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
Guitar icon Zakk Wylde, leader of Black Label Socieity has announced An Evening With Zakk Wylde, a solo 13-city tour across Canada featuring intimate versions of some of the band’s most popular songs, as well as songs from Wylde’s best-selling solo album Book of Shadows and Southern rock band Pride & Glory (see dates below).
“This is a special Thank You to the Canadian fans for making Ain’t No Sunshine Top 20 people!” said Wylde. “I love Canada! They always welcome BLS and are so supportive. To do a more intimate, stripped down show, especially in cities where you’re so embraced – is just the ultimate. You can take a song that you’ve played thousands of times, rearrange it and suddenly its something totally fresh and new. Acoustically, the songs are just as powerful and heartfelt. Even transposing them and performing them on piano, they are no less raw and familiar.”
Zakk also has a special message to his Canadian fans: “Thanks to the Canadian chapter of the almighty Black Label for the success of Unblackened and the single, Ain’t No Sunshine!!! I am looking forward to an special evening with our Canadian family.”
Black Label Society have established themselves at the forefront of Heavy Metal with a series of hard riffing and hugely successful albums alongside worldwide tours that have cemented their reputation as one of the most powerful live bands of their generation. On September 23rd, 2013, the band released the 2-CD set Unblackened, finding Black Label Society in a mellower mood in a performance taped at Club Nokia in Los Angeles earlier this year. The concert showcases the band’s songs with a greater use of acoustic instruments but without losing any of their power and intensity. Zakk Wylde leads from the front as always, performing here on both guitar and piano and demonstrating the subtler side of his music alongside the blistering solos that his fans know and love.
For over 20 years he served as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist, a collaboration that produced a string of multi-platinum albums, including Osbourne’s biggest selling album No More Tears (Wylde wrote all of the music) and Ozzmosis. He has won nearly every guitar award imaginable, and is a major influence on a new battalion of rock guitarists currently popular today.
The last few years have seen Wylde’s life radically altered. Doctors recently discovered blood clots in his leg. “The doc was like, ‘you have, what, a drink a day? Six? 12? A case?’ I’m like, ‘It’s a liquid diet,’” says Wylde, laughing. “I mean, I’d drink beer while lifting weights. That’s Black Label Society style for you right there. But the doc told me if I kept this up, I’d be dead by the time I was 50. So I stopped drinking. No big deal.”
Bring on the Canadian tour, then.
An Evening With Zakk Wylde tour dates:
Thursday, February 13th Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
Friday, February 14th Duncan, BC Cowichan Theatre
Saturday, February 15th Kelowna, BC Level
Monday, February 17th Edmonton, AB The Ranch
Tuesday, February 18th Calgary, AB Flames Central
Wednesday, February 19th Medicine Hat, AB The Esplanade Arts Centre
Friday, February 21st Regina, SK The Exchange
Saturday, February 22nd Saskatoon, SK Broadway Theater
Sunday, February 23rd Winnipeg, MB Garrick Theatre
Monday, February 24th Thunder Bay, ON Crocks
Wednesday, February 26th London, ON London Music Hall
Thursday, February 27th Toronto, ON The Danforth Music Hall
Come celebrate the late, great Randy Rhoads birthday with his family this week at Kathy Rhoads D’Argenzio and her husband Richard D’Argenzio’s wine tasting room in Burbank.
The Randy Rhoads Birthday Tribute weekend starts Friday, December 6th and ends Saturday, December 7th – open from 4pm to 9pm daily. This will be a weekend to remember for all fans and friends alike. You will get to meet members of the Rhoads family, taste the Randy Rhoads wine, rock out to live music and see personal memorabilia that has not been shown for public viewing.
A special note from the Rhoads family:
“The Rhoads family wishes to thank you all for all the heartfelt support and love for Randy. We also thank you for keeping his memory alive.
Happy Birthday to my loving son and our dear brother.
Delores Rhoads, Kelle Rhoads and Kathy Rhoads D’Argenzio”
Randy Rhoads is best known for his tour of duty with Ozzy Osbourne and his band, then known as The Blizzard of Ozz. Once Rhoads had officially joined, the band headed into the studio to record their debut album, titled Blizzard of Ozz. Propelled by Rhoads’ neo-classical guitar work, the album was an instant hit with rock fans, particularly in the USA. They released two singles from the album: Mr. Crowley and the hit Crazy Train. Rhoads left us March 19th, 1982 in a tragic plane crash leaving us a huge void in music. His legacy of brilliant music will live forever in the hearts of the people – He was a true hero and legend.
Please join us December 6th through December 7th and pay respects to Randy Rhoads and his family for his birthday at the:
D’Argenzio Tasting Room 1204 W. Burbank Blvd Burbank, CA 91506 818 846 8466 4pm to 9pm