Get this crazy baby off my head!


Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen - Return of the Mother Head's Family Reunion - 2007 - R and C Ltd. / Columbia (Japan)

Guitar virtuoso Richie Kotzen burst onto the heavy metal scene as a teenager with a lightning-fast guitar technique. After recording three albums for the Shrapnel label -- including his 1989 self-titled debut, the following year's Fever Dream, and 1991's Electric Joy -- he was recruited into the party-metal group Poison to replace C.C. DeVille, who was forced out of the band due to his substance abuse problems. Kotzen recorded 1993's Native Tongue with the group, and the album showcased his shredding style as well as his blues-based influences. However, Kotzen left the band to return to his solo career, which included collaborations with fellow guitar hero Greg Howe. By the end of the '90s, Kotzen was also working with the latest lineup of Mr. Big, as well as the fusion group Vertú. In 1999 he released Bi-Polar Blues and the following year saw the domestic release of three albums -- Something to Say, Wave of Emotion, and What Is... -- which were previously available only in Japan. Slow and Change arrived in 2003, followed by Get Up in 2004 and Acoustic Cuts the following year. His first compilation, Instrumental Collection: The Shrapnel Years, was released in the summer of 2006, with the all-new Into the Black arriving later that fall. © Heather Phares © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/richie-kotzen-mn0000852081/biography

First off, I must warn everyone that when it comes to anything that has Richie Kotzen's name attached to it I am 100% biased, I will admit! I've been a devoted fan of all things Kotzen since I got his Fever Dream cassette in 1990. I am not so "blinded" as a fan that I won't admit when something isn't up to par with Richie's talent. Case in point, his 1999 release Break It All Down. That disc sonically was flat and sadly the writing and playing seem very un-inspired with the exception of the song "It Burns". However, with that being said, to say I was a tad leery of what was to come when Richie announced a few months back that the title of his forthcoming CD was Return Of The Mother Head's Family Reunion would be a MASSIVE UNDERSTATEMNT! To someone new to the abundant talents of Richie Kotzen, or to the casual listener, this wouldn't be that big of a deal, but to this devotee and to all his hardcore fans worldwide it was cause for us to hold our collective breaths. It would be the equivalent of the biggest Guns N' Roses fan to hear the news that their next album was to be titled 'Appetite For Destruction PT. II', because just like Guns N' Roses, only the frontman remains from the lineup that made the album such a benchmark for all things that Richie has done since 1994 or before are judged. Gone are drummer Atma Anur, bassist John Pierce (who played on the album but did not tour behind it, that was John Moore), and producer Richie Zito. In their place is powerhouse drummer Franklin Vanderbilt (who has toured with Richie in the past and played on his AI SENSHI ZxR:Music From The Animation Series Gundam, released in 2005), bassist Virgil McKoy who was discovered by Richie playing in a bar in Lancaster County, PA., keysman extraordinaire Arlan Schierbaum who has played on several of Richie's past solo albums, and taking over the production helm was Richie himself which to RK fans is nothing new considering most of his solo output was handled by himself. This album also marks the recording debut of Richie's beloved 10 year old daughter, August Kotzen. She definitely gives her Dad a run for his money. Mark my words, judging by the talent displayed on the four tracks in which she appears, she will, one day, make an impact on the music industry if she chooses to follow in her Dad's footsteps. Of course, it should be noted that her genes play a major role in that talent! The original Mother Head's Family Reunion, released in 1994 on Geffen Records, was an intimate look inside Richie's world at the time. Fresh from his stint in Poison, newly married, and set to make his major label solo debut, all eyes were on Richie. He had released three solo albums between 1989 to 1991 (two instrumental and one vocal) for the indie label Shrapnel Records. He also had a song on the 1991 soundtrack for Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey before joining Poison in January 1992. Mother Head's Family Reunion was a lyrical diary of sorts for all that happened in 1993-1994. Ever-present were the virtuosic guitar skills that made Richie stand out in the late 1980's/early 1990's guitar player scene. What was not expected with MHFR was the maturity and diversity shown not only as a guitarist but also as a songwriter and vocalist. This was due primarily and unjustly because of he was only 22 when MHFR was released and because of his tenure in Poison. Richie had grown leaps and bounds from his last solo output, Electric Joy, in 1991. Such growth displayed on MHFR was responsible for his expanding and loyal fanbase and for making the album his equivalent of Guns N' Roses' Appetite For Destruction or what IV/Zoso is considered to be by Led Zeppelin fans. HERE IS MY TRACK BY TRACK RUNDOWN............. GO FASTER (2:55): The title of the lead track is an indication of what to expect from this hard-driving tune. Showcasing Virgil's funky bass runs as well as an extremely catchy chorus. Richie tastefully returns to his shredder roots on the short-yet-sweet solo that will leave your head spinning. Arlan weaves some hypnotic sonic textures throughout and let us not forget the angelic background vocals of August Kotzen. Franklin keeps in right in the pocket with his subtle yet Bonham-esque drumming. This tune should make a fantastic opener for Richie's live shows in the near future as it certainly kicks this CD off to a scorching start! FEED MY HEAD (3:37): While the opening bars of this send-off tune are eerily reminiscent to the opening run of "Socialite" from the original MHFR, it fits as this appears to lyrically be a sequel of the aforementioned track. Franklin lays down a skull-crushing funkified backbeat fitting in perfectly with Virgil's Bootsy-esque bass licks. Enough can't be said for what Arlan brings to the mix. Richie's aggressive vocals bring to mind some of his heavier performances from his Forty Deuce project, while his guitar playing is exactly what his fans have to come to expect from him. Translated.....meaning, BRILLIANT! FOOLED AGAIN (8:00): Multi-layered vocal harmonies and Arlan's Floyd Cramer inspired touch give this epic a soulful heavenly feel. Virgil really shines, taking the listener on a journey compelling you to close your eyes and lock into the groove. This tune is soooooo good that if you will follow my advice and close your eyes and just 'feel it' that you will be stunned to learn that eight minutes had just went by! I can only imagine that live, this cut will be extended into a jam that would make the Allman Brothers Band quiver. CAN YOU FEEL IT (4:25): Opening with a blues boogie and vocal that is nothing short of an ode to ZZ Top. The boogie never stops while Richie's vocals head back to familiar territory for his listeners. The overall vibe of this romp is one of a Southern Baptist Church Tent Revival that makes you want to stomp n' rejoice along with it until its 110 degree heat makes you collapse. Franklin and Virgil are as great of a rhythm section as I've seen since first discovering Anthony Gomes' bassist Biscuit Miller and the long list of drummers who have kept the beat behind him over the years. Yet another blistering solo from Richie and let's not forget the 'beyond her years' harmonies of August. Billy F. Gibbons and the boys would be proud of this cut! YOU'RE CRAZY (5:19): WARNING.....Turn the bass down on this one because Franklin's subtle yet earthquake-inducing bass drum along with Virgil's 'right-there-in-the-pocket' groove will leave you and your abode trembling. Arlan's sparse keys have a H.I.M. tonality to them. Richie's wah-wah infused guitar intermingles beautifully with Arlan, leaving you wondering which is which. Lyrically, Richie seems to come from a 'lover scorned' point-of-view while trying to resist the temptation of returning to the one that caused him such pain. CHASE IT (3:52): Without a shadow of a doubt, this is my favorite song on this album. It takes me back to when I first heard Richie's angelic vocals on "A Woman & A Man" off of the 1994 CD. Richie's solo is one that would make Slash go back to the drawing board. This piano driven track is mixed with wonderful vocal harmonies, so much so that this could easily be a Top Ten radio hit here in the U.S. if it weren't for the close-minded, trend-chasing idiots who helm the major record companies of today! BAD THINGS (4:56): This track has a Doyle Bramhall II & Smokestack and The Black Crowes stank all over it!! For anyone who has ever heard those bands, you know that can't be a bad thing (sorry, I couldn't resist!). Richie channels some serious Jimi Hendrix mojo within his solo while the rest of the band holds down the fort throughout this chugging track. DO IT TO YOURSELF (3:45): Full of catchy hooks and a sing along chorus, lyrically this songs seems to be a cautionary tale. Maybe someone needs to lock up the young Hollywood scene into a room without their Blackberry's and cell phones and make them listen to this track over-and-over for an hour. It may do them some good but I highly doubt it. Similar in context to "Get A Life" and "Change" from Richie's 2003 album of the latter-mentioned name. It will inspire you to get off your ass and make some much needed improvements to your life if it's in need of such. Oh, and musically speaking, it is not too shabby either and will have you tapping your foot along for the duration. DUST (5:28): Starting off with a tasty run of the frets that would make Stevie Ray Vaughan proud, this cut will surely leave you in the dust if you are not careful (once again, I couldn't resist!)! By far the best guitar tone of the album is displayed on this cut. Not enough praise could be heaped upon Franklin and Virgil for the relentless groove they bring to the table on this cut and the album itself. Arlan blends in some psychedelic keys to make this song a lethal cocktail of energy! FAITH (6:40): This track starts off with Richie and Arlan blending their respective instruments into nothing short of an evangelical journey that has Virgil, Franklin, and August backing them up in their ever-graceful way. You feel a sense of deja-vu that takes you back to the 1993 Poison hit "Stand". It should be stated that contrary to what the album (Native Tongue) leads you to believe, that song was 99% Richie's with Bret changing a few words around (IMO, because he wouldn't have been able to sing it as it was wrote by Richie!). If you are in doubt, do yourself a favour and buy a Japanese import copy of Richie's 2004 album Acoustic Cuts. It features the song as it was, lyrically and melody wise, when Richie brought it to the band in 1992 but in its pure acoustic form. I'm off my soapbox now but "Faith" will leave you basking in a spiritual light that his purely Richie Kotzen and his band! YOU KNOW THAT (3:55): This fusion funky track takes you back to Richie Kotzen circa 1995-1997. Equal parts Inner Galactic Fusion Experience, Wave Of Emotion, and Something To Say, all albums from that era in Richie's vast discography, brought to today by each respective musicians' enormous talents. Arlan in particularly shines on this song. Once again the choir infused harmonies provided by August and her 'has to be proud' Poppa bring this tune into another level. Let us not forget yet another rippingly tasteful solo from the man! SATELLITE (4:15): I am usually not to keen on instrumentals by any means, largely due to the fact that the majority of them are ego stoking wankfests. This one is not one of them. Sure there are brief moments of the 'go for the spotlight' mentality for each musician involved that are common with instrumentals. It never takes away from the song as a whole. This song could have easily been from Inner Galactic Fusion Experience or the album Richie did in 1999 with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White called Vertu. To put it simply, this band is sheer virtuosity at its finest! In conclusion, Richie has returned to a more guitar oriented approach without sacrificing the song. This CD has far exceeded my lofty expectations, I NEVER thought I would see the day that Richie would release an album that would replace the masterpiece known as Mother Head's Family Reunion as my favorite in his impressive discography but HE HAS DONE IT WITH THIS ONE!!!! Rest assured he has done the 'legend' of MHFR justice, and then some! That being said, endless praise should be given to Franklin, Arlan, Virgil and August for the brilliance they brought to this album. The production, songwriting and musicianship are all top notch. I can only hope and pray that Richie keeps this lineup together for a long time to come...or at least until August decides to go solo. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND HAVE THIS ALBUM IMPORTED INTO YOU CD PLAYER, SURE IT WILL SET YOU BACK AT LEAST $30 BUT IT IS DAMN WORTH IT! Now, back to jammin' this badboy!... www.richiekotzen.com - www.myspace.com/richiekotzen Reviewed by & © Justin 'Crash' Crafton for Sleaze Roxx, July 2007. © http://www.sleazeroxx.com/bands/kotzenrichie/return.shtml

"Return of the Mother Head's Family Reunion" is the twelfth official studio album by the brilliant, virtuoso guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen. In the US this album was released with the title "Go Faster" with a different cover and songs order. The European release of the album contained the bonus track, Drift", and the Japanese issue featured here contains the bonus track, "Satellite". This is without doubt one of Richie Kotzen’s best albums. Richie Kotzen has described his own music as a mix of rock, blues, jazz, fusion, and soul music. “Return of the Mother Head's Family Reunion” bounces between all these genres, and throughout, his guitar work is stunning. RK has talent to burn! This album is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Listen to his “Fever Dream” and “Live In São Paulo/Bootlegged In Brazil” albums, and check out his “Peace Sign”, “What Is...”, “Instrumental Collection: The Shrapnel Years”, and “Greg Howe, Richie Kotzen Project” albums on this blog [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 120 Mb]


1 Go Faster 2:56
2 Feed My Head 3:38
3 Fooled Again 8:01
4 Can You Feel It 4:25
5 You’re Crazy 5:19
6 Chase It 3:52
7 Bad Things 4:57
8 Do It to Yourself 3:45
9 Dust 5:29
10 Faith 6:41
11 You Know That 3:56
12 Satellite (Japanese Version Bonus Track) 4:16

All tracks composed by Richie Kotzen


Richie Kotzen - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Virgil McKoy - Bass
Arlan Schierbaum - Hammond A-100 Organ, Wurlitzer & Rhodes Electric Pianos, Clavinet, Minimoog, Oberheim 2 Voice, Mellotron, Chamberlin, Acoustic Piano, Yamaha E-70
Franklin Vanderbilt - Drums & Percussion
August Kotzen - Additional Background Vocals on Tracks 1, 4, 10, 11


Richard Dale "Richie" Kotzen, Jr. (born February 3, 1970 in Reading, Pennsylvania) is a guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer. Currently he is touring with The Winery Dogs with Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan, supporting an album they recorded in Los Angeles in August 2012. Richie Kotzen began playing piano at the age of five. At the age of seven he was inspired by the band KISS to learn the electric guitar. He started his career in a band named Arthurs Museum. Kotzen was eventually discovered by Shrapnel Records' Mike Varney, and he recorded his first solo album by the age of 19. He created the video Rock Chops for REH video in 1989, highlighting many of his formative techniques, including using wide-intervals and fluid sweeping. In 1991, at age 21, Kotzen joined glam-metal band Poison, co-writing and performing on the album Native Tongue. This album produced two top twenty singles which Kotzen co-wrote, "Stand" and "Until You Suffer Some (Fire & Ice)". In late 1993, he was dismissed from the band for having an affair with drummer Rikki Rockett's fiancee, Deanna Eve. In 1999 Kotzen replaced Paul Gilbert as guitarist in the mainstream rock band Mr. Big, performing on their album Get Over It. He also contributed guitars to their subsequent release Actual Size. The record included the Kotzen song Shine, which debuted at number one on Japanese radio charts. After Mr. Big disbanded, Kotzen released the solo album Change, in 2003. The title track and the song Get A Life were featured in TV commercials throughout Japan. In 2002 Kotzen bought a commercial building in Los Angeles and established a recording studio and production company. He has since produced acclaimed solo albums and collaborated with various figures in rock (Gene Simmons), jazz and fusion, including jazz legend Stanley Clarke. In 2006 Kotzen was the opening act in Japan for The Rolling Stones on their Bigger Bang tour. In 2013 the super rock band, The Winery Dogs released their debut album on May 15, 2013 in Japan. Kotzen has described his style as a mix of rock, blues, jazz, fusion, and soul music. Of his albums, he claims he is most proud of Vertú. Kotzen utilizes a heavy amount of legato and sweeping in his playing. As his main influence he lists Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen, Jason Becker, who produced his first album, Allan Holdsworth and many other jazz and fusion players.


Touted as one of the best guitar players in the world, Richie Kotzen also possesses a voice on par with some of the greatest rock/soul singers and is highly regarded as a gifted songwriter. Richie has had an incredible journey into the world of music. With guitar styles ranging from rock, blues, jazz and fusion to pop and soul, Kotzen has built a remarkably diverse 20 year career as a guitarist, singer and songwriter. During that span, he has not only built an incredibly successful solo career, but has also found himself writing, recording and playing live with a variety of different artists, ranging from Pop/Rock bands like Poison and Mr. Big to Jazz/Fusion groups like Vertu featuring Kotzen and Jazz legends Stanley Clarke and Lenny White. Working with these artists has provided Richie with a great deal of in-studio experience, as well as the opportunity to tour the world, introducing him to an international audience. In fact, his immense popularity overseas led Kotzen to one of his greatest honors - touring as the opening act on the Japanese leg of the Rolling Stones’ 2006 “A Bigger Bang Tour”. A prolific songwriter, Richie has written several songs that have gone on to become hit singles around the world. His song “Stand.” written while a member of Poison, reached the top 20 on the Billboard charts. As the lead single off of their album NATIVE TONGUE, “Stand” was the catalyst for the album reaching platinum status. While with Mr. Big, Richie also enjoyed another milestone, having his song “Shine” reach #1 in both Europe and Japan. Richie has just released his 20th solo album, entitled PEACE SIGN. He continues to make amazing records and to tour around the world, playing stadiums, festivals, and clubs. His current tours have spanned several continents, including North America, Europe, South America and Asia. He has played with many other well known musicians, has performed on television programs such as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Live with Regis and Kelly,” and continues to appear in countless books, magazines and websites, being acknowledged as one of the top guitarists in the world! Kotzen is one of the few artists to be honored by Fender Guitar with not one, but two signature model guitars. The Kotzen Telecaster guitar has repeatedly been the #1 selling signature model guitar for Fender Japan. Cornford Amplification also honored Kotzen with his own signature series guitar amp (the RK 100) which in 2005 was voted Amp of the Year in the UK. In 2009, Zoom released the Richie Kotzen Signature Edition effects pedal (the G2R), providing a diverse range of tonal solutions programmed by Kotzen himself. Kotzen has amassed a catalogue of more than 25 albums and has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. “Touring and making music is my life. It is all I have ever done. I am very grateful to all the people around the world who have made that possible,” Richie humbly states. © 2013 • All Rights Reserved • Richie Kotzen http://richiekotzen.com/about/bio/


Bill Connors

Bill Connors - Double Up - 1986 - Pathfinder Records

Bill Connors (born September 24, 1949) is an American jazz musician notable for being a legato technique master, adept at both the acoustic and electric guitar, and successfully played jazz-rock, free and fusion material in the '70s and '80s. His best early solos were in the jazz-rock genre, where his use of distortion and electronics was balanced by fine phrasing and intelligent solos. His first great moment of fame occurred when he joined Chick Corea's Return to Forever in 1973, recording Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, though he quit in 1974 and was followed by Earl Klugh, who was then replaced by Al Di Meola. His decision to leave Return to Forever to concentrate more on acoustic guitar was satisfying artistically: he recorded three acoustic albums and then three electric albums as a leader/soloist, and recorded and performed with others. The quality, innovation and thoughtfulness of his work has always garnered strong praise. – WIKI.

Jazz guitarist Bill Connors is an accomplished performer whose finely developed musical sense and technical expertise have been honed over years of hard work and experience. Connors began to play guitar at the age of fourteen and, after three years of extensive self-study of the rock and blues influences that were his first inspiration, he began to play gigs around the Los Angeles area. He soon found his way to jazz, the music that would lead to a life-long commitment. With Chick Corea's Return to Forever on Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (1973), Connors spearheaded a new direction for guitar in jazz, and the guitarist soon became an established figure on the national and international scenes. Connors is equally adept at acoustic, electric and jazz guitar. On acoustic in the 1970's, he recorded solo albums Theme to the Gaurdian (ECM, 1974) and Swimming with a Hole in My Body (ECM, 1979), as well as with groups: Of Mist and Melting (ECM, 1977) with Connors as guitarist and leader, Jan Garbarek, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette. Connors also recorded with Lee Konitz, Paul Bley and Jimmy Giuffre in New York, and toured Europe, performing with composers Luciano Berio and Cathy Berberian. Returning to electric guitar, Connors performed and recorded with Jan Garbarek, Jack DeJohnette and John Taylor in 1977 (Places, ECM), with Garbarek, Taylor, Jon Christensen and Eberhard Weber in 1978 (Photo with Blue Sky, White Cloud, ECM), and with Tom Van Der Geld and Richard Jannotta in 1979 (Path, ECM). In the 1980's, Connors as leader recorded three albums on electric guitar for the Pathfinder/Evidence label: Step It (1985),with Connors, Steve Kahn, Tom Kennedy and Dave Weckl, and Double Up (1986) and Assembler (1987) with Connors, Tom Kennedy and Kim Plainfield. On jazz guitar in 2005, Connors recorded and released Return (ESC/ Tone Center): "Bill Connors has always lived and played ahead of the times...... masterful playing and infectious grooves... (Ari Messer, Guitar Player, June 2005). – from “The most precisely-made strings, by the leading innovator in string making”. © 2008 D'Addario & Co. All Rights Reserved http://www.daddario.com/DaddarioArtistDetails.Page?ActiveID=3777&ArtistId=41584&sid=05f1f456-ea96-447f-92a4-d2b88e3b612a

Guitarist Bill Connors has forged a successful career by mixing light, pop-oriented fusion cuts with more ambitious works that showcase his considerable solo abilities and compositional skills. This was a trio date with Connors (who doubled as producer) playing in an introspective vein, showing his funk and rock side, and then playing with more imagination and style. The playing time was quite short (35 minutes-plus), but there was enough of Connors' guitar work presented to satisfy his fans and fusion/pop/light jazz followers. © Ron Wynn © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/double-up-mw0000193744

For another fine example of blazing, burning, incendiary (did we mention fiery) legato guitar playing, look no further than Bill Connors work on "Double Up". A fan favorite, Connors hooks up with bassist Tom Kennedy and drummer Kim Plainfield to deliver fluid fusion in a trio setting in the Holdsworthian vein. Many remember Connors with Return To Forever (predating a young Al DiMeola), and his pedigree helped bring attention to this 1994 release. Six tracks, none less than about five minutes, means plenty of time to stretch, develop themes and -- solo! Which Connors handles with style and fire. Kick yourself if you've not discovered this fusion guitar delight. © 1996-2013 Guitar Nine All Rights Reserved http://www.guitar9.com/doubleup.html

Another great guitar based jazz fusion album from one of the best guitarist you may never have heard! HR by A.O.O.F.C. Listen to Bill’s “Return” album and check out this blog for more music by Bill Connors. Read a detailed bio at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Connors and read some detailed and very interesting info about him @ http://www.angelfire.com/oh/scotters/connors.html [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 81.6 Mb]


1. Subtracks (4:58)
2. Tud (5:30)
3. Floor To Floor (6:40)
4. Crunchy Cuts Up (5:45)
5. Long Distance (5:53)
6. Out By Twelve (6:39)

All tracks composed by Bill Connors


Bill Connors - Guitar
Tom Kennedy - Bass
Kim Plainfield - Drums

Bill Connors

Bill Connors - Step It - 1984 - Pathfinder Records

Music critic Gene Santoro in the May, 1985 issue of Guitar Player magazine describing Bill Connors playing on “Step It” said “the aching blues phrases sing with the expressiveness of early-to middle-period Clapton; the sudden note blizzards strike with the stark power of a John Coltrane sax solo”. E. Minkovitch in a review on Amazon.com on December 10, 2008 described “Step It” as “Fusion chop-o-rama with intelligence” and gave this album 5 ***** saying, “The yardstick by which to judge other neo-fusion albums, in my opinion. By neo-fusion I mean the new-school fusion sound of 80's and 90's, featuring crisp, metallic, processed sound, heavily relying on virtuoso guitar soloing, hard drumming and driving bass lines (UZEB, Tribal Tech, Allan Holdworth, Frank Gambale etc.). Bill does it extremely well. His solos, although as technical as it gets, are melodic and well though-out, yet spontaneous rather than planned. He uses speed expressively, rather than excessively. The compositions are interesting with plenty of tension and drive. There are heavy rock-like riffs, breath-taking shred-meister soloing, crystalline picking and fluid melodic lead lines to satisfy any rock and fusion fan. His rich, metallic-sounding chords provide all the harmony that's needed, replacing the need for keyboards. Perfect fusion sound. The only thing I can add - I wish I could play like that!” The great Steve Khan said, "It's hard to overlook the early Return to Forever or the Stanley Clarke debut solo recording, but.. again sentiment has taken over...but here is truly the FIRST guitarist to play fusion with a KILLER 'rock' guitar sound". The often enigmatic Bill Connors is probably best known as the guitarist on Return To Forever’s classic 1973 jazz fusion album “Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy”. Bill left RTF after one album and tour, due to differences he had with Chick Corea’s certain Scientology beliefs which Bill felt were stifling his own freedom of musical expression. He has gone on to a have a reasonably successful solo career. He has spent long periods focussing on classical guitar. He has also worked on several albums and released a few underappreciated solo jazz fusion albums as well as playing with legends that include Stanley Clarke, Jan Garbarek and Paul Bley. In recent years, he has even played again with a revived Return To Forever band. However, he is still an obscure musician to many music lovers. “Step It” is a great and very underrated fusion album with the emphasis on the funk/R&B and rock elements of Bill Connors' playing style. The eight tracks are dominated both by drummer Dave Weckl's prominent backbeats and Connors' dashing licks and riffs, as well as catchy hooks, progressions, and patterns from bassist Tom Kennedy. Bill’s playing on this album has been compared to Allan Holdsworth, but what fusion guitarist isn’t? Tracks like "A Pedal," "Brody," and the title track may not be melodically complex, but Bill Connors’ guitar playing is sophisticated and in a league of it’s own throughout the album which is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Read some detailed and interesting info about Bill Connors @ http://www.angelfire.com/oh/scotters/connors.html Check out his “Assembler” and “Swimming With A Hole In My Body” albums on this blog and Buy Bill’s great “Of Mist And Melting” album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 103 Mb]


1 Lydia 3:36
2 A Pedal 8:52
3 Step It 4:34
4 Cookies 4:51
5 Brody 4:15
6 Twinkle 5:59
7 Titan 6:36
8 Flickering Lights 5:11

All tracks composed by Bill Connors


Bill Connors - Guitar
Steve Khan - Second Guitar on Track 6
Tom Kennedy - Electric Bass
Dave Weckl - Drums


Bill Connors (born September 24, 1949) is an American jazz musician notable for being a legato technique master, adept at both the acoustic and electric guitar, and successfully played jazz-rock, free and fusion material in the '70s and '80s. His best early solos were in the jazz-rock genre, where his use of distortion and electronics was balanced by fine phrasing and intelligent solos. His first great moment of fame occurred when he joined Chick Corea's Return to Forever in 1973, recording Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, though he quit in 1974 and was followed by Earl Klugh, who was then replaced by Al Di Meola. His decision to leave Return to Forever to concentrate more on acoustic guitar was satisfying artistically: he recorded three acoustic albums and then three electric albums as a leader/soloist, and recorded and performed with others. The quality, innovation and thoughtfulness of his work has always garnered strong praise. Connors was born in Los Angeles, California in 1949 and began to play the guitar at the age of fourteen. After three years of extensive self-study of the rock and blues influences that were his first inspiration, he began to play gigs around the Los Angeles area. He soon found his way to jazz, the music that would lead to a lifelong commitment. "I'd been playing for about four years", he explained at the time of his RTF tenure, "and suddenly had an overnight change. I didn't want to be a blues guitarist anymore. I began listening to people like Bill Evans, Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery, [bassist] Scott LaFaro, Miles Davis, [John] Coltrane—anyone who had a 'jazz' label. Django Reinhardt really got to me. The first time I heard one of his records, I thought that was just what I wanted to be. He had all the fire, creativity, and energy that rock players have today. And the amazing purity of his melodies—you just knew they came from a totally instinctive place." He and Django differed however over the matter of electronics with Bill preferring the sound of the electric instrument. "I always wanted to use the electric guitar in a sophisticated context, like with Chick [Corea]. I like to play jazz with that electric-rock sound. For me it's a lot closer to a horn than the traditional guitar, and that's what I love about it; I can sustain notes, get into different kinds of phrasing -- do things other instruments do naturally, only the guitar does it with the aid of technology." Connors moved to San Francisco in 1972 to join the Mike Nock Group (formerly known as "The Fourth Way") with drummer Eddie Marshall and bassist Dennis Parker. He met up with drummer and vibraphonist Glenn Cronkhite, who would introduce him to a new depth of jazz sounds and study. In those early years in the city by the bay, Connors played with numerous top-flight musicians, including Cronkhite, bassist Steve Swallow and pianist Art Lande. In 1973, after sitting in on a gig, Connors was signed on to Return to Forever, keyboardist and composer Chick Corea’s pioneering fusion group that featured bassist Stanley Clarke and (then) drummer Steve Gadd. "A miracle!" Bill claims. "Chick was my hero. I wanted to be Chick Corea on guitar. I didn't know him, but whenever I really wanted to get off on music I'd play some of his piano solos and Return To Forever songs. I heard that Chick was looking for a guitarist. Steve encouraged me to call Chick, and though I was very nervous, I did, and he invited me to come over to the club where he was working and sit in. I was so scared that I almost turned him down. But after running around and saying to everyone, 'Guess who I'm going to play with tonight,' and everyone telling everyone else, all this energy was formulating—and I took to my room and practiced my ass off." That night, the fright totally disappeared. "The minute I got up on stage I had this feeling like I'd been preparing for this all my life. I was so relaxed that I felt as though I was in my own living room. Chick and I played musical games -- he'd play these real simple lines and I'd be giving my interpretations of them, then go off into the Chick Corea 'outness.' I ended up in New York two weeks later." With keyboardist and composer Chick Corea’s pioneering fusion group that featured bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White, Connors established himself on the national and international music scenes, touring in Japan and Europe, and recording the now legendary Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy. Connors' playing with the group and on Hymn... spearheaded an unprecedented direction for guitar in jazz. "It's hard to overlook the early Return to Forever or the Stanley Clarke debut solo recording, but.. again sentiment has taken over...but here is truly the FIRST guitarist to play fusion with a KILLER 'rock' guitar sound". - Steve Kahn. But there is often a problem when wishes come true; in April 1974, after the band's tour of Europe and Japan, Bill quit the group. The musical direction seemed to him to be changing from what it was when Connors joined. He explains, "Everything started getting less aesthetic, more rock. Just too much like Mahavishnu (John McLaughlin (musician)). I was having trouble expressing myself the way I wanted to in that context." Connor's disenchantment with the group also stemmed from certain objections to Corea's Scientology-inspired leadership style. "Chick had a lot of ideas that were part of his involvement with Scientology. He got more demanding, and I wasn't allowed to control my own solos. I had no power in the music at all. Then, we'd receive written forms about what clothes we could wear, and graphic charts where we had to rate ourselves every night – not by our standards, but his. Finally, we had to connect dots on a chart every night. I took all of it seriously because I had a lot of respect for Chick, but eventually I just felt screwed around. In the end, my only power was to quit." In 1974, Connors left RTF, and began to explore the New York jazz and session scene, performing with guitarist John Abercrombie and keyboardist Jan Hammer, and recording with bassist Stanley Clarke. "It was great, "he states, "because it wasn't this contrived thing in order to communicate to the audience. We were *playing* again and *learning* again, and it felt real good." During this period, record dates with artists as diverse as vocalist Gene McDaniels and Stanley Clarke kept the guitarist's creative impulses occupied with a variety of challenges—but not for long. "Around 1975, I'd decided to become a classical guitar player", he muses. "I did my first solo album in 1974, and just decided on the spur of the moment to do it all on acoustic. That was just such a contrast from blowing people's ears off with my 200-watt Marshall that it really started to capture me." A further impetus came with Connors' discovery of classical artist Julian Bream. "I was sitting with his album 20th Century Guitar [RCA, LSC2964] -- a real classic -- and it has this piece by [German composer] Henze that I really loved. It was just getting to me, so I sat down for a couple of days and transcribed it -- on my steel-string guitar, with my funny pick-and-finger technique [laughs]. When I got it, it gave me so much pleasure that I said, 'Okay, I'm going to be a classical guitar player.' And that's what happened." "I bought a bunch of books and a classical guitar, and started with the C scale, playing 'i m i m' [index, middle, index, middle], etc. For about three years, I practiced eight hours a day: up early, play for five hours, take a break, and play for three more hours. I'd throw in some extra hours if I could. My reading sure improved after that. You've got to understand that I come from an unschooled background—all my schooling is self-inflicted [laughs]. I like scales, technique, and intelligence, but they weren't natural for me. Being a blues player was natural for me, but it wasn't enough." Connors recorded his first solo album in 1974, Theme to the Guardian (ECM), making the switch from electric to acoustic guitar. At the same time, he began the next phase of his self-driven studies, taking it on himself to delve into transcriptions and studies of the works of classical guitarists. Two more recordings on acoustic guitar followed, 1977's Of Mist and Melting (ECM), with Connors as leader and on guitar, saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette and then, in 1979, another solo effort by the guitarist, Swimming with a Hole in My Body (ECM). During 1976 and 1977, Connors also recorded with Lee Konitz, Paul Bley and Jimmy Giuffre in New York. He toured Europe, performing with composers Luciano Berio and Cathy Berberian. Connors then returned to electric guitar, performing and recording with Jan Garbarek on Places (1978) and Photo with Blue Sky, White Cloud, Wires, Windows and a Red Roof (1979), and with Tom Van Der Geld and Richard Jannotta in 1979 (Path, ECM). In 1985, Connors recorded Step It (Pathfinder/Evidence), featuring Connors and Steve Kahn on guitars, Tom Kennedy on bass and Dave Weckl on drums. Music critic Gene Santoro said of Connors’ playing on the album: “the aching blues phrases sing with the expressiveness of early-to middle-period Clapton; the sudden note blizzards strike with the stark power of a John Coltrane sax solo ” (Guitar Player, May 1985). Connors’ next album, 1986's Double Up, again featuring bassist Kennedy but now with drummer Kim Plainfield, brought more accolades: “Connors is back, stronger than ever with one of the most dynamic, burning sounds in electric jazz” and “Connors soars, smolders, and screams; don’t miss it” (Jim Ferguson, Guitar Player, April 1987). The same trio (Connors, Kennedy, Plainfield) recorded Assembler in 1987, and again reviewers praised the sounds: “Connors’ flowing, passionate lines in the context of slippery, interactive funk grooves laid down by drummer Plainfield, a master of slick time displacement, and the accomplished 6-string electric bassist Tom Kennedy...the three reach a special accord... Bill Connors is in rare and ripping form” (reviewer Bill Milkowski). For the past years, Connors has been giving private lessons while continuing his stylistic and technical studies of the works of jazz greats. He’s now playing plectrum style on a classical jazz guitar, an archtop electric. Connors is a mature professional with a highly polished level of musicianship, a sure sense of direction, and the same overriding love for the music that has always been his touchstone. Recent press continues to praise Connors' work, his contributions to the field of music, and his continued innovations: "Bill Connors was the 'cry of love' in jazz/fusion guitar. He may be the most misunderstood, overlooked, and maligned character on the scene at the time" (Vernon Reid, notes to Columbia/Legacy box set 100 Years of Jazz Guitar). The following selection speaks to Connors' 2005 release, Return: "Bill Connors has always lived and played ahead of the times...... masterful playing and infectious grooves... If Connors' past albums can be likened to swimming in a pool at an all-night pool party, then Return is like taking a dive into the open sea... The band is so tight that much of the record sounds like a duet, with bass, drums, and percussion forming a singular rhythmic landscape for the piano and guitar to dance through like light beaming into a raindrop... All in all, Return is a mature and playful album. The musicians are responsive and fluid, in complete control of the music, and are unafraid to lead the listener into uncharted territory" (Ari Messer, June 2005, Guitar Player). "Playing a mellow-toned Gibson L5 through his own hand-crafted amp, Connors is an emotional, sophisticated and subtle soloist to go with flawless technique..." (Los Angeles Daily Times, February 2005). "Connors' perfectionism is evident... throughout,his tone is round and penetrating, considerably weightier than the typical jazz guitar sound; his technique, meanwhile, is flawless, his lines totally logical" (Adam Perlmutter, Guitar One). "The first thing that hits you about this record is the songs. They are memorable and sound great... The next thing that hits you is Bill's playing... a take on Coltrane's "Brasilia" is pure heaven. The ballad lets Connors demonstrate some haunting, bluesy, soulful playing that is, in a word, gorgeous" (John Heidt, Vintage Guitar). "Connors’ line of attack on Return is centered upon his supple, fingerstyle picking and clean jazz licks, augmented by a resplendent, medium-toned electric sound. He uses space as an effective vehicle, whether alternating between buzzing single-note runs or when improvising through a primary melody with pianist Bill O’Connell" (Glenn Astarita, DownBeat). ".. bill connors is about the guitar... yes ... but this album is about much more than guitar... you have to listen to these tracks more than once to experience the depth. connors shines when soloing... and o'connell hangs right with him. just catch the piano solo on 'mind over matter' ... they are pushed by plainfield who can groove yes... and stop on a dime ... shifting gears so seamless... he is incredible... ... one fact about 'return' and connors... the effects and processors for guitar are not there.. only pure tone of the Gibson L5 played through an amp crafted by connors himself... pure smooth tone... best displayed on the track 'try tone today'... ... it is all good... and then there is coltrane's brasilia.. oh my! so sweet" (dr. mike, February 17, 2005, RadioJazz.com). "Connors soars effortlessly through Latin-tinged numbers, funk-tinged blues, and his personal forte, elegant ballads, all conjoined by the shimmering, glasslike tone of his Gibson L5 lines and melodies. Pretty close to exquisite" (Jim Miers, Buffalo News). "Connors takes back seat to no one as a killer jazz guitarist, having won his spurs for his pioneering work in the original Return to Forever line up. Coming back after sometime away from recording, Connors makes the kind of date that used to be routinely issued by the majors when they still cared about music. Having the admiration of his peers, Connors is free to pursue his vision and he never abuses the fan's trust along the way. Dazzling set sure to be a staple on all the year end best lists come December" (Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap, Vol. 28, number 7, February 14, 2005). Connors is "back with an album that finds him in fine form with a completely unaffected and warm, big-bodied sound. Return has enough energy and groove to appeal to fusion fans but, without the bombast that is so often pegged with that genre, a more direct and economical approach that will appeal to those of a more purist persuasion... [Connors] retains that same sense of thrift, capable of lightning runs when necessary but always constructing solos that make sense and are more than simply a series of notes strung together. Return is, indeed, a welcome comeback from a guitarist whose reputation has never been less than stellar, even though he's never achieved the same level of stardom as some of his contemporaries" (John Kelman, all-about-jazz, 2/18/2005). "Guitarist Bill Connors wouldn't blame you for thinking that he's dead. Thirty years after bursting onto the burgeoning jazz-rock fusion scene with Chick Corea's Return to Forever, Connors is relaunching his recording career with his first release - Return (Tone Center) - since 1987's Assembler... 'I got motivated to get away from the music scene in the early '90s', said the 55-year-old Connors... 'I went through a real Wes Montgomery period in my teens when I was first discovering jazz... In a way, working with my students helped me get back to that because I was doing jazz transcriptions for them and listening to Bill Evans and Trane, stuff that I've always admired'. As a self-taught teenaged guitarist in Los Angeles, Connors went from delving into Montgomery and Django Reinhardt into attempting to meld the power of his favorite saxophonists with Eric Clapton's sweet tone. 'I wanted to get that big sound that Trane and Sonny Rollins got through amplified volume but integrate those singing lines that Clapton played'. His search led him to work with Mike Nock and Steve Swallow in San Francisco and then to an audition with Corea, who was looking to launch an electric quarter. 'Chick was like a god to me, so this was an incredible opportunity'. Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy garnered rave reviews, and Connors quickly assumed his place alongside John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell as electric guitar hero. His decision to quit the band after only a year and eschew electricity on three subsequent recordings for ECM stunned his fans. Looking back over three decades he's at a loss to explain the move. 'Maybe I should've just taken a few days off. It was a little rash'. But Connors isn't a man to harbor regrets. Instead, he looks back on his decision to pursue classical guitar studies in the late '70s as an opportunity to learn more about guitar music, and his experiments with acoustic fingerpicking as necessary to convince him that plectrum playing is his natural métier. The only thing that rankles about his decision to leave fusion behind is that his seminal role was forgotten by the time he returned to electric music the '80s with Step It, Double Up and Assembler. 'I don't have a huge ego, but it still hurt when people would tell me that I must've listened to a lot of Al Di Meola (who replaced Connors in Return to Forever),' Connors said. 'I was robbed of my identity, that my guitar was like a credit card that had been stolen and I'd been left to play the bill'... Although Connors isn't sure Return will lead to more recordings, he's enthusiastic about performing again and thinks he's back on the scene to stay. 'Music is not so mysterious now. I had a lot of impulses to try different things when I was young, but I'm more aware now of what I like', he said. 'I'm more into content and feel than volume. I don't play loud any more. It's all about whether the music is swinging'. (James Hale, DownBeat, April 2005). A 2011 review of Connors' playing on Forever offers more praise: "Bill Connors’ playing on this recording sounds just as fresh as it did in the mid-‘70s" (Jon Liebman, review of Forever, For Bass Players Only, September 2011).


Gus Drax

Gus Drax - In Search Of Perfection - 2010 - Gus Drax

Normally I'm not really a fan of instrumental CD's. Too often that kind of albums run away in idyllic noodling, endless frivolity or pointless haggling or the emotion of a singer is being missed unnecessarily. Aimlessly running around on the neck of a guitar and forgetting to write decent songs, simply does not speak to me. But none of this is happening on the album 'In Search of Perfection' by Gus Drax. Next to being the guitarist of the British band Biomechanical he is also, since early this year, picking the strings in Paradox and now he has released a self financed instrumental CD. The nine tracks that roar by show how an instrumental album should be constructed. It most definitely has its virtuoso and frivolous moments, but at no point this gets priority. The guitar playing is in service of the tracks, which, with the exception of one, all have a progressive speed and thrash metal sound. Only 'In Loving Memory' sounds subdued and sensitive. Without putting down the other tracks, especially 'Kiss Of Life', 'End Of Innocence', 'In Presence Of The Dead' or the fast, heavier 'Abnormal Sequence' are the gems of this instrumental album. Gus received some help from his friends with this album: Steve Smyth (ex-Forbidden, ex-Nevermore, ex-Testament) and Dimitirs Bournakas each play a short solo on the album and Bob Katsionis (keyboard - Firewind, Outloud) and Vasilis Liakos (bass) play along on the song 'Vitality'. Lovers of guitar heroes like Jeff Loomis, Jason Becker and Marty Friedman would do well to buy this album rapidly. To them 'In Search of Perfection' is a 100% compulsory purchase! © Patrick Verhoeven 86/100 © 1999-2013 Lords Of Metal ezine http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/en/reviews/view/id/16028

Three months ago we stumbled across a young Greek guitar virtuoso named Gux Drax, and based on the evidence of a few instrumental songs that were then available from a forthcoming solo album, we wrote a short post saying how blown away we were by what we were hearing. The complete album is now out, and we’ve had it on heavy rotation since it arrived from Greece. It’s called In Search of Perfection, and as far as we’re concerned Gus can ease up on the search — because it’s nearly perfect. We’ll tell you about that album and why you definitely should track it down, we’ll give you a song to stream from the album, and you can read our interview of Gux Drax — all that after the jump. Based on the evidence of In Search of Perfection, Gus Drax is a prodigiously talented dude. Not only can he stun you into awestruck silence with the level of his guitar skill, but the nine songs on In Search of Perfection, all of which Gus wrote himself, prove that he’s also an exceptionally gifted songwriter. Plus, he plays with two different bands (the UK’s Biomechanical and Germany’s Paradox). And did we mention that he’s only 22 years old? Shit, Paradox has been around longer than he’s been alive! There’s no clean singing on any of the songs on In Search of Perfection. Actually, there’s no singing at all. Just one mesmerizing instrumental performance after another. Most of the tracks are fast-paced and all are infectiously melodic (in addition to being compulsively headbangable). On those faster songs, Gus lays down some heavy rhythm guitar riffs, often at thrash-metal speed, and then establishes a memorable melodic theme with a guitar lead, to which he eventually returns from time to time. But as infectious as those melodies are, it’s what comes in between the choruses that really sends this album over the top. Using a variety of picking and playing styles and producing a variety of tones, Gus fills out the songs with amazing solo variations on the main themes, one jaw-dropper after another. The solos range from smooth, legato-style arpeggios to howling shreds that soar off into the stratosphere. And in each song, just when you think the solos have hit their pyrotechnic peak, Gus proves you wrong by shifting into an even higher gear and taking off into an even more mind-bending flight of guitar virtuosity. But the guitar playing on In Search of Perfection is much more than simply a display of technical mastery. The playing has heart and soul, and the depth of feeling in the sounds Gus produces may be the most amazing accomplishment of all for a musician so young. Similarly, the songs are not simply platforms for Gus to use in strutting his stuff — they really work as mature, fully realized songs that are memorable and just as awesome to hear for the tenth time as for the first. And speaking of soul, the one down-tempo track on the album, “In Loving Memory”, is really one long, emotionally powerful, deeply soulful solo. It’s filled with melancholy, but not gloom; it is instead quite strikingly beautiful. Gus didn’t play every instrument on the album, but the allies he enlisted to round out the sound are very good. Vasilis Liakos does solid work on bass and Bob Katsionis (Firewind, ex-SepticFlesh) injects some beautiful keyboard stylings (in addition to playing bass on “Vitality”). Dimitris Bournakas provides a brief guest solo at the end of “Abnormal Sequence,” and Steve Smyth (ex-Nevermore, ex-Testament) a second guest solo, also brief. The drums were programmed. We wouldn’t have complained much if In Search of Perfection had at times been uneven; this is, after all, the debut work of a young musician beginning to stretch his wings. A few diamonds in the rough would have been just fine. But the truth is, there are no weak spots on the album. All the songs are strong, and they stay with you. If you’re interested in listening to some first-rate, high-energy prog metal by a star on the rise, definitely check this out. Mark our words: you will be hearing a lot more about Gus Drax in the future. Five songs from In Search of Perfection are now available for streaming on Gus’s MySpace page. So, we’ll give you a sixth one to hear right now. Buckle your seatbelts © 2013 NO CLEAN SINGING http://www.nocleansinging.com/2010/04/26/gus-drax-in-search-of-perfection/

Perfection is impossible, and for that we should all be eternally grateful. It would kill ambition, murder desire, suffocate aspiration, rape hope; these are the things that make life worth living, the elements of contrast that make us appreciate what we have accomplished and what we have yet to achieve. Now, that isn't to say that some people get much closer to the impossible than others. Take Gus Drax: this Greek shred psycho plays with astonishing speed, technicality and finesse well on par with resident bullies of the guitar instrumental block like Satriani, Malmsteen, Vai as well as Prog veterans Petgrucci and Batio, but with a nice peppering of malevolent chaos, demonstrating with intensity why he is the string master for England's number one Industrial Metal juggernaut, BIOMECHANICAL (check out "Cerebral Chaos" for the ultimate example). Combined with a stunning knack for tinkering with your emotional EQ through sweeping melody, the grand guitar virtuosity presented consumes our senses with an inherent certainty that Gus Drax has travelled far and attained much "In Search Of Perfection". Implementing fluid arpeggios, searing sweeps, precision picking, soaring solos and other masterful techniques, Gus takes the listener on a multi-textured roller coaster through pensive lulls and grinding builds, cresting epically and frequently, twisting and turning through stylistic variations with hypnotic ease. Oh, and by the way - he's only 23. You know those young guitarists who made an early impact on the Metal scene - the stunning rise of then-13 year old brothers Waclaw (Vogg) and Witold (Vitek, R.I.P) Kieltyka with Poland's legendary DECAPITATED, for example - all righteous in their own rights, and even in cases of the most elite young musicians, they are countable as peers with whom Gus Drax must be considered as one of the best ever. Listen to the Funk-flavored "1,000 Nights", the grand majesty of "In Presence Of The Dead", and the menacing ferocity of "Abnormality Sequence", then ask yourself: If he's capable of such an elite magnitude of instrumental mastery already, where does he go from here? Perfection will forever remain as distant as the setting sun, but when you're standing as close to it as Gus Drax, it's no wonder he wears sunglasses all the time. By & © Brian Davis © 2004-2013 Metaleater Media, Inc - All Rights Reserved. http://metaleater.net/albumreviews-gusdrax2010.php

Originally the shredder for that seminal U.K. progressive thrash behemoth Biomechanical, Gus Drax has now blazed his own trail and released an album he can call his own. Its ambitious title proves a fitting declaration of intent once Gus lets it rip at the glorious opener Kiss of Life. His playing won't be lost on fans of Jeff Loomis, Michael Amott, and even that other Greek wunderkind, Gus G., all guitarists who have the neo-classical touch in their own repertoire's. The same flare for technical bombast and sonic drama courses though each salvo of impeccable musicianship on this album. Consistent from first song to last and still endowed with enough variety that lends the whole effort a unique character, Gus is in great shape whether the occasion calls for no-holds-barred shred (Cerebral Chaos) or the improvisational swagger of 1,000 Nights. What the breadth of his talent reveals is he's no one trick pony. Gus Drax may have arrived on the masterful Biomechanical opus Cannibalized (buy it, it's one of those rare albums both awe-inspiring and technical), but his ambition ranges far beyond the confines of thrash…even if he recently joined German thrash band Paradox last January. Since consistency is a reliable measure of a good album, In Search of Perfection is a damn fine album by any measure. Not only does Gus prove he's a guitarist to be reckoned with (if he's already this good at 22, what more by the time he's in his 30s?) but a man dedicated to songcraft as well. This explains why he's able to combine his brilliant displays of technique with oozing drama. For proof there's the tender twists and turns of In Loving Memory, the soaring In the Presence of the Dead that puts most power metal virtuosos to shame, and the flawlessly executed bonus track Vitality. But In Search of Perfection would not have been realized hadn't Gus' collaborators lent him a hand. Fellow Greeks John Symionis and bassist Vasilis provide the rhythm section for all the tracks here. Also included are contributions by ex-Nevermore guitar whiz Steve Smyth plus Dmitris Bourrakas and Bob Katsionis. Except for Smyth, none of them are 'name' musicians but without their efforts, In Search of Perfection would not be the worthy introduction to Gus Drax that it is. Review: by & © Miguel Blardony, 06.21.2010 ©1999-2013 Craig S. Hartranft http://www.dangerdog.com/2010-music-reviews/gus-drax-in-search-of-perfection-review.php#.UpUpVcRdXAw
I am in such a state I have only been specific times in my life before. It is this feeling of a discovery that it feels like it’s going to change a lot. Inside you and around you as well. Now, somebody would ask logically ”How can this be happening with just a musical album?” and there comes the part you must answer in a way to make him understand what you say, without being overreactive or use exaggerated adjectives. I only have to say that in a world where everybody are trying about this one hit wonder, that will lead them to the doors of a big record company, this first attempt of Gus Drax, is more than a diamond shining, in a place where mud and dirt takes over. The only thing someone must do to find it, is dig in unknown depths. The treasure lies in front of his eyes (and ears as well). Little I should say about this album, consisting of nine songs and 48 minutes of pure poetry without words. To create a full instrumental album in the year of 2010 is more than commercial suicide. But not for this guy. Not only he was not afraid to produce this masterpiece, but he also put so much love into it, that you can tell even from the first notes of ”Kiss Of Life” there’s something special moving on here. My first contact with him was in a show of Biomechanical, where he had the difficult tusk to play on his own the insane work of two guitar players. Not only I was astonished by his presence, but I also called him ”New Jeff Loomis” in my heart, regarding his strong and direct playing, his insane solos, even his seven-string guitar. Now he proves me that he’s so much more than that. In this album you will find crazy songs like ”The End Of Innocence” or ”Cerebral Chaos”. Representative enough of his skills and influences, they make us float in this sea of rapidly changing emotions, especially with tracks like ”In Loving Memory” (in this one, it’s like seeing the spirit of Criss Oliva smiling, not for any particular reason, that’s what just came to my mind) with its great melodies and the touching solos. He can remind you of great players, like his beloved John Petrucci, the glory days of Jeff Loomis in Nevermore and his personal albums, Marty Friedman in his Cacophony days and his first personal albums and many more. The most impressive is the way he shows us how complete he is as a guitar player, combining multiple styles, but in the end, leaving his personal mark on all of these. A great example of his diverse riffing could easily be ”Hourglass”, which could have been a melodic Biomechanical song. Pure insanity with Gus racing against only himself, leaving everyone and everything behind. In the age of 23 he shows such talent and vision for the future, than when he becomes even greater in status, he will refer to this album with pride. And believe me, he’s going to be so right you can’t imagine. This album is for sure the beginning of a history to be written in golden pages. The signs are clear and only if he doesn’t want to, he won’t be standing next to the greatest one day. ”1000 Nights” is a tribute to his favourite group Dream Theater, while ”In Presence Of The Dead” and ”Abnormal Sequence” raise barriers to all those that will try to copy him and will be proved amateurs. Finally, we have ”Vitality” as a bonus track which closes ideally an album that will be a companion for life. This search for perfection was succesful in all ways for little Gus and the first step, meaning recognition is already achieved. He dared and he won. Also winners in this case are all listeners of good and full of quality music. A win/win situation that will open new soundscapes in the future, as i have the feeling he’s going to offer us much more in the years to come. Don’t miss the chance to be part of something unique and full of honesty. In a time where nothing is more permanent than what just comes and goes, Gus Drax is here to stay with us all. Perfection you said? Only a matter of time! September 12, 2010 © 2008 - 2013 Metalpaths. All Rights Reserved. http://www.metalpaths.com/reviews/2010/09/12/gus-drax-in-search-of-perfection/

Gus Drax was born on September 21, 1987 in Larissa, Greece. He has been playing guitar since he was 14 years old and is regarded as one of the most talented guitarists ever to come from Greece. More albums like this and maybe people will finally take notice of this amazing Greek guitarist. Regina Coles of ESETSTA MUSIC made the comment, “It’s ironic that this young prodigy has not been exposed to the world. That is going to come into fruition this year as many jump on board the DRAX fan cart. We really appreciate this great talent. We've been waiting for his greatness for a long time. Wonderful talent”. Wonderful album as well and HR by A.O.O.F.C. Buy this album and support the lesser known artists out there who are drowning in a sea of contrived commercial trash masquerading as music. Anybody got their Boyzone concert tickets yet? May your God forgive you! (lol)! [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 120 Mb]


1. Kiss of Life 3:50
2. The End Of Innocence 5:36
3. Cerebral Chaos 5:06
4. In Loving Memory 7:09
5. Hourglass 4:35
6. 1000 Nights 3:46
7. In Presense Of The Dead 7:28
8. Abnormal Sequence 6:56
9. Vitality (Bonus Track) 4:29

All tracks composed by Gus Drax


Gus Drax - Guitars, Drum Programming on six tracks
Dimitris Bournakas, Steve Smyth - Guest Solo Guitars on Track 8
Vasilis Liakos - Bass
Bob Katsionis - Bass on Track 9, Keyboards
Kostas Milonas - Drums on three tracks


Simone Fiorletta

Simone Fiorletta - My Secret Diary - 2007 - Lion Music

Italian guitarist Simone Fiorletta returns fresh from the critical praise poured on his work on Moonlight Comedy’s recent ‘Dorothy’ album with his second solo album “My Secret Diary”. With a reputation as one of the worlds most exciting new players thanks to his previous solo work ‘Parallel Worlds’ and the blazing guitar firepower heard on Moonlight Comedy’s two Lion Music releases to date. “My Secret Diary” sees Simone evolve his approach to the solo album concept bringing a more refined style and expressive sound through a myriad of styles all showcasing Simone’s versatility on the instrument. Influenced by life and his emotions Simone describes the album as, “A mirror of my soul” and its this very personal touch that makes ‘My Secret Diary’ a very accessible album for any music fan. It’s easy to hear why guitar lovers the world over are quickly recognising the Fiorletta brand of guitar magic. The ten tracks on “My Secret Diary” sees Simone team up with a world class backing band of Andrea De Paoli (Labyrinth) on keyboards, Pasko (Cans) on bass and legendary drummer Tony Liotta (Sting, Tina Turner and many more) for a truly enjoyable release. © 2004-2013 GuitarEuroMedia http://www.guitareuromedia.com/simone-fiorletta-my-secret-diary-p-415?osCsid=50ff8e2aec50ed42af19de721314d621

Good instrumental melodic rock with incisive guitar solos and amazing keyboards from Andrea De Paoli. At times the album can be a little “sweet”, but Simone is not trying to be another Wayne Krantz and there is no doubting this guy’s astounding guitar talents. Check out Simone’s “Parallel Worlds” album and read an interview with him @ http://www.guitar9.com/interview120.html [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 112 Mb]


1. A Day In California 5:21
2. I Came Back 5:53
3. To Fly Over The Rainbow 5:02
4. Welcome, Anita! 6:29
5. Only Three Minutes To Dream 3:39
6. Borderline 4:45
7. You Are My Past, Present, Future 3:44
8. Brawl In A Saloon 5:10
9. The Beginning Of A New Era 5:02
10. Good Bye 5:26

All tracks composed by Simone Fiorletta except track 7 composed by Andrea De Paoli


Simone Fiorletta - Guitar
Pasko - Bass
Andrea De Paoli - Keyboards
Tony Liotta - Drums


The Howland/Imboden Project

The Howland/Imboden Project - The Howland/Imboden Project - 2001 - The Howland/Imboden Project

The Howland/Imboden Project is an all instrumental jazz/rock/fusion project with a strong emphasis on songs and a good dose of improvisation as well. The project features Keith Howland on guitar and Tris Imboden on drums, both current members of the legendary band Chicago. Also featured on the disc are fellow Chicago bandmates Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Bill Champlin, and Jason Scheff as well as Jeff Babko (keys, Simon Phillips), Jimmy Earl (bass, Chick Corea, Robben Ford), David Garfield (keys, Los Lobotomys), Lance Morrison (bass, Don Henley), Kevin Ricard (percussion, Stevie Wonder), Mark Russo (sax, The Yellowjackets, Doobie Bros.), Steve Weingart (keys, Dave Weckl Band), and Horace Williamson (keys, Sam I Am). The project was great fun to make as there were no preconcieved notions for a direction or any restrictions. The disc has 60 minutes of music ranging from straight ahead rock to latin tinged jazz. We did not set out to make a certain type of record, we just set out to make ourselves happy making music. Hopefully you will enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it! - Album Notes © http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/howland

Mostly all instrumental jazz/rock/fusion at its finest, as Keith Howland repeatedly lays out fusion/rock flight after flight, punctuated with high-energy rock freakout where appropriate. An essential addition to your collection of Keith Howland discs, and a great introduction to his music if you`re just discovering the man for the first time. Keith Howland started like most kids with the Mel Bay books and a rented acoustic guitar when he was about seven years old. He had private lessons on and off all of his life but he is basically self-taught. Keith auditioned with the band Chicago in 1995 and got the gig over a roster of impressive candidates. Tris Imboden's consummate, innovative talents have established him as an eminent drummer whose unique style has garnered him a well-deserved ranking as a world-class drummer. Both communicative and emotive, Tris finds himself at home with a myriad of styles that spans generations and cultural borders. Whether it's rock, jazz, Latin, funk or blues, he imprints his own signature style while entertaining audiences around the world. Tris and Keith decided to pair up for their first solo fusion projects, and the results speak for themselves. Virtually all of the members of Chicago are featured on this disc along with special guests Jeff Babko, Mark Russo, David Garfield, Steve Weingart, Kevin Ricard, Lance Morrison, Jimmy Earl, and the amazing Horace Williamson. This album is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Keith and Tris keep busy with annual Chicago tours, and play live gigs around the Los Angeles area. Buy The Howland / Imboden Project’s “Live At The Baked Potato” album and support real music and top notch modern fusion [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 136 Mb]


1 Don't Wake The Baby (Keith Howland/Tris Imboden/Lance Morrison) 7:58
2 Theme From A Love Dream (Robert Lamm/Keith Howland/Tris Imboden) 7:29
3 Cement Mixer (Keith Howland/Tris Imboden) 3:34
4 Your Old Thingy (Keith Howland/Tris Imboden/Lance Morrison) 7:46
5 Fallin' In A Hole (Keith Howland/Tris Imboden/Lance Morrison) 6:04
6 Philly Blue (Keith Howland) 3:32
7 Friday The 13th (Keith Howland/Tris Imboden/Lance Morrison) 5:48
8 Sharp Funk 5 (Keith Howland/Tris Imboden/Lance Morrison) 8:35
9 Inching Towards...? (Robert Lamm/Keith Howland/Tris Imboden) 5:22
10 Mr. Ceiling Fan (Keith Howland/Tris Imboden/Lance Morrison) 4:14


Keith Howland: Guitars (All Tracks), Keyboards (5,6)
Lance Morrison: Bass (1,4,5,6,7,8,9,10)
Jimmy Earl: Bass (3), Fretless Bass (6)
Jason Scheff: Electric Upright Bass (2)
Steve Weingart: Keyboards (1)
Robert Lamm: Keyboards (2,9)
David Garfield: Keyboards (7)
Horace Williamson: Keyboards (10)
Bill Champlin: Electric Piano, Hammond B-3 (3)
Jeff Babko: Electric Piano (4)
Tris Imboden: Drums (All Tracks), Harmonica (5)
Kevin Ricard: Percussion (2,4,6,7,8,9)
Mark Russo: Alto Saxophone (3)
Lee Loughnane: Trumpet, Flügelhorn (2)
James Pankow: Trombone (9)
Grace Howland: Vocals (1)
Hank Steiger: Inspiration (5)

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani - The Extremist (Japanese Edition) - 1992 - Sony Records

The Extremist lives up to its name, continuing Joe Satriani's tradition of exploring new musical and compositional ground. A vastly different array of musicians assists him in creating the songs displayed on this all-instrumental disc, and as such the songs are different from even the usual envelope-pushing Satriani fare. The chugging "Summer Song," the warm "Friends," the slamming "Motorcycle Driver," and the crunching "The Extremist" show Satriani's talents as a guitarist are undiminished, while the more traditional neo-folk approach to "Rubina's Blue Sky Happiness" and the bluesy "New Blues" are different from anything he has done before. So, too, is the droning rock of "War" and the plaintive, questioning funk-rock of "Why." © Phil Carter © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-extremist-mw0000084603

"The Extremist" is a particularly appropriate title for this release, as Satch continues his tradition of exploring new musical ground and the 'extreme' guitar sound. Teaming with producer Andy Johns and aided by the brothers Bissonette (Gregg, drums and Matt, bass), Satriani's guitar talent shines through as he delves into the blues ("New Blues"), neo-folk-with-banjo ("Rubina's Blue Sky Happiness"), funk-rock ("Why") and some concert crowd pleasers ("Summer Song", "Friends"). Guaranteed not to disappoint guitar fans seeking slamming riffs and well-executed solos. © 1996-2013 Guitar Nine All Rights Reserved http://www.guitar9.com/theextremist.html

Not as fusion orientated as some of Joe’s other albums like “Surfing With The Alien”. Joe’s guitar never “overfloods” the album. This is one of Joe Satriani’s more diverse albums but his guitar work is superb. The Japanese album issue here contains the bonus track, “Crazy”. Read a detailed review of “The Extremist” @ http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/11350/Joe-Satriani-The-Extremist/ Listen to Joe’s great “Time Machine” album. [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 122 Mb]


1. Friends (3:29)
2. The Extremist (3:44)
3. War (5:48)
4. Cryin' (5:43)
5. Rubina's Blue Sky Happiness (6:11)
6. Summer Song (5:00)
7. Tears in the Rain (1:19)
8. Why (4:45)
9. Motorcycle Driver (4:58)
10. New Blues (7:03)
11. Crazy (Japanese Bonus Track) (4:09)

All tracks composed by Joe Satriani


Joe Satriani - Guitar, Bass (tracks 8, 10), Banjo, Mandolin, Dobro, Keyboard, Synthesizer, Harmonica
Matt Bissonette - Bass (tracks 1–6, 9)
Doug Wimbish - Bass (track 5), Spoken Vocals
Phil Ashley - Keyboard (track 6), Synthesized Strings, Synthesized Trumpet, Squeezebox
Andy Johns - Organ (2, 9)
Brett Tuggle - Organ (4)
Gregg Bissonette - Drums (tracks 1–6, 8, 9)
Bongo Bob - Drums (track 8), Percussion (track 8)
Simon Phillips - Drums (tracks 5, 10), Tambourine
Paulinho da Costa - Percussion (tracks 2–4, 6, 8, 9)
Jeff Campitelli - Cymbals (track 10)


Along with teaching some of the top rock guitar players of the '80s and '90s, Joe Satriani is one of the most technically accomplished and widely respected guitarists to emerge in recent times. Born on July 15, 1956, in Westbury, New York, and raised in the nearby town of Carle Place, Satriani -- inspired by guitar legend Jimi Hendrix -- picked up the guitar at the age of 14 (although he was initially more interested in the drums). Quickly learning the instrument, Satriani began teaching guitar to others and found a kindred spirit in one of his students, Steve Vai. By the late '70s, however, Satriani had relocated to Berkeley, California. With his sights set on his own musical career, "Satch" kept teaching others, including such future rock notables as Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Larry LaLonde (Primus), David Bryson (Counting Crows), and jazz fusion player Charlie Hunter. In the early '80s, Satriani got a gig playing guitar with power popster Greg Kihn, doing some session work and touring with the group (an archival release recorded around this time, King Biscuit Flower Hour, was later issued in 1996), and issuing his own solo self-titled EP in 1984, financing and releasing the project entirely on his own. But when Vai hit the big time as the guitarist of David Lee Roth's solo band in 1986, he offered praise for his good friend and former teacher in several major guitar publications, leading to widespread interest in Satriani's playing. The timing couldn't have been more perfect for Satch, as he'd just issued his first full-length solo album, Not of This Earth, which automatically made ripples in the rock guitar community. But the best was still to come, in the form of his sophomore release, 1987's Surfing with the Alien. Almost overnight, Satriani was widely regarded as one of rock's top guitarists, as the album earned gold certification and the guitarist would finish at the top of guitar magazine's polls for years afterward. He was even handpicked by Mick Jagger to accompany the famous singer on a tour of Australia and Japan around this time. A stopgap EP, Dreaming #11, combined both studio and live tracks and was issued a year later, and in 1989, Satriani issued his third solo full-length, Flying in a Blue Dream. Another sizeable hit, the album also marked Satch's debut as a vocalist on several tracks. His career received another big push the same year when his song "One Big Rush" was included on the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe's hit movie Say Anything. The '90s began with Satriani creating his own line of guitars for the Ibanez company (the JS Joe Satriani model), but it wasn't until 1992 that he would issue his next solo release, The Extremist. The double-disc set Time Machine followed a year later (a combination of new tracks, live material, and the long out of print Joe Satriani EP from 1984), and in 1994, Satch filled in on tour for the departed Ritchie Blackmore for heavy metal pioneers Deep Purple. Although he was asked to become a full-time member, Satriani turned down the offer to return to his solo career. Satriani issued two more solo albums during the '90s -- 1995's self-titled release and 1998's Crystal Planet -- and also started the G3 guitar showcase tour with Vai in 1996, which became an annual event; Satriani issued a live document of the tour's initial run, G3: Live in Concert, a year later. 2000 saw Satriani issue his most musically daring release yet, the electronic-based Engines of Creation, and a year later, Live in San Francisco. Engines was nominated for a Grammy the next year, and after a successful tour he stepped back into the studio. The result, Strange Beautiful Music, was released in 2002. Electric Joe Satriani: An Anthology arrived in 2003, followed by Is There Love in Space? in 2004, Super Colossal in 2005, and Satriani Live! in 2006. In addition to his own albums, Satriani has guested on several other artists' albums over the years, including Blue Öyster Cult's Imaginos, Alice Cooper's Hey Stoopid, Stuart Hamm's Radio Free Albemuth, Pat Martino's All Sides Now, and Spinal Tap's Break Like the Wind. Satriani's thirst for collaboration extended to him joining forces with ex-Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony for the 2009 supergroup Chickenfoot. The next year, Satriani returned to his guitar pyrotechnics with Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards. For that album, he recorded the 3-D special Satchurated: Live in Montreal, which was released on Blu-Ray and double-CD in 2012. Satriani returned to solo duty in 2013 with the new studio album Unstoppable Momentum. © Greg Prato © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/joe-satriani-mn0000805785/biography

David T. Chastain

David T. Chastain - Elegant Seduction - 1991 - Leviathan

David T. Chastain (born in Atlanta, Georgia on 31 August 1963) is an American guitarist and owner of Leviathan Records and Diginet Music. Chastain is a metal guitarist who emerged in the mid-'80s along with a wave of other neo-classical guitarists. He has released about 50 recordings under multiple names, including David T. Chastain, CJSS, Georgia Blues Dawgs, The Cincinnati Improvisational Group, SPIKE, Zanister, Ruud Cooty and Southern Gentlemen (blues-rock) as well as a number of heavy metal releases under the band name Chastain, accompanied by female vocalist Leather Leone. In more recent years, David has worked as a record producer at his own company, Leviathan Records. His label specializes in discovering and promoting new talents, specializing in guitarists and bands. He also runs Diginet Music, a company specializing in rare, unreleased or out-of-print music. - Wiki

Although guitarists such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Yngwie Malmsteen received the lion's share of publicity and commercial success during the heyday of "guitar shredders" back in the '80s, David T. Chastain has been slugging it out for just as long, yet never achieved the same level of recognition as the aforementioned instrumentalists. With his mastery of the six-string and talent for effortlessly reeling off lightning-fast neo-classical licks, Chastain has been releasing albums since the mid-'80s, either as a solo artist or as part of the bands Chastain and CJSS. David Chastain was one of the first artists signed to Mike Varney's Shrapnel label (which specialized in technically accomplished rock guitarists), resulting in such shredder classics as Mystery of Illusion and Ruler of the Wasteland. Countdown to Infinity was released on Leviathan in 2007. © Greg Prato © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/david-t-chastain-mn0000224951/biography

In the '80s and '90s, David T. Chastain wore two different hats. His band Chastain favored vocal-oriented fantasy metal in the Judas Priest/Ronnie James Dio/Iron Maiden vein, while the guitarist's solo albums offered instrumental hard rock along the lines of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Mads Eriksen, and Randy Coven. Elegant Seduction, one of his instrumental solo projects, is a total chopsfest -- in other words, David T. Chastain is showing off his virtuosity and making sure you know just how big his chops are. Chastain's small group of fans insist that he is one of rock's unsung guitar heroes, and anyone who doubts that he knows his way around his instrument need only give Elegant Seduction a close listen. Chastain is definitely a virtuoso, and it's nice to hear him stretching out on this 1991 release. Most of the material is instrumental hard rock, although Chastain detours into fusion on "Menage a Trois" (which wouldn't be out of place on an album by Scott Henderson, Al DiMeola, or John McLaughlin). But most of the time, Elegant Seduction has a rock mentality instead of a jazz-rock mentality, and the majority of Chastain's solos live in the land of the power chord. Of course, the chops-for-the-sake-of-chops approach has its limitations; that is true in hard bop and jazz fusion as well as instrumental rock. But serious rock guitar freaks -- the sort of people who wish that Eddie Van Halen would record an instrumental album -- will enjoy this CD anyway. Those who have spent a lot of time listening to Satriani, Vai, Coven, Eriksen, and similar players will find that Elegant Seduction is worth checking out. © Alex Henderson © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved

(Originally released in 1991) Acknowledged the world over as a virtuoso musician, guitar wizard David T. Chastain has received reams of accolades from the media for his exceptional work on both his instrumental and group efforts. His third solo album, appropriately titled Elegant Seduction (Leviathan Records), presents the artist in a light which will win you over with power and grace. Each track on the 11-tune LP explores new musical horizons with the kind of sublime sophistication which Chastain has come to be known for. At the same time, it is a record for the serious music student as well as the fan of heavy metal and jazz fusion. Referred to as "the most prolific musician in rock" by Hit Parader Magazine, Chastain composed all the tracks on Elegant Seduction himself. Not surprising when you learn that he has always placed composition at the top of his list of priorities. "For me, composing is a very natural process. Nothing makes me happier. I always leave a tape recorder on, even when I practice. Then I go back over it to search for ideas and sounds I like, unifying and incorporating them into the material I record and perform." Chastain lists "Fortunate Happenstance" and title track "Elegant Seduction" as two of his favorite cuts. "I prefer a very up tempo style with a strong fusion feel, which I was able to express on these tracks. It's a nice change of pace for me to get away from the very heavy, dark, Gothic sounds on my band albums." Naming his favorite fusion guitarists who have been influences on him, Chastain points to Allan Holdsworth, Al Di Meola, and John McLaughlin. Opening cut "Schizophrenic" spotlights the versatility of this guitarist extraordinaire. Chastain negotiates the transitions with taste and proficiency by incorporating numerous musical influences and styles--from blues to classical, metal to fusion. The result ties together many styles into a seamless whole. The classically influenced "Pompous Rompous" features Baroque counterpoint and arpeggios reminiscent of Bach's Prelude in C. "Images" is a piece which features Chastain's acoustic style and non-strand time signatures. Produced by Chastain himself, Elegant Seduction was recorded at Kajem/Victory studios in Philadelphia, PA, and engineered by Joe Alexander (who has also worked with Vinnie Moore and Metal Church). "This album is a growth from the last one. The guitar comes through much cleaner, and is absolutely the best guitar sound that I've had yet." For the LP, current Chastain band member David Harbour plays bass; drummer Rick Porter, who toured with the Chastain band in 1990 rounds out the group. In the summer of 1990, Chastain released an instructional video, "Progressive Metal Guitar-Instruction and Performance," released by Backstage Pass. Designed to teach aspiring guitarists, the one hour tape features the maestro demonstrating many of the rare and exotic scales which characterize his style. Included is the classical feel of the Gypsy Minor, and bluesy pentatonics. Among the myriad of good advice Chastain has for the fledgling musician is the importance of learning as much about music theory as possible, right from the start. "Theory provides the foundation to learn more quickly, and understand your music more deeply, I feel that it's best not to copy other guitarist. Everyone has their influences, and we all have to learn from others, but it is too easy to rely on someone else for ideas which we should find on our own. Improvisation is the best way to meet this challenge. It allows you to shift the focus of attention to your own riffs and melodies, inspires creativity, and provides an outlet for incorporating music theory into everyday playing." Obviously Chastain follows his own advice, displaying the merits of these theories on Elegant Seduction. Chastain believes that his approach to a solo album is quite different from his efforts with the Chastain band. "On solo albums, there are no deep meanings in the songs- my statements are solely musical. There also is less of a tendency to overplay musically because there's no need to cram everything I want to express into a short solo break. I have much more space to develop my ideas, and experiment with new sounds." Elegant Seduction is Chastain's most expressive effort to date, combining numerous musical influences together. the listener experiences new musical horizons without ever losing touch with the heavy metal feel that has made this heralded musician a favorite among guitar fans. With the release of Elegant Seduction, Chastain's innovative mix of guitar styles is sure to please his long time followers, as well as win him new audiences. © http://www.leviathanrecords.com/seducdes.htm

David T. Chastain is one of the most versatile and talented guitarists and composers on the scene today and should be better known. Guitar World says that, "As a player, Chastain ranks with Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai." “Elegant Seduction” is a top notch early 90's instrumental metal album full of various guitar styles. The album contains eleven Chastain originals and is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Listen to his "Guitar Master" album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 102 Mb]


1.Schizophrenia (3:21)
2.Elegant Seduction (4:31)
3.Trapped in the Void (3:17)
4.7 Hills Groove (3:24)
5.Pompous Rompous (3:50)
6.Blitzkrieg (4:19)
7.Ménage à Trois (3:59)
8.Fortunate Happenstance (4:31)
9.No Repeat Discourse (3:19)
10.Images (3:48)
11.Positional Strategy (3:58)

All tracks composed by David T. Chastain


David T. Chastain - Guitars
David Harbour - Bass
Rick Porter - Drums

David T. Chastain

David T. Chastain - Countdown To Infinity - 2007 - Leviathan

David T. Chastain (born in Atlanta, Georgia on 31 August 1963) is an American guitarist and owner of Leviathan Records and Diginet Music. Chastain is a metal guitarist who emerged in the mid-'80s along with a wave of other neo-classical guitarists. He has released about 50 recordings under multiple names, including David T. Chastain, CJSS, Georgia Blues Dawgs, The Cincinnati Improvisational Group, SPIKE, Zanister, Ruud Cooty and Southern Gentlemen (blues-rock) as well as a number of heavy metal releases under the band name Chastain, accompanied by female vocalist Leather Leone. In more recent years, David has worked as a record producer at his own company, Leviathan Records. His label specializes in discovering and promoting new talents, specializing in guitarists and bands. He also runs Diginet Music, a company specializing in rare, unreleased or out-of-print music. - Wiki

Although guitarists such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Yngwie Malmsteen received the lion's share of publicity and commercial success during the heyday of "guitar shredders" back in the '80s, David T. Chastain has been slugging it out for just as long, yet never achieved the same level of recognition as the aforementioned instrumentalists. With his mastery of the six-string and talent for effortlessly reeling off lightning-fast neo-classical licks, Chastain has been releasing albums since the mid-'80s, either as a solo artist or as part of the bands Chastain and CJSS. David Chastain was one of the first artists signed to Mike Varney's Shrapnel label (which specialized in technically accomplished rock guitarists), resulting in such shredder classics as Mystery of Illusion and Ruler of the Wasteland. Countdown to Infinity was released on Leviathan in 2007. © Greg Prato © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/david-t-chastain-mn0000224951/biography

You always knows what lies in store for you with each new release by David T. Chastain, and his 2007 solo effort, Countdown to Infinity is the perfect example -- guitar pyrotechnics from beginning to end. As a veteran shredder, Chastain's instrumental prowess has certainly wowed many a fellow metal guitarist over the years (specifically, those who favor precision over feel). And with Countdown to Infinity, Chastain turns back the clocks with an unmistakably ‘80s-sounding slice of instrumental metal (à la such guitarists as Tony MacAlpine's and Greg Howe's shred-heavy releases for Shrapnel Records). While Chastain lets his fingers fly "("Attack of the Mechonrites,"" "Demonic Harmonic Justice Lullaby," etc.), he also focuses on creating metallic grooves as well ("Hands of Time," "Victim of the System," etc.). If you're looking for vintage-sounding shred metal, Countdown to Infinity will not disappoint. © Greg Prato © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/countdown-to-infinity-mw0000478123

Countdown to Infinity is David T. Chastain's first multi-tracked all instrumental Cd since 1994s Next Planet Please. This sophisticated recording encompasses influences from what David describes as his 3 eras. He states, "Some of these tracks sound like they could have been on my late 80s neoclassical shred based Cds such as Instrumental Variations. Then other tracks have a more fusion feel of Next Planet Please. Then lastly, they all seem to have a touch of my more recent improv based instrumental releases such as Rock Solid Guitar. Not that I was trying to please anyone or everyone, but it is just the way things turned out. I guess you could call it a contemporary retrospect. However I have to say the Cd flows quite well from my subjective perspective." Mike Haid played drums on this new release and David states, "Mike really outdid himself on this one. I kept telling him to go overboard and he fulfilled those directives splendidly. He ignites the tracks! His performance should appeal to fans of intense drumming." The Cd was mixed and mastered by noted metal engineer Christian Schmid at the Music Factory in Germany. His contributions made this Cd a more "metal" sounding Cd than most instrumentals releases. David elaborates as to why this Cd now, "I had quite a backlog of instrumental material I was looking to record when I had a break from my bands Chastain and Southern Gentlemen. I could have easily released one Cd for each style within but I always felt, as you can tell from my career, variation is the spice of my musical life." While it is hard to pick a standout track, David gives a short take on one of his personal favorites, "Attack of the Mechonrites has what I like in my instrumentals. It starts off with a dramatic intro, followed by a nice melodic section, then kicks into a more improvised section with just guitar, bass and drums. Then the final section is a slower and heavier section with a more emotional based solo. Plus the title sounds like an episode of Star Trek!" In regards to the title of the Cd Countdown to Infinity, David states, "Well ... I have reached a point in my career where there are no boundaries for me commercially. So it is really a countdown to no limitation or external determination in what I want to do musically. Just plug in and play and let the chips fall where they may!" © http://www.leviathanrecords.com/dtccti.htm

Guitar World says that, "As a player, Chastain ranks with Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai." David was one of the first artists signed to Mike Varney's Shrapnel label (which specialized in technically accomplished rock, metal, and fusion guitarists), and released Chastain shredder classics like ”Mystery of Illusion” and “Ruler of the Wasteland”. David should be better known as a guitar virtuoso, but he is just one of many great musicians who never get the recognition they deserve. Whether you like hard rock, fusion, metal, or just fantastic guitar playing, you may enjoy this album which is HR by A.O.O.F.C [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 105 Mb]


1 Rambunctious Delicacy 4:58
2 Attack of the Mechonrites 4:06
3 Demonic Harmonic Justice Lullaby 5:34
4 Countdown to Infinity 3:51
5 Hands of Time 5:38
6 Victim of the System 4:21
7 The Sky Is Melting 4:19
8 Lucre Viand 4:40
9 Movegroovestew 4:33
10 Temptress of Illusions 4:24

All tracks composed by David T. Chastain


David T. Chastain - Guitar, Bass
Mike Haid - Drums