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Editors Column – Learning something about each Issue. Insight into Guitar Thrills Magazine

Posted: October 23, 2023

Learning is one of the fascinating parts of life. You never stop learning. I head a comment, but a popular comedian. He said, “Why do I want to learn anything new at my age”. I thought, that is dumb comment. Even if it was part of his routine, he wasn’t alone. There are many people up in years, that believe learning new ways to do things is irrational.

These are the same people that get frustrated with technology. They don’t want to learn anything new. Therefore, they get stuck, and count on others to do things for them. Personally, I don’t want to ever have to count on someone else. The more I learn, the more confident I am. The more I learn, the more advantage that I have over others. The more I learn, the more helpful I can be to others in need.

There are misconceptions, and ideals that simply are wrong. Techniques and uses of equipment can be outdated, and ineffective.

When I first started building this magazine, there were so many periods of trial an error. I wanted to give up. However, it required that I fail, to recognize want I was doing wrong. I even had the same mentality creep in. “There is nothing that anyone can teach me”. I have worked in every area of Sales, Marketing, Design and Music to know how a real magazine should look and feel. I was wrong, and I can honestly admit my mistakes. Indirectly, I have learned how to deal with people in a realistic and respectful manner. Regardless of my expectations of them. It all boils down to accomplishment and progress. Two areas that any brand or magazine require.

So, the design of Guitar Thrills Magazine will be altered periodically. Since inception the design and format has changed. Even the brand name has gone through a dramatic change. The type of artists that receive an invitation to interview are from a different genre. I have settled in on the type of artists that I work with. Even the Guitar Thrills Branding has found firm roots. Neither will change. Portions of the magazine will always change. I learn this each time, that a magazine is released. I look back and review certain changes that need to be made. They I try to implement them by the next issue. For Guitar Thrills Magazine, this is progress.

By the time this issue is released to the public, are new website will be launched as well. The current design and functionality of our current website has been a sore spot for me. Before investing in a fully functional website, I needed to ensure that our product is “Solvent” (having assets in excess of liabilities; able to pay one's debts). The questions: Is this a product that can outlast the competitive market? Is this a marketable product? Is there a need that cannot be fulfilled by other “alike” brands? I have concluded that the answer is yes. The insight to the Guitar Thrills Brand is confidential currently. Meaning we do not provide analytics, distribution, or circulation. Unless there is a unique situation that presents itself.

Often with an Editors Column we bring in a guest to answer some questions regarding the subject. This top is no different. I have brought in a guest that you are familiar with. His name is Manuel Bellone.

ABOUT MANUEL BELLONE

Manuel Bellone has his roots in the tradition of folk and American country music, fused with a strong spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.

“I’m a folk-rock songwriter from Palermo, Sicily. Last year, me and my band played all over Europe, showcasing songs from my last two albums, “Light From The Grave” and “Split Pot“. I write and perform my own songs and I’am influenced by many artists,especially from classic folk, blues rock.

Classic, but unique: that’s what I like, and it’s also how I’d like to be seen.”

Audiences (and music critics) loved the gigs – as did the band – so now Manuel is looking forward to heading out on tour again, with the hope of making the experience even better. Manuel has played in a number of significant festivals including Live At Heart in Orebro (SWE), the Jazz & Blues Festival in Motala (SWE), the Folkest Festival (IT) and more.

With his first solo EP out in 2013 “Lost Every Night Alone”, the folk-rock singer songwriter MANUEL BELLONE, influenced by artists such as Ryan Adams Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons, the american traditional music and the acoustic music of the early 70s Stones and Zeppelin, inspired by Alfons Maria Mucha’s paintings and Sicily’s countryside fragrance, Manuel starts his path that will lead to the “Light From The Grave” LP, out in 2015, that will bring him to play more than 100 gigs in the clubs and theaters all around Europe, making him one of the hardest working Italian musicians abroad.

At the of 2016 it’s the turn of “You Need A Plan B To Stay Alive”, a live EP that celebrates one year and a half of touring and anticipates the return of Manuel Bellone into the recording studio for his forthcoming LP “Split Pot”.

“Split Pot” is the treasure chest containing what and where we have been during the last ten years, the people we’ve met, everything we’ve done, so whatever inspired our songs.”

That’s how Manuel Bellone and band talk about their album, out April the 18th 2017 along with the beginning of Manuel Bellone’s European Tour.

Just like the Stones’ “Exile On Main Street”, the songs where recorded during what we can consider a musical retreat in the middle of

Sicilian country side, totally DIY.

In Oct 14 2020 Manuel released a new single, “a case of an endless blue

He says: “This song represent feelings I had during an hard year, state of emotions that cannot be expressed in spoken words.”

This new track wants to be just a little something between the long period of silence after “Split pot” and the next album, scheduled for 2021.

Manuel was born in Meran, in the northern part of Italy, straight on the border with Austria. As soon as he was twelve he moved in Palermo, in the deepest southern part of Europe, a few miles away from the African shores. While his grandparents used to listen to the American folk music, he developed a different way to intend music, starting, at fourteen, to write his own songs, highly influenced by the traditional Americana, the hammering African pace and the Gipsy music, played in the Central Europe.

During the years Manuel plays with different bands and musicians from all over Europe, sharing with them his folk features and, in return, learning a lot of new musical styles and tips. Being on stage for more than eight years with Vincent Hank (more country influenced) and Federico Siino ( New Orleans Blues-oriented bassist), Manuel, in 2013, starts is own solo career, finding his final identity as a songwriter. His first EP “Lost every night alone” has been totally written by the sea, just with a couple of acoustic instruments, surrounded by the wild nature of Sicily. Promoting his solo album, Manuel, and his band tour around Europe, writing every day new songs, influenced now by the sounds and perfumes of Poland, now by the noises and the melting pot of London, now by the bohémien atmosphere in Paris. Nine of those songs, in 2015, are included in Manuel Bellone’s Long Playing “Light from the grave”, while other tracks are still being shaped, soaking the ideas and the influences that everyday life on the road gives them.

I picked out a specific point to talk about with our guest. From Editors article above the statement is made:

There are misconceptions, and ideals that simply are wrong. Techniques and uses of equipment can be outdated, and ineffective. “ - Guitar Thrills Magazine

Therefore, our question to Manuel Bellone is right within his knowledge base. He is not only a lead singer, but a masterful musician. Internationally known and has won the hearts of many fans by his authentic style of Folk Rock.

Hello Manuel. Thank you for being our guest today. This topic is so limitless that we could carry on a question-and-answer session for hours (easily). However, I would like to stick to some main points that will be conducive to our readers. Have you personally used equipment that may suit a purpose, but is considered out of date or obsolete? If so, why and for how long?

Manuel: Hello, I’m very pleased to have the chance to chat with you again, especially about such an interesting topic.
Yes, I do use equipment considered obsolete such as my tiny Laney 5 watt valve amp, it is my secret weapon to give my acoustic guitar a weird, “crunchy” sound. 
I use it to mix the clear acoustic sound of my Parlor guitar (The Loar one), trough a Zoom preamp pedal , leading straight to the mixer, blending it to the dirty sound of the 5 watt amp. Since I’ve tried this trick ,I’ve found the perfect balance for my sound.

GT: What should dictate whether upgrades should be made, and what determines the priority of the upgrade? Such as guitars, components, Software, etc.

Manuel: Well, I think that finding your own sound is an intimate research.

At some point, it can happen that you’re stuck to an impasse. that, is the sign you have to make a change. From old stuff to new stuff or , on the contrary from new to old. I think the best deal is to use both and get a mix. Jack White is one of the best at doing that, for instance.

GT: What about techniques when it comes to playing the guitar. I read a statement from and old school musician that stated he didn’t like the way modern guitarists played. Everything must be easy and effortless. I never though playing a guitar could be considered effortless, some musicians just make it look that way. Mostly because of their skill set. Have you identified techniques that are out of date? If so, what styles, techniques, etc. and what adjustments did you make?

Manuel: First of all, in my humble opinion playing music is never easy, even playing guitar like Johnny Ramone is not that foregone.

This question reminds me of a famous scene from the movie ”Mississippi Adventure”, which you may know well. where the Steve Vai’s new “blues guitar style” gets demolished by the classic bluesy “old but gold” guitar style.

As for the sound research, I think the best choice for a musician is to do a mix. For example, I really like the old time “claw hammer” style, I often use it and I’ve made it part of my guitar skills.
We have to live the present using the knowledge of the past.

GT: That really covers the point nicely. At least for the moment. I would like to ask you a couple of questions regarding your latest project. You released an album called Spleen. How was that received by your fans? Can you tell us what does it stand for, and how the idea for the album come about?

Manuel: Well, the theme of this record is the complexity and incomprehensibility of the multitude of emotions that can sometimes invade us: a sudden change of mood, leading us to such a state that we are no longer able to distinguish happiness from sadness, the absence of serenity, an oppressive existential angst: "a state of gloomy depression, from which it is impossible to escape."
It may remind you of the meditative sadness or melancholy of the "Poeti Maledetti" made famous during the decadence of the early 1900s.
"Milza", which means "spleen" in English, derives from the Greek and Chinese medicine which was known to induce a state of restlessness, boredom and existential malaise. Fans were awesome as always, I really want tp thanks all of them.

GT: How have you been received by your fan base? Considering you have been playing guitar long before your band came about.

GT: What release do you have coming out? Any tours or performances you would like to mention?

Manuel: My latest single “Feel Alright” we released on October the 1st. it is a track from the album Spleen and it’s available on every digital store, you can find also the video clip on You Tube. This song is an anthem to everyone looking for better days. I haven’t a tour scheduled at the moment but I’m ready to start with the booking.

GT: Very nice. While this is not your typical interview. I would like to have you back. So, we can get into detail about what you are working on. Thank you.

Conclusion: Learning has been the basis for our success. It we didn’t desire to continue learning, then failure would be the result. Your time, our time, it all would be for nothing. So, before you invest your time and efforts into other magazines, you may want to ask them about their brand mission or statement. What makes them different from other magazines, and how long do they plan on maintaining their brand? A desire to learn and change comes with all things. We mentioned our magazine format, but we also covered instruments used by artists. Everything can become out of date, and irrelevant. The one thing that we can guarantee that will not become out of date, is Guitar Thrills Magazine. Thank you for our contributing guest Manuel Bellone

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