Billy Sheehan Announces Guitar Workshops Schedule

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Niacin bassist Billy Sheehan has schedule a series of clinics at Guitar Center stores across the country.  The announcement comes on the heels of the release of Niacin’s most recent full length album, Krush.  The series of free workshops run through the month of May.  They will feature a live performance, Q&A session, meet-and-greet, and autograph signing.  Every fan that comes out to the workshops can pick up a copy of Niacin’s new album and can also enter to win Sheehan’s Hartke bass amplification rig or autographed pack of Rotosound Swing bass 66 strings.  The rig includes: an LH1000 Bass Amplifier and AK410/AK115 Bass cabinets.  

The full listing of workshops is below:

Billy Sheehan Guitar Center Sessions:
5/13 –  Guitar Center West Los Angeles @ 6pm (10831 W Pico Blvd)
5/14 –  Guitar Center San Jose @ 6pm (3677 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara)
5/16 –  Guitar Center Reno @ 6pm (6663 S Virginia St)
5/17 –  Guitar Center Phoenix @ 6pm (8949 East Indian Blvd, Scottsdale)
5/19 –  Guitar Center Albuquerque @ 2pm (6001 Menaul Blvd NE)
5/20 –  Guitar Center Denver @ 6pm (9647 E County Line Rd, Englewood)
5/22 –  Guitar Center New York City @ 6pm (25 W 14th St, Manhattan)
5/23 –  Guitar Center Danbury @ 6pm (15 Backus Ave)

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One on One with Trioscapes’ bassist Dan Briggs

1)  Trioscapes and Between The Buried and Me are as opposite as two bands
can be. So as metal as BTBAM is, you must have been a fan of other forms
of music for a long time.  Have you always been a fan of the Mahavishnu
Orchestra, or was that one song just something that’s always caught your
attention?

-I got into John Mclaughlin and Mahavishnu when I was in high school
browsing through my dad’s cd collection. “The Inner Mounting Flame” and
“Bird of Fire” albums were so appealing to me because of the sheer force
of the playing and how raw the unison lines between the guitar and violin
were.  MClaughlin’s playing with Mahavishnu has been an inspiration for
years, and more recently his playing in Shakti is proving to be a whole
new level of inspiration and motivation to constantly pursue new way of
reinventing my playing.

2)  This one’s for all three of you.  The band’s bio states that Dan
actually contacted Walter and and Matt.  When Dan told you two his plans,
what was your first reaction to his proposal?

-Only Dan on this interview, but I had talked to both separately at
different times about playing together, so I dont think it was much of a
shock. The main shock was probably when we were all in the same room
together playing for the first time and realizing how tough some of the
material was.

3)  Trioscapes is being marketed as a jazz fusion band.  But I personally
get a prog rock feel, too.  So how would you guys classify yourselves?

-Yeah I’m not big on thowing a lable on everything under the sun, and with
this group in particular I feel like every song is kind of its own
different thing. I dont think you can really lump the song “Separate
Realities”, which is 11 minutes of mayhem and high energy in the same
category as “Gemini’s Descent” which is kind of “Discipline” era King
Crimson like with a bass drone and a miriad of lush textures thrown over
top. But then I can see how  a song like “Blast Off” lends itself to being
considered more of a fusion song. I dont know, the jazz thing is funny to
us, fusion seems to obvious, progressive rock is a huge part of our make
up…it’s just burst of creative explorations.

4)  The album’s opener, ‘Blast Off’ is a perfect way to open the album.
It really mixes prog rock and jazz fusion seamlessly.  Can you guys expand
on how that song came to life?  Which one of you came up with the original
skeleton of that song? Did it just grow naturally?

-“Blast Off” and “Curse of the Ninth” were two songs I brought in early on
that were pretty much finished compositions. When I went to Georgia to
play with Matt for the very first time, he played me this crazy beat that
he had written, I jotted down the time signatures and wrote a line to go
along with it and it became the post-solo section outro for the tune.

5)  Speaking of a prog vibe, I noted in my review that I felt a kind of
Liquid Tension Experiment/Attention Deficit feel.  Are the three of you
fans of progressive rock?  If so, do you have any favorite prog bands?

-All of us have connections to different progressive rock bands. Alot of
my favorite music falls into that category, so there’s quite a few…to
name just a couple though, obviously King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant,
Yes, Dream Theater. More recently, Astra, Unexpect, Sleepytime Gorilla
Museum, Field Music, Pain of Salvation, etc…Matt’s a huge King Crimson
fan, Bill Bruford is one of his main drum inspirations. We all obviously
love forward thinking, interesting music.

6)  Getting back to Dan for a moment.  You’re also a member of Between The
Buried  Me.  they’re going to be out on tour this Summer.  Has it been
difficult trying to balance that tour with potential new dates with
Trioscapes?

-Nope, it’s very easy. BTBAM’s year gets laid out way in advance so I’m
able to fill in the gaps whne I can.
7)  Staying on the subject of BTBAM, it’s an N.C. based band.  Did that
play a role in Trioscapes recording “Separate Realities” in Winston Salem?
What led you to record it at The Basement Studios?  How did you come to
your choice of producers?

-Jamie King has had a hand in every record that I’ve done since 2005. All
the BTBAM stuff, my other band ORBS, and now Trioscapes. It’s a comfort
thing recording with Jamie, and I was curious to see what he could do with
Trioscapes. We wanted to keep it simple and present like how you would
hear the band live. The only real overdubs we did were a few layered bass
distortion lines and doubling a few sax parts with flute. Aside from that
though, it’s just the songs the way we’d play them live and Jamie captured
it really well.

8)  “Separate Realities” has been received to pretty positive feedback
from every direction.  Considering that, do the three of you see the band
working on another record any time in the near future, or do you see this
simply as a one-off record?

-In the near future, no because we will be touring on this record for a
while. We all have a few little things written though. I’m sure we’ll
start throwing around ideas before too long. And no, this is not a one-off
record.

9)  What would you say is your favorite song off of this album?  Songs
aside, do any of you have any favorite moments from the recording process
for this record?

-Walter and I tracked “Gemini’s Descent” together and that was really fun.
We turned the lights down and did about 5 or 6 different takes and then
that was it. We wanted to capture the vibe we had while jamming it at the
rehearsal space. I’m really excited to finally play the song live, we’ll
be playing our full album at our CD release shows coming up next week. I
can tell you that “Separate Realities” is maybe the most stressful song
I’ve ever played live haha, but it’s also one of my favorites. Super high
energy and just non stop. I’ve never had to be so locked in to every
single second of music like I am when playing that.

10)  The video for ‘Blast Off’ was so simple.  But it shows you guys
really getting into the groove of the song.  It’s proof that the K.I.S.S.
formula works.  So came up with the idea for the video?  How did you
decide on using Symmetry Studio for the video?

-Our friend Johnny Davis runs Symmetry Studios, he tracked Matt’s drums
there for the record and they sounded awesome. He’s a super talented
engineer and being that he’s a friend we knew it’d be easy to set up. We
actually went down and played the whole album, not just “Blast Off”. Those
videos will be available before too long. There were just no live videos
that had popped up that were a good quality, so we thought this would be a
good representation for people that haven’t been able to see us live.
Although, there’s much more energy live.

11)  I’ve got one last question before I have to go.  As well received as
Trioscapes is already what do you see the future of this band being?

-We’re going to go hard and do as much as we can when I’m free and not
busy with BTBAM. We have a tour confirmed for September that we’ll
announce soon, some stuff in June/July that’s being worked out, and
hopefully a full US in November/December. If we all exist past doomsday,
then I’m sure we’ll have alot more in our future.

Trioscapes’ debut another hit for Metal Blade Records in 2012

Lightning, it’s said, never strikes the same place twice.  But for Metal Blade Records, that old adage couldn’t be more wrong.  Metal Blade–pure metal’s flagship label–has already released one of the year’s best records with OSI’s fourth full length release, “Fire Make Thunder.”  Now, on May 8th, the label is set to release another of the year’s finest albums in the debut album from a band called Trioscapes.

Trioscapes was founded by bassist Dan Briggs (Between The Buried and Me).  He joined up with saxphonist/flutist Walter Fancourt and drummer Matt Lynch last year to work up a rendition of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Celestial Terrestrial Commuters.”  The trio came up with some other original songs along with the way, intending to use the material for a one time only show.  Now those ideas have led to what is one of the best records of 2012 in its debut record, ‘”Separate Realities.”  The album is an amazing mix of progressive rock and jazz/fusion.  It mixes the experimental sounds of Liquid Tension Experiment and Attention Deficit with that of the legendary jazz/fusion group, Yellowjackets to make for an opus that defies all classification.  North Carolina fans will appreciate that “Separate Realities” was recorded and produced at the Basement Recording Studios in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

“Separate Realities” opens fittingly with the up-tempo, ‘Blast Off.’  The song’s title is perfectly fitting in that the music invokes images of an explosion of musical energy.  It “blasts” listeners with its seemingly improv style.  Drummer Matt Lynch shows his skill with ease playing constant polyrythmic patterns that would make even Mike Potnoy and Terry Bozzio proud.  Walter Fancourt’s sax playing is simply amazing.  His musicianship conjures up thoughts of the late E. Street Band saxophonist, Clarence Clemons. The dynamic control of all three musicians makes listeners feel as if they’ve been taken up with rapid fire energy and allowed to float in some ethereal musical stratosphere before being shot straight back to earth with just as much energy.  It’s the perfect opener for this release.

The band gives listeners just enough time to catch their breath after ‘Blast Off’ with the equally impressive title track to the album.  ‘Separate Realities’ has something of a Middle Eastern feel.  As with the album’s opener the band showcases its musicianship yet again with this piece.  As disjointed as it begins to feel at one point, that disjointedness is really controlled chaos.  The band eases its way through the whole thing without missing a beat.

Perhaps one of the best examples of this trio’s originality and ability is a song that’s equally bizarre both in its sound and its title, ‘Wazzlejazzleboff.’  That’s really the song’s title.  And as bizarre as this song is, it’s one of those pieces that demands the listener’s full attention.  Every note and every rhythm in this piece has its own life.  It all comes together for what is easily one of the album’s best songs.  Of course, it isn’t the only great song on the album.  Every one of the songs on “Separate Realities” collectively make a debut release that’s as solid as any of the metal that has made Metal Blade famous. 

The band already has a pair of live shows set to celebrate the album’s release.  North Carolina fans will be happy to know they’ll be among the first to see the band live as it will perform May 4th at The Broach Theater in Greensboro.  The band will share the stage with the Bronzed Chorus and Drag Sounds.  Fans can get an idea of what to expect from Trioscapes thanks to absolutepunk.net.  ‘Wazzlejazzlebof’ can be streamed there now.  For more information on Trioscapes, check out the band on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/trioscapes.