If I had to describe the Edwyn Collins hit “A Girl Like You” with one word, it would be “mysterious.“ I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it on Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and I enjoy every aspect of it, including the music, the words and the haunting performance by Edwyn. I wanted to make a cover with a “darker” feel and a modern 80s vibe, replacing the original instruments, including the vibraphone played by Paul Cook, with synths, while keeping the fuzzy guitar intact. I can confidently say that you have never heard this song like this before. Never. Never. Never. Never. Never heard this song like this before.
Breaking The Habit features one of Chester Bennington's most powerful and emotional vocal performances, and is a song that I've loved since the first time I saw the anime music video as a teenager. The song also has many catchy melodies and riffs that can be interpreted and performed in various ways. My goal with this cover was to strip it down to Chester's voice, and rebuild it with a heavier sound, bringing in inspiration from several genres within metal and rock.
When we were mixing my debut album Firestorm at Sphere Studios, Linkin Park were on the other side of the hallway, recording their last album with Chester, which I thought was really cool at the time. It was immensely sad to read the news about his passing, less than a year later. This cover is my tribute to Chester Bennington. Rest in peace.
Breaking The Habit was written by Mike Shinoda and was first released on the album Meteora in 2003.
Guitar and bass recorded with a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx III. Recorded and mixed in Logic Pro X.
What happens when you combine your love for Foo Fighters and your love for 80s rock? This! “The Pretender” was originally released in 2007, and it quickly became one of my favorite songs. One night a few months ago, I was writing music with a Roland synth sound a la “Separate Ways,” and this idea came out. It made me wonder what the full song would sound like with an 80s synth rock mentality. After recording all the synths, I added guitars to beef it up more. I hope you enjoy it!
“The Pretender” was written by Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel and Chris Shiflett. It was the first single from the Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace album in 2007.
Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb is one of my favorite songs of all time. It’s mysterious, beautiful and powerful, and it features one of the most iconic guitar solos ever by David Gilmour. Like many other guitar players, David was one of my biggest influences growing up, and I spent an incredible amount of hours as a teenager, trying to figure out how to get his sound. I wanted to cover Comfortably Numb as a tribute to David. It was essential to pay homage to the original, but I also wanted to make it sound like something new and different, by giving it a millennial twist! I’m just a novice compared to David, so be gentle. I hope you like it!
Mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Andy Walter, who mastered Roger Waters’ The Wall (Live in Berlin) DVD and many other artists including U2 and Rush.
The gear: Fender Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups (Tone Zone, Air Norton, Air Norton) through a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx III: Clean: Fender silverface Twin Reverb Lead: Engl Savage 120 All guitar effects are from the Axe-Fx III.
Comfortably Numb is written by David Jon Gilmour and Roger Waters. Licensed by Rocky Kramer/Allied Artists Music Group via The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. License #: 1435038775.
Happy New Year! 2019 was an exciting year with album release, UK tour and trip to San Francisco. Looking forward to seeing what 2020 has to offer; other than perfect vision.
Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays / God Jul
Here's a picture of me from the North Pole, personally delivering Santa Claus a delicious piece of Christmas ham and his favorite marzipan sweets. Surprising fact, he's not very tall.
The Rock Star dream continues… First of all, I am and always will be a metal guitarist. I’m also a huge fan of 80s music, and the artists of that era relied heavily on either guitars, synthesizers or both. It’s a decade that has always inspired me to play and write music, and even though my songs are normally on the heavier side, I still enjoy playing around with alternative instruments and arrangements. Rock Star is a very special song to me, and when we went into the studio to record Firestorm, we recorded it how I envisioned it. Since then, after rehearsing, recording and performing the song so many times, I’ve added all these new ideas in my head. As a songwriter, you always have to ask yourself, “when is the song finished?” In this case, I couldn’t stop, and it got to a point that I wanted to know what it would sound like. Since I’m a guitar player, the notion of recording a song with just synths and a drum machine might sound crazy, but it also demonstrates a side of me you rarely get to see. It also might allow the song to reach ears that would miss it otherwise. So I present to you, the synth pop version of Rock Star!
I was fortunate enough to be nominated for a 2019 Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Rock Song, for which the band and I are very grateful! Now, we were up against very stiff competition and we didn't win. However trite it may sound, I honestly believe that just being nominated was quite an honor and I want to congratulate all of the nominees and thank everyone for helping us take Rock Star to the top of the charts! Although I never had an opportunity to read my "thank yous," I still want to thank the many people who helped us with the Firestorm album, so here's what I was planning to say had we won:
First off, I want to thank the HMMAs for the nomination and for giving exposure to up and coming artists. A big thank you to Kim Richards for believing in me since my beginnings here in LA, the late Stephan Bauer for signing me and John Velasco for taking over his role as president of Allied Artists Music Group; Sandra Hahn for helping out in so many different ways and being my surrogate mom all these years; my band, Alejandro Mercado, Michael Dwyer and Matt Grossman, for hanging in there since the beginning and most importantly, my late mom Ingjerd, my dad Bjørn Arne and brother Ståle, who put up with a basement rocker for all of my life! And all the others time doesn't permit me to thank, but are no less important. Please know that I love you all!
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who came to the shows on our first UK tour! I also want to thank The Treatment and Buckcherry for being an awesome bunch of guys and for putting on one hell of a show, night after night. We had a blast, met a lot of cool people and can't wait to go back some other time! I also want to thank my band and crew for their dedication and hard work. Thank you!
The October issue of Music Connection has a review of Firestorm in it by Eric Harabadian. Thank you Eric for the kind words!
Digital edition (album reviews on p. 48):