#The Lowry Agency

The Disconnect Between Musicians and Promoters Part 2

Let’s break it down a little bit so that maybe I can shed some light on what promoters are looking for in booking an opening act. First and foremost, this is definitely a “who do you know?” business. If you have the right connections or relationships, this will certainly be a lot easier for you. Some times it seems unfair but people will use people they like and trust before people they don’t. It’s your job to development this relationship and get your foot in the door.

Unfortunately most bands and artist just send an email and wait for a response and leave it at that. This shows no “real” interest in developing a relationship with a promoter or talent buyer and is pretty rote at this point in the game. Business people are looking for persistence, reliability, creativity and hard work. This is a very speculative business and so promoters are looking for artists that will make sure they deliver and help make sure the show doesn’t operate at a loss.

To get in good with a promoter, you need to try some creative ways to get noticed and get the gigs. They need to feel a sense of trust with you. Try setting up some social media campaigns early that get your fan base used to interacting with you in different types of promotional contests (These are things the promoters will see when checking you out). Then apply that to getting opening gigs. Especially when you have a opening spot already in line. Make sure you explain to your participants the seriousness of what you are asking them to do.

Let’s say you are opening for a band in your hometown. Supply the box office with a sheet of paper (with your band name on it and numbered already) and get all your fans to make sure they report to the box office they are there to see you and wouldn’t have bought tickets if you weren’t on the bill. After the show, get that paper and show it to the promoter, talent buyer or in house manager (take a pic first in case they keep it). It is essential you start building up your rep for hard work and bringing people out.

Another idea is prep your fans before the show by saying after you perform, you will be at your merch booth and want all your fans to come and bring their tickets stubs. Have them initial the front of them and take a pic of all them together. Obviously these are things you can email to promoters, put on social media (be prepared for every other band to copy you) and start building your street cred as the band to hire for the gig. This is also a great way for your fans to participate in your success and make sure they know that appreciate their help and support. You can’t do this with out them. This also helps people decide which show they want to spend their money on. One with a serious band they like where they can help or just another show where the band will show up, play, and act like they are the stars and probably bail before the concert is over.

This will also help people at the show who were on the fence about you or are maybe just showing up decide to check out your booth. Having all the people around you and the excitement they see going on while you are gathering ticket stubs will help you to get these “undecided’s” to the booth and hopefully by your CD or spend time talking to you. You are now developing new fans. You see, your time on stage isn’t the only time you are developing new fans. You job the whole time you are there is to development new fans and maximize every opportunity in front of you to do so.

As you can see, none of this is hard. It may be a bit time consuming having to interact on social media but you are supposed to be having original content to post anyway and this helps fill that hole. The idea is to be creative and PROVE you are the band to bring on board. This may take prep work as described above but this is business. You are a business. You need to start acting like one.

Good Luck!

You can also read this and some of my other articles at www.metalholic.com.

David Lowry is the President of The Lowry Agency, a full service artist management agency that works with musicians, speakers, entertainers, actors and models based in Nashville, TN. The Lowry Agency’s roster includes Mike Martin, Rob Balducci, Neil Zaza and Jon Finn. For more information please contact The Lowry Agency at http://www.thelowryagency.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CD Review – “Tapped In” by Don Lappin

TappedIn

I came to find Don Lappin through facebook and even though I follow guitar players, I wasn’t aware of Don’s playing until recently although being a fan of Michael Sweets (Stryper) I had probably heard Don before and didn’t realize it. Don is currently an Assistant Professor at the Berklee School of Music specializing in rock techniques for the guitar. Don has also played with musical greats such as Jon Finn, Chad Wackerman, Guthrie Govan and Jonathon Mover to tell you how talented he is. Don’s approach to the guitar incorporates a lot of tapping and 4 note-per-string playing which is slightly out of the norm and about as technical as I am going to get for this blog. This about the music and not his technique. You can contact Don for more information on that for you guitar nerds.

“Tapped In” is Don’s second solo release and it is full of stellar guitar work by this modern day guitar virtuoso. From the intro straight in the first song “Lappin it Up,” you know you are in for something very different for a guitar instrumental CD. I have done a few reviews of guitar instrumental CD’s and having listened to hundreds if not thousands of these guitar players, it is very hard to find one with their own distinct voice. The kind that once you hear them anywhere on any CD you know it’s them. Don has that unique voice. His playing is extremely fluid partially due to his tapping technique but also his mastery of his instrument of choice. Don is very melodic and his vamps are not your the tired typical power chord vamps that guitar players love to play over. After being sent so many bad CD’s to review, you almost dread getting another wanna be guitar shredder CD in the mail. Thankfully this is NOT one of those CD’s. There is a lot of creativity in every part of the songwriting on “Tapped In”.

The highlights on “Tapped In” for me are the songs “Lappin it Up, Captain’s Lady and A Song for Robert.” The first song “Lappin it Up” could possibly be the most original sounding guitar song I have heard in a long time, especially during the verses. It’s a fast paced groove with a different sonic texture then you’d expect and moves into some nice melodic lines and an uplifting chorus that is hooky. Laden with some tension coming out of the chorus to bring you back to earth, Don creates melodic passes that always keep the song fresh and interesting.

“Captain’s Lady” is a “pretty” song in the way Don constructs the melody from the opening. Although it’s a rock song, it has a light quality that brings you to a feeling of taking off in the chorus. One of the great things about artists like Don is you never know where the song is going to take you because they have so many tools in their arsenal. This keeps the songs fresh and invigorated which is great for longer instrumentals and can really show you that you don’t always have to have a typical ABABBABB type song to have a listener friendly tune. Great songwriters will keep you engaged at all times and Don does this very well.

“A Song for Robert” is a slow song that reminds me of the feeling I get when listening to an Eric Johnson composition. Don and Eric are completely different players and writers, but here Don achieves that same ability to create a musical picture that takes you away and creates that sonic landscape you can picture in your mind’s eye. It’s a beautiful song that will pass without you realizing it’s 9:29 long. That is effective songwriting when you get lost in the music and forget about time altogether.

“Tapped In” being Don’s first full length CD is an amazing effort with a great sense of melody phrasing and songwriting ability that is already very strong and I am sure will only get better as he puts out more CD’s. For fans of instrumental music, “Tapped In” should appeal to those that like listener friendly songs and tunes with a slight fusion feel for lack of a better term. You never really get thrown by anything here even though there are parts that shine with sparks of jazz influenced lead lines that drift from the main melody motif which again is another sign of solid songwriting.

I give “Tapped In” a solid 4 out of 5 stars. The only thing missing is that break out “Cliff’s of Dover” type song that just amazes your ears but also knocks you on your ass like nothing you have heard before.

You can purchase “Tapped In” here: http://donlappin.bandcamp.com/

You can find out more about Don Lappin here:

http://www.donlappinmusic.com/fr_home.cfm

https://twitter.com/DonLappinMusic

http://www.facebook.com/tappinlappin

http://www.youtube.com/user/TappinLappin?feature=mhee

Guitar Instrumentalist and Instructor David Brewster Joins Live From Music City Coming Up in April.


DavidBrewster

David Brewster is an honors graduate from the Atlanta Institute of Music, where he studied music performance and education as a Guitar Major.
While at Atlanta he had the opportunity to study with visiting artists such as Scott Henderson, Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane, and Andy Timmons, and attended concerts by inspiring artists such as Danny Gatton, Dream Theater, Van Halen, Toto, and Steve Vai.

He also studied classical guitar from Renato Butturi at the University of Evansville.

A performing and touring musician since the age of 15, David has shared the stage with artists ranging from Blue Oyster Cult, Triumph, Nazareth, Quiet Riot, and Cheap Trick to Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Gary Allan, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and many more.

David’s taste and education in music is wide-ranging and diverse, as he has learned, performed, taught, and recorded various styles of music including rock, metal, blues, jazz, pop, classical, funk, alternative, country, reggae, experimental fusion, and acoustic guitar music. 

On February 15, 2013 he released his new album Cosmic Mind – an instrumental music tribute to HP Lovecraft.

In 2011 he released his third instrumental album – a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe entitled The Raven.

In 2009, he released his second instrumental album – the electric and horror-themed The Outer Sanctum.

In 2004, he released his first instrumental album – the ambient and all-acoustic effort Vertigo.

David has taught guitar professionally since the age of 17 in Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida, mentoring hundreds of students. He also taught guitar classes for The National Guitar Workshop (NGW) and Ivy Tech Community College.

He has seven books published and distributed worldwide with Hal Leonard, Cherry Lane, and Centerstream Publications.  A few titles include Introduction to Guitar Tone and Effects, The Stylistic History of Heavy Metal Guitar, Harmonics for Guitar, and Muting the Guitar.

In addition to his published books, he was a writer for TheMusicEdge.com (NAMM) where he had the opportunity to interview Joe Satriani, Shinedown, Sevendust, Jada Pinkett Smith, and others.

He has a feature article in the February 2013 issue of Premier Guitar magazine, and a feature lesson in the August 2009 issue.


David’s love for music and musical education runs deep, and he looks forward to creating new music, books, lessons, and videos for himself and for you.  He hopes that you are entertained, educated, and musically inspired when spending time at this website, and invites you to check back soon – this website will be updated frequently. 

 

Guitar Goddess Gretchen Menn joins Live From Music City!

GretchenMenn

Photo by Max Crace

 

Guitar Goddess Gretchen Menn joined Live From Music City to talk about the music business, her CD “Hale Souls” and her other projects. Listen in as she talks about image, haters and the struggles of being an instrumental artist.

Interview here: Live From Music City with Guest Gretchen Menn

 

BIO

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.

Discography:

GRETCHEN MENN

Hale Souls (Mach Zero Records, 2011)

LAPDANCE ARMAGEDDON

Lapdance Armageddon (self-released, 2010)

FRANCIS BAKIN

Conversation with Francis Bakin (self-released, 2009)

STICKS AND STONES

Unbreakable Strings (self-released, 2007)

THE HOUSE OF MORE

The House of More (self-released, 2006)

ZEPPARELLA

Live at 19 Broadway (Bonny Boy Records, 2005)

A Pleasing Pounding (What Are Records?, 2008)

www.gretchenmenn.com

https://www.facebook.com/#!/GretchenMennGuitar?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/gretchenmenn

http://www.youtube.com/gretchenmenn

 

Live From Music City Interview with Neal Morse

NealMorse

Note: This interview was originally filmed to be a live in studio video but due to complications we can only bring you the audio. Stay tuned for a video of the song “Momentum” as we were able to retrieve that. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused Neal’s and our fans.

Click the link here to listen the to interview:  Live From Music City w/Neal Morse Interview

Progressive rock legend Neal Morse dropped by Live From Music City to talk about the upcoming “Live Momentum” tour, the music business and his other projects.

NEAL MORSE BIO

As a young musician, Neal’s dream was like many others—to find success in the pop music world. But after years of struggling in the Los Angeles singer-songwriter scene, he realized that this dream would not materialize. Rejecting conventional wisdom, Morse took a courageous step: He about-faced and devoted himself to progressive rock, the music truly in his heart. The obscure and fiercely competitive genre held little chance of commercial success.

Undaunted, he formed the quirkily-named Spock’s Beard with his brother, Alan. They recorded The Light with what money they could scrape together. Against all odds, it was a breakout success, sending shockwaves through the small genre’s community.

Over the next 10 years, Spock’s Beard released 10 critically acclaimed CDs and 2 DVDs, ascending to the top of the prog world. Neal also released 6 CDs and 3 DVDs with Transatlantic, the heralded prog supergroup comprised of the genre’s best musicians.

The proverbial wayward son, Neal had finally found the success he sought. On the outside he seemed to have it all. On the inside, however, something was missing.

Morse came to realize that for him, embracing the Christian faith was the fulfillment of his spiritual quest. His walk was at once gradual and sudden—and as with so many, completely unexpected. As he continued, his path increasingly revealed more of what his heart had sought all along. Yet he also began to find his career growing at odds  with his faith. The rising spiritual tension and increasing commercial success finally came to a head with the release of Snow (2002), the group’s magnum opus…and swan song with Morse.

The extraordinary 2-CD rock opera, composed by Morse, was widely acclaimed as the group’s finest. But it was the end of the era. Neal felt God calling him out of his former musical life and into the unknown. He made the agonizing decision to leave both Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic. Despite having finally achieved the success he had long sought, Morse had to begin all over again; musically, emotionally and spiritually.

Neal then embarked upon the most ambitious musical project of his career. Entitled Testimony (2003), it chronicles his spiritual and musical journey in words and music.  The 2 CD set spans over two hours as one continuous piece of music. In genre, it ranges from a gospel choir to hard rock; from symphony orchestra to contemporary pop. Testimony was also Neal’s first of many albums with drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater). A deftly woven musical tapestry, Testimony takes the listener on a fascinating journey as unique as the man behind it.

The ensuing world tour was captured on one unforgettable night for the 2-DVD set, Testimony Live (2004). Morse was recognized as a remarkably passionate and engaging performer by Britain’s Classic Rock Magazine, who included him in their “100 Greatest Frontmen of Rock” listing. The tour was awarded “Best Rock Tour” from the popular Dutch website, DPRP, besting nominees Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, RUSH and others.

Morse’s next studio album was a conceptual, progressive rock album entitled One. Mike Portnoy returned to perform on drums (in what is regarded as perhaps his finest performance), with up-and-coming bassist Randy George. They were joined by legendary guitarist Phil Keaggy. The result was a band-focused sound, harkening back to Neal’s Transatlantic work. Continuing in the tradition of Snow and Testimony, One proved epic in scope and sublime in nature.

For Morse’s third progressive rock album, he took a new approach, artistically. On Question (2005), Morse weaves a compelling storyline that owes as much to C.S. Lewis as Indiana Jones. His journey is a timeless quest—to find the biblical dwelling place of God. Joining Neal are more of prog’s brightest stars, including Mike Portnoy and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Roine Stolt (Flower Kings, Transatlantic) and Steve Hackett (Genesis).

Bringing Question to the stage required an outstanding tour band. Fusing technical wizardry with musical nuance, a young band of unknowns proved themselves in the fire of Question’s musical roller-coaster. The audience responded with energy and passion, with the experience captured on CD. Unrestrained, raw, and magnificent, the resulting 2 CD set Question: Live (2007) was fitting as Neal’s first live album.

Neal’s next prog epic was his most daring, stirring passions and controversy. On Sola Scriptura (2007), Morse tells a compelling and sometimes macabre tale of the darkness that inevitably falls when humankind tries to elevate itself to God. Focusing on the Church in the Middle Ages, Morse is unflinching in his description of its abuses. Neal frames the issue as just one example of faith separated from its true foundations. The album closes not with an end but a beginning—for us to consider our world, and feel called to illuminate it.

Question and Sola Scriptura were received as Neal’s best to date, and the ensuing tours were captured on film. The ensuing release, Sola Scriptura & Beyond (2008) was an extraordinary live concert 2-DVD set that brought both albums to life. Also included were generous selections from One and Testimony, a Transatlantic selection, five songs from Spock’s Beard, and an hour of behind-the-scenes tour footage.

Less than three months later, Neal completed Lifeline (2008), his next studio album. Unlike his other releases, Lifeline wasn’t a concept album. Free from this constraint, Neal stretched out in all directions. He revisited early Spock’s Beard, Snow, Transatlantic, his solo releases, and launched into new territory. Joining him once again were Mike Portnoy and Randy George.

A Transatlantic reunion had been the dream of many fans, and after ten years, a seemingly quixotic one. On April 16 of 2009, though, they were surprised to hear of a new album from the prog supergroup. The album began with Neal’s work a 45 minute composition, “The Whirlwind”. As he progressed, Neal, who felt it was taking on the attributes of a Transatlantic piece. He shared it with the band, and they agreed. Each band member brought material to the eight days of writing/recording sessions; by the end, they’d written a completely new album. Retaining Neal’s original title, The Whirlwind went on to be the group’s highest charting album to date.

Meanwhile, Neal had been touring in North America and Europe. Several shows from the end of 2008 were recorded to multitrack, and saved for future release. On November 16, 2010, the 3-CD set So Many Roads was released, presenting an astonishing 3.5 hours of new live music. Featuring 29 tracks spanning Neal’s entire 20 year career, So Many Roads is the definitive live Neal Morse release.

Later in 2010, Transatlantic embarked on their biggest tour yet, with dates in 11 nations across Europe and North America. The London, UK show was immortalized for the double-live DVD, Whirld Tour 2010: Live in London.

Neal begins 2011 with completion of his forthcoming progressive rock studio release, Testimony II. Mike Portnoy and Randy George returned to revisit the trio’s unique and powerful chemistry, and as usual, special guests and surprises await.

Neal’s largest ever tour will follow, over the summer, with his international live band led by Collin Leijenaar. Meanwhile, Neal continues development on his unnamed rock opera and a new collaborative mainstream rock project. In 2012, Neal shines brighter than ever with the next remarkable chapter in his musical and spiritual journey.

http://www.nealmorse.com/

 

 

 

 

Stepping Over the Process…. is it Realistic?

First let me just say this blog is in response to what keeps coming across my email or phone conversations. This isn’t an attempt to come down on artists but an attempt at maybe setting some realistic expectations. I have been receiving a lot of phone calls from artists either out of frustration with other band members or from artists that think they can just step over the process of touring and building/rebuilding a fan base. I guess anything is possible but it’s not likely to happen even if you have had success in the past. This is not the same industry many of us grew up with and we can’t keep assuming that because 20 years ago the artists had a hit or toured the world with so and so band that people have any interest in us or care about our music at all. Artists call with no budget, no new music, no website or one that has been “in development” for years expecting that they can just go on the road and make thousands per show because 20 or more years ago they had a minor hit or two. It’s not going to happen. Current artists with hits on the radio are making $2,000 guarantees a lot of times and yet artists that haven’t had a hit since 1992 that want $8,000 or more a show. You better be a legacy act with huge hits from the past that are still played on the radio to demand that kind of money or more. I know how expensive touring is, but the money isn’t there for touring with artists with no active history or fan base that will support the necessary tour numbers for there to actually be a profit. This is when a band or artist has to suck it up and either rebuild for little money, try something completely different or maybe decide this isn’t for them anymore and do something in music that doesn’t require touring for small dollars.

For example, the first thing I am asked by anyone in a position of helping is “What do they have going on?” Many times the answer is nothing (note that when artists come to us or anyone else for help they have this notion that 3 months is an expected amount of time to make things happen), they have no new music, no tour dates, outdated photos and websites. How do you expect anyone to help you if this is your state of business and you don’t take the time to get it right before approaching anyone? The second thing is “Do they have a budget?” The answer is almost always no and people understand if times have been rough on the career but it’s amazing how many artists are not willing to put money into their own career but expect others to. If the artist doesn’t  have a budget then almost no one is willing to help and people can’t giving away their services for free. Video EPK’s cost money, photography costs money, etc… but artists are always hoping people will help them for free and then expect that things happen in a short time period. For the person that is connected like Irving Azoff and has his resources this is possible, for the rest of the “real” music world it probably isn’t. Music is a very speculative business to begin with and no one is looking to lose money on an artist no matter how much success he or she may have had in the past. As much as people love some of these artists, he or she needs to get paid as well and they can’t work for free or spend time with unrealistic artists that can’t or won’t rebuild career realistically if there is no interest in them at all.

Just because an artist may have had success in the past doesn’t mean they get a free pass of touring the bar circuit again and starting over. Yes that means rebuilding your fan base and getting paid very little most of the time. If you can’t do that then maybe playing isn’t for you anymore. I know we all have bills to pay but money is in short supply and investors want a return on investment. They don’t want to support an artist that hasn’t been on tour in 10 or more years and won’t draw 150+ people to a show. You as an artist are in the position you are in because you let yourself get there. You chose to not tour, you chose to not listen to your team or possibly choosing the wrong team. It could be a lot of different reasons for your situation and many of those may not be your fault, but it’s still your job to be realistic and make things happen with today’s current landscape, not what was possible 20 years ago when people were throwing money around like it was water.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself with unrealistic expectations. For example, if you think a major label is going to sign you, fund your tour and you’re a prog rock band, think again. No label is going to fund that tour unless you already have a huge fan base and more than likely you will just get shelved as prog rock probably isn’t there thing at this label. Most prog rock bands aren’t huge and most likely never will be. If you get a label interested in your music, at least entertain the idea and not shoot it down because you think a major is going to offer you something when you won’t even play shows because you don’t make any money on them. Do you know why you don’t make any money? Because you have absolutely NO FAN BASE at all. Who is going to fund a tour for a band with no fan base these days? Please tell me so I can call them up.

There are no shortcuts normally in this business. Take Mike Portnoy for example. One of the most popular and talented drummers in the world, who has a large fan base from his history as a musician and still he and his current project “Adrenaline Mob” are playing clubs to a couple hundred people a show. He knows he has to build this band no matter who he is and he is willing to put his money and time into it. Even someone as relevant as Mike has to work it the hard way sometimes.

If you are a musician reading this, please consider where you are at in your career. If you are in a band but won’t tour because your “cover gig” is paying more money, than back out of the band and let the band find someone hungry enough to make it happen. If you are an artist with a past but currently not where you were a long time ago, then ask yourself “how bad do I want this?” If you won’t play for smaller guarantees then you need to book yourself and stop making people’s lives difficult who are trying to help your career because you can’t be bothered with playing for smaller amounts of money. You are only as big as your last gig or chart success in the current times, not 20 years ago.

There is a process almost everyone has to go through. You are more than likely going to have to go through it as well. If you can’t or won’t, get out of the way for those that will and let your band move on with people who want it bad enough to put up with the crap of the road and bar tours.

Good luck!

Gretchen Menn Joins Live From Music City!

GM_BW-full

Photo: Mark Manion

 

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.

Discography:

GRETCHEN MENN

Hale Souls (Mach Zero Records, 2011)

LAPDANCE ARMAGEDDON

Lapdance Armageddon (self-released, 2010)

FRANCIS BAKIN

Conversation with Francis Bakin (self-released, 2009)

STICKS AND STONES

Unbreakable Strings (self-released, 2007)

THE HOUSE OF MORE

The House of More (self-released, 2006)

ZEPPARELLA

Live at 19 Broadway (Bonny Boy Records, 2005)

A Pleasing Pounding (What Are Records?, 2008)

www.gretchenmenn.com

Night Ranger/Trans-Siberian Orchestra Guitarist Joel Hoekstra Joins Us On Live From Music City!

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New York guitarist Joel Hoekstra plays for Night Ranger, the Broadway hit ‘Rock of Ages’ and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Most recently, Joel can be heard on Night Ranger’s new release ’24 Strings & a Drummer (live & acoustic), Jack Blades’ new cd ‘Rock ‘n Roll Ride’, Trans Siberian Orchestra’s new cd ‘Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) and Jeff Scott Soto’s release ‘Damage Control’. In 2011, he had the pleasure of filling in for Mick Jones of Foreigner. Joel’s cd’s ‘undefined’, ‘The Moon is Falling’ and ’13 acoustic songs’ have found a strong cult following and critical acclaim. Keep an eye out for Joel in the Warner Bros. movie ‘Rock of Ages’!

Joel has worked on/with the following….

ARTISTS/MUSICANS (LIVE & RECORDING):

Night Ranger

Trans Siberian Orchestra

Foreigner

The Turtles

Big Brother and the Holding Company

Scrap Metal

Dee Snider

Jeff Scott Soto

Eric Martin (Mr Big)

Alan Parsons

Rik Emmett (Triumph)

Tommy Shaw (Styx)

Robin Zander (Cheap Trick)

Wyclef Jean

John Waite

Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls)

Beth Hart

Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple)

Ted Nugent

Sebastian Bach

Donnie & Johnny Van Zant

Don Barnes (38 Special)

Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon)

Gunnar and Matthew Nelson (Nelson)

Mike Reno (Loverboy)

Jimi Jamison (Survivor)

David Pack (Ambrosia)

Martha Davis (The Motels)

Mickey Thomas (Starship)

Constantine Maroulis (American Idol)

Dave Bickler (Survivor)

Mark Slaughter (Slaughter)

Hugh Jackman

Nuno Bettencourt

Chan Marshall (Kat Power)

Henry Paul (The Outlaws, Blackhawk)

Ray Parker Jr.

Debbie Gibson

Jim Peterik (Ides of March, Survivor)

Tom Keifer (Cinderella)

Kip Winger

THEATRE:

Rock of Ages (Broadway, off-Broadway)

Love, Janis (New York, San Francisco, Phoenix, Cleveland, Louisville, Cincinnati, Tucson, Sag Harbor)

The Boy From Oz (Broadway)

Tarzan (Broadway)

La Cage Aux Folles (Broadway)

It Ain’t Nothin But the Blues (Tucson, Phoenix, Kansas City, Seattle, Chicago*)

A Chorus Line (Broadway Cast Recording 2006)

Lovely Day (off-Broadway)

* nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for ‘Best Musical Direction’

TV

The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno

America’s Got Talent

Celebrity Apprentice

Late Night with Conan O’Brien

Bachelor Pad

Last Call with Carson Daly

Live with Regis and Kelly

Tony Awards (2009)

Visa Signature Tony Preview Concert

The Sandra Bernhard Experience (A&E)

M3 Festival (HDNet)

Imus in the Morning (Fox Business)

20/20 (ABC)

Nick Cannon (Nickolodeon)

Rock Star Kitchen (Comcast/NBC)

FOX Morning news (New York, Chicago, Tucson, Kansas City, Atlanta, Louisville, Cincinnati)

WGN Morning News (Chicago)

ABC’s View From the Bay (San Francisco)

The Loose Leaf Report (LA)

WB Morning News (New York)

The New York Today Show

ABC’s New Years Eve Countdown (Chicago)

NBC “Good Company” (Cleveland)

UPN: Live at the Taste (Chicago)

I-90 North (Chicago)

NBC Morning News (Louisville)

Barry Z Show (New York)

Guitar Talk (Chicago)

NBC’s ‘The Bay Area Today’ (San Francisco)

NBC’s ‘Arizona Midday’

NY1

FILM:

Rock of Ages (the movie)

Resurrection Mary

The Last Winter

May the Best Man Win

OTHER:

Played the national anthem for a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden

Guitar Player magazine feature (May ’09 issue)

Guitar World magazine feature (30th anniversary issue-Fall ’09)

Guitar Player magazine article (May ’11 issue)

Guitar World Playlist article (November ’11 issue)

Jeff Scott Soto video – Look Inside You Heart

Dee Snider video – Mack the Knife

ENDORSEMENTS:

Gibson guitars

Suhr amps & guitars

EVH amps

Taylor acoustic guitars

DBZ guitars

Atomic guitars

Nady wireless systems

Ernie Ball strings

Monster Cable

Big Bends Nut Sauce

Seymour Duncan pick-ups

Schecter guitars

Star Access picks

Fernandes Sustainers

Mono Cases

Fractal Audio Systems

Head straps

Morpheus Drop Tune pedal

Tech 21 midi pedals

G7 Capos

www.joelhoekstra.com