Guitar Great Hangout on Live From Music City with Carl Verheyen, Gretchen Menn, Neil Zazza, Jon Finn, Rob Balducci, Mike Martin and Chris Green
Join guitar virtuosos Carl Verheyen, Gretchen Menn, Neil Zaza, Jon Finn, Rob Balducci, Mike Martin and Chris Green as well talk all things guitar on a Google+ hangout! Covering everything from songwriting, marketing, touring and developing a fan base. Tweet us at @LFMCRadio to ask your questions and listen to some of music’s most prolific instrumentalists tell you how to beat the challenges of the music industry.
Date: TBD – Due to technical issues, this hangout is being rescheduled. Please check back for the new date and time!
Time 7:00pm – 8:30pm CST
Where: THIS PAGE
Carl Verheyen Biography
In his 40-plus years of playing the instrument, Carl has created a wildly successful, multi-faceted career. He is a critically-acclaimed musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger, producer and educator with 11 CDs and two live DVDs released worldwide. Carl is commonly regarded as a guitar virtuoso capable of playing any style of music with remarkable mastery and conviction. He has been one of LA’s elite “first call” session players for the past 25 years, playing on hundreds of records, movie soundtracks and television shows. Carl has graced the pages of countless industry publications and been the subject of numerous articles chronicling his rise to the forefront of the modern day guitar scene. Carl has won numerous polls and musical honors in the US, Germany, France, Italy and the UK.
A member of the smash hit British rock group Supertramp since 1985, Carl has played to millions of enthusiastic fans in sold out arenas worldwide. As the creative force behind The Carl Verheyen Band, he has released an impressive and eclectic discography that showcases his endless talents across a wide array of musical genres.
A much sought after studio musician, Carl plays on other artists’ CDs whenever his busy schedule permits. He has recorded and played with a virtual who’s who of the music industry. His vast collection of movie soundtrack and television credits are enviable. Carl was heard by 67, 000,000 people as a featured soloist at the 2009 Academy Awards. He will also be heavily featured in the forthcoming film documentary about the electric guitar, Turn It Up!
On the educational front, Carl has produced two instructional videos called Intervallic Rock Guitar and Forward Motion as well as various on-line lessons. He also has a book/CD detailing his unique “intervallic” style called Improvising Without Scales. Another book entitled Studio City is a compilation of all the columns Carl wrote for Guitar Magazine between 1996 and 1999. He has written a monthly column for Chitarre, Italy’s #1 guitar publication as well as Guitar World and Guitar Jam Daily, a website devoted to serious guitarists. He currently writes a monthly column for Guitar Player, contributes to other guitar publications, and blogs regularly for GuitarPlayer.com and his own site. Carl also lectures and teaches at clinics regularly when not on the road.
Carl recently co-designed a signature guitar with LsL Instruments, the “CV Special,” combining the best elements Carl seeks in his ideal guitar; they are now available for purchase worldwide. As if that weren’t enough, working closely with Dean Markley, Carl developed a line of signature strings for the electric guitar that perfectly balance the tremolo bridge of the Fender Stratocaster, the Carl Verheyen Balanced Bridge Helix HD string set . Also working with Dean Markley, Carl helped develop a top-of-the-line guitar lubrication, Tuba Luba, in addition to his numerous existing endorsements.
Photo by: Max Crace
Gretchen Menn Bio
Rapidly gaining praise in the world of instrumental rock and beyond, Gretchen Menn isn’t your average guitar hero on the rise. She once flew regional jets to support her six-string habit. She has studied, in equal parts, the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Morse, Frank Zappa, and Jimmy Page. (Regarding the latter composer, she performs the music of Led Zeppelin professionally all over the U.S. with Zepparella.) Perhaps Michael Molenda, Guitar Player Magazine’s editor-in-chief, described Gretchen’s solo music best when he said that she “seeks the unknown by blending disparate jazz, prog, and world-music influences into a tasty, guitaristic thrill ride.” Her first solo album, Hale Souls, released in July of 2011, is an instrumental album of original compositions that range from aggressive to celestial.
Apart from demolishing her mother’s violin with Pete Townshend-like vehemence at age three, Gretchen’s passion for all things guitar didn’t fully surface until her early teenage years. It was under the tutelage of classical guitarist Phillip de Fremery, a student of Andrés Segovia, that Gretchen began her path on the instrument. Her father, noted writer and former editor-in-chief of Guitar Player Magazine, Don Menn, was quick to point her in the direction of the greats as soon as she expressed interest in guitar.
While earning a degree in music at Smith College, Gretchen’s adventurous approach to her education would foreshadow her approach to the guitar. She convinced a professor to allow her to launch a special studies project on the intricate and unclassifiable music of Frank Zappa. Her analyses of “The Sheik Yerbouti Tango” and “The Girl in the Magnesium Dress” showed a love for epic, melodic, genre-shattering rock and roll composition that would manifest later in her original instrumentals.
After college, Gretchen began heavily incorporating her love of rock guitar into her daily regime, the only hitch being that the music of her rock gods, Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, and Frank Zappa, wasn’t exactly Guitar 101. She also began considering her career path, and how she might prevent a situation she sought to avoid: tainting her love of music with the necessity of paying rent.
The solution? She went directly from college to flight school, and two years later was flying regional jets for the airlines. Yet Gretchen was never without her guitar.
After a year in the jet, with the life of an airline pilot being more than a little incompatible with a career in music, Gretchen relinquished her position with the airlines, knowing that there was a pilot out there somewhere who would appreciate the opportunity. She decided to take a more direct approach to realizing her musical dreams.
Playing with tireless passion and constantly seeking out new challenges, Gretchen’s projects have spanned the genres of jazz, funk, rock, progressive, and metal. In 2003, she donned a schoolboy uniform and joined AC/DShe as “Agnes Young.” In 2005, she joined forces with drummer, Clementine, to form Zepparella, currently with singer Noelle Doughty and bassist Angeline Saris. In 2007, Gretchen formed Sticks and Stones, the high-energy, instrumental “bassless power trio” with guitarist Mickael Tremel and drummer Sam Adato. In 2010, she played in Lapdance Armageddon, an aggressive acoustic duo with Jude Gold. In 2011 she wrote, produced, and recorded her first solo album, Hale Souls, which features bassist Stu Hamm, drummer John Mader, violinist Emily Palen, and guest artists Angeline Saris (bass on “Scrap Metal”), Jude Gold (second acoustic guitar on “Fast Crowd”), and Gretchen’s sister, Kirsten Menn (soprano on “Fading.”) Gretchen’s solo project, a trio with Angeline Saris on bass and Thomas Perry on drums, played their first shows in November of 2011, and will be starting to tour more in 2012.
Neil Zaza Biography
His guitar playing has defined modern day instrumental guitar the world over. His melodic compositions have not only changed the way musicians play, but what audiences demand out of their guitar heroes. To see Ohio native Neil Zaza’s influential impact on guitar across the globe, merely tune into the legion of thousands of fanatical fans performing his international hit, “I’m Alright” on YouTube. Neil’s trademark “singing” and lyrical guitar style is easily recognizable and can only belong to one man: Neil Zaza.
“It’s always been about the song for me,” states Neil. “I remember all the tunes that really moved me when I was growing up and it wasn’t about the guitarist playing 128th notes. It was about an inexplicable connection I felt drawing me to wear out my records as I couldn’t get enough of that rush of the song itself! That’s what I try and do with my music today. It’s always about the song!”
Neil Zaza worldwide touring has cemented him as a true guitar phenomenon. He’s played alongside and shared the stage with such guitar luminaries as Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Nuno Bettencourt. His recordings feature collaborations with Van Halen’s Michael Anthony, Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess, drumming legend Steve Smith, Peter Frampton among others.
Neil Zaza’s mastery of the guitar amasses accolades from all sources. While he continues to transform the world of instrumental rock music one melody at a time, it’s his fiery interpretations of holiday repertoire fused with Classical melodies and classic Rock that is the basis for his One Silent Night… concert series. Neil, his band, and an orchestra/choir aren’t just performing holiday music with One Silent Night…-they are literally reinventing it!
Now, with his latest release entitled 212, Neil has set the melodic bar even higher with a project taking his melodic stylings to even greater heights. 212 boasts songs that put composition and melody on par with his stunning guitar prowess. The combination is deadly and sure to set the watermark for how expressive and emotive a guitarist can be.
This unique voice continues to evolve…
Jon Finn Biography
A guitarist since age six, Jon Finn has been a professional musician for most of his life. Joining the guitar faculty at Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1988, he started the Jon Finn Group later that same year. To date, they have released three CDs internationally:
For over three years, Jon wrote a monthly instructional feature for a national magazine called Guitar. Jon has also authored several books for Mel Bay Publications:
- Advanced Modern Rock Guitar Improvisation
- One Guitar, Many Styles
- Blues/Rock Improvisation
- Guitar Riffs in the Style of the 60s and 70s
- with others in the works…
In his freelance pursuits, he’s played guitar for the national touring companies of many contemporary musical theater productions such as Rent, Aida, Mamma Mia, Grease, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Copacabana, and many others. Today Jon frequently performs and records with the Boston Pops Orchestra, and has been involved in a plethora of concerts and recording sessions, including 6 CDs (two of which were Grammy nominated), 8 US concert tours, and one tour in Asia.
Rob Balducci Bio
A native of New York, Rob Balducci has defined himself as a guitarist, musician, composer and one of the most sought after instructors in New York. Balducci’s music is drenched in layers of sonic colors, each representing a tangible emotion, desire, depth, feeling, thought and mood. Rob said “There’s this cliche that instrumental guitar music has gotten to be too much of a vehicle for soloing and showing off technique. That’s completely the opposite of what I’m trying to do. My music is really like vocal songs with the guitar as the vocals.” Guitar World said after hearing Balducci’s debut CD “ Hum-able Shred! What a concept.”
“ Rob is an excellent guitarist… I’ve always had his CDs around and I am waiting for him to become the next big guitar player ” – Joe Satriani “
Rob is a great player and is as dedicated to his work as one can get and it shows in the construction of his audio emotions”- Steve Vai
Having played guitar for the past 24 years, Rob spent years dedicated to mastering his instrument. These well-spent years of woodshedding, and perfecting his technique would pay off handsomely. In 1990, Balducci would go on to win a local contest sponsored by Guitar For The Practicing Musician proclaiming him as New York’s best guitarist. Balducci also furthered his six-string education, earning a degree in music performance and theory from Five Towns College. Balducci’s debut CD, 1995’s BALANCE distributed through Sony Music reaped unanimous praise from press and guitar enthusiasts alike heralding this promising new talent.
After his debut CD Balance, Rob worked on new material and starting shopping his music to record companies. The new CD was sent to Steve Vai in hopes of Steve wanting to release it on his new record label Favored Nations Entertainment. “Favored Nations was created with the intent of bringing music that’s energetic and emotional, with performances by artists of the highest caliber. The artists signed to Favored Nations are a unique, dedicated breed that have attained the highest performance level on their chosen instruments – Steve Vai “ Vai signed Balducci to Favored Nations and released Mantra and The Color Of Light CDs worldwide. Balducci’s newest 2009 Favored Nations CD is titled Violet Horizon and features 15 new tracks of his best work to date with special guest appearances by Guthrie Govan and Dave Weiner.
2009 has been a busy year, not only has Balducci recorded Violet Horizon he also collaborated with Bassist Randy Coven and drummer John Macaluso on a new CD that will be coming out on BHP/NuGroove records. The CD features songs written by Randy, Rob and John and is produced by Emmy Award winning producer Brian Tarquin. Joining Rob on this CD is fellow guitar players Steve Vai, Leslie West and many more….
Rob is currently working on his debut instructional DVD which will be released through The Rock House Method company. His stellar guitar stylings can also be heard on “Rewired: A Tribute To Jeff Beck,” “Crushing Days: A Tribute To Joe Satriani” and a salute to Carlos Santana. Rob Balducci has the pleasure of working with and endorsing Ibanez Guitars, Cornford Amps, Intellitouch tuners, D’Addario Strings, Dimarzio Pick-ups, George L’s cables, Morley pedals, Keeley Pedals, Xotic pedals, Dunlop, Maxon and performs clinics around the world in support of these companies.
The musical community has also taken notice of this guitar giant, with scores of global publications loudly singing his praises (most notably Guitarist UK, Guitar World, Young Guitar, and Burn). What remains constant about Rob Balducci is his intoxicating cinematic scope of sounds, skin-tight arrangements and extraordinary six-string dexterity. Music is a highly personal experience for each and every listener, a uniquely exotic adventure conjuring up a kaleidoscope of different emotions and feelings. Like a master snake charmer, Balducci’s music seduces, inspires, challenges, and ultimately takes you onto a new dimension of light and shade and into the ” Violet Horizon
Mike Martin Biography
Mike “2 of 5” Martin began his life on stage. Literally. Mike’s mother was pregnant while she was in college studying and performing opera. He never had a chance! He began his formal study of music at the age of four, learning violin and singing in choir throughout elementary school. At nine, he started playing the piano. In 1985 he discovered the guitar and was given one that year for Christmas. Teaching himself to play by ear, Mike quickly developed a repertoire of popular rock music, learning every AC/DC riff he could.
In junior high, Mike began seeking out teachers who could help further him along as a player. After a short stint with music store lessons, Mike was accepted to study at The Concord Community Music School in Concord, New Hampshire, studying Classical Guitar with Christopher Kane and Jazz Guitar with David Tonkin.
Mike earned his first professional job as a musician playing 12-string guitar for the New Life Singers, a contemporary Christian folk ensemble based out of Concord, NH. At fifteen, Mike started a rock band and began performing music by Metallica, Queensryche, Anthrax, Guns N’ Roses, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden all over New Hampshire with musicians who were already out of school
Eager to learn as much as possible about the guitar, Mike took an opportunity to move to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 1990 to begin studying with Tom Yoder, a local guitar wizard that Mike credits for bringing out the discipline and skills he would need for a lifetime of music achievement. During this period, Mike continued performing in the Myrtle Beach area with local bands. He stayed under Tom’s tutelage until graduating from high school in 1992
After high school, Mike moved to Atlanta with the group Tunnel Vision in hopes of getting his performing career off the ground. The new Alternative and Grunge movements made it difficult for Mike to secure many opportunities, but he did make some acquaintances along the way. During a short stint at a Georgia landscaping company he met Rich Ward of Stuck Mojo, and Sean Delson and Doug Busbee of Salem Ash. Little did he realize then the significance of this brief encounter.
Discouraged by the trend in “anti-guitar-solo” music, Mike did the only thing he could think of: Go To College! Here he studied Music Theory and Composition with Dr. David Maves, ASCAP Composer of the Year 1995. He also continued his Classical guitar studies with Mark Regnier and Jazz studies with pianist Tommy Gill.
After graduating in 1999, Mike moved back to Atlanta to pick up where he had left off. He soon found work in the thriving Atlanta Blues Scene as a mercenary sideman for hire which gained him the honor of being included in a historic photo of GA blues musicians now on display in The Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, GA. Mike also had great success performing with his Nuevo Gypsy/Flamenco duo with Ed Wier. Mike began showcasing his writing with the group The Hybrids in 2000, which ultimately lead to starting a group under his own name in 2002.
Mike was approached by Sean Delson in the summer of 2004 on behalf of Rich Ward and FOZZY to take over lead guitar responsibilities. They were in the process of dropping the joke gimmick to become a real band and beginning a world tour to support their record “All That Remains” featuring guitar solos by Hard Rock and Metal guitar heroes Zakk Wylde, Mark Tremonti and Marty Friedman. They were in need of a real guitar player to do the album justice on the road and Mike was more than up to the challenge, transcending “touring sideman” status to become a feature of the live shows. Since then Mike has toured worldwide with FOZZY and recorded The Duke’s (Ward’s) release on Spitfire Records, “My Kung Fu Is Good” (released worldwide May 2005). In 2006, Mike played lead guitar for FOZZY on the track “Metal Gods” for a tribute to Judas Priest CD featuring Motorhead, Vince Neil, Sepultura and Tim “Ripper” Owens among others.
Being in close association with the band Stuck Mojo, Mike was asked to perform on their long awaited album “Southern Born Killers”. After having toured with the band multiple times and appearing as a guest in the upcoming DVD release “Live at the London Underworld”, Mike joined the band as an official member and second guitarist to Rich Ward in 2007, appearing in the music video for “I’m American”. During Mike’s time with Stuck Mojo, they toured extensively throughout Europe with Vol Beat and Ektomorph, as well as signed with Napalm Records to release “The Great Revival” in January of 2009.
2009 also finally saw the release of the live CD which had been recorded in Australia on FOZZY’s 2005 “Remains Alive” tour. Mike’s final contribution to the band was to produce the track “Wormwood” for the January 2010 release “Chasing the Grail”. Chris Jericho penned the lyrics about the end of the world inspired by the book of Revelations. Mike turned those lyrics into a 14 minute progressive hard rock cinematic feast for the ears composing, arranging, engineering, playing all of the guitars, conducting the choir for the finale and co-mixing with Eric Frampton. This standout track was a complete musical departure for the band and it demonstrates Mike’s growth as an artist in his own right. “Wormwood” has been a very highly reviewed track on the album and a fan favorite but more importantly, it is a synergistic example of all that Mike has to offer and a tip of the hand as to what he will be up to on his next projects.
During his tours of duty with FOZZY, The Duke, and Stuck Mojo, Mike seized upon the opportunity to build a project studio at his home so he could begin to produce his solo projects. The first of which was the instrumental album “2 of 5”, originally released the Summer of 2006 independently on Serpa Records, and now available worldwide through Steve Vai’s Digital Nations Division of the Favored Nations record label. “The title is a reference to the Borg character ‘7 of 9’ on Star Trek,” says Mike. “I am the second of five children so I thought it was pretty clever.” With the new Vai DN partnership, and the critical acclaim and success of “Wormwood”, 2013 is poised to be the year Mike gets his band touring properly as well as working on a new music set to be released in 2013.
2011 – 2013
Mike worked with Atlanta projects Agent Cooper (featuring members of Fozzy, Stuck Mojo, The Duke and Salem Ash) and The Nominees (featuring members of doubleDrive and Speed X). Touring Europe opening for Tony MacAlpine in 2012.
Highlights for MIke’s solo project in 2012 include opening for Steve Vai at Center Stage in Atlanta, GA and The Aristocrats (featuring Guthrie Govan, Bryan Beller and Marco Minneman) in Nashville, TN
Mike’s foundations in Classical, Metal, Jazz, Folk, Rock and World music have allowed him dedicate his career to versatility and culture with the highest respect for art by any means necessary. Perhaps he is best described in the following way:
Art with a purpose is a force to be reckoned with.
Chris Green Biography
Guitarist Chris Green has had the pleasure of playing in a long list of powerful rock bands, including Furyon, Nelson, Scrap Metal, Defcon, Firehouse and Pride. In 2008, the UK band, “Furyon” recorded their debut album with platinum-selling producer Rick Beato. His most recent project is a collaboration with CJ Snare, “Rubicon Cross,” as well as writing an instrumental album yet to be released.