Can you tell us a bit about the ‘Guitars For Wounded Warriors’ album?
My father was in World War II, and growing up in NYC in the 60’s & 70’s I saw so many Vietnam Vets on subway cars begging for money to eat - I felt so bad for them, no one cared at the time. So this is my way of saying thanks to all veterans for letting people like me be free and do music. It’s ironic because during a short period of my time in college I was in ROTC -believe it or not, a 2nd Lieutenant. I even went to basic training at Fort Knox Kentucky in the mid-80’s and got my ass kicked during a hot July summer! I remember us all getting up 3AM and being led to an obstacle course, forced to crawl on our bellies under barred wire while live ammunition was fired over our heads and drill instructors were screaming every possible profanity at us. Needless to say, I eventually bowed out of the military gracefully and went on to music. After this experience I couldn’t watch a John Wayne movie for years, but it gave me a great appreciation for the men and women of the military and what they go through for America.
I specifically had guitarists in mind I had worked with in the past like, Steve Morse, Billy Sheehan, Gary Hoey, Hal Lindes, The Flyin’ Ryan Bros and Chuck Loeb. I would compose each song for that particular guitarist. For example when composing 'Black Hawk', I completely wrote it with Billy Sheehan in mind, as with the song '5 Klicks To Hell' with Gary Hoey in mind. I was very familiar with each of the guitarists' styles, so when composing the song 'Hunting', I knew very well how great Chris Poland’s solo style would come across in the song. And of course there were some last minute guitarists added that I hadn’t work with before like Bumblefoot (Guns 'n Roses) and Reb Beach (Whitesnake) on the song 'Taliban Terror'.
The 'Guitars For Wounded Warriors' album is going towards the Fisher House Foundation, http://www.fisherhouse.org. Approximately ½ of my production company’s (BHP Music) royalties will be donated to the charity. They are best-known for providing homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.
These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, close to the medical center or hospital they serve. Since inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $235 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation. I did a lot of research on companies who gave back to veterans and the Fisher Foundation seemed to be doing the most good for veterans and their families. Even though they are not as widely known as other charities out there, they were very trustworthy. I really wanted a charity that would give most of the money to the veterans and not be spending donations on administrative costs and salaries.
What was the recording process like?