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All-American Rejects' Nick Wheeler: On New Record and Childhood Dreams

Jonah Bayer
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09.27.2007

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Think that you’re a hardcore Gibson fan? Well, All-American Rejects guitarist Nick Wheeler has probably got you beat. Aside from owning more Firebirds than he can count (he literally has a spreadsheet to keep track of his guitars, but estimates that he owns about a dozen ‘Birds), he recently had the iconic Firebird logo inked onto his inner arm as a tribute to his favorite axe.
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Pearl Jam's New Doc Offers Dueling Gibsons and Then Some

Josh Baron
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09.27.2007

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You would think you were at a live concert what with all the clapping and singing along. But no, it was just the New York City premiere of Pearl Jam’s live concert film, Immagine in Cornice(Italian for “Picture in a Frame”) at the famous Ziegfeld Theatre. Between Pearl Jam fan club members, friends of filmmaker and photographer Danny Clinch, and more casual fans, the theatre felt as packed as one of the city’s bigger venues.
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A Hundred Dollar Junior and Thirteen Great Songs: Grand Mal’s Reluctant Indie Rock (Download Free MP3!)

Russell Hall
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09.27.2007

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Formed the same year St. Johnny imploded, Grand Mal has, for 13 years, essentially been a solo vehicle whereby the New York City-based Whitten can exercise his love for writing great songs steeped in '70s rock traditions. The fact that he's made and released these albums largely on his own--or on tiny indie labels--testifies as much to the misguided machinations of a fashion-driven record industry as it does to Whitten's perseverance. Tops on his list of influences are the New York Dolls, Mott the Hoople, T. Rex, early Lou Reed, and the Ramones--all of whom lurk at the fringes of his distinctive songcraft. Think Marc Bolan's elegantly fuzzed-up riff rock, Reed's wry outlook (albeit in a sweeter and wittier form), and a DIY-pop aesthetic akin to vintage Todd Rundgren, and you get a good idea of Whitten's style.
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Them vs. The World: Finger Eleven Take on the Road with a New Album and Several SGs

David Sprague
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09.26.2007

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The good ideas are plentiful on Them vs. You vs. Me, ranging from the Aerosmith-styled boogie of “So-So Suicide” to the waltz-time “Change the World.” The disc is split pretty evenly between contagious pop-rock numbers (characterized by the chiming “I’ll Keep Your Memory Vague”) and darker, progged-out pieces like the album ending “Easy Life,” both of which trade on the fluid interplay between James Black and Rick Jackett (who plays Gibson SGs almost exclusively and at last count owned at least three of the sleek double-cutaways: the SG GT, SG '61 Reissue, and SG Standard).
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The Power of the ’Burst: VOS Sunburst Les Paul Reissues

Dave Hunter
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09.26.2007

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What’s the value of a coat of paint? Almost incalculably high, according to many of today’s players and collectors of vintage electric guitars. We have already examined the constructional fine points and accuracy of Gibson’s VOS Les Pauls in another Gibson feature, but the iconic nature of these guitars’ finishes deserves a little more attention. The Les Paul Standard of 1958-’60 is acknowledged as being the most desirable electric guitar on the vintage market, and the only significant factor that distinguishes a ’58 Les Paul from the ’57 Les Paul that came before it is its translucent Cherry Sunburst finish. Sound a little crazy? The proof is in the pricing.
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Chiodos' Jason Hale: From VFW Halls to the Warped Tour (Download Free MP3!)

Jonah Bayer
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09.25.2007

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If you’re not familiar with Chiodos, we suggest crawling out from that rock you’ve been hiding under and joining the rest of us up here in civilization (the fact that you’re currently cruising Gibson.com is definitely a step in the right direction). The band’s latest album Bone Palace Ballet debuted at number five on the Billboard Top 200, selling nearly 40,000 (in a weak month, no less) and the band’s grinning mugs have been plastered across music television and magazines for months.
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You Must Own This Album: Neil Young Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Sylvie Simmons
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09.25.2007

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Neil Young’s upcoming Chrome Dreams II is a masterpiece of epic songs and bracing guitar work-outs that just might prompt listeners to check out another Young release: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
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Simon Chardiet: The Hard Times of a Roots Rock Legend (Download Free MP3!)

Sean McDevitt
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09.25.2007

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A scrappy, motormouthed wildman with a low-slung Les Paul Special and equal affinity for Charlie Parker and Link Wray, Simon Chardiet (www.simonchardiet.com) may very well be one of the best guitar players in New York City—and he’s got the decades of paying dues and the late rent to prove it. A longtime fixture on the notoriously fickle and low-paying downtown club scene, Chardiet’s shows fronting the raucous and rowdy Bar Sinisters have provided countless New York rock and roll bands and fans a schooling in an effortless freak out that veers from rockabilly to bebop to swing to hardcore—all at a hundred miles an hour. A firebrand of musical opinions (“Swing is a verb. To swing. It is not a noun!” he says, referring to the swing music revival of the ’90s), backed up with serious musical chops (“Can I read music? I can read mouse crap on a piece of paper from across the room”), and a surprisingly honeyed vocal delivery, Chardiet never lets his musicianship get in the way of the primitive fury of his playing. If you have ever doubted the sonic power of P-90s and a wraparound, a few minutes of Chardiet’s playing will make you a believer. And a few minutes talking to him is a good reminder of the dedication and determination it takes to pursue a life of music.
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Duane Denison: Jesus Lizard Guitarist Evolves with BFG in Hand

David Sprague
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09.25.2007

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While his name may not be recognizable to every aficionado of aggressive, experimental rock, Duane Denison’s influence can be heard in dozens of guitarists who’ve followed the paths he blazed while laying the sonic foundations for such bands as the Jesus Lizard and Tomahawk. His lurching, blues-based playing was an obvious inspiration to Kurt Cobain—who wasn’t shy about expressing his admiration for Denison’s work—and countless other denizens of post-hardcore America. Now based in Nashville, Denison and former Ministry mischief-maker Paul Barker have put together a moody quartet called U.S.S.A., which just released a dark and stormy debut entitled The Spoils. Bolstered by Denison’s work on the Les Paul BFG, the album is something of a departure from the sound of his previous bands, but every bit as individualistic and gripping as anything he’s done in the past.
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On the Road with Johnny Winter

Sean McDevitt
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09.25.2007

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Nearly 40 years since he first caught the ears of blues and rock listeners everywhere, Gibson legend Johnny Winter remains a fixture on the road and a popular draw wherever he goes. After several years of health woes, including carpal tunnel surgery that threatened to permanently derail his career in 2005, Winter has been increasingly visible. He played about 120 shows in 2006 and is looking at 150 or more by the end of 2007. Earlier this month, Johnny hit the highway for a weekend run that preceded a string of European dates. Gibson came along for the ride.
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