The Vegas strip had nothing on the Sunset Strip when it came to Rock N’ Roll, and a new multi-media show is bringing that experience to the stage in a special sneak preview. Let It Rawk will debut in the Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 18th at 9pm PST.
Let It Rawk is a loud, colorful, energetic and interactive experience of the hair metal era on LA’s Sunset Strip. The showroom and stage will be infused with the sights and energy of a legendary rock club. Performed by guys who were there, shaping the scene, the show’s playlist includes the greatest hits from the ‘80s and early ‘90s. From Warrant to Motley Crue the best anthems will be performed in all the glory of the day. Hits from the Let It Rawk band’s careers are highlights.
The Let It Rawk band is the real deal. The band is fronted by Black ‘N Blue and ex Warrant vocalist Jaime St. James. Guitarist Oz Fox is in the platinum-selling Christian glam rock band, Stryper. Dokken’s Sean McNabb has played bass for other Kings of The Sunset Strip including Great White and Quiet Riot. Filling in for and joining for drummer Brent Fitz will be Scot Coogan from Ace Frehley and Brides Of Destruction! The anchor of the band is Let It Rawk’s creator and producer, Stacey Blades. The band will also feature floating members such as Eddie Ojeda from Twisted Sister and Bullet Boys original drummer Jimmy D’Anda
Stacey’s ten years with L.A. Guns cemented him as a must-watch guitar player, and his final record with the band, Hollywood Forever, earned him critical acclaim for his exceptional fretwork. He left the band last year to pursue other musical avenues and projects. “I have been diligently working on this project since last May with Co-producer Frank DiMaggio and am super stoked to be sharing the stage with such awesome guys and talented musicians. The show will be playing a few times a month here in Vegas and then be doing casino shows nationally, Let It Rawk! See you out there!”
Let It Rawk debuts in the Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station and Casino, 4949 North Rancho Drive, Las Vegas, on Saturday, January 18th at 9pm PST. General admission tickets are $21. VIP meet-and-greet upgrades will be available soon. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.
Eddie Van Halen, one of music’s most inventive and influential guitarists, made a surprise visit to music students at L.A. Unified School District’s Foshay Learning Center on Thursday, December 5th.
Twenty seven aspiring musicians, under the tutelage of Music Director Vincent Womack, were transfixed as Van Halen inspired them to pursue their passion for music by sharing stories about the importance of music in his own life.
“I wasn’t born ‘Eddie Van Halen,’ successful or famous, it took years of dedication and practice, practice, practice,” said Van Halen.
To help better benefit students in their quest to master music, Eddie and the Fender Musical Instruments Company donated one of his signature EVH 5150lll amplifiers to the class. Eddie also presented each guitar student with a gift bag filled with EVH brand picks, guitar straps, cables, electric guitar strings and a Frankenstein key chain. Fender also contributed acoustic guitar strings to the gift bags.
After scoring a gift bag of his own, Mr. Womack said, “I am so grateful to you for fueling and inspiring us and raising the ceiling of possibilities for the kids. We will never forget today.”
Van Halen’s visit to the music students was inspired after he attended a fundraising event a few weeks ago for the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation where he was first introduced to Foshay’s Musical Director.
Last year, Van Halen donated 75 electric guitars from his personal collection to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation who distributed the guitars to nine schools throughout Los Angeles County. One of the lucky recipients of a guitar, a student named Jose, who was on hand Thursday received a hands on one-on-one lesson from the rock legend who took time to personally teach him the intro to the Van Halen classic “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”.
“The gift of music is yours, no one can take that away no matter what,” Van Halen said to Mr. Womack’s class. He added, “It is not a rich/poor thing nor does it discriminate. If you have a love or even a like for music, go after it, pursue it. Music helps lift your self-esteem, it gave me an identity, kept me out of trouble, gave me goals and the desire to improve. It gave me a life. I am an example of what music can do for someone. What it did for me, it can do for you all. Anything is possible.”
While Five Finger Death Punch dominate on a European arena tour, last night (December 5th) Rob Halford, legendary frontman for Judas Priest, joined the rock group on stage surprising fans with an epic performance of the group’s Lift Me Up, a number one U.S. Active Rock Radio chart hit off the band’s The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell-Volume 1 album.
Watch a clip below from last night’s show in front of Halford’s hometown crowd in Birmingham, U.K. while 5FDP guitarist Zoltan Bathory gives the background on how the song collaboration came about and what it meant to the band to have a metal god like Rob Halford join them on stage.
Five Finger Death Punch continue to soar with the release of their second top two album within four months, The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell-Volume 2 which entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart at number two. Battle Born the first single off the new album is number one at Active Rock Radio for the second week in a row. The video for Battle Born premiered on USAToday.com (10/1) and can be seen below.
Eddie Van Halen is featured in the January/February 2014 issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine where he discusses his guitar collection. An excerpt from the feature story, by Chris Gill, appears below.
Most guitarists and fans who have paid close attention to Eddie Van Halen’s career likely think of him as a “serial monogamist” when it comes to the guitars he plays. During the early days of Van Halen, he was known for playing his Frankenstein guitar that he assembled from various parts, and during the Eighties he was usually spotted onstage with his trademark Kramer 5150 guitar.
After that, Ed went through a succession of signature-model guitars that he designed that were built by Music Man and Peavey. Those guitars led to the ultimate solution—establishing his own EVH brand, which produces various guitars, 5150 amplifiers, cables, accessories, and other products entirely to Ed’s own specifications, including the Wolfgang model guitars that are his main workhorse instruments today.
However, over the years Ed has amassed quite an impressive and deep collection of many other guitars that have played important, behind-the-scenes roles in Van Halen’s music. Some of these guitars inspired new songs, while others made cameo appearances during solos or overdubs recorded in the studio. Then there are several gifts given to Ed, particularly the various guitars that his mentor Les Paul gave to him over the years. And like anyone who has played guitar for a while, Ed has made a handful of impulse purchases, picking up instruments that catch his eye if only for their aesthetic appeal.
The storage space at 5150 studios where Van Halen keeps his gear makes Guitar Center’s Hollywood flagship location look like a humble mom and pop store. Boxes marked with the EVH brand logo are stacked neatly near the entrance, and row upon row of old, battered guitar cases line the walls, concealing their mysterious and alluring contents. As Matt Bruck, Van Halen’s business partner and our tour guide for the day, asks if there are any guitars we’d like to see, our minds are immediately flooded with recollections of rare or obscure guitars that Van Halen has mentioned in past interviews or that we caught fleeting glimpses of in old concert photos. Most of those instruments are still around, but even more fascinating are the guitars that we never knew Van Halen had.
“I’m not the typical guitar collector in the least,” Van Halen says as he goes through the stacks and pulls out a few of his personal favorites. “I’ve bought a lot of vintage pieces over the years, but I’ve destroyed quite a few of them. People might think, How could you desecrate the Mona Lisa? but I really don’t care what something looks like. I’m more concerned with a guitar’s functionality, sound, and playability. That’s why I started building my own guitars. Other guitars wouldn’t do what I needed them to do, so I made my own.”
Van Halen is not exaggerating. As the photos on the following pages show, he has no qualms about performing rather drastic surgery on instruments to achieve the sound or performance he desires. Vintage purists may want to look away, but the various scars, marks, and modifications that he’s made even on valuable vintage instruments tell the tale of a man who is constantly looking for ways to improve the tools of his trade and who refuses to accept the commonly held belief that all progress in electric guitar design stopped in 1959. That attitude resulted in a treasure trove of innovations that Van Halen either invented or inspired, including the hybrid Super Strat design (with PAF humbuckers instead of single-coil pickups), customized high-gain amps, bold graphic finishes, and other developments that most of today’s guitarists take for granted.
“There is always something new for me around the corner,” Van Halen says. “My tastes are always changing. I used a Wolfgang Stealth with an ebony fingerboard on our entire 2012 tour. Before that, my main guitars all had maple fingerboards, but one day I tried a guitar with an ebony board and thought that it felt pretty good. For the 2012¬–13 tour, I modified my 5150 III amp heads because my taste had changed again a little and I wanted to continue the evolution of the amp. We’re putting out the limited-edition 5150 III S with that mod, for anyone who wants what I am currently using. I just keep pushing to see what I can get out of something. Spinal Tap made a joke about things going to 11, but I’ve spent my whole life pushing things to 11.”
What trips me out about this guitar is that when I painted it red, that made it more famous. A lot of people still don’t know that it’s the same guitar as the black-and-white guitar on the cover of the first Van Halen album. That guitar went through a lot of different phases and changes. On the first record, it had a stock vintage Fender Strat vibrato, then the Floyd came around, and then I added the dummy pickup at the neck. I kept changing it because I was tired of people copying my guitar.
Perhaps the most revered lead guitarist in thrash metal history, Marty Friedman– whose groundbreaking work with Megadeth, Cacophony and as a solo artist has influenced legions of players around the globe — is currently putting the finishing touches on a new studio album, Inferno.
Tentatively set for a spring release, the album — Friedman’s first original material in four years, and his first album in more than a decade that will be released simultaneously worldwide — will feature what Friedman feels is the heaviest, most intense playing of his career. A one-minute teaser can be heard below.
“I’m extremely proud of the work I’ve done with Cacophony and Megadeth, but I was never interested in stopping there,” Friedman says. Inferno is the album that fans of my work with those two bands have always wanted me to make. I’ve finally made it, and completely on my own maniacal terms.”
As Guitar World recently revealed in an exclusive in-studio feature, Inferno will include several collaborations with players influenced by Friedman, including Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), Revocation guitar whiz David Davidson and the flamenco/metal acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. In addition, the album includes Friedman’s first songwriting collaboration with Jason Becker since the pair played together in the pioneering duo of guitar mayhem, Cacophony.
“On the guests’ songs, each would write a song from scratch, and then I would arrange it and add my parts to it,” Friedman says. “That way, we were both invested in it, and it’s a little bit of a deeper experience than just banging out a guest solo.”
Make no mistake, though — Inferno is unquestionably a Marty Friedman album, and one he plans to tour behind extensively (including his first U.S. performances since 2003). Furthermore, it features what Friedman told Guitar World is “the most intense writing and playing I can do,” with the goal of “go(ing) completely ape shit and smok(ing) everything else I’ve ever done.”
“I wanted to create a new landmark to which my future music will be compared,” Friedman elaborates further. “That idea of just going completely balls-out — knowing what the full potential of my music and my playing could possibly be, and actually making it a reality — was what drove me through the whole process.”
Just as he changed the game in the worlds of metal and guitar once before with his revered solo debut Dragon’s Kiss, Friedman now raises the bar to a new level for a new generation with “Inferno.” More information on the album will be revealed in the coming weeks