Archive for September, 2010



[Picture of Eddie Van Halen playing guitar]“Eruption” started off life as a guitar solo done by Eddie Van Halen exclusively in a live context. It was recorded in 1977 and kinda changed the world (the guitar world anyway).

In the armoury of guitar techniques, tapping has always been around, but generally within classical and flamenco styles.  Some tapping did appear in rock on electric guitars, but never as comprehensively as here on “Eruption”.

Van Halen came up with the two-handed tapping technique to create a new soundscape — and in fact, most people assumed that it was played on a synthesiser or some form of electronic wizardry.  Van Halen famously played it with this back to the audience to hide the technique for a while at the beginning.

Of course, today, everyone’s familiar with this tapping sound and technique; it’s pretty standard in the curriculum, but back in the day — the mid to late 1970s — it was brand new and very exciting indeed.  That was a very creative period for the arts, and this is but one example of all the extraordinary things that came out of that very special era.

Technically, Van Halen tuned down the guitar by one fret, and begins in Ab and ends on the Eb 12th fret harmonic. The intro is based on “Let Me Swim” by “Cactus” followed by the “Etude No. 2” by Rodolphe Kreutzer. It ends with the final bars of an early baroque lute piece by John Dowland called “A Fancy”.

[embedded video clip of Eruption by Eddie Van Halen]


Now, I have to admit that tapping like this has not appealed to me personally. I have done it for a laugh now and again, but it just doesn’t sit in my personal “toolkit” for when I want to express myself on the guitar.  That’s just me; it is a fabulously effective technique for sounding fast or accomplished — what would Bill and Ted films be without Vai’s tapping?

Credit where credit is due, this single piece was so talked-about, so hyped, so “up there” back in the day, it was a real buzz, and everyone was amazed and tickled by the whole thing.  In the guitar shops, this started  to take over from “Stairway to Heaven” and “Smoke on The water”. It is always high on the charts of guitarist voted bests.

Wonderful stuff!




[Picture of legendary guitarist from LA - Larry Carlton]Back in the day when I was buying LP records all the time — I began noticing the credits, the names of the session guys.  I think it started with Steely Dan; they were just two musicians and a producer — so everyone else was a guest session musician.  If I liked some bass playing or a guitar solo, I would maybe take a punt on another album where that name came up — or get into their actual real solo albums.

That’s how I got into Larry Carlton.

But Larry meant more to me than just being a guitar player; he defined the guitar sound of the time — probably because he played on EVERYONE’S ALBUMS for years.  I’ve heard it said that Larry put out something like 500 sessions a year throughout the late 1970s to the late 1980s.

He played on the TV theme to a massive hit TV cop show called “Hill Street Blues”. For a while I would mix up Larry and Lee Ritenour, probably because they both used ES335 guitars (my favourite guitar, by the way), although Lee used a slide.

I always adored Larry on “Gaucho” and even his older stuff with Steely Dan, such as the solo on “Kid Charlemagne” from 1976 — and I am amazed that this solo was voted third best ever recorded guitar solo in Rolling Stone magazine.  Wow.  Good for you, Mr Larry Carlton.

As so often happens to my musical heroes, Larry suffered a tragic event — a random act of terrible and senseless violence.  It was back in 1988 outside his own private recording studio (Room 335) that he got shot in the neck! Seriously. The bullet got his vocal chords and ruined some important nerves.  Can you believe this?  I mean, although Larry was one of the best guitarists in the world, his solo work did feature him singing.  How tragic for him.

  • Yet, he survived.  The man lived and moved on to complete the album he was working on, and he has continued to create wonderful music to this very day — what a guy!

[embedded videoclip from, Bubble Shuffle – Larry Carlton]


[embedded videoclip from, Misty – Larry Carlton]


From my point of view, Larry influenced me greatly — his big hands and big chords suited me and what I was doing with Holdsworth.  Larry led me away from the dark side toward musicality, a lighter, free-er, way of playing. He played so easily, so confidently, so cleanly, and he winked and smiled too — yet this was tricky stuff to play, it was just somehow dissolved into a sugary, show-bizzy, rat-packy scene that was as plasticised as a Playboy cover. Fascinating and bewildering too. I mean to say, soloing with closed eyes! Ah!

What an unsung hero (in so many ways), I salute you, Larry Carlton.




[Picture of Joshua Radin]The Thing about Joshua Radin is that he’s one of THOSE blokes that turn up to annoy every so often.  Girls buy their records.  It’s acoustic, lite, easy, smooth, kinda folky, guy-with-acoustic-guitar stuff.  We’ve all seen it before. Many times.  In recent times it’s been Jack Johnson or James Blunt or whatever.

The power of TV can make a difference — look at José González.  In the case of Josh Radin, it’s two massive US TV shows –“Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scrubs“. As well as movies such as “Catch & Release” and “Garden State“.

Yes, his soundtrack can break your heart, make you and your girl cry aloud in front of your TV set — and annoyingly, he’s a hunky, good-lookin’ guy. ENOUGH ALREADY!

OK, so I am quite prepared to hate this guy then I saw the video for his song, “Brand New Day“. Yep — everything you could imagine doing to this guy gets done right here — from being splashed by a car and a puddle to being beat up and having his own guitar smashed into his face! Genius.  How could you NOT like? I have to admit I was quite shocked when he gets hit by a truck, but I laughed when that guy stood in his way and he had to lean round to be seen!

[Embedded youtube video clip Brand New Day]

I hate to say it, but this guy can laugh at himself BIG TIME.  he gets robbed and moved on, and yet he still sings happily away about “nice things”. Ironic? Ah- HA!

Well good on you, Josh. I’m now a reluctant fan (sort of begrudgingly). Oh the power of the TV media!

[Embedded youtube video clip Scrubs]

[Embedded youtube video clip Grey’s Anatomy]




I have lost 0.2 kg since last week, 18.6 kg in total. BMI 25.7 kg/m2

I have survived 16 weeks on The Dukan Diet, and am in my Dukan target weight region.

My scales state that I am now 76.9 kg.  I am pretty happy with my weight loss over the cruise phase, and it’s good to be stabilised on consolidation.  I’ve been cautious with the consolidation’s allowances, phasing things in lest I regain some weight. Basically, this phasing in has been about a month now, and weight has continued to drop — but there have been larger swings up and down on the daily weighings!

I guess there’s little point in recording weekly weighings if I’m stabilised/ stabilising.  Instead I shall continue to record my daily morning weight and will report monthly or whatever. Shalom!