Felix Martin: Venezuelan Guitarist Wows Pittsburgh

Words and photos:  Stephanie Connell

On Wednesday, March 8, Felix Martin and his band entered the ballroom at James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy in Pittsburgh.  The James Street Speakeasy is a unique venue.  It has a jazzy, 1920s prohibition feel.   The ballroom itself, complete with a small bar and a man painting in the corner, felt more relaxed than I expected.  The venue had a formal, historic air mixing with today’s informal culture.

It was the perfect setting for Felix Martin, and his band (bassist Killian Duarte and drummer Victor Alvarez).

I have had minimal experience with musicians who play specialized guitars.  Most of my experience included very traditional sounds.  It had never crossed my mind that a guitar with more than six strings would be used for heavy metal.  Felix Martin greatly raised my expectations of this type of music.  His music has a heavier sound than I expected.

The band had a very positive attitude throughout the show.  Some technical difficulties stopped the show for a few minutes, and, even then, the group smiled and laughed.  The songs they played included Cardboard Roofs and Flashback.  Felix Martin left the crowd smiling and excited for the headliner for the night, Consider the Source.

FELIX MARTIN is a Venezuelan guitarist who is pioneering a style of playing the electric guitar by performing simultaneously with two of them as if they were one, creating a new sound on the instrument.

Felix is pushing music into new boundaries by mixing Rock and Metal with different styles such as Jazz, Progressive, World, Latin, Fusion, etc. The uniqueness of his guitars and technique allows him to create distinguished sounds that makes the music sound unique.

Felix has toured with his band that includes Berklee Alumni drummers and bassist Kilian Duarte throughout the USA, Europe and South America. Played in festivals such as Progressive Nation, SXSW, Euroblast, Tech-Fest and many more.

Felix uses his self-designed 14 and 16-string guitars, which are two regular guitars in one, in a way never seen or heard before. This opens up a new and hidden world for the electric guitar and instrumental music. Felix pioneered this style of playing at the age of 13, and as of 2014, he remains the only one in the world who plays this way (Felix Martin Facebook).

 

GWAR, The Adolescents, American Authors, Neck Deep, and More Confirmed For 2017 Vans Warped Tour

2017 Vans Warped Tour®, Presented by Journeys® Lineup Revealed
 
Sick Of It All, CKY, GWAR, The Adolescents, Strung Out, T.S.O.L, 
Hatebreed, Emmure, Anti-Flag, The Ataris and Many Others Confirmed as 
the Tour Celebrates Its History of Punk Rock, Metal, Hardcore and More
 
Contemporary Acts Include Andy Black, American Authors, Beartooth,
Dance Gavin Dance, Jule Vera, I Prevail, Neck Deep, New Years Day, 
Memphis May Fire, War On Women and more!
 
Tickets For All Shows On Sale Now, Purchase

Los Angeles, CA, and Winter Park, FL, March 23, 2017 – The entire lineup for 2017’s Vans Warped Tour, presented by Journeys, was revealed yesterday via a LIVE webcast, direct from Full Sail Live, the state-of-the-art performance venue on the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. Fans in attendance were overjoyed to see the lineup for this year include not only current favorites and promising up and comers, but a deep list of legacy acts spanning the tour’s 23 year history. Blessthefall, Memphis May Fire, Jule Vera, Stacked Like Pancakes and Microwave also attended the live stream and performed during the webcast.
Now in its 23rd year, the Vans Warped Tour continues to solidify itself as the must attend festival over summer for rock and music lovers alike.
In the tradition of celebrating the tour’s musical roots, the lineup includes bands such as CKY, Sick Of It All, Municipal Waste, The Adolescents, Strung Out, T.S.O.L, Anti-Flag, Hatebreed and others, who are legends in the punk, hardcore and metal core world.
Returning this year is the Mutant Party Zone, which will provide festival-goers with two stages dedicated to heavy music from bands such as The Acacia Strain, Being As An Ocean, Blessthefall, Carnifex, Fit For A King, GWAR and any more.
 
The Vans Warped Tour has always been a place of music discovery and this year is no exception – the Full Sail Stage has up and comers like Boston Manor, Creeper, The Gospel Youth, Knocked Loose, Movements, and Trophy Eyes positioned to break this summer.
 
Overall, the tour continues to offer something for every fan, showcasing the best in pop punk, rock, hard core, hip-hop, dance and indie.
The Vans Warped Tour is the largest traveling music festival in the United States, and the longest-running touring music festival in North America. Originally conceived by founder Kevin Lyman in 1995 as an eclectic alternative rock festival, with a focus on punk rock, over the years the tour has grown to include a multitude of genres, including metal, hip hop, reggae, pop and more. It remains one of the best tours to attend to discover emerging acts, to learn more about wonderful non-profits and companies who are working to make a positive impact on the world that surround them, and to meet like-minded friends.
“As we enter our 23rd year on the road, continuing our mission of music, philanthropy and education is what I look forward to most.  The Vans Warped Tour is not for all, but every summer I look forward to seeing those fans who do chose to come and engage and be a positive force in our community.” – Kevin Lyman
In addition, the tour continues to host a wide array of amazing non-profits and educational workshops for attendees. Teens With a Purpose, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Donate Life New England, Planned Parenthood, Keep A Breast, Testicular Cancer Foundation, and Project HEAL, just to name a few. Fans can see their favorite bands as well as become educated on these causes and how they can help.
Sierra Lyman comments, “Music has inspired change and social change has inspired music. Since its inception the Vans Warped Tour created a place where fans are not only inspired by their favorite artists, but also inspired to work with a cause they care about. This is pushed even further by opening up musicians to causes they never even knew about. By creating this community of nonprofits we are able to connect fans with their favorite musicians and also inspire some good in the world.”
The Entertainment Institute will return to the 2017 tour as well, hosting educational workshops and Q+A’s hosted by the industry’s most successful writers, artists, and photographers. A full listing of the guru’s hosting each workshop is available at http://www.thinktei.com/warpedtour
 
Tickets for this year’s tour on are sale now and can be purchased at vanswarpedtour.com
As a bonus for early ticket buyers, the first 500 tickets sold for each show will be at the lowest price available and will include a digital download of the Official Vans Warped Tour 50-song compilation.
The 41-date tour will commence June 16th in Seattle, WA and end on August 6th in Pomona, CA.
2017 Vans Warped Tour Line Up – Confirmed Performance Dates for each band and stage:
 
Journeys Left Foot Stage
Attila: 6.16 – 7.2, 7.6 – 8.6
Bowling For Soup: 6.27 – 7.2, 7.26, 7.27, 7.29,7.30
CKY: 6.16 – 8.6
Futuristic: 6.16 – 6.23, 6.25 – 8.6
Hawthorne Heights: 6.16 – 8.6
I Prevail: 6.16 – 8.6
Jule Vera: 6.16 – 8.6
Never Shout Never (Throwback Set): 6.27 – 7.7
New Years Day: 6.16 – 8.6
Sammy Adams: 6.16 – 7.28, 8.1 – 8.6
Watsky: 6.17 – 7.14, 7.16 – 7.18, 7.20, 7.21, 7.23 – 8.6
Journeys Right Foot Stage
American Authors: 6.16 – 7.19, 7.21 – 8.6
Andy Black: 6.16 – 8.6
Beartooth: 6.28 – 8.6
Dance Gavin Dance: 6.16 – 8.6
Goldfinger: 6.16, 6.17, 8.4 – 8.6
Hands Like Houses: 6.16 – 8.6
Memphis May Fire: 6.16 – 8.6
Neck Deep: 6.16 – 8.6
Our Last Night: 6.16 – 8.6
Save Ferris: 6.22 – 8.1, 8.5
Streetlight Manifesto: 6.24
Skullcandy Stage
Alestorm: 6.21 – 8.6
Bad Seed Rising: 6.16 – 7.4
Barb Wire Dolls: 6.16 – 8.6
Big D and The Kids Table: 7.6 – 7.16
Microwave: 6.16 – 8.6
Riverboat Gamblers: 7.29, 7.30
Sonic Boom Six: 6.16 – 8.6
Stacked Like Pancakes: 7.16 – 8.6
Street Dogs: 7.6 – 7.16
Twilight Creeps: 8.4 – 8.6
War On Women: 6.16 – 8.6
The White Noise: 6.16 – 8.6
William Control: 6.16 – 8.6
Hard Rock Stage
The Adolescents: 6.16 – 8.6
The Alarm: 7.7 – 7.16, 8.4 – 8.6
Anti-Flag: 6.27 – 7.24
The Ataris: 6.16 – 8.1
Bad Cop / Bad Cop: 6.16 – 8.6
The Dickies: 6.16 – 6.22, 6.24, 6.25
Doll Skin: 6.16 – 6.25
Fire From The Gods: 6.16 – 8.6
Municipal Waste: 6.16 – 7.2, 7.6 – 8.6
Sick Of It All: 6.21 – 8.6
Strung Out: 6.16 – 7.11, 8.4 – 8.6
Suicide Machines: 7.18 – 7.21
T.S.O.L.: 7.22 – 8.6
Valient Thorr: 6.16 – 8.6
Mutant North Stage
The Acacia Strain: 6.16 – 8.6
Being As An Ocean: 6.16 – 8.6
Candiria: 6.21 – 8.6
Counterparts: 6.16 – 8.6
Fit For A King: 6.16 – 8.6
Hatebreed: 6.21 – 8.6
Silent Planet: 6.16 – 8.6
Stick To Your Guns: 6.16 – 7.2, 7.6 – 8.6
Sylar: 6.16 – 8.6
Mutant South Stage
After The Burial: 6.16 – 8.6
Blessthefall: 6.16 – 8.6
Carnifex: 6.16 – 8.6
Emmure: 6.16 – 8.6
GWAR: 6.16 – 8.6
Hundredth: 6.16 – 8.6
Silverstein: 6.16 – 8.6
Sworn In: 6.16 – 8.6
Too Close To Touch: 6.16 – 8.6
 
Full Sail Stage
Bad Omens: 7.4 – 7.24
Boston Manor: 6.16 – 8.6
Carousel Kings: 6.16 – 7.4
Courage My Love: 6.16 – 8.6
Creeper: 6.16 – 8.6
Dukes, The: 6.27 – 7.2
Eternal Boy: 7.14
Fantastic Plastics, The: 6.16 – 7.2
Farewell Winters: 6.16 – 8.6
Feeki: 6.16 – 8.6
Gospel Youth, The: 6.16 – 8.6
Knocked Loose: 6.16 – 8.6
Montage: 7.18
Movements: 6.16 – 8.6
Naked Walrus: 6.23, 6.24
One Last Shot: 7.7 – 7.10
Playboy Manbaby: 6.22, 8.6
Sarah and The Safe Word: 6.29
Separations: 7.6 – 7.24
Shattered Sun: 7.26 – 8.6
tiLLie: 7.26 – 8.6
Trophy Eyes: 6.16 – 8.6
The Waves: 7.18
 
VANS WARPED TOUR DATES:
Tickets on sale at 10am local time on Wednesday March 22nd at vanswarpedtour.com
6.16     SEATTLE, WA
6.17     SALEM, OR
6.21     ALBUQUERQUE, NM
6.22     PHOENIX, AZ
6.23     LAS VEGAS, NV
6.24     SALT LAKE CITY, UT
6.25     DENVER, CO
6.27     NASHVILLE, TN
6.28     METAIRIE, LA
6.29     ATLANTA, GA
6.30     ORLANDO, FL
7.01     ST. PETERSBURG, FL
7.02     WEST PALM BEACH, FL
7.04     WILMINGTON, NC
7.06     CHARLOTTE, NC
7.07     CAMDEN, NJ
7.08     WANTAGH, NY
7.09     HARTFORD, CT
7.10     SCRANTON, PA
7.11     VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
7.12     MANSFIELD, MA
7.13     DARIEN CENTER, NY
7.14     BURGETTSTOWN, PA
7.15     HOLMDEL, NJ
7.16     COLUMBIA, MD
7.18     CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH
7.19     CINCINNATI, OH
7.20     NOBLESVILLE, IN
7.21     AUBURN HILLS, MI
7.22     TINLEY PARK, IL
7.23     SHAKOPEE, MN
7.24     MILWAUKEE, WI
7.26     MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO
7.27     BONNER SPRINGS, KS
7.28     DALLAS, TX
7.29     SAN ANTONIO, TX
7.30     HOUSTON, TX
8.01     LAS CRUCES, NM
8.04     MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA
8.05     SAN DIEGO, CA
8.06     POMONA, CA

 

 
About Vans Warped Tour:
The Vans Warped Tour, presented by Journeys, is well known as America’s longest running touring music festival of the summer. Since 1995, the tour has been a showcase for both established and up and coming talent, across a wide range of eclectic sub-genres.
The tour has also cemented its place in history by bringing alternative rock and skate culture from the underground to the forefront of global youth culture, while at the same time helping those in need through non-profit and eco initiatives.
Alternative Press readers voted the Vans Warped Tour as the “Best Tour/Festival” and Rolling Stone called it “America’s Most Successful Festival”.
Learn more about the Vans Warped Tour:
Follow the Vans Warped Tour:

Six Organs of Admittance @ClubCafe 4/6

SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE IS SCORCHING INTO A NEW DAWN

BURNING THE THRESHOLD OUT FEBRUARY 24TH 2017 

In preparing for the first album of non-Hexadic Six Organs of Admittance music since 2012’s Ascent, Ben Chasny had a think about what he’d be saying in his own tongue for the first time in a half-decade. As ever, a head-full of ideas were driving him to think and speak music as a spirituality superimposed onto a reality, with the ghosts of both whispering at each other. In the end, what sits in our listening ears is the sound of communion. Burning the Threshold brings a wealth of Six Organs-styled lightness into one of his sweetest musical meditations yet.

With a spacious acoustic sound stage, Burning the Threshold may actually more resemble 2011’s Asleep on the Floodplain or 2005’s School Of The Flower. All of this is speculative, comparative, unverifiable – but our sense of what is true tells us that nobody plays acoustic music quite like Six Organs of Admittance, and that furthermore, nothing sounds so much like Burning the Threshold as Burning the Threshold.

Ben is in a particularly expansive mood this time around, singing and playing with all the thoughts affixed to a quiver of potent melodies launching forth and arcing out through dimensions, seeking infinite space. This space radiates out from the album’s first single, “Taken By Ascent”, a seven minute plus burner that engulfs the surrounding realm with empathetic waves. Featuring the thrilling vocal accompaniment of Haley Fohr, the massive drumming of Chris Corsano, and flourishing keys of Cooper Crain, “Taken By Ascent” exemplifies Six Organs of Admittance‘s furvid push into new and thrilling territory with Burning the Threshold.

With this new music, Ben Chasny has created a potent tonic for our times. Looking at the world through clear eyes beneath a knitted brow, but with a laugh rising up from its heart, Burning the Threshold brings us a powerful draught of essence. Listen to “Taken By Ascent” on NPR’s Songs We Love  below and mark your calendars for 2017 in anticipation of Six Organs’ special release show in London and the massive US tour that follows!

600A ON TOUR!
02/23/17 Thu in London, UK at St. Pancras Church (Record Release Show)
03/02/17 Thu in Vancouver, BC at The Cobalt
03/03/17 Fri in Seattle, WA at Fremont Abbey Arts Center
03/04/17 Sat in Portland, OR at Bunk Bar
03/06/17 Mon in San Francisco, CA at The Chapel
03/07/17 Tue in Los Angeles, CA at Bootleg Bar
03/08/17 Wed in San Diego, CA at Soda Bar
03/23-26/17 in Knoxville, TN at Big Ears Festival
03/28/17 Tue in Atlanta, GA at The Earl
03/29/17 Wed in Asheville, NC at Mothlight
03/30/17 Thu in Raleigh, NC at Kings
03/31/17 Fri in Washington, DC at DC9
04/01/17 Sat in Brooklyn, NY at Union Pool
04/02/17 Sun in Boston, MA at Great Scott
04/03/17 Mon in Portland, ME at Space Gallery
04/05/17 Wed in Philadelphia, PA at Johnny Brenda’s
04/06/17 Thu in Pittsburgh, PA at Club Cafe
04/07/17 Fri in Cleveland, OH at Beachland Tavern
04/08/17 Sat in Detroit, MI at Third Man Records
04/09/17 Sun in Chicago, IL at Empty Bottle
04/10/17 Mon in Minneapolis, MN at 7th St. Entry
04/12/17 Wed in Milwaukee, WI at Collectivo Coffee
04/14/17 Fri in St. Louis, MO at Duck Room at Blueberry Hill
04/15/17 Sat in Louisville, KY at Zanzabar

Madonna’s Music Man: The Monte Pittman PMM Interview

photo by Jeremy Saffer

Best known as Madonna’s guitar player, Monte Pittman is so much more than a “hired gunslinger”. Monte co-writes with Madonna, and taught her how to play guitar and her ex Guy Ritchie (which is how he met Madonna in the first place). He is also the music director and guitar player for Adam Lambert, used to play bass and guitar for the highly influential prog-metal band Prong, and has won tons of awards recognizing his skills and work including a nomination for Best Male Singer/Songwriter by the Los Angeles Music Awards.
Monte is a solo artist as well releasing ‘The Deepest Dark’ in 2009 and gearing up to release a trilogy of EP’s entitled M.P.3: The Power of Three Parts 1,2 and 3. In anticipation of playing Pittsburgh with Madonna next week (11/6/12), Monte took some time to answer PMM’s questions. Read on for some insight into Monte and the creative world that surrounds him:

What led you to want to do a trilogy of releases focusing on acoustic, metal, and blues?

I had all of these different songs I had written and there were enough to go together in parts. It seemed too drastic to have some really fast, heavy songs and then break it down to just guitar and vocals. Also, we recorded “Part 1” in one day and that’s something I can release now. I like that my third album is coming out in 3 parts.

What drew you to recording M.P.3: The Power of Three, Pt. 1 so raw and in one day?

Time. I had one day off in Copenhagen and went to record with Flemming just to see what came out of it. We recorded 5 songs but decided one should be electric and grouped with the blues songs. The songs are all starting to tell a story together like they did on “Pain, Love, & Destiny” and “The Deepest Dark”.

How is it you became involved with Flemming Rasmussen? Was it his versatility or metal driven productions that you found most intriguing? And will you continue to work with him for Pt. 2 and 3?

I met him years ago when I found out Sweet Silence Studios was no more. We would get in touch when I came through town and talked about doing something together someday. This time I came through, he was free so we started recording. Initially, I was drawn to some of the main classics he’s recorded. He creates a unique signature canvas that the music is painted on. Yes – he is recording “Part 2” & “Part 3”.

How is Guy Ritchie as a guitar player?

He was a great and dedicated student. I could play a series of chords and he could play all up and down the neck soloing over it once he got going.

Do you miss teaching guitar?

I haven’t stopped, I’ve just been on the road for a long time. I’ll probably teach online in the future. I’ll always teach. I love to do it and I’m always learning something new to pass on.

Besides your signature series Jarrell Guitars, what other gear is essential to your sound?

Orange amps and cabinets & Seymour Duncan pickups. This year I got a Fractal Axe-FX 2 and two Bourgeouis guitars.

Would you ever record with Prong again?

Of course! I’d love to. Tommy needs someone who can be there more than I’ve been able to. I really like where the band has gone musically. Their last album “Carved Into Stone” which came out in April is one of their best.

What’s the best part about being part of Madonna’s live band?

We get to travel the world, play in front of massive crowds and she takes exceptional care of us.

Who is (are) your dream collaborator(s)?
Ozzy Osbourne, Chris Cornell, Ray LaMontagne, Snoop Dogg.

Can you offer any advice to young people who are making a stab at the music business?

Don’t ever give up. Most the bands who have made it and had longevity were persistent. They also merged different styles which you normally wouldn’t think would fit but were all right in front of you. There’s nobody out there that doesn’t like good songs and a great band playing live…

Check out Monte’s acoustic work here on a German TV program (he starts playing around 3:05):

Madonna’s Guitar Player and Co-Writer Monte Pittman In Pittsburgh w/Madonna 11/6

Stay Tuned in with PMM…we will have an exclusive interview with Monte up next week!

Monte is an acclaimed rock musician, guitarist and songwriter, who just released his second album, “Pain, Love & Destiny” in October. Within its first week, the album hit #1 Pop Album, #1 Rock Album and #30 Top Albums on CDBaby, and cracked the Top 200 on iTunes. It’s an explosive, testosterone-fueled rock album chock full of electrifying guitar solos, and lyrics offering up an ancient, surreal campfire tale of Faustian deals, death and rebirth. The album also features Kelle Rhoads (Randy’s brother) on piano.

Monte has also been the live guitarist and a co-writer of Madonna’s since 2001, the live guitarist and music director for Adam Lambert, and former member of Prong . He is also the #1 top-funded rock musician in the history of Kickstarter, having raised a staggering $65,500 from fans to finance the new album. In February, Jarrell Guitars also released Monte’s own special edition guitar series, and he played the Superbowl with Madonna. He was also honored with a Best Solo Artist Award and four other nominations from the 2012 Artists in Music Awards, and was just honored with a “Career Achievement Award” from the Hollywood F.A.M.E. Awards and nominated for Best Male Singer/Songwriter by the Los Angeles Music Awards. Monte is getting ready to release his third album, “M.P.3: The Power of Three, Pt. 1” which was engineered by Flemming Rasmussen (Metallica), on Nov. 19.

Raised in Longview, TX, Monte Pittman made the bold decision at only 24 to move to L.A. to pursue a career as a professional musician. Upon arriving in LA, he worked at a local Guitar Center. Realizing he was better at teaching than selling, he left to start providing guitar lessons.

As fate would have it, his third student ended up being British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, who had just received a guitar from his girlfriend, Madonna. Monte was then introduced to her, and became her guitar teacher. A month later, Monte was invited to join Madonna on stage at the David Letterman Show. He has since supported her on five world tours, starting with 2001’s Drowned World Tour, and shares writing credits on a number of her songs.

Monte has also played guitar and bass for industrial rock band Prong, and is credited with co-writing songs on 2003’s Scorpio Rising and co-writing/co-producing 2007’s Power of the Damager. Monte has also been the lead guitarist and music director for Adam Lambert, and toured on the Glam Nation Tour in 2010.

In November 2009, Monte released his debut acoustic album, The Deepest Dark, which skyrocketed to No. 1 on CDBaby.com’s Best-Selling Acoustic Albums list, and No. 9 in the Top 10 Best-Selling CDs.

He is currently gearing up to release Part 1 of his next album, The Power Of Three, which will be released in three parts over the next year, starting in November. The first part will be acoustic, followed by metal, and then a blues EP. The first EP was recorded in one day with famed Grammy Awardwinning producer/engineer Flemming Rasmussen, best known for his work with Metallica, Cat Stevens and Morbid Angel.