(Me playing John Petrucci's live 7 string; with John and Corey B. Photo by Jordan Rudess)

John Petrucci and Matt Heafy guitar lesson episode 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEexr-OCbvk

John Petrucci and Matt Heafy guitar lesson episode 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg0xAJzpeKw

John Petrucci and Matt Heafy guitar lesson episode 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgzVutGffSo

John Petrucci and Matt Heafy guitar lesson episode 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HG4CdqO9Uvg


I Love New York City… Oh Yeah… New York City (part II)


I play hard, because I work hard. It ain't all hours of gorging and drankin' and feasting all the time… but that's the stuff that I work towards. We woke up after our night of extravagance and headed to Josh Wilbur's studio in New York. That's where we'd be attempting some new clean vocal parts over the pre-existing "In Waves." 

We caught up with Josh at his really-rad old-building turned renovated-studio space where he played us some of the new Lamb Of God well before it's release. Goddamn is that stuff good.

I warmed up vocals with no real game plan in mind for what I'd be attempting on the track, headed in and laid down the best thing that it could have been. I sang quite brutally for a few hours - trying out some options. It sounded pretty killer, but didn't top the original; but you never know a definitive answer until you try something out. 

We packed up shop, let the engineers do their thing and headed to lunch.

This was a Monte pick this time: Bon Chon. A Korean fried chicken joint. I was familiar with Korean traditional, with Korean tacos, but not Korean fried chicken. Apparently this style of chicken is spreading across NYC (and now the rest of the world) and man is it good. Bon Chon double fries their chicken. That means double the delectable, crunchy, not-good-for-your-body-but-great-for-your-soul outer crispy skin. 

We had the Bon Chon Drums Large: crispy double fried drum stick with soy garlic sauce. We also got some of the Wings, medium with hot garlic sauce. Kimchi Coleslaw was our side. 

Having never done crack, but ever-cognizant of it's metaphors applied to all walks of life - Bon Chon's fried chicken is exactly what I imagine crack to be like to a teeth-grinding addict. The smell alone sends a magical whiff of soy sauce, garlic, fried mystery-batter - all to the olfactory glands, sending your brain into a ravenous shock. The hot touch, and inviting glaze of the just double fried chicken drumsticks tease you all the way into your first bite. 

Imagine the crispiest crispy fried chicken outside/skin you've had… double that - in an almost tempura-battered-ice-cream shell. That's what it's kind of like. I could just eat that exoskeleton - all day long. The meat however, is perfectly cooked - moist, juicy, not dry. This is too much of a good thing. Haven't had Korean fried chicken? Go eat a bunch - it's insane.

Ever the health-conscious man, Paolo didn't eat all his skin - I picked up all his scraps and inhaled that shit. Mine!

Blindingly full and ready to get on with the day… we headed to Roadrunner NYC with Darren and Monte in tow. Today's events outside of the NYC show and trek to the airport hotel (we were due to fly to Japan for about 2 and a half days to play the Loud Park festival, then fly back to finish up the Dream Theater North American support run) were some press videos alongside John Petrucci.

For those of you who don't know, John Petrucci is the lead guitarist of Dream Theater, but also my favorite guitarist of all time. I religiously studied his "Rock Discipline" VHS and manual as a kid - it taught me everything about my disciplined guitar technique. I still use most of the exercises to date for every single show we play as warm ups. 

Now before that… Monte said "If you're a true foodie… you're going to eat some Roberta's next!" Now - I was completely, blindingly, unconsciously full - but here was my long time friend and A&R foodie-buddy calling me out to eat something else great. 

Roberta's is a pizza place in Brooklyn, but there was a mini food-festival going on, right outside of Eataly NYC. They had a mini-pizza oven at their booth, and Monte called me over as he ordered away. 

Montel ordered me the Speckenwolf: white pizza, onion, mushrooms, speck and truffle oil (we think truffle oil at least - not totally sure if it was on there). If pizza was always like Roberta's… if all those shite-sorry-excuse-of-Italian-sort-of-descent-delivery places around the world could do pizza with this sort of care and attention to detail… I don't know - we wouldn't have war… or something. 

Crisped and charred on the outside, personal-sized (if you were actually hungry), minimal, great ingredients. This stuff just worked together. This pizza was a work of art. I since have been attempting to duplicate it at home. NYC just has it all man. 

The video lesson stuff went amazingly - me and JP traded off teaching things to camera, to each other - and were really able to break the ice for the first time. From there - we started hanging in little bursts occasionally - trading music ideas, guitar tips, and all that goodness. My life is pretty surreal at times… at most times, really.