ZAP starring guitarist Sean McKee releases Air Traffic Control, available now!

August 26th, 2016

“Air Traffic Control” started as a 60 second piece that was commissioned by Lee Abrams (Co-Founder of XM Radio) to have Emmy-nominated composer Sean McKee write a piece of music in the style of Frank Zappa, and produce a video to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his passing. McKee wrote and performed all instruments, including recording the keyboard parts using a then-prototype MIDI guitar from Inspired Instruments.

Besides being a musician, McKee is known as a pioneer in the field of image processing, creating technology used for new movies and classic film restorations, along with 2D to 3D conversions, with the technology he led development on being used daily in Hollywood. For several years, one of his clients was Gail Zappa, Frank’s widow, and he worked on restoring film elements from Frank’s archive, and also helped to recover lost video masters that Gail hadn’t seen in years.

According to McKee, “When I heard the news of Gail’s passing last October, I was deeply saddened, she was very kind to me, and an incredibly smart woman who pioneered the concept of artists’ retaining the rights to the master recordings. I decided to take the 60 second piece and finish it as a proper song, as a memorial to Gail and tribute to Frank, who was a big influence on my playing.”

McKee crafted the song starting from the existing 60 second guitar solo, building a complete song around it, similar to methods Zappa incorporated. He then contacted Ike Willis, the voice on numerous Zappa albums, and asked him to sing on the track and add another guitar solo. Die hard Zappa fans will also notice a lyrical reference to the infamous ‘White Zone’. McKee continues, “The original solo I wrote is what ends the song, and Ike takes the first guitar solo. If you close your eyes, you can see Frank and hear the lineage. When Frank got sick, he asked Ike to carry on his music, and while this is a new, original song, his playing and voice carries the torch for both the legacy fans as well as a new generation of listeners.”

McKee then asked Grammy-nominated bassist Chip Z’Nuff (Enuff Z’Nuff, Missing Persons, Adler’s Appetite) to play bass on all parts except for the bass under the solos, which McKee had recorded originally.

The end result is a modern interpretation and homage to a timeless and unique style.

Mattias IA Eklundh to release Freak Guitar: The Smorgasbord!

February 5th, 2013

Favored Nations Entertainment Releases Long-Awaited Mattias IA Eklundh Album ‘Freak Guitar: The Smorgasbord’ serves as a continuation to popular ‘Freak Guitar’ series.

This double disc album “Freak Guitar—The Smorgasbord,” released by Favored Nations Entertainment, contains 40 brand new tracks and has something to draw in all types of listeners who enjoy a wide range of genres—not just metal. With the album, Eklundh has built on the complexities of his previous albums to create a new and eclectic sound.

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Steve Vai to release new solo record, The Story of Light!

May 23rd, 2012

Virtuoso guitarist and visionary composer Steve Vai will release The Story of Light, a new solo album of original material, on August 14. The title comes out on Favored Nations Entertainment, the label Vai founded in 1999. Its sprawling and expressive 12-song set continues a conceptual and cosmic narrative arc begun on the artist’s acclaimed 2005 album Real Illusions: Reflections (also Vai’s most recent solo studio release).

Although The Story of Light is largely instrumental, the album does feature guest vocalists including singer-songwriter Aimee Mann—dueting with Vai on “No More Amsterdam,” which she also co-wrote—and Beverly McClellan, a season one finalist on The Voice. McClellan appears on “John the Revelator,” a track inspired by a vintage recording of blues singer Blind Willie Johnson, whose acid-soaked vocals are in the mix as well. Other highlights include the title track (which opens the album), “Gravity Storm,” “The Moon and I,” and “Velorum.”

Throughout, three-time GRAMMY-winner Vai’s lead guitar is as lyrically resonant as it is technically masterful, his licks and solos bending sounds and in listeners’ minds in equal measure. The Story of Light follows the journey of a man driven mad by grief, intertwining tragedy, revelation, enlightenment, and redemption.

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“I’m always pursuing knowledge, I’m a seeker of spiritual equilibrium—and music is a big part of that,” says Vai. “I’ve been obsessed with these kinds of ideas for years.” Looking ahead, Vai envisions a third set of songs that will unravel the mysteries and reveal truths that swirl through both The Story of Light and Real Illusions: Reflections. The completed trilogy, intended to be cinematic—even operatic—in scope, will include lyrics and narration.

The Story of Light is available as of today for online pre-sale orders. This special pre-sale selection of bundled packages is offered exclusively through Vai’s website, www.Vai.com, where complete details on the products and ordering information are available. Each package includes an instant download of a track from the new album personally selected by Vai, “Gravity Storm.”

Following up the 2009 live album Where The Wild Things Are, The Story of Light, is Vai’s 16th solo effort. In support of its release, Vai will begin a tour of North America on August 15th in Fort Lauderdale Florida, accompanied by his band—who are also featured on the new album: Dave Weiner (guitar), Jeremy Colson (drums), Philip Bynoe (bass), and Deborah Hensen (harp, vocals, keyboards).

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Rare Auction: Steve Vai’s “Eat ‘EM AND SMILE” DLR Marshall Full Stack!

March 15th, 2012

For sale: Steve Vai’s Marshall 100 watt 4 input JMP Plexi & matching “white face” 4×12 cabinets used on David Lee Roth’s “Eat Em and Smile” record and the 1986-1988 David Lee Roth tour (Official Vai.com auction)

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The 100 watt Marshall JMP was given to Ted Templeman by Steve Stevens during the NYC recording sessions for “Eat Em and Smile.” The amp was then modded to Steve’s liking by Lee Jackson, famous for performing sought after custom modifications to Marshall amplifiers for top artists in the 1980′s and 1990′s. It was Steve’s main amp for the “Eat Em and Smile”sessions and used on the entire David Lee Roth tour. The 100 watt plexi head features an extra gain stage, frequency adjust control, effects loop & master volume. The head has been well maintained in Los Angeles and features matching Drake transformers, KT88 quad-matched power tubes & hand-selected pre-amp tubes to Steve’s liking.

The twin 4×12 cabinets are outfitted with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers made in Ipswich, England. Both cabinets bear Steve’s signature, certification & are in perfect working order. This is your chance to bid on a historical piece of equipment used by a legendary performer in their international breakthrough role. This is an official Vai.com auction. All questions will be answered as promptly as possible. A portion of the proceeds will go to he Make-a-noise fund, a 501.3c which provides musical instruments to cultivate and preserve musical awareness, development, and education.

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Andy Timmons Band releases “Plays Sgt. Pepper”

February 21st, 2012

Favored Nations releases one of the most beloved cultural milestones of the ‘60s generation, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, creatively interpreted and re-imagined in this all-instrumental rendition by none other than Andy Timmons!

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September 27th, 2010

Jim Florentine & Don Jameson of VH1’s That Metal Show Release Terrorizing Telemarketers 5

September 15th, 2010

Steve Vai’s “Where The Wild Things Are” Double Vinyl

September 14th, 2010

Favored Nations is proud to present our first ever vinyl release! Steve Vai's Live In Minneapolis: Where The Wild Things Are Limited Edition Double Vinyl features the Grammy Nominated audio performance from the “Where The Wild Things Are” RIAA Certified Gold DVD and Blu-ray.

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The double LP was specifically mixed and mastered through analog equipment to a 96kHz / 24 bit digital format, the highest resolution audio experience of all the Live In Minneapolis: Where The Wild Things Are releases, and is printed on two 180 gram audiophile virgin vinyl colored LPs in a stunning full-color gatefold jacket.

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LA Guns Shrinking Violet Available Now!

June 1st, 2010