SMG Weekly Round Up: News from Steve Vai, AC/DC, Eastwood, Kirk Hammett and more…

Steve Vai Introduces Ibanez JEM EVO

In this video, Steve Vai casts his eyes over the Ibanez JEM EVO replica, the limited edition market-version of his beloved guitar.

I have a JEM 555 in my armoury, but this looks like it blows any other JEMs out the water! The price tag is quite frankly huge, £5579 on Thomann’s web store, and they’re known for being cheap.

As Steve inspects parts of the guitar, and is shown having his first look at the new limited edition replica, he looks like a proud man.

Here’s the spec:

Alder body, hand shaped 5-piece JEM-Evo maple neck, 648 mm scale, rosewood fretboard, 24 frets, pearl/abalone “Tree of Life” fretboard inlays, pick holder and wrench holder on the backside of the headstock, 2 x DiMarzio Evolution humbucker, 1 x Evolution single coil, colour: white aged.

AC/DC to start working on new material

AC/DC singer, Brian Johnson, has hinted that a new album from the classic rock band might not be too far off. In an interview with 107.7 The Bone, Johnson said:

“I’ll be getting together with Malcolm in a couple of weeks, then we’re going to London to meet up with Angus, hopefully. That’s usually how we’ll start. We’re just a bunch of pals from the projects still. Even though we’ve done well, we still have the same roots that we stick by that we did when we had nothing.”

The band will reflect upon the work and decide whether to go ahead with recording the album:

“That’s the work ethic: It has to be right for the boys to do anything,” Johnson said. “We’re sitting down and saying, ‘Can we do this? We’re not going to be a pale shadow of our former selves?’ We’ll talk about it and make sure we’ve all got it. We’re five pieces of a card – if one of us is not really there, the whole thing would just collapse, I think.”

Vintage Cars Inspire New Eastwood Guitars

Vintage cars and vintage guitars both had their heyday at around the same point in time, so it figures that Eastwood should celebrate hot rods with their own new line of Airline guitars.

The Limited edition two-tone ’59 Airline Catalina 2P LTD guitar is first in the new series, based on an illustration found on the Richworks blog. The guitar has a rubber binding and a cool two-toned black and yellow finish.

The colours are not for the faint hearted, but for a rockabilly loving axeman out there somewhere it’ll be the pride of their collection.

Pricing starts from $1079 for the Airline Catalina, but a Bigsby B-50 can be added for $139.

Only 24 of these bad boys are being made, and yours will be numbered ‘number # out of 24’, with a certificate of authenticity. Head over to for more information.

Kirk Hammett talks about the Orion Festival line-up and preparing to play Ride The Lightning and The Black Album in full

Remember all those months back when Metallica released an obscure video? The Youtube clip claimed that they had some big news coming up, and that they were going to make an announcement.

Mass speculation ensued, obviously, with most people guessing that they were going to announce a collaboration with another unlikely artist. But it seemed pretty obvious from the video that it was going the announcement of some sort of Metallicafest.

This was exactly what the announcement was, and the festival was to be called Orion Festival. In an interview with Guitar World, Kirk Hammett spoke about how the band were preparing to play two of their seminal albums in full:

“A lot of the songs in our set are on Ride the Lightning to begin with, so when it came time to actually think about doing Ride the Lightning, the only songs we needed to rehearse were ‘Escape’ and ‘The Call of Ktulu’.

“Everything else is something that we play in pretty regular rotation — ‘Fade to Black’, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, ‘Fight Fire With Fire’. The only one we really felt the need to rehearse was ‘Escape,’ which we’ve never played live before, and ‘The Call of Ktulu,’ which we have played live a lot, but not since December, I think.”

He also broached the subject of the eclectic line-up at the festival:

“I’m excited about Arctic Monkeys, I’m excited about Avenged Sevenfold, The Gaslight Anthem, Cage the Elephant, Best Coast, Gary Clark Jr. — who I think is just a tremendous guitar player — The Sword, Suicidal Tendencies, Kyng, Red Fang and Soul Rebels Brass Band, who we played with in December. It’s going to be pretty cool.

“Basically what we’re doing is setting it up like a European festival. A lot of times when we go over to Europe to play festivals, there are a lot of different bands from a lot of different genres of music. After playing these festivals for 20 years or so it’s shown us that heavy metal bands and regular rock bands and alternative bands and whatever else can co-exist together. And that’s pretty much what we’re trying to do with our festival — a European type of bill, but in America.”

Thanks for reading the SMG weekly news round-up, check-in next weekend for more.

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