As always, I'm a little late with this, but better late than never. I'm going to keep the tradition going and do my best to give you a re-cap of 2016!
The year started out with me playing on 3 songs on Michael Sweet's solo album 'One Sided War'. Michael's a great guy and talented musician...someone I enjoy working with. We also shot a video for one of the songs I played on called 'Radio'. Check it out here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdR_P-UZDSQ&feature=youtu.be
After that I went out to NAMM and participated in the Randy Rhoads Remembered event. I played one song with Jeff Watson and one on my own. I also got to play with bass legend/all around stellar human Rudy Sarzo!
In February, I was able to perform my annual Hangover Set on the Monsters of Rock Cruise with special guests: Mike Vanderhule and Brad Lange of Y&T, Dave Z, Jeff Scott Soto and Todd LaTorre of Queensryche! I also got to sit in with Jeff Scott Soto's band SOTO!
In March I had a short trip out to LA to perform in a Rock Against MS Benefit (with Jeff Scott Soto, Rudy Sarzo, Howie Simon and Matt Starr) and I also worked in a day of teaching at Musicians Institute.
Then I flew home for a Pink Slip Blues Band gig in Middletown, NY. Such a great time throwing together a set of blues/covers and playing a bar again! (Michael Cartellone, Benny Harrison, Johnny Rosch, JJ French, Bob Held, me)
In April I was able to play a gig with my friends Matt and Gunnar Nelson in Sunrise, FL. It's always great to connect with those guys!
Later in April I was able to shoot another 6 lessons for Guitar World. It was an honor to have a monthly column run throughout the year! I should also mention that still later in April I was able to give a master class/teach private lessons for a day at Millersville, Universty - Lancaster, PA!
In May I was able to play 3 acoustic shows with Brandon Gibbs. Brandon's a great singer/guitar player/writer and I look forward to more shows with him in the future.
I also took advantage of the sporadic touring during the first 4-5 months of the year and went to go see some of my friends perform as they passed through town!
Then the real action started as it was time for Whitesnake rehearsals and the Greatest Hits Tour. There was a U.S. run, a European run and a Mexico-South America-Japan run. I'm honored to be a part of the band and touring May-Oct we had so many good times it's hard to sum it up, but here are some memories!
I should mention that while on a short break in late August-early Sept, I was able to be a part of a Rock of Ages Band event in Long Island...
…and a part of Ziua Chitarelor 4, in Constanta, Romania where I gave a master class and performed music from my first 3 instrumental c.d.'s…something that I hadn't done in years. It was an honor to share the stage and hang with such amazingly talented players!
Finally, I was thrilled to be back with Trans Siberian Orchestra this year for The Ghosts of Christmas Eve Tour. I really missed all of my bandmates in 2015 and it was great to reconnect with them and the TSO fans as well! It all wrapped up on New Years Eve in Cleveland where Joan Jett joined us!
Throughout the year I also did sessions for: Dimitri Ehrlich, Gregg Fox, Jamie Dull, David Mallamud, Brian Tarquin, Dina Finai and Chloe Lowery!
Well, that's it! I hope you enjoyed the re-cap! Thanks to everyone who bought any cd's I played on, or came out to a show that I was a part of! I feel blessed to make a living doing this, I appreciate the support and I don't take it for granted! Cheers!
OK, so I'm REALLY late this time, but it is what it is… I wanted to try and keep the tradition going and re-cap my 2015 here for you. Another extremely busy year that was full of new and exciting experiences for me.
Oddly enough, the year technically started out for me by finishing the Trans Siberian Orchestra 2014 WInter Tour, my fifth year with the band….a fantastic tour, as always.
Then I went home to NYC for an epic ending to an epic 6+ year run at Rock of Ages. The final show was on 1/17 and it closed out in grand style. Honestly, it had exceed ALL expectations for me years ago, so really in the end, I had no complaints about it finally closing and who knows, maybe an NYC revival will happen at some point…?
After that I headed out to NAMM and had a great time performing at Randy Rhoads Remembered. Jeff Watson, my predecessor in Night Ranger had reached out to me shorty before this and I thought it would be great chance to hang and actually jam together. So that made this time special. I spent 7 years in Night Ranger trying to do Jeff's classic parts/solos justice and yet we never spoke during that time. So, it meant a lot to me to hear from him and to hear him tell me what a great job I had done. It's great to finally be friends.
Immediately after, I went and played a Scrap Metal show (on 1/24) with Eric Martin, Kip Winger, Janet Gardner, Mark Slaughter, Gunnar & Matt Nelson. These shows are always so much fun for me and give me a chance to re-connect with my musical friends/peers.
February was a busy time for sessions including going down to Tampa, FL to play a little on Trans Siberian Orchestra's 2015 release Letters From the Labyrinth. Shortly after, oddly enough, I was an alternate contestant for a rocker episode of the cooking show Chopped! I was sweating bullets, but in the end I don't have to cook. BUT it did allow me to spend a day hanging with Dweezil Zappa, Kelly Hansen (Foreigner), Lita Ford and Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister). At the end of February I was able to sit in and play a little Van Halen with Rubix Cube here in NYC. You can check that out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slnjow2FAnc
March began with my 2nd appearance on That Metal Show! Playing on TMS has changed my career for the better. I'm so grateful to Eddie Trunk for believing in me. Here are those 5 playing segments:
Shortly after, I was part of an episode of Limitless (CBS). I did some recording for them in the studio and then they shot me doing that playing, but green-screened the lead actor's head onto my body. Fun stuff.
In April, I was part of my 4th Monsters of Rock Cruise! I LOVE this cruise. So many artists and fans onboard that have become good friends. I really enjoy playing my annual Hangover set up on deck. Giving away "Free Shit", pouring Bloody Marys for everyone, playing fingerstyle acoustic, singing lead at times and having guest like Brad Gillis, Kip WInger and Mike Vanderhule and Brad Lang of Y&T make this show one of a kind for me.
Right about this time I was finally completing my mission to have 5 guitars built for Whitesnake! I want to thank Northwest Territorial Mint for making the WS medallions for me, Mike Tempesta at Fender for the beautiful Fender Stratocasters, Steve Christmas for the incredible Les Paul Customs and Harry Howard and Time Mulqueeny at Atomic Guitar Works for the insane Purple Swarovski Crystal guitar. It felt really great to begin the new gig with all new gear. Really exciting.
Now, the REAL stuff! At the end of April, Whitesnake released The Purple Album. The album was a re-imagining of the songs that David Coverdale wrote/recorded during his time with Deep Purple. For me it was a great way to get acclimated with being a part of the band and I was honored to get the opportunity to put my own spin on these proven classics. Here are 3 of the official music videos for your perusal:
Stormbringer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk9wWj8Wh30
Soldier of Fortune - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z69sxDq3Ybc
The Gypsy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpBlajy9ruE
You can also read some great reviews/quotes on the album here: http://www.joelhoekstra.com/reviews.html
5/28-8/16 we had a great 47- show North American tour run. It was great to finally be out on the road with the band and also our fantastic openers Diamante, The Answer and The Dead Daisies. Here's a clip of my solo from the last of those shows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xquC1YUSLg4
10/20-12/2 we toured Japan, Europe and ended the year with magnificent co-headline UK run with Def Leppard. All in all, about 80 Whitesnake shows for the year! For me, an opportunity to play with a fantastic line-up: David Coverdale, Tommy Aldridge, Reb Beach, Michael Devin and Michele Luppi AND to play for/meet SO many new fans. Oh, did I mention getting to play with Glenn Hughes, Vivian Campbell, Adrian Vandenberg and Bernie Marsden along the way? That was pretty fun too! Truly a great opportunity…looking forward to more in 2016!
October 16 was also the release date for my long awaited side-project cd Joel Hoekstra's13 - Dying to Live! Making this cd was such a great learning experience for me. I really wanted to make a straight ahead rock album in the genre that I'm best known for these days and in the process I ended up doing ALL of the writing…lyrics, vocal melodies, everything! It's the first time I've signed with a label, so I want to thank Frontiers Music for the support! I also received more press than I ever have in my life. You can read some fantastic quotes about Dying to Live here: http://www.joelhoekstra.com/reviews.html.
Finally, I have to thank the musicians that brought these songs to life for me…truly one of the coolest line-ups ever and I appreciate their help/support!
Russell Allen - vocals
Jeff Scott Soto - vocals
Vinny Appice - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Derek Sherinian - keys
Please check out the following videos made in support of Dying to Live and spread the word!
Scream - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjT20LPQVdY
Until I Left You - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drA-pn3aYnU
Anymore (lyric video) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIIv5xn0t9c
Long For the Days (audio w/bonus video) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwzCybzXI1w
Say Goodbye to the Sun (audio w/bonus video) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUB0zBfHJ0w
In other news, the VHF project I played on that came out in 2014 released 3 more videos to support the EP. You can check those out here!
Backside of Your Eyes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWOoO_EtoYk
Invisible Thread - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJM8VoT-TOc
Suspended Animation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOK9YsAKFP4
During the year, I also did recording sessions for: Chloe Lowery, Don John, Matthew Cleveland, Guitar Addiction a tribute to Modern Guitar Vol2, and 3 separate Tribute Albums on Versailles Records covering: Dio, Alice Cooper and Judas Priest.
Oddly enough the year ended with me connecting with my Rock of Ages bandmates to play a New Years show in Peekskill, NY.
So, thanks to everyone who came to a show I played in or bought a cd that I played on, etc. Also, thanks to all the sites, publications, radio stations for their help this year! I really appreciate your support and the opportunity to have such a great job!
Another year of being a little late with my annual re-cap. Sorry! Once again despite being a bit late I'm going to stick to what happened in 2014. It turned out to be my busiest year yet and one with some big changes. I'm going to try and tackle this chronologically…
The year started out like usual playing shows at Rock of Ages which entered (and completed) it's 6th year on Broadway. I've been so blessed to have such a great gig at home that kept me gigging every day between tour/travel dates. It was business as usual there…8 shows a week whenever I was home.
In January I went to LA for a day to be in 2 videos with my friend Michael Sweet. It was great hanging with Michael, Kenny Aronoff and James Lomenzo for the day. We even went out to dinner after the shoot with Dave Mustaine who's daughter Electra was in one of the videos as well.
Here they are:
I'm Not You Suicide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVBgW7k_a78
Heart of Gold: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDr7R8BLe3U
Next up was being the guest guitarist on That Metal Show. I've always been a fan of TMS and to get to play on the show was a fantastic experience that earned me many new fans and definitely changed my career for the better. Thanks Eddie Trunk! Here are my playing spots:
After that, I went out to NAMM and was invited by the great Brian Tichy to be a part of Randy Rhoads Remembered.
Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWQQHaPULSg
In June there was also an East Coast run of Randy Rhoads Remembered dates that I was able to be a part of. Here's a clip from one of those shows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YdJYyfEx-w. Every show would end with everyone playing Dee together! Here's me warming up backstage for that:
Also in January, I was able to shoot a video for the side project VHF (Todd Vinciguerra, Joel Hoekstra, Tony Franklin). It was to support the EP 'Very High Frequency' that was released in late Spring.
Here's the video for Whispers of the Soul:
and my thematic guitar solo off the EP with a video I put together:
and the audio for the rest of the tracks on the EP:
So what about my "other" side project? I WAS planning on releasing an EP this year as well, but that has since been picked up by a record label and will now be a full length album that will be released in Summer of 2015! Read about it here!:
In April, I once again was able to play my Hangover Party acoustic set on the Monster's of Rock Cruise! Since I couldn't make it to the first 2 days of the Cruise I needed to find a way to a resort Island in the Bahamas and that meant flying to Nassau and then taking a helicopter to the island to meet up with everyone. For full dramatic effect I jumped out of the helicopter into the water. Cheesy? Absolutely. A once in a lifetime opportunity? You bet….so I went for it. Anyway my set went great! Big thanks to my friends Gabbie Rae, Will Doughty and the Y&T guys: Mike Vanderhule, Brad Lang for sitting in.
Here's something special I put together for that set:
Not to be missed amongst this was another great year of gigs with Night Ranger. Gigs that stand out were: M3, A gig at the Carnegie Center for the Arts where George Lynch, Ace Frehley and Bun E Carlos sat in and played with us, BB King's in NYC and Frontiers Fest in Italy where I was also able to sit in with Jeff Scott Soto and play our song Look Inside Your Heart:
Here's some video of George Lynch and Ace Frehley with Night Ranger:
More importantly, in June, Night Ranger released another album (High Road). This was my 2nd studio release with the band and it was well received by fans and critics alike! http://www.joelhoekstra.com/reviews.html
Here are 2 videos:
High Road: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vRty6qwGzI
Knock Knock Never Stop https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QuwO05QABM
So, now the big change part. In May I learned that Doug Aldrich was leaving Whitesnake. A combination of me putting out feelers and a couple well-respected people recommending me led to a meeting with David Coverdale in late May. Everything went great and we agreed to meet again in August to have me play a bit on the upcoming album. Once again, all went exceedingly well and at that point it became a reality to me that I was joining Whitesnake! In late August it all became official!!!
It's going great so far! But don't take my word for it! What does David Coverdale have to say?
Look for the new record to be out this Spring with a World Tour following and also 4 new videos!
Then came one of my favorite times of the year…the Trans Siberian Orchestra Winter tour! This was my 5th tour with them already. Time flies. Rehearsals began 10/27 and then 62 arena shows between 11/13 and 1/4. I'm honored to be a part of TSO. Great fans, it's extremely well run and the band is like family to me at this point.
Now the odds and ends of the year….
In addition to my shows with Night Ranger, Trans Siberian Orchestra and Rock of Ages, I was also able to do 2 shows with Scrap Metal, a show with Nelson and a show as part of Dee Snider's solo band! Great times!
In addition to my recording with Whitesnake, I was also able to record with: Amy Lee (Evanescence), Parker Sipes, Dina Finai, Dimitri Ehrlich, and a track for the upcoming release Randy Rhoads Immortal (produced by the great Bob Kulick) http://udr-music.com/index.php/randyrhoads-info
Oh yeah, I also cracked into writing/recording for television this year with the shows Duck Dynasty and The Wahlburgers. A great learning experience for me.
Last but not least I want to thank Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar for having me in the magazines this year. Every time in a guitar mag feels like dream realized for me!
Well, that's it! I hope 2015 is as entertaining and jam packed as 2014. I thank you all for the support and allowing me to have the best job in the world!
Hey everybody! Sorry I'm a bit late with this. Busy, busy. Despite the date of the post, I'm going to stick to what happened in 2013, which was another great year of Night Ranger, Rock of Ages and Trans Siberian Orchestra for me. It's almost impossible for me to believe that holding down those 3 great gigs has become the norm.
As far as Night Ranger goes, we were back and forth between gigs and the studio throughout the year. In the studio we were working on our follow-up to Somewhere in California (2011 release) that should be out in Spring of 2014. No drastic departures, just good, hooky, hard-rockin songs with lots of double guitars. We're excited about it. Guitar World was kind enough to do an article/interview with me about it. (http://www.guitarworld.com/guitarist-joel-hoekstra-upcoming-night-ranger-album-were-going-back-more-vintage-sound)
As far as gigs go, I'd say we played about 70-something shows. Standout memories for me this past year are: playing the opening of Chuck Brennan's Rock n' Roll Academy, Bone Bash at Shoreline Ampitheatre (w/Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company) and of course KISS Cruise. In addition to those bands, in 2013 we enjoyed sharing the stage with a long list of our friends including: Journey, Whitesnake, Vince Neil, REO Speedwagon, Dennis DeYoung, Kansas, Loverboy, Lita Ford, Great White, Lonestar and Three Dog Night.
As far as Rock of Ages goes, it was business as usual. This was our 5th year on Broadway and the show is still going strong. The only press event that comes to mind is playing the national anthem at a NJ Devils game with Kate Rockwell. Some of you also may have spotted my cameo in the Rock of Ages movie, as it seems to be running regularly on HBO these days. Once again, Guitar World was kind enough to do an article/interview on what I do on the job.
This was my 4th Winter Tour with Trans Siberian Orchestra and for me, it gets better every year. I'm so honored to be a part of it all. In addition to the 55 shows that we did, we also made an appearance on Live with Kelly and Michael. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbdkgrSrM_c) We also were tremendously honored to play for a crowd of 1 million people on New Year's Eve at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4Fuh0INhQ4)
2013 was also a year that found me getting a couple of side projects going. The first is called VHF (Todd Vinciguerra-drums/Joel Hoekstra-guitar/Tony Franklin-bass). We are focusing on psychedelic, instrumental rock. Expect our EP 'Very High Frequency' to be out in Spring of 2014. The 2nd side project is still untitled (w/Vinny Appice-drums, Tony Franklin-bass and Russell Allen-vocals). It's straight ahead classic rock. Expect an EP around Summer of 2014. I also co-wrote and played on two tracks for Jeff Scott Soto's upcoming album. Very cool, heavy stuff.
I also found myself doing more session work than usual this past year. I recorded songs for: Jaclyn Quatela, Dina Finai, Bob Kinkel, Craig Street Ramblers and Rebecca Juliet as well as guest solos for Telergy, and Bordoni. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AHlXLZcCfQ&list=PLstIbtaiwfYOOD
Another highly notable moment of 2013 was playing my "Hangover acoustic" set on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. I was also able to play with my friends Nelson on the ship. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGOR-Kplmgg) and later in the year squeezed in a show with them at Mohegan Sun as well.
Finally, it was an honor to appear in Guitar Player magazine this past year. Check that out here. (http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/joel-hoekstra-takes-a-minor-out/150923)
That's about it. 2014 looks to be my best year yet! Looking forward to it all!
Hey everybody! Just checking in with what has become my annual news update. Once again, the busiest and best year yet and another year of Night Ranger, Rock of Ages, Trans Siberian Orchestra!
As far as Night Ranger touring goes we played about 70 shows. Notable gigs like the Monsters of Rock Cruise, M3 Festival, Moondance Jam, Sweden Rocks Festival and Islington Academy in London all stand out. It was an honor to share the stage with so many of of our friends as well throughout the year (Boston, Journey, Scorpions, Cheap Trick, REO, Foreigner, Tesla, Loverboy, etc). I also should mention a NASCAR event in Fontana, CA where we sang the national anthem live on ABC.
That wasn't our only tv appearance either, as the band was very lucky to take part in an episode of ABC's Bachelor Pad and have Sister Christian featured on Glee as well.
As far as recording, we taped an intimate acoustic performance at Bob Weir's TRI studios in San Rafael, CA and came away with '24 Strings & a Drummer - Live & Acoustic'…a live cd/dvd that is a must have for Night Ranger fans. Many of the classics have a fresh spin on them and in my opinion it showcases a very real look at the interaction/dynamic of the band. Fun stuff!
Looking ahead, we are currently headed back into the studio to work on another full-electric album to be released later this year!
As far as Rock of Ages goes, the Broadway show is almost up to 1,500 performances now and throw in the 100 shows from off-Broadway and it's just craziness! I'm truly blessed to be a part of such a long-running hit. One note, I am a part of the Broadway version only. Rock of Ages is also running in Las Vegas, London and a there's a tour. All are great, but if you want to see me in it, you have to come to NYC.
In other RoA news, the movie was released in June. I was fortunate to make a cameo appearance in the protest scene alongside Sebastian Bach, Nuno Bettencourt, Kevin Cronin, Debbie Gibson and Russell Brand and to be a part of the DVD Bonus Feature: Legends of the Sunset Strip. I also had the amazing experience of attending the Hollywood Premiere at the legendary Grauman's Chinese Theater. Sitting in the theater with Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta Jones, etc was nuts! Did I mention that Poison and Def Leppard played the after-party? Good times.
As far as Trans Siberian Orchestra news, I was able to become a small part of the band's recording history this year by playing on the new EP 'Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night)' which debuted in the Billboard top 10!
For this year's Winter Tour, in the front half of the show, the band debuted the album 'The Lost Christmas Eve'. It was really fun to be a part of putting it all together. Sales were fantastic, which made the 54 shows in 46 days seem more like fun than hard work. We also made an appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show on 12/18.
In other news, last year I mentioned that I co-wrote/played on a couple songs for Jeff Scott Soto. Those were released in March on his cd 'Damage Control' and I was able to be in the videos for those 2 songs as well. Here they are:
Look Inside Your Heart:
Over the Summer, I was able to play a gig with Dee Snider to support his new album 'Dee Does Broadway' and appear in his new video 'Mack the Knife' along with Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater /Adrenaline Mob), Richie Scarlet (Mountain) and Lee Rocker (Stray Cats). Here it is!
Mack the Knife:
I am also currently co-writing/recording some songs with my friend Ronny Monroe of Metal Church for his upcoming solo album.
I always love getting in the guitar magazines. It was always a childhood dream. SO…I should mention Premier Guitar Magazine was kind enough to do a rig rundown on me & Tommy Kessler at Rock of Ages in their June issue and run a tapping lesson of mine in their July issue. Guitar World Magazine also had me down to their studio to record 10 licks for their new iPhone/iPad app "Lick of Day". Big thanks to both of them!
I guess that's about it. I want to finish by thanking my family, my bandmates in Night Ranger/Rock of Ages/Trans Siberian Orchestra, all of my endorsements (see below) and of course anyone who bought a cd, came out to a show, or had words of encouragement. I really appreciate it!
Gibson electric guitars
Taylor acoustic guitars
Atomic custom electric guitars
Nady wireless systems
Star Access picks
Suhr guitars and amps
Fractal Audio systems
Tech 21 midi pedals
Big Bends Nut Sauce
Seymour Duncan pick-ups
Hi everybody! Once again, I'm overdue with this update, but it's only because I've had such a busy year....the busiest yet. For me it was another year of Night Ranger, Rock of Ages and Trans Siberian Orchestra and some other highly notable moments.
For Night Ranger, 2011 started in the studio. What we came away with was "Somewhere in California", considered by most to be Night Ranger's strongest album in years. For me it was an honor to become part of the bands recording history.
You can read some choice quotes here: http://www.joelhoekstra.com/reviews.html
and an even longer list of flattery here: http://www.joelhoekstra.com/reviewssomewhereincalifornia.html
Here's a behind the scenes video for Somewhere in California: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5Bh8vAuFG8
and here's the official video for the first track Growin Up in California: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6CfEKIubSY
As far as Night Ranger gigs go, we started by playing the Taylor booth at NAMM in Jan. In Feb-May we played some shows of our own, as well as shows with Journey in Vegas, Reno, Mexico City, Monterrey MX and San Juan. In June, we had a headlining tour of Japan and then went straight to Europe to join the Journey/Foreigner/Kansas tour. After a couple weeks off, we toured the US with Journey and Foreigner for an amazing 4 months! Not only was that tour incredibly successful, but it also gave me the opportunity to fill in for Mick Jones of Foreigner (who was ill) for a stretch. I had all of 24 hours to get their set together and go on in front of 18,000 people. No pressure!
I actually STARTED the year playing Rock of Ages 1/1-1/9 at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. Then the show took a brief break to move to the Helen Hayes Theater where it re-opened on 3/24. The show continues to thrive. During 2011 it celebrated it's 1,000th show on Broadway and recently became the 93rd longest running show in the history of Broadway (and is rapidly climbing on that list). I want to re-state that there are multiple companies of Rock of Ages (Broadway, tour, London, Australia). I am a part of the Broadway show, which stays in NYC. What a great gig to come home to!
I was also able to get down to Miami to film a cameo for the upcoming Rock of Ages movie (due out 6/15/12). Basically, they took Sebastian Bach, Nuno Bettencourt, Kevin Cronin, Debbie Gibson and me and put us around Russell Brand in a scene where we are singing across the street to Catherine Zeta Jones and her followers. In addition to the filming itself, we were able to play an impromptu concert in catering for the actors and the hang was absolutely priceless.
Here's the trailer for the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USxhXb5VC5E&feature=fvsr
So, as if 90-some shows with Night Ranger, countless Rock of Ages shows, a stretch with Foreigner and a cameo in a major movie weren't enough, I also took on the Trans Siberian Orchestra Winter Tour again. After rehearsing 10/18-10/31, we played 60 shows between 11/1-12/30. TSO is such a great group of people and really is a production that could rival ANYBODY. I had so much more fun the second time around and was totally honored to be a part of it.
As far as recording goes, Jack Blades' solo album that I played the guitars for will be out soon (March '12). I recently co-wrote/played on two songs for Jeff Scott Soto's upcoming release 'Damage Control' (also due out in March '12). I was also able to record on tracks for drum virtuoso Virgil Donati, Steve Broderick, Black Bird White Sky and Hope Sonam.
Also, keep an eye out for me for me on show Celebrity Apprentice! I'm not sure of the date off-hand, but a week or two after the Super Bowl from what I can recall.
IS THAT ALL? Well....no. I was in Guitar Player magazine's May '11 issue with an article/lesson on hybrid picking and Guitar World's Nov '11 issue in a My Playlist article.
Once again, I want to finish by thanking my family, my bandmates in Night Ranger/Rock of Ages/Trans Siberian Orchestra, all of my endorsements (see below) and of course anyone who attended a show, bought one of my cd's, or even wrote words of encouragement. I've got the best job in the world and I appreciate the opportunity!!!
Gibson electric guitars
Taylor acoustic guitars
Atomic custom electric guitars
DBZ electric guitars
Nady wireless systems
Star Access picks
Suhr guitars and amps
Fractal Audio systems
Tech 21 midi pedals
Big Bends Nut Sauce
Seymour Duncan pick-ups
Jodi Head straps
Hey everybody! Well, this update is long overdue. The last year has been one of the busiest and best of my life. Between Night Ranger, Rock of Ages and Trans Siberian Orchestra, I've had my hands full. I'll do my best to recall some highlights here.
For those that are new to me, I play guitar in the Broadway show Rock of Ages. I am in the NYC version of the show and play 8 shows a week. On 1/10 we had our last show at the Brooks Atkinson Theater and will re-open at the Helen Hayes Theater on 3/24. There is also a touring version of the show that I am not a part of. As with all theatrical productions, there will be many versions of this show, but if you want to see me in it, come to NY! Here are some RoA highlights from the past year....
4/7 - One Year Anniversary on Broadway! [VIDEO]
4/26 - RoA tour promo at Boston Colonial Theater
5/12 - attended Rock of Ages-Toronto opening night and jammed at the party. [VIDEO]
6/28 -RoA tour promo at Taste of Chicago
7/14 - America's Got Talent! [VIDEO]
8/9 - played in a Rock of Ages themed wedding. [VIDEO]
9/27 - Kevin Cronin from REO sang I Can't Fight This Feeling with the band
10/4 - The Tonight Show! [VIDEO]
10/8 - Dee Snider joined the cast for 10 weeks. [VIDEO]
As if the 8 shows a week on Broadway weren't enough, I had about 65 shows this past year with Night Ranger. I also had the pleasure of playing on Jack Blades' soon-to-be-released solo album. Currently we are all in the studio working on a new Night Ranger record and are looking forward to a World Tour in '11 (US, Japan, Europe, South America). Here are some NR highlights from the past year...
2/3 - RoA tour sales event in Miami
2/4 - RoA international press event in NYC
6/26 - played 2 shows in 2 states in 1 day and took a private jet to the 2nd show...
7/10 - had a great show with Pat Benatar and REO in MO
9/11 - played NASCAR event in VA and sang God Bless America live on ABC! [VIDEO]
9/24 - had a show with Heart in WA and Deen Castronovo (Journey) played drums on Sister Christian
So, as if Broadway and Night Ranger weren't enough, I also had the opportunity to play with Trans Siberian Orchestra this Nov/Dec on their Winter Tour. A great experience! Rehearsals began 10/17 and after a couple hard weeks of preparation, we set off on the tour. Check it out!
Winter Tour 2010
|Wed. Nov. 03, 2010||4:00 PM||Youngstown, OH Covelli Centre|
|Wed. Nov. 03, 2010||8:00 PM||Youngstown, OH Covelli Centre|
|Thu. Nov. 04, 2010||7:30 PM||Charleston, WV Charleston Civic Center|
|Fri. Nov. 05, 2010||8:00 PM||State College, PA Bryce Jordan Center|
|Sat. Nov. 06, 2010||3:30 PM||Hartford, CT XL Center|
|Sat. Nov. 06, 2010||8:00 PM||Hartford, CT XL Center|
|Sun. Nov. 07, 2010||3:00 PM||Manchester, NH Verizon Wireless Arena|
|Sun. Nov. 07, 2010||7:30 PM||Manchester, NH Verizon Wireless Arena|
|Wed. Nov. 10, 2010||7:30 PM||Dayton, OH Nutter Center|
|Thu. Nov. 11, 2010||4:00 PM||Toledo, OH Huntington Center|
|Thu. Nov. 11, 2010||8:00 PM||Toledo, OH Huntington Center|
|Fri. Nov. 12, 2010||8:00 PM||Rochester, NY Blue Cross Arena|
|Sat. Nov. 13, 2010||3:00 PM||Hershey, PA Giant Center|
|Sat. Nov. 13, 2010||8:00 PM||Hershey, PA Giant Center|
|Sun. Nov. 14, 2010||3:00 PM||Wilkes-Barre, PA Mohegan Sun Arena|
|Sun. Nov. 14, 2010||7:30 PM||Wilkes-Barre, PA Mohegan Sun Arena|
|Wed. Nov. 17, 2010||8:00 PM||Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena|
|Thu. Nov. 18, 2010||7:30 PM||Washington, DC Verizon Center|
|Fri. Nov. 19, 2010||8:00 PM||Richmond, VA Richmond Coliseum|
|Sat. Nov. 20, 2010||3:00 PM||Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center|
|Sat. Nov. 20, 2010||8:00 PM||Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center|
|Sun. Nov. 21, 2010||3:00 PM||Pittsburgh, PA Consol Energy Center|
|Sun. Nov. 21, 2010||7:30 PM||Pittsburgh, PA Consol Energy Center|
|Wed. Nov. 24, 2010||4:00 PM||Cincinnati, OH US Bank Arena|
|Wed. Nov. 24, 2010||8:00 PM||Cincinnati, OH US Bank Arena|
|Fri. Nov. 26, 2010||3:00 PM||Chicago, IL Allstate Arena|
|Fri. Nov. 26, 2010||8:00 PM||Chicago, IL Allstate Arena|
|Sat. Nov. 27, 2010||3:00 PM||Indianapolis, IN Conseco Fieldhouse|
|Sat. Nov. 27, 2010||8:00 PM||Indianapolis, IN Conseco Fieldhouse|
|Sun. Nov. 28, 2010||3:00 PM||Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena|
|Sun. Nov. 28, 2010||7:30 PM||Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena|
|Wed. Dec. 01, 2010||7:30 PM||Lexington, KY Rupp Arena|
|Thu. Dec. 02, 2010||7:30 PM||Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Arena|
|Fri. Dec. 03, 2010||8:00 PM||Columbia, SC Colonial Life Arena|
|Sat. Dec. 04, 2010||3:00 PM||Greenville, SC BI-LO Center|
|Sat. Dec. 04, 2010||8:00 PM||Greenville, SC BI-LO Center|
|Sun. Dec. 05, 2010||3:00 PM||Raleigh, NC RBC Center|
|Sun. Dec. 05, 2010||7:30 PM||Raleigh, NC RBC Center|
|Wed. Dec. 08, 2010||4:00 PM||Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum Complex|
|Wed. Dec. 08, 2010||8:00 PM||Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum Complex|
|Thu. Dec. 09, 2010||7:30 PM||Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena|
|Fri. Dec. 10, 2010||8:00 PM||Miami, FL AmericanAirlines Arena|
|Sat. Dec. 11, 2010||3:00 PM||Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum|
|Sat. Dec. 11, 2010||8:00 PM||Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum|
|Sun. Dec. 12, 2010||3:00 PM||Orlando, FL Amway Center|
|Sun. Dec. 12, 2010||7:30 PM||Orlando, FL Amway Center|
|Wed. Dec. 15, 2010||7:30 PM||Boston, MA TD Garden|
|Thu. Dec. 16, 2010||4:00 PM||Providence, RI Dunkin Donuts Center|
|Thu. Dec. 16, 2010||8:00 PM||Providence, RI Dunkin Donuts Center|
|Fri. Dec. 17, 2010||8:00 PM||Uniondale, NY Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum|
|Sat. Dec. 18, 2010||3:00 PM||Newark, NJ Prudential Center|
|Sat. Dec. 18, 2010||8:00 PM||Newark, NJ Prudential Center|
|Sun. Dec. 19, 2010||4:00 PM||Buffalo, NY HSBC Arena|
|Sun. Dec. 19, 2010||8:00 PM||Buffalo, NY HSBC Arena|
|Wed. Dec. 22, 2010||4:00 PM||Ottawa, ON Scotiabank Place|
|Wed. Dec. 22, 2010||8:00 PM||Ottawa, ON Scotiabank Place|
|Thu. Dec. 23, 2010||4:00 PM||Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre|
|Thu. Dec. 23, 2010||8:00 PM||Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre|
|Sun. Dec. 26, 2010||2:30 PM||Albany, NY Times Union Center|
|Sun. Dec. 26, 2010||7:30 PM||Albany, NY Times Union Center|
|Tue. Dec. 28, 2010||3:00 PM||Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena|
|Tue. Dec. 28, 2010||7:30 PM||Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena|
|Wed. Dec. 29, 2010||3:00 PM||Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena|
|Wed. Dec. 29, 2010||8:00 PM||Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena|
|Thu. Dec. 30, 2010||3:00 PM||Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills|
|Thu. Dec. 30, 2010||7:30 PM||Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills|
Here's a vid of me playing with TSO.
I should also mention that we had the pleasure of Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) joining us onstage at the Tampa shows!
Keep an eye out for me in EVH amplifier ads appearing in various guitar magazines!
Recently DrumScene Magazine included a couple songs from my solo cd's on their Virgil Donati compilation cd.
Finally, I just want to wrap up the last year by thanking my family, all of my bandmates in Night Ranger, Rock of Ages and Trans Siberian Orchestra, all the gear companies that support me and of course everyone who attended the shows! I'm blessed to be able to do what I love for a living and could never do it without all of your support!
Gibson electric guitars
Taylor acoustic guitars
Suhr guitars and amps
Star Access picks
Big Bends Nut Sauce
Jodi Head straps
Happy New Year everyone!
Since I last wrote, Night Ranger went on the 'Can't Stop Rockin' tour with Styx & REO Speedwagon. I had a great time and really enjoyed getting to hang with the other bands. One of the most interesting moments was when all 3 bands went to go see 'This is It' (the Michael Jackson movie) together. The Nashville show was packed with musicians ie Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, Alison Kraus, Bo Bice, Kevin Christopher (3 Doors Down), Gary Burr, Mark Volman, etc. It was also great fun to wrap up each show playing 'Can't Stop Rockin' together. Good times! '09 was a great year for Night Ranger and I hope to see you all out in 2010!!!
Lots of big things happening with Rock of Ages. The show will have a separate run opening in Toronto soon and a national tour and a UK run soon to follow. As of now, I will be staying with the Broadway show. It's great to have such a fun gig to come home to when I'm not on tour. Did I mention that the show recently rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange? A cool experience. Thanks to everyone for coming to see the show in '09 and hope to see you all in 2010. In addition to taking part in the Toronto press launch, Night Ranger will be playing upcoming Rock of Ages press events, as my two worlds continue to collide in the best of ways!
2010 started out with me taking some time to record with friends in LA and then make a few appearances at the NAMM show. Night Ranger played a set at the Taylor booth that brought down the house. Eric Martin (Mr Big) and Dave Amato (REO) even came up and sang with us on a song! The following day, Brad Gillis and I played a bit at the Nady booth. Brad & I also jammed with Hot for Teacher in the Hilton lobby Sat. night. Good times!...and thanks to Miles Schon for loaning me a guitar at the last second! Speaking of Brad Gillis and me, we were in the 30th Anniversary issue of Guitar World. Did ya see it?
After NAMM, I took part in Jim Peterik's World Stage show. Jim has been putting these on for 10 years now and it gives me the opportunity to catch up with my Chicago area family/friends and jam with some great musicians. This years guests included: Mike Reno (Loverboy), my bandmate Kelly Keagy, Jimi Jamison (Survivor) and Cathy Richardson (Jefferson Starship).
6 days later, I got the chance to fill in with Nelson for a show. Matt & Gunnar are such cool dudes and it was a blast playing some of their newer material and getting to cop some of Brett Garsed's solos from their albums.
I recently became a proud endorser of Head straps. Check 'em out at www.jodihead.com.
Sorry, it's been awhile, but I've been a working fool!
Night Ranger had a very busy Summer. Hopefully some of you caught us on the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom show. We had some fantastic headlining shows and also an unbelievable tour with Journey. It was awesome to get in a groove playing for 7,000-15,000 people a night and the Journey guys were such good dudes. It was really great to be a part of! One interesting moment of the tour came when we were in New Orleans, the BucketHead Radio show in Orlando was discussing the concert from the previous night and a caller claimed that Night Ranger was playing to track because our "guitars weren't plugged in". Someone hipped me to the discussion and I called in live to explain to them that we have our Nady wireless transmitters built into our guitars! Thanks guys for having me on to clear our name! Next up for Night Ranger is the "Can't Stop Rockin" tour with REO Speedwagon/Styx.
Amidst all of this, I am still playing at Rock of Ages, which is proving to be a HUGE hit. The celebrity train has continued there with Billy Joel, Julian Lennon, Vince Vaughn and members of Def Leppard, Extreme, RATT and ASIA all attending performances. I also got to play at Mayor Bloomberg's private residence recently with Constantine, as the Mayor entertained the Mayor of London. Rock of Ages will soon be starting a separate run of the show in Toronto and tomorrow I will be part of the press release party along with Dee Snider, Kevin Cronin and my Night Ranger bandmates.
I had a 1/4 page article on me in The New York Daily News recently when they featured some NY guitar players to celebrate the documentary film 'It Might Get Loud'.
Keep an eye out for Brad Gillis and I in the upcoming Guitar World anniversary issue! There will be an interview in the mag and a 1/2 hour lesson on the DVD that comes with the issue.
Also, a song I co-wrote is being used in the movie 'May the Best Man Win' currently playing on IFC.
Once again, lots happening at Rock of Ages. Since I last wrote, we played the Tony's. It was an awesome experience to walk out on stage at Radio City Music Hall by myself and have the cast come up behind me on a lift while I was playing the opening solo. Even more amazing was watching the 6,000+ light up their Rock of Ages lighters during Don't Stop Believing....Oh yeah, it was kinda cool being between Dolly Parton and Will Ferrell backstage too.
The Visa Signature Tony's Preview Concert also aired nationally on CBS. I played High Enough with Constantine and Amy Spanger from the show and got a wonderful introduction from the show's host Harry Smith.
The Rock of Ages cast album has also officially been released. Go pick up a copy!
We recently had some fun setting the world record (yes, Guinness was actually there) for most people playing air guitar at one time (810). I NEVER thought the day would come that I would air guitar to my own playing. Oh well, all in good fun.
Lots of celebs coming through to check out the show lately: Paris Hilton, Hugh Jackman, Phil Collins, Chad Kroeger and Ryan Peake from Nickelback.
Night Ranger is also having an amazing year! In addition to our headlining shows, we'll be opening for Journey on their tour this Summer! In fact, we just played our first show with them a few days ago. Come out and see us rock the big stages! Also, we recently played the Rocklahoma festival and Eddie Trunk from VH1's That Metal Show joined us on Sister Christian. Again...too much fun!
Many of you know that Gibson is a sponsor at Rock of Ages and I recently did an interview with them about the show/Night Ranger. Check it out here! http://www.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/ArtistsAndEvents/Stories/rock-of-ages-602/
I want to give a big shout out to Ryan Brown at Schecter Guitars for the Hellraiser-6. It is currently my "whammy bar" guitar in Rock of Ages!!!
I also recently became a proud endorser of Seymour Duncan pick-ups.....
Hey everybody! Lot's happening with Rock of Ages. After 2-3 weeks of previews Rock of Ages officially opened on Broadway. Opening night was packed with rock royalty: Neal Schon (Journey), Dee Snider and Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister), Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Kyle Gass (Tenacious D), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow), Jim Peterik (Survivor) and of course my Night Ranger bandmates Jack Blades, Brad Gillis and Kelly Keagy. Night Ranger even played a short acoustic set at the after-party and we had a blast!!
The show got great reviews including a rave in the New York Times. You can read a few choice quotes on the reviews page.
A couple weeks after opening, Tommy Shaw (Styx) and Kevin Cronin (REO) came out and played their song "Can't Stop Rockin" with us immediately after the show. The place went nuts and it was a blast playing a harmony guitar solo with Tommy!
After that we got to work in the studio on the cast album for the show. It should be available soon! Please give it a listen!
Then we had a promo appearance on Regis & Kelly. Great fun and a silly bit complete with Regis in 80's metal garb!
Then the show received 5 Tony nominations, including one for Best Musical. That means we will be performing on the Tony Awards June 7. Tune in! I will also be part of a performance on the Tony preview concert which airs right before the Tonys.
When not at Rock of Ages, I've been tearing up stages with Night Ranger. We're having so much fun! Check the tour schedule and come on out and see us sometime!
Now, a few links for you....
You can see my 80's rock video lessons for Guitar Player magazine here.. http://www.guitarplayertv.com
Check out Musicians Institute's feature on me here... http://www.mi.edu/SucessDetail/523.aspx
Check out a feature/interivew on Rock of Ages with Jim Peterik and myself here.. http://blogs.myspace.com
Hey everybody! I am in the May issue of Guitar Player magazine giving a Master Class on 80's rock. I also filmed an online version of the lesson, which will be up soon at www.guitarplayer.com. I've wanted to be in Guitar Player since I was a kid, so if you have time, please thank them for featuring me at:
Feedback, c/o Guitar Player 1111 Bayhill Drive, Suite 125 San Bruno, CA 94066
You can also see me in an ad for Big Bends Nut Sauce in the issue and in the May issue of Vintage Guitar magazine.
Rock of Ages has begun previews on Broadway and it's going great! The house has been full every show and the responses have been amazing! In Rock of Ages related press I recently did an interview with Spin magazine, was quoted in last week's Time Out NY, appeared on NY1 TV with contractor John Miller and from the land of the insane there was a picture of me playing the show in ABC Soap Opera Digest.
I want to make special mention of Anthony Woo, Rich Bandoni and everyone at Nady Wireless for installing a wireless transmitter into my Gibson V. If/when you see me on tour with Night Ranger this year, you'll notice that my guitars aren't plugged in and I'm not wearing a wireless pack! That's because Anthony Woo is a genius.
Speaking of Night Ranger, we recently spent some time together writing, recording, taking new pictures, etc. Then we rocked our first show of '09, with many more to follow! Hope to see you out at one of them!
Happy New Year everyone!
Lots happening with 'Rock of Ages'. The show closed off-Broadway 1/4 to begin it's move to Broadway (previews begin 3/20). You can read about it here http://www.playbill.com/news/article/124461.html. There is also a movie deal with New Line Cinema that you can read about here http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117997084.html?categoryid=13&cs=1.
Night Ranger will be heating up again soon, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for the band on VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs. There are even a few shots of yours truly at the end of the segment.
I recently had the opportunity to play a couple of shows with Jim Peterik's World Stage. The guest artists this year were: Jimi Jamison (Survivor), Don Barnes (38 Special), Rik Emmett (Triumph), David Pack (Ambrosia), Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger), Nick Colionne and Lisa McLowry. An honor play with them all and the incredible band as well.
I also had a fun show with my buddies The Turtles recently.
Hey, I want to mention a few products that I am now endorsing.
FIrst off check out InTune Guitar Picks at www.intunegp.com!
Secondly, check out Mono Cases at www.monocase.com!
Last, but not least..Check out the G7 capo at www.g7th.com!
There is a new addition to the guitar family as well. Big shout out to Robin and Bob at Taylor Guitars for the smokin 614ce in black! Look for it on tour this year with Night Ranger!
'til next time....