Classics Of Winter

Boxing followed by hockey? Skolnick, what’s gotten into you? Aren’t you the guy who wrote ‘It’s A Sports World (I Just Live In It)’ Part I, II and III?

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone ‘sports-crazy.’ All will make sense in a moment…

This is something I’ve been meaning to place here for a few weeks, but an extremely busy period of musical activity-including the subject of this post- has cut into my blogging input. Apologies for the absence (although a devoted writer, my career as a musician often has to take precedence).

I first alluded to a recording project on Twitter in Mid- November. At the time, I was in a hotel room on the road with my portable studio set up. I only revealed that the project required me to swing by my apartment and grab my reissue ’57 Fender Stratocaster as the Anthrax/Testament tour was swinging through the New York area (professionally, I’m a ‘Les Paul guy,’ but own a Strat and a Tele just to play for fun and in case of an ’emergency’ such as this).

What I didn’t mention was that I’d just been hired by NBC to record the traditional New Year’s Melody “Auld Lang Syne” in a style reminiscent Jimi Hendrix’s famed 1969 performance of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock. The solo performance is very short- the first half of a 30 sec. spot, which morphs into prerecorded music. But it was challenging to do, since it called for an ‘anthem’ feel and my guitar was exposed with no other instruments to hide behind.

As I looked outside the hotel room near Albany, New York), I saw American and Canadian flags blowing in the wind. These images helped provide inspiration for the performance, which is now being used to advertise the upcoming broadcast of the NHL/Bridgestone Winter Classic hockey game between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers, immediately following New Years Day.

On the night of December 4th, during Sunday Night Football, the Winter Classic Ad Campaign debuted on NBC. During kickoff, I told everyone to keep an ear out for the ad, revealing that the guitarist is yours truly.

In the days that followed, I got word that as a result of the 2012 Winter Classic Ad campaign, my name was being mentioned all over pro- sports news websites (how’s that for irony?). Here’s one sports new site, appropriately entitled ‘The Big Lead’ (see 8th paragraph down).

What a nice example of me finally finding a place in this ‘Sports World’ of which I spoke in those earlier posts! I’m grateful to NBC, the NHL and the Winter Classic for providing such a unique and fun opportunity. The Winter Classic ad has been airing during NBC sports events ever since and will continue through New Years. Here is a direct video Link, courtesy of MSNBC

And speaking of winter and New Years, next week, I’ll be busy with the ‘Skolnick & Broderick Winter Guitar Retreat‘ This means that this will be the final blog post of 2011 (I can think of no more fitting way to wrap things up than this post). 2011 has been an incredible year for me, with many exciting professional and personal developments, many of which I’m sure will be reflected upon in future posts.

Wishing everyone all the best for 2012 and thanks for your readership!


PS Today being Christmas and Chanukah, happy holidays to all celebrating. And here are a couple fun links for you. The first is courtesy of NBC (coincidentally), who aired a great scene involving the music of a project I’m associated with via their hit comedy ‘The Office’ The second is of me in concert playing with said project, performing O Holy Night Enjoy!

19 Responses to Classics Of Winter

    • Glad you enjoyed and hope you enjoyed the aforementioned project. I had a blast, although I couldn't stop giggling thinking about Dwight on 'The Office.'

  1. Wishing you success and happiness in 2012. May the year be full of surprises that make your mind tingle, your vision grow, and your heart feel more alive than ever.

  2. I hope that you have a nice new year, Music Camp with the students and Broderick, and you enjoy this exiting experience !  2012 with more music, tours and health and peace. I want see you soon here again !

  3. It's been awhile since I last lurked here on SkolNotes and I thought I'd check-in to see if you left any commentary about this year's TSO Christmas extravaganza. Or perhaps the “fun links” you posted ARE your “indirect” commentary??

    Your presence (on-stage) was GREATLY MISSED once again (by me and your other fans, I'm sure) but I did get the thrill of my life when you very recently walked right past me (gasp!) on your way to your seat in the audience. Although it was difficult for me, I respected your privacy and did not hound you for an autograph or photo. Hope you quietly enjoyed your anonymity.  Please know that you weren't the only TSO “royalty” I encountered at this performance.   Little did I realize that Paul O'Neill's sister was sitting right behind me until I innocently asked her how she got her special VIP “necklace” (then she mentioned who she was).  

    I'm no stranger to the TSO Christmas tradition (this was my 5th straight yr that I attended), but I was kind of disappointed to see that more of their vocal “talent” has moved onward (or maybe they were just absent from the stage that night?).  I also noticed there was no surprise guest (once again) to ramp up the energy level of the audience (as had been the case in prior years).  Not sure if you saw it, but Chris Caffrey was nursing a nasty bruise under his eye that he got when he walked into the set lights after the Blythedale check presentation.  I applaud his efforts to make the show go on after that encounter!

    Before I sign off, can I ask you something??
    I'm a musician (violin) — classically trained and completely amateur.  Call me a purist, but I don't see how it's possible for the performer on the electric violin to make any kind of DECENT MUSICAL sound when they're thrashing about on stage and running and jumping from one side to the other.  It drives me nuts when I see the bow hair breakage and they continue playing on this way … grrrrrrrr!!  

    I think if you would break a guitar string while playing, you would probably just switch out to another guitar, right??

    Alex — I wish you all the very best in your creative endeavors in the New Year.  Best of health, happiness, luck, and may you have smooth and hassle-free flights!!

    • I had a great time attending TSO as part of the audience.

          As I continue to hear from people who never got the message that I'm no longer touring with the show, I'll once again bring up what I said in my previous post containing the word 'Winter:'… 

             What people have to understand about the tour is that it is incredibly demanding- over two months away from home (during most major holidays) and painfully long days. There isn't the option of picking and choosing certain shows or skipping shows (barring a personal emergency). This creates an inability to work on ones own projects during this time (on days off, one is usually too exhausted).  For the few who've chosen to define themselves by this show, this isn't a problem.

      But for those of us who maintain an identity outside its parameters, the freedom to make ones own choices (not to mention the general living of ones life) during this long annual stretch of time, becomes far more valuable, despite our appreciation for having been a part of it.

           Having done nearly ten (!) Winter tours, I feel I've done what I can do there (and from what people tell me-made a positive mark on it- thanks everyone). And if I just look at all that would have been impossible during these last two TSO tours (touring w Anthrax and Testament, touring w AST in the US, recording for NBC/NHL, the Skolnick/Broderick Winter Guitar retreat,  touring w Rodrigo Y Gabriela through Southern France, AST supporting RyG in London and Dublin, finishing my first manuscript, writing some of my favorite blogs,  etc….etc….) there is no question I've done the right thing.

           By the way, with all due respect to my friends who play the electric violin, I'm not a big fan of that instrument either. Maybe that will change once manufacturers develop a better one. But for now, I don't like the way it sounds and feel it loses all the magic of an acoustic (sorry folks!).

  4. Well, you poured yourself into a very filling seconds spot that I'm glad gave you a place in the world of sports. One, I;m sure will reverberate into other spheres that will fulfill and satisfy your musical soul and desires. May you continue to have them and enjoy looking for them, especially ones cradled under starry skies, enjoy the guitar retreat Alex,and always look forward to reading future reflections. Wishing you much happiness in the New Year too!!

    • It is fun to have projects such as this appear out of nowhere, never would have predicted. And yes, this one's helped me find a place in this 'wide world of sports.'

  5. Thanks for putting the link on here.  I would have never seen it otherwise, because I don't watch sports.  It is awesome.

  6. I still havent heard this tune but Happy New Year 2012 ! Sure was great to see you on the Evolution of Metal ; you are busy!, : D im inspired

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