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Friday, November 18, 2011

Adrian interviews fellow guitarist Carl Verheyen

Carl Verheyen has made a name for himself as a first call session guitarist in Los Angeles for the last 25 years, having played on hundreds if not thousands of sessions for records, television, movie sound tracks and commercials. When he isn't in the studio or playing guitar in the legendary band SUPERTRAMP, Carl is often on the road fronting the Carl Verheyen Band. 
I met Carl over 12 years ago, when we were both guest clinicians at the Summer Guitar and Bass Workshop in Pittsburgh, PA. We hit it off, and when I moved to Los Angeles in 1999, he was very generous with his time and advice, letting me tag along with session calls and witness him in action. Besides Carl playing on two of my CDs ("Ventura Blvd." on King Friday, and "Terrestrial Races" on Earth Tones), and sharing the stage at various venues in town, we had a short lived, but great blues band a couple years ago called Blue Band, which included Joey Heredia on drums and Philip Bynoe on bass. 

Adrian: When did you start playing guitar? How old were you?

Carl: 11 years old. I got a guitar and my 1st lesson on my 11th birthday. Lessons were $2.50.
Adrian: Do you remember what prompted you to pick up the instrument?
Carl: It was definitely George Harrison and Roger McGuinn.
Adrian: Did you take lessons and were your parents supportive?
Carl: Yes and very!
Adrian: When did you know that you wanted to pursue music professionally?
Carl:  I knew immediately that it was what I wanted to do when I grew up. 

Adrian: What’s your philosophy or approach toward the role your instrument plays in a band performance? And does your approach to playing live differ than when tracking in the studio?
Carl: I play in a few different bands and musical situations in the studio, so my approach changes with each situation. But while tracking a record I believe in making the definitive version of the song FOR ALL TIME. Then later in rehearsals I'll worry about the live version, which may be an approximation of more than one guitar part. 
Adrian: Who are your top 5 musical influences? 
Carl: Hendrix, Bloomfield, Clapton, Zawinul, McCartney.  But it might be different tomorrow. 
Adrian: I know you do a lot of session work. I imagine every session is different, but gear-wise, what do you find yourself bringing to every studio?
Carl: I usually have a Stratocaster of some kind along. I have 5 different pedal boards and one of them will be there, too. 
Adrian: Some people imagine that session musicians can be "a jack of all trades or a master of none", however you certainly seem to be able to play many different styles, very authentically, AND you still have a very unique identity on guitar. How do you explain this? What steps did/do you take to be able to emulate various guitar styles and develpe our own identity? 
Carl: I divide my career into 2 completely different paths: the artistic solo career and the "craftsman" career. I did all that homework many years ago, figuring out the different styles and understanding the "ornamentation" of each style. But what I continue to work on every day is my own style. And everything I learned over the years about bluegrass, jazz, metal, country, rockabilly, finger-style, classical and rock informs my own musical identity, too.
Adrian: What artists have you been digging/listening to currently? 
Carl: Sax player Bill Evans, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Herbie Hancock and John Scofield (who I just shared a double bill with in Holland. 
Adrian: Can you share a career highlight?  What made it so special?
Carl:  In July I played a festival in France with Supertramp for 77,000 people. It was the last show of the tour and a very large audience. There were people as far as I could see in almost every direction. Those only come around about every 7 years or so. Last month my band played in Graz, Austria for the first time and it seemed everyone knew the words to my songs!  Those highlights are very recent, but they're the things that keep me going!
Adrian: Most people have a “Spinal Tap” moment in their careers, any strange or funny road stories?
Carl:  I had a dude throw a soaking wet t-shirt on stage and it wrapped around my guitar neck during a solo. My band pulled up to an Italian hotel that we were booked into for the night, only to find it was completely under construction, not taking reservations until 2014. I flew to Detroit to play a concert and my guitar went to Honolulu. But here's the worst: I got hired to play at my friend's big sister's wedding when I was 17. I planned on reading the sheet music to the very sappy tune "Love Story."  I was in the choir loft and it blew off the railing right at the big bridge. I had to make up words, chord changes and the melody for the entire bridge and play the rest from memory. Needless to say, I packed up and split before getting paid and resolved never to show up unprepared again!
Adrian: What projects are you currently working on, and what/where can we expect to hear from you in the near future?
Carl: I just finished some instructional videos for Truefire and have touring plans with the CVB for March and June in 2012. My band will play the Canyon Club on December 1st and All Star Guitar Night at NAMM in January. 
For more information about Carl please visit:

For more information about Adrian Galysh, including video guitar lessons, concert dates, clinics, merch and music, visit:

Adrian Galysh: King Friday

Adrian Galysh: Earth Tones

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Free Guitar Lesson and Radio

Hello gang,
As you may know, my book "Progressive Guitar Warm-ups and Exercises" is now available for sale at . The book presents intermediate and advanced guitarists with a progressive series of strength, dexterity, finger independence, and left & right hand coordination exercises that can be used before any practice, recording, or performance session. Below you can see a video demonstrating the book's first exercise. 

Also, you can listen to me and all your favorite artists on JANGO Free Internet Radio. You can customize your own radio station and discover music you will most likely enjoy. Click here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yngwie Malmsteen at Club Nokia

Last Saturday, the band and I opened for Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen. I grew up listening to Yngwie, starting with my brother's Malmsteen albums "Marching Out" and "Trilogy" - both classics. Saturday, October 29th was the 2nd time I have opened for Malmsteen. The first time was about 7 years ago at the Key Club in West Hollywood, with George Lynch also on the bill. That show was sold out, 700 ppl.

This past Saturday's gig was at the new-ish Club NOKIA in down town LA's entertainment block dubbed "LA Live". The club is pretty amazing, holds 2300, and has a million dollar sound system. This sound system was helmed by uber-sound man about town, Rob Gainey, author of the fantastic pro audio bible "Rockin' Your Stage Sound".

Upon our designated 5 o'clock load in, we arrived to find Yngwie still sound checking... to some Black Sabbath tunes and a couple of his own. The stage/sound check was closed to anyone but the band. No worries our plush dressing room had a large flat screen TV where we could watch the closed circuit camera catching the sound check unfold. Yngwie's stage set up was a little lop sided, as he brought 9 full Marshall stacks... all on his side of the stage. The rest of the band was relegated to a few feet of stage left.

Anyhow, by 6:20pm we were able to set up and sound check till about 7:05... Rob dialing in the front of house, and us getting our monitors right. Club Nokia's crew and staff were all very kind and accommodating. Meanwhile the wife and some friends were getting Sushi before having to hold down fort at the merch table.

The band, Philip Bynoe (bass), Charlie Waymire (drums), and Maureen Baker (keys), and I had a 30 minute set. We rehearsed a very tight set, cramming as much as possible into the half hour we were allotted. Hitting the stage at 9pm, we put on a good show. The audience was responsive with a pit full of general admission ticket holders pressed up to the stage. In what seemed like just a couple minutes, our set was done.

Soon after clearing the stage of our gear, metal god, Tim "Ripper" Owens came by to introduce himself to the band and paid us a few compliments. He seems like a good, down to earth guy! I walked out front to help with the merchandise table and meet the fans. It was great to meet so many new guitar fans, as well as a number of familiar faces. The next 2 hours were spent listening to Yngwie tear it up in front of a rabid audience. Waiting till the end of the night proved to be a good idea, as we ended up meeting with more fans on their way out and selling more merch - always a good thing.

I'd like to thank the club, JR, Michelle, and Eric for all their help! Till next time!

For more information about Adrian Galysh, including video guitar lessons, concert dates, clinics, merch and music, visit:

Adrian Galysh: King Friday

Adrian Galysh: Earth Tones