Saturday, June 30, 2012

Insanity 101 - Way of the Gods pt.1: Steve Stevens

 - David "Skinny Devil" McLean
Originally published at Insane Guitar

As many of you know, I write an interview series over at TinFoil Music Magazine (or, more properly, "Tinfoil.Music"). The series is called "Guitar Gods" and has featured well-known guitarists like the late Michael Hedges and Grammy Award winning Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens, as well as new players like Insane Guitar founder Joel Wanasek. In the future, there will be interviews with other IG columnists as well as established gurus like Jennifer Batten and the Great Kat. On occasion, we’ll take a closer look at these players right here at Insane Guitar – analyzing their styles and offering licks and exercises.

This month, I’d like to look at the incredible playing of Steve Stevens.

''GUITAR GODS: Grant Young''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
 Originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Friday, September 27 2002 @ 18:19:01 BST

               Grant Young: Singer, songwriter, net-radio entrepreneur, teacher, and guitarist extraordinaire. Grant is also one of the new breed of "Internet Stars", with a hit single MP3.Com and gobs of net-play via web-radio. He also runs several net-based radio stations of his own on both and 365Live.Com, plays over 100 shows per year, and still finds time to run a web-site ( that features bios, free guitar lessons, merchandise sales, games, and more.

I had a chance to chat with Grant recently.


Friday, June 29, 2012

''GUITAR GODS'': David Neil Cline

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
 Originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Saturday, September 07 2002 @ 16:38:47 BST

               The best way I can think to describe David Neil Cline is very heavy rock with an obvious nod to his 70s and 80s music influences. This guy forges ahead with the fearless abandon of such greats as Nugent, Deep Purple, Nazareth, and the Scorpions, coupled with technical excellence that reminds me of Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, and Rush.

Without a doubt, David Neil Cline ROCKS.

"Insanity 101: Reader Feedback"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
 Originally published at Insane Guitar

This month’s lesson was going to be a fragments from several of Paganini’s 24 Caprices. However, I received a bit of mail last month asking me to expound on a few ideas for breaking out of ruts, and a bit of other advice.

One reader (Bob from Florida) wanted to know if I could elaborate on octave displacement (which we talked about in "Insanity #2 (Magic with Melody Fragments"). Well, Bob, rather than just moving the melody around in different octaves, try getting REALLY radical: Displace the individual notes of a lick or scale. This is bound to shake things up for you.

''GUITAR GODS: Steve Stevens''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
 First published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Sunday, July 14 2002 @ 01:56:10 BST

               Man, has it really been 20 years since the first Billy Idol record? Since 1982's "Billy Idol", guitarist Steve Stevens has created a huge body of high caliber work with myriad artists of myriad styles and enjoyed both critical and commercial success.

     In 1982, Steve played on both the debut Billy Idol album and on the solo album of KISS drummer Peter Criss. He went on to tour with Idol and then entered the recording studio, as a full musical partner with Billy, to create what is still regarded by many as one of the best rock-n-roll albums of all time, 1983's "Rebel Yell". From his incredible & flashy soloing to his subtle use of textural compositions - not to mention his stunning visual antics on videos for the title track, "Eyes Without a Face", and "Flesh for Fantasy" - Stevens helped catapult Billy Idol to the top of the charts and to sold-out concert stages.

"Insanity 101: Mozart, Math, and Music"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
 Originally published at Insane Guitar

This month’s installment of "Insanity 101" has little to do with shredding; more to do with charging up your creative energy. Let’s take a look at some classic Western masters of music.

There have been many composers who have used formalized systems as tools for composing. They range from serious and often complex methodologies (Schoenberg, Cage, etc.) to little games that toy with numbers or letters (Bach, Mozart, Stadler, etc.). One game I’d like to talk about today is one attributed to Mozart.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

GUITAR GODS: Joel Wanasek

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
 Originally published at Tinfoil Magazine
Date: Saturday, May 25 2002 @ 16:09:59 BST

               As the "Guitar Gods" series progresses, we'll cover both established gurus of guitar as well as new, unheard of guitar heroes in waiting. One such new hero is Joel Wanasek. Joel is a man wearing many hats: Solo artist, guitar instructor, webmaster, and guitarist for the metal band Dark Shift. Joel Wanasek: Remember that name, folks, because with his musical knowledge, incredible technique, writing skills, and passion, he's gonna be a major player on the music scene real soon!

     Currently, Joel is working with his band Dark Shift (, who will be in the studio recording their debut album in June. Joel (lead guitar) and Lewie (vocals) started the band in late 2000. By June 2001, they had added Brett (bass) and Tommy (drums) and scored a deal with the indy label AJA Records. Keep your eye on their web-site for live dates!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Insanity 101: Magic with Melody Fragments"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
 Originally published at Insane Guitar, 2002.

Let’s say we start with a basic melody line. Then let’s say we cut out a signature section, something like this:

(click here for sound)

'GUITAR GODS: Billy Sheehan''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
 Originally published at Tinfoil Magazine
Date: Friday, January 09 2004 @ 18:07:43 GMT

               Billy Sheehan is undeniably the most influential rock bass player of the last 25 years and has displayed his amazing chops & musical vision to fans at over 4000 live shows across the entire planet, snatched up nominations (Grammy) and awards (GPM's coveted "Best" & "Gallery of Greats" awards), and played with the industry's most respected musicians.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Insanity 101: Intro and Chromatic Madness"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
 Originally published at Insane Guitar, March 2002.

In many of my past instructional texts (“The Art of Scalar Magic” and even “Sonic Dance & Secret Weapons”) I strived to be meticulous and exacting and, above all, structured and sequential. This series (originally titled "Insanity 101") will be just the opposite, as I intend to break patterns, not build them. We’ll leap about from topic to topic with little rhyme or reason, where random flights and chaos will be our friends. I hope we can both enjoy the ride!

This month’s installment: Chromaticism.