PG editors and Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine talk about what they spin around Halloween.

Once the leaves start to turn and the temperature drops, it’s time to break out the tunes that will help you brave the winter. This month, the PG editors and Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine talk about what they spin around Halloween. Send your own picks to info@premierguitar.com.

Joe Coffey
— Editorial Director
What am I listening to?
Beth Hart/Joe Bonamassa, Don’t Explain. What a great idea. Joe Bonamassa complements diva-in-the-making Beth Hart as she covers soul and blues classics by Aretha, Etta, Billie, and other torchbearers. Joe nails it.
What’s my favorite Halloween album?
Call me the Grinch of Halloween. I just don’t get it. I’m also that guy who breaks the seal on Christmas stuff at that time of year. I’ll be listening to Joe Pass’ Six String Santa.



Rebecca Dirks
— Web Content Editor
What am I listening to?
I liked what I exhumed for the next question (below) so much that I couldn’t stop listening.
What’s my favorite Halloween album?
One of my favorite modern horror flicks is Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, and part of what makes it so great is the unspeakable horrors set against classics from the Allman Brothers, Three Dog Night, Buck Owens, James Gang, Otis Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and others. Spinning the soundtrack conjures images of brutality without scaring the neighbors.



Andy Ellis
— Senior Editor
What am I listening to?
Three Ring Circle, Brothership. Fiery acoustic music played by toneful, inventive virtuosos. Rob Ickes’ ringing resonator leads the charge, with Andy Leftwich’s burning mandolin and soaring fiddle in hot pursuit.
What’s my favorite Halloween album?
This year calls for a different kind of haunting music: Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings—the eerie piece that accompanies the final scene of David Lynch’s The Elephant Man.



Shawn Hammond — Editor in Chief
What am I listening to?
When Sweet Sleep Returned, by Gear Editor Charles Saufley’s band, the Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound. Great songs and tones.
What’s my favorite Halloween album?
Oingo Boingo’s Dead Man’s Party—the magnum opus of Danny Elfman’s band before his foray into film scoring. Some of the 1985 production hasn’t aged well, but the title track, “Weird Science,” and “No One Lives Forever” could animate corpses. Plus, Steve Bartek’s stealthy, ripping guitars hold up remarkably well—even tonally.



Chris Kies — Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
The Surf Zombies, The Surf Zombies. This ’50s-style instrumental surf band offers up infectiously rockin’ songs drenched in eerie reverb—like Dick Dale scoring a George A. Romero horror flick.
What’s my favorite Halloween album?
As a fiend for the Danzig-era Misfits—it’s Legacy of Brutality. It contains some of my punk favorites like “She,” the evil-Elvis rockabilly “American Nightmare,” and, of course, the morbid anthem “Halloween.”



Rich Osweiler — Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Mirror Traffic. While this Beckproduced jewel dips into multiple genres, classic Malkmus rock still shines through on tracks like “Spazz.”
What’s my favorite Halloween album?
The Original Monster Mash from Bobby (Boris) Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers. A mainstay growing up, this classic record was worn thin from all the plays around Halloween—the best holiday of the year! My 2-year-old will soon be dancing the Mashed Potato to it.



James Valentine
— Maroon 5 Guitarist
What am I listening to?
Pat Martino, Head & Heart: Consciousness/Live. His lines are insane. I’m trying to shed the “Impressions” solo—give me 15 years. Also, Frank Zappa’s You Can’t Do that On Stage Anymore series. It showcases so many great solos from Frank—he sounds like no one else.
What’s my favorite Halloween album?
Naked City, Naked City. This truly disturbing album features one of my favorite guitarists, Bill Frisell, and is the record I put on anytime I want to freak people out.



Charles Saufley — Gear Editor
What am I listening to?
Not the Spaces You Know, But Between Them. A four-LP portrait of the American underground assembled by Three Lobed Recordings, this set captures—among other things—a beautiful pair of Sonic Youth rehearsal-space orphans, a side-long acoustic-and-vocal jam by Steve Gunn, an improvised psych mélange from Comets on Fire, and the last recorded performance of Sun City Girls.
What’s my favorite Halloween album?
Any Serge Gainsbourg LP played backwards through my busted Echoplex.



Jason Shadrick — Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Bill Frisell, All We Are Saying.... I can’t think of another artist I’d rather hear tackle the oftcovered Lennon catalog. These aren’t “jazz” versions of Beatles tunes, they are deft and sublime interpretations by a band of experienced sonic wizards.
What’s my favorite Halloween album?
I’d create a playlist with “Halloween” by King Diamond, “Halloween” by the Dave Matthews Band, and “Halloween” by Dropkick Murphys, and then put it on repeat.
Rig Rundown: Adam Shoenfeld

Whether in the studio or on his solo gigs, the Nashville session-guitar star holds a lotta cards, with guitars and amps for everything he’s dealt.

Adam Shoenfeld has helped shape the tone of modern country guitar. How? Well, the Nashville-based session star, producer, and frontman has played on hundreds of albums and 45 No. 1 country hits, starting with Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” since 2005. Plus, he’s found time for several bands of his own as well as the first studio album under his own name, All the Birds Sing, which drops January 28.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.

Advanced

Beginner

• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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