Friday, December 01, 2006

Edward Degenaro Interview

We spoke with Ed before the show about his playing history, his fretless guitar, stealing Jaco licks, and burning cellos!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Joe Cefalu Interview

Here's our exclusive interview with contestant Joe Cefalu backstage at Guitar Hero 2006.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Trey Alexander Interview

Interview with Trey Alexander before the Guitar Hero Competition. He talks about his influences and playing style and his Father's inspiration.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Trey Alexander Performance - Winner

Trey Alexander has always had a love for music, but he never expected the guitar would completely change and inspire his life. The first guitar he played was a decorative picked up by his father for their home. The old guitar provoked curiosity, and he picked it up and began to play. It didn't take long before he started playing melodies—as well as for his parents to realize he had a natural ear for music. Alexander entered his first guitar competition a few months later, and won first place.

A few years later, Alexander's father died unexpectedly. He truly believed his son would be a great guitar player. Although life would no longer be the same, Alexander realized he needed to continue living his dream, and carry on the legacy of his greatest influence and supporter—his father.

Alexander put all his energy into his group—the Trey Alexander Band—which released its first album in 2000. He also established a more fusion based progressive band, Sonic Lux-a project that is heavily influenced by Steve Vai, Chick Corea, and Béla Fleck.

Alexander currently teaches guitar, and is in the studio working on his next full-length album. His dream is to reach the entire world with his devotion and enthusiasm for music.

Patrick Woods Performance - 1st Runner Up

Patrick Woods is an instrumentalist and composer who specializes in fingerstyle guitar techniques. Based out of Winona Lake, Indiana, Woods has played to all types of audiences, from pre-schoolers to senior citizens. He has also opened for national and regional acts such as Guy Davis, Katie Reider, and Michael Kelsey, and enjoys sharing the stage with award-winning guitarists and icons such as Jason Dennie, Brian Henke, Jim Volk, and Eric Loy.

David Powers Performance - 2nd Runner Up

Born and raised in the suburb of Westchester on the outskirts of New York City, David Powers has been a part of the tri-state music scene for quite some time, and has performed more than 500 gigs at some of the area's best venues. With influences that include everything from Stevie Wonder to Steve Vai to Led Zeppelin to Creed, Powers has become well-known and highly respected for his melodic and articulate, yet heavy guitar style.

While floating in and out of various projects, Power's dream has always been to have a solo career where he could solely express his musical ideas without compromise. When the time felt right, Powers dove in head first, and embarked on a five-year journey of perfectionism and musical manifestation that resulted in his founding of Starr Ridges Studios and MindRide
Records, and releasing his solo project, The Power of One.

Nathan Hahn Performance

Nathan Hahn began playing guitar at age 13, trying to sound like the rock bands he heard on the radio. His parents bought him his first electric guitar for his 14th birthday, and he spent a good deal of the next few years learning various alternative rock songs by ear. A teacher at a local music store introduced him to lead-guitar playing, and although he stopped taking lessons after a few months, he had already gleaned the valuable basics of scales and improvisation. Hahn noodled around for a few years while developing some basic technique, and he played lead guitar in a band with some friends in high school.
After graduation, Hahn's guitar playing was taken to the next level when he joined Guitar War—a music competition Web site (now called Musician War). There, Hahn had the chance to compete and converse with dozens of skilled guitarists who exposed him to many new techniques, artists, and styles. The interaction motivated Hahn to practice more to improve his rather limited skills, and he soon found himself playing up to three hours a day.

After participating at Guitar War for less than a year, his efforts culminated in a “Pro War” championship—the most prestigious honor on the site. Hahn's favorite guitarist is Andy Timmons—a fellow Texan whom he admires for his expressiveness, attitude, and incredible skill. Though he still composes occasionally, Hahn has less and less time to play guitar as he progresses through the chemical engineering program at the University of Houston.

Sergei Roudzinski Performance

Sergei Roudzinski was born in Leningrad, USSR, in January 1964. He first picked up guitar at the age of four, but really got interested when he was 16—practicing for up to 20 hours a day on his timing and picking technique. There were no method books or teachers to learn from—just a handful of enthusiasts who “discovered” certain things and shared their knowledge with friends.

In 1992, Roudzinski played with one of Russia's national acts—Vladimir Rekshan's St. Petersburg—and recorded a CD with the group. Later, he started his successful band Amok, which opened for Russian national acts such as Time Machine, opened for Brian May's solo band, and won first place at the Nevskoe Rondo Music Festival in 1993. In 1995, Roudzinski became one of the five finalists in a St. Petersburg guitar competition, and his “Spanish Theme” instrumental received radio play on several local stations.

Roudzinski's influences include Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Vai, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, and Paco de Lucia. He has been writing music for more than 20 years, and completed his first solo album, Transformations, earlier this year.

Anton Tsygankov Performance

Anton Tsygankov was born in Moscow, Russia, and is the son of an accomplished composer. He started to play music when he was 4, and began playing electric guitar at 14. In 1996, Tsygankov entered Gnesin's Musical College, and graduated in 2001 as a guitarist and singer. He also graduated from Moscow's Modern Art University in 2006.

Tsygankov has been a nominee and prize winner in various competitions between 1999 and 2005: Third place winner in Buffalo's North American Rock Guitar Competition 2005, first prize at the Russian Hendrix competition, first prize at 2004's Mnogolikaya Gitara (“many-sided guitar), second prize at Russia's Firm 2000, first prize at the international Wind Rose competition, first prize at Russia's Guitar 2000 electric-guitar competition, first prize at Russia's Fender Guitar Contest, “Most Virtuoso Guitarist at Russia's Russian Guitar competition, and first prize at Russia's May Lian Guitar Contest, as well as numerous other honors.

Tsygankov has also worked in several major recording studios as a session musician, and in two “pop-star” bands as a performing guitarist. His Anton Tsygankov Project released its debut album, ANTI, in 2006.

Ron Locurto Performance

Ron LoCurto has been a student of the guitar for more than 25 years. Cutting his teeth on heavy, guitar-driven rock—and studying jazz and classical guitar in college—he has forged his own unique style that encompasses all types of music from around the globe. Some career high points include recording Kaleidoscope (a fusion CD with some of the area's best musicians), performing with avant-garde drummer Bobby Previte and his Voodoo West ensemble, and partnering with Ravi Padmanabha to release West of East (an album of acoustic guitar and tabla that fuses the traditions of western jazz and eastern classical music). LoCurto was also chosen to perform as a finalist in the first North American Rock Guitar Competition, and recently took second place in the 2006 Competition.

Currently, LoCurto is busy performing in support of his latest instrumental-trio recording, Pattern Seeking Primates, where he leads the group through eight original songs and one amazing cover of Bjork's “Human Behavior.” Check LoCurto out on the web at

Joe Cefalu Performance

Joe Cefalu was born in quiet suburbia on Long Island, New York. When he was 11, however, his family moved to the mean streets of Brooklyn, and into an apartment above a nightclub owned and operated by the mob. Cefalu witnessed many strange and interesting sights from his second story bedroom window—such as bar fights that spilled onto the sidewalk, brazen gun play, and random beatings. One night, his older sister and mother were accidentally dragged into a street brawl while returning home, and Cefalu awoke to find his father hanging out the front window with a 12-gauge shotgun threatening to “send them all to hell,” if the punks didn't lay off his wife and daughter. Needless to say, the terrified pre-teen became a shut-in, passing endless days locked in his bedroom listening to music, reading science fiction, and, eventually, teaching himself to play guitar. His guitar heroes were David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Jimmy Page, Neal Schon, and Alex Lifeson.

Cefalu spent his formative years practicing, playing gigs, and hanging around New York City recording studios. After recording a few tunes while in his early 20s, Cefalu was featured in Guitar Player's Spotlight Column. He has also appeared in Guitar FTPM and Guitar Shop, and was included on a Guitar World compilation CD.

As a guitar instructor, Cefalu averages about 40 students per week, and has been tapped by various guitar publications to evaluate and review music gear, write guitar transcriptions, do interviews, and pen instructional columns. Cefalu currently lives in the beautiful city of Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two young sons. He feels extremely grateful to be able to earn his living with a guitar in his hands.

Edward Degenaro Performance

Edward DeGenaro is a fusion guitarist whose “Nude Guitars” sound—a unique mix of bebop and metal stylings mixed with a whole lot of the DeGenaro personality—has been compared to the works of Scott Henderson, Frank Gambale, and Steve Vai. DeGenaro's journey in music began in Germany, where he was born and raised. He studied cello at an early age, but quickly picked up the guitar as his instrument of choice for venting his artistic expression. After receiving a degree in Performance and Teaching from the German National Conservatory of Music in Nuremberg, he worked as a session player throughout Europe before relocating to Los Angeles, and, finally to Seattle, where he currently resides.

DeGenaro performs at various venues, such as the NYC Fretless Guitar Festival and the NAMM show, and has worked (as a musician and/or recording engineer) with Elliott Sharp, Steve Kimock, Henry Kaiser, David Byron Band, Accept, Hammerhead, Alcatraz, David Rosenthal, and Roy Thomas Baker. He has also contributed to various feature films and television commercials, and recently finished recording all the audio samples for Jack Zucker's Sheets Of Sound, Vol. II. He is also working on his soon-to-be-released CD, Dog House.

Joshua Karickhoff Performance Video

Joshua Karickhoff is not your average 15 year old. The guitarist/vocalist for the band Bluefire, Karickhoff is the oldest of three boys, and is an A student who has been home schooled since the first grade. In 1998, Karickhoff picked up his first guitar, and immediately had the desire to tear it up with monster shredding, amazing solos, and unheard-of techniques. He asked the names of the best guitarists in the world, and began to study players such as Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Yngwie Malmsteem, and Jeff Beck.

In 1999, at just eight years old, he began taking lessons. It didn't go well. After one month, the instructor stated that Karickhoff didn't have what it took to be a guitarist. Undaunted, he started lessons again a few months later with Preston Lindey. Although Lindey taught children, he was reluctant about working with Karickhoff because he never had a student that young. However, he agreed to give Karickhoff a shot if he saw potential. Seven years later, Karickhoff and Lindey are still working together.

In 2004, Karickhoff won the store championships of the Guitar Center Guitarmageddon contest, beating out 30 competitors. The day before the GH06 competition, Karickhoff and his band were opening for Bad Company in Buffalo, New York. And tonight, he is playing in front of a major influence—Joe Satriani. This will most definitely be the highlight of his young career.