Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Music Master Publishing is pleased to announce a new endorsement for the Guitar Wheel coming from musician Jason Becker. Legendary guitarist Jason Becker has endorsed the Guitar Wheel as an educational tool for music theory. Jason told us he loves the Guitar Wheel. This is a quote he gave us, “The Guitar Wheel is great! I could have used it for teaching guitar students. I can use it now for composing. Very cool.”
Jason Becker is without a doubt one of the most influential guitar players of all time and many are familiar with his story. If not, read a short version here - last paragraph.
At present Jason continues to compose music. His new album “Jason Becker Collection” will have guest guitarists Steve Vai, Marty Friedman, Joe Satriani, Michael Lee Firkins, Matt Bissonette, Dave Lopez of Flipsyde, Steve Hunter, and Greg Howe, playing on it. The album will be out October 2008.
I was introduced to Jason in June by his friend David Kline. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Jason a few times on the phone in the last month. Jason is totally amazing. Even though the disease ALS has taken over his body, I can tell you he has a terrific spirit that is evident in his music and in his positive and often humorous attitude. Visit these links to his website and Myspace profile. Read his Myspace blog where he posts updates on his life and music periodically.
In the near future there will be a tribute concert for Jason Becker (an exact date is not defined yet). Little news has released about this concert yet. But we’ve been told world class guitarists will show up to pay tribute to Jason by playing his music for him and fans. We don’t know how big the event will be or if it will be open to the public. We will have more news on this, keep checking back. In 1989 Jason was diagnosed with ALS and was told then that he had 3 years to live. Though his condition slowly got worse and worse, it has remained stable since 1997, with no further updates. He’s a living guitar hero.
Paradise Guitars USA is making a Jason Becker Signature Guitar Model per Jasons exact specs. Pro Tone Pedals is making a Jason Becker effects pedal emulating Jason's sound he got from using his gear, and featuring the artwork of Jason's Dad, Gary Becker. Gary Becker is an amazing artist. More of Gary's paintings and drawings can be appreciated and purchased from his website.
Here is a short summary of Jason Becker’s past story: From age 16 Jason Becker was a wiz kid on guitar, playing under the Shrapnel Record label along with Marty Friedman in Cacophony, touring and recording albums. At the age of 20, he had just landed the ultimate gig playing lead guitar for the David Lee Roth Band, replacing Steve Vai when the devastating news came. At age 20, he was diagnosed with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) which is a disease that attacks nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement. Jason recorded “A little Ain’t Enough” with David Lee Roth” but was not able to go on the subsequent tour. ALS slowly took away his ability to play guitar, to walk, and even talk. Jason has remained a champion at heart, and still mentally sharp, despite it all, and he has even found spiritual peace with God. He is able to speak through a system his dad invented where he can spell words with his eye movements. Through the aid of and advanced computer, he can compose music with his eye movements; and through the help of other musicians he has released the album "Perspective" (1996), which has received much great critical acclaim.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Representing Music Master Publishing and the Guitar Wheel at the Summer NAMM Show was Dustin Cheatham, Director of Marketing. He reports on how his trip went:
NAMM kicked off to a great start for me without delay early the first morning of the show which was Friday, June 20, and for the duration of the weekend there was literally not a moment spent idle. While we did not have a booth this year, it was still a great show in which we made some very good new contacts and met up with some wonderful friends. Actually I could say NAMM started for me Thursday on the plane from California to Nashville, because sitting next to me on the plane was Greg Dorsett co-founder of Rock Stars Guitars and also salesman for famed guitar luthier Paul Unk of Unk Guitars. For Rock Stars Guitars Greg Dorsett brokers the sale of authentic guitars between famous artists and collectors. He’s sold a Hendrix or two in the past, and currently up for sale on his website is Eric Clapton’s Griffen Stratocaster and Orange 2x12 cabinet, Van Halen’s one of a kind Megazone, and Yngwie Malmsteen’s 1968 Reissue Fender Stratocaster, to name a few. I agree with Greg, he has a cool job. He’s like the person who sells Picasso’s or Monet’s paintings but only instead he sells pieces of Rock’n Roll history.
Friday I met up with guitarists David Kline, Sonny Lombardozzi, said hi to Rob Marcello, and many others. I had lunch at Jacks BBQ on Broadway with Mike Lawson who moved from California to Nashville last summer. Mike is a dear friend, musician and music publisher who has helped me a time or two flip on the proverbial light bulb. (Jack's is by the way the best BBQ east of the Mississippi, that is unless you're in Mike's backyard and he's smok'n ribs). Actually friday I had lunch twice at Jacks back-to-back, and then third lunch with Sonny Lombardozzi and friend Melissa Rodler. For a skinny guy like me, it was a marathon day of eating. Sonny who by the way is a killer guitar shredder, has gotten himself a lot of great attention for being one of two double neck guitar players in the world who play professionally. The other being double neck guitar master Michael Angelo Batio, whom I have not yet had the pleasure to meet. Sonny has almost finished some lesson videos he’s worked on which will be included in the book Music Theory With The Guitar Wheel. The release date is still TBA.
At the top of the big news is a conversation I had on the phone with one of the greatest guitarists of all time guitarist/composer Jason Becker. David Kline is a friend of Jason’s and while we talking Friday in a most natural way suggested we call him right there from NAMM. David introduced me to Jason and told him we have an amazing music theory educational tool called the Guitar Wheel, then he put me on the phone Jason, I think it was his mom, or sister maybe, who mediated the conversation with me and Jason. Jason is totally amazing. Even though the disease ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, has taken over his body, he is mentally sharp and has a terrific spirit that is evident in his music and his positive often humorous attitude. He communicates by a system his dad invented to spell words with his eye movements. He is able to communicate very well and pretty fast too. It was an honor to speak to him. That was my first conversation with Jason. Since NAMM I have sent him the Guitar Wheel and he love’s it, he wants to endorse it as an educational tool. I’ll have an official news release about that separate from this very soon. There will be a tribute concert for Jason. More on that later too.
Back to NAMM. I met with Bill Wenzloffzloff of Morley Guitar Pedals to talk about some upcoming ads we’ll do together with guitarist Tommy Bolan (NYC) in Guitar World Magazine. The Guitar Wheel Demonstration Video with Tommy Bolan was on the CD ROM in Guitar Wold Magazine's August issue. NYC is a band ready to break wide open. Their new album titled ZYKO will be in all the major music dealers July 15.
Friday night Sonny, Melissa, David and his girlfriend Kelly, and my wife Melissa all had dinner together. We spent some time hanging out and building relationships, which sometimes gets missed in the music products industry but it is exactly what we want to build our company on.
Saturday I caught up with guitarist Steve Burrows at NAMM, who was being accompanied by an impressively sized entourage and shaking lots of hands when I found him. Steve has got some really great recording projects coming up with huge artists which he has asked me not talk about yet, but we’re really excited for him. We had lunch together then continued to walk around NAMM. Steve is a very good and therefore very busy guitar player and music arranger, and a wonderful guy to talk with. That day I also had the pleasure of meeting Steve Mikesell of Visual Sound at their booth, and Trent Salter president of Premiere Guitar. Trent loved the Guitar Wheel and asked for one to give to his editors. My wife and I were treated to dinner that night by Jeff Tyson of Guitar World and one of his colleagues, along with Mark Markel president of Analysis Plus and his wife. Mark has designed hollow oval sound cables which look and sound better than any other cable in the industry. We had dinner at the Boundry, a classy restaraunt in Nashville.
Sunday was our last day in Nashville and we spent only half the day at NAMM. The highlight of that day was doing a video interview for Premiere Guitar Magazine. They wanted me to explain how the Guitar Wheel works and Sonny Lombardozzi, and Steve Burrows got some time on camera talking about what they love about the Guitar Wheel. The guys who did the video said it was one of the most fun videos they did. They said it will be up on Premier Guitar’s Website. It should be up anytime soon. I don't know maybe if you email the web editor and ask him when he’ll put it up he’ll answer your emails. Perhaps they are waiting to release it with a special editorial about the Guitar Wheel in the magazine. That would be cool. You can email Joe at Premiere Guitar and ask him to post the Guitar Wheel video from NAMM, if you would like to see it.
Well that’s about it for the Nashville 2008 Summer NAMM wrap-up. It was a pleasure to meet all the people mentioned above and those that I haven't named. This was a very prosperous NAMM weekend for Music Master Publishing and the Guitar Wheel and for our future book release Music Theory With The Guitar Wheel. Keep checking this blog and the Guitar Wheel Website www.guitarwheel.com for updates.