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Dragon Mistress (3.5MB) This whole adventure started with me sending Marty Friedman a copy of my solo CD "Solitarily Speaking...". Shortly after I sent him an email stating that if he ever needed a 2nd guitarist for anything that he's working on to give me a shot. Well, several months later I get an email "Hey, how long would it take you to learn an hour of my material?". Oh no!, what have I got myself into??!! This was the beginning of learning lots of Marty licks and going to sleep many times with a headache. I then sent Marty mp3s of me playing along to his tunes and eventually got the gig.
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This whole adventure started with me sending Marty Friedman a copy of my solo CD "Solitarily Speaking...". Shortly after I sent him an email stating that if he ever needed a 2nd guitarist for anything that he's working on to give me a shot. Well, several months later I get an email "Hey, how long would it take you to learn an hour of my material?". Oh no!, what have I got myself into??!! This was the beginning of learning lots of Marty licks and going to sleep many times with a headache. I then sent Marty mp3s of me playing along to his tunes and eventually got the gig.
A month long tour was being set up with the Alex Skolnick trio and Chris Poland's Ohm trio, but it eventully got stripped down to just two weeks. Hopefully, this is just a trial run.
Marty, Jimmy (DeGrasso-drums), Chris (Catero-bass) and I all met up at the Phoenix airport, then immediately took off for two day rehearsals in the Metal Blade warehouse. I've never seen so many CDs in my life, and I've been to tons of record stores. This was the first time that Marty and I were face to face with guitars in hand. Yeah, a little scary but I got through it. After working out which of us would play higher/lower melodies/harmonies/octaves on the songs, we started running over the tunes with Chris and Jimmy. I think what did it for me was playing the melodies and triplet sixteenth phrases in Dragon Mistress with Marty. Some fun stuff! I wish we could have had a few more days to rehease as a band, but we made the best of everything and marched on.
Marty, Jimmy and I stayed at Eric and Courtney's place (two very good friends of Chris Catero) while we were still in Arizona. Thanks for the hospitality!! (Eric play drums for Chris' band Razer and also was drum tech for this tour.) Very nice house, shower, blow-up mattress, pool, TV. And yes, I got to watch my Cowboys lose to the Falcons on Sunday...
Our first gig was in Tuscon at City Limits. Uh..., I looked at this gig as our third day of rehearsal. It was great fun playing for the first time with these guys onstage, but trying to cram in all of that material took it's toll a few times. We also got to check out the Alex Skolnick trio and Ohm for the first time. Wow, talk about some serious playing...
Our next stop was back in Phoenix, at the Marquee Theater. I had great time at this gig. The stage was pretty big and the venue was very nice. We met up with Dave Ellefson (Megadeth) and this was the beginning of all the Megadeth stories. Hearing Marty, Jimmy, and Dave go on for hours was hilarious. And the Mustaine stories were even better.
Then we all hopped on the "tour bus" with the Alex Skolnick trio dudes and the crew for the California gigs. Uuhhhh... Let's just say it was a pretty rough ride in the RV, that thing needs some shocks really bad!! And we won't talk about the madman driving the vehicle or the misuse of the toilet, now will we?!!
Our first gig in California was at Canes in San Diego by the beach. I got to meet up with my friend Sean Sankey who played with me in my San Antonio cover band Dragonfly. For me, it seemed like this was the last gig that we "worked out the bugs". After the gig, Marty and I had a talk about the show, the band, and just music in general, and that's when I figured out that not only is Marty a killer player and writer, but also a very cool person. Playing alongside onstage with Marty was great, but the best part about the whole tour was just hanging out and talking to the dude. He sounds even cooler when he's talking in Japanese.
Next up was the Galaxy Theater in Santa Ana. I finally got to see my friend/manager Chris Leibundgut after about 15 years, when he lived in Texas. At this gig, the band seemed to be playing a lot better. Marty and I signed several autographs for some very cool fans waiting around. These kids also made it down to the next show at the Troubadour in Hollywood with Spastic Ink CDs and Ron solo CDs in hand. Wow, so somebody out there DOES know who I am! Also at the Hollywood show was the wifey, who was on vacation at Disneyland. Too bad I had to hang out with band. An hour or so at her hotel would have been cool!! Oh well, maybe when I get back home. My brother Bobby (who now lives in California) also made it out to this gig. It was very cool hanging out with the big brother again, just talking about anything. After the show, we got something to eat with our friend Chris (Leibundgut) at the Denny's where the waiter there was bit too friendly. Which kinda was appropriate because here comes the next city...
In San Francisco Marty and Chris (Catero) had to get some "real food" so we went to Chinatown and I experienced sushi for the first time. Man, that stuff tastes like rubber with salt. I might as well eat my shoes after walking on the beach. I think I'll stick with my pop tarts and chicken fried steak thank you. It was great listening to Marty talk in Japanese to all the people working there at the restaurant. This was also Chris' (Catero) birthday so we got some green ice cream. I still don't know if it actually had raw fish in it. The gig was at Slim's and for me, this was our best gig. The crowd was a bit better in Hollywood, but playing and performance wise, everything clicked. Especially fun for me was the blues question/answer solo section that Marty and I did. I finally got to meet Mike Varney from Guitar Player magazine (who never put me in that damn Spotlight column!), the chief editor, Jeremy Colson (drummer on Marty's "Music For Speeding" CD) and Dave Meniketti of Y & T.
The last gig was at the Boardwalk in Sacramento. I'd have to say that the best part of this day was watching Marty do a clinic. What a nut. Some great playing and funny stories. Marty's character comes through once again.
The final song of the tour was a cover of Kiss' "Deuce" where Marty, Alex and Chris (Poland) all took the stage. Chris (Catero) did an unbelievable job of taking on Gene's vocals. And he had all the moves down, he just needed the tongue!
Then the tour finally came to an end, but let's hope this is just the beginning...
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