Friday, May 28, 2010

G-TARanaki lineup announced

The lineup was announced today for the festival known as G-TARanaki 2010, a five-day musical celebration of the guitar to be held in New Plymouth.

The headline act is ex-Guns 'N Roses/Velvet Revolver axe-man Slash. He will be joined by Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy along with bassist Todd Kerns (Sin City Sinners, Static in Stereo, Age of Electric), rhythm guitarist Bobby Schneck (Green Day, Weezer) and drummer Brent Fitz (Alice Cooper, Vince Neil).

Also visiting from overseas is Uli Jon Roth ex-Scorpions.  The classically trained German rock guitarist appeared at the 2008 G-TARanaki summit. He'll offer workshops and masterclasses and lead an all-star jam session as part of the Friday night concert.

Jennifer Batten, who was Michael Jackson's live guitarist across three world tours and worked with Jeff Beck in the late 1990s, will perform at G-TARanaki also. Batten is a class player with chops that allow her to move from metal shred to world music, to funk, fusion and electronica.  

Vinnie Moore is also on the bill. He was discovered due to a demo tape he sent to Guitar Player magazine. From there he became an influential shredder then toured and recorded with Alice Cooper and is currently playing with UFO.

Hail! is a metal supergroup with a shifting lineup. For G-TARanaki it will be Scott Travis of Judas Priest banging the skins, Scott MacAlpine (from Steve Vai's band) on lead guitar and Tony Franklin Jennifer Batten(The Firm, Quiet Riot, Blue Murder) on bass.

From Mountain - and from work with the likes of Van Halen, Mick Jagger and Billy Joel - Leslie West will be on board.

California Guitar Trio will work through almost every genre of music.

Joining the California Guitar trio and performing solo is bass legend Tony Levin. You would know his work from King Crimson, from touring and recording with Peter Gabriel - from his Chapman Stick playing as well as his bass playing; possibly even from his inclusion on John Lennon & Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy album.

Another great bass player making the trip is Guy Pratt. Pratt took on the role of bass player for Pink Floyd for the post-Roger Waters albums and tours. He has also toured (including New Zealand) with Bryan Ferry and has played extensively with Robert Palmer, was a member of Icehouse and played on the tour behind the Coverdale Page album. In 2007 he published a memoir - filled with great touring and recording stories - My Bass and Other Animals.  And from there he has gone on to a sideline career in standup comedy - touring with his music anecdotes.

Oli Brown Band features Britain's newest blues guitar prodigy, Oli Brown. He released his debut, Open Road in 2008. He was just 19. From there Mike Vernon, producer of early John Mayall and Fleetwood Mac albums, came out of retirement to produce the Oli Brown Band's follow-up, Heads I Win, Tails You Lose.

Speaking of young stars, Desiree Bassett is just 17. Here's a clip of her, aged 15, covering Jimi Hendrix. From here she has gone on to release three CDs and play alongside Jimmie Vaughan and Sammy Hagar. She is from New Haven, Connecticut.

There are New Zealand bands performing as part of G-TARanaki also.

The Checks will be there. In Dread Response is an Auckland metal band. For the cheekier side of metal try Shotgun Alley. And there's also The Thomas Oliver Band from Wellington, Kara Gordon Trio, an Auckland group that performed at 2008's G-TARanaki, and Blue Monkey Racket, a Taranaki blues band.

So, how does this all work? And what's happening?

A Friday night concert at the TSB Stadium will see The Checks, Desiree Bassett and Oli Brown Band as well as Tony Levin with the California Guitar Trio. This evening will be headlined by the Uli Jon Roth All-Star Jam with Leslie West, Desiree Bassett, Vinnie Moore and Jennifer Batten.

On Saturday there will be a concert at the TSB Stadium that kicks off with Shotgun Alley and In Dread Response. Then there will be sets by Vinnie Moore, Jennifer Batten and Hail! Finally, Slash will close the evening. There's a chance the likes of Batten and Moore may join him for an all-star jam to conclude.

There are three midnight sessions at Puke Ariki. Thursday's will see The Thomas Oliver Band, Guy Pratt, Levin with the California Guitar Trio, Oli Brown Band and Desiree Bassett.

Friday will feature Kara Gordon Trio, Leslie West, Desiree Bassett, Guy Pratt, Vinnie Moore and then Tony Levin solo.

Saturday's midnight session will be the Brian Hatcher Band, Jennifer Batten, Uli Jon Roth, Hail! and Slash.

At the Sky Academy on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Uli Jon Roth will be sharing his knowledge with music students in afternoon sessions (1.30-5.30).

There are forums and clinics across the Friday and Saturday - everything from local bands showing how to shred to Dominion Law discussing the legal side of the music business. One of the highlights will surely be Tony Levin discussing working with the likes of Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon and King Crimson.
There's also a G-TARanaki Guitar Exhibition.

Tickets go on sale to the public from Monday, May 31. Visit here (official G-TARanaki site) to sign up for e-newsletters and to receive further information.

Until next time keep rockin'
The 0800 Jukebox crew.

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