Video: Ozzy and Geezer Butler Visit "Black Sabbath 13 3D" Maze at Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights

In the video below, check out Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne's recent visit to "Black Sabbath 13 3D," a spooky, Sabbath-themed maze that's part of this year's Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights.

As an added bonus, there's also a walk-through video of Black Sabbath 13 3D.

From the Universal Studios people:
"The new maze, based on the darkest lyrics from Black Sabbath's biggest hit songs and the only attraction at the horror event to incorporate 3D video, will also include scenes inspired by the legendary band's recently released Billboard No. 1 album, 13."

"A nightmarish landscape of doom will engulf guests as they enter "Black Sabbath: 13 3D" and traverse through horrifying graveyards, disturbing madhouses and bone-chilling battlefields."

For more information, including tickets and remaining dates, check out

The new BIAS Processing Amp for iPad...

BIAS pushes the boundary, by focusing on just one thing, almighty TONE... 

BIAS is an Amp Processor app for iPad. It is marketed as the most complete, accurate, and versatile modeling available in the world. Reviews so far position it as an excellent amp modelling app especially for Metal tones.

Positive Grid have taken their original iPad App to the next level adding a new dimension to their amp modelling features in their new App called BIAS - which lets you decide which preamp and power amp tubes to use as well as position the mic placement.

More details are in their official press release, looking forward to testing this app!

Press Release: 
It’s official! Through a 30-second teaser video, Positive Grid announced their new product called BIAS to be released on November 12th. Of course, the teaser gives some hints about the product: it will feature preamp tube, mic and cabinet selection. Sources confirmed us that BIAS will also feature a significant sonic improvement and an astonishing collection of 36 fully customizable amps, something far beyond the actual category offer.

For the moment, the app will be available on iPad devices only... Video Below...

MUSIC RADAR: How to Record Guitar

How to record guitars: getting to grips with the basics...

A simple riff, in the right hands, with the right sound is nothing short of incendiary! When we imagine how guitar tracks are recorded by the major label bands, our minds-eye wanders into a big studio, perhaps a large wooden live room, with a bank of steaming amplifiers festooned with wonderful vintage microphones being put through it's paces by Jimmy Page, Kirk Hammett, or Eric Clapton playing a priceless guitar through a dream pedalboard.

Sometimes it's like that, but not always. It's absolutely possible to get a great guitar recording in your studio if you know how to get the source signal right, and you have a basic knowledge of the "DNA" of a guitar sound.

This is a guide to the cornerstones of tone: guitars, amps, cabs, pedals and state of the art digital effects and analogue modelling technology. We'll also cover some trade secrets, so you'll know how to make the best recording, whatever system you end up using. You just have to supply the riffs.

Let's work at this from the very beginning. Of course it all starts with the guitars - whether it's the ubiquitous Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul, the workhorse Gibson SG or Fender Telecaster, a semi-acoustic, like a Gibson ES-335, or the idiosyncratic Fender Jazzmaster, or even the hard rocking Gibson Flying V...

Almost every electric guitar you can buy today is one of these, a copy of one of these or a direct descendant. Each one has earned it's place in rock history, and has it's own distinct sound. Make sure you do your research and get to know which gear you need to get the tones your after. You could be wasting your time trying to get a 'twang' out of a Gibson Les Paul and equally your Strat may not prove ideal for metal.

Amplifiers are the traditional way of letting the world hear your guitar. Of course we don't actually need amplifiers in order to record our guitars, but its important to understand the role of them, and why players devote themselves to their systems in search of the perfect tone.

Like guitars, different amps do different jobs and their tones will vary depending on the instrument they're paired with. In general, Marshalls can work brilliantly for rock and hard rock (think AC/DC to Guns N' Roses), Vox and Fender amps tend to be the choice of indie/alt rock players, while the ultra heavy players tend to opt for the high gain of Peavey or Mesa/Boogie boxes.

The amplifier takes the signal from your electric guitars pickup and amplifies it electronically so you can hear the sound from a speaker. This process varies in complexity from one system to the next. Some of the most expensive and sought after amps actually do little other than simply amplify the sound, but the components and design create an exceptional tone. Some amps are very cheap, yet offer all kinds of built- in effects, but actually sound thin.

As a general rule the best sounding amps have some type of an eq system, sometimes a reverb and tremolo, and sometimes two channels for different sounds. Transistor or solid-state amps need less maintenance, but some players believe that they do not have the sound of more expensive tube amps. What's so great about tubes, (also sometimes called valves)?

You can go very deep with tubes. There are different manufacturers, different types - you'll hear terms like triode and pentode outputs, you'll hear about "sag," and asymmetrical clipping and "class A," power stages - and so on and on. The same with transformers and capacitors.

The fact is that tube amps will sometimes sound better in certain situations, and even the best players will only go so far into that world, they just know what they like, and what replacement parts to order. Some of the state- of-the-art virtual amp systems (looked at later in this article), allow you total control over every aspect of the tubes and internal amp components, and this can be a fantastic training ground for the 'would be geek.'

Changing these components does affect the sound, but there's no right or wrong. If you like that sound, then that sound is right. You decide how deep you need to go. By the time you've read this you'll be able to approximate most sounds pretty fast, then you can tweak at your leisure.

The sound of the amp itself is actually rubbish without the speaker. These speakers, which tend to be 10" or 12'' drivers have a limited frequency response, which is very flattering to the harsh sound of amplifier distortion.

The speakers can be used singly or in groups and will also sound different depending on their housing or cabinet (cab), and there are loads of these to choose from too. There are open-backed and closed cabs. The closed cabs create more "whoomph" or cabinet thump and are more used for rock and metal.

As you can imagine there are strongly held opinions about which speakers sound best, and many legends and myths about components, and whether particular recordings were made with slightly broken drivers etc. Open backed cabs tend to be lighter in tone, but even then, the way they are recorded can make a massive difference to the final sound.

The all-in-one amp and speaker box is known as a combo! A separate amp and cabinet setup is known as a stack.

Stacks, being modular by nature, are more easily expandable to bigger, louder rigs, more tonally complex rigs.

Many time players will run several rigs at the same time to create a mix of sounds that would be unobtainable from one amp alone.

Of course, these days there's quicker, cheaper and above all smaller ways to get a big sound. There's a great story about a bunch of techies working at Alesis in the 90s who were all covertly working on the idea of digitally modelling amplifier distortion. If they wanted to have a conversation about their secret project they would say "there's a call coming through on line 6...".

Line 6 became the name they adopted and they introduced the world to modelled guitar amps in the memorable form of the Pod, a dark red, kidney shaped desktop gadget eagerly snapped up by producers, engineers and guitarists looking to save time and hassle recording guitars.

Line 6 went on to dominate this area with the Bass Pod, the rack mountable Pod Pro with studio spec connections, and the awesome Vetta and Vetta II combos, which were effectively a pair of Pod Pros plus a bunch of extra modelled stomps, reverbs and modulation effects packed into a super loud amplifier, also with all the pro connectors needed for almost anything!

Meanwhile, at the touring pro end of the market, Fractal's astonishingly accurate Axe-FX II guitar processor/amp modeller is quickly becoming the unit of choice for many players, particularly in the world of heavy metal, where gain means everything.

In addition, our computers have become more powerful by the day, and there are some spectacularly good modelling plug-ins (primarily IK Multimedia's Amplitube and Native Instruments' Guitar Rig) out there which enable the guitarist to plug straight into a soundcard, record a dry "DI" guitar signal, and allow all the processing to occur in real time during the session, just like any other kind of virtual instrument. This way of working also has the benefit of very easy automation of parameter settings.

You can add in wah-wah, or stomp box performance, and change patches throughout the song, and keep tweaking the sound all the way up until the final mixdown.

With the right carefully chosen ammo and the following few basics you needn't spend a fortune to get the guitar recording you've dreamed of.

Mics come in three varieties: dynamic, condenser and ribbon. Dynamic mics like a Shure SM57 are great for coping with high volumes at close proximity, so you can plonk them right next to the speaker and make small positional adjustments between the centre and outer rim of the speaker cone to get a brighter or darker sound.

Using two identical dynamic mics positioned between 45 and 90 degrees to each other and mixed together can give an extra thickness to the sound. Dynamic mics are particularly useful when you don't want to pick up much of the ambient sound of an unpleasant sounding space.

Ribbon mics are more sensitive and have a "figure of eight" polar pattern which means they pick up more of the surrounding room sound. They are not overly bright sounding mics and can be very flattering to a guitar sound without much in the way of EQ.

Condenser mics are much more sensitive, open and accurate. They can be used in situations where the speaker sounds great in the room, and you want to capture more of the ambient atmosphere. They often have variable patterns so you can be reasonably directional toward the speaker with a "hyper cardioid" pattern, or out in the room with an "omni-directional" pattern.

It's often a good idea to raise the speakers from the floor in an attempt to reduce the amount of early reflections from the floor reaching the microphone before the direct sound of the speaker. When you have open backed cabs or combos it's also common practice to put a mic behind the speaker (phase reversed) and mix the sounds of front and back together to capture a more complete sound.

You can match all of these techniques and record the whole lot so you can choose which elements of the sound are going to work best in your mix at a later point.

Some guitarists insist on standing in the room with their amp (or amps) as the sympathetic resonance of the guitar pickups and strings interacting with the loud sound from the speakers creates an extra facet to the sound - and it's also easier to control feedback if needed.

Others would rather be in the "control room" where they can hear the sound of the guitar "in" the mix and make contextual judgements about the sound and the parts/ performances.

Using multiple amps, or sending the guitar signal over a long distance to amps in another room can present technical difficulties and also may allow the dreaded "hum" to infiltrate the signal.

A little known trick used by the pros is to use a buffered line driver. A great example of one of these systems is by Smart Research and consists of a powered "transmit" box that uses a balanced XLR cable to connect to a "receive" box that can be 100s of feet away if needed - with no interference or signal degradation.

Not only that, the boxes will also provide DI outs for clean recording, and multiple feed for a multi amp setup. A set of these boxes can make recording real amps very quick and simple.

New Pop Music Low: Britney's Music Used to Scare Pirates!

Britney Spears is being used as a secret weapon… to scare off Somali pirates. 

Her hits are being blasted out to deter kidnap attacks, merchant navy officer Rachel Owens revealed to the London Guardian Newspaper service.

Spears’s chart-toppers Oops! I Did It Again and Baby One More Time have proved to be the most effective at keeping the bandits at bay.

Second Officer Owens, who works on supertankers off the east coast of Africa, said: ‘Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most.'

These guys can’t stand Western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect.’

Ships in the region are in constant danger from gun-toting pirates boarding and kidnapping crews for multi-million-pound ransoms.

In 2011, there were 176 attacks on ships by gangs of bandits off the Horn of Africa. They are such a threat the Royal Navy has 1,500 sailors on 14 warships operating round-the-clock patrols in the area.

Ms Owens, who regularly guides huge tankers through the waters, said the ship’s speakers can be aimed solely at the pirates so as not to disturb the crew.

It’s so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns,’ said the 34-year-old, from Gartmore, near Aberfoyle, Stirling.

As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can.’

Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, said: ‘Pirates will go to any lengths to avoid or try to overcome the terrible sounding pop music of Britney Spears.’

He added: I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.’

K.K. Downing: Internet's Our Greatest Friend and Worst Enemy!

Former Judas Priest axeman K.K. Downing posted a birthday blog announcement on Sunday (October 27), reminiscing the old days and discussing the present...

As somewhat expected, Downing also touched on the subject of internet, saying that; "it is for sure that the internet is our greatest friend and our worst enemy at the same time. But I am certainly grateful to the internet today, in order to be able to bring this blog to you now," he added.

When it comes to the old days, K.K. commented: "Isn't it crazy that Mick Jagger is 70 for example? And Jimi Hendrix would also have been 70 this year. Anyway, not to be too down about it because at least we were there to witness everything that is relevant to the music that we know and love today."

The 62-year-old guitarist continued, "I always say that I couldn't have been born at a better time. I was just in my early teens when John Mayall, Cream and all of the early blues artists were just coming to fruition along with the Stones, Pretty Things, Troggs and the Kinks etc. This was all back in the day when music was everything to us, and it was all we had and we were more than happy with just that."

"Although I can remember having an insatiable appetite that always wanted feeding, so I had to go to concerts and festivals as much as I could. That's because what I wanted was still scarce on radio and television. I seem to remember being 16 and there was only the late and great John Peel who played anything close to what we wanted to hear."

 "Although John's taste was often a little too diverse for me, including for example T-Rex, Captain Beefheart and the Third Ear Band, John was still the greatest pioneer and champion of our cause at the time. Am I jogging some memories here?," the guitarist asked.

Downing ended his post on an optimistic note, saying, "Please take care, and please continue to feed the flames of metal."

VIDEO: Ritchie Blackmore Interview "The Whole World is Phony"

Besides his recent albums with Blackmore's Night, we really don't hear a lot from former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore these days.

Which is why it's nice to have stumbled upon this recently uploaded (August 2013) video of Blackmore in full interview mode.

"I've noticed that a lot of people who say a lot of things are actually saying nothing," Blackmore says in the clip, which was created by RT. Perhaps that's why we haven't heard from him in a while.

The clip was originally uploaded by a Blackmore fan site.

VIDEO: No Talent, No Pants, OR Both?

Watch as Polish celebrity Patricia “Patty” Dłutkiewicz performed her song “Krzyk” on her country’s national morning show Good Morning TVN earlier this week with a “guitarist” model named Angelika Fajcht showing off her uniquely pantsless, dazed and confused lip-synch style.

Fajcht later confessed that she knew exactly what she was doing and was glad to have entertained the entertainment-starved Poland.

“We expected that the performance will become viral and be controversial, that was the plan from the beginning,” said Patty’s manager Angelina Konkol. “It is better to look at beautiful models pretending to play the guitar than ugly musicians who actually play the guitar.”

Besides, the Polish model was holding the instrument in the wrong direction.


Gibson Releases the Zakk Wylde Moderne of Doom...

Gibson Press Release: Nashville, TN (October 16, 2013)

From his own band Black Label Society, to tours and recordings with Ozzy Osbourne and a wide variety of solo outings and collaborations, Zakk Wylde has established himself as one of the fiercest players in rock. With a tone and visual style as unique as his incendiary chops, Zakk has wreaked his havoc on a series of Gibson guitars—from Les Pauls, to Explorers, to Flying Vs—but this new take on a near-mythological retro-modern Gibson is perhaps the best suited of all to this artist’s uncompromising individuality.

The Limited Edition Zakk Wylde Moderne of Doom is based on the legendary, yet never released, third member of the Modernist Series of the late 1950s—the Gibson Moderne. Intended to complement the revolutionary Explorer and Flying V, the Moderne never saw the light of day, though rumors of existing examples persist to this day. In the hands of Gibson USA, the radical Moderne style taken from factory design sketches of 1958 unfolds as an unrelenting, flamethrowing modern-rock tone machine.

With a body constructed from a solid Grade-A mahogany with Grade-A maple top, the Zakk Wylde Moderne of Doom launches its attack with time-tested tonewoods. But it quickly takes the look to another planet with the ultra-radical Moderne body style and a natural nitrocellulose finish with Zakk-certified black pinstripe top graphic. A glued-in Grade-A maple neck is carved to Zakk’s preferred profile for full-on shred, and topped with a beautiful dark Grade-A Richlite fingerboard. A pair of Zakk’s beloved EMG active humbuckers—an EMG 85 in the neck position and an EMG 81 in the bridge—provides unequalled power and sustain for everything from crunch-of-doom rhythm licks to hellfire leads. And to take the guitar’s versatility to the next level, there’s a Floyd Rose vibrato with locking nut ready to scream out your wildest dive-bombing action.

With matte-black pickup covers, black hardware, and a trio of black speed knobs, the Zakk Wylde Moderne of Doom has the wild looks to match Wylde’s tone. Feel the heat now at your authorized Gibson USA dealer—production is limited to 250 guitars, so secure yours before it’s too late.

MSRP $2,082 Visit:

Shawn Steen's Ergonomic Guitar Line

Guitars like Gibson's iconic Flying V, just about any BC Rich model, or Bob Wiley's Ministar travel guitars may well stand out in any crowd, but they're not exactly built for comfort. Guitar maker Shawn Steen has spent the last two years tweaking and testing an instrument designed to comfortably fit the shape of a player's body, while looking good and sounding great. The final adjustments have been made, all the choice components selected, and the first show models created. Now it's launch time for the new line of hand-made ergonomic guitars.

The contoured body of the Steen guitar is made from African White Limba, a light and balanced tone wood used by Gibson for its 1958 Explorer guitars. The bottom cutaway has been positioned and shaped for optimum comfort while seated, and the cut at the front designed to give the player full access to the higher frets.

"Beside the contours and correctly positioned cuts for the leg and hands, the balance of weight was crucial," says Steen. "When you play it sitting down and then try it with a strap it stays in the exact same position. Seems like a small thing until you compare it with a guitar that neck dives. You realize you don't have to hold the neck in position (up or down) while you are playing. This balance makes a huge difference in comfort."

The 25-inch scale maple neck with rosewood fretboard (sporting 22 medium jumbo frets) has been treated to a satin finish. Steen selected a bolt-on neck design to make the instrument more affordable, while having more give and flex, with a feel that the designer prefers over through neck models. The headstock is angled at 10 degrees to the neck and the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners are positioned in line with a frictionless graphite nut and roller bridge combined with a stop tail, which Steen says makes for optimum tuning and great sustain.

The guitars pack either Lace Alumitone or Hemi pickups (though model #5 does come with Gibson humbuckers), and come with CTS volume and tone pots. The #2 model comes with a Dusenberg Le Trem whammy bar, but a B5 Bigsby or Le Trem can be fitted to any model for a couple of hundred bucks extra.

All models feature a 5-way pickup selection switch that can be positioned before or after the tone and volume knobs, and a heavy duty instrument jack. They're hand-dyed in colors ranging from green to yellow to white, and are shipped pre-strung with Dunlop 10-46 gauge strings.

For the most part, all Steen guitars are built to order in the US (though some may be available from shop stock). As such, options like all-gold hardware (instead of the standard chrome or black finish, or a gold/silver combination), customer-chosen volume or tone knobs, or non-standard pickguards can be added in during the ordering process. Prices start at US$1,299.

Rob Halford to Appear on 'The Simpsons'

Judas Priest front-man Rob Halford was announced to make a guest appearance in a new episode of the iconic animated series "The Simpsons."

As Entertainment Weekly reports, the episode's storyline revolves around online piracy and features Halford singing the band's staple tune "Breaking the Law" to legendary Homer Simpson.

According to the same source, the episode sees Bart teaching Homer how to illegally download movies online, after which he decides to start screening them in his backyard to citizens of Springfield.

"Even though Homer is stealing, he's doing it for the community, he's doing it out of the goodness of his heart," executive producer Matt Selman explained. Finally, the plot is fully stirred up with the appearance of obsessed FBI anti-piracy director.

Titled "Steal This Episode," the new episode is scheduled for airing in January. Apart from Halford, it will also feature guest appearances from Judd Apatow, Will Arnett, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Channing Tatum.

As for the metal gods, Judas Priest have announced the completion of their new, yet-untitled studio effort.

"The writing process is complete," Halford told Billboard. "[It's] hard. It's heavy. It's something we think our Priest fans will be thrilled with. We know we have a reputation to maintain, and we know we have to deliver something really strong and solid. The album is going to be full of all the great things you love about Judas Priest."

The World's First all Titanium Guitar!

The creators of the Gittler Guitar don't necessarily believe there's something wrong with the way guitars are built today. But they insist there's room for improvement and seem confident they've found the right formula. "The guitar is due for another step in its natural evolution."

According to them, that evolution is an instrument crafted entirely of aircraft grade titanium — sans the woods that have for decades contributed to the signature sounds of guitars everywhere. It also does away with just about everything else in the process. There's no proper guitar body here, nor anything resembling a traditional neck or fretboard. And rather than a regular headstock, the Gittler features a headless design with a "string lock" mechanism that clamps down on each string (there's no winding involved) to ensure your guitar stays on pitch.

"Say goodbye to wood, and just about everything else"

It's an evolutionary design based on an instrument Alan Gittler originally put together back in the 1970s. His thinking then? "The basic elements of vibration and gain were the only truly indispensable elements at play when making sound." That led him to strip away elements from the guitar until he was left with little more than pickups, strings, frets, and equally minimalistic tuning machines. The team behind the Kickstarter effort says revitalizing the Gittler has been a three-year effort involving numerous patents. They're shooting for a funding goal of $80,000 to bring the guitar to interested players.

3 Ways to Get More Motivated...

by Ben-Rainey:
If you play guitar long enough you’re going to run into a wall at some point. 

When it feels like you’re not making any progress, and you find it hard to get motivated to even pick up the guitar, it's time to find more motivation. This happens to artists and musicians of all kinds from time to time. And luckily for us guitarists who want to keep getting better as musicians, there are ways to pick ourselves back up and keep on trucking.

Here are three steps to getting motivated again on guitar that will help!

1). Transcribe something unusual

Transcribe: When you’re not feeling inspired to play guitar, even great guitar music can feel old & stale. So why not turn to other kinds of music? When I say transcribe something unusual, I mean way out there. Transcribe music written for; oud, or sitar, or choir. Don’t limit yourself to just rock music or any other guitar-based kind of music. Shake out your ears, and start letting in some new sounds.

Music has a lot to offer and finding yourself in a bit of a rut might indicate that it’s time to explore new territory. Yngwie Malmsteen was inspired by violin, Derek Trucks by sarod, and Dave Gilmour by voice. So get out the slow-down software and check out something you haven’t heard before.

2). Find other musicians

Other-Musicians: Other musicians, whether guitarists or not, can be incredibly inspirational. First-off, other musicians will have ideas about music and the guitar that we hadn’t even thought of. I learned a ton of new techniques like hybrid picking and palm muting from the other guitarist in the first band I was in, things that hadn’t ever occurred to me.

Secondly, playing with other musicians naturally inspires us to keep up. Everyone wants to feel included, so jamming with musicians that are better players than us will kick in our instinct to not be left behind. Check out your local; open mics, open jams, and local shows in your area to find some other musicians to jam with.

3). Take a break

Take-a-Break: If all else fails just take a break. Put the guitar down for a few days, or even a week. If you’ve been putting in a lot of hours on the guitar, you might just be burnt out and need to give your hands and ears a chance to rest. Don’t worry about losing what you’ve just been working on. It’s been my experience both with myself and with students that a little bit of time off actually lets what you’ve been practicing sink in deeper. You may find that when you come back to the guitar after a break, you’re playing better than before.

About the Author
Ben-Rainey: Ben works as a guitar teacher and freelance guitarist in the Pittsburgh area, as well as being in charge of music content at

Check out more of his writing at the Tunessence blog.

The World’s Only Hemp Guitar...

By David Sherman /the MONTREAL GAZETTE -

Stewart Burrows spends most nights in pubs, playing cover tunes till 3 a.m., give or take, then driving back to the Châteauguay Valley. Waiting for him are his wife and three kids, and 20 heads of cattle from which he sells aged beef; $700 for 100 pounds.

Playing music is how I pay the bills,” he says.

And he has a guitar workshop from where he makes ostensibly the world’s only true hemp guitar...

With partner Boyd Pellow, Burrows, 42, a guitarist, pianist, singer/songwriter and teacher of same, wanted to make a guitar from a sustainable material.

Everything should be made from hemp,” he says.

So he and Pellow started a little business, Canadian Hemp Guitars in Hemmingford, fooling around with hemp and moulds and plastics for about five years to create an electric guitar similar in weight and feel to hardwood.

They sell for $1,150 to $2,000 and are built to order. Most of his inquiries come from out west — Calgary and B.C. to California — where hemp is associated strongly with its derivative, cannabis.

Smoking his guitars is not advised...

The company is a start-up and sales are in the “low double digits,” but Burrows’s ambitions are small. He wants to make 150 to 200 instruments a year.

You’re fighting against juggernauts,” he says. “It’s a tough sell. Most people will buy Fender or Gibson if they’re going to spend $1,500.”

Now they’re selling online, afraid that going into stores will mean they’ll “get lost in a sea of guitars.” He and Pellow, a luthier by training, are counting on guitarists’ penchant for collecting and the novelty of a beautifully finished hemp guitar that’s made here at home.

It’s responsive, built to spec and handmade,” he says.

And if that doesn’t work, well, Burrows can always fall back on making music, ranching and teaching.

I’m a busy guy,” he says.

Do Raunchy Music Videos Need an Age Rating?

Should Music Videos Receive Age Ratings?

The media has been afire with debates surrounding the sexualized content in music videos in recent weeks after the controversial new clips from the likes of Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. Now, in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox has called for Music Videos with sexual content to be censored in the same way as pornography: "I'm all for freedom of expression, but this is clearly one step beyond, and it's clearly into the realm of porn.

 "How do you stop your kids being exposed to it? It's so powerful. You don't want to see your seven-year-old girls twerking all over the place." The comment follows a statement that Lennox posted on Facebook earlier this week: “If a performing artist has an audience of impressionable young fans and they want to present a soft porn video or highly sexualised live performance, then it needs to qualify as such and be X rated for adults only. I'm talking from the perspective of the parents of those young fans. The whole thing is about their children's protection. Is it appropriate for seven year olds to be thrusting their pelvises like pole dancers? I really don't think so.

"Boundaries need to be put in place so that young kids aren't barraged by market forces exploiting the 'normalization' of explicit sex in under age entertainment. That means - no audiences under 18. Simple! Well - not quite. The Internet has put paid to 'boundaries' and 'simple.'" But what do you think? Should we be questioning the sexualized content of music videos? Is censoring music videos with sexual content the answer to the problem? Let us know in the comments.

The 7 stages of Gear Acquisition Syndrome [G.A.S.]

7  stages of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS)...

by Rob Power/Matt Parker / Music Radar

You’re sweating, you haven’t slept properly in days, and you’re pretty sure that you’ve been talking to yourself.

Your search history is an endless stream of forums and reviews, and you’ve discovered that against all the odds you’re able to carry multiple completely opposing opinions in your head at the same time. You’re pretty sure that you’re about to lose it completely, possibly in a public place. You’re scared.

What you’re suffering from is a standard case of GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome, and you are not alone. Every musician has suffered from this affliction at some point. It’s the all-consuming desire to expand your collection of gear, and it gets us all eventually. Bank balances have been battered and marriages destroyed, but by god there’s been some lovely gear bought.

This handy guide to the seven stages of GAS will help you understand the signs and treat the symptoms of the syndrome. Read on, and remember: it’s going to be OK…

Stage (1). Dis-satisfaction
There was a time when you loved everything about your guitar: the perfect finish, the way the neck seemed custom molded to your hand, how it sounded when you let rip. But of late, every time you see it you just… hate it.

It makes you feel sick, like every other guitarist is playing something better and laughing at you behind your back. You feel cheated. Your guitar simply isn’t as pretty as all those other guitars, the ones online and in the guitar magazines that have prettier finishes and raunchier pickups. The grass is greener - and so is that surf-coloured Fender you've been hankering after.

Stage (2). Desire
You’ve seen the gear you want, and it’s embedded in your brain like a want-splinter. Only this can bring you happiness. With it in your hands, your playing will improve and you’ll become a sexual colossus.

Without it, the future is bleak: your family will leave you, women will smirk behind your back and men will laugh in your face [exchange as appropriate for your sexual orientation].

You don’t just want it, you need it, to the point that you’re not entirely sure you’ll survive without it. It’s time to start edging towards making this new purchase a reality. To the Google machine!

Stage (3). Endless Research
If there’s one thing that defines the 21st century shopping experience, it’s the paralyzing indecision that comes after a couple of hours spent reviews of a product that you thought you wanted.

For guitarists, the problem is much, much worse. Everyone - everyone - will have an opinion on your potential purchase, regardless of whether they’ve played it or not. One minute you’ll be feeling positive having read a lengthy, seemingly well-informed review, the next you'll see 200 comments below it that systematically destroy every positive point.

This is GAS crunch time. For those with a low-level infestation, the internet is usually enough to delay the idea of buying another guitar, at least for a few weeks. But if the GAS is strong with you, no amount of online snark can alter the course you’re on.

These people don't know, after all. They won't love it like you will. And, besides, there's a finance plan. A finance PLAN. What could go wrong?

Stage (4). Purchase
You know what you want, and you know what you’re willing to pay. All you’ve got to do now is ring every guitar shop within a 200-mile radius to check their stock and get moving.

After a few false starts you finally stand before the guitar you’ve been lusting after, and it is glorious. You ask the guy at the counter if you can try it, desperately trying to appear like you couldn’t care less, but your hands are sweating and you’re starting to shake.

The first strum is like a bolt of lightning: this is the one. This is the guitar that will change your life and quite possibly the entire course of musical history. It is going to make everything alright for everybody.

You begin the process of haggling with the guy behind the counter, but your heart isn’t really in it and he knows it. He offers you a paltry discount and you take it, because you’ve been blinded by love - and the awesome power of destiny.

Plastic is brandished and hard cases are sought. Your heart is close to bursting with joy. Inevitably, it won’t last…

Stage (5). Guilt
As soon as you leave the shop it hits you like a Strat to the balls: the all-consuming, crippling guilt. You’ve just dropped more cash on a piece of gear than you’ve ever spent on your partner, your mother or your stage-wardrobe.

You’re not sure where you’re going to find the rent, there’s no food in the house and, obviously, your music career is paying precisely nothing.

For the next week, the guilt ruins your enjoyment of the lovely new piece of gear. You can barely even look at it for the shame, so you hide the shiny harlot under the bed. Whenever you think about it too much, you want to cry, but nobody has any sympathy for the man that buys expensive things that he can’t really afford.

This is basically how the credit crunch started. You are a sub-prime guitar-gear owner and it’s a cruel world. In penance, and because it's all your bank balance allows, you eat mainly beans.

Stage (6). Acceptance
It could be hours, days or even weeks (if you’re particularly unlucky) before the guilt lifts, but when it does you’re in for a treat.

For the beautiful piece of guitar-gear that you have lusted after, lost sleep over and nearly bankrupted yourself in attaining is finally yours to enjoy (providing you keep up the payments).

Rejoice, consumer! You have temporarily satisfied your soul with a lovely New Thing! But better than that, you finally own the piece of guitar-gear of your dreams, this is a piece of gear that you’ll make your masterpiece with and take to your grave. Hooray! Except…

Stage (7). Relapse
The seventh, cruellest stage of GAS can hit anywhere between and year to eighteen months after the purchase, although the time passed invariably depends on the amount of cash spent and the amount of meals you've had to eat from a tin or a cardboard box as a consequence.

If the purchase was relatively small - an effects pedal, say - then you can expect to experience GAS relatively quickly. You'll be on the bus home and looking up potential stompbox brethren on your smart phone without even realizing it.

A high-end guitar? Well, you've probably brought yourself six months, maybe even a year or two. Eventually, though, the sense of glory diminishes, it gets harder to pick up and you could swear the finish is looking dull. Actually, you recall, that vintage guitar shop has just opened down the road - you'll just pop in and pick up some polish.

After all, what's the worst that could happen?

Annie Lennox Condemns Today's 'Pornographic' Music Videos


Following controversial videos by Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, Lennox hits out at trend for female performers to behave like, 'pimp and prostitute at the same time'

c/o Guardian music, Tuesday 8 October 2013

Dismayed … Annie Lennox attacks 'highly styled pornography' peddled by record companies.

Annie Lennox has attacked the sexual imagery of music videos, saying many are now "pornographic". Talking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the former Eurythmics singer said: "I'm all for freedom of expression, but this is clearly one step beyond, and it's clearly into the realm of porn."

Lennox first spoke out on the subject on Saturday, when she posted a critique of the current style of pop videos on her Facebook page. "I have to say that I'm disturbed and dismayed by the recent spate of overtly sexualised performances and videos," she wrote. "You know the ones I'm talking about. It seems obvious that certain record companies are peddling highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment …

"It's depressing to see how these performers are so eager to push this new level of low. Their assumption seems to be that misogyny – utilised and displayed through oneself – is totally fine, as long as you are the one creating it. As if it's all justified by how many millions of dollars and YouTube hits you get from behaving like pimp and prostitute at the same time. It's a glorified and monetised form of self harm."

She followed that with a clarification on Sunday. "There is absolutely nothing 'wrong' about our sexuality or sensuality per se. But if a performing artist has an audience of impressionable young fans and they want to present a soft porn video or highly sexualised live performance, then it needs to qualify as such and be X-rated, for adults only. I'm talking from the perspective of the parents of those young fans. The whole thing is about their children's protection … Boundaries need to be put in place so that young kids aren't barraged by market forces exploiting the "normalisation" of explicit sex in underage entertainment."

Speaking to Radio 5 Live on Monday, she called for parents to apply pressure to establish "very clear boundaries" on what is acceptable in music videos. "I think this debate is about getting the voice of reason back there to say: 'Look, we want to protect our kids.'"

Lennox's remarks follow, most obviously, the furore in the wake of Miley Cyrus's video for Wrecking Ball. However, the debate around ratings for music videos predates that. David Cameron is believed to favour ratings for promo clips, and the Bailey review on the sexualisation of children called for tighter regulation. In the wake of the review, the BPI (the trade association for the British record industry) extended its parental advisory scheme so explicit songs and videos would be labelled.

The Demise Of The Electric Guitar In Music...

by Bobby Owsinski, (Original Article - Forbes Magazine)

Today's main-stream music has become nothing more than a modern version of disco, with lots of synthesizers, effects and female vocalists... real guitars (along with other 'real' instruments; i.e., drums, bass, acoustic piano), have vanished!

There are times when a trend happens so fast that it’s just like being hit in the face with an ice cold towel, and then there are times when it’s so slow moving that you can feel something happening, but it takes a while before you realize that you’re totally immersed in something new. A little of both happened to me over the last week as it finally sunk in that mainstream pop music is now totally represented by the latest music trend. And guess what? The electric guitar, staple of modern music for more than 50 years, has little part in it.

 In case you’re wondering, it’s electronic dance music (or EDM as we’ve grown to call it) that has totally blended with pop music to become the current background music of our lives. It’s now in every nook and cranny where the latest music is required to be seen as hip.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in the music business up to my ears every day and I’m totally aware that EDM has become both a phenomenon and a giant money maker over the last three or four years in terms of live events. I’m also more than aware that over the last two years elements of EDM have permeated the Top 40 charts on the vast majority of hits. You have to be completely musically unconscious to not to have seen and heard that.

And I read the stats and watch the revenue numbers involving EDM, where you could see the big money of the major promoters and record labels making their moves to claim their piece of it over the last year. It’s usually a sign that a trend is about to peak as the big brands move in to stake their claim and squeeze every last drop of financial juice out of it that they can, as seems to be happening at the moment. You read and absorb all this data, but sometimes it just doesn’t sink in as it should. Needless to say I was unprepared for my recent mini-revelation.

You see, I spent the last week on a cruise ship visiting various resort towns in Florida and the Caribbean. No big deal there, except for the background soundtrack that I was hearing literally everywhere I went. It was entirely EDM-based.

Every shop (and I mean every single one of them, even those that favored the old hippie crowd) played a modern version of disco with lots of synthesizers, effects and female vocalists, a formula that seems just as ubiquitous as the guitar-based sound of the British Invasion, metal, punk or grunge was in its time – only this one doesn’t have a guitar in it (or has one that’s cleverly disguised as a synthesizer or printed low in the mix).

What’s more, none of the bands on the cruise ship carried a guitar player, which was also the case with the musical acts on land at the various ports of call as well. The music I can understand, but downsizing the guitar player?

Now just for the record I spent much of my adult life as a professional guitar player, then as a recording engineer and producer, and have a lot of experience working in all genres of music. I’m not passing judgement here, and you won’t be hearing any “music has lost its way” speeches from me. I believe that change is healthy and all trends cycle like the pendulum of a old Grandfather’s clock – slowly all the way to one side, then slowly all the way to the other, then back again. It’s neither good nor bad, it just is.

Granted, what I’ve presented is just a small dose of empirical evidence, which I freely admit, but I have to say that when you visit some shops residing next to Mayan ruins in the jungle of Mexico and they’re playing EDM-laced pop music in the background, you know that things in music have changed big time.

I had the same revelation once in the 80’s while on tour in Europe. In every shop and mall in Paris, Munich, London and Geneva, you heard Van Halen, The Clash and The Romantics. That was truly the music of the world at the time. I’d venture to say that EDM/Pop is the music of the world now – and that type of music has little to no electric guitar in it.

So all you kids trying to make the decision whether it’s better to learn how to make beats or join a garage band, choose wisely. The music of today might not be the music of tomorrow. Think hard before you give up on that plank of wood with metal wires. The electric guitar may be dead in music today as evidenced by guitarists everywhere scrambling to find new lines of work, but it may just as likely rise from the musical ashes of tomorrow. Trends are like that.

Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train a Comin’ documentary premieres November 5...

A pioneering electric guitarist, Jimi Hendrix (Nov. 27, 1942-Sept. 18, 1970) had only four years of mainstream exposure and recognition, but his influential music and riveting stage presence left an enduring legacy. THIRTEEN’s American Masters series traces the gone-too-soon guitar great’s remarkable journey from his hardscrabble beginnings in Seattle, through his stint as a U.S. Army paratrooper, unknown sideman to R&B stars such as Little Richard, Joey Dee and the Isley Brothers, and his discovery and ultimate international stardom.

American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’ premieres nationally Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 9 – 11 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings or

The same day, Experience Hendrix LLC and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release the expanded home video edition of the American Masters documentary, with never-before-released special performance features, on DVD and Blu-ray.

Hear My Train A Comin’ unveils previously unseen performance footage and home movies taken by Hendrix and drummer Mitch Mitchell while sourcing an extensive archive of photographs, drawings, family letters and more to provide new insight into the musician’s personality and genius. Recently uncovered film footage of Hendrix at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival is among the previously unseen treasures featured in American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’.

A CD and limited edition vinyl set of Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival, the first-ever release of one of the guitar virtuoso’s most sought-after performances, will also be released November 5. The first-ever major rock festival staged on the East Coast, the May 1968 Miami Pop Festival at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., was the first event promoted by Woodstock organizer Michael Lang and Ric O’Barry (dolphin trainer for Flipper TV series), who were inspired by the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, where Hendrix made his U.S. debut and famously set fire to his guitar.

Read More at the Guitar Play Magazine Website...

Gibson Re-releases the M-III Shred Guitar

Gibson has reissued the M-III, a guitar that the company last built in the early '90s... 

First released in 1991, the M-III was part of an effort by Gibson to embrace shred guitar players, and one that it has obviously felt the need to revisit.

The M-III, with it's double cutaway mahogany body, maple fretboard with triangular fret markers and H-S-H pickup layout is quite a departure from the rest of Gibson's guitar lines, but has a cult following of players that we're sure will be eager to get their hands on one. The M-III is available now and has an SRP of $2082 (approximately £1295).

For more information, visit the official Gibson website.

Gibson press release...
When Gibson introduced the M-III in 1991 it totally embodied the "shred" guitar, marrying Gibson's thundering power that had already ruled the rock world for more nearly four decades with the scale length, speed, and ultra-pointy styling that appealed to the world's fastest players. The new M-III from Gibson USA captures the magic of the original guitar's playability, power, and visual appeal, thanks to Gibson's renowned and exacting standards of workmanship and finish.

Just like the first M-IIIs, the new M-III starts from a foundation of Gibson tradition—seen it its solid mahogany body, glued-in neck, and high-gain Dirty Fingers™ humbucking pickups with versatile switching—and catapults it into the future with a major dose of style and innovation. The 25 ½" scale length enables piano-like lows and shimmering highs, while a Floyd Rose™ trem facilitates everything from radical dive-bombing to evocative vibrato, all with unparalleled tuning stability. To top it off, the neck's fast profile, super action, and easy access right to the top of the 24-fret fingerboard help the M-III offer a playing experienced equaled by none.

The M-III's scorching looks match its incendiary performance. The natural maple fingerboard with striking arrow-head inlays provides an eye-catching contrast to the explosive range of finishes on the guitar—from your choice of Cosmic Cobalt, Electric lime, Vibrant Red, or Orange Glow—all in high-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer. The all-black hardware complements the stunning visuals, and reminds you that the M-III is here to rock. Feel the heat at your authorized Gibson USA dealer, and crank out the shred like never before.

Body and Neck:
The M-III is built from a foundation of tonewoods that represent a marriage of Gibson tradition and innovation. A solid mahogany body presents the depth, richness and resonance for which that timber has long been famous, while a glued-in maple neck adds clarity and "snap" to the tone. The Grade-A maple fingerboard has a 25 ½" scale length, a compound radius for easy chording and smooth bending, and 24 jumbo frets, all within easy reach thanks to the M-III's radical asymmetrical, double-pointed body styling. Finally, a fast, slim profile and contrasting black arrowhead inlays declare the M-III a total shred machine. The guitar's body and neck are finished in high-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer in your choice of Cosmic Cobalt, Electric lime, Vibrant Red, or Orange Glow, while the fingerboard has a natural finish.

Pickups and Electronics:
Gibson USA packs the M-III with a trio of its most powerful pickups, including Dirty Fingers+™ humbuckers in the neck and bridge position, and a Dirty Fingers+™ single coil in the middle. A five-way switch, combined with push-pull switching on the master tone control for humbucker coil-splitting, take you everywhere from warm, vocal neck pickup tones, to roaring crunch and soaring leads in the bridge, to bright, shimmering single-coil tones—all with unprecedented power and sustain.

A high-quality Floyd Rose™ vibrato with locking nut adds further versatility to your playing arsenal, while a set of genuine Grover™ Mini-Kidney tuners enhance the already unparalleled tuning stability. All hardware is black-plated, and the control knobs are easy-grip knurled black metal. The M-III carries a traditional black bell-shaped truss-rod cover, and wears no pickguard to obscure its dramatic range of finish options.

Gary Hoey's signature Rocktron Intimidator Pedal...

In the video above Gary Hoey demonstrates his new signature distortion pedal from Rocktron called the Intimidator. Control include a LEVEL, which controls the output volume, BASS to control the bass level and TREBLE to control the treble level settings. GAIN controls the amount of gain and PUNISH controls the distortion waveform symmetry and definition.

Joe Satriani and Steve Morse Podcast!

photographed backstage at the Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA, Sept. 28, 2013

Head-to-head: Joe Satriani and Steve Morse podcast These guitar greats answer questions...

Joe Bosso /Music Radar - October 02, 2013

Since late August, Joe Satriani and his killer band, (keyboardist Mike Keneally, drummer Marco Minnemann and bassist Bryan Beller), have been knocking out US audiences with a seismic live show that includes hits like Satch Boogie, Ice 9 and Flying In A Blue Dream, along with a heaping portion of the guitarist's dynamite new album, Unstoppable Momentum.

If that weren't enough six-string nirvana, Satch's special guest for the past month has been his good friend, (Deep Purple axeman and solo star), Steve Morse, who also participated in last year's G3 South American run.

MusicRadar stopped by the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, the other day, where we managed to wrangle both guitar greats backstage for a special one-hour podcast interview comprising reader questions.

So numerous were the queries, and so voluminous were the guitarists' answers, that we're running the podcast in two parts. You can listen to part one below, and next week we'll present the conclusion.

New research shows the benefits of musical activity...

Musicians spot mistakes more quickly and more accurately than non-musicians...

New research shows the cognitive benefits of even a small amount of musical activity

by JAMES VINCENT - The Independent

New research has shown that individuals who play an instrument are more capable at identifying errors and correcting mistakes, and that these benefits apply to amateur musicians as well as professionals.

The study, led by Dr Ines Jentzsch for the University of St Andrews, tested the cognitive abilities of musicians and non-musicians, with the research concluding that learning an instrument could “slow or even prevent” the mental decline associated with aging.

The research, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, draws particular attention to the skills learnt in musical performance. When playing pieces to an audience or to themselves musicians must demonstrate heightened awareness of their actions: continually monitoring their playing through auditory feedback and rapidly adjusting their movements to anticipate possible mistakes.

The psychological and mental benefits of learning to play an instrument have been shown in previous studies, with research highlighting musicians’ improved reaction times and their increased capacity to “inhibit task irrelevant information” (aka, to stay focused).

[The results] suggest that higher levels of musical training might result in more efficient information processing in general (indicated by faster overall speed across tasks without accuracy tradeoff), and confirms earlier reports indicating a positive link between mental speed and musical ability,” says Dr Jentzsch.

The research is notable in that unlike previous studies it focuses on amateur rather than professional musicians, showing that even “moderate levels of musical activity” were beneficial to cognitive performance.

The study also drew attention to the diminishing support for children to learn to play in schools, noting that “in times of economic hardship, funds for music education are often amongst the first to be cut.”

This is particularly worrying given both anecdotal and limited research evidence suggesting that music can have strong positive effects on our physical as well as psychological functioning.”

SATRIANI: Artists are Being Forced to Make Music in Reverse...

In a new interview, Joe Satriani has stated that artists need more time to play their music live before they get down to recording it.

The way guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani sees it, he’s never finished writing a song.

Satriani, known equally for his solo work and collaborations as well as for being guitar teacher to such big names as Steve Vai, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and Primus’ Larry LaLonde, has released 14 instrumental solo albums since 1986. His most recent, “Unstoppable Momentum,” hit No. 42 on the Billboard Top 200 when it was released in May, making it his highest-charting album in 20 years.

But for Satriani, the real work on his songs takes place not in the recording studio but on the road, where even such established classic tunes as “Surfing With the Alien” and his signature “Satch Boogie” are reworked on an almost nightly basis.

You write a song and you may wind up recording it in about a week and putting it on an album, and your audience feels that is the definitive version, but really it’s your first attempt at coming to grips with what you’ve written,” Satriani said recently from a tour stop in Durham, N.C.

Joe Satriani, “Something I think would be a better process would be to write a song and then go on tour for 15 years to figure out exactly what it is you’ve written, but such is the world — we do things backwards like that. The tour is a great time for the live musician to finally understand what they’ve done and work on it over and over again. When I hit the stage playing ‘Satch Boogie,’ I’m still working on it and finding new ways to make it better.”

Satriani’s current U.S. tour with The Steve Morse Band, which heads to the Palace Theatre on Wednesday night, has given him even more opportunities to rework material both new and old. He’s playing with a brand new rhythm section, bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann, along with his longtime keyboard player Mike Keneally.

While Satriani hadn’t played with either Beller or Minnemann before the European tour that began in May, the two had performed together and with Keneally before in various configurations — Beller and Keneally both play in the real-life version of animated band Dethklok, and Beller and Minnemann make up two-thirds of power trio The Aristocrats. This has given the new band a strong chemistry, which in turn allows for plenty of improvisation.

There’s a long history there, and I get to tap into that,” Satriani said. “I just have to raise an eyebrow, and off we go in another direction. There’s a lot of improvising because of the history between all the musicians. And of course, they come from a different era — they’re all younger than I am, so they have a different set of influences.”

While Keneally also performs on “Unstoppable Momentum,” drums and bass on the album were handled by Frank Zappa veterans Vinnie Colaiuta and Chris Chaney, respectively. Having two new bands — one in the studio, one on the road — has helped the new material grow and develop in interesting ways. The band is currently playing most, if not all, of the new album live.

I’ve been able to tap into something quite unique with this whole cycle — not only did I have a new band in the studio, then to find another unit with a long history together to come out and reinterpret the new record and the catalog as well, which is half the show,” Satriani said. “There’s a lot of interpretation opportunities available to whoever . . . sits in those chairs.”

Influenced by locations The writing and recording process behind “Unstoppable Momentum” came at a busy, and unusual, time in Satriani’s career. Last year, the guitarist resurrected his G3 tour after a five-year absence, playing in Australia and New Zealand, South America and Europe — the first time the tour has ever had multiple legs.

Since its inception in 1996, the tours have all featured Satriani playing alongside two other renowned guitarists — last year, G3 veteran Vai played the Australia/New Zealand and European legs; Morse played Europe and South America; and Steve Lukather joined the tour for the Australian/New Zealand leg and replaced Morse for the end of the South American tour.

Also in 2012, Satriani hit the road with supergroup Chickenfoot, which features former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony as well as Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. And both Satriani and Hagar were involved in a tribute to Ronnie Montrose in San Francisco in April 2012, following the guitarist’s death the month prior.

Overall, in 2012, I played in more different situations than ever before, and in between all those tours I was at home writing a lot,” Satriani said. “When I got home at the end of the year, I had about 60 pieces of music to choose from, all of which were influenced by the different locations, and all the different musicians I played with. That just sort of increased my enthusiasm level, and that’s what the title track of the album is about — how strange it is to be so enthusiastic not only about writing and recording, but using new equipment, testing out new guitar straps, strings, pedals. I felt just like a kid, and I thought that feeling sort of needs a theme song.” Book on the way

Satriani’s current U.S. tour runs through October, but the guitarist has plenty on his plate after that. He’s currently working on a book, “Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir,” which will be released in April, alongside a box set featuring remastered versions of all his albums along with extras.

It’s been cathartic going over all that material,” Satriani said. “I’m in the process of working with editors, and I think it’s going to turn out to be a really great book; the fans will really love it.”