van Halen had disappointed me with 5150 and I was dying for a new favorite band. I was always in search of something heavier, but with a GOOD LEAD GUITARIST. Sometimes you settle for good leads, shit songs, or vice versa. Then, at some stage, you just end up liking the whole thing for what it is. But I always wanted to hear Paul Gilbert and Guthrie solo in Meshuggah. I went from Van Halen, AC/DC, Scorpions, Dokken, to Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeath, Testament, Exodus, etc. Anthrax is a good gateway Thrash band to get into. And I thank them for introducing me to a cool new musical direction (as well as making my picking hand tight as all hell!)

Muted power chords and serious downstrokes would become an integral part of my life thanks to Scott and Danny. Shit, that reminds me, I NEED an Among the Living shirt! Ratt first. Soo many good tracks on ATL. I like them all!!


Why I love Anthrax: Among the Living, first and foremost. My God I could not get enough of that album. And I really like Dan Spitz’s leadwork. He had chops and cool ideas. I love that guy!

I even saw the Among the Living tour, Anthrax and KISS played in SF. We spoke to Scott and Charlie out the back of the venue near their tour bus before the gig. I asked Scott, “How’s the wife?” as I recently found out that he got married. What I didn’t know was that the marriage was going to shit, so when he looked at me and answered “fine” through gritted teeth, I had no idea. I was 19 for fuck’s sake! Anthrax went on first and rushed the songs (I didn’t even know that was possible), and they killed it. Then KISS came on and we left after 4 songs, ha ha ha!!

Gene87.5Bitch please.


I also ADORED SOD Speak English or Die, although it took me awhile to get into it. But once I did, I would have no qualms playing Freddy Kruger in my friend Shaun’s car at peak volume with the windows rolled down. This was a weekend ritual for months. And if it wasn’t the car, it was blasted at the Round Table Pizza joint we all worked at. Good times!! I was even Billy Milano in an SOD tribute band, we played once at The Cactus Club (I have to post that on YouTube). 

I also thought Anthrax had a great sense of humor, and I liked that they liked Rap, as I did. And no, not the rank shit that so many NU Metal fuckheads churned out, real rap: NWA, UTFO, Slick Rick, etc.

Rock and Metal in California during the late 80’s was encouraged amongst younger folk, as far as I was concerned. All my friends were into metal, the people I worked with were into metal, it was  GREAT VIBE!!!

Anthrax, thank you for pulling me out of the cock rock area and gently throwing me overhand into the mosh pit! Thanks to you, I went into a totally different direction of music listening. I’ve seen SO MANY Thrash bands over the years, it’s incredible.

And , like always, if Jon Donais don’t work out, call me. Here’s my audition vid:


Love, Me.

I love Seymour Duncan pick ups

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Sept 24, 2013: Scott Olson from Seymour Duncan is hooking me up with pick ups to both of my Ibanez guitars (RG1570 AND 3120). I’m not sure it’s an actual endorsement, but I am in love with SO and SD. We’re having a baby in June.

It’s pretty cool, James Ryan is also hooked up. And Dean Wells from Teramaze (who lives right down the street from me) is also hooked up. WILD!!


Nov 13, 2013: Today my black RG1570 was outfitted with Seymour Duncan pickups; JB Trembucker, Classic Stack Plus for Strat, and Custom 5.

I love my Ampeg SS140C – late 80’s pre djent radness

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 In 1989 these amp heads were $500 from Guitar Center, and worth every penny. Footswitch controlled clean – dirty, reverb, and chorus.

MINE

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SINISTER SAM: Scot and I had the exact set up: Ibanez guitars, EMG 81 pick ups in bridge AND neck, plugged straight into the Ampeg SS140C half stack.  This was just after Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell came out, and we were looking for a sound that could cater to muted rhythms (a la mesa boogie) and which also had enough gain for leads, and this amp had both. It also had cleans (with chorus) that were extremely close to the Roland Jazz Chorus.

We were using the Marshall Artist 30 watt head, which we bought together (we were still in high school). As soon as these Ampegs came out, we were hooked. We ended up owning two each. Amp colors came in blue, then black.

Wanna hear what it sounded like recorded? Well, hear ya go (recorded at Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati, California. The lead tones in the beginning were played through the amp with Scot’s intellifex lead patch, chorus, delay, and reverb. Rhythm tracks were one each, panned hard left and right, played live through halfs stacks).  


Same song live: (our rigs were the same as the recorded version – Scot had intellifex, I used head’s reverb for solos)

Live, our singer Gary was hellbent that we put some mids in there, so onstage it was always a battle; he’d walk over and put our mids at 11 o’clock, we’d walk over and put therm back to zero. This went on at every gig  (along with the sermons on how important mids were). I can appreciate mids and tube amps now, back then? Not a chance. This was djent before djent was around.


And lastly, at rehearsal (pre intellifex)


I still own mine, I think. It’s at Luke Walton’s joint, I should ask..

More info on Sinister Sam HERE


And to the Ampeg people responsible for making this 130 watt gem; I love you!! Never had a problem with the amp, could drop it out of a plane and the fucker would still work. We used it for years and years with no complaints, and Scott and I loved our metal tone and were extremely content.

I Love Warren DeMartini

How can you not? He’s bad ass!!

Warren-DeMartini

Thanks to California radio in the 80’s, I was introduced to quite a few dudes who burned; Lynch, EVH, Rhoads, Yngwie, DeVille (JK), The Nightranger guys, Gary Moore, Vivian Campbell, etc. (Yes, the list is bigger than this, but I’m not going to spend 46 minutes typing every fucker’s name out.)

To me I always kind of thought of Warren as Lynch’s little brother. I acknowledged long ago that Warren was probably the better player (Frank Zappa LOVED Warren), but I looooove first four albums Lynch. The heart wants what the ears want. I think if Lynch were in the Robin Crosby position my fucking head would’ve exploded. Matching vibrato and harmony leads? Kill me now.

But then of course I heard Racer X and Cacophony and I was off again!!


Why I love Warren: Legato madness, VIBRATO, cool blues vibe, the Lynch-isms, the Japanese art Charvel, LA hot shot guitar flash, give it to me!! Dude looked young as fuck, too. That’s always inspiring. Makes you want to pick up your guitar and follow suit.

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“This guitar weighs more than me!”


I was about 15 and my buddy Dave Hull had the Rock Palace Ratt performance on VHS. We’d watch those 4 songs for hours, get inspired, then go into the other room and jam our asses off. We’d get our other guitar playing buddy Eric Fraser in on the action as well. Dave may move over to bass, we switched it up. This was actually (for me anyways) one of the first experiences I had of watching a guy burn on guitar via televised recording. I’d rewind and watch and watch and watch. It was absolutely mesmerizing. I didn’t know what was going on, but I was going to learn how to do that fast finger shit if it killed me. Ed lit the fire, Warren and the others kept that shit burnin’.


The Morning After guitar duel was especially mind blowing. Left hand going wild, right hand (which was that Lynch fan picking technique – AVOID) dipping in every now and then to keep the notes flowing…Hell, you check it out!


I owned Out of the Cellar, and that was about it. This was another one of those albums where I liked pretty much every song. Warren’s solo on In Your Direction was quite frightening and definitely a highlight for me. I learned a bunch of their songs and will most likely post how-to lessons on YouTube at some stage. Like this one I did last night:


Warren? You’re a fucking gun. I’m a tad annoyed I never saw you guys live, you are such an inspiration and an ass kicker. I’d love to know about your time being roommates with Jake and George. If Carlos ever leaves, call my ass.

 

I Love Randy Rhoads

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In 1985, Eric Fraser (high school friend a year older than me) showed me my first three note per string scale. It was D Minor scale starting on the A sharp note, and it was from Mr Crowley.


Why I love Randy: Randy introduced me to the classical side of things. The diminished stuff. Loved it. I was in 7th or 8th grade in the very early 80’s. I lived in a house with three other boys (my step bros), and if you wanted an album but were a broke ass teen, you’d suggest your parents buy it for your brother’s birthday knowing full well you’d hear that album cranked (when the parents weren’t home). So I got Troy (who also played bass in many of the teenage bands I was in) Diary of a Madman. I LOVED IT. Over the Mountain was my song. I played that song into the ground. And that solo? BAD ASS!! When you hear those opening tritones, you know you’re in for a treat. Triple tracking solos? Crazy shit.

His look also played a part. For a kid in high school whose main dream in life was to have long hair (which I did have for a number of years), and to see a dude with long hair and black clothes kicking much ass on the guitar, that is the Metal dream right there!! The polka dot V didn’t hurt either. I love me a painted up guitar!!

In High School my band Knights (which Troy was apart of) played Believer after school, and I sang it!! There’s even a pic of that:

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“I’m a Believer….!!” Still two or three years off from mastering Lynch vibrato. Glad there’s no audio!!


I had and loved both albums, but for some reason I gravitated more toward Diary. I like every single song, which is pretty rare for me. Troy was so captivated by the inner sleeve witch alphabet (or whatever the fuck) that he deciphered it. Pretty cluey guy. And of course, Kerslake and Daisley gave stellar performances on rhythm section, even though Aldridge and Sarzo were in the band pic.

I remember hearing on the radio that Randy died. That was 8th grade. I was on a bus going to school and had my Walkman on. I thought that sucked. My friend Eric Fraser looked a lot like Randy in high school, I’m sure he was devastated. I didn’t really get emotional about it until I was in my 30’s. I cried a few times. Beer did play a part.

I really liked Brad Gillis as a temporary replacement for Randy. He did a great job. That would have been a very difficult time. Hats off to him. I love the tone off Speak of the Devil. Surely Mesa Boogie.

Says Eric: Ha!! Thanks for the mention. You’d have to show me the scale now. I remember seeing that concert with Brad Gillis and being bummed it wasn’t Randy. Also remembered that our friend Anthony Sanchez had a bootleg VHS of those rehearsal videos. Pretty rad in 1982!


I did hear that George Lynch did a few shows using Brad’s gear, yet have never seen any pictures or audio to prove this. Could it be bullshit? Am I straight trippin’? I know Lynch auditioned for Ozzy and Jake E got the gig. But I would have loved to have heard Lynch in Ozzy. I think that would have been a great combo.

I greatly respect Randy as a musician. He gave a cool dark / gothic vibe to Metal. I know he wanted to quit metal and go down the acoustic /classical path..

I wonder what he would have come up with next?

RIP Randy.


Nice YouTube comment

I got this YouTube comment the other day, thought I’d share it: 

This probably sounds silly, but I’m 45, and people take technology for granted and use it in ways that I’m not even aware of. I’ve been playing guitar since 1991, and used to buy tablature at first on a friend’s recommendation because I don’t read music. It was very tedious to learn Van Halen solos this way and I didn’t get very far. They just don’t sound right picked out note by note, and I couldn’t make much sense of it. I gave up on tab and settled for just playing by ear and improvising, and after a couple of decades, I got to be a pretty competent guitarist.

I stumbled across your “And the Cradle Will Rock” solo dissection here purely by accident a few months ago. I just never thought about people posting something for free on YouTube that I used to pay for, and with a video demonstration to boot! I watched a couple of your other video demos that day. The bag of tricks you showed me opened up a whole new world. I feel like I’ve been riding my guitar with training wheels all these years, and I’m finally learning how to pop wheelies! I can actually play a lot like Eddie now, something I always wished I could do, so incredibly cool!

So, I wanted to come back and say thanks for posting such helpful videos. Rock on!


My reply: Thanks sir!! It’s pretty immersed in common sense once someone shows you. That’s part of Ed’s mystique; make weird sounding shit that baffles the ear, but once you can SEE what’s going on, it’s all quite easy to grasp. And that’s why I hate TAB, unless it’s written by the dude who played the part. Trust YOUR ears, not some 15 year old kid in Texas who shat out a crappy TAB.

I do notice some clowns coming out of the woodwork charging for EVH solo and song lessons, but Daddy Doug kicks down info for free, pretty much. Stick with me, I try and do it right..Ahhh!!  Make sure you watch my fix vids as well. After I post a video, I’ll sometimes hear the solo again, watch another guy on YouTube play it, or an VH isolated track will pop up, and it’ll bother me that my way is slightly off.  So I fixy.

I also suggest you watch a couple of guys play the same part. I recommend YoBroMan.


I love Jason and Marty

 

I heard Cacophony around ’87 or ’88. The Shrapnel record label that catered to all these shred bands was located in Cotati, Ca. (I’ve been to Mike Varney’s house. He had a room full of VHS tapes of dudes burning; guitarists, drummers, etc. He also had all the pre CFH Pantera albums on vinyl. Pretty cool!!) Sinister Sam also recorded two demos at Prairie Sun Studios, where all Shrapnel bands recorded. I’ll save that story for another time. Actually wait, there is no story. We recorded two demos out of Prairie Sun and Mooka (studio owner) was awesome.

So yeah, I heard Speed Metal Symphony and HATED it. But I also hated Metallica in the beginning as well. My friend Rod used to bag on the lyrics to Desert Island: I want to spend my life at the beach!! I was fine with that. Hell, I want to spend MY life at the beach; Gold Coast, to be exact. Australia’s Florida. Read on!!


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The OTHER terrifying guitar duo in Metal. Paul and Bruce were the LA guys, Jason and Marty were the SF guys. My old singer used to take guitar lessons off Marty in SF. And a buddy of mine, John Ortiz, took lessons off Jason.


I hated Cacophony until I heard the solo to Desert Island. And then, in true John Sanders fashion, I shat my pants. I really dug the first dirty solo just after the little harmonized bit. The part just after the floyd warble-cricket noise is just INSANE!! I had no idea which guy played it. So in my mind, I thought it was Marty. There was no internet, so I basically just took a guess, “Yep, the guy with the curly hair looks more metal and older, he played it. I’ll go see them play live and stand right in front of him, like the 19 year old jack ass that I am. Hand on chin (when my arms are not crossed, mind you), mentally taking notes on every move, scale, power chord, etc. Because “I’m a guitarist and this is what I DO.” That’s what we all did.

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So we find out that Cacophony are playing at The Stone in San Francisco, and a few of us go up. The band comes on and I immediately high tail it to Marty’s side. They play Desert Island, I’m standing right in front of Marty, and to my utter shock, Jason’s playing the first solo!! So there I am, scrambling to get to Jason’s side. Ha ha ha!! The second Stone gig I saw them at they had just come back from a tour of Japan. In between songs I’m trying to talk to Jason about the Japanese tour!! “So, how was it, man?” I’m sure there was  a strong urge on his part to kick me in my teeth. Glad he didn’t.

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I think I’ve seen Cacophony three times; twice at The Stone, once at The Omni in Oakland. Loved it. Saw Jason do the yo-yo thing right in front of my face. Ahh, the joys of living in California!! My only complaint with Cacophony was their rhythm section. I wanted all bad asses like Racer X and got something a little more comparable to Faster Pussycat. Not a nice thing to say, I know, but I was also a teenager and wanted fucking shred from every motherfucker in the group, dig? I wanted to see Dean Castronovo or Atma Anur and got clowned. I’ve relaxed a touch now. Not by much though.


What I love about Jason. Pretty much everything. The songs and solos off the two Cacophony albums are thee shit. Perpetual Burn is a fucking masterpiece. Live, his stage presence was pretty tough. You can’t just stand there, people. The crowd can stand there packed together. Give them their money’s worth (not to mention you have fuckloads of room up onstage) and shake dat ass.  I also tripped out on how tall Jason was when I saw him after one of the gigs. He’s like 6’2″ or 6’3″.

I got all my sweep ideas off Jason and Bruce Bouillet. I bought that Jason Becker VHS tape which features the clinic where he shows the Serrana Arpeggios, and I took notes. That totally opened my mind to new ideas, which I’m grateful for.

I called that Jason would get the Roth gig. That was pure common sense. Anyone who saw Cacophony play would have easily made the connection. There was no other choice than Jason. He, at that time, was the best guitarist in the world hands down. I fully believe that. He was the Guthrie of the late 80’s. Here, check out Jason’s 4 track demo of the Roth stuff

His shit swaggers!! He’s the only guy I love doing the blues/shred thing. Him and Kotzen.


I saw him at NAMM one year, he was on crutches, I remember asking what happened. I think he said he fell or some shit. I had a pic of that somewhere. He was talking to Atma Anur at the time, so I didn’t stick around and bailed pretty quick-like. Let fellow band dudes catch up.

When I heard the news about Jason and ALS, I knew there was no God and the world was truly fucked. I’ve cried about it a few times. Even now he inspires. Matter of fact, he’s written more songs with his eyes than I’ve fucking written with a guitar in my lap! So there’s no excuse. You wanna do something, do it. Jason Becker is the shining example of that. Even his body won’t get in the way of what his mind wants to do. And it gets done. I’m sure there are down times, but you just keep going. Great message from a fuckin’ rad dude.

Jason, you are thee shit!! Your playing inspires people, you continue to inspire!

Interested in what Jason’s doing these days? Go HERE

JB-Use

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What I love about Marty. Lots. All the exotic stuff. Bending from a note out of key to a note in key. Make the ears fire right up, ha ha!!  The cool phrasing, so many cool ideas. I love the shred more on Perpetual Burn, but I love Marty’s songwriting. I feel he’s the more metal of the two as far as riffs go. That last riff in Anvils is thee shit!! I love the Megadeth / Marty years. Great solos, so good that you’d want to play them live note for note. Hitting a high G on Holy Wars? Get the fuck outta here! The perfect Yin to Jason’s Yang, for sure.

Both inspire and leave great legacies for us to dig right into and go, “Yeah, these dudes are the fuckin’ REAL DEAL..”

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Tell me that isn’t the raddest hair!! I’d grow that business to my ass!!