I want to wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons and a prosperous 2022 and beyond beyond.
I hope you have all found some silver linings over this last year. What I do to help myself get through the Covid challenges is to reflect on all the ways the pandemic has actually helped myself and my family. So I decided to write a list of 10 things that I have come to appreciate about this challenge.
1. Through the lockdown we spent more time together as a family and still do. That’s a really good thing.
2. I used the downtime to work on some pretty challenging guitar techniques. Check out “Candle Power”, “Knappsack” and most challenging “Teeth of the Hydra”. I don’t believe I would have gotten to these tracks without the time lockdown provided.
3. I used the time to record, and almost finish, a solo acoustic guitar/vocal record. I was inspired to finally do this after I uploaded the solo acoustic/vocal version of “The Moon and I”. The response was very encouraging, thank you. I’m really loving this record. It’s obviously unlike all the others. I had to shelve it to complete Inviolate so I could get on tour, but I hope to finish it and have it out in 2022.
4. The lockdown was perfect timing to get some much needed surgical work done on my shoulder and finger. The surgery was last December (2020) and all is well with those issues. Unfortunately I tore another tendon in my shoulder but I’m still able to play and this one might heal on its own. We’ll see.
5. Us musicians are a very resilient bunch of people and through this pandemic, we found ways to continue to co-create. Like many other musicians during lockdown, I started sharing files with others so they can put their parts down and send them back. This was new for me for sure. I’m usually hovering over every musician and policing whatever they play, but in this case I ended up sending tracks to my band to put their parts and also some other outstanding musicians who contributed such as Dave Rosenthal, Vinny Colaiuta, Terry Bozzio, Henrik Linder, and Bryan Beller. These artists secured their dazzling artistry on Inviolate and I could not be happier with what they contributed.
6. Through lockdowns guitar sales were way up, especially the new black ONYX PIA. As the designer of the JEM and PIA, I receive a royalty and that was helpful when all tours were out and the royalties that artists receive for music these days has declined quite a bit.
7. I had a lot less interruptions at the Harmony Hut. That’s always nice.
8. I launched the “Alien Guitar Secrets” and “Under It All” series, and that was nice.
9. I spent months preparing content for Patreon and launched a presence on the platform where exclusive content is uploaded, and where I do some exclusive Q&A’s.
10. In May of 22 I will be going to Holland to record about 4 hours of my orchestra music with the Metropole Orchestra, and in August I will be in Finland recording with their symphony. I should have about 4 albums of diverse orchestra music when I’m done with it all. Through the lockdown I had the precious months necessary to review and tweak all the scores and prepare for these recordings.
There’s so much more but you get the picture. Of course there were challenges during all this but I notice that when I choose to only focus on and talk about the advantages, I start to see more and more advantages and the challenges become much more navigable. If you have had an exceptionally hard time during the pandemic I might suggest experimenting with writing down a list of 10 ways the pandemic was helpful or revealed to you important things that may not have happened otherwise.
I’m truly looking forward to a rebounding 2022 for all of us.
Frankly, It feels as though this virus is virtually dying down and although it’s always a good idea to be responsible and careful, I’m putting this all behind and moving forward like a boss with you!!!
Inviolate drops on January 28th 2022. I’ve been doing a lot of press and I do feel that the response from the press on this record is stronger than I’ve felt before. As I write this today, we just released the performance video for Little Pretty. While I was recording that track I felt my ear pulling me into an ethereal type harmonic direction. I just let it go wherever it wanted and when I completed the song and listened back I felt as though it was good and complete. Oddly enough, I found myself listening to it a lot while being seduced by the sound and feel of it. It kept drawing me in. I knew it was different and pretty obtuse with all those dense and rich synthetic chords and I did have my reservations regarding how the fans might receive it. It’s always a crap-shoot when you venture into uncharted waters and then come up for air. But much to my surprise and delight, (and even some humility) I was pretty stunned at the response of the press and the audience for this track. That really made my holidays!!! Thank you. Listening to the journalists and many of you, I realize that those ethereal dimensions the song elicits were not just in my experience. That is tremendously incentivising for an artist, yay!
But in all my years of writing and recording music, it seems that it all led up to the writing and performance of “The Teeth of the Hydra”. I set out to create a multi neck guitar with Ibanez and to write and perform a song with it that uses all its strings. First and foremost it had to have a good melody and be a stand alone enjoyable piece of music at the end of the day. The execution of this song on the Hydra has to be seen and I certainly hope to show it to you in 2022.
I feel so honored to be able to deliver this record to you folks. I feel it contains some of my best work to date and I can’t wait for you to hear the whole record. And I have never wanted to tour so much in my life. We have over 250 shows on the books for a world-wide tour that will take me up to 2024! So if I don’t see you, I’m coming to your house!
I want to be standing on that stage feeling that electrifying pulse surge through my body as I connect with the band, the atmosphere, the notes and most especially, you! I will be charging each note that I play with powerful joy and I will psychologically will those notes directly out to your souls! And a good time will be had by all.
Much love to you all.
My eternal appreciation.
December 22, 2021