Paul Reed Smith Announces the John Mayer Super Eagle II

PRS Super Eagle II

Great news coming out of Stevensville, Maryland today! PRS Guitars announce the debut of the new John Mayer Super Eagle II. This private stock guitar is limited to 120 pieces worldwide, comes in hemp green, and is absolutely gorgeous.

Here is the official release:

(STEVENSVILLE, MD) June 6, 2017 – It’s no secret that John Mayer’s main guitar for The Dead & Company tour has been the PRS Super Eagle that launched last spring. During the 2016 tour, PRS made Mayer a second version of that instrument with some updated woods and aesthetic appointments. Mayer played the Super Eagle II on the very last show of the 2016 tour and is continuing to play it for The Dead & Company 2017 summer tour. PRS and Mayer are excited to offer this new version, the Super Eagle II, to fans and collectors.

“Just like with the first edition Super Eagle, you’re literally getting the same guitar that is in John’s rig.  It’s been an honor to help create a tool that John can use to work with Dead & Company and beyond,” said Paul Reed Smith.

Some of the specifications Mayer and Smith collaborated on for this special run of instruments include a longer (for PRS) scale length of 25.375”, specially-wound 58/15 JM treble and bass pickups with a specially-wound Narrowfield JM pickup in the middle position (with three individual coil-tap mini-switches), a JCF Audio preamp with treble boost, as well as a hand-signed sticker in the f-hole of the guitar that was designed by Mayer’s friend David Smith (who also designed the cover art for Mayer’s 2012 “Born and Raised” album). The pickups deliver a bright, clear tone that has been heard in venues across the USA in Mayer’s recent performances with the Grateful Dead.

Some new woods and aesthetic choices were also selected for the Super Eagle II, including a one piece Private Stock curly maple back, African blackwood fingerboard and headstock veneer, paua birds and a green ripple abalone 12th fret violin bird and Private Stock eagle, as well as a new color: Hemp Green.

The Private Stock Super Eagle II is a highly-sophisticated instrument that at once reveres the history of guitar-making and guitar tone but pushes the boundaries of materials, design, and craftsmanship. The resulting instrument embodies the PRS Private Stock culture of meticulous workmanship as well as Mayer’s keen eye for playability, tone, and detail.

The Private Stock Super Eagle II will be limited to 120 instruments. Full specifications are available at www.prsguitars.com.

About PRS Guitars:

Paul Reed Smith Guitars is a leading manufacturer of high quality instruments in Stevensville, Maryland and has provided some of the world’s most renowned musicians with instruments since 1985. The PRS team of highly skilled craftspeople design and build a wide variety of musical instruments and gear for worldwide distribution, including electric, acoustic, and bass guitars as well as boutique-style guitar amplifiers. The PRS SE line of products complements the Maryland-made PRS line by offering highly approachable and more affordable electric, acoustic, and bass guitars. Carlos Santana, Neal Schon, John McLaughlin, John Mayer, Linkin Park, Orianthi, Blake Shelton, Mark Tremonti, Zach Myers of Shinedown, Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line, David Grissom, Martin Simpson, Tony McManus, and Derek Trucks are among the artists currently playing PRS instruments and/or amplifiers.

PRS Guitars Info: www.prsguitars.com

PRS Super Eagle II

PRS Super Eagle II – back

Korn Decimate Anaheim

Photo: Steve RoseKorn wrapped up their second of a two night sold out run at the newly remodeled House of Blues. The venue, now located at the new Garden Walk in Anaheim, was a great site to host this iconic band. They played a great mixture of songs spanning their almost 25 year career. “Here to Stay,” “Shoots and Ladders,” “Blind,” and “Falling Away from Me.” were some highlights from the night. The crowd was as aggressive as the music that was coming from the stage and went to a new level of intensity when singer, Jonathan Davis, came out with his bag pipes during the opening of “Shoots and Ladders.” They kept the energy going into Ray Luzier’s drum solo before being joined by the rest of the band for “Blind.”

Photo: Steve RoseKorn put on a fantastic, high energy show. From the first note, to the last chord of the night, guitarists Munky and Head had their signature dreadlocks whipping around as they churned out memorable riff after riff on their detuned 7 string guitars. Bassist, Fieldy, was awesome as he rattled the venue with his thunderous slap bass style.

The band will head off to Europe before returning the states in late Spring for a tour that will take them into Summer. Don’t miss out on catching them when they are in your area.

Photos by Steve Rose

Korn @ House of Blues Anaheim

Suicide Silence Obliterated the Observatory

Photo: Steve Rose

Suicide Silence celebrated the release of their latest self titled album with a powerful performance at the Observatory in Orange County. This five piece from Riverside, CA, brought aggression and energy as they

Photo: Steve Rose

delivered a brutal set to a packed house. There are several tour stops left on the west coast before the band heads to the UK for a handful of shows. Check them out if they’re in your area!

 

Suicide Silence @ The Observatory

Photos by Steve Rose

AfterNAMMth: 2017 Edition

Thousands descended into Anaheim for the annual NAMM convention. This convention showcases all of the new and exciting gear that manufacturers are excited to debut, and gear heads like myself, are even more excited to check out. I found myself making daily wish lists of gear that I had to have, and that list is constantly changing – even weeks after the show has ended.

One of the first booths that I checked out was Earthquaker Devices. Their pedals are gaining popularity with an assortment of musicians and it’s one of those booths that remains crowded from the start of the show on Thursday till the shows end on Sunday. The two new pedals that were debuted were the Space Spiral delay and the Transmisser reverb pedal. Both of these pedals offer a variety of unique and functional sounds that will have the user spending hours with each exploring their tonal options.

Gibson’s booth is always a treat and this year was no exception. Their True Historic guitars are fantastic and the first thing that I check out are the Custom Shop models. A standout at their booth was a Custom Shop Les Paul Jr. that was so meticulously built, you would’ve thought that this was the actual guitar from the late fifties. Another highlight was the joint collaboration between Johnny A and Joe Bonamassa on a new Johnny A model. This model, didn’t have the f-holes associated with his previous models and is much lighter. This is one of those guitars that can do it all and won’t take a toll on your back after hours of gigging. 

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

The Ernie Ball/Music Man booth was very eventful as St. Vincent discussed her signature model guitar and three new finishes were introduced for this popular model which debuted at NAMM 2016. Owner, Sterling Ball, mentioned that this guitar is one of the more popular selling models for their brand and that there has been discussion of possibly developing a short scale bass with St. Vincent. That will be something to look forward to at next year’s show.

Photo: Steve Rose

Gretsch consistently has amazing guitars, but this year they unveiled the “Salute” Jet, which is a Malcolm Young signature model made by the Gretsch USA Custom Shop. This was my favorite guitar at the show and a fitting tribute to such a famous Gretsch musician. Another model making it’s debut from the Custom Shop is the Tom Petersson 12 string bass. This instrument has long been associated with Tom and it was great to see him honored with this bass.

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

There was a great deal of buzz around the Supro booth now that they’ve added a few awesome looking guitars to their already successful line of amps. These guitars will be popular with both vintage enthusiasts and garage rockers looking to have a unique, cool sounding guitar slung across their body.

Photo: Steve Rose

Martin makes some unbelievable guitars, and as a Martin owner, I can say that their sound and build quality are second to none. This year, my two favorite guitars that they unveiled were signature models for Dwight Yoakam and John Prine. Each of these artists are giants in country music and these guitars reflect their stature. Dwight’s DD-28 had the best inlays that I’ve seen on a guitar. The pair of deuces inlaid on the fretboard is a great touch for this guitar. 

Photo: Steve Rose

NAMM 2017 is in the books and I’m looking forward to how these companies will try to outdo themselves at next year’s show.

NAMM 2017

Photos by Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

X Celebrate 40 Years

Photo: Steve Rose

Celebrating their 40th Anniversary, legendary punk band, X, kicked off night one of their four night residency at the historic Roxy in West Hollywood. They put on an inspired performance in front of a sold out crowd, many of whom were singing along with the band all night. Mike Watt and The Secondmen opened the show and put on a fantastic set.

Check out the galleries below:

Mike Watt and The Secondmen

Mike Watt & The Secondmen @ The Roxy

X

X @ The Roxy

Photos by Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Joe Bonamassa Shines Bright in Hollywood

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Joe Bonamassa put on a dynamic performance at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Bonamassa, who posses Jedi-like skills on the fretboard, played material off his latest album, Blues of Desperation, and material from last year’s Three Kings tribute. Bonamassa, backed by a fantastic group of musicians consisting of: Anton Fig on drums, Reese Wynans on keys, Michael Rhodes on bass, and a three piece horn section, were dialed in all night and played off each other very well. Known for his extensive collection of historic Gibson and Fender guitars, Joe played a number of drool worthy axes throughout his sixteen song set. Some highlights of this well crafted set were “Mountain Climbing,” “Never Make Your Move Too Soon,” and “Going Down.”

It was great to see Joe Bonamassa once more before his touring schedule wraps up for the year, and there’s no doubt that he’ll get the blues machine primed and ready to tour in 2017. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this phenomenal performer when he’s in your town.

Joe Bonamassa @ The Dolby Theatre

Photos by Steve Rose

‘Tis the Season to Get Those Fingers Movin’

This holiday season we’ve been treated to two great offerings from Tommy Emmanuel and Laurence Juber. These virtuosos each put their spin on traditional Christmas songs and ended up with very different, but outstanding, results.

tommy-christmas-digitalcover-3000px3000Australian fingerstyle dynamo, Tommy Emmanuel, has delivered another masterpiece with Christmas Memories, a nice mixture of both Christmas standards and a few originals that will soon become favorites for many. This album is the follow up to his 2011 release, “All I Want for Christmas,” and he is joined by fellow musicians: Annie Sellick on vocals, John Knowles on guitar, and Pat Bergeson on guitar and harmonica. Some standout tracks on this album are “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Let’s Make a Christmas Memory,” and “Winter Wonderland.” This album is guaranteed to get you in the spirit of the season.

 

holidays-hollynights-300dpiLaurence Juber’s fantastic contribution this holiday season is titled, Holidays & Hollynights, and it was a remarkable piece of music. Having already been a fan of Juber’s work on LJ Plays The Beatles, I was very interested to see what he would do to these well known Christmas songs. My favorites on the album are “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Frosty the Snowman.” The jazzy trio with Juber on guitar, Domenic Genova on upright bass, and Michael Jochum on drums all work well together as they create beautiful music. This album is highly recommended as the perfect soundtrack for any office or family holiday party.

Album Review: METALLICA Hardwired…To Self Destruct

Photo: Herring & Herring

Photo: Herring & Herring

Last week, Metallica released Hardwired…To Self Destruct, their long awaited follow up to 2008’s Death Magnetic. This album is 77 minutes of pure, thrashing Metallica. Here is a track by track breakdown of all 12 songs:

Hardwired – This was the last song written for the album and the first single that was released. This song gave fans a glimpse as to what was coming and is a great lead-off track for this album. This track has some elements that remind me of Whiplash from their debut album, Kill ‘Em All and has already become a fan favorite.

Atlas, Rise – This is a standout track on the album and has a great, anthemic feel. Coming in at six and a half minutes, this song has everything that makes up a classic Metallica song: dual harmony guitars, memorable riffs, a phenomenal wah drenched solo, and speed. Of all the songs on the album, this song encapsulates the band’s NWOBHM roots and will definitely be one of those songs that always make the set.

Now That We’re Dead – This song is more groove oriented than the previous two and is a great change of pace. Another track over the six minute mark, this one is a head bobber with Trujillo and Ulrich holding down the rhythm while the guitars added a perfect layer atop this groovin’ track. This reminded me of a song that could’ve fit in well on Load or Reload, but still works on this album.

Moth Into Flame – Fast. Riffy. Catchy. Those were my initial thoughts after hearing this song. This was the second release made available and is another song that will go over well live. There overall feel reminded me of Seek and Destroy and the song’s melody will get stuck in your head, same with the chorus.

Dream No More – This is another groove based song that reminded me of Cyanide with it’s structure and lyrics. When Hetfield screams “You, turn to stone,” I immediately pictured kids in the front row of a show shouting that back at him, fists raised and taking in every moment. This is another track over the six minute mark and one of the few that have a solo without Hammett’s signature wah tone.

Halo On Fire – This epic song is one of my favorites on the album. This song could’ve easily been titled Unforgiven IV with it’s dynamics and structure. This 8 minute song is the halfway point of this double album and I believe is Hetfield’s best vocal performance. The vocals on the album feel more upfront in the mix and this song highlights that aspect. There’s a great rhythm change midway through that takes this track to the next level and it ends with an explosive solo that showcases Hammett’s prowess along the fretboard.

Confusion – This is another head bobbing song with a groove that will hit you to the core. There are a number of great riffs on this track and there’s a reason why Hetfield has “Riff Life” tattooed on his fingers. “Coming home from war, pieces don’t fit anymore” is one of the most memorable lyrics on this album and come from this track about dealing with PTSD.

ManUNkind – My immediate thought when hearing the opening notes of this track was The Thing That Should Not Be from Master of Puppets. This is a great song filled with some great off time rhythms and another great solo with Hammett putting his wah pedal through its paces.

Here Comes Revenge – This track opens with a dissonant roar from Hammett’s guitar and immediately grabs your attention. There is a tribal feel to this song and it reminded me of what would be playing during some sort of ancient ceremony. The main riff of the song is really cool and the guitar work on this track is notable. This song features one of the best solos on the album and will definitely be one that will be talked about for a while.

Am I Savage? – This is the most nontraditional Metallica song on Hardwired…To Self Destruct. It has a slower feel than the other songs, but still retains all of the power that you’d expect from this legendary band. There are some great dual guitar leads that would make any Maiden or Priest fan happy.

Murder One – This is a fitting tribute to Lemmy Kilmister who passed away last December. The song is named after one of his Marshall amps and features lyrics comprised of Lemmy’s own lyrics from famous Motorhead songs. Though I would’ve expected it to be a little faster, it’s a great song and has a great, frenetic solo befitting of any Motorhead song.

Spit Out The Bone – The album finishes with the same type of breakneck speed that it began with. This is an outstanding song and one that I hope will included and remain in their set for years to come. There’s a Disposable Heroes feel to this track and the fact that they can keep that elevated tempo going for over 7 minutes is impressive. This song, along with Atlas, Rise and Here Comes Revenge feature some of the best solos on the album.

There is a lot to digest on this album; the riffs, the lyrics, and the solos are all impressive and what we’ve come to expect from this band. As an added touch, they’ve released music videos for each song with very interesting visual interpretations. The videos for Halo On Fire, Am I Savage?, and  Spit Out The Bone being the most notable. They have outdone themselves with their musicianship and I can’t wait to see them play these songs played live.

Bush were Marvelous at The Observatory

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Bush continued their West Coast tour with a stop at The Observatory, a great Orange County venue. Many fans were in line a couple of hours before showtime and their energy was already at a high level. A good number of them were discussing the band’s show the night before in Los Angeles and were looking forward to another night of rocking with the band.

The Dead Deads, a five piece Nashville group, kicked things off and the fans were into it immediately. Their songs were consistently catchy and guitarists, Meta Dead and Betty Dead, did a great job playing out to the crowd as they worked the stage to get everyone involved. They were a fun band and a great choice as openers for Bush. Expect to hear more from them as they continue to pick up fans after each performance.

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Shortly after 9pm, the house lights went out and Bush took the fog covered stage to the roar of the crowd. Gavin Rossdale, with a Fender Jazzmaster slung around his body, went out to acknowledge the fans before leading the band into Everything Zen, the widely popular song off of 1994’s Sixteen Stone. Gavin did a great job interacting with all of his fans and even went into the crowd and sang directly to select fans. Throughout the night, Bush played a great mixture of songs spanning across all of their releases and introduced a new song, Earth Keeps Burning. Rossdale and the band’s lead guitarist, Chris Traynor did a fantastic job all night playing these memorable songs and their chemistry on stage was evident. The rhythm section consisting of bassist, Corey Britz, and drummer, Robin Goodridge, were dialed in and kept the beat chugging throughout the night. After playing a fantastic cover of R.E.M.’s The One I Love, the band closed things out with Glycerine and Comedown, which were great choices to wrap up this awesome show.

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Bush put on a helluva show and should not be missed when their tour comes to your town. It was great to relive some of that classic 90s nostalgia and Gavin Rossdale is a dynamic performer who’s still got it.

 Setlist

  1. Everything Zen
  2. The Disease of the Dancing Cats
  3. The Chemicals Between Us
  4. The Sound of Winter
  5. Greedy Fly
  6. The Gift
  7. Earth Keeps Burning
  8. Monkey
  9. The People That We Love
  10. Swallowed
  11. Lost in You
  12. The Only Way Out
  13. This House Is on Fire
  14. Little Things

    Encore:

  15. Machinehead
  16. The One I Love
    (R.E.M. cover)
  17. Glycerine
  18. Comedown

The Dead Deads
The Dead Deads @ The Observatory

Bush
Bush @ The Observatory

Steve Vai was Scintillating in Riverside

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

The Fox Performing Arts Center was the first stop on Steve Vai’s 25th Anniversary Passion and Warfare Tour and those in attendance were treated to a masterful performance from the legendary guitarist. Fellow “brother in shred” and former bandmate, Tony MacAlpine, delivered a great and emotional performance to open the show. His set showcased his technical prowess and it was great to see him perform after missing some time while recovering from colon cancer.

The crowd got fired up when Steve Vai took the stage and opened with “Bad Horsie” on his mirrored Ibanez Jem with light up guitar inlays. Vai, ever the showman, was phenomenal all evening as he coaxed notes out of his guitar and wowed the crowd with his fireworks along the fretboard. As this was the celebration of the release of Passion and Warfare 25 years ago, Vai played the entire album for the first time — something he said he had wanted to do for a long time and just need the right band to pull it off. That band consists of long time members: Dave Weiner on guitar, Jeremy Colson on drums, and Philip Bynoe on bass, and were totally awesome as the helped pull of this classic material.

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Throughout the night, Vai played a number of songs along with video accompaniment. Highlights included Vai playing “Liberty” along with a video of himself and Brian May playing the song from a 1991 performance in Spain, and Joe Satriani playing along and trading solos with Steve during “The Riddle.” It was special to see MacAlpine along with bass superstar, Billy Sheehan, join Vai for the encore.  The highlight of the evening was watching him play “For the Love of God.” That is such a powerful song and benchmark for all aspiring guitarists — I won’t be surprised if it’s the highlight of every show on this tour!

This tour runs through the middle of December and you won’t want to miss the opportunity to see these amazing musicians perform Passion and Warfare in its entirety.

Tony MacAlpine
Tony MacAlpine @ The Fox Performing Arts Center

Steve Vai
Steve Vai @ The Fox Performing Arts Center