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The Incomparable Greg Howe

The Incomparable Greg Howe

“VIRTUOSO,” “guitar hero,” “guitar legend,” and of course “shredder” — they’re all tags and titles attached to Greg Howe’s name, and while each may be apt, they neither define nor determine his musical trajectory. Howe has been recording and touring nationally since 1988, when Shrapnel Records released his self-titled debut album. The disc introduced him as part of a group of innovative guitarists who raised the bar on technique, but Howe soon broke away from the niche by venturing into the worlds of jazz fusion, production, session work, and tours with rock and pop artists.  more...
Buzz talks road rig

Buzz talks road rig

THE MELVINS’ Buzz Osborne spent much of 2014 on the road — first on a 90-plus show acoustic tour in support of This Machine Kills Artist, an album recorded mostly on his red white and blue Buck Owens American acoustic, then out for a stretch in autunm with the his bandmates bringing the new Melvins record, Hold It In, to the masses. The latest Melvins effort finds Buzz and Dale Crover (drums) teamed up with Butthole Surfers veterans Paul Leary and JD Pinkus on a 12-cut slab of crunch that also showcases a more jangly, pop influence in spots.  more...
The Vintage Modern Stylings of TK Smith

The Vintage Modern Stylings of TK Smith

STANDING over his circa 1912 Valley dual-wheeled buffer, with its assuming cast iron construction more akin to a ship’s anchor than any of its poten- tial modern counterparts, a wry smile creeps across the face of luthier TK Smith. He can run the venerable machine for hours on end and the motor never even gets warm. It is the epitome of the classic idiom -- the just don’t build them like that anymore. Smith and that buffer have a lot in common. He has dedicated years to the study and creation of exquisite, high-end guitars in the vein of classic guitar builder and inventor Paul Bigsby because, among other reasons, they just don’t build them like that anymore... and he’s just getting warmed up.  more...
Guitar Idol: The Steve Stevens interview

Guitar Idol: The Steve Stevens interview

IN THIS ERA of social media, where artists can communicate directly with fans via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube video diaries, guitarist Steve Stevens calls himself ‘old school.’ He speaks to the media by telephone and in person because it’s what he’s used to. “When I first started with Billy [Idol], I remember the first press junket,” he says. “We went to England, and Kerrang magazine was the first thing I did. The only way you could do things was to travel to another country. Then we went to Japan and did press, and in Japan they have you do twelve interviews a day. You couldn’t even think at the end of the day, but it makes an impression. Especially now, we have a new record coming out, so there’s something to talk about and we’re excited about it, so why not?”  more...
Josh Smith talks new studio

Josh Smith talks new studio

WHEN JOSH Smith bought his house near Reseda north of Los Angeles two years ago there was a plan in place that would see through the fulfillment of a life-long dream. The 1,100 square foot home had a detached garage in back that is currently just three weeks work away from becoming a 1,000 square foot recording studio. Smith has scratched and saved extra cash from gigs and session work to make his dream a reality.  more...
Hail! Hale!: Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale

Hail! Hale!: Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale

As far as Lzzy Hale is concerned, there’s no better city for a musician than Nashville. Halestorm — with Hale on vocals and guitar, her brother Arejay on drums, bassist Josh Smith and guitarist Joe Hottinger — relocated a few months ago to begin work on their third release for Atlantic Records. Frequenting venues like 12 South Taproom, and watching A-list guitarists like Kenny Vaughan jamming and playing for tips, is “mind-blowing and inspiring,” she says. “It makes you want to go back and write something new. You want to practice. You want to get better. It still rings very true that if you want to be a better musician, surround yourself with musicians that are better than you. It forces your hand.”  more...
Visual Sound’s Bob Weil: Can You See It?

Visual Sound’s Bob Weil: Can You See It?

Seeing is believing. Bob Weil founded Visual Sound on that simple notion. Looking for a better solution to the existing volume pedals on the market, Weil employed a light meter that would show guitarists how much oomph was passing through the pedal. Things were good... then things got bad. Out of money on the cusp of the release of the company’s flagship Jekyll and Hyde distortion/overdrive pedal, Visual Sound filed for bankruptcy. Weil, accepting but not happy about the defeat, started his search for another job. Not long into the process, an unexpected phone call from overseas changed the game and brought Visual Sound roaring back to life.  more...
Marco Benevento talks new album ‘Swift’

Marco Benevento talks new album ‘Swift’

KEYS GURU Marco Benevento’s secret weapon on his upcoming album Swift can be traced back to his childhood, and the first keyboard he ever owned. When he was eight years old, his parents bought him a Casiotone 8000. It would travel around with him from place to place and eventually reside with the rest of his gear at his new home in Woodstock, New York.  more...