I've been playing guitar for 18 years, beginning at age 13 and attended Musician's Institute in Los Angeles from 2005 through 2007.
I enjoy sipping a little Japanese Whiskey at the end of the day such as Yamazaki or Hibiki and have traveled to Japan several times.
I drive a red Honda Mugen CR-Z. There were only 300 of these produced in the United States in 2011.
My dog keeps me inspired and happy and I'm a big dog lover since childhood. My dog is a Beagle-Chihuahua mix (a Cheagle) named Miles that we adopted in February 2016.
Pet Peeves - Troubleshooting tech/audio gear because you're messing around with the computer instead of creating music! That and changing guitar strings!
5 Top Albums of Choice:
Meshuggah - Catch 33
This album was the one that really got me stoked on Meshuggah. I'd heard them a few times before, but Catch 33 really blew my mind at the time. I like all of Meshuggah's albums for the most part, but chose this one as it was my entry point into this type of metal. It's also what inspired me to pick up an eight string guitar and simplify some of my riff writing to make it heavier. To say this album is crushing is an understatement. I really dig the flow of this album and there are some legendary Meshuggah songs on it. In Death Is Death is an instant headbanger!!
First Fragment - Dasein
I went with a newer album called Dasein by First Fragment. I'm a big fan of technical death metal and there were a lot of shreddy bands competing for this spot (Spawn of Possession, Beneath The Massacre, Archspire, Necrophagist, etc.). This album is insanely fast and super technical yet manages to be catchy and melodic at the same time. The band are very talented players, especially Phil Tougas' lead guitar playing is really what does it for me on this record. Emergence is my favorite track, the guitar solo on that track makes my jaw drop every time. These guys are probably my favorite of the current batch of Technical Death Metal bands.
Morbid Angel - Gateways to Annihilation
Oh man, this album is totally crushing and very progressive for Morbid Angel; it really sold me on death metal as a teenager. It also primed me for getting into Meshuggah a couple years later. It's a lot slower than a lot of the music I was listening to at the time, but crushingly heavy. This album is all about atmosphere and creates a lot of dissonant soundscapes. I heard they used a lot of experimental recording techniques and I would definitely describe this album as innovative for the time period. Eric Rutan and Trey Azagthoth's trading solos still sound epic! Seeing these songs played live will forever be part of my metal consciousness. This album is legendary for me. If you like this sound and wonder why they were never able to capture the same magic as on this record, I recommend checking out the band Mithras. They have a very similar sound and were able to carry on the legacy of this album.
Anomalous - Ohmnivalent
I couldn't resist adding another technical death metal album to the list. This album is probably the most insane technical death metal release ever. The songs are super fast and complex. The guitarist sounds like Allan Holdsworth playing in an insane metal context. It's a very intense album with some surprising clean, melodic sections. There are constant surprises and unorthodox approaches in each track. I might even describe the songwriting as enigmatic. The album was written very tastefully and the dissonant melodies are well thought-out. Blast beats for days. This is the band to answer the question "what if Allan Holdsworth played death metal?"
Temporal Analogues of Paradise - Hellborg/Lane/Sipe
I listen to a lot of jazz-fusion albums in addition to metal and this is one of my all-time favorites. It was created by one of the most revered trios ever, consisting of Jonas Hellborg on bass, Shawn Lane on guitar, and Jeff Sipe on drums. The album consists of two half-hour songs that were completely improvised and all instrumental (aside from Lane's melodic vocalizations that match his guitar playing). It's also a live album. The playing on this is mesmerizing, melodic, and original. The songs have a natural ebb and flow and sound very much written and rehearsed despite being improvised. Lane's guitar playing and solos are on another level on this record. I get chills every time I hear it, highly recommended if you're into unique, amazing music of any genre.