Wow 2018 was a great year! I achieved some goals and accomplishments and made some advancements. I still did not execute all I had hoped for, but overall it was a victory in my books. 2019 will be an even more successful year.
The year started with my little family moving into our new duplex in Walden. Last year's move had us relocate back to Calgary, having to rent a place until we settled on where exactly to live within Calgary. It did not take us too long to decide on which community as we both really loved the Walden area. I once again have my own dedicated music room in which I enjoy spending many hours practicing guitar, recording demos and assembling various small projects.
Also a big luxury to living in Calgary, is going to Calgary Flames games. This past season, Christina and I attending the most Flames games in a season. 5 games I believe. And looking forward to another one coming up on my birthday!
With the relocation to Calgary, one of my aspirations was to get into or start a kick-ass metal band. 2017 had me audition and/or jam with various musicians trying to find the right venture for my talents. But in 2018, I luckily was able to join one, and start a hell of a ride. In April, I joined Syryn as second/lead guitarist in time before they started performing gigs. 9 gigs overall during 2018. In which we played Calgary a handful of times, Edmonton twice and even ventured out the Metalocalypstick Metalfest in Lone Butt, BC.
In early Spring, my mother came for a much overdue visit. It was great to catch up with my mother. We highlighted her little visit with an impromptu jam where we video recorded me accompanying her on a song she wrote. And uploaded to YouTube to share with family. I am looking forward to seeing her again in 2019.
Also on my musical side of business, WB Gear came along and I was able to sign on to advance my social awareness. Through WB Gear, I was united with S.I.T. Strings and ReVv Amplification in exclusive endorsement deals.
S.I.T. Strings has been a blessing since I go through a lot of sets of strings with the number of guitars I own. (I also change them every 1-2 months depending on how much I play each individual guitar). The guitar strings I had been using prior for more than 15 years had become very difficult to attain. Shops were no longer carrying the brand I preferred and I already started trying other various brands, searching for a quality brand I could believe in. With S.I.T. Strings, I had once again found great quality strings that I can count on to last and not break under intense shredding conditions. (In reality though, I don't play hard enough to break strings regularly).
ReVv Amps are awesome! I already had a great guitar amp in what I had for performing live with Syryn, but was interested in a more condensed amp set up and ReVv Amplification had exactly what I was thinking of. I had put in my order for my new amp head and 212 speaker cabinet and then had to wait.... 5 months but it was worth the wait. At least, I still had my large amp head and 412 speaker cabinet for all the live Syryn gigs and rehearsals this past year. I really love the tone my new ReVv set-up produces. Very tight and clear distortion tone. I'm looking forward to having it onstage in the new year!
Other than the endorsement gear, I also had worked with Master Effects in designing my first custom pedal. A chorus pedal named "The Enchantress". Based on an original Boss CE1. I was able to pick the artwork and it is a staple now in my pedal board for Syryn. One of a kind!
In August, I had decided that my dayjob was not advancing in a way I had hoped. I began seeking out other forms of employment and career options. And luckily in September, I was able to switch careers and start employement with an insurance company at their Calgary downtown office. With my experience and skills developed over the last decade in the automotive repair/autobody industry, I was able to become an image desk reviewer, where I now review autobody repair estimates submitted from various shops for insurance approval. I love it and although it's been an adjustment from my previous careers, it's a welcomed change. I of course would prefer to make my living strictly by playing guitar, but we all know in today's world, that is not possible... Well at the moment for me anyways.
Although I am already busy musically with Syryn, early fall, I had decided to start another project on the side with my long time friend and former Malediction bandmate Chad. "Raged" is a project in which we are writing and recording the material ourselves and will later obtain a drummer and bassist to play the material live. It is a long-term project that we will slowly reveal as it develops. I've already teased a few pieces of some songs in demo, and it shouldn't take long before more will be released and we will start performing live. I'm sure some people will be surprised by my vocal abilities.
I've also had the chance this past Fall/Winter, to fill-in on bass for Chaosbeing. My Syryn bandmate & drummer Bryan's other group, found themselves in need of my services for several shows to which I happily offered my services. Having played 3 gigs between Calgary and Red Deer. Great guys and I relished the chance to get more stage time in a supporting role.
I also vacationed in British Columbia on Vancouver Island in the Spring and Mexico in the Fall. Much needed holidays away from the everyday busy world. I very much enjoyed the waters off of Vancouver Island with Whale watching and relaxing in a cabin playing games with the wife's family. As well as the beautiful visit to Sunny Los Cabos, relaxing and sitting on the beach reading a good book while sipping a Pina Colada.
I also welcomed 2 more lovely guitars into my collection. My black Jackson Kelly KE2 (yes, I love Marty Friedman!) and my white Jackson RR1. I did depart with a couple of my lower end guitars, but replaced them with the high end Jackson USA guitars. My guitars are my big indulgence. I now have 3 USA Jacksons in my collection and aiming to attain 1 more sometime in the future. I still have a couple others guitars, a Japanese Jackson and Mexican Charvel I am considering selling, with eventually only retaining my USAs. You never know, maybe a guitar endorsement deal could come along...
On a sad note, my wife lost her father. He had a stroke in the Fall of 2015 and since struggled to regain his former self. Thankfully, he's at peace now.
I also lost a dear friend and former roommate, Steven Braun. He was always willing to listen and offer advice when I needed it. Steven was also my personal roadie on occasion, even though he spent more time chatting than carrying equipment. But he was there when I needed him. Miss ya bro!
Closing out the year, Syryn officially released a second single "Paradise For Demise". One in which we recorded with Jesse Kopala at his Incite Audio studio , in preparation for our album we already began recording. The new album should be released around April 2019. Syryn released their first single a year prior with their former member I replaced, so this is the first Syryn recording with my talents upon.
One of the goals, or missing elements of my favourite activities in 2019, was my involvement in YouTube videos. I realized I did not upload a single YouTube Cover or new original instrumental throughout the year. The only video I uploaded this year, was the song with my mother. I did a small series of videos outlining my intentions to record a new solo album, but had decided to put on hold with my commitments to Syryn. I have solo EP material archived for when I am ready to resume. Maybe before the end of 2019? Who knows, as I will be busy with Syryn and Raged for some time to come.
In years prior, I was active in uploading YouTube video covers, not a single one this past year. That will change going into 2019 and I have already started putting together a new cover song for Raged. And thinking of covering a couple of my favourite guitar solos throughout the year by possibly Dimebag Darrell, Randy Rhoads or Marty Friedman.
Another struggle throughout my year, was my inability to be consistent with physical activity. I had terminated my gym membership earlier in the year, with expectations to continue my workouts at home. Occasionally, I do exercise in my basement home gym area, but I am not constant enough to make the physical changes I had hoped for throughout the year. I am now revisiting the idea and have a temporary pass for a fitness facility to reclaim my health intentions. So I guess you've already guessed my New Year's Resolution :P Get my ass back in shape in 2019!
So Cheers and looking forward to a Superb 2019!
Well it was a long time coming. I had joined up with WB Gear during the summer and they set me up with the endorsement with Revv Amplification. I was very excited to work with the company after I learned more about them via YouTube. I knew Jeff Loomis started playing Revv amps and when I found out they were a Canadian amp maker just outside of Winnipeg, I was more than thrilled to work with them. I watched a series of YouTube videos and was pleased with the sounds I was hearing. Especially from the compact 40 watt Generator 7-40 head. Rave reviews on YouTube so I trusted in the YouTube personalities and their declarations. The Revv builder's passion for amp building is very enormous and I enjoy following them via social media. They are very much dedicated to bringing a very modern guitar tone and design to their guitar amps. They have been more involved lately in their distortion pedals, but the amps are really the big ticket to an overall enormous sound.
Unfortunately, it took awhile to get my amp as they are a very small operation and their amps are all handwired. They also started getting overwhelmed with amp orders and hired on another amp builder to join them in their facility. In which, thorough training was needed. I was a little frustrated but they had assured me that the wait would be worth it.
And they were very correct. It was worth the wait. The amp is extremely sensational! I was so excited that they made a rackmount version of the Generator 7-40 head, as I want to build a smaller travelling guitar rig. I still have to add a few items yet (effects), but the foundation of a great guitar tone starts with the amp.
The clean tone is very clear and pristine. Lots of headroom and better than I expected. I had tried another high gain 50 watt tube head recently and found the clean channel lacking headroom and figured unuseable for gigs compared to the distortion channel. I had actually started preparing for this expectation by learning to just back off the volume knob on my guitar to clean up my sound during play. So my expectation of the clean channel on this Revv Genarator 7-40 exceeded that expectation already. Clean channel with f'n balls! There is a crunch function to the clean channel that gives it some dirt but not really anything I would use personally... Well not yet anyways.
The distortion channel is stupendous! So much gain that is clear and very dynamic. The "Aggression" stages are so useful in crafting the right amount of "dirt" to one's distortion sound. I spent some time yesterday playing with the amp and I am getting close to crafting a gain tone that really is the tone I've been chasing for many years. No muddiness in this amp!
There are some crafty designs with the amp I still have to learn. It's midi controllable so I can add an effects unit that can switch channels as required, but that is a new territory for me. I'm so used to just using a few pedals via the effects loop on my old amp and just selecting the "loop" button on the footswitch to change to lead. I can also, via the 4 button footswitch program pre-sets, even within the same channel... So I can set up my rhythm sound and then can set a lead sound boosting the same sound, or even add more gain, more mids, etc... Still need to program that aspect of course.
The light up colours for the channels (Blue for clean, Green for crunch, and Red for Distortion) is a nice touch. It will definitely draw some attention when I start bringing my new set up to gigs. Part of the reason I bought the 212 cab was to have that matching emblem from the head. But also to support the brand even more, I have definitely become a ReVv Amplification lover.
The 212 speaker cabinet I am also pleasantly pleased with. The speakers I believed are modelled after classic V-30s but I think there more presence to them which really adds to the guitar tone. The cab is built like a tank so I think it will handle live situations very well.
So now I am getting ready to start doing some recording with this amp and know I will get a very unique, but glistening tone for the Raged demos. Also, it will be a clear live tone for Syryn that will not get me lost in the mix. ReVv will have me heard at all volumes! In a compact, yet powerful 40 watt tube head.