Three G’s as in Guitarists

Just hit me that the topics that have been on my mind lately, in one form or another, were somehow related to GUITARISTS

First of all – Matt La Porte’s Memorial Benefit that took place Saturday, at Ferg’s, St Petersburg, Florida. For those who don’t know Matt, he’s known for having played with Circle II Circle and Jon Oliva’s Pain.

[Matt in an early Circle II Circle-video.
Vocals: Zak Stevens (ex.Savatage). All the guys in this band later became JOP…
Matt LaPorte – guitar, John Zahner – keyboards, Kevin Rothney – bass, Chris Kinder – drums]:

I was thinking about how I even got to know the great people in JOP and their friends/crew… The first two people I ever got in touch with that day, were Greg, “Super G” Marchak, producer and engineer, and Matt. I had just arrived to the hotel in Dusseldorf, Germany to attend a meet-and-greet weekend with Jon Oliva’s Pain, an interview and a listening-party of the new album “Maniacal Renderings“.

It was a small hotel and there was a computer down in the lobby. Greg was sitting there when I walked in. Sadly, he is not with us anymore. He passed on September 8, 2007, suffered an aneurysm and never recovered.

The other guy, who took over down at the computer that day in the lobby, was Matt. He is not with us anymore either. He died in his sleep a few months ago, only 40 years old. I think that what most of us remember, apart from his musicianship, is his sense of humor. A bizarre sense of humor that took me a while to “get”, I eventually did. His passing left so many in shock and grief, but I was so glad to see the musicians getting together to celebrate his life. He lived for music and he must have smiled when he saw what had been put together for him.

Members from JOP, Crimson Glory, TSO and others, got together Saturday evening for this special occasion which I so wish I could have attended. From what I’ve seen so far, it was a beautiful day/evening, with everybody gathered. And I miss them all, haven’t seen the “JOP family” in a long time, I think it must have been a little over a year now. Used to be at least once a year. Then again, things are not the same and never will be. But I have great memories for life.

Here’s one of the most beautiful songs ever, played at Matt’s memorial (Jon Oliva vocals and piano):

The other guitarist who is “Not Dead Yet” (which is the name of the benefit festival where the proceeds are going towards medical supplies as well as a trust fund to provide for his future security) is the amazing Jason Becker.

The more I see and the more I read about Jason, the more stunned and amazed I get. What a fantastic guy, I’m speechless. I really wanted to get involved somehow and so I ended up donating to the making of the documentary “Perpetual Burn: The Story of Jason Becker“.

I can’t wait to see the finished movie and for those of you out there who have at least 5 bucks to spare – make it happen: http://www.jasonbeckermovie.com/help-get-involved
All you need is a PayPal-account. Simple, quick, easy, and for a good cause.

The goal is $50,000 and as of right now, funds raised are up to 49,715
It’s CLOSE – so go and make your contribution!

This is a trailer for the movie that’s in the making:

Moves me to tears every time I see it.  At the same time it proves what the love for music can do – it can even to some extent conquer death. There are others out there who are still living proof that the passion for music can overcome any obstacles: Rick Allen (Def Leppard) and Mick Mars (Motley Crue) for instance – then there are the guys from Anvil that aren’t exactly sick, but they have sacrificed everything to the point of stupidity, for their rock’n’roll dream and love for music.
I totally get where they are coming from. Only others who feel the same way for music can understand,

(Funny, just after I had posted this blog – I saw this on Twitter, from Mick Mars. Thought it fit pretty well: http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=161178 ]

People like Jason Becker have my deepest respect and admiration. I hope he will still be around by the time the movie is finished. I’m sure he will be.

Last, but not least – a more positive note :) In the middle of planning my US trip, where I’ll get to enjoy seeing and hearing the talents of two fantastic guitarists: Gus G (Ozzy, Firewind) and the ULTIMATE guitar hero: Yngwie Malmsteen.

I was going to see Firewind in Florida because they’re playing in St Petersburg (Tampa-area), which is where my JOP-friends are from so it seemed like the best place to go. Then I saw that Yngwie was playing in NYC a few days later – actually the day after Firewind have played there, so there’ll be a double guitar-virtuoso treat, two days in a row, in my favorite city in the world – NYC!

Only two more months and I’m off to the land across the pond! :-))

[My interview with Gus G from Sweden Rock Festival, back in June:]

[The #1 GUITAR HERO in all categories – YNGWIE MALMSTEEN…!]

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