Brian Kahanek
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Brian Kahanek

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iVideosongs debuts three great songs featuring Texas blues rock master, Brian Kahanek, this week: “Gemini," “Deliver Me" and “Sold Your Soul." Kahanek, known for his blistering chops and creative lead guitar playing, has a following among guitar players and players of Guitar Hero alike.

Each of these iVideosongs titles include an interview and conversation with Kahanek, where he discusses his development as a musician, his musical influences and the back story for each song.

“Gemini" is the instrumental from 2004's Real Life album, and the monster guitar song featured in the Guitar Hero game. In this iVideosongs title, Kahanek shows how to play all the fills and solos, and the technique that drives his distinctive tone. Gemini features instruction for two guitar parts.

“Deliver Me" was recorded on Kahanek's 2007 album, Suicide King. In this iVideosongs title, he shows intermediate to advanced-level players how to master both the rhythm and lead guitar parts of the song. “Sold Your Soul" is a Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan-inspired song from 2004's Real Life album. Kahanek shows how to play each of the song's segments, rhythm and lead parts. “Sold Your Soul" is for intermediate and advanced guitarists as well.

Each of the new songs include embedded tablature and chord grids for each video segment.

Kahanek also instructs one of iVideosongs popular “lick of the week" tutorials, showing how to play a challenging blues/rock riff over an E7 chord.
- All About Jazz


This is one of those discs that needed to play in the background a couple of times before it clicked with me. But when it did… pow.

Solid blues-rock with just a hint of Texas twang (Kahanek is a Dallas native transplanted to LA), Real Life at first struck me as more workmanlike than spectacular. I dug the sincerity behind the music, but didn't find the groove right off. And then about the second or third time through, I stopped what I was doing and paid full attention as Kahanek -- a decent singer, but an outstanding guitar player -- lit into the solo on the slow-building third track "Little Things" (perhaps a semi-conscious nod to Hendrix's "Little Wing")... and knocked me on my ass. As my son likes to say,
oh damn! This boy can flat-out play.

And so he does. Whether on funked-up blues numbers like the opening "Sign," lilting Southern roots-rock like "Love Deluxe," thoughtful midtempo cuts like "Tomorrow," or stinging instrumentals like the closing jam "Gemini," Kahanek lets loose with one vivid demonstration after another of the pure joy of playing the electric guitar as if your life depended on it. When I dream about playing guitar (can't play a lick, folks), I dream about being able to do it with this much passion and fluidity and innate melodic sense.

I have to say that the vocal side of Real Life wasn't a big focus for this listener. While I didn't find Kahanek's vocals especially appealing, what they might lack in polish he makes up for with commitment, giving an honest hundred percent to every one of these songs. Plus, his lyrics have an emotional intensity that's perfectly in sync with the passion he pours into his playing.

It's hard to imagine this disc finding a mass audience -- realistically speaking, today's mainstream music scene doesn't even make room for 10-second solos in a four-minute song. But for aficionados of rootsy blues-rock that lets the lead guitarist stretch out a bit a la vintage Stevie Ray Vaughan or Eric Clapton, this album might be the sweetest find you stumble across all year. Be sure to check it out.
- Daily Vault Music Reviews @ http://dailyvault.com/toc.php5?artist=1604


It used to be that when a young person was asked what he or she wanted to be when an adult, one would commonly hear "fireman," "policeman" or "doctor" in response. With the recent pandemic of musically themed videogames spreading across the nation like wildfire, however, many children are now adding "rock star" to their "when-I-grow-up" lists.

More specifically, games such as "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero" have introduced an entirely new generation of future rockers to music and musicianship, and in the eyes of paradigm blues-rock guitarist/composer Brian Kahanek — as well as other musicians throughout the world — that's one of the best things to happen in a long time.

Today, Kahanek, 38, along with his backing band featuring expert musicians Sam Daleo and Dustin Cunningham, is steadily becoming one of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll, and after the huge success of his instrumental track titled "Gemini," which is featured in the second installment of Harmonix Music System and Red Octane's "Guitar Hero" series, it seems that the sky is the only limit.

Born on an 80-acre farm in Columbus, Ohio, and reared in the rhythm 'n' boogie hotbed of San Antonio, Kahanek — who earned a bachelor's degree from the University of North Texas' College of Music — moved to Los Angeles in 1998, but was exposed to a wide variety of folk, country and blues from a tender age.

"Texas, I think, for the most part had the most do with (developing my musical style)," Kahanek said during a recent interview. "That's where I picked up the guitar." As the story now goes, thanks to a close friend of his family's, a 10-year-old Kahanek was presented with an acoustic guitar purchased at Ruston's Western Wear store on the outskirts of San Antonio for $100. And while blues-inspired rock is the guitarist's obvious forte and passion, Kahanek admitted, "I was into heavy metal when I was in high school." However, he quickly countered, "I kinda got done with that once I heard (Jimi) Hendrix."

Kahanek's said his first appearance in the rock-album market came with the release of his 2004 debut, the 10-track "Real Life," which became an instant underground hit, but didn't catch the ear of the major-music market until the instrumental track "Gemini" was picked up by "Guitar Hero II." In turn, Kahanek said, "The success of that one song made 'Real Life' take off."

So how exactly did Kahanek manage to get his song featured as part of a hot-selling videogame? Well, in his own, words it was "dumb luck" and really a "right place, right time" scenario.

Shortly after the release of Real Life, Kahanek said, was conducting a guitar clinic for a international music exhibition, and fellow musician Marcus Henderson heard him playing "Gemini."

"Marcus asked for a copy of the disc, and three months later I got a phone call from (friend) Marcus Schefer," said Kahanek, who added that Schefer told him he was "getting the Willie Wonka golden ticket."

After the explosive success of the "Guitar Hero" series, Kahanek said he used the exposure of "Gemini" as a step up to the next level, having since signed on as an endorsee with Gibson guitars and having the guitar tablature for "Gemini," his first fully transcribed song, uploaded to Gibson's Web Site (www.Gibson.com) for a free download.

Additionally, the still-single Kahanek said he's used the newfound popularity he's generated from "Gemini" to release a brand-new album on his Sidewindermusic Records label, "Suicide King," a dozen-song disc that he describes as "much more alive and in-your-face." Moreover, he added, if the music contained on his newest independent CD "makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up," then he's done his job.

"Suicide King" features tight, rhythmic playing as well as crazy, off-the-wall soloing. But not all of the living legend's guitar work is based on full-blown, 100 miles-per-hour, "weedly deedly" guitar shredding. Instead, Kahanek conceded, that's merely "a symptom of youth" and that "the older you get, you realize that blowing your face off is cool, but what's next?" Suicide King is also a much more lyrically developed album that Kahanek said may seem "darker" and more emotional, because it was written after the October 2004 death of his military-man father, a former forward air controller/Bronco pilot.

"As far as my dad and the CD, well, the name of the record is 'Suicide King' and what I wanted to get across is (that) most of us are our own worst enemies and that real happiness begins when we give ourselves a break and start believing that amazing things are possible," he explained. "Basically, you have believe it to see it ... (and that's) something my dad had started to grasp before he died. "His combat experience in Vietnam, I think, left him pretty hopeless for much of his life since he saw the worst side of this world, much like our amazing service folks in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Kahanek takes listeners of "Suicide King" on a journey, from the disc's title track, which he describes as "the proverbial fall from grace via self-doubt" through to the album's final track, "Let It Go," that offers redemption. "The music that I write reflects my life in real time," he conceded. "I don't want to sugarcoat it, (because) when I wrote this record I was going through a very rough time. But you know what? The sun is peaking its head and now it's time for some good stuff."

With "Suicide King" already having outsold "Real Life," his Gibson endorsements and with his level-headed business savvy, the future does indeed look brighter than ever for Kahanek, who sees his career's possibilities as endless and contemplates moving back to Texas, this time Austin, before too terribly long.

As far as advice for young fans looking to make it big and follow in his footsteps, Kahanek said, "You hope at some point someone recognizes you for what you do. ... Do it for the love of music and hope for the best. Stop trying to be famous, and be the best musician you can possibly be."

For more information on Kahanek, Gibson guitars, or Guitar Hero, visit www.briankahanek.com.
- The Daily News Journal/Tenessean.com


Throw Us a Bonus

In addition to the licensed songs, Guitar Hero II includes 24 "bonus" tracks, arguably strong enough on their own to merit buying Guitar Hero II. Several are contributions from groups who appeared on the first Guitar Hero, like Freezepop or the Acro-brats. The Last Vegas' track Raw Dog won the "Be a Guitar Hero" contest, and for good reason: It's a rip-roaring rocker that stands up to constant replays. There are some hidden gems, like Brian Kahanek's Gemini, which conjures echoes of Eric Johnson, and Bang Camaro's Push Push (Lady Lightning), which feels like a classic Kiss anthem reborn for the 21st century. There's also a bit of stunt casting, with Strong Bad (of Homestar Runner fame) offering up Trogdor and Dethklok (the fictional death-metal stars of Adult Swim's Metalocalpyse) performing Thunderhorse; both, we suspect, will become Guitar Hero II faves before long.
- PS2.GAMESPY.COM


Pasadena, CA, October 22, 2008 --(PR.com)-- Solid Cables™ has signed on Guitar Hero contributing guitarist, Brian Kahanek as their latest endorser.

Solid Cables™ is quickly taking the industry by storm by finally providing the industry with what it needs – a cable that works. A real instrument cable that lasts and can take a beating. Made using only the finest quality materials and assembled by hand, Solid Cables™ products are built to last and outperform all others. They truly do live up to their name. So much in fact, they offer a lifetime warranty on all of them. Brian Kahanek now joins an ever growing list of elite musicians who will accept nothing but the best between their prized instruments and amplifiers. The artist list includes Carl Verheyen, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Al Di Meola and many, many more.

"The clarity, detail and transparency of my Solid Cables™ are like hearing with fresh ears. For me there is no other cable." – Brian Kahanek

Brian Kahanek is setting the guitar industry on fire with his reliable skills on the fretboard. He is not limited by genre and has the chops to deliver in studio, live or even video gaming environments. To learn more about Brian, visit his website at www.briankahanek.com.

About Solid Cables™
Solid Cables™ is a leading manufacture of instrument cables located in Pasadena, California. All cables are handcrafted in the USA and come with a lifetime warranty. www.solidcables.com - PR.COM


Discography

"Real Life" 2004
"Suicide King" 2007
"One True Thing" TBR 2010

Single - "Gemini" From Real Life featured in the Smash Hit video game Guitar Hero 2

Photos

Bio

Born in Columbus Ohio, Brian Kahanek grew up nearby on an 80-acre farm full of corn and alfalfa fields where his family bred beautiful Arabian horses and sold the yearly harvest. Helping his dad work the farm, feeding the horses and listening to music of all genres was part of daily life. When Brian was 10, the Kahanek clan moved to his father’s birthplace of San Antonio, a hotbed of Texas style rhythm and blues. It was here that a family friend purchased Brian his first guitar, a $100 acoustic from Ruston's Western Wear store on the outskirts of the city. Even with strings so high that you could shoot arrows with them, he dove into the musical offerings of Jim Croce, Simon and Garfunkle, Crosby Stills and Nash, and a myriad of other 60’s and 70’s singer-songwriters. He was hooked, learning to strum and fingerpick right off the bat, and never looked back.

By the age of 15, Brian was knee deep in The Police, AC/DC, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top and Jimi Hendrix to name a few. Honing his chops by playing every chance he got, Brian graduated High School and left home to study music at The University of North Texas in Denton. What he didn’t realize was that he would be playing more sessions and gigs than attending classes. With a palpable sense of his own artistic vision and a choice to make, he left the school of music to find his own identity as an artist. Cutting his teeth as a guitarist and singer, Brian worked the Texas club circuit for 6 years winning over regional critics and fans. Finally in 1998 he gave in to his childhood dream and moved to California, the land where everything is possible. It was in LA that he really set out to change things, but in reality things would change him. The City of Angels is where he found his own voice going against the superficial grain, and in 2001 Brian embraced his muse and dove in headfirst. In 2004 he released the underground hit album “Real Life”. “Gemini”, an instrumental track from “Real Life”, appears in a coveted position within the hottest video game of 2006 “Guitar Hero II.” Right on the heels of Guitar Hero, Brian released his sophomore record "Suicide King". With musical support from his longtime friends/bandmates, this was the next giant leap for an artist that had firmly come into his own, holding nothing back on this searing statement about igniting that elusive spark of inspiration in even the darkest times. As Winston Churchill said “If you are going through Hell … Keep going!" Definitely music not to be missed. Since the release of "Suicide King", fans have been eagerly anticipating BK's next move. Due out in early 2010, a third record entitled "One True Thing" is in the works. The perfect driving companion, this dynamic collection of original tracks conveys a potent sense of optimism, a reflection of this musician's maturity and confidence. Listeners will be treated to a balanced mix of instrumental and vocal tracks that will keep them cruising down the highway with unlimited possibilities on the horizon.

In addition to pursuits in a solo vein, Brian has recorded guitars and mixed for some of music's top artists including Tim Mcgraw, Multi-platinum Latin Group RBD (Rebels), Virgin recording artist - Betzi, Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros pictures... In fact Brian’s guitar work is featured on the 2006 number one single and record in the Latin American market “Save Me” from RBD's (Rebels) debut. These sessions are just to name a few as he is the behind the scenes vital talent that puts that finishing touch on much of today’s music.

Brian is also a sought-after recording engineer, having mixed and mastered some of the aforementioned artists while working on feature film as an ADR recordist and mixer. Brian’s film and video game credits include ... Pixar's Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, Peter Jackson's King Kong, Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl's Moving Castle and Proco Roso .. and these are just a few. Brian’s future as an artist and producer is as bright as can be imagined. With his boundless drive, energy and talent mixed with the most amazing fans… the sky is the limit.

Brian's artist endorsements include Gibson Guitars, National Guitars, LSL Guitars, Ernie Ball Strings, Sheptone Pick-ups & Solid Cables.