Hard Rock Hideout wishes you and your families a Very Merry Christmas!
It seems like each year there are one or two new hard rock Christmas videos. This year, we get a new one from Twisted Sister with Lita Ford, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”.
Twisted Sister – O’ Come All Ye Faithful
Twisted Sister – Silver Bells
Twisted Sister – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Dokken – Santa Claus is Coming To Town
Skid Row – Jingle Bells
Tom Keifer – Blue Christmas
and my personal favorite, Charlie Brown’s Heavy Metal Christmas
SEXTAPES, the Hollywood, California-based band featuring GUNS N’ ROSES keyboardist Chris Pitman on vocals and guitar synth, has issued the following update:
“My favorite Christmas gifts were the records I received when I was young, I remember the year, the songs, and most importantly, when I hear that music today, I remember exactly how I was FEELING at that time. Oddly, I don’t remember most other gifts through the years! Selective memory, I guess. We hope to share that same experience with others.
“To ease gift giving during this recession holiday season, we are offering free downloads of SEXTAPES MP3s from our new album! For a limited time you can download these five MP3 tracks simply by clicking here.
“Offer ends midnight, January 2, 2009, so download yours today!”
SEXTAPES released its self-titled debut album on November 11, 2008 viaToneRiot Records. The CD was made available through iTunes(worldwide), Best Buy stores, FYE, Borders Books, Wherehouse Records, Amazon.com, and more.
Pitman shares, “I’m glad to finally get this album out there as it was just finished this summer. Between my involvement with GUNS N’ ROSES and the band’s high expectations for a solid and unique hard rock sound, we’re stoked to finally have a great record that we’re proud to release to our fans.”
Music all sounds the same today, so SEXTAPES has created what they would brand as future hard rock. The music is best classified as a bit psychotic, but with plenty of melody mixing up the punk and psychedelic overtones.
SEXTAPES consists of co-writer/founding member Kelly Wheeler on guitars, Marko Fox on bass, Ryan Brown on the drums and co-writer/producer Chris Pitman on lead vocals and guitar synth.
The band originated out of sheer perverse amusement with a series of informal jams by Wheeler and Fox in a cluttered garage. There, amid a bewildering array of audio electronics in every conceivable state of condition, promising sonic experiments continued with slated vocalistPitman‘s enthusiastic blessings, even though he was about to embark on a mammoth tour as an integral part of GUNS N’ ROSES. Between playing multiple instruments (for studio recording and live in concert), co-writing and co-producing for the new GN’R album, “Chinese Democracy”, he is also a co-writer with frontman Axl Rose of the song “If The World” in the new Warner Bros. Pictures and Ridley Scott film “Body Of Lies”.
Recorded at The Pass Studios in Hollywood where rock legends likeSMASHING PUMPKINS recorded “Zeitgeist” and the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS recorded “Stadium Arcadium”, the debut album was produced and mixed by Chris Pitman. All songs are written by Kelly Wheeler andChris Pitman.
For more information, visit www.myspace.com/sextapesband.
Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Angelo Batio. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You started playing piano and composing at age five and then started playing guitar at age ten. How much did you early piano skills influence your approach towards the guitar?
Michael Angelo Batio: A lot, because first up, I’m left-handed and so I played piano right-handed as there were no left-handed pianos. And since I played guitar right-handed too, that’s what gave me the ability to do all this stuff because my left hand, the fret board hand, became the stronger hand. And it served me well really early on when I started playing shows at the age of ten, where I developed this whole show of playing over and under. But as I went on, I came to the realization that my right hand was very deficient. When I got to 14 years of age, it suddenly dawned on me that I had this super-fast left hand but my right hand just sucked. So I spent two years developing my picking technique, with strict alternate picking. Literally, I’d play hour after hour to get my right hand to equal the left hand. But the piano playing helped a lot when it came to develop my technique on the double guitar as it enabled me to play two different parts at the same time.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: What about when guys like Yngwie Malmsteencame onto the scene doing a somewhat similar thing with the fast playing, what did you think of their playing at the time?
Michael Angelo Batio: I liked it. But you have to understand that when we were coming up in the ’80s nobody was calling it shred guitar back then. We all just wanted to be good. But then during the ’90s, the critics, especially in the States were part of this whole anti-guitar movement, where you couldn’t play solos. And so they tried to make people who could play, like me, not feel good about it. When grunge came in, all the shred-type guitar players either ran away or they went on to become blues players. But I thought to myself, “Why should I change just because some guy in a suit says that what I’m doing is unpopular?” In my career, I’ve always tried to do things that were different. For example, I came up with the double-guitar, and I had a different sound. While everybody was doing the scooped mids thing, I was doing the exact opposite. And so, I started finding out about the Internet, as I knew back then what the way of where records were going to go. Because records had gone to cassette, and then cassettes went to CDs, I knew CDs had to go somewhere else too. And once I realized that CDs were digital and that the internet was a way to transfer digital data, I knew I had to jump on it. So I got on to that horse and rode it. I got the URL angelo.com and with my previous record industry experience of being on a major label under my belt, I began marketing myself and my playing in a different way. And then soon after, it [the net] exploded.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: When it comes to speed playing in general, what do you think are the integral elements a guitarist needs to be aware of?
Michael Angelo Batio: I would say that in order to play fast, you have to first learn how to play slow. It is all about coordinating both of your hands so that they’re able to play together. I used to make my students play slow first. I learned this technique from having taken piano lessons and I used that to teach speed playing on the guitar. When you slow it down and force people to physically and mentally concentrate, it gets more ingrained in their heads and because of that, they can become a better and fast player. And only then would I show them other exercises. So it really comes down to the discipline of concentrating on what you’re doing really slowing and getting that right movement correctly. And I pick unusually too, because I’m left-handed and I rest my hand on the guitar like this (demonstrates). I did a study of lot of different guitar players and found that though there are some that pick from the wrist or elbow, I found that it’s not that important. The majority of players like Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Vinnie Moore, myself and anybody who plays really fast and accurately, when they’re playing medium to fast speeds, they never move their thumb and index finger. So it doesn’t matter if you use your wrist or elbow, what matters is the motion of your thumb and index finger. It has got to stay stationary. There are exceptions to the rule though but 95% of all guitarists do use this common technique.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Jim Gillette recently commented that he would like to see a reunion of NITRO happen possibly in 2009.
Michael Angelo Batio: Yeah, he asked me but I’m not going to do it. AndJim and I are best friends. But Jim also doesn’t want to do any of the old songs. Jim‘s idea is for a NITRO 2009, not the NITRO from the past. He doesn’t want to redo NITRO, he just wants to get back up onstage again and do what he’s doing now. It might be under the banner of NITROthough. But what he is doing now is an album with his wife, Lita Ford. And I’ve heard some of the music and it is really cool. But for me to do aNITRO reunion and not do any of the old songs, I don’t think it would be the same.
Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.