A Question For My Hero, Heavy Metal-San

What’s the haps, it’s TheAndySan hurr with a quick post.

I just posted a question for my numba-juan guitar idol, Marty Friedman aka Heavy Metal-san. Here is what I posted on his site’s Contact Form:

Subject: It’s About Anime.

Hey Marty! I’ve been playing guitar for about 3 years now and you’ve always been a consistant source of inspiration for me as a musician and as a guitar player. Everyone else can have their Jimmys and their Jimis, but if I were stuck on a Desert Island (Cacophony reference), all I need is your work on Rock Fujiyama, your solo albums, the Cacophony albums, and of course the Megadeth albums (Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction especially) and I’d die a happy man.

My question to you is this: have you ever performed or are considering performing an anime opening or ending theme? One of the first artists that got me into Japanese music was The Pillows and they pretty much did the entire soundtrack for FLCL!

Everyone except for my dorkiest of friends thinks I’m crazy for liking this kind of music, but I insist on listening to it because of the uncanny amount of beautiful melodies in the songs. You were the one who showed me that you could like even the hokiest music in the world and turn it into something really rockin’! I sincerely thank you for this!! It has opened me up as a musician, a player, and as a listener of music! Thank-you so much for what you have done!!

Andy

www.theandysan.com

Well, I’m gonna eat ‘cuz I’m hungry. I’m ending this post with a vid from Mr. Heavy Metal himself doing Last September from his album True Obsessions. Later daze!

TheAndySan

"マーティ"

“Ok, so what do the little squiggles in the title mean, Andy?!!” It’s Marty Friedman’s name in katakana, the Japanese alphabet used mostly for translating foreign words. Hello again, it’s TheAndySan here with 5 tips on how to be a better guitar player. These can be applicable to anyone who plays music, but for the intents and purposes of this article, it’s about guitar players.

Tip 1 – Stretch out your ears. No, I don’t mean physically stretching your ears (editor’s note: TheAndySan does not condone any acts of ear mutilation. Seriously, don’t do it!!), what I’m talking about is expanding what you listen to. I suggest delving into every kind of music that you can. Sure, not all of it will be good, but I’m positive you’ll find a player or two that tickles your fancy. For example, I’m not a fan of country music, but I love Vince Gill. I think he’s an amazing singer and one heck of a guitar player to boot! By expanding your musical library, you’ll be able to break out of ruts much easier than by just listening to the same-o same-o music, incorporate unique techniques such as pre-bending which will help to mold your personal playing style, and you’ll be more well-rounded as a musician. You’ll be surprised as to what kind of music your guitar heroes listen to. My main man Marty Friedman, for example, listened to KISS and The Ramones when he was first learning to play guitar. Later on, he got stuck in a rut and began to listen to foreign music. While he was living in Hawaii, he would listen to a Japanese radio station that would play enka music. I’ll try to explain enka music in the form of an analogy: Enka music is to Japan as country music is to America. It’s very ethnic-sounding. Ok, so my explanation is pretty sucky. Here’s a video clip of one of the greatest enka singers ever, Misora Hibari, performing “Ringo Oiwake”:

Tip 2 – Value those with more experience. You’ve probably seen them popping in the music store: the old geezers who can blaze on guitar. Some people would brush off guys like them since they’re “too old” and “uncool”. Not me, boy! I’m asking ’em questions, watching them play, and gauging their skills. I highly recommend that you take note from guys who have more experience, even if they are uncool old geezers lol!

Tip 3 – Join or start up a band. I know that several professional musicians started their first band when they only knew one chord (*coughTomMorellocough*). Even if none of you guys know how to play anything, being around other people will generate ideas and will better encourage those ideas to be exacuted.

Tip 4 – Don’t bite off more than you can chew. I’m not trying to sound discouraging, but what I mean is that, for example, if you try to master the solo for Tornado of Souls in its entirety and expect to play it spot-on by the end of the day, chances are you’ll fail miserably. However, if you break the solo into sections and begin mastering each section one at a time, you’ll have a much higher chance of not only playing the whole thing, but to play it flawlessly. Also, if you’re just learning to play guitar and you want to learn a very technically challenging song like Far Beyond The Sun by Yngwie Malmsteen, you’ll get very discouraged. Learn the basics like power chords and a couple scales before tackling a tough song like that. And, of course, break it into parts when you do sit down and learn it.

Tip 5 – Don’t cave in to peer pressure. One of the main reasons that popular music stagnates before “reinventing” itself is that it tries to “cookie-cutter” bands. In other words, they try to make every band sound the same in hopes of repeated financial success. It never quite works out, does it? Although he’s very VERY overused, Kurt Cobain is probably one of the best/worst examples of what the music industry can do to an artist. At that point in time, hair metal was the name of the game and anybody who wanted to be somebody slipped in to some spandex, slapped on some makeup, fluffed their hair and POOF! You were popular. After a while, people got tired of watching different guys doing the same old things that all the other bands were doing. Then along comes Kurt, a guy who was living in his car and applied to be a dog kennel cleaner right before the album Nevermind turned the music industry on its ear. Then came Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, etc. And then people got sick of listening to grunge all the time. Now, it’s emo music. Every band is supposed to sound like Fall Out Boy because Fall Out Boy is a highly successful band. BOLLOCKS!! If bands would just be themselves, people would be able to relate to them and success will naturally come.

Well, I’m gonna get me some shuteye so I’ll see you guys later. Good-night!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 1,508 days since I had a website.

Who Are My Inspirations To Play Guitar?

Hey there, it’s TheAndySan here to answer a question that I ask myself everyday: who inspires me to pick up a guitar and play?

Believe it or not, some of my inspiration comes from people who’ve never touched a guitar in their life. People like my mom. Okay, so maybe she’s played a thing or two on guitar, but that’s beside the point. The point is, that I’m inspired by her sticking to her guns when times get tough. She also has a sense of self-worth that was passed onto me. I remember when we were on welfare wayyy back in the day, and although she could have stayed at home and collected the check, she worked her ass off to pay for everything and she managed to go to cosmotology school on top of that! Even though we didn’t have the nicest clothes or the trendiest toys, we never felt beneath other people. We had a strong sense of self-worth and knew that although times were tough, we would get through them and things would get better. And they did.

Of course, I am also inspired by actual guitar players. The most inspirational guitar players from 1-3 are my dad, Paul McCartney, and Marty Friedman. My dad was the reason I got back into playing guitar in the first place. I was always into music in some form or another. I got two Yamaha keyboards from my dad that I always tinkered on. I had guitar lessons when I was 7 and living in Michigan. I began to lose interest because we were playing babyish stuff like Mary Had a Little Lamb and the like. I wanted to play the flute in 5th grade, but I couldn’t afford one so they let me play violin. I was pretty bad at it so it didn’t last very long. In 8th grade music class, I played The Terminator theme for a project. Although the teacher told me to scrap it because I didn’t follow the directions, some of the classmates loved it! I didn’t get back into music again until my dad passed away about 2 months after I graduated high school. In another turn of events, Dimebag Darrell passed away that same year on December 8th (the day after my birthday), the birthday of Marty Friedman and Jim Morrison. At the funeral, one of Dad’s close friends, Rick Barr, asks me if I was in a band and if I’ve inherited any of my dad’s talent and good ears. I honestly couldn’t answer him about the latter, and it planted the seed that maybe I should pick up the guitar again to find out. A couple months later, I learn that one of the new workers at McDonald’s, Travis, plays guitar. After playing his guitar for awhile, he helped me get my own guitar in January of 2005 (I didn’t have my very first guitar at that point so that’s why I needed another one). It was a beat-up Squire Strat with a cable, gigbag, and a small amp for $100.

Paul McCartney has been such a big influence on my dad that Paul’s voice has become familiar and comforting. In a weird sort of way, Paul McCartney has been like a second dad to me. Sure we’ve never met, but when he sings and talks, it feels like he’s singing and talking to me and only me. Paul’s been getting a lot of slag about his albums being mediocre. I think that people expect too much from him. If you’re putting on a Paul McCartney album and expecting it to be Revolver or The White Album, you’ll be let down. That’s not to say his music’s no good. It’s just that you need to lower your expectations a bit to enjoy it. I grew up on albums like Flowers In The Dirt and the double-live album Tripping The Live Fantastic. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I first heard any Beatles songs. Of course I thought they were great, but I didn’t see much different between that and what Paul was doing. Then again, I wasn’t around when The Beatles came to America so I know I would be eating my words if I were around back then.

Marty Friedman, the former guitarist from Megadeth and Cacophony, has been my main inspiration as a player because he plays things that are normally not associated at all with guitar and they sound a-mazing! If you have the time, I highly recommend the following videos:

Marty in Rock Fujiyama Episode #12 (I based a riff around this):

Marty In Rock Fujiyama Episode #23:

Marty in Rock Fujiyama Episode #15:

Marty and Paul Gilbert in Rock Fujiyama Episode #47:

Marty in Rock Fujiyama Episode #22:

Marty in Rock Fujiyama Episode #7:

Marty in Rock Fujiyama episode #4 (I copied what he did to create part of a song called Heavy Metal Waltz):

Wow! I’d better stop posting Marty Friedman videos…for now. Anyway, there are a gazillion other players out there that inspire me. Players like Vince Gill, Gary Moore, Robbie McIntosh (the guitarist for Paul McCartney circa Flowers In The Dirt through Off The Ground), Paul Gilbert, Les Paul (the guy and the guitar), and loads more.

Well, I believe that this post has become redunk-yo-mama-liss long so I’m gonna go eat something before I go to work. Laterz!

TheAndySan