It all started for Mike Watt in San Pedro, California. That’s where he met D. Boon and George Hurley – who would later form The Minutemen – a band that would inspire legions. Watt went on to form fIREHOSE and to play bass for punk royalty, The Stooges, as well as hundreds of solo projects with musicians around the world.
Eric “Shade” Balderose is the guitar player for Code Orange, a hardcore band from Pittsburgh, PA that self-published several EPs and toured the county while in High School. Originally signed to Deathwish in 2012, after three studio albums and several tours around the world, the band decided to sign with Roadrunner Records where their latest record, “Forever,” was released amid huge critical acclaim.
Kyle Shutt is a founding member of The Sword – a band that has toured the world with acts such as Metallica, Lamb of God, Clutch, and Opeth, and headlined many tours and festivals. Their brand of stoner rock-meets-doom metal-meets-70s riff rock has charted on Billboard and been popular since the band’s 2003 inception in Austin.
Reeves Gabrels has the unusual distinction of meeting David Bowie and forming a band with him – Tin Machine in 1989. He went on to work with Bowie in his solo career, has a successful solo career of his own with his band Reeves Gabrels and His Imaginary Friends, and is currently the lead guitar player in The Cure.
People who have heard Meshell Ndegeocello play in person talk about her magic, and her resume is too long a varied to talk about here -- which starts for most people with her duet with John Mellencamp on “Wild Nights” and currently goes until the theme song on the hit TV show “Queen Sugar.” Respected across multiple genres, this woman is a true rock star.
The story goes that Pete Anderson and Dwight Yoakam tried to bring their roots-based country music to Nashville in the mid-80s, and Nashville (at the time) wasn’t interested. So, they went to California, and became a smash-hit. Today. Pete expertly produces and works with a whole host of artists, all while performing regularly for his own solo records and collecting awards.
Rick Vito’s first professional gig as a young man was with duo, Delaney and Bonnie. From there, he went on to play with (among others) John Mayall, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Seeger, and Fleetwood Mac. He currently has a solo show as well as a band with Mick Fleetwood called The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band
Gil Parris is a solo artist and sideman who is a real guitar playing virtuoso. In his solo work, he blends jazz, blues, and rock into his own, eclectic mix. He’s worked with Dr. John, Toni Braxton, and Bernie Williams – he really gets around!
Ron Asheton (1948-2009), guitar player for The Stooges, was the first Reverend Artist. He had played a Naylor Amp for many years before Reverend Guitars existed. When The Stooges reunited, he was looking for a guitar with lots of grit and high-end fuzz, and he knew all about Joe Naylor’s guitar company. Joe created the Bass Contour knob just for him, and eventually put it on every guitar.
From Albermarle, North Carolina – a small city in the Uwharrie Mountains – comes Unknown Hinson. He’s a purveyor of country, psychobilly, and rock, the voice of Early Cuyler on Squidbillies, and he can play a little guitar, too. As of late, he can be found touring the country with The Reverend Horton Heat.
In 1996, Bob Balch joined Fu Manchu -- virtuosos of Southern California Fuzzrock -- and he's been rocking with them ever since. He's also the man behind PlayThisRiff.com where guitarists can learn how to play songs directly from their favorite rockstars. In his spare time, he shreds in Sun and Sail Club, a stoner rock super group with members from Kyuss and The Adolescents. How cool is that?
William “Billy” Corgan is the mastermind behind The Smashing Pumpkins – a band that took over the airwaves in 1991 with the album Gish and still continues to be a major influence on the scene. Currently involved in a number of Pumpkins and non-Pumpkins related musical projects, Billy also has a hand in a number of other business ventures.
A multi-instrumentalist, Jenn Wasner is a person who continues to fascinate the listener. She is best known for her work as one half of the duo Wye Oak, where she sings, plays guitar and bass, as well as a synthesizer. All while making it look effortless. She brings the same sense of exploration to her other projects (Flock of Dimes, Dungeonesse).
Matt West can fly. And levitate. And do all kinds of other gymnastics that people shouldn’t be able to do when they play guitar. Matt has been playing with Neck Deep since the beginning in Wrexham, Wales in 2012. They have since gone on to produce three studio albums, tour the world extensively, including two Warped Tours, and win both Best British Newcomer at the 2014 Kerrang! Awards and Best Live Band at the 2016 Alternative Press Music Awards. Matt’s riff-based style and his gymnastic antics are why they call him the Fret Wizard.
Tommy Koffin is a guitarist and founding member of The Koffin Kats, a legendary Detroit three-piece who have taken their brand of high-energy psychobilly and punk throughout the world for more than a decade. Tommy and the Koffin Kats have made it their mission in life to keep the true spirit of rock n’ roll alive and well. Since forming the band in June 2003, Tommy has toured relentlessly across the world, honing the Koffin Kats sound into a beer slamming, blood gushing, full-on sonic assault.
Todd Evans, formerly of GWAR, is the founder and mastermind behind Mobile Deathcamp. The band is currently touring the United States until December 2018 with Raven and Extinction AD. According to SMN News, “Ohio 3-piece Mobile Deathcamp can play some pummeling no holds barred speed metal! Their songs are straight forward old school metal assaults, with crossover appeal.”