News — Lars Mullen

Artist Spotlight: Grant MacLeod - The Munro Bagpiper 0

Grant MacLeod is on a personal quest to climb each and every Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands, play his bagpipes and say a big hello from the top of each and every one of them. I ask Grant how this unique offer started...

Guitar and Bass Player’s Top 10 Santa Pressie List 0

Santa Wearing HeadphonesIt’s that time of year again when musicians know what they want for Christmas… but daren’t ask. The chances of a new guitar or amp may be out of the question, whilst accessories and the essentials make the best stocking fillers...


Artist Spotlight: Diane Eaton - French Horn Player at the Symphony Orchestra Basel 0

Diane Eaton - French Horn Player at the Symphony OrchestraAmerican born Diane Eaton, a long-standing member and French horn player in the Basel Symphony Orchestra, one of Switzerland’s oldest and innovative orchestras.

“I’ve been with this orchestra now for 33 years”, says Diane “And still enjoy every rehearsal and performance. I was born and raised in Seattle on the west coast of the United States and have acquired my Bachelor's degree in music performance in North Western University, in Chicago, moved to Europe when I was 22 years old and went on to finish my studies in Berlin. Both these cities are known for their music colleges, especially for teaching brass.

Drastic Plastic: 10 Tips on how every musician can reduce plastic waste 0

Festival wasteThe recycling of plastic waste is vital. It’s all about numbers, numbers that are hard to grasp, I did read that there’s been a 379 million ton increase in plastic production since the 1950s and, that a staggering 91% of the 8.3 billion tons of plastic waste at this moment in time…are not being recycled.

More and more household named brands are announcing plans to reduce the number of new plastics they use, to appeal to younger shoppers, while the music industry itself is working on various projects to combat plastic issues.

Festivals stand out a mile, completely littered with plastic of all kinds, sure, it gets cleaned up, but the cost is colossal. The way we listen to music has changed, as we favour downloads, it’s been calculated that literally millions and millions of boxes of software, CDs, DVDs and their plastic cases are ending up in landfills or incinerators. One guitar manufacturer in the USA actually encourages recycling old strings, not plastic of course, but it all helps and other large brands are taking note and making inroads.

But that’s all the big guys, so the most important question here is, what can we, as musicians do to help? Let’s start with life on the road.

Tips for Touring Musicians: The Band Van - Life on the Road 0

Touring musiciansHaving spent many years and driven thousands upon thousands of miles in a band van in both semi-professional and professional bands, I can relate to the rigours of loading and unloading the van in the early hours of the morning, a routine that was either like a well organised military operation or utter chaos.
The semi pro-band just wasn’t that well organised, but we did have our own time slots for driving and I particularly liked my stint driving home in the early hours of the morning. I enjoyed the solitude, the peace of mind, discovering my inner self as I explored my own creativity whilst watching the sky lighten to the unstoppable approach of dawn, you know…all that Zen thing ….but I was brought back to reality on so many occasions with a banshee-like scream from the back seats….“Sttttop, turn back I left my guitar at the venue”.

Artist Spotlight: Abigail Zachko - impressive, young and talented 1

Abigail ZachkoThere are still many extremely talented young musicians willing to carry the guitar into the future and Abigail Zachko in the USA is one of them.
Abby has only been on the planet a mere 16 years, and already at a level many old school players would love to be at, achievements so far include being hailed as one of the most exciting new guitar players in the industry, a recording artist and runner up in Music Radar’s Young Guitarist Of The Year 2018. Envious? Yes, we are.

Artist Spotlight: Mindi Abair - Saxophonist Extraordinaire 0

Mindi Abair Saxophonist extraordinaireMindi Abair has certainly paid her dues in the studio and on the road as an unforgettable live performance artist. Described as the most recognised and sought after saxophonist, Mindi has played all styles from jazz to r&b to rock, touring and recording with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including, Aerosmith, Duran Duran, Gregg Allman, the Backstreet Boys, Keb Mo, Smokey Robinson and Joe Bonamassa. Her list of awards and ‘best of’ titles are endless and she was the only one surprised when she walked away with 8 awards at the 2018 Independent Blues Awards, which included the well-deserved Artist Of The Year.

Artist Spotlight: Tom Doughty - World Class Lap Steel Guitarist 0

Tom DoughtyTom Doughty and his relationship between mind and body is tempered by a serious motorbike accident in 1974 which left him with a spinal injury and a permanent disability that affected his hands and fingers. He, therefore, approached his instrument with a completely new and individual flavour, because he had to and not out of choice.

“I don’t have a choice,” explains Tom, “There is no choice...

Artist Spotlight: Usama Allati (Music Exceeds Borders) 0

Usama Allati liveWriting the Artist Spotlight feature I get to interview Fusion artists around the planet, how lucky am I? My next Fusion gig bag safari is a return call to the Middle East, Palestine in fact, to interview another incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist, Usama Allati.

We talk about his new project ‘Music Exceeds Borders’, how he grew up on a mixed recipe of classical and flamenco (with a large helping of Western rock) and his love for his ‘monster bass’ he refers to as a ‘spaceship.’

“It’s officially called the Oasis Custom Handmade 9 string Bass, made by Brazilian luthier Mauricio Costa who owns the company MG Bass in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA,” says Usama. “I contacted him in 2017 saying I wanted a bass made to my personal specifications within the tonewoods and hardware. The fingerboard is extra wide to cater for 9 strings which are tuned in 4ths and features a wave design inlaid with wenge, maple and mahogany exotic tonewoods. The 5-piece mahogany/wenge neck is of the straight-through body design, whilst the body itself is constructed from three layers of mahogany capped with imbuia, and it is the one and the only bass of this kind in the Middle East.

Artist Spotlight: Ahmad Hani - World Class Bass Player Against All Odds 0

Ahmad HaniThere are countless, everyday stories about the trials and tribulations that have squashed many an inspiring youngster’s dreams of becoming a musician. The cost of equipment for example, or not enough dedication from other band members, or getting married and not having enough time to commit to rehearsals. However, Ahmad Hani’s story about his road to success is far from every day.

“I was born in Egypt,” says Ahmad, “But my family moved to Dubai when I was just one year old, then when I was eighteen, I moved back to Egypt to attend university. I enjoyed learning other languages and dialects at school within multi-national classes. I made friends with students from the likes of India and Sudan. I loved all the sports, but my heart was in music. We always had music of some kind playing around the house as my mother was and still is a classical pianist and at the time, my Uncle adored The Beatles and we also had two TV channels broadcasting in English and Arabic.

I was just 14 when a friend in my class from Palestine introduced me to Iron Maiden. I loved this band, but at the time didn’t really think it was music and I was a little unsure about playing Iron Maiden loud in the house. In ’97 it was time to look at my future and in my heart, all I wanted was to be a musician, but my father was totally against my wish, he wanted me to study accountancy at university. This was just the start of a very difficult and epic journey for me. I agreed to go to university, but against his wishes, I bought a bass guitar and hid it under my bed. I could only play it unplugged during the night when everyone was asleep.

So far, Ahmad had struggled to play his bass in the dark without an amp and in fear of his father finding out. Pretty hard going you may think?