In August of 1994, on a mid-summers August night, I ran into an old friend at 7-Eleven. He had just returned from California. He told me that he had been living in Los Angeles and working for none other than Don Dokken. He said that Don was auditioning for a guitar player and that I should send out a demo. I quickly put together my current playlist of recorded guitar wizardry and bio picture and sent it out to California. Not but a few days later, I received a call from drummer "Wild" Mick Brown asking me if I would come out to California for an audition. I happily accepted. I flew out and auditioned for what was then going to called "The Gypsy Dogs". A brand new band that Don Dokken was starting with Mick Brown. It was to be all new material and no Dokken songs. After a weekend in Redondo Beach, California, at Don Dokken's 710 Studios, I was told that I got the gig. I flew home with great anticipation.
Metal Edge Magazine June 1995
I waited here in Maryland for another 6 months until everything was firmed up. I retuned to California in early 1995 only to find that what had initially started as a new project had slowly evolved into an actual Dokken reunion minus the lead guitar player George Lynch. I was to fill George's shoes. And those are some big shoes!
I went out to California with plans to record a full length album and embark on a 16 month world tour. I was working with Don Dokken, Mick Brown and Jeff Pilson. All three original members of Dokken. Along with the band, famous producer Michael Wagener was on board for the entire recording and production. Being an engineer myself it was clearly an awesome experience on so many levels. What had started as a new band project, would later become the Dokken release titled "Dysfunctional". The whole experience was really quite ironic being that Dokken was one of my teenage "Hair-Band" idols.
Dysfunctional - Released May 23 1995
Metal Wire - "Hair-Band" News and Updates Column in Metal Edge
Eventually there came a turn of events. Sony records offered up a record deal for the Dokken "Reunion". George Lynch began considering his return to the project. I remained in California with an uncertainty of my plight. Don later informed me that George was in again. I returned home grateful for the experience and really quite exhausted.
In the end what would a Dokken reunion have been without George anyway...
"Breaking The Chains" - The title track off of Dokken's debut album release from 1982. It was also the name for an early internet online news blog. A monthly “online" column featured on the Dokken website for the latest "News and Updates". The excerpts below came from the March and April of 1994 issues of the publication.
Breaking the Chains Issue No. 18 March 1994
Breaking the Chains Issue No. 19 April 1994
JOE LYNN TURNER
Joe Lynn Turner and the DC AllStars (Before the SHOW)
The late 90's brought in some really interesting projects for me. One notable project was performing a run of semi-annual shows with singer-songwriter Joe Lynn Turner. The shows initially began as "invitation only" private events at select venues. After an overwhelming fan response and without much persuasion, Joe and all of us in the band hit the streets and took the band out for many more venues. These were shows for all audiences around the Washington, D.C. and metropolitan areas. It was an honor working with Joe. Being that Joe's resume includes many legendary greats such as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Deep Purple and Yngwie Malmsteen, it was undoubtedly several pairs of guitarists shoes for me to fill.
Flyer for show at Jaxx in Virginia
Flyer for show at Diamonds in Virginia
Set List’s - From right off of the stage floor
Rehearsals and preparation for all of our shows were a great challenge. Basically Joe would call us from his home in New York beforehand with a list of songs and set list. The band would get together for a few weeks and rehearse the songs. We would not actually play with Joe until the night of the show. Joe would fly into D.C. and we would play a few shows over the course of a week or so. This would happen a couple times a year. The name "DC AllStars" came from the fact that we were all a collection of the best musicians in the Washington, D.C. area. It was a privilege to have played with everyone involved. It was really quite a unique experience.
Flyer for show at The Zu in Baltimore, Maryland
Sometime back in 2012, I reunited with longtime Bass Player and friend, Ned Meloni. From years spent together in our old band Ragdoll, our time in the Joe Lynn Turner Band and other various side projects, Ned and I have decades on the books of musical projects together. Ned contacted me about "sitting-in" on guitar and engineering the upcoming Jack Starr's - Burning Starr release. Without hesitation I said “Yes".
Stand Your Ground - 2017 Release
...and so began our renewed relationship together and the great guitarist Jack Starr. Tracking began for the 2017 Burning Starr release Stand Your Ground. Along the way I have traveled extensively for numerous shows with the band. A great project to be a part of with an awesome personnel and musician's - Jack Starr (Guitar), Ned Meloni (Bass Guitar), Kenny "Rhino" Earl (Drums), Todd Hall (Vocals), Alexx Panza (Vocals).
Released in 2014 as part of the Keep It True festival, Harder Than Steel featured a brand new version of Virgin Steele’s - Children of the Storm. Originally recorded in 1982 by Jack Starr's earlier band Virgin Steele. I joined in on rhythm guitars and held down the recording, mix and master duties for the "one-off" release.
Almost immediately after the Stand Your Ground Release, the band started writing new material. Without delay we started building the framework for what would become an even more adventurous follow up album - Souls of the Innocent. Navigating all of the challenges of Covid, all of the albums tracking was done remotely. Jack, Ned, Rhino here in the USA, new singer Alexx Panza in Italy and yours truly here in Maryland putting it all together.
Souls of the Innocent - 2022 Release
2022 brings us a NEW release from BURNING STARR - Souls of the Innocent. This is second Album I have been on board and “behind the board” for with these guys. Undoubtedly a "Stronger Than Steel" follow up to their 2017 release - Stand Your Ground, also mixed by me.
A new album and a new singer. Alexx Panza’s vocal work is absolutely stellar. You’ll find me accompanying Jack Starr with additional guitar work, orchestral arrangements, everything else and the kitchen sink and of course - THE MIX! Making this release even more EPIC, a team up with old bandmate and bass player Ned Meloni, combining both our musical super powers as co-producers. This next installment into the Burning Starr catalog will undoubtedly be one of their best. - Street date set for July 15th 2022
Raven! - Everything Louder…..Than Everything Else!
What a band and what a project. Set to be Raven’s 11th release, in 1997 I was brought on board as engineer to record and mix this album. My lead into this project was none other than Joe Hasselvander, drummer for Raven. At the time I was in a side project band with Joe and bass player Ned Meloni called - Ragdoll. Having recorded with both Joe and Ned on previous ventures I was a first choice to bring on for this motley crew of mangled metal. So good!
Everything Louder - Front Cover
The band and I spent the better part of two mid-winter weeks, hashing out the music for this album, in a very small and qwerky studio in Centerville Virginia. No digital editing funny stuff. Simply mics to cables to mixing console. All 15 tracks were performed and recorded live and loud.
Everything Louder - Liner Notes
John and Mark Gallagher were both as driven and filled with high energy in person as they are in their music. Joe Hasselvander's drumming was the hammer that drove the nails into the foundation that held it all together. Add in Joe's humorous voice overdubs scattered throughout the studio and album, it was two straight weeks of full fledge musical pummeling and Gallagher Brothers comedy hour with all of us in the room at the same time.
Wires & Wood
My relationship with Bogner Amplification began in 1997. At the time I had just returned home from L.A. I had won out over several other well known guitarists who were all auditioning to be the new guitar player for the rock band - Dokken.
It was somewhat of a "reunion" of the band, including three of the original members plus me, for the upcoming Dokken - Dysfunctional. I was soon to be stepping into some pretty big shoes of the one and only George Lynch. While the gig would later come to a halt, as George decided to sign back on, I remained pretty active with recording and playing with artists such as Joe Lynn Turner and believe it or not, even had some music sent out to Ozzy Osbourne.
I was desperately searching for the "dream" amp. I did not have much money at the time but was willing to do whatever was required, sparing no expense, to find the right amp. Having been brought up on a healthy diet of old school Marshall amp set-ups and surviving the early nineties "rack-gear" phase, I had tried everything reaching pure exhaustion.
A few more and I had played and tried out so many amplifiers and spoke with several amp builders, to no avail. I actually had several incredible and well known amp builders sending me out their amps to try. Each being close, but still not "the one". The end result was never quite reaching the voice that I envisioned coming out of my guitar. At that time, I put a call out to this mysterious place called Bogner Amplification in Los Angeles. I spoke with former Bogner guy, Sean Colligan, for roughly an hour about Bogner amps and about getting the opportunity to get my hands on a Bogner Ecstasy. At the time there was no one in my area selling them. Sean and I spoke a few more times over the next few weeks, ultimately ending with his offer for me to sign on as a Bogner Artist. I had a Bogner Ecstasy sitting in my studio within a month. I am still honored and eternally grateful for this relationship. The search was over.
I have not looked back since.
As you can see from the picture above, I have raised a rather large Bogner family. Some have jokingly called me the "Bogner Rescue Society" as many of these were rescued from their demise from pawnshops, Craigslist, etc., over the years. The heads and cabinets range from 1998 to 2005 models all with differing features and tube compliments. I use different ones for the road while the others remain in the studio.
At the first opportunity I had to plug into a Bogner Ecstasy, I knew that there was no turning back. There is no comparison. They are the best made. These amps and cabs have survived everything from my road travels, to 12 hour-long rehearsals and grueling studio work without a single blip on the radar.
To borrow a quote from the late Andres Segovia when he offered up some praise to the extraordinary guitar builder Jose Ramirez....
"Every time I play one it is like running my hands through a chest filled with precious gems."
To hear the Bogner Ecstasy in action you can check out my album - Shake. The album features the Bogner Ecstasy exclusively and uses just about every possible setting and configuration that the amp has to offer.
Double Digit Jazz Band
Double Digit - A Saturday night at Opus 88
Double Digit - one of the hottest jazz groups in the Washington D.C area. The regular line up of musicians in the band are some of the best Jazz artists in the area and have played together as well as individually on many different projects. The sound that you get from this ensemble of musicians is definitely original and inspiring. Double Digit combines lush musical harmonies, solid melodies, and with such a diverse collection of musician's, offer up to some exciting solos. Their music is original, rich, full bodied and extremely enjoyable.
Saxophonist, Michael Wolf and vibraphonist, Malcolm Campbell are used to introduce most of the song melodies. Ron Gary, Trendle Thomas, keyboards, Kevin Burnes, guitar, Parker Roach, bass, Frank Lloyd percussions and Joe Roach, drums make up the rhythm section.
The group has performed for numerous venues from Washington D. C., New York City to Japan that include performances at Blues Alley and The Carter Barron Amphitheater in Washington D.C., The State Theater in Virginia, and New York's Indigo Blues.
The group has also performed in Yokota, Japan. Double Digit has opened for numerous national acts that include the following artists: Spyro Gyra, Chaka Khan, Acoustic Alchemy, Bobby Caldwell, Larry Graham, the legendary Donald Byrd, Kim Waters, Melba Moore, and most recently Joyce Coolings and Wyman Tisdale.
The bands two Full Length Albums - "Double Funk" and more recent "Surrender" - received air time on the D.C's Smooth Jazz WJZW 105.9 FM, and Urban Adult Station , WHUR 96.3 FM.
2022 brought in a reunion of Parker and Kevin for two new songs - “Song for my Brother” and “Beautiful Day” for an upcoming NEW album.
The Joanne Juskus 2006 album "See Your Face” was released with a debut performance on June 2, 2006 at the Patterson Theater in Baltimore, Maryland. I recorded all of the guitars, with the exception of a few guest artists, as well as co-authored and composed the songs “Gravity" and "Rebel".
The recording sessions ran from October of 2005 through February 2006. On the helm as engineer for this project was none other than Frank Marchand. A reunion of sorts as Frank and Kevin have worked on numerous projects over the years with their beginnings having origins from back in 1990. The most notable of work being Franks involvement with the final mix for - Shake.
I used an arsenal of guitars and amps for this project. The list is below:
Steel String Acoustics:
Martin Sunburst SWOMGT
1969 Martin 12 String
Nylon String Acoustic:
2000 Jose Ramirez 1A
Bogner Ecstasy (3 different ones actually!)
Melange : a mixture, a medley, a mix of different colors, spice of spices, a motley assortment of things.
The gathering of spirits. Melange began on a warm spring afternoon in May of 2005 in the little "hippy" town of Takoma Park, Maryland. The performances were featured in a quaint fair-trade store called Sangha. No songs were written. No parts were planned out ahead of time. Just a clean palate open for whatever happened. It was truly an afternoon of improvisational delight.
Sunday, May 22, 2005 was the first gathering of Melange. It was an afternoon of Live-Improv at Sangha in Takoma Park, Maryland. The performances consisted of two full-length sets lasting over an hour each.
Sunday, July 10, 2005 was the second installment from the Melange project. Once again it was two-full sets featured at Sangha in Takoma Park, Maryland.
The musicians from both performances consisted of Harry Walker (Bass), Mattias Rucht (Drums-Percussion), Carlos Garza (Keyboards), Rich O’Meara (Vibes-Percussion), Don Berkemeyer (Wind Instruments-Spoken Words), Mark Frawley (Trumpet) and Kevin Burnes (Guitar).
The Nefrit el-Or album "Maya Blue” was released on Januuary 29, 2003. I recorded additional guitar parts, along side of Nefrit's acoustic guitar rhythms, adding many of the ambient textures and melodies throughout each track.
Website : Nefrit El - Or
GrooveJet - a fun side project worth an honorable mention. GrooveJet was an eclectic group of accomplished jazz musicians that I sat in with for a number of years. Our repertoire consisted of a quirky list of “Latin-infused” jazz standards and popular music arrangements. Filled with good songs and plenty of improv, it was a welcome break from my more serious music endeavors.
Shake - Deluxe Edition Keeping true to the original release, the "Deluxe Edition" of Shake features everything plus two additional tracks that were not included on the original release. The two songs feature Zeljko Zuber playing bass guitar on alternate versions of both "Stride" and "Birdsong". The Alternate Take versions were both recorded during the same recording sessions as the original album release. Both songs offer a very different color and attitude from the originals, as well as have received a fresh new mix and master from Kevin Burnes.
Mix by Frank Marchand Master by Grammy Award Winning Engineer Charlie Pilzer Additional Mix and Master by Kevin Burnes
Pulse - An Acoustic and Harmonic Splendor! Guitars tuned to the frequency of 432Hz, this alternate tuning is known as the "heartbeat" tuning. It said to resonate sympathetically with the earths vibration, our body, brain waves, thoughts, consciousness and even at a molecular level with our DNA. It is considered by many to be a spiritually elevating tuning. Beginning with a solo guitar, we are quickly immersed into an interplay of strumming and haunting legatos, created by the unorthodox use of an E-Bow. Handed off to resonant harmonics and an added percussion section, we are then carried through multiple textures, time and timbres. All parts alternating between meters of 4, 5 and 6. Somewhere between tuning and time, we find the essence of Pulse. Pulse was created by one of my favorite guitar's made from Hawaiian Koa. The cover art for this track is the back of the guitar. A perfect pairing of vibrant wood and visual delight.
Aisea's Ha - Acoustic Single. An extremely special acoustic offering from guitarist Kevin Burnes. Kevin's unique approach to acoustic music unveils a new texture with none other than a Ukulele as the center voice for this small acoustic adventure. The acoustic guitars are hardly treated as an after thought as they envelope the smaller "Uke" voice with a warmth and gentle strength, keeping a very clear and distinct voice of their own. The combination of the two together is both rich and colorful. This piece is an expression of Kevin's deep felt connection with the islands of Hawaii. While in Hawaii, Kevin crossed paths with a great artist, Sua Suluape Toetu'u, Aisea who's art and tattoo work became the inspiration of this piece. The title, Aisea's Ha was a dedicated musical offering of thanks or "Mahalo" to Aisea for his work. The translation of "Ha" in Hawaiian being - life's breath, energy or breath of life. Coincidentally, "Ha" also has a secondary translation and musical meaning of the fourth note of a traditional major scale or Fa. The fourth note of a traditional major scale creates the Lydian Mode which is the tonality and key of the music of Aisea's Ha. It is indeed a small musical piece of paradise.
Shake - Birthplace of the Eclectic-Electric sound! A groundbreaking release from guitarist Kevin Burnes. This guitar instrumental CD has broken new earth with a very new and unique sound and style. With sweeping melodies, terrorizing solos and subtly fingered accompaniments Kevin serves up a wildly varying "Eclectic-Electric" jazz sound that overflows with energy and creativity. Along with a host of other musicians, Keny Ruyter's dynamic drums ooze Latin influences as well as stoic funk leanings. Keny turns the drum-set into a harmonic instrument. Bass player Mike Cykoski brings it all together with a swift pummeling in the low end. It is truly a gem!
The Shake Trio The Shake Trio is a companion release to the original studio version of the album - Shake from Kevin Burnes. Newly remastered, the music was originally performed and recorded live for an "On-Air" internet broadcast. The music has a hint of flavorings from the "Old-School" recordings of Jimi Hendrix and the mid 1960's John Coltrane recordings. Being a live performance it keeps the songs and improvisations as honest as they can be. The music was recorded direct to 2-Track so there were no over-dubs or edits. Simply just the truth! It is Kevin and his music in a stripped down and honest trio package. It includes the bonus track "Spiritual Popcorn". Guitarist Kevin Burnes, drummer Keny Ruyter, and bass player Patrick Recob come together and create a very new and unique sound!
Little Things - An Acoustic Instrumental Single. A long awaited acoustic release from guitarist Kevin Burnes. Little Things was composed for an on-line photo gallery featuring the works of photographer Kerry Murphy and Kelli Seeger Kim. The gallery, featured at Lil Galleries, displayed their very intimate "macro" works.With an effort to capture the essence of the pictures, the music has quite a unique flavor of acoustic sound. The guitars are delicately fingered offering the listener ever-changing textures almost simulating the walk down a row of pictures hanging in an art gallery. The music's connecting tissue is a mystical harmony in the background of what at first seems like the sounds of an accompanying string section. Quite the contrary, the sounds are all guitar! Kevin creates a very unique set of sounds and harmonies that lead us from one color and texture to the next.A very intimate and unique piece of music!
Shake! - The Original Release. Imagine John Coltrane with the Band of Gypsys! This is the original Shake release from guitarist Kevin Burnes and drummer Keny Ruyter. Laden with heavy jazz, blues and improvisational influences, this instrumental CD was the beginning of a new sound - Electric Jazz!. While some of the song titles are the same as featured on Kevin's release The Shake Trio don't let the names fool you. The performances and arrangements are entirely different. This CD is filled with layers of sounds offered up from everything from a full horn section to a timpani drum, tubular bell and a marimba. You will find everything and the kitchen sink on this one! A must have!
For some Shake throwback from the original release, interviews and info: