"Isn't it a Funny World Nowadays?" by Caitlyn Waltermire
part 1 of 3 installments
Frances might have been nineteen. She might also have been
twenty-eight. Her eyes were black-green like Japanese beetle shells, set
upon two pools of dark circles under her lower eyelids and against the
bridge of her nose. Her hair was a nothing color, like weak tea or lake
water, and the pieces that did not fall across her forehead were swept
into a bun, cloudy and pleasing. She was long-boned and had a habit of
imitating the laugh of whoever she was with. She worked as the only
waitress in the city’s only diner.
The diner was rather yellow,
from the walls to the plates to the toilets. Whether this was from use
or intent of design, no one could remember. The spoons were literally
greasy, due to incompetence of the dish-washers, and customers got into
the habit of wiping their utensils on napkins before using them; (it was
better than complaining at a metal face). A television with a very
large screen hung on the wall everyone was expected to turn to. Usually
it showed speeches or debates or speeches about debates, but today a man
had been arrested for attempting to rape a female-looking machine in
transit to the office where it worked, and this made for interesting
news until expensively-suited people decided to fill all the stations
debating the ethics of it. A man chuckled into his pie and said, “Isn’t
it a funny world nowadays?” but no one heard him.
with a different man, the one with peach-colored hair who sat carefully,
with toes pointed at the floor, at the table by the door, a choice that
she suspected meant a noncommittal spirit, but she was Romantic and
always thought small things held greater significance. He kept watching
her, expectantly, with a steadiness that made her ill. He looked at her
mouth, two thin thin slips of pale ribbon that had never moved anyone.
- David "Skinny Devil" McLean originally published at Tinfoil Music Date: Thursday, April 15 2004 @ 16:17:15 BST
When Randy Rhoads dies tragically in March of 1982, Ozzy
Osbourne was in the middle of supporting his second release, "Diary of a
Madman". When he looked for a quick replacement, most guitarists shied
away from the gig for fear of trying to fill Randy's shoes. One
guitarist, however, was fearless, and his willingness to go where angels
feared to tread opened the doors for monster guitarists like Brad
Gillis, Jake E. Lee, and Zakk Wylde. His name? Bernie Torme'!
Torme', at that time, had been around for a bit on the European scene.
The Irish born guitarist had cut his teeth in the clubs after having
seen greats like Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore. He played in several
bands and eventually joined Gillan (when rock vocal legend Ian Gillan
left Deep Purple), then formed Atomic Rooster. It was then, in 1982,
that Bernie hopped aboard the Crazy Train for a tour with Ozzy.
- David "Skinny Devil" McLean originally published at Tinfoil Music Date: Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 16:44:05 BST
It is no exaggeration to say that Steve Lukather is a living
legend. From 1977 with the first TOTO album to now with the Grammy
winning 2003 CD (the 7th Grammy of his career!) with Larry Carlton,
Steve Lukather has demonstrated more staying power than any living
guitar god. Session man, band leader, instructor, producer...Steve
Lukather is a legend in the music world!
"Hold the Line" was the first big hit, followed by "I'll supply the
Love", and TOTO got their first Grammy nomination. Following that, they
pulled down countless awards, platinum albums, and successful world
tours. They won a slew of Grammy's in 1983, wrote a song for the Olympic
Games in 1984, scored much of the music for David Lynch's film, "Dune".
- David "Skinny Devil" McLean originally published at Insane Guitar, 2005
As I was about to sit down to write this month’s lesson, I was
swamped with requests for more fingerstyle stuff. Rather than skip about
madly from fragment to fragment of various pieces, I decided to examine
one section of the classic “Malaguena” so that we could try several
variations. It can be written several ways, but I decided on the
following because it lays out easier if you’re unfamiliar with the
The first example is to get your fingers ready. Break this into
fret-hand and pick-hand patterns. The fret-hand is simply holding an E
chord and chord, while the pick-hand is playing a simple (strings) 4,
1, 3, 1, 2, 1 pattern. To keep it simple, this pattern can be broken
into alternating between thumb and finger (with the thumb, or “p”,
playing allstrings except 1; the first finger, or “i”, playing only
- David "Skinny Devil" McLean originally published at Tinfoil Music Date: Friday, November 11 2005 @ 15:33:41 GMT Steve Lukather, 7-time Grammy Award winner andGuitar Gods
interviewee, has released a incredible collection of Christmas songs
for Favored Nations called "Santa Mental". The disc features Lukather
performing every song along with an incredible list of special guests
that reads like a who's who of guitar greats. That list includes Larry Carlton, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Steve Vai,
Jeff Babko, Mike Landau, and Luke's son, Trevor. The disc also features
some other great musicians like Edgar Winter, Gregg Bissonette, Simon
Phillips, and more.
- David "Skinny Devil" McLean originally published at Tinfoil Music Date: Sunday, April 11 2004 @ 22:22:00 BST Nuno Bettencourt is (so far) best known for his work with
Extreme, who formed in 1985. By 1989 they had released their first album
and Nuno Bettencourt was known & respected overnight in the guitar
community. It was their second album, however, that launched Extreme,
and Nuno, into center stage with top ten hits, MTV videos, and world
tours. "Pornograffitti" (released 1990) featured "Decadence Dance", "Get
the Funk Out", "Hole-Hearted" and the number 1 "More Than Words", and
Nuno Bettencourt became a household name. Extreme disbanded in 1996, but Nuno hasn't slowed down a bit. Not only
has he fronted Mourning Widows and now his new band, Population-1, but
he has continued behind the scenes as a writer and producer.
One of the big requests I get is for “style” lessons, and among the top
request in 2004 was for George “Mr. Scary” Lynch. My apologies for the
delay, guys, but it’s finally here!
George burst on to the scene back in 1982 with the band Dokken and
quickly became one of the most admired guitarists of the decade by
demonstrating extreme technical capabilities coupled with
uber-aggression, a unique approach, and lots of soulful style. With a
Grammy nomination, countless tours & guitar clinics, 9 Dokken
albums, 6 Lynch Mod albums, and 5 solo offerings (from EPs to
full-length albums), George is firmly established as one of the true
- David "Skinny Devil" McLean originally published at Tinfoil Music Date: Friday, April 09 2004 @ 18:28:20 BST
Jerry Belsak is an extraordinarily gifted fingerstyle
guitarist who has performed alongside such awesome talent as Leo Kottke,
Muriel Anderson, and Ricky Skaggs. Not heard of him? You will! With his
acute sense of melody and taste, command of astonishing technical
prowess, and sense of humor, Jerry blesses listeners with magical
sounds. With several recordings to his credit, several bands in his past, and
hundreds of solo gigs, Jerry has been amazing audiences for over 20
years. He is also writing material that all his fans hope will be
recorded and released soon!
- David "Skinny Devil" McLean originally published at Insane Guitar, 2004
I’ve been asked a lot as of late about tapping, or “touchstyle”, so I
thought we’d revisit this topic as we boldly shred into the new year.
The questions I’ve received have been about how to break beyond the
standard “Eruption” style of applying tap technique, so I thought we’d
take a brief look at some ideas that will translate well to both
electric and acoustic styles of playing. They are also in the key of Am
(C major) so that you can experiment freely in a single key.
I got a few calls asking me to skip the “insanity” for one lesson and
opt instead for a bit of focus on classical chops. Let it be known that I
am less-than-adaquate when it comes to playing classical guitar, but I
thought I might at least offer up something to assist those who want to
work on a few classical pieces. To that end, here are the opening few
arpeggios to Beethoven’s “Opus 27, #2″ (better known as “Moonlight
Sonata” or, to Ludwig, “Sonata Quasi Una Fantasia”).
A quick tip or two regarding classical technique: Make sure your
fingers are coming down on the string straight rather than at a sharp
angle (as is common when playing rock guitar) and be careful with your
pick-hand technique, being mindful to change the angle of attack so your
hand doesn’t rest across the strings but comes down on top of them.
- David "Skinny Devil" McLean originally published at Tinfoil Music Date: Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 15:26:25 BST Kimi Reith is a unique jazz guitarist with a most ingenious
approach to composition & improvisation. This California girl will
definitely catch your ears, whether you hear her live or listen to her
CD, "BAIL!". Kimi, in the interview below, expounds
openly about her music - which is where, of course, the focus should be.
Be sure to check out herweb-site
for detailed liner notes, including theoretical ideas that are at the
core of her fabulous compositions. But first, check out this great
- David "Skinny Devil" McLean originally published at Insane Guitar, 2003
One of my favorite pieces of Christmas music is “Do You Hear What I
Hear?”. No only is it a gorgeous piece of music, but it’s a helluva
lesson in composition and a great structure from which to practice
Below is a very simple version (primarily melodic, so the harmonic
options are completely open for you to interpret individually) arranged
for guitar. It makes heavy use of harmonics – both natural and tapped –
and touches on compositional ideas of both theme & variation and
call & response. I also like playing it with a long delay to get
those cool “rounds” (like “Row, row, row yor boat”).