Interview with…Steve Salter (11.4.15)

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1.Where were you born?

I was born in Albany, Georgia. I was there only six weeks, but it was apparently long enough for me to become a south-paw…I am left handed (though I play guitar right-handed…normal).

2. Life as a child?

I grew up in Newfane, NY, which is in Western New York, near Lake Ontario about 20 miles east of Niagara Falls. I was shy as a kid. I started playing the saxophone when I was 8 or 9 years old. I was a concert and jazz sax player long before playing the guitar. Following my Junior year of high school, I was selected as a saxophonist for “America’s Youth In Concert” a concert group that toured Europe after a performance at Carnegie Hall.

3. First rock album you was into for and why?

My first album as a child was Meet the Beatles, their U.S. debut release. I can play back all the details in my mind. In high school, I heard Sabbath’s Paranoid, but I wasn’t really interested in rock as much as jazz/fusion and didn’t start playing guitar until I was 18 after high school.

4.When did you start playing an Ibanez Guitar?

My first good guitar was my ’73 Les Paul Custom. After playing an Aria Pro II for a while, I became interested in Ibanez. My first was my new JS1000 that I got in 1998 in Singapore, from the Pei Lee Music Store. I had never before played a guitar with tremolo/locking nut system. That one is called Black Moon. My newest JS is the oldest, a white ’91 JS1 which I call Ice Cream Bar.

5. Your favorite Guitarist?

I never came from the Hendrix direction. I got turned on to the guitar immediately after being completely astonished by Ted Nugent at Buffalo’s War Memorial Auditorium. It was different than the saxophone. It was powerful and, totally unlike the sax, you could play more than one note at a time which seemed so cool. And he played with such command. Then in the late 80s I discovered Joe Satriani and have always felt he is the best rock guitarist on the planet. I listened and listened and burned to play at that level.

But back to your question: Don’t take this the wrong way. There are always better guitarists…but I am my favorite guitarist.

6. What bands do you play in now, what do they do for you?

Salter has been together for four years and is the best and most successful bands I’ve been in. Aside from being great musicians, it’s a band that you can really cut loose in because you so trust the guys to be there at the big moments. I’ve also played with Cybil and the Beast for a few months. The band has a great sound and we’ve played a number of concert style sets on some of the areas bigger stages. The satisfaction with Salter is how tight the band is and that it requires parts to be right on. Cybil and the Beast is purely 3-piece with Cybil fronting, so there’s more (musical) space to operate in being the only guitarist, which is likewise a blast!

7. Salter, your band….give me some details?

Other than above, Salter is Kenneth “Pops” Jones – Lead Vox/Rhythm Guitar, Cary Touchette, Bass/Vox, and Brian Whitcomb (Drums). Salter is a great cover band and also released a full length album in 2013, entitled “Revolution”.

8. What are you up to nowadays?

I gig with both bands pretty regularly. I’ve gotten to know so many musicians in the area and that’s been great.

9. Any new material you’ve wrote?

I just finished my solo instrumental album “Gleaming”. It’s full length with 9 songs and was recorded at Pearl Sound Studios in Canton, MI and produced by the Grammy-winning Chuck Alkazian. It will be released in January 2016. I’m alway writing in my home studio and I’ll go to work on another demo over the holidays.

10. Advice for up and coming guitar players?

Train your ears every bit as much as you train your fingers. So many instructional videos are about showing you hand techniques. Of course this is important, but in order to really excel, you must also be able to hear. Playing smooth 1/64 notes over a pentatonic pattern is technically impressive, but what audiences want at a rock show (or the movies for that matter) is to be emotionally moved. You must sing to them through the guitar, and that takes finding your own voice on the instrument. There are blues players that can make an audience cry with a single note.
As part of training your ears, go on the web and find and listen to the Seven Modes of the Major Scale. The modes are really just different emotional colorizations of music. Understanding what they are, how they sound, and how you can employ them is huge.
Embrace your own sound. Every human is different. So, since we make sound on the guitar by directly touching the parts making the sounds, everyone will sound different. I use pedals and different amp channels, but my “tone”, just like yours, comes from the fingertips.
Always practice. Because you can keep getting better, whatever your age or level.
If you’re going to play the guitar onstage or anywhere else, play it like you mean it.

Five Question Followup…Gary Owen (10.16.15)

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Question # 1…………How did I end up being replaced in the Lee Pickens Group……………………………………………………………………………………….All I can say is that there some diffrences in creative, and structure of where the band was headed. All though I got to play on all of the first album and had one of my own songs recorded I felt that I should be the one to move on and let them do whatever it was they were doing. I had other offers and avenues to check out. I left the group in Jan, of 1973 and gave them my blessing. No hard feelings.

Question # 2…………How did I get the Nick name “Owa” That started with a Drummer I worked with when I was a teenager and had just started in a band with him. I called him Gary “Dava” just goofing around and he called me Gary “Owa”. Thus the name stuck and have called that name all my life.

Question # 3…………Am I still in touch with any of the guys. Why yes all of them except for Lee Pickens. He wont come out of his shell for no one. Yes we are all still good friends and are in the music business in on form or another. Except for Lee we talk quite often.

Question # 4 ………..Thoughts on a LPG Reunion and any new songs………I personally think that four of us would love to have a reunion. I think it would be a great success. Getting Lee To do it would be difficult. Maybe with some money and some coaxing he might think about it. But don’t hold your breath. Just Sayin…

Question # 5 ………..Newest Project……At the current time I am playing and writing for a band called “HULAGAN” we are a three piece and are putting out some good Texas Rock and Roll. At the moment we are working on our open show for a Headliner Act. Hoping to be out on tour with it very soon. Everybody keep you eyes and ears open for “HULAGAN” at come and check us out…

Interview with…Jaime Trevino (10.8.15)

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1. Where were you born?

I was born in Saginaw, MI in 1992.

2. Life as a child?

I owe a lot of my character to my parents. They put me in a good school and always supported me, but in different ways. I played some sports, but they knew that wasn’t where my heart was. I was always tinkering with different electronics – taking them apart and whatnot…it just fascinated me. A pretty normal life for the aspiring highschool band geek.

3. Earliest influences in music?

I grew up listening to grunge and Beastie Boys per my brothers typical 90’s “Generation X” tastes. My sisters blared The Backstreet Boys and Aaron Carter and thankfully, my parents exposed me to good ol’ rock and roll. My Ma and Pa actually took me to my first concert ever in 1997: Pat Benetar at Pine Knob. A rock group called “Oppera” opened up for Pat.

4. What made you pick up a guitar the first time?

When I was 8 years old, my dad brought home an old acoustic guitar from a garage sale. I liked holding it, but I hated how bad it made my fingers hurt so I only dabbled with and colored on it with sharpies until a few years later when I discovered rock guitar from different hunting shows…stuff that now reminds me of Satriani and the like.

5. Favorite style of guitar that you play?

I have 12 guitars, all loaded with a Floyd Rose and definitely with 24 frets. I primarily play Kramer Guitars, but have found that I’m gravitating towards an ESP that I have. I have other Jackson, ESP and Ibanez models too, but I only play with a “strat-like” body. There’s just something about it that sounds warmer and feels right. Not to mention, they’re sexy.

6. How did your band Reziliance come together?

Reziliance was formed in 2013 by my high school buddies. I wasn’t even in the band at first, it was my “brother” Cliff Graves stepping away from his drumset to explore a new instrument, the guitar. He had a precious little girl and had to put music on the back burner for a bit. The lead vocals were originally sang by Jessi…she has a voice that will touch your soul, then melt your f***ing heart. She left for college and the guys tried to fill the void with Reese. Reese was primarily lead vocals and was with us until early this year, but we had to take a different direction. I came into the mix about a year and a half ago…probably mid-2014. Before then, the guys tried bringing me in but I just wasnt motivated at the time. I ended up watching the original lineup play a show and I was in. I wanted to be onstage with these guys pretty bad. They took me in and we hit the ground running. The current members are: Matt Landon (Lead Vocals/Rythm Guitar, Codi Cherry (Lead Vocals/Drums), Adam “ThunderFingers” DeHate (Backup Vocals) and myself, Jaime Trevino (Vocals/Lead Guitar).

7. Describe the style of music you play…

Straight up rock guitar with apparant 80’s influences.

8. Fondest memory of playing live?

Every time I play at The Machine Shop in Flint, MI. You can really feel each note nailing you in the chest. I love it.
9. Your opinion on the local music scene?

It’s dying. It’s not from the lack of try from local musicians and artists though. The reason that it’s hard to be successful around here is because places are getting shutdown or going out of business. It’s hard for someone to get their name in the door and be paid fairly these days…kind of discouraging when you work your fingers to the bone.

10. Advice for other guitarists starting out?

Just pick up a guitar and enjoy the time that you have with it. Expose your ears to your greatest influences and immerse yourself with the sounds that inspire you. Watch others play and don’t stop learning- never stop learning. Try to organize your life in such a way that your day allows for more jam time, but don’t force it. Parents ask me if I think that they should put their children through lessons…I do and don’t. Don’t make practice a tedious chore, rather, try to explore new techniques each day. Most importantly, just have fun with it.

Interview with…Danny Liston (8.13.15)

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1.Where were you born? Dogtown ….St.louis

2. Life as a child? musical family, mom played on KMOX, grandma played banjo and guitar. Father died when I was 7 from alcoholism. Not a good student, lol never was still not..started out as a drummer at 11 played in my first band at 13. Music was all I ever wanted to do once I started playing, before that I wanted to be a priest. Actually went to Prep south seminary. That only lasted a year .

3. Earliest influences in music? little Richard , Ray Charles

4. Favorite rock album and song? this is hard because I love so many different styles. Favorite album is not rock but Stevie Wonder Talking Book

5. Your best memories of being with Mama’s Pride? signing our record deal here in St. Louis with Ahmet Ertugan

6. A show that sticks out in your mind the most playing with them? the 40th anniversary Show a few years ago. It was surreal

7. Life after Mama’s Pride?  there really isn’t life after, it’s just in addition.. Lol. I have been working with an Allman Brothers Tribute called The Brothers. Great band, great guys. I’ve done some solo Recording and have plans to do much more..

8. How did the documentary The Pride of St Louis come about and your involvment with it?  it was Thomas Crone, Mike Steinberg, and Jon Scorfina.. It was their idea. I happened to be the only guy in the band that could be available at any time, so they followed me to work, to Churches, and also had opportunities to interview some of the other guys, but it was sort of a whatever happened to thing. I loved what they did with it. I really respect those guys ( mike, Thomas, and Jon)

9. What are you up to nowadays? ) going in the studio the 19th of August to record a song I wrote about the effects addiction ( heroin specifically) has on a family. I’ve got some of the best guys in town. Steve Scorfina, Jeremiah Johnson, James Jackson, Paul Willett, and the bass player Brian from Cavo. All the proceeds are going for a scholarship fund to help people who are serious get help.. These guys all donated their time. Next I want to do another record. I have a boat load of songs, so I need to record them..

10. Advice for up and coming musicians?  advice… Hmmmm let me see. I would say, play as if you’re not going to make a dime, because most times you won’t, don’t do it to be famous, you’ll make yourself crazy.. Keep your priorities straight, and read the fine print!!!

2 l 5) signing our record deal here in at. Louis with Ahmet Ertugan 6)the 40th anniversary Showa few years ago. It was surreal 7) there really isn’t life after, it’s just in addition.. Lol. I have been working with an Allman Brothers Tribute called The Brothers. Great band, great guys. I’ve done some solo Recording and have plans to do much more.. 8) it was Thomas Crone, Mike Steinberg, and Jon Scorfina.. It was their idea. I happened to be the only guy in the band that could be available at any time, so they followed me to work, to Churches, and also had opportunities to interview some of the other guys, but it was sort of a whatever happened to thing. I loved what they did with it. I really respect those guys ( mike, Thomas, and Jon) 9) going in the studio the 19th of Augusta to record a song I wrote about the effects addiction ( heroin specifically) has on a family. I’ve got some of the best guys in town. Steve Scorfina, Jeremiah Johnson, James Jackson, Paul Willett, and the bass player Brian from Cavo. All the proceeds are going for a scholarship fund to help people who are serious get help.. These guys all donated their time. Next I want to do another record. I have a boat load of songs, so I need to record them.. 10) advice… Hmmmm let me see. I would say, play as if you’re not going to make a dime, because most times you won’t, don’t do it to be famous, you’ll make yourself crazy.. Keep your priorities straight, and read the fine print!!!

Interview with…Randy Hetlage (5.14.15)

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1. Where were you born? – I am the bastard son of Mary Hochthurn, Originally named “Eugene Hochthurn”, then Adopted by Louis P. and Barbara Hetlage., who decided that my name should be Randall Lee Hetlage. I was born in the township of Bedford Missouri , it doesn’t exist now , but I have been told that it was in between Silex and hawk Point – and I lived in Troy Missouri.

2. Life as a child? – I liked to play in the woods a lot . and I mean a lot , catching frogs, turtles and snakes and stuff, until I caught a small cotton mouth water moccasin , then my dad put an end to that – but we lived a rural area so it was normal to be in touch with nature plus I have some Cherokee blood in me so it was natural. My father was a Doctor and an ex navel commander that played piano very well – I am dyslectic and back in the early 60’s people didn’t know how to deal with that very well so I was sent to Missouri Military Academy for a few years to have the “right way to do things” beaten into me,( I can add and multiply , but have a lot of trouble subtracting and dividing , and I think in a straight line , start and stop , so the arts were where it was at for me) ,LOL , but it gave me discipline and trained me to focus – so it was worth it .

3. 3 musical influences you had growing up? – My father of course, and all the jazz he used to play , I think the first song I remember hearing was either the love theme from ‘a man and a woman’ or ‘the girl from ipanema’- then the Beatles and then Jimi Hendrix.

4. How did you begin playing guitar? – I found my Mothers old college guitar behind the furnace in our house in Troy when I was about 7 – broke a string , poked myself and bled – so I started taking lessons from 2 local guys , a country player named Bob Delaloy taught me stuff like “little Brown Jug” and country stuff . He was a local legend for playing pedal steel … and then there was a great Rock cat named Randy Sheller, he taught me stuff like “incense and peppermints” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock – and “kicks” by Paul Revere and the raiders , and some “Herman’s Hermit’s , and stuff like loui loui, and hang on sloopy , and some early Rolling Stones stuff… I didn’t play much in military school , but got mean about it in high school , and then Berklee college of Music , and then The Musicians Institute ( G.I.T. ) and the whole jazz /rock fusion thing –

5. First bands you were in when you knew you were onto something? – we had bands back when I was in the 4th grade but nothing really note worth until high school – played a lot of parties , people would call me up and come get me and we would m all night – we had a band called “Swollen Oats “, “Drastic Measures” and a real good one called “Falcon Eddie” – mostly original stuff – with some Hendrix and Dust tossed in , we even played some Mahavishnu stuff in high school – you know , the stuff that funky rock guys like.

6. Introduction to playing with Pavlov’s Dog? – I’ve known David Surkamp for years , and one night I went and sat in with him and Sara and we talked – but it was a tour that Bill Franco couldn’t do because of some family issues I believe , that got me in that . He called me and I said sure – who wouldn’t smile emoticon

7. Best gig you played with them that sticks out in your mind? – probably the last gig of the tour in Thessaloniki Greece at the Principal club – Athens was a whole different story that I won’t go into , but the Parthenon is amazing .

8. What have you been up to lately? – Lately I have been working with the Autumn Hill record label , run by Silverman music , Mike and Rob , they are the “Bach to the Future” guys – I did some elevator music , mostly jazz guitar duets , LOL, my alter ego – straight jazz, you would never know it was me if you heard any of it. And just lately I have been really blessed with laying guitar tracks of some of the Silverman’s new CD – now this is some major stuff, because it has cats on it like Eric Marienthall , ( from Chick Corea’s electric band and Dave Weckl’s band ,on Saxophone – and Jimmy Haslip on bass, and who hasn’t he played with , heck he toured with Allen Holdworth , These Cats are GOOD , and the sound is amazing ) but it’s hard to make a good living as a session player in St. Louis , even though I did the “are you ready for Ram’s football ” theme , and the local “That’s what I said , Bunny Bread” commercials for TV , making a living doing nothing but sessions here is hard , so I teach at Go Music St.L , and play in a local Rock band called MoodSwing , and have a cd for sale on iTunes, Amazon , Google play etc… with an original progressive group called “MORPHELONIOUS” – I honestly think it is some of the best progressive rock to ever come out of this city , honestly , I do … some of that stuff is just plane powerful … we only played a few times so it was primarily a recording project with me playing all the guitars and guitar synthesizer … but we may do a gig in Kansas City sometime this year , we’re thinking about it…. and I am talking with Jennifer Batten about getting her to come back to town , she played with Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck for decades and she is phenomenal – last time she came we had a huge jam with all the best players I could put together – man was that fun. And I did a gig with Ingrid Berry , Chucks daughter , with Tony Campanella, George Potsos, and Terry melton – that was off the hook — beautiful folks.

9. Relationship with the other members of Pavlov’s Dog now? – I would like to think that I am still on good terms with all of them that I worked with – I still see Mike Saffron and Steve Scorfina around town , and I talk with Bill Franco a bunch , and Phil Gomez and I jam every once in a while – and I would hope that I am still on good terms with Abbie Haines Stelling , and David and Sara. The only one that I don’t talk to is “Bongo” Billy Costello, I think that started up in Belgium . He has a course sense of super sarcastic humor. You know what I mean , you know, the kind of guy that can show up to a party and piss off everyone in about five minutes – for real , the guy can pull that off — oh lord , maybe I shouldn’t have said that, I like the guy , but it’s like mixing water and oil , Musically we worked ok , so I will leave it at that ~

10. Advice for up & coming guitarists & songwriters? – Advice for guitarists , get trained, work your ass off , get chops , develop a real skill set and keep an open mind and be positive. Don’t let your EGO get in the way and keep your sense of humor, because everything is by Grace, purely , and some luck. Be as nice as you can , and be deeply appreciative for every gig that you get , because there are millions of guitarists on the planet – they could have always hired “the Other Guy” don’t make them regret hiring you , Be gracious and thankful — As For Songwriters , all the great song writers a re prolific , they write all the time and only a small bit actually makes it out – write and re-write and Don’t Stop – and that goes for playing too , Don’t stop – we are like sharks, if we don’t keep moving ,,, we die. So Be as happy and thankful as you can be and right from the heart – in reality we are not our minds, we are pure creative spirit , we have to keep that in mind – so , in the words of the late great Howard Roberts , ” Hang by your thumbs , and write if you get work” ~ Bless ya ~

Interview with…Eddie Deaton (5.13.15)

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1 Where were you born?

Born in Ft. Worth.

2. Life as a child?

My dad was in car sales and real estate. We moved to Odessa, Texas when he opened a car dealership there and Midland, Texas. We came back to North Richland Hills, Texas and he worked in Dallas for a dealership. then we moved to Fort Worth and he got into building and selling homes. That’s when I started playing with bands.

3. Your first interest in music? Bands?
4. Early bands you were in? What kind of impact did it play on you?

I knew how to play a little guitar from after I took lessons from a teacher in Odessa that looked and sounded exactly like Waylon Jennings. It might have even been him. He lived there then, but I can’t prove it today. lol. I first played with Freddy Cisenerios who I met in junior high school. Then I formed a band with a school mate Bob Barnes the band was “The Elite”. We played Teen A Go Go and the various teen clubs in Fort Worth and I made enough to pay my car payments and buy some gear. We recorded locally and one song “One Potato Two Potato” was played on local radio and later picked up by some female Japanese band. I heard it sold quite a bit in Europe and Japan, but we never saw a dime in royalties. lol. I played with a lot of local and touring bands after that. Those Guys, Le Circ, Coutship, Phrenz, Texas and King Corbra. Courtship and Texas were both signed to Capitol Records.

5. How did you come about joining the Lee Pickens Group? Relationship with the band?
6. Favorite LPG tune and concert you played?

I joined LPG after my drummer and guitar player for Texas joined a group called Bang. I had an apartment with Gary Osier the drummer for Texas and we were good friends with Charlie Bassham. When Charlie found out that Gary was leaving and joining Bang he called and said Lee was putting together a band and would I like to join up. I said sure, I’m looking for something to do. We practiced in a office building in downtown Ft. Worth on the 10th floor. All the other tenants were gone by the time we started every night so it worked out great. We started writing songs and woodshedding/jamming and produced all of the songs that were on the album. Rum was the drink at the time. It flowed like a river. lol. One night Lee said we have some guests coming in to jam and hang out. Ok? It was the lead singer and drummer for Grand Funk Railroad. Mark Farner and Don Brewer. We had a great night and finished it off with a true Texas meal of enchiladas in the restaurant down stairs by our friend the owner. It was a night to remember. lol

7. What did you do after the LPG?
8. What are you up to now?
9. Relationship with the LPG now?

I’m now playing for The Raybans, a corporate party/ wedding band and trying to keep my chops up. I also am concentrating on my Real Estate sales and acquisitions and working out 2 or 3 times a week trying to stay in shape to keep moving on down the road. We’ve all seemed to go our on way now. I have played a couple of times with Gary Owen since then. I see Charlie once every two or three years at a local reunion. Milton is down in Austin and the last time I saw him was a billy bob’s in Ft. Worth playing with Rick Trevino.I started playing keys when I came back from California in 1980. That’s when Osier and I teamed up with King Corbra and started playing everything from frat gigs to opening act at various concerts.

10. Advice for up & coming vocalists and writers?

To anyone wanting to work and survive in today’s music, I suggest you build your friendships and work with people you know and trust. Work on your craft and be prepared, because you may be asked to contribute and you must be able to add something of value to the project.

Interview with…’Rockin’ Reggie Vinson (5.7.15)

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1. Where were you born?

Cookville TN, raised in Detroit MI..

2. Life growing up?

In Detroit MI…my family was my music, my aunt was grand ole opry star Minnie Pearl and my cousin was Pat Boone..

3. What are some of your early musical influences?

Jimmy Reed…Sam Cooke…Elvis Presley, The Beatles…Roy Orbison

4. How did your career start in music?

I was playing in a blues club and Etta James heard and asked me to be her guitar player ..at last…in 1967

5. How did you meet the Alice Cooper band & your connection with them?

I was playing one night in Detroit…Rockin Reggie Band..Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper we became friends and Alice asked me to come to Chicago and sing background vocals on the album Killer ‘Under my Wheels’ and the other songs also did some work on the Schools Out record…sung all the background vocals with Neal and Michael on this great album…

6. Story behind the song Billion Dollar Babies & your involvement?

I came up with the song…the chords and melody, Alice wrote the words and Michael did the rock guitar style, Neal drums …7 million copies…

7. What are some favorite songs you’ve wrote & played on?

‘At Last’ Etta James ‘Love the one your with’… Johnny Taylor 2 million ‘Spiders and Snakes’ with Jim Stafford 1 million…Frigid Pink…a Detroit Band… played on Liberace’s last album in Vegas…was Tiny Tim’s ‘Tip toe through the tulips’ producer….played on John Lennon’s Rock and Roll album and was close friends of John and Harry Nilsson…projects..

8. What instruments do you play and your basic setup playing?

I play a gibson 335 1971 I have 18 guitars and a ’57 gibson

9. What have you been up to lately?

I have 3 homes.. one in Phoenix AZ, one in Chicago IL & one in Nashville TN…doing music projects…

10.Your advice for up & coming guitarists and singer/songwriters?

Keep going for your dream today i have 18 awards and 10 gold and platinum awards you have to stay at it and one day it will come to you…