His resume is one of the most impressive in rock. He brought the world Green Day and gave the word “Dookie” new meaning. His records have sold nearly 200 million copies and Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, My Chemical Romance, Kid Rock, Avril Lavigne, Fleetwood Mac, The Goo Goo Dolls, David Cook, Paramore, Hot Hot Heat, [...]
Thomas Lang has electrified and inspired musicians around the world with his progressive hand/foot techniques and ability to play independent linear patterns across the kit. Arguably one of the most active touring and recording artist of his generation, Lang has performed on over 250 Albums, working with notable artists such as Robbie Williams, The Clash, [...]
I’ve been changing guitar strings for decades. Smugly, I had always placed the degree of difficulty somewhere between tying my shoes and pumping gas. That all changed when I met Joey Brasler, now one of our top guitar merchants. He took a sad look at a Baby Taylor I brought into work, rolled his eyes, [...]
Dave Mustaine joined us for Guitar Center Sessions recently in Los Angeles along with 2,000 screaming Megadeth fans and musicians. Only 300 lucky souls made it in to share an intimate evening of insight and dialogue with this metal master. Below Dave takes us through Megadeth’s “Holy Wars”, stopping along the way to share [...]
Almost 20 years have passed since Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland paired up to make music as The Crystal Method. Over that time they've witnessed the rise and fall of the underground rave scene, the breakthrough of the late-90's electronica trend, the dominance of club culture and superstar DJs at the dawn of the new millennium, and the current resurgence of EDM (electronic dance music). Throughout all these twists and turns, the duo has remained a dominant force while many peers crashed and burned or faded into obscurity.
One reason why The Crystal Method has survived and prospered for so long is because they never fell into lockstep with any particular movement, always doing their own thing. "We were always concerned with making music that sounded good," says Jordan. "One thing we did differently than many other electronic artists is that we toured. That's how we learned about new bands when we first got together in Las Vegas. We'd go to see bands at these big rock events, and we thought it was cool that they made the effort to come to Vegas. When we put out our first album, we toured our asses off, doing 50 or 60 dates in America on a single tour, playing every market and every type of venue. Over the years I think that really helped us out."
Jordan and Kirkland first met in Sin City in 1989 when both were working at a grocery store. When Jordan noticed Kirkland playing around with a Kawai R50 drum machine during a break, the two started talking about music. Impressed by Jordan's knowledge and recording setup, Kirkland invited Jordan to join him in a recording project he was working on with singer Greg Walsh. After completing a song for Walsh and playing a gig in Walsh's band, Jordan and Kirkland started producing songs for other aspiring singers and hip-hop artists in the area.
During the early '90s, Jordan moved to Los Angeles. Kirkland followed suit about a year later. "We started to get heavy into the LA rave scene," Jordan recalls. "The music we were working on started to live on its own without vocalists. That sort of naturally dictated that we should become a band instead of just being producers."
Kirkland adds: "We just loved electronic music. We loved everything that was happening back then, like Shep Pettibone's remixes and William Orbit's productions. We started going to all the big rave events here in LA. There were events like Truth at the Park Plaza where you'd go up this big, grand staircase, turn a corner, and walk into a big ballroom that was just heaving with energy, people, and light. It was sensory overload and such a powerful moment."
Inspired by the fresh, new sounds they heard, Jordan and Kirkland built a studio called the Bomb Shelter in the garage of a house they rented in the LA foothills. It was here they recorded the demos that caught the attention of Justin King and Steve Melrose, who had just formed the City of Angels record label. In 1994, The Crystal Method and the City of Angels label released their first single, "Now is the Time," but their big breakthrough came courtesy of their second single, "Keep Hope Alive," which came out in 1995.
"(DJ) Jed the Fish played 'Keep Hope Alive' as his Catch of the Day on (LA radio station) KROQ," recalls Kirkland. "That led to us getting a record deal with Geffen/Outpost. The rest is history."