Styx – Elkhorn WI

Styx - Elkhorn WI 073

Photo by rbieber

We went to see Styx last night at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn, WI. We got about 32 pictures that actually turned out, with one that was so reminiscent of the Black Sabbath Paranoid cover that I had to include it.

The band sounded great. Its odd. I can’t see these guys too many times. We go to see them almost every time they are in the area (I think we’ve missed one or two shows in the past 4 years).

The pictures we took can be found in this photo set. Don’t expect anything spectacular. We were pretty far away, and haven’t quite mastered our camera yet.

Previously Unreleased Vai Tune ‘Rush’ Available on iTunes

Steve Vai has a previously unreleased song on the album The Songs of NASCAR entitled Rush. You can preview and purchase the song using this link. If you are a hard core Vai fan who just has to own every recording he has done, go get it. Otherwise, since the song is only a little over a minute, your $0.99 would be much better spent on one or more of the following:

All of these can be also be found in the Essential Vai iMix on iTunes.


Links to songs require that you install iTunes.

The Guitar Shred Show – Mr. Fastfinger

Browsing around the web this morning, I performed my monthly scan of the news page. Hidden under August 5th is a small section titled “One of the Coolest Sites We’ve Seen” pointing to a site called The Guitar Shred Show, a Flash based site in which your guide, Mr. Fastfinger teaches you to shred on guitar.

The first place you have to go is “The Exploding Guitar – Show Off Solo”. The playing in the show off solo sounds suspiciously like Mr. Vai, and I’m curious as to whether he is actually involved in this project. If he isn’t, whoever is playing has his sound and style down.

Since writing this, I found the credits area of the site, which credits the site and all of the guitar playing to Mika Tyyskä. No Steve Vai on the site, but damn, this guy can play!

The first installment of lessons is called “The Mountain of the Tapping Dwarves”. This lesson allows you to press and hold down keys on the keyboard to hear different phrases, accompanied with the tabulature to play them. The things covered are tapping, fast picking and legato runs to name a few.

At the end of everything, you get to participate in a “head cutting” (a la Crossroads) against the Demon Accordian player. As he plays his accordian, you tie together the different phrases by pressing and holding the keyboard keys. An excellent addition to an excellent site.

This is a hard site to describe. You have to see it to believe it. I do agree with the folks at though — this is probably the coolest site I’ve ever seen.

Guitarist : Dave Paris

I was listening to The Distorted View podcast earlier today (a quite disturbing episode, I might add) when he started doing listener mail. During this segment one of the mail messages he received was why he didn’t play Joe Satriani during this segment anymore, to which his reply was “… because I don’t want to get sued”. In the background, I heard some really great sounding guitar music.

He then mentioned that he was using music from a guy named Dave Paris. I went to his site and started listening to his music this evening. The guy is pretty damn good.

There is one problem. There are some goofy URL’s here, so you will not be able to listen to these unless you fix the URL once you click on his links on the music page. Change the %5C characters in the URL right after the ‘tunes’ directory to a forward slash (‘/’) and the files download fine. For example,:


The two songs I’m digging the most right now are Wise Mans House and Greater than Angels, two ‘shredder’ type songs.

Check them out and tell me what you think. Incidentally, he is also looking for musicians to make real recordings of these songs. He is calling the songs in their current state “Prototype Demo Tunes/Future Hits“.

28th Anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley

I’ve always thought that people make too much of a big deal about Elvis Presley, but the fact of the matter is, he had a hand in changing music as we know it as much as any of the music icons. Today marks the 28th anniversary of his death. I can remember how much everyone around me was affected by this event, even though by the time it happened, even as a nine year old I could see it coming — it was just a matter of when.

Anyway, while the idea and idol worship around Elvis has always annoyed me, there aren’t many non-gospel Elvis songs that I would actually turn off if they were on the radio. The music was cool for its time and is, in a sense, timeless.

As I sat thinking about how revered he has always been and how much it has always bothered me how much of a big deal people have made of his death, I realized that when you really think about it he was the Kurt Cobain of his time — which when put in that perspective you can kind of understand all of the hype. Every generation has one of these musical heroes that brought them together, and then died due to some sort of act that — ultimately — they did to themselves.

When it comes right down to it, Elvis has and always will be the universal music icon and hero. I guess I’ll just have to accept that.

Wikipedia has a full history of Elvis, his career, and his demise.

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