Tag Archives: Marshall

A short story about Ritchie Blackmore and his long forgotten 1961 Gibson ES-335

 

Ritchie Blackmore is known as a leading master of the stratocaster, but during the early days of Deep Purple Blackmore’s main guitar was this 1961 Gibson ES-335 semihollowbody (serial number 26547). When Blackmore bought the guitar used in 1962 , its stock stop tailpiece had already been replaced by a Bigsby B5 tremolo, which is actually designed for solidbody guitars.  It also still had a short pickguard typical of early Sixties Dot neck ES-335 guitars, although Blackmore remove it a later date, as well as its original black metal-top control knobs, which were swapped for gold knobs sometime after he stopped playing the guitar.

Blackmore used this 335 tpo record every solo he cut during the period beginning with Screaming Lord Sutch’s 1965 cover of “Train Kept A-Rollin” and ending with “Child In Time” from Deep Purple’s 1970 album IN ROCK. He gave the 335 an especially thorough workout on shredding solos for the appropriately titled cuts “Hard Road (Wring That Neck)” and “Speed King”. It’s semihollow design even helped him create the feedback intro to Deep Purple’s first hit “HUSH”. “The feedback wasn’t supposed to be there,” Blackmore says. “I was playing my ES-335. and it just started feeding back”.Luckily, the feedback was in tune. It sounds like this foghorn in the background.”

According to Barbel Blackmore, Ritchie Blackmore played this guitar with Deep Purple between 1968-1971. Film footage of Blackmore playing it at the Royal Albert Hall with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on September 24th, 1969 was included in the Deep Purple episode of the 1990s t.v. series Rock Family Trees.

1961 Gibson ES-335 image source by Christie's auction site

After witnessing a Jimi Hendrix concert in 1970, Blackmore decided to track down a stratocaster. When he finally acquired one from a former roadie for Eric Clapton, there was no looking back. “I always felt that a Gibson sounded muted on record, even though it was a great guitar and had lots of sustain,” he says. “I really liked the clarity of a Strat through a Marshall. It just cut more. It took me a while to become used to the transition, but I’m glad I did . I haven’t played a Gibson since then.”

Blackmore’s ex-wife Barbel Hardie sold this guitar at Christie’s auction in 2004, where vintage guitar dealer Laurence Wexer purchased it for $28,000. Its current owner, Connecticut resident Ilhan Akbil , paid considerably more when he bought it from Wexer a few years ago. But as a devoted Blackmore fan, he appreciates the guitar’s historical significance. “I’ve been a Blackmore fan since 1972,” Akbil says. “I saw the Gibson at the Christie’s Auction but decided not to bid because I was worried that my wife would be very upset. I later tracked down the buyer and paid much more money for the guitar. But this time i had my wife’s support.”

Guitar Description:

1961 Gibson ES-335 thinline electric guitar, Serial No. 26457, in cherry red finish, double cutaway body, mahogany neck, Kluson machineheads, 22 fret bound rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays, two Humbucker pickups, four rotary controls, selector switch, tune-o-matic bridge, Bigsby tremolo tailpiece; and black hardshell case, stencilled on the front and back in white lettering DEEP PURPLE; accompanied by a colour snap-shot of Blackmore playing the guitar on stage with The Three Muskateers circa 1965 — 3½x5in. (9×12.7cm.); and two black and white photographs of him playing it on stage with Deep Purple, circa 1968, largest — 8½x6½in. (20.2×16.5cm.) (5)

(Source by: guitarworld magazine & Christie’s auction site)

Tommy Bolin – A Short Biography

Tommy Bolin

One of the most underrated guitarists (in my human opnion) is Tomy Bolin. A talented guitarist who died at the age of 25, just when his carreer appeared to be taking off.

It’s hard to listen to the music of Tommy Bolin and not wonder what could’ve been he would live today. Unfortunately on December 4 1976 died from an overdose of heroin and other substances, including alcohol, cocaine and barbbiturates. In a recording career that lasted only several years, Bolin not only touched upon several styles (blues-rock, ballads, fusion, funk, reggae, and heavy metal), but showed that he could master each one – as evidenced by his two solo albums and various recordings with the likes of Zephyr, Billy Cobham, Alphonse Mouzon, the James Gang, Deep Purple, and Moxy.

Born in Sioux City, IA, on August 1, 1951, Bolin tried the drums and piano as a youngster, but by the age of 13 began playing the guitar. It wasn’t long before he was jamming with local rock outfits, and three years later he was expelled from school for refusing to cut his long hair. Undeterred, Bolin relocated to Denver, CO, where he formed his first real band, American Standard. By the end of the ’60s, Bolin found himself in the blues-rock outfit Zephyr, led by Janis Joplin sound-alike Candy Givens.

Despite high hopes, the group was never able to translate their local success from coast to coast (despite Bolin’s talents supposedly grabbing the attention of guitarists whom Zephyr opened up for — including Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page). After a pair of albums that failed to attract a large audience, 1969’s self-titled debut and 1971’s Goin’ Back to Colorado, Bolin left Zephyr. Interested in the burgeoning jazz fusion scene (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Miles Davis, etc.), Bolin formed a similarly styled outfit, Energy.

But apart from live shows and demos, Energy failed to secure a recording contract. Word on Bolin’s guitar ability was beginning to spread amongst musicians, however, and Mahavishnu drummer Billy Cobham invited the young guitarist to play on his solo debut, Spectrum. Issued in 1973, the album became an instant fusion classic, as Bolin’s fiery guitar work lit up such tracks as the over-the-top “Quadrant Four,” “Stratus,” and “Red Baron.” Spectrum also proved to be an important stepping stone for other guitarists (allegedly, it inspired Jeff Beck to issue such similarly styled albums as Blow by Blow and Wired), and for Bolin’s career as well, as he would land gigs with such renowned hard rock acts as the James Gang and Deep Purple solely on the strength of his playing on the album.

Bolin was hired by the James Gang to get their career back on track; after founding guitarist Joe Walsh had left the group in 1971, the remaining members had seen their fortunes slowly fade. And while Bolin’s arrival didn’t return the group back to the top of the charts, a pair of quite underrated albums were issued, 1973’s Bang and 1974’s Miami, as the guitarist also sang lead for the first time on record. It was also around this time that Bolin adopted a flashy image on-stage – complete with feather outfits, nail polish, and multi-colored hair. Shortly after the release of his second album with the James Gang, Bolin left the band, as he’d grown discontent with their musical direction. Relocating to Los Angeles, CA, Bolin supplied guitar to another fine fusion release, Mind Transplant by ex-Weather Report drummer Alphonse Mouzon. It was also around this time that Bolin secured a solo recording contract, but a phone call from Deep Purple was just around the corner.

With the departure of Ritchie Blackmore in 1974, Deep Purple suddenly found themselves without a guitarist. When the group’s singer, David Coverdale, remembered hearing impressive guitar work on the Spectrum album, Bolin was tracked down, offered a tryout, and landed the gig with Purple immediately. As a result, Bolin was often doing double-duty in recording studios – working on both his solo debut (Teaser) in Los Angeles and his Purple debut (Come Taste the Band) in Germany. Both recordings were issued in 1975, but like the James Gang gig beforehand, Bolin’s tenure with Purple was short-lived, as they split up a year later.

It was no secret amongst his friends and fellow musicians that Bolin had developed a dangerous addiction to hard drugs throughout the early to mid-’70s, which only worsened by 1976 (so much so that some wondered if he had a death wish). Bolin continued working at a breakneck pace, however, issuing his second solo outing, Private Eyes, and also guesting on the self-titled debut by Canadian Led Zeppelin clones Moxy. Sadly, Bolin was found dead from a heroin overdose on December 4, 1976, in Miami, FL (the day after opening a show for Jeff Beck), at the age of 25.

In the years following his death, musicians continued to name-check Bolin as an influence, while a career-spanning box set saw the light of day in 1989, The Ultimate, and seven years later, a collection of rarities/outtakes, From the Archives, Vol. 1. Bolin’s brother, Johnnie Bolin, began issuing a steady stream of archival releases, via the Tommy Bolin Archives Inc. label, and launched an extensive official website in his brother’s memory, www.tbolin.com. The ’90s also saw the emergence of annual Tommy Bolin tribute concerts – featuring performances of musicians who played alongside the late guitarist 20 years earlier, as well as such classic rock acts as Black Oak Arkansas.

 

Reference: www.myguitarsolo.com

Joe Bonamassa doet uitverkocht HMH op z’n grondvesten trillen (21/03)

Stipt op tijd klinkt vanaf een donker podium de AC/DC-hit “Highway to hell” in een bluegrass (!) uitvoering als Joe Bonnamassa het podium opkomt. Zoals altijd strak in het (Armani) pak, voorzien van zonnebril en met gitaar in de hand. Helemaal klaar voor het platspelen van de Heineken Music Hall.

De eerste nummers worden akoestisch en sober uitgevoerd met alleen conga’s en een honky-tonk-piano als begeleiding.
Bij elke nieuw nummer wordt hem een andere gitaar aangereikt, de een nog mooier dan de ander. Hij verzamelt ze ook, inmiddels heeft hij er honderden. Niet zo verwonderlijk als je bedenkt dat Bonamassa praktisch opgroeide tussen de gitaren in de muziekwinkel van zijn vader. Op jonge leeftijd kreeg hij les van blueslegende BB King waarmee hij ook toerde.

Bij het zesde ‘unplugged’ nummer (Woke up Dreaming) breekt hij een snaar en wordt het tijd voor het elektrische vuurwerk en verschijnt de voltallige band op het podium.
De geweldige band komt meteen goed uit de startblokken met een stomende uitvoering van ‘Slow Train’ gevolgd door ‘Dust Bowl’. Met elk nummer toont Bonamassa zijn klasse, iedere toon is raak en wordt strak uitgevoerd. Hij kan zijn gitaar de ene keer laten klinken als een viool en het andere moment als een grommend monster. Zijn gitaargeluid komt uit een ‘muur’ van Marshall-buizen versterkers. Perfectionist Bonamassa maakt er geen geheim van dat hij voor een ‘vet’ gitaargeluid kiest voor de ouderwetse analoge versterker.

Zijn fenomenale gitaartechniek komt goed tot z’n recht als hij op de Gibson Les Paul een subtiele uitvoering van ‘You better Stop’ ten gehore brengt als eerbewijs aan die andere gitaarheld, Gary Moore.

Het hele concert kent weinig stiltes en het tempo ligt hoog. Bonamassa’s medemuzikanten schakelen soepel over van blue-grass via Lousianablues naar stampende bluesrock. Waarbij de bandleden om de beurt een hoofdrol opeisen. Drummer Tal Bergman is de virtuoze clown van de band. Met zijn baard en lange haar geeft hij een imitatie weg van Animal, de drummer uit de Muppetshow. Toetsenman Arlan Schierbaum gaat even helemaal ‘los’ met een minutenlange solo op het Hammondorgel, tot groot genoegen van het enthousiaste publiek. Tussen al dat geweld staat de 60 (!)-jarige bassist Carmine Rojas als een rots in de branding.

Na twee uur onafgebroken gitaargeweld bedankt Joe Bonamassa het publiek “Thank you Amsterdam, you where great” en verdwijnt van het podium. Voor het, vooral oudere (50+) publiek het sein om massaal te gaan staan. Het hoeft maar kort het vertrouwde “we want more” te scanderen of Joe en zijn band komen het podium weer op. Voor een dampende bluesrock-finale waarbij Bonamassa voor het eerst zijn zonnebril afzet en met een gelukzalige grijns op zijn gezicht de laatst blueslick de zaal inslingert.

(Bron: Laura de Lange)

Fender Custom Shop Introduces Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster At The NAMM 2013

After waiting for years, Fender decided to honor the work of Ritchie Blackmore; The Fender Stratocaster 1968; a real beauty. The Fender Custom Shop is introducing a replica of Richtie Blackmore’s black Fender Stratocaster, the instrument on which he gave birth to Deep Purple’s legendary “Smoke on the Water” riff. This 2013 limited edition guitar is reportedly as close as it gets to the original used by Blackmore during the early 70s and specifically on Purple’s best selling album Machine Head.

 

Fender Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster

The Fender Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster features a lightly worn urethane finished two piece alder body, a 7.25” radius maple fingerboard on a ’69 U-shaped rounded neck and of course medium jumbo frets. Fender guru Abigail Ybarra took personally care of the ’69 custom make hand –wound pickups which are controlled via a three way switch. Other details of the Blackmore Tribune Strat include the typical ¼” tremolo arm (which I’m sure only Ritchie himself would manage to break), Schaller tuners and Micarta nut, rear headstock tribute decal and a certificate of authenticity.

Fender Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster features:
  • Body: two-piece Alder with a lightly worn Black urethane finish
  • Neck Shape: Custom “U”
  • Number of Frets: 21
  • Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
  • Position Inlays: Black Dot
  • Fingerboard Radius: 7.25″ (184.1 mm)
  • Neck Material: Plain-Grain Maple
  • Nut Width: 1.625″ (41.3 mm)
  • Scale Length: 25.5″ (648 mm)
  • Headstock: Large ’70s Style
  • Neck Plate: 4-Bolt “F” Stamped
  • Pickup Configuration: S/S/S
  • Bridge Pickup: Custom ’68 Hand-Wound Single-Coil Strat
  • Middle Pickup: Custom ’68 Hand-Wound Single-Coil Strat
  • Neck Pickup: Custom ’68 Hand-wound Single-Coil Strat
  • Pickup Switching: 3-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Middle Pickup, Position 3. Neck Pickup
  • Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Bridge/Middle Pickup)
  • Hardware Finish: Chrome
  • Bridge: Vintage Synchronized Tremolo
  • Tuning Machines: Vintage ’70s Fender “F” Stamped
  • Tremolo Arm Handle: 1/4″ Tremolo Arm
  • Colour: Black

For more information around the Fender Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster please visit the Fender website.

Biography Joe Satriani

Joseph “Satch” Satriani (born July 15, 1956 in Westbury, New York) is an American multi-instrumentalist, known as an instrumental rock guitarist, who has been nominated for Grammy Awards. Early in his career, Satriani worked as a guitar instructor, and some of his former students have achieved fame with their guitar skills. Satriani has been a driving force behind other musicians throughout his career, as a founder of the ever-changing touring trio, G3, as well as performing in temporary positions with other musicians.

In 1988, Satriani was recruited by the The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger as lead guitarist for the singer’s second solo tour. Later, in 1994, Satriani was the lead guitarist for Deep Purple. Satriani worked with a range of guitarists from many musical genres, including Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Eric Johnson, Larry LaLonde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Brian May, Patrick Rondat, Andy Timmons, Paul Gilbert, Adrian Legg, and Robert Fripp through the annual G3 Jam Concerts.

He is heavily influenced by blues-rock guitar icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, possessing, however, his own easily recognizable style. Since 1988, Satriani has been using his own signature guitar, the Ibanez JS Series, which is widely sold in stores. He has a signature series amplifier, the Peavey JSX, and a signature Vox distortion pedal, the Satchurator. He is currently the lead guitarist for the supergroup Chickenfoot.

Life and career

Satriani playing in Chile, 2003

Satriani was inspired to play guitar at 14 soon after learning of the death of Jimi Hendrix. He has been said to have heard the news during a football training session, where he confronted his coach and announced that he was quitting to become a guitarist.

1970s

In 1974, Satriani studied music with jazz guitarist Billy Bauer and with reclusive jazz pianist Lennie Tristano. The technically demanding Tristano greatly influenced Satriani’s playing. Satriani began teaching guitar, with his most notable student at the time being fellow Long Island native Steve Vai. While he was Vai’s teacher, he was attending Five Towns College for studies in music.

In 1978 Satriani moved to Berkeley, California to pursue a music career, and Vai moved on to study at the Berklee School of Music, soon after graduating becoming a high profile guitarist first with Frank Zappa, and after, other bands.

Not long after Satriani arrived in California, he resumed teaching. His students included Kirk Hammett of Metallica, David Bryson of Counting Crows, Kevin Cadogan from Third Eye Blind, Larry LaLonde of Primus / Possessed, Alex Skolnick of Testament, Rick Hunolt (ex-Exodus), Phil Kettner of L??z Rockit, Geoff Tyson of T-Ride, and Charlie Hunter.
1980s

When his friend and former student Steve Vai gained fame playing with David Lee Roth in 1986, Vai raved about Satriani in several interviews with guitar magazines. Guitar World Magazine In 1987, Satriani’s second album Surfing with the Alien produced popular radio hits and was the first all-instrumental release to chart so highly in many years. In 1988 Satriani helped produce the EP The Eyes of Horror for the death metal band Possessed.

In 1989, Satriani released the album Flying in a Blue Dream. The album sold well. “One Big Rush” was featured on the soundtrack to the Cameron Crowe movie Say Anything. “The Forgotten Part II” was featured on a Labatt Blue commercial in Canada in 1993. “Big Bad Moon”, one of Satriani’s few songs to feature his vocals, was a minor hit in late 1989.

1990s

In 1992, Satriani released The Extremist, his most critically acclaimed and commercially successful album to date. Radio stations across the country were quick to pick up on “Summer Song”, while “Cryin'”, “Friends” and the title track were regional hits.

In late 1993, Satriani joined Deep Purple as a temporary replacement for departed guitarist Ritchie Blackmore during the band’s Japanese tour. The concerts were a success, and Satriani was asked to join the band permanently but he declined, having just signed a multi-album solo deal with Sony, so Steve Morse took the guitarist slot in Deep Purple.

G3
Satriani with G3 in Milan, 2004

In 1996, he founded the G3, a concert tour intended to feature a power trio consisting of three instrumental rock guitarists. The original lineup featured Satriani, Vai, and Eric Johnson. The G3 (tour) has continued periodically since its inaugural version, where Satriani is the only permanent member, featuring differing second and third members. Other guitarists who have performed in such a G3 configuration include among others: Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robert Fripp, Andy Timmons, Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker, Adrian Legg and Paul Gilbert.

In 1998 Satriani recorded and released Crystal Planet, which went back to a sound more reminiscent of his late ’80s work. Planet was followed up with Engines of Creation, one of his more experimental works featuring the ‘Electronica’ genre of music. During the subsequent tour, a pair of shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco were recorded in December 2000 and released as Live in San Francisco, a two-disc live album and DVD.

Satriani, Steve Vai, and John Petrucci, as G3 Melbourne, 2006 Photo Mandy Hall

2000 and beyond

Over the next several years, Satriani regularly recorded and released evolving music, including Strange Beautiful Music in 2002 and Is There Love in Space? in 2004.

In 2006 Satriani recorded and released Super Colossal and Satriani Live!, another two-disc live album and DVD recorded May 3, 2006 at the Grove in Anaheim, CA.

On August 7, 2007 Epic/Legacy Recordings re-released Surfing with the Alien to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release. This was a two-disc set that includes a remastered album and a DVD of a previously never-before-seen live show filmed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1988.

Satriani’s newest album, titled Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock, was released on April 1, 2008.

Controversy
This article’s Criticism or Controversy section(s) may mean the article does not present a neutral point of view of the subject. It may be better to integrate the material in such sections into the article as a whole. (September 2009)

On December 4, 2008 Satriani filed a copyright infringement suit against Coldplay in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Satriani asserts that the Coldplay song “Viva la Vida” includes “substantial original portions” of the Satriani song “If I Could Fly” from his 2004 album, Is There Love in Space?. The Coldplay song in question received two Grammy Awards for “Song of the Year.” Coldplay has denied the allegation, which has resulted in further legal action from Satriani. The case has since been settled out of court.

Other work
Joe Satriani with Stu Hamm in concert, Rijnhal, Arnhem (June 12, 2008)

Satriani is also credited on many other albums, including guitar duties on Alice Cooper’s 1991 album Hey Stoopid, Spinal Tap’s 1992 album Break Like the Wind, Blue ?yster Cult’s 1988 album Imaginos, band members Stu Hamm and Gregg Bissonette’s solo albums. Interestingly, he was credited with singing background vocals on the 1986 debut album by Crowded House. In 2003, he played lead guitar on The Yardbirds’s CD release Birdland. In 2006 he made appearances on tracks for Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan’s solo CD/DVD dual disc Gillan’s Inn. On Dream Theater’s 2007 album, Systematic Chaos, Satriani contributed spoken lyrics to the song “Repentance”. Satriani contributed a guitar solo to Jordan Rudess’ 2004 solo release Rhythm of Time.

He is featured in the Christopher Guest film, For Your Consideration, as the guitarist in the band that played for the late-night show.

Chickenfoot

Main article: Chickenfoot (band)

It was revealed on May 29, 2008 that Satriani is involved in a new hard rock band called Chickenfoot with former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. The band features Hagar on vocals, Satriani on guitar, Anthony on bass and Smith on drums,. Their debut album was released on June 5, 2009. The first single and video released from this album is the track “Oh Yeah”, which was also played on the Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien on June 5, 2009. Satriani received a writing credit on each of the songs featured on the band’s self-titled debut album.

Technique and influence

Satriani is recognized as a technically advanced rock guitarist, and has been described as a virtuoso. by some publications. He has mastered many performance techniques on the instrument, including legato, two-handed tapping and arpeggio tapping, volume swells, harmonics, and extreme whammy bar effects. One of his trademark compositional traits is the use of pitch axis theory, which he applies with a variety of modes. During fast passages, Joe favors a legato technique (achieved primarily through hammer-ons and pull-offs) which yields smooth and flowing runs. He is also adept at other speed-related techniques such as speed picking (a rapid form of alternate picking) and sweep picking, but does not often use them.

Satriani has received 15 Grammy nominations and has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide. Many of his fans and friends call him “Satch,” short for “Satriani”.

An influential guitarist himself, Satriani has many influences, including jazz guitarists Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Allan Holdsworth and Charlie Christian, and rock guitarists Jimi Hendrix and Ritchie Blackmore.

Equipment

Satriani has endorsed Ibanez’s JS Series guitars, and Peavey’s JSX amplifier. Both lines were designed specifically as signature products for Satriani. The Ibanez JS100 was based on and replaced the Ibanez 540 Radius model which Satriani first endorsed. However, Satriani uses a variety of gear. Many of his guitars are made by Ibanez, including the JS1000, and JS1200. These guitars typically feature the DiMarzio PAF Pro (which he used up until 1993 in both the neck and bridge positions), the DiMarzio Fred (which he used in the bridge position from 1993 to 2005), and the Mo’ Joe and the Paf Joe (which he uses in the bridge and neck positions, respectively, from 2005 to present day). The JS line of guitars is his signature line, and they feature the Edge Pro, which is Ibanez’s exclusive vibrato system, although he’s always used the Original Edge unit on his guitars. The guitar with which he was most often associated during the nineties was a chrome-finished guitar nicknamed “Chrome Boy” (this instrument can be seen on the Live in San Francisco DVD). However, the guitar used for most of the concert was in fact a lookalike nicknamed “Pearly”, which featured Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickups.

 

Satriani uses a number of other JS models such as the JS double neck model, JS700 (primary axe on the self-titled CD and seen on the 1995 tour “Joe Satriani”, which features a fixed bridge, P-90 pickups, and a matching mahogany body and neck), JS600 (natural body) , JS1 (the original JS model), JS2000 (fixed bridge model), a variety of JS100s, JS1000s and JS1200s with custom paint work, and a large amount of prototype JSs. All double locking bridges have been the original Edge tremolo, not the newer models, which point to a more custom guitar than the “off the shelf” models. Joe played a red 7-string JS model, seen in the “G3 Live in Tokyo” DVD from 2005.He also has a prototype 24-fret version of the JS which he has used with Chickenfoot.

Satriani and the band

Satriani has used a wide variety of guitar amps over the years, using Marshall Amplification for his main amplifier (notably the limited edition blue coloured 6100 LM model) up until 2001, and his Peavey signature series amps, the Peavey JSX, thereafter. The JSX began life as a prototype Peavey XXX and developed into the Joe Satriani signature Peavey model, now available for purchase in retail stores. Joe Satriani has used other amplifiers over the years in the studio, however. Those include the Peavey 5150 (used to record the song ‘Crystal Planet’), Cornford, and the Mesa/Boogie Mark IIC+ (used to record the song ‘Flying in a Blue Dream’), amongst others.

His effects pedals include the Vox wah, Dunlop Cry Baby wah, RMC Wizard Wah, Digitech Whammy, BK Butler Tube Driver, BOSS DS-1, BOSS CH-1, BOSS CE-2, BOSS DD-2 and a standard BOSS DD-3 (used together to emulate reverb effects), BOSS BF-3, BOSS OC-2, Barber Burn Drive Unit, Fulltone Deja Vibe, Fulltone Ultimate Octave, and Electro-Harmonix POG (Polyphonic Octave Generator), the latter being featured prominently on the title cut to his 2006 Super Colossal.

Satriani has partnered with Planet Waves to create a signature line of guitar picks and guitar straps featuring his sketch art.

Although Satriani endorses the JSX, he has used many amps in the studio when recording, including the Peavey Classic. He used Marshall heads and cabinets, including live, prior to his Peavey endorsement. Most recently Satriani used the JSX head through a Palmer Speaker Simulator. Joe Satriani has also released a Class-A 5-watt tube amp called the “Mini Colossal”.

He is currently working with Vox on his own line of signature effects pedals designed to deliver Satriani’s trademark tone plus a wide range of new sounds for guitarists of all playing styles and ability levels. The first being a signature distortion pedal titled the “Satchurator”, and recently, the “Time Machine” which will be a delay pedal, with more to follow in 2008, including a wah pedal called the “Big Bad Wah”.

Recurring themes

Satriani’s work frequently makes references to various science fiction stories and ideas. “Surfing with the Alien”, “Back to Shalla-Bal” and “The Power Cosmic 2000” refer to the comic book character Silver Surfer, while “Ice 9” refers to the secret government ice weapon in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. “Borg Sex” is a reference to Star Trek, which features a homogeneous cybernetic race known as the Borg. His albums and songs often have other-worldly titles, such as Not of this Earth, Crystal Planet, Is There Love in Space?, and Engines of Creation.

 

On the album Super Colossal the song titled “Crowd Chant” was originally called “Party on the Enterprise”. “Party on the Enterprise” featured sampled sounds from the Starship Enterprise from the Star Trek TV show. But as Satriani explained in a podcast, legal issues regarding the samples could not be resolved and he was unable to get permission to use them. Satriani then removed the sounds from the song and called it “Crowd Chant.”

“Redshift Riders”, another song on the Super Colossal album, is “based on the idea that in the future, when people can travel throughout space, they will theoretically take advantage of the cosmological redshift effect so they can be swung around large planetary objects and get across universe a lot faster than normal,” Satriani said in a podcast about the song.

On the album Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock the song “I Just Wanna Rock”, is about a giant robot on the run who happens upon a rock concert.

Philanthropy

In 2006, Satriani signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a non-profit organization that provides free musical instruments and instruction to children in underserved public schools throughout the U.S.A. Satriani has personally delivered instruments to children in the program through a charity raffle for the organization and, in common with Steve Vai, sits on its board of directors as an honorary member.

Awards and nominations

Nominations

Satriani has the most Grammy Award nominations of any artist (15) without winning.

Nominations
Year
Album
Category
1989
Always With Me, Always With You
Best Pop Instrumental Performance
1989
Surfing with the Alien
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
1990
The Crush of Love
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
1991
Flying in a Blue Dream
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
1993
The Extremist
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
1994
Speed of Light
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
1995
All Alone
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
1997
(You’re) My World
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
1998
Summer Song (Live)
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
1999
A Train of Angels
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
2001
Until We Say Goodbye
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
2002
Always With Me, Always With You (Live)
Best Rock Instrumental Performance from Live in San Francisco
2003
Starry Night
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
2006
Super Colossal
Best Rock Instrumental Performance
2008
Always With Me, Always With You (Live)
Best Rock Instrumental Performance from Satriani Live!

 

Biography steve vai

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Steven “Steve” Siro Vai (born , 1960 in Carle Place, New York) is an Italian American instrumental rock guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, producer, beekeeper, and actor. After starting his professional career as a music transcriptionist for Frank Zappa, Vai would also record and tour in Zappa’s backing band starting in 1980. The guitarist began a solo career starting in 1984 and has released 13 solo albums as of 2008. Apart from his work with Frank Zappa, Vai has also recorded and toured with numerous musical artists including Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake. Vai has been a regular touring member of the G3 Concert Tour which began in 1996. In 1999 Vai started his own record label Favored Nations with the intent to showcase, as Vai describes: “…artists that have attained the highest performance level on their chosen instruments.”

Career

1970s and 1980s

In 1974, Vai took guitar lessons from guitarist Joe Satriani, and played in numerous local bands, one that took the name, “The Steve Vais”. He has acknowledged the influence of many guitarists including Jeff Beck and jazz fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Vai followed those lessons by attending and graduating the Berklee College of Music, afterwards recording a promotional piece for them, speaking about auditioning for Frank Zappa, at age twenty.

Steve Vai (on guitar in between the drum set and keyboard set), Frank Zappa and band during a concert at the Memorial Auditorium, Oct 25, 1980 Buffalo, NY

Vai mailed Frank Zappa a transcription of Zappa’s “The Black Page”, an instrumental song written for drums, along with a tape with some of Vai’s guitar playing. Zappa was so impressed with the abilities of the young musician that he hired him in 1979 to do work transcribing several of his guitar solos, including many of those appearing on the Joe’s Garage album and the Shut Up ‘n’ Play Yer Guitar series. These transcriptions were published in 1982 in The Frank Zappa Guitar Book.

Subsequent to being hired as a transcriber, Vai did overdubs on many of the guitar parts for Zappa’s album You Are What You Is. Thereafter he became a full-fledged band member, going on his first tour with Zappa in the Autumn of 1980. One of those early shows with Vai on guitar, recorded in Buffalo was released in 2007. While touring with Zappa’s band, Vai would sometimes ask audience members to bring musical scores and see if he could sight-read them on the spot. Zappa referred to Vai as his “little Italian virtuoso” and was listed in liner notes as performing “stunt guitar” or “impossible guitar parts”. He would later be a featured artist on the 1993 recording, Zappa’s Universe. In 2006 he returned to playing music composed by Frank Zappa as a special guest on his son, Dweezil Zappa’s ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’ tour, alongside old friends from his early years who he had performed with when Zappa was alive.

After leaving Zappa in 1982 he moved to California where he recorded his first album Flex-Able and performed in a couple of bands. In 1985 he replaced Yngwie Malmsteen as lead guitarist in Graham Bonnet’s Alcatrazz with whom he recorded the album Disturbing the Peace. Later in 1985 he joined former Van Halen front man David Lee Roth’s group to record the albums Eat ‘Em and Smile and Skyscraper. This significantly increased Vai’s visibility to general rock audiences, since Roth was in a highly public battle with the Van Halen members and Vai was favorably compared by many commentators to Eddie Van Halen.

In 1986 Vai also surprised everyone by playing with ex-Sex Pistols John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd on their album Album (also known as Compact Disc or Cassette). Then, in 1989, Vai joined Whitesnake, replacing Vivian Campbell. But, when Adrian Vandenberg injured his wrist shortly before recording was due to begin for the album Slip of the Tongue, Vai played all the guitar parts on the album. Vai also played on the Alice Cooper album Hey Stoopid along with Joe Satriani on the song Feed my Frankenstein.

1990s and 2000s

Vai continues to tour regularly, both with his own group and with his one-time teacher and fellow guitar instrumentalist friend Joe Satriani on the G3 series of tours. Former David Lee Roth and Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan also joined him for a world tour. In 1990, Vai released his critically acclaimed solo album Passion and Warfare.

The song “For the Love of God” was voted #29 in a readers’ poll of the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time in Guitar World Magazine.

In 1994 Vai began writing and recording with Ozzy Osbourne. Only one track from these sessions and “My Little Man” was released on the Ozzmosis album. Despite Vai penning the track he does not appear on the album. His guitar parts were replaced by Zakk Wylde. Vai’s band members throughout the 1990s included drummer Mike Mangini, guitarist Mike Keneally and bassist Philip Bynoe. In 1994 Vai received a Grammy Award for his performance on the Frank Zappa song Sofa from the album Zappa’s Universe.

Vai playing a twin-necked Ibanez

In July 2002, Steve Vai performed with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan, in the world premiere of composer Ichiro Nodaira’s Fire Strings, a concerto for electric guitar and 100-piece orchestra.

In 2004, a number of his compositions and orchestral arrangements including some previously recorded pieces, were performed in The Netherlands by the Metropole Orchestra in a concert series entitled The Aching Hunger. In 2003, drummer Jeremy Colson joined Vai’s group replacing previous drummer Virgil Donati. Vai’s latest album, Sound Theories, was released in 2007.

Steve Vai released a DVD of his performance at The Astoria in London in December 2001, featuring the lineup of bassist Billy Sheehan, guitarist/pianist Tony MacAlpine, guitarist Dave Weiner and drummer Virgil Donati.

In February 2005, Vai premiered a dual-guitar (electric and classical) piece that he wrote called The Blossom Suite with classical guitarist Sharon Isbin at the Ch?telet Theatre in Paris. In 2006, Vai played as a “special guest” guitarist alongside additional guest Zappa band members, drummer Terry Bozzio, guitarist-singer Ray White and saxophonist-singer Napoleon Murphy Brock in the “Zappa Plays Zappa” tour led by Frank’s son Dweezil Zappa in Europe and the U.S. in the Spring as well as a short U.S. tour in October.

On 2006, Vai made a special appearance at the Video Games Live concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California. He played two songs with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra; Halo Theme, and a second song for the world premier trailer for Halo 3.

Steve Vai made an appearance at the London Guitar Show 2007 on the 28th April 2007 at the ExCeL Center. In late April 2007, Vai confirmed the release of his most recent record, called Sound Theories, on . The release is a 2-CD set consisting mostly of previously released material that Vai rearranged and played in front of a full orchestra. Vai says that the project was a great joy because he considers himself to be a composer more than a guitarist, and he is happy to see music he has composed played by an orchestra that can play it well. A DVD followed the record but was not released until later that year. He guested on the Dream Theater album, Systematic Chaos, on the song “Repentance”. The appearance was vocal rather than instrumental, as Vai was only one of many musical guests recorded. The song features contributions from many artists, with the aim of apologizing to important people in their lives for wrongdoings committed in their pasts.

 

Vai is set to release Where the Wild Things Are on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray on Sep 29 2009. This is a live recording of his performance at the Minneapolis State Theater from his 2007 Tour.

Video games

“Juice” was featured on the 1996 video game “Formula One” for the PlayStation.

In 1998, “Erotic Nightmares” was featured as the menu music in the video game WCW/nWo Revenge for the Nintendo 64.

Two different songs featuring Steve Vai’s guitar playing appeared in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Both Yankee Rose by David Lee Roth and God Blessed Video by Alcatrazz are featured on the game’s soundtrack.

In 2004, Steve Vai was featured on Xbox’s Halo 2 (a game by Bungie Studios) Volume 1 soundtrack, performing a heavy rock-guitar rendition of the Halo theme, known as Halo Theme (MJOLNIR Mix). He also performed on the track Never Surrender. He later featured in the second volume of the soundtrack, where he performed on the track Reclaimer.

In 2008, Steve Vai’s For the Love of God and Halo Theme (MJOLNIR Mix) were featured as downloadable tracks for the game Guitar Hero 3.

Movies

Steve Vai’s music has been featured in a number of feature films, including Dudes and Ghosts of Mars. He appeared onscreen in the 1986 Ralph Macchio movie Crossroads, playing the demonically-inspired Jack Butler. At the film’s climax, Vai engages in a guitar duel with Macchio, whose guitar parts were dubbed by Vai and also Ry Cooder, who played the initial slide work in the duel and Macchio’s earlier performances in the film. The fast-paced neo-classical track entitled Eugene’s Trick Bag with which Macchio wins the competition was also composed by Vai. The body of the piece was heavily based on Paganini’s Caprice #5. He later borrowed the opening riff from the track Head Cuttin’ Duel for a song called Bad Horsie from his 1995 EP Alien Love Secrets. Later the Crossroads duel reappeared on the 2002 album The Elusive Light and Sound, volume 1.

In 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey the introductory riff to KISS’ God Gave Rock ‘N Roll To You II, as performed by the Wyld Stallyns in the Battle of the Bands was performed by Vai. He also composed and performed the soundtrack to PCU (1994), and made contributions in 2001 to the score for John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars, performing on the tracks Ghosts of Mars and Ghost Poppin. His track “I’m the Hell Outta Here” can be heard during 1992’s Encino Man in the scene where Brendan Fraser is taking a driving lesson.

His guitar is starring in the animated short film “Live Music”.

Playing style

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Vai performing in 2001

Vai is widely recognized as a highly technically advanced rock guitarist and has been described as a virtuoso in the world of guitar music . His 1990 album Passion and Warfare and the ballad For the Love of God in particular received a significant amount of press and are often cited by critics and fans alike as amongst his best work to date .

Vai’s playing style has been characterized as quirky and angular, owing to his technical ability with the instrument and deep knowledge of music theory. He often uses exotic guitars; he plays both double and triple neck guitars, and is regarded as the first to use the 7-string guitar in a rock context. Along with Ibanez, he designed a signature 7-string guitar, the Ibanez Universe.

Equipment

Vai is an accomplished studio producer (he owns two: “The Mothership” and “The Harmony Hut” ) and his own recordings combine his signature guitar prowess with novel compositions and considerable use of studio and recording effects.

Vai also helped design his signature Ibanez JEM series of guitars. They feature a hand grip (fondly referred to as a “monkey grip”) cut into the top of the body of the guitar, a humbucker-single coil-humbucker DiMarzio pickup configuration with several different types of pickup including Evolution, Breed and EVO 2. He also uses the Ibanez Edge and Lo-Pro Edge double-locking tremolo systems (the current production JEMs have the newer Edge Pro), as well as an elaborate and extensive “Tree of Life” inlay down the neck. Vai also equips many of his guitars with an Ibanez Backstop, a tremolo stabilizer that has been discontinued. Lately Vai has also equipped some of his guitars with True Temperament fretboards in order for his chords to sound completely in tune. Vai also has a 7-string model designed by him named Ibanez Universe. The Universe later influenced the 7-string guitars used by Korn and other bands to create nu metal sounds in the late 1990s. He also has a signature Ibanez acoustic, the Euphoria. Before Ibanez, he briefly endorsed Jackson guitars, but this relationship only lasted two years.

 

Steve Vai has also worked with Carvin Guitars and Pro Audio to develop the Carvin Legacy line of guitar amplifiers. Vai wanted to create an affordable amp that was unique, and equal in sound and versatility to any guitar amp he had previously used. Over his long musical career, Steve Vai has used and designed an array of guitars. He even had his DNA put into the swirl paint job on one of his signature JEM guitars, the JEM2KDNA, in the form of his blood. Only 300 of these were made. Nowadays he mainly uses his white “Evo”, a JEM7V, and his “Flo”, which is a customized Floral Jem 77FP painted white. They are both inscribed with their names in two places, mainly in order to allow him to distinguish between the guitars he uses onstage. “Flo” is equipped with a Fernandes sustainer system.

He also has a guitar named “Mojo” in which the dot inlays are blue LED lights. Additionally, he has a custom-made triple-neck guitar that has the same basic features as his JEM7V guitars. The top neck is a 12-string guitar, the middle is a 6-string, and the bottom is a 6-string fretless guitar with a Fernandes Sustainer pickup. This guitar was featured on the G3 2003 tour on the piece I Know You’re Here. Vai’s effects pedals include a modified Boss DS-1, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Morley Bad Horsie, Ibanez Jemini Twin Distortion Pedal, TC Electronics G-System, Morley Little Alligator Volume pedal, Digitech Whammy, and an MXR Phase 90/Phase 100 on the Passion and Warfare album. His flight cases are labeled “Mr. Vai”, or latterly, “Dr. Vai”. He used a number of rack effects units controlled via MIDI, but used a floor-based TC electronics G system instead for the Zappa Plays Zappa tour.

Philanthropy

In 2005, Vai signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and instruction to children in public schools throughout the U.S.A. He sits on LKR’s Honorary Board of Directors.

Vai was a judge for the 3rd and 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists.

Vai is also the founder of the Make A Noise Foundation. The foundation’s goal is to provide funding for music education and programs for those unable to pursue music-related activities due to limited resources.

Favored Nations

Vai owns Favored Nations, a recording and publishing company that specializes in internationally procuring and maintaining recording artists. Favored Nations is separated into three sections, ‘Favored Nations’, ‘Favored Nations Acoustic’ and ‘Favored Nations Cool (Jazz style)’

 

Artists with whom the Favored Nations label works or has worked include Eric Johnson, Steve Lukather, Neal Schon, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci & Jordan Rudess, Mattias IA Eklundh, Tak Matsumoto, Andy Timmons, Johnny Hiland, Tommy Emmanuel, Vernon Reid, The Yardbirds, Larry Coryell, Mimi Fox, Eric Sardinas, Dweezil Zappa, Dave Weiner, James Robinson and Johnny A.

Personal life

Vai is married to Pia Maiocco, former bass player of Vixen, who can be seen in Hardbodies. Vai and Maiocco have two children; Julian Angel and Fire. In his spare time Vai is an avid beekeeper – his bees regularly produce a crop of honey that Vai sells for his Make a Noise Foundation.

Band History – not including guest appearances

Frank Zappa (1980-1982)
Steve Vai (1982-1984)
Alcatrazz (1985)
David Lee Roth (1985-1986)
Public Image Ltd. (1985-1986)
Frank Zappa (1986)
David Lee Roth (1987-1988)
Whitesnake (1988-1990)
Solo (1989-present)

 

Biography Ritchie Blackmore

Richard Hugh “Ritchie” Blackmore (born 14 April 1945 in Weston-super-Mare, England) is an English guitarist, who was a founding member of hard rock bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He left Deep Purple in 1993 due to a growing rift between Blackmore and other members in spite of renewed commercial success. His current band is the Renaissance influenced Blackmore’s Night.

Blackmore was ranked #55 in Rolling Stone magazine list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

Childhood and early life

Blackmore was born in Weston-super-Mare, England, but moved to Heston, Middlesex at the age of two. He was 11 when he got his first guitar. His father bought it for him on certain conditions: “He said if I was going to play this thing, he was either going to have someone teach it to me properly, or he was going to smash me across the head with it. So I actually took the lessons for a year ? classical lessons – and it got me on to the right footing, using all the fingers and the right strokes of the plectrum and the nonsense that goes with it.” Whilst at school he did well at sports including the Javelin. Blackmore left school at age 15 and started work as an apprentice radio mechanic at nearby Heathrow Airport. He was given guitar lessons by Big Jim Sullivan.

He was influenced in his youth by early rockers like Hank Marvin and Gene Vincent, and later, country pickers like Chet Atkins. His playing improved and in the early 1960s he started out as a session player for Joe Meek’s music productions and performed in several bands. He was a member of the instrumental combo, The Outlaws, and backed Heinz (playing on his top ten hit “Just Like Eddie”), Screaming Lord Sutch, Glenda Collins and Boz among others. While working for Joe Meek, he got to know engineer Derek Lawrence, who would later produce Deep Purple’s first three albums. With organist Jon Lord he co-founded hard rock group Deep Purple in 1968, and continued to be a member of Deep Purple from 1968-1975 and again from 1984-1993.

Recording career

(1968-1975) The first Deep Purple years

Blackmore co-founded the hard rock group Roundabout with Wayne Blade in 1968 with Chris Curtis (vocals), Dave Curtis (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards), and Bobby Woodman aka Bobbie Clarke (drums). Later on the name was changed to Deep Purple and vocal, bass and drums were changed to Rod Evans (vocals), Nick Simper (bass) and Ian Paice (drums). It was Blackmore’s idea to call the band Deep Purple, after his grandmother’s favorite song. The band had a hit US single with its remake of the Joe South song “Hush”. After three albums Evans and Simper were replaced by Ian Gillan (vocals) and Roger Glover (bass).

The second line-up’s first studio album, In Rock, changed the band’s style, turning it in a hard rock direction. Blackmore’s guitar riffs, Jon Lord’s distorted Hammond organ, and Ian Paice’s jazz-influenced drums were enhanced by the vocals of Ian Gillan, who Blackmore has described as being “a screamer with depth and a blues feel.”

 

The next release was titled Fireball and continued in the same hard rock style established on the previous release, with Blackmore’s guitar remaining a prominent feature of the band’s style.

 

Deep Purple’s next album was titled Machine Head. The band originally intended to record the album at a casino in Montreux, but the night before recording was to begin the casino hosted a Frank Zappa concert (with members of Deep Purple in attendance) at which an audience member fired a flare gun which ignited a fire inside the building and the casino burned down. The entire tragedy is documented in the lyrics of what was to become Deep Purple’s historic anthem “Smoke on the Water”.

In 1973, shortly after the release of the album Who Do We Think We Are, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover left Deep Purple.

They were replaced by former Trapeze bassist Glenn Hughes and an unknown singer named David Coverdale. The album recorded by the new line-up was entitled Burn.

Deep Purple continued to perform concerts worldwide, including an appearance at the 1974 ‘California Jam’, a televised concert festival that also included many other prominent bands. At the moment Deep Purple were due to appear, Blackmore locked himself in his dressing room and refused to go onstage. Previous performers had finished early, and it was still not sundown, the time at which the band had originally been scheduled to start. Blackmore felt this would dull the effect of the band’s light show. After ABC brought in a sheriff to arrest him, Blackmore agreed to perform. At the culmination of the performance he destroyed several of his guitars and threw one of his amplifier stacks off the edge of the stage. He also struck one of the ABC cameras with a guitar, and in recorded footage can be seen arranging for his road crew to set off a pyrotechnic device in one of his amplifiers, creating a large fireball that was quickly extinguished. The band quickly exited the venue by helicopter, avoiding fire marshals, police officers and ABC executives.

Deep Purple’s next album, Stormbringer, was publicly denounced by Blackmore himself, who disliked the funky soul influences that Hughes and Coverdale injected into the band. Following its release, he departed Deep Purple to front a new group, Rainbow, which was originally thought to be a one-off collaboration by Blackmore and the Ronnie James Dio-fronted band Elf, but was later revealed to be a new band project.
(1975-1984) The first Rainbow years
Blackmore, right, with Rainbow in 1977

After Deep Purple, Blackmore formed the hard rock band Rainbow. The name of the band Rainbow was inspired by a Hollywood bar and grill called the Rainbow that catered to rock stars, groupies and rock enthusiasts. It was here that Blackmore spent his off time from Deep Purple and met vocalist Ronnie James Dio, whose band Elf had toured regularly as an opening act for Deep Purple.

The band’s debut album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, was released in 1975. The band’s musical style differed from Blackmore’s previous band and much of Blackmore’s inspiration came from his love of classical music which matched nicely with Dio’s lyrics about medieval themes.

Blackmore fired every original band member except Dio shortly after the first album was recorded, and recruited a new lineup to record the album Rainbow Rising.

For the next album, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, Blackmore kept the drummer Cozy Powell and Dio but replaced the rest of the band. Blackmore had difficulty finding a bass player for this record so he handled all the bass duties himself, except on three songs: “Gates of Babylon”, “Kill the King”, and “Sensitive To Light” (the bass on these songs was performed by Bob Daisley.) After the album’s release and supporting tour, Ronnie James Dio left Rainbow due to “creative differences” with Blackmore.

Blackmore continued with Rainbow and the band released a new album entitled Down To Earth, which featured his ex-Deep Purple bandmate Roger Glover on bass. The album contained Blackmore’s first chart successes since leaving Deep Purple, as the Graham Bonnet-fronted single “Since You Been Gone” (a cover of the Russ Ballard penned tune) became a smash hit. In 1980 Blackmore’s Rainbow headlined the inaugural Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in England. Bonnet and Cozy Powell would leave after this, Powell would go on to join former Deep Purple members in Whitesnake.

The band’s next album, Difficult to Cure, introduced vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. The title track from this album was an arrangement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a personal favourite of Blackmore’s.

Rainbow’s next studio album was Straight Between the Eyes and included the hit single “Stone Cold.” It would be followed by the album Bent Out of Shape, which featured the single “Street Of Dreams”. The song’s video was banned by MTV for its supposedly controversial hypnotic video clip. The resulting tour saw Rainbow return to the UK and also to Japan where the band performed with a full orchestra.

By the mid-1980s, Blackmore and his former Deep Purple bandmates had reconciled past differences and a reunion of the successful “Mark II” lineup took place. A final Rainbow album, Finyl Vinyl, was patched together from live tracks and “b” sides of singles.
(1984-1993) The second Deep Purple years

In April 1984, it was announced on BBC Radio’s Friday Rock Show that the “Mark Two” line-up of Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, and Paice was reforming and recording new material. The band signed a deal with Polydor in Europe and Mercury in North America. The album Perfect Strangers was released in October 1984. A tour followed, starting in Perth, Australia and wound its way across the world and into Europe by the following summer. It was the highest-grossing group tour of the year. The UK homecoming proved mixed as they elected to play just one festival, ‘The Return of the Knebworth Fayre’, at Knebworth Park on 22 June, 1985. Despite poor weather conditions, an audience of 80,000 attended the show that also featured Scorpions, Mama’s Boys and Meat Loaf amongst others. BBC Radio One broadcasted the set.

In 1987, the line-up recorded and toured in support of the album, The House of Blue Light. A live album, Nobody’s Perfect was released in 1988. A new version of “Hush” (sung by Gillan, who had not yet joined the band when the original recording was made), was also released to mark the band’s twentieth anniversary. In 1989, Ian Gillan was fired from the band because of a poor working relationship with Blackmore. His replacement was former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. This lineup recorded one album titled Slaves & Masters (1990). Though the album was a favorite of Blackmore’s, his bandmates were disappointed with the efforts of the album and tours.

Neither the album nor the tour were critically or commercially successful. Following its conclusion, Turner was fired from the band. Both Jon Lord and Ian Paice argued that Deep Purple needed Ian Gillan as the band’s frontman. Blackmore relented and Gillan returned prior to recording The Battle Rages On in 1993. During the support tour in late 1993, tensions between Gillan and Blackmore reached a climax and Blackmore left the band permanently. His last show with the band was in Helsinki, Finland on 17 November, 1993.

Gillan said: “Joe Satriani came in at the last minute. Blackmore walked out and the tour was taking off to Japan… it was all very dramatic. He said: ‘Alright, that’s the end of the band,’ and assumed because he left that we were going to fold up.” Satriani was asked to join full time but had to decline as he was tied into a long recording contract. A permanent replacement for Blackmore was eventually found in another guitar legend, Steve Morse of Dixie Dregs, who joined the band in 1994.

Ian Gillan, who had been Ritchie Blackmore’s roommate during the early days of the band, stated in a 2006 interview that Blackmore had “turned into a weird guy and the day he walked out of the tour was the day the clouds disappeared and the day the sunshine came out and we haven’t looked back since.” Gillan noted that after Blackmore “walked out, things picked up and recovered unbelievably, remarkably well and the band’s in great shape now”. He added that “there are certain personal issues that I have with Ritchie, which means that I will never speak to him again. Nothing I’m going to discuss publicly, but deeply personal stuff.”
(1993-1997) The second Rainbow years

Ritchie Blackmore reformed Rainbow after leaving Deep Purple a second time in 1993. This Rainbow line up with singer Doogie White lasted until 1997 and produced the album Stranger in Us All. In the years Rainbow was together, Blackmore was the only consistent member. Stranger In Us All failed to measure up to the critical and commercial acclaim of previous releases, possibly due to the popularity of grunge rock at the time and the fact it was not particularly well publicised. In 1996, he appeared on the tribute album to Hank Marvin and The Shadows “Twang” on Sting’s Pangea label with a rendition of Gerry Lordan’s Apache.
(1997-present) The Blackmore’s Night years
Ritchie performing with Candice Night

In 1997, Blackmore and his (now) wife Candice Night formed the Renaissance-inspired pop group Blackmore’s Night. They have also performed the music for MagiQuest, a live simulation game located in Myrtle Beach, SC. Their debut album Shadow of the Moon (1997) went gold in Japan and enjoyed some success in Europe. In subsequent albums, particularly Fires at Midnight (2001), there was an increased incorporation of rock guitar into the music, whilst maintaining a folk rock direction.

 

Musical style

 

With Deep Purple and Rainbow, Blackmore almost exclusively played a Fender Stratocaster. He is also one of the first rock guitarists to use a “scalloped” fretboard where the wood is shaved down between the frets.

One of Blackmore’s best-known guitar riffs is from the song “Smoke on the Water”. He plays the riff without a pick, using two fingers to pluck the D and G strings in fourths.

In his soloing, Blackmore combines blues scales and phrases with minor scales and ideas from European classical music. While playing he would often put the pick in his mouth to play with his fingers.

He has two guitar solos ranked on Guitar World magazine’s “Top 100 Greatest Guitar Solos” (“Highway Star” at #19 and “Lazy” at #74, both from the album Machine Head).

Equipment

During the 1960s Blackmore played a Gibson ES-335 but switched to a Fender Stratocaster after buying a second hand Stratocaster from Eric Clapton’s roadie. However, the guitar was deemed unplayable by Blackmore due to the fact that the intonation was too off to be fixed. Since then and right up until his Blackmore’s Night project Blackmore has used Stratocasters almost exclusively. The middle pickup is screwed down and not used, with only the bass and treble pickup selector set. Blackmore has also occasionally used a Fender Telecaster Thinline during recording sessions.

In the 70s, Blackmore used a number of different Stratocasters. However, around the time of the Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll album, Blackmore found one particular Strat that was his main guitar up until Blackmore’s Night. Like most of Blackmore’s guitars, this Strat had its fingerboard scalloped. The pickups in it have been changed quite a few times, as described below. Blackmore added a strap lock to the headstock of this guitar as a conversation piece.

His amplifers were originally 200W Marshall Major stacks which were modified by Marshall with an additional output stage (generated approximately 278W) to make them sound more like Blackmore’s favourite Vox AC-30 amp, cranked to full volume. Since 1994 he has used Engl valve amps. One of the reasons he cited was that the Marshall heads did not sound as good as the Engls at low volume.

Blackmore frequently used effects during his time with Deep Purple and Rainbow, (despite claims to the opposite). He used a Hornby Skewes Treble Booster in the early days. Around the time of the Burn sessions he experimented with an EMS Synthi Hi Fli guitar synthesizer. He would sometimes use a wah-wah pedal and a variable control treble-booster for sustain. Moog Taurus bass pedals were used during solo parts of concerts. He also had a modified Aiwa TP-1011 tape machine built to supply echo and delay effects. The tape deck was also used as a pre-amp. Other effects that Blackmore used were a Schulte Compact Phasing A, a Unicord Univibe, a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face and an Octave Divider. In the mid 80s he also experimented with Roland guitar synths. A Roland GR-700 was seen on stage as late as 1995-96, later replaced with the GR-50. Guitar synths are also used quite a bit in Blackmore’s Night. As an example, Blackmore plays with a slide over what is probably an organ patch in the beginning of Way to Mandalay.

His strings used during his tenures with Deep Purple and Rainbow were Picato brand (.010, .011, .014, .026, .038, .048) Blackmore has experimented with many different pickups in his Strats. In the early Rainbow era they were still stock Fenders, later Dawk installed overwound, dipped, Fender pickups. He has also used Schecter F-500-Ts, Velvet Hammer “Red Rhodes”, DiMarzio “HS-2”, OBL “Black Label”, Bill Lawrence L-450, XL-250 (bridge), L-250 (neck). He used Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound Flat SSL-4 for several years and since the late 80s he has used Lace Sensor (Gold) “noiseless” pickups. Blackmore’s gear was modified by John “Dawk” Stillwell of Dawk Sound Limited Dawk modified his Marshall Majors as well as his Fender Stratocasters. Dawk designed the Master Tone Circuit that was installed in all the guitarist’s guitars. Dawk worked for Elf with Ronnie James Dio when Elf toured with Deep Purple.

Plagiarism claim

Nick Simper, the bassist with DP Mk I, claims that he showed Ritchie Blackmore the riff from Ricky Nelson’s “Summertime” and that it was the basis for the first Mk II Deep Purple single “Black Night.” Roger Glover agrees in an interview with Rumba Magazine, November 1993 and says that he (Glover) insisted that they write new words and put it out as the single the record company wanted them to make. In mitigation he claims that they were all drunk. Nick Simper also identifies It’s a Beautiful Day’s Bombay Calling as a tune “which Mark II borrowed, and turned it into Child in Time“; Ian Gillan confirmed this in several interviews. It’s a Beautiful Day in return borrowed Purple’s “Wring that Neck” and turned it into “Don And Dewey” on their album Marrying Maiden. Blackmore also confirmed some of these claims in a Japanese TV interview.

 

Personal life

Blackmore has a son, Jorgen R. Blackmore (b. 1964), from his first marriage to a German woman named Margrit. Their marriage ended in 1969. He married another German woman, named Borbel Hardie in September 1969. His third marriage, in May 1981, to Amy Rothman, ended after divorce in 1987 (they separated in 1983). He and bandmate Candice Night have been living together since 1991 (they first met in 1989). The couple currently resides in Mount Sinai, Long Island, New York, USA. On Oct. 5, 2008, Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night married at the Castle on the Hudson. According to Ian Gillan, Blackmore is known to be a very difficult person. Gillan states, “He’s very difficult, he wants everything done his own way, he won’t listen to anyone else, and he doesn’t want anyone else to make any contributions to the music, as well as canceling tours at the last minute.” Ian Paice has also described him as being difficult, and Jon Lord has commented that he can be childish.

Carvin Announces JB200C Jason Becker Tribute Guitar

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San Diego-based Carvin Guitars has worked closely with neo-classical metal guitarist and composer Jason Becker to create a new tribute guitar, the JB200C.

For a while, Carvin and Becker had been considering a reissue of the flamed blue guitar made famous in the “kiss” photo, in which Becker is kissing the neck of his Carvin. The original guitar was a DC200 with the custom ST body shape and a flame maple fingerboard and flame maple body top.

The JB200C, which was created by Carvin’s Custom Shop, features an alder body, 4A flame maple body and headstock, flame maple fingerboard, Floyd Rose bridge with locking nut, Sperzel locking tuners, active/passive circuit and Carvin M22SD and M22V pickups.

Carvin has released a video paying tribute to Jason while documenting the making of the JB200C, and you can check it out below.

Becker, who rose to fame in the late ’80s on Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records, teamed up with guitarist Marty Friedman to form Cacophony. Becker joined David Lee Roth’s band in the early ’90s, appearing on the A Lil’ Ain’t Enough album. Before he could hit the road on the supporting tour, Becker was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He has survived decades longer than doctors had predicted. Although he can’t play guitar anymore, Becker continues to compose music and communicate using a customized computer interface.

For more information on the guitar, visit carvin.com.

The History Of: Jason Becker

 

Born on July 22, 1970, Jason Becker was first introduced to the guitar at the age of 5. Both his father (also an artist) and uncle were guitarists from whom he was able learn quite rapidly, becoming an excellent musician at an early age.

Even at a young age we would reportedly practice for over 10 hours a day to the likes of Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Eddie Van Halen. He was also heavily influenced by various world music, and like friend and fellow ex-Cacophony band member Marty Friedman, Jason’s compositions often feature exotic and unusual scales. By the time he was in the sixth grade Jason was already playing local coffee houses and school dances.

In high school Jason was introduced to Marty Friedman with whom he shared similar musical tastes and extraordinary musical talent. In 1986 the duo formed speedmetal band Cacophony, releasing their first album (Speed Metal Symphony) in 1987, at the age of only 17. Hailed as a masterpiece, Speed Metal Symphony features some of the most incredible, fast, complex and melodic guitar playing ever recorded. Following the release of a second album in 1988 (Go Off!) which proved a complete commercial failure, Cacophony disbanded.

Also in 1988, Jason released his first solo album, Perpetual Burn, a must-have for any shred guitar fan, full of the aggressive, classical-influenced (Paganini, in particular was a major influence) harmony, counterpoint and sweep picking that is Jason’s signature style.

In 1990, at the age of 20, Jason was offered Steve Vai’s place in the David Lee Roth band. With David Lee Roth he recorded A Little Ain’t Enough, which is largely considered to be David’s best solo album. Jason’s career had never looked better, until disaster struck. What began as a slight weakness in his left leg was soon diagnosed as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative nerve disease. His doctored estimated that he had at most 5 years of life left. Although he ignored the diagnosis for quite awhile, taking it as a temporary setback that would soon clear up, by the time recording of the album finished Jason’s ability to play guitar had diminished to the point where he had to depend almost entirely on the tremolo bar for vibrato.

Now unable to play guitar, Jason moved to his parents’ home. There, he found refuge in spirituality, which helped him come to terms with his condition. He places considerable credit for his prolonged life on Ammachi, his guru and on the teachings of Yogananda, which he follows. Supported by loving friends and family he began to compose through his computer and released an album of original material (played by other musicians), Perspective, in 1996. Since that time his condition has stabilized and two albums of demo-tape material were released, The Raspberry Jams in 1999 and The Blackberry Jams in 2003. There have also been unconfirmed mentions of a movie about his life in the works. To this day, Jason continues to write music out of his home in Glendale, California although currently he is focusing most of his energy on spiritual healing and writing.

 

Discography

 

  • Speed Metal Symphony (1987) with Cacophony
  • Go Off! (1988) with Cacophony
  • Perpetual Burn (1988)
  • A Little Ain’t Enough (1991) with David Lee Roth
  • Guitar’s Practicing Musicians: Volume 2 (1991) rare compilation CD featuring numerous established guitarists
  • Perspective (1996)
  • The Raspberry Jams (1999)
  • The Blackberry Jams (2003)A number of Jason Becker tribute albums have also been released, notably Warmth in the Wilderness Vol. I and II.

    Becker’s official site (very informative, lots of content, lots of great articles).

    If you have control over your mind, you can do anything.” – Jason Becker

Steve Vai Streaming New Song, “Gravity Storm”

 

Steve Vai: "Gravity Storm"
Stream a new track from Steve Vai’s upcoming new album, The Story of Light.

Just days after announcing plans to release his sixteenth solo album, The Story of Light, late this summer, Steve Vai is already giving fans a taste of new music with a track called “Gravity Storm.” Stream it below.

The Story of Light centers around a character who has been driven mad by grief, and will continue a thematic arc that that started Vai’s 2005 effort, Real Illusions: Reflections.

“I’m always pursuing knowledge, I’m a seeker of spiritual equilibrium-and music is a big part of that,” said Vai in an official press release. “I’ve been obsessed with these kinds of ideas for years.”

The Story of Light is out on August 14 via Favored Nations.

Available for pre-order on http://www.vai.com
Steve Vai – “Gravity Storm” Preview from his upcoming solo album “The Story of Light”