Red Special Guitar Contest Winner!

From nearly 20,000 entries, Matthew Scott of Boynton Beach, FL, was the lucky winner of a Red Special Guitar signed by Brian May in the Red Special Guitar Contest! Matthew captured the moments when he unwrapped his prize!


IMG_0027Matthew Scott on Brian May’s Red Special: The Story of the Home-made Guitar that Rocked Queen and the World – “The Red Special book is awesome. It has a lot of additional information and pics I’ve never seen in my many years of (overly) obsessive Internet readings on the guitar. I loved reading the stories behind all the pieces’ parts and how involved his father was. Graphically, the book is beautiful (I had to throw that in. My 9-to-5 is Graphics.).”







Congratulations Matthew!


Listen: Brian Solomon on PW Torch Livecast!

Author Brian Solomon recently sat down for an interview with Pat McNeill of PW Torch Livecast, to talk about his new book, Pro Wrestling FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the World’s Most Entertaining Spectacle.



Sport? Entertainment? Art form? Perhaps a bit of all three, with a certain intangible extra something thrown in for good measure, making professional wrestling a truly unique entity unto itself. From its origins in carnivals and sideshow attractions of the 19th century, right up to the multimillion-dollar, multimedia industry of the present day, and all the bizarre, wild, and woolly points in between, Pro Wrestling FAQ delves into the entire history and broad scope of one of popular culture’s most enduring yet ever-changing spectacles.

With chapters devoted to the many fascinating eras in the history of the business, as well as capsule biographies of some its most memorable and important figures, this book will serve as the ultimate one-volume reference guide for both long-time wrestling nuts and initiates to the grappling phenomenon.

Revisit the legendary 1911 “Match of the Century” pitting World Champion Frank Gotch against archrival George Hackenschmidt, “the Russian Lion”; experience wrestling’s TV golden age in the 1950s, a time of such colorful personages as Gorgeous George and Antonino Rocca; relive the glory days of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, when WWF impresario Vince McMahon took the business mainstream; and get the lowdown on recent favorites, such as John Cena, CM Punk, and others who have taken the business boldly into the 21st century.


Susan Masino on WGN Radio

Susan Masino, author of AC/DC FAQ, talks with Nick Digilio of WGN Radio about AC/DC and her new book!


00120817AC/DC FAQ spans AC/DC’s 40-year career, starting from the band’s inception in 1973. This book covers everything form their early days in Australia to their first tour of England and the United States. It also includes personal experiences, stories, conversations, and interviews by author Susan Masino, who has known the band since 1977.

Featuring 37 chapters, AC/DC FAQ chronicles the personal history of each of the band members, all their albums, tours, and various anecdotes. Rebounding from the tragic loss of their singer Bon Scott in 1980, AC/DC hired Brian Johnson and went on to record Back in Black, which is now one of the top five biggest-selling albums in music history. Taking a seven-year break after their album Stiff Upper Lip, the band came back in the fall of 2008 with a new album, Black Ice, and a tour that ran from 2008 through the summer of 2010. Once again breaking records, AC/DC saw the Black Ice Tour become the second-highest grossing tour in history. True rockers from the very beginning, AC/DC will continue to be heralded as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.

7 creative ways indie artists can spend their money (when they’ve got money to spend)

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musicianprovides creative ways artist can spend their money in his latest article from DiscMakers!

From hiring a songwriting consultant to getting a sound man for your live performances, what follows are seven ways to spend your money to enhance your music career.

Most indie artists don’t have a lot of money in the bank, but if you’re going to spend your valuable savings or that money you raised crowd funding, there may be alternative (i.e. less obvious) investments you can make to enhance your music career. From hiring a songwriting consultant to getting a sound man for your live performances, what follows are seven ways to spend your money when you’ve got money to spend.

1. Songwriting consultant

Just because you can play guitar does not mean you can write a well-crafted song. Songwriting is a skill all its own that takes years of practice to perfect. A seasoned songwriting consultant can offer objective advice about your songs and improve them significantly. It makes no sense to spend zero dollars on the most important aspect of your music career—your songs—and hundreds (or thousands) of dollars recording and promoting your music.

Trust me on this one, if you don’t have undeniably great songs, it’s over before it begins. People like Robin Frederick and Jason Blume are just two people off the top of my head who may be available to work with you—in person or via the Internet. Check them out.

2. Focus group marketing

Some of the most important people related to the success of your career are the very people to whom you are trying to appeal: your fans. Yet, it surprises me how most bands don’t spend the time or money to conduct research and get feedback from them. By rounding up two groups of 30 people, inviting them to your rehearsal studio, serving pizza and drinks, performing sets of your music, and having your fans discuss/rate your songs (or sound, stage presence, look, etc.), you’ll produce some important information that can help save you a great deal of time and money in the long run. My band did this when planning a recording project and it worked great—we played 15 of our songs and let the fans pick the compositions they wanted on our record. After all, if it’s the fans who you are trying to satisfy with your music, doesn’t it make sense to see what they think before spending thousands recording your EP?

3. Photographer and stylist

Anyone with a camera phone and mirror in their bedroom can think they are a photographer or stylist. While camera phones are quite impressive these days, an experienced pro who has access to amazing locations, knows how to arrange a shot, understands proper lighting, knows about hair and make-up, and understands fashion can give your band the visual edge it needs. Look, if they say that a picture is really worth a thousand words, and you agree with this statement, then why not spend at least that much in getting some really professional photos done? Your brand depends on it.

4. Graphic designer

Your band’s logo serves as the stamp of your brand. It is what is put on your drummer’s bass drum heads, your banners, your road cases, your mercy, and it even becomes your tattoos. While you might feel fairly confident playing around with Photoshop yourself, an experienced pro can really make a difference. Hire someone who has an outstanding portfolio of band logos and several years of experience to back it up. Remember, you want to have a bad-ass logo that can become part of that bad-ass T-shirt that people will gladly be willing to pay $15 to take home. So let the pros do your logo and design.

Click here to read the rest of the article!


Fantastic Review of In Character!

Opera News‘ Matthew Sigman recently posted this fantastic review of In Character: Opera Portraiture!

In Character_Cover_9X12_with index.inddPicture books get no respect, derided, often rightfully, as decorative objects unworthy of literary consideration. In the opera world, such contempt can be justifiable: frequently assembled for notable company anniversaries, such memory books often offer dry prose, static production tableaux and glam portraits of divas in celebrated roles. John F. Martin’s In Character defies such stereotypes. With its prose confined to the opening pages — Amy Tan’s spare foreword is elegant, Martin’s explanation of process is essential, the rest is noise — and captions smartly placed as a thumbnail index at the end, the result is a rare alchemy of the performing arts, the fine arts and the graphic arts.

Martin began his association with San Francisco Opera as a supernumerary and managed to set up a closest studio in the War Memorial Opera House just off the canteen. He coaxed performers from the wings to sit for a moment in full regalia and character, their emotions engaged. you can smell the sweat of jealousy on Dmitri Hvorstovsky’s chest as Count di Luna in Il Trovatore. You avert your eyes from Natalie Dessay’s Lucia, so upsetting is her frail glance of madness. Qian Yi, as Precious Auntie in The Bonesetter’s Daughter, floats as if to heaven.

But it’s not only stars that shine bright in In Character. Yes, we see boldface heroes, villains and ingenues, but we also see clergy and townspeople and servants and social outcasts and a “fantasia” of freaks. We see wordless gaiety and fortitude, reflections of sorrow and pride, a child bereft of soul, captured as if by Diane Arbus. We also see the masterful skills of today’s leading costume designers in impeccable detail: Constance Hoffman’s terrifying harlequins for Rigoletto, François Barbeau’s bawdy dancers for The Rake’s Progress, Laurent Pelly’s snooty aristocratic ladies forLa Fille du Régiment.

Read the rest of the review here!

Hal Leonard and METAlliance® Form Partnership to Publish Online Educational Courses

Legendary Audio Engineers and Producers

Develop Online Courses to Share Their

Expertise with the Music World

Hal Leonard and METAlliance® Form Partnership

to Publish Online Educational Courses

Hal Leonard Books, the leading publisher of books and digital content on the music business, audio technology, and related content, and the renowned METAlliance® group, an important alliance between six of the most iconic and prolific engineer/producers in the music business today, have partnered to develop a series of educational tools for a wide range of sound engineers and music producers—from the professional to the hobbyist.

The Music Engineering and Technology Alliance (METAlliance®) was founded by globally-recognized, award-winning audio engineers and producers Chuck Ainlay, Ed Cherney, Frank Filipetti, George Massenburg, Elliot Scheiner, Al Schmitt, and the late Phil Ramone. The remaining six original members continue to be active in their pursuit of excellence. In addition to actively creating great new music, this group of sonic and technical innovators has been deeply involved in establishing foundational music recording techniques and technical standards. METAlliance® is a collaborative mission, established to provide education and inspiration to music creators while promoting excellence in engineering/production and highlighting the importance of high-quality, high-resolution audio.

Next month, Hal Leonard will begin publishing the knowledge amassed by these A-list producers and engineers in on-line A/V courses as well as traditional print pro audio products. The online courses will be branded under METAlliance® Academy and available at Books and other digital versions of the product will be released in fourth quarter 2015.

“We are proud to be working with this elite group of audio professionals,” said

John Cerullo, Group Publisher, Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group.

“With the METAlliance® Academy product line, we are making a very personal,

almost one-on-one, immersive experience available to every aspiring and

working music engineer and producer out there.”

“It’s been our mission to insure the art and craft of recording music is respected

and carried on to the next generations of music lovers and professionals,” adds

Jim Pace, METAlliance® Managing Member. “In an era where convenience has

sometimes overwhelmed quality, we feel that music—the invaluable art form that

it is—deserves the very best. That’s what people will experience in the

METAlliance® Academy series.

The collective knowledge of our members is unparalleled, with multitudes of

Grammy Awards and other industry recognition. After decades of engineering

countless recordings including some of the most seminal and inspiring in history,

we’re excited to work with Hal Leonard to provide these courses to aspiring and

actual producers and engineers all over the world. It’s all about the music.”

The first six releases cover drum recording concepts and techniques, and each is hosted by one of the six METAlliance® members. Presented in a casual style that feels like the student is getting a guided tour through the way that each engineer records drums, this is a life-changing series of techniques almost certain to raise the standard of modern drum recordings.

The important drum recording videos will be quickly followed up by more amazing titles on subjects including Recording Acoustic Guitar, Recording Electric Guitar, Recording Piano, Recording Vocals, Working with Artists, Mixing in the Box, and The State of the Recording Industry.

For more information about Hal Leonard, please visit – Hal Leonard Books, An Imprint of Hal Leonard

For more information about METAlliance®, please visit

Coming soon: The Future of the Music Business, Fourth Edition

Coming soon from Hal Leonard Books: The Future of the Music Business: How to Succeed with New Digital Technologies, Fourth Edition by Steve Gordon!

New technologies are revolutionizing the music business. While these changes may be smashing traditional business models and creating havoc among the major record companies, they are also providing new opportunities for unsigned artists, independent labels, and music business entrepreneurs.

The Future of the Music Business provides a legal and business road map for success in today’s music business, including licensing and laws governing the online distribution of music and video. The book also provides practical tips for:

  • Selling music online
  • Using blogs and social networks
  • Developing an online record company
  • Creating an internet radio station
  • Opening an online music store
  • Raising money for recording projects online
  • Creating a hit song in the digital age
  • Taking advantage of wireless technologies
  • And much more

This revised fourth edition is the most up-to-date and thorough examination of current trends and offer special sections on:

  • What to do if someone steals your song
  • Protecting the name of your band or label
  • How to find a music lawyer to shop your music
  • How to land a deal with an indie or a major label

The accompanying DVD-ROM includes interviews with some of today’s most informed professionals working in the music business.