Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Columnist: Eric Rinker

Here is another guest columnist that will be making appearances on this site. He is musician extraordinaire Eric Rinker. Eric is a shy guy. We have been running in the same circles now for 8 years and are just now starting to get to know each other. What really put me over for seeing what he could contribute here are two things as of recently. 1. Listen to the new Suns Collide songs (one band he is in). They recorded this at their house and the sounds, mix and song quality are just inspiring. 2. Artemia invited me to jam with them and Eric was on bass. He handled Megadeth's Holy Wars with the same ease that I did. Watching and listening to the projects he has been in over the years helped me decide that he would be a good fit here. I watch and listen to alot of local guys. Doesn't matter if i know them, they know me, like me or I like them. If they have talent, I am intrigued. So here is a little bit of what Eric wrote to introduce himself to the readers.

I was asked by Mr.JohnJohn if I would contribute to his blog columns and I was, to say the least, very honored!
A little history shall we? My name is Eric Rinker, a musician here in town for ~16 years. I play drums, guitar, and anything that can make a semi-pleasant noise. Through learning different instruments and writing music, I’ve also acquired a taste for producing/mixing/engineering recordings. I never took lessons, but I’ve picked up a decent amount of music theory by playing with some amazing musicians in bands, and taking away what I could.
I began playing drums at the age of 4 with my father. He played guitar and needed someone to keep a rhythm to all that skynyrd, allman brothers, and marshall tucker he seemed to need to get out of his system from the 60’s and 70’s.
At the age of 12 I joined my first band. Gearbox. We played here in Augusta for about 9 years, promoting 1 EP and 1 full-length album. During our tenure as a band, I also joined numerous side projects, all the names of which have escaped me….. After gearbox, I played in a band named Cycle, which I knew from sharing shows and mutual friends in gearbox. We recorded a full-length (unreleased). After cycle, I formed the group Distal. We recorded 1 EP and a full length.
Bored yet?
After distal came my most recent projects, all of which are currently active and/or recording. These include suns collide, artemia, and secret swim. In suns collide I play drums, in secret swim I play guitar, and I play whatever I can get my hands on in artemia. I am also continually writing and recording new ideas.

here are some places youcan check Eric out at:
for suns collide
for artemia
for secret swim
The band he plays drums for, Suns Collide, will be apart ofthe big metal show at the Jesse Norman Ampitheatre on July 9th. It is an ALL AGES SHOW with beer sold to those with I.D. Make sure you check Eric out on hisband sites and in person when he plays. You will not be disappointed!!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Product Review: Orange Combo Amps

This product review is on a legendary British amp maker: Orange Amps. There a a few amps you can think of that have been around since the dawn of rock music, Marshall, Fender, Vox, etc.Orange is one of those amps too. If you have ever seen the "Paranoid" video from Black Sabbath you see Orange Amps. Jim Root of Slipknot\Stone Sour uses them. Geddy Lee from Rush endorses their bass amps. Ike and Tina Turner Band,James Brown Band,U2...the list of past and present users can go on and on. Locally in the CSRA Will Duckworth from Radar Cinema uses Orange.The Orange Amps I am going to be going over are the smaller combos, The Crush 20L, Crush 20LDX and the Crush 12L. They are solid state amps. Lets start with the Crush 20L. It retails at the store for $115, has a 6 inch speaker and is 20 watts. Its got clean and gain channels with a 1\8 inch aux in for mp3 or any other device you want to plug in and play with. For a low end little combo it gets decent gain and is perfect for the bedroom. The clean channel is really the best sounding on this amp(to me for sure). It is OK for distortion and is good enough for jammin to your favorite songs or coming up with good riffs. It is a good amp for the beginner. The tone isn't bad. It is better than a comparable Line 6. The next amp is the Crush 20 Ldx. It is suppose to be the same as the 20L but with the digital effects. To me the sound was way better on this amp. Even with the eq and every other knob set the same , this one just sounded better. The amp includes everything on the 20L plus reverb(room,hall,spring and chapel)reverb + delay, delay ( 100,175,300 and 650 m.s.) slow and fast settings for chorus, flanger and tremalo and a vibrato effect. It adds a fx mode and fx level knob. The effects are really easy to use and are very user friendly for this amp. It got alot more of the modern rock sound and the delays are great. Anyone who has played with the Line 6 combo's know when you change channels the volume can go way up and blow your ears out. That doesn't happen with this amp. I was teaching one day and heard a guy getting some very nice vintage John Fogerty tones out of this amp as well. Its a good sounding little amp. It retails for $159. Good price for this amp. The amp also has a built in tuner that is fairly easy to use too. The little brother to both these amps is the Crush 12 L. Its a little 12 watt version of the 20L. I like the sound of it better than the 20L. It retails for $99. While these little combos are just a small taste of the bigger high end amps they are at the top, to me, for beginner\practice amps in this price range. I can admit I have never been an Orange Amp player, I can admit that these are a bang for your buck and great for any up and comer to have to jam on. You can tell these amps are Orange's way of going after the Line 6 Spider series.They do a good job of taking them on. They will also satisfy an Orange Amp junkie who needs to have an Orange Amp that is portable. Get down to Big City Music and check them out. We also have the Orange Tiny Terror tube amps coming in soon. You might end up and Orange lover....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saying Good Bye: Aaron Bradshaw

While I have worked at Big City Music I have had the pleasure of working with alot of great people. People like Will Duckworth, from Radar Cinema, Nick Laws,from sector 7 G, Stan.... the list could go on and on. They are all people that have moved on from Big City Music that will be missed. If I had this blog up when those people left I would have wrote about it. I didn't, so I am now that Aaron is leaving Big City and moving. Everyone that shops at the store knows Aaron. He is a good salesman and is knowledgeable about as many of the products in the store as he can be.Aaron's last day at Big City is this Saturday. He is moving to Charlotte North Carolina with his family. He has worked for Big City Music for 3 years now. He played in various local bands like Veara and the "S" band. He has been a guitar and bass player for about ten years now. I asked him what made him get into music. His reply was " I just wanted to jam along with my favorite bands." When he gets to Charlotte he hopes to get a job at Guitar Center and jump into the music scene up there as a bass player or guitar player. His main reason for leaving Augusta is just to get a change of scenery. He will be coming back sporadically. So if you see him this week tell him good bye. He's the type of salesman that was always into the next new product and great on customer service. So peace out Aaron.... Keep Jammin up in Charlotte.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Columnist: Micheal "DORK" Dinkins

I have asked several regional musicians to contribute to this site. Because it is based on helping aspiring up and comer musicians, learning from seasoned,extraordinary and experienced musicians is of great benefit. I strongly believe learning from as many different musicians as possible and hearing as many different points of view as possible will allow them to bloom into something great. The first of the new columnist is multi instrumental, musician extraordinaire,Micheal "DORK" Dinkins. In each of the new columnist first column I asked them to tell of their accomplishments and doings. Here is what Micheal had to say:

Greetings. I was invited by the fantabulous Mr. John Berret to contribute to his blog and asked to first make an introductory post and say a little about what I’m involved in and enjoy. My name is Michael Dinkins, one of the many resident musicians in Augusta. I am primarily a drummer and currently play drums for two bands- L.i.E. and Artemia, but also play some keys/synth and am willing to lend my voice.

I began playing drums at age 13 … on a whim really … just from watching bands on MTV. For all intents and purposes, I am self-taught but did receive a couple of years of vocal performance training at Davidson Fine Arts (class of 1994 to show my age). For some reason, they put me in mixed chorus and would not let me drop. So I learned to read music and sing and do choreography and how to put on a show. I played drums for about 2 years before playing in a band that went out to perform for other people, which was with my cousin who had been basically teaching himself to play guitar (and who I still play with today, oddly enough). My main original project in high school was a metal band called ‘Heir To Ruin’ that was pretty much relegated to playing the Augusta all-ages venues and hangouts around the time and even a handful out of town gigs while it lasted. I played with a couple of other bands in college- and only did one gig with each band. I was never really serious about either one of them as far as trying to get out in public. Jamming was more for personal satisfaction. After college and marriage, I pretty much gave up playing drums for a few years and eventually got back into playing again but only sporadically at home for my own pleasure.

It wasn’t until 2007 that my cousin and I decided to start jamming together again. We started an 80s cover band called The Haeighties that played everything from Madonna to Bobby Brown to Def Leppard to Slayer in the same show. It was during the time we were doing The Haeighties that I realized how much I really missed playing music. After that project ran its course, I joined a band called L.i.E. with a group of musicians that had played in several other popular local bands in past years. I have been with them for the last two years. I also continue to play with my cousin in a band called Artemia, which has recently collaborated with Mr. JohnJohn Berret for a few covers. It has been quite a personally rewarding experience playing with both bands in these last few years, and I was honored to have been voted “favorite lokal drummer” in the Lokal Loudness online poll for 2009 with L.i.E. receiving the “favorite lokal band” award and more recently, invitations to play a big show at Riverwalk with the band Otep and to be the first metal band to appear on one of the 12 Bands of Christmas shows in 2010.
As you can see Micheal is a lover to music. He will have loads of good advice and information for ANYONE who wants to learn. Here are some website where you can check out Micheal's bands. For L.I.E. go to .. For his band Artemia go
.... you can also find L.I.E. on myspace music and on facebook. You can also find Artemis on myspace music and on facebook. Find out when their shows are ( i will post them on here when i can) at ALL AGES venues and in 21+ clubs. L.I.E. has the honor of opening up for the monster metal band OTEP on JULY 9th at the Jesse Norman Amphitheatre in downtown Augusta GA. It is an ALL AGES show that will serve alcohol.You can purchase tickets at ..
Hope you enjoy his columns in the future.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Student Spotlight: Karissa Romer

Welcome to the latest edition of "Student Spotlight." This spotlight is focused on my guitar and vocal student Karissa Romer. She is 13 years old and attends Saint Mary's Catholic School. She has been taking lessons off me since October 11, 2008. When I asked her what m,ade her want to play guitar it was because of Avril Lavigne. Why Avril? Because Avril lavigne's individuality inspired her. Ms. Romer got off to slow start in lessons, as almost everyone does, because once a student gets in to my room they realize how much work it's gonna take to get going. I did not know at first, if she was gonna stick it out. She did! After a few months she started to dig down deep inside herself and started practicing more. She became dedicated and that led her to being able to start playing some songs she liked. After about a year of guitar lessons she also started to take some vocal lessons as well. She has been the front woman for the Big City Music Student Band for a while now. She does extremely well at it too. She is also going to be doing our Rock Band Camp this summer too. All Time Low is currently her favorite band. Her dream concert to attend would be, you guessed it, Avril Lavigne. If she could be in any national band it would be Fall Out Boy. Her first concert she ever went to was Lynyrd Skynyrd when she was 4 years old. Karissa says she comes from a somewhat musical family,her cousins play drums and guitar,and she grew up with cool parents that always had great music playing where ever they were. Karissa aspires to one day be in a band, singing and playing guitar. Karissa has played shows at the Live On The Lawn and at the Columbia County Amphitheatre. Her next show you can catch her at will be for the Rock Band Camp's show for NBC 26's River Blast on July 4th at the 8th street stage in downtown Augusta Georgia. So here's to you Karissa......Keep Rockin....Keep Playing....and Keep Having Fun!!!!!