Exclusive Interview : Joao Castilho


Tell us about your musical background
I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, in 1970, and started playing at age of 9. During my musical life, I’ve played with many great artists like Maria Bethânia, Djavan, Lisa Nilsson, Ed Motta, Sandra de Sá, Simone, Eumir Deodato, Zé Renato, Leny Andrade, Nana and Dori Caymmi, Pascoal Meirelles, among several others. In terms of education, from 15 to 18 years old, I had private lessons of acoustic and electric guitar. Since then I became autodidact, but at 2007 I had the chance to study harmony in a revolutionary way for 3 years with the trombone player Vittor Santos.

I released two solo CDs called “Equilibrium” and “Percepções” (you can check them at Spotfy). I also released two books: “Toque Junto” and “EstudandoImprovisação.” With the bass player Jefferson Lescowich, the drummer Renato Massa and the saxophone player Marcelo Martins, I formed the group FOCO, with two CDs released: “FOCO” and “Tempo Bom com Chuva”.

joaoCastilhoWhat are you working on now?
Right now I’m back to Djavan’s band. We just finished recording his last album. Also, I’ve been playing with Nana Caymmi among other artists, and composing music for TV shows, films and publicity.

What is the role of education in music?
If you are talented but have no music theory education, you will never know how far you could get.

How do you feel about the current ‘state of the music industry’?
Things are changing fast, especially for recording industry. The streaming market is forcing an adaptation of this segment, which is affecting other music businesses in different ways, such as concerts, film score, composers, etc.. Let’s see where it goes… We, as musicians, producers, composers, should be prepared to adapt.


Why do use Pickboy picks and Mooer pedals?
I’ve always liked Pickboy picks very much. Great quality, big variety of materials and lots of different shapes. About Mooer, they sound great, are small and light, which is everything I am looking for. Click here to learn more about Joao’s gear.

To learn more about Joao please feel free to visit www.joaocastilho.com.

Exclusive Interview : Jay Gore

Neal Walter caught up with Jay Gore at this week’s Luck Strike Live session in Hollywood. Jay, just back from a tour in South Korea, talked with Neal about his his career and showed off his Rockready gig bag and his custom Pickboy picks.

What’s your musical background?

I’m an LA native. When I was 13 I had a band and we’d play the songs we wrote at the Sunset Strip clubs. I went to G.I.T. for a year when I was 17 and I’ve been a working session and touring player ever since.

What are you working on now?

I just finished recording all the guitars on the new Warren Hill CD, Under the Influence. It’s an amazing collection of classic 70s and 80s rock songs done instrumentally, but true to their original forms and styles. Also, I’m getting ready for a small tour of Asia and writing for my second CD, a follow-up to my first CD, Identity, which is available on CDBaby and iTunes and JayGore.com.

What is the role of education in music?

I think it’s extremely important. It goes beyond learning musical theory, it teaches discipline and patience, which is so important when you have four days to learn a 90 minute show for that big pop star you’re going to tour the world with. It teaches how to speak to the other musicians that you’re working with. When you have an idea you’ll know how to explain it. Most importantly, it trains you how to be able to step into any musical situation and adapt to it, instantly.

How do you feel about the current ‘state of the music industry’?

I feel that the music industry is near death…and by that I mean on monetary level for artists. There will always be music and musicians and gigs. Monetizing it all is becoming far more difficult. For some reason creating art for “exposure” became more important than paying your bills. Lots of people are making a lot of money in music. Most musicians are not.

jayGoreCustomPickboyWhy do use Pickboy Picks?

Very simply, Pickboy picks are the very best for me. I’ve used them over 20 years. I love the great tip, it makes articulation so much easier. The material helps the pick to glide off the strings with far less friction between the string and pick. And, I just love the size of the picks that I use (PB14P100 Classic), they’re just a hair smaller than other picks. Bottom line…I play better with a Pickboy!!!


Click here to read more about Jay Gore.

Free Music Practice Routine Generator from ICMP Online


Want to finally achieve real progress in learning music?

One of our partners, ICMP Online, is offering a Free Music Practice Routine Generator to help you become more professional in your practice habits, the way successful touring professionals achieve their goals. It’s an easy to follow Checklist and Worksheet to help you get on your way to the big stage.

Click here to get the download and start achieving your goals today.

Rockready not only supplies great music gear, we also team with other organizations to help musicians succeed in the music business.

ICMP ONLINE offers online music courses created for students of all skill levels as well as immersive summer schools at our London campus.

Dr J Arsenal Distortion – Van Halen Guitar Lesson

Neal Walter shows off some of Eddie’s slick tapping licks while using the Dr J Arsenal Distortion pedal. Learn some tricks on how to master Hot for Teacher, a 12th fret A minor riff, and a bonus riff at the end with some cool string bending. Neal also talks about how to unlock the secret of getting not only the notes right but also getting the elusive Eddie “swing” feel.

D51 - Dr J Arsenal DistortionThe Dr J Arsenal Distortion gets a great Marshall tone and works well with many guitars and amps. You can get all kinds of distortion from classic British crunch to modern high-gain tones. There are 5 controls to give you total control over your tone and distortion. Click here to learn more about the Dr J Arsenal Distortion pedal or check out our Dr J Factory Tour and see where the pedals are made.

Dr J Factory Tour

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Our quick, virtual tour of the busy Dr J factory.

If you’re at all like us, you’re probably a bit curious how Dr J makes original design boutique quality pedals for so little. At the factory we got a look at how it’s all done.

From the start, the culture wall sets the tone. This is where Dr J sets the tone for the company. The wall is lined with images of the team and its accomplishments. Next stop the conference room for some high level discussions, then on the meeting room for a traditional ceremonial tea while discussing the products. Then comes materials, production, and testing. Then on to the extensive R&D department where there are many new products being developed.  And finally to Dee Leung, the principal designer for Dr J.

We’re really impressed with the factory and product. One thing many players forget is that all the Dr J pedals are original design. Dee has really done a great job of creating original interpretations of some classic pedals and adding his own twist.

Says, Tone Report, “Dr. J has taken the build quality, ingenuity and tweakability several steps further, while similarly offering the pedal board-friendly size and extreme value-to-tone ratio.” Click here to read the Tone Report review on the Shadow Echo.

We’re partial to the Shadow Echo for it’s spacey vibe, the Sparrow Driver & DI as a no nonsense bass pre-amp and driver, and the Green Crystal for it’s not so straight interpretation of a classic overdrive pedal. But all the pedals are really usable. The Planes Walker Fuzz has both germanium and silicon transistors and does a good job emulating the Supro Sound. And the Aerolite Comp and Armor Buffer and good additions to any pedal board.

But don’t take our word for it, check one out now at your local music store and discovery for yourself what Dr J is all about.