Elizabeth & The Catapult Brings You 'Christmas With The Jews'

Elizabeth & the catapult - photo by EJ Decoske- for the Grateful Web

In less than two years since their move to New York, Elizabeth and the Catapult has already racked up an impressive list of accomplishments. In May and August of 2006 they were featured in WNYC's "Soundcheck" as well as PRI's "Fair Game with Faith Salie" At the end of the year they were dubbed by NPR as "One of the Best Discoveries of 2006."  The Catapult have had residencies at clubs such as the Living Room and Rockwood Music Hall, and after opening for national headliners like Jessie Harris, Kirk Kirkwood (of the Meat Puppets fame), The Wood Brothers (of Medeski, Martin, and Wood), and Amanda Palmer (of The Dresden Dolls) there was enough buzz about them to support a tour and label interest on the West Coast. All of this success also earned them a place as the Billboard Underground Artist for last October.

Bound by a common love of eclectic influences, Elizabeth & the Catapult draws inspiration from artists such as Tom Waits, David Byrne, Joni Mitchell, and Jon Brion—as well as classical influences such as Debussy, Ravel and Chopin. One explanation for the band's musical diversity is Elizabeth Ziman's musical background. She was trained as a classical pianist until the age of sixteen. "As a kid, I used to practice all the time…" Elizabeth explains. "But one day I realized that I couldn't lock myself in a room for eight hours a day…that's when I started writing and singing." After that, it quickly became apparent that her vocal abilities rivaled her piano skills. In 2002, Elizabeth successfully auditioned to be a background vocalist for soul-queen Patti Austin and ended up joining her on tour for the next year and a half. Elizabeth's experience along with Pete and Danny's folk/rock sensibility piece together to make up the band's harmonically distinctive pop sound, a sound well reflected in their stylistically diverse new EP.

After a listen to the Elizabeth & the Catapult EP, it is immediately clear that a great deal of thought went into each of the songs' arrangements. Strings, Horns, Marimba and Synthesizers are all blended together, creating an organic, off-beat style that fans have often referred to as "baroque pop." The sound of the EP is also shaped by the guerilla-style fashion in which it was recorded. Drummer Danny Molad recorded most of the EP in basements and bathrooms, producing this album, along with Elizabeth, in an incredibly modest home studio. With these limited resources, Elizabeth & the Catapult managed to produce an expertly mixed album. Every note of the EP sounds deliberately placed while there still manages to be an air of effortlessness that penetrates throughout all the songs.

In their recordings as well as live performances, Elizabeth and her band members bring together all their backgrounds and experiences to make music that they themselves enjoy. They acknowledge their amorphous style and readily admit that it probably scares record labels. Even so, Elizabeth asserts that she is "not interested in assigning herself a specific style." Elizabeth & the Catapult are proud of their ever-changing sound and are committed to keeping their music fresh and creative.

Tour dates!
Dec 27 Washington DC at DC9
Dec 29 Easton MD at Coffee East
Jan 22 Hoboken NJ at Maxwells

My Experience with Security at the DNC

DNC Security - photo by Mike Moran- for the Grateful Web

The Democratic National Convention came to Denver in August 2008 for the first time in one hundred years.

As a part-time reporter at KGNU last summer, I was assigned to cover the story of the Blackhawk helicopters that had been flying over downtown Denver for several days.  Special operations forces coordinated with local police and fire departments in organizing drills with Blackhawks.  Some drills were performed on the grounds of the old children's hospital.  Authorities said these drills were "routine" and had nothing to do with the Democratic National Convention, but that they were in preparation for the global war on "terrorism."  Helicopters flew low over tree tops and one Denver resident said they were so low that she could wave to the soldiers.  When residents in the vicinity of the children's hospital were questioned, they did not believe the public statement that authorities gave. 

There were reports in local newspapers of $50 million being allocated for the DNC.  A portion of the money went toward additional police officers from surrounding cities and Wyoming.  Part of the money also went to the purchase of additional equipment, including pepper spray guns.  

KGNU Associate News Director Maeve Conran, an Ireland native, said she did not recall this level of fear in Belfast.  Maeve expressed concern that the security forces covering the DNC might resort to their weapons prematurely. 

Weeks later I was offered the position to be a radio producer for Studio 08, which was the television and radio studio that was affiliated with the DNC.  The prospect of encountering the security first hand was a source of concern since I had read about the drills, the additional forces, and the millions spent on additional weaponry.  Additionally,   Maeve's comments about the possibility of weapons being drawn too soon instilled anxiety in me.

obamaDriving on Speer Boulevard towards downtown, I noticed the street getting narrower because of the barricades that were in place.  Turning into downtown Denver, I saw groups of police officers including SWAT team members walking down the sidewalk in full armor.  They looked prepared for action.

It was just after 4:00am.  I was dropped off about one mile north of the Pepsi Center, which was the site of the convention.  The barricades created a distant border around the Pepsi Center.  Police officers guarded the inside of the barricaded area.  I had my press credential around my neck. As I was wondering if I would be directed away and have to circumvent the barricade, to my surprise, an officer opened the barricade and let me in.  I had to show my credential to more officers before I crossed Speer Boulevard.  When I reached the security entrance to the Pepsi Center grounds, I had to show my credential again.  The security entrance was a tent that had detectors that resembled those of airport security.  My purse was searched and I was admitted.  Outside of the entrance to the Pepsi Center stood more people who checked my credential.  Then, in the lobby there were more people who checked my credential again.  Hence, though there were indeed several levels of security, at each point, officers were helpful and no one was hostile toward me.  

The Pepsi Center was packed with people.  Different credentials gave people clearance to different areas.  Mine permitted me to enter the hall surrounding the convention floor, but not the floor itself. 

Throughout the four days of the convention I did not witness any aggression on the part of security.  However, I read reports of tear gas and pepper spray being used on protestors, as well as of mass arrests and temporary jails and courts.  It was as though the Pepsi Center and the buffer zone created around it was a different atmosphere than that outside of the barricades.  The contrast between what I personally experienced and what I read about was stark and disturbing. 

invesoOn the last day of the DNC, Barack Obama gave his speech at Invesco Field.  There were more than 80 thousand people in the stadium.  After the speech, people emptied the stadium and there were no riots, there was no antagonism of any kind from the crowd or security.  In fact, people were in good spirits.  We all filed out in the dark, looking for the correct car or Light Rail stop.  I had never seen so many people on the streets of Denver, many of whom had come here from other cities; and yet there was an air of cooperation and unity, which brought tears to my eyes.

Several weeks later on Election Day I watched Barack Obama's victory speech on television, which was broadcast from Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois.  The crowd there dwarfed the one that had been at Invesco Field.  Estimates as to the number of people there ranged from 125 thousand to 500 thousand.  People were packed together like sardines standing shoulder to shoulder, waiting, attentively focused on the stage.  During his speech they showed support and when it was fished, they emptied Grant Park civilly just as had been done in Denver. 

My positive experiences and observations of the civilized behavior of thousands of people in these crowds led me to question the purpose of the additional riot police and extra weaponry in Denver during the DNC.  Was it all really necessary?

Swing Into The Holiday Season With George Gee's Make-Believe Ballroom Orchestra

George Gee- for the Grateful Web

This Holiday season, The Edison Ballroom and producer Mickey Marchello, former guitarist from the legendary New York Rock Band Good Rats, will welcome the swing era sounds of George Gee and his Make-Believe Ballroom Orchestra as they entertain guests with a new show that evokes a golden era:  "Sleigh Bells Swing."  George Gee and his 22-piece Big Band offer the perfect Holiday treat for not only swing and jazz music fans, but also for tourists and tri-state area residents looking for an incredible Holiday entertainment experience.  The Edison Ballroom poses as the perfect backdrop for George Gee's musical extravaganza with its plush leather walls and sophisticated art deco accents in tones of whites, blacks, shades of grey, and platinum juxtaposed against illuminated glass tiles.  Combined with the décor of The Edison Ballroom and a presentation of classic Holiday songs, guests will feel as if they are re-entering a fantasy world of 1930s/1940s retro era of glitz and glamour that no longer exists – until now.
A world-renowned professional swing band leader, George Gee is also the only Chinese-American one. He has compiled a hip and cosmopolitan big band show fully equipped with 22 tuxedoed musicians, captivating singers, rhythmic tap dancers and gravity-defying lindy hoppers, punctuated by a custom-tailored bandstand to complete the look of this elegant evening.  "Sleigh Bells Swing" will begin with an interactive and multi-media floor show with the full swing orchestra and complete cast during dinner, MC'ed by the seasonal anecdotes of Mickey Marchello.  After the show and four course meal, the complete 1,700 square feet dance floor will open for dancing to the swingin' big band sounds of George Gee and his orchestra.

Edison Ballroom's "Sleigh Bells Swing" will run straight from December 20th, 2008 through January 3rd, 2009 (with no performance on December 24th, 2008).  Tickets for the floor show and dinner are $190.00 per person including all drinks and dancing; tickets are $75 per person for general dancing, include open bar and hors d'oeuvres  (post-dinner and floor show).


The Edison Ballroom, first opened in the 1930's, reopened June 2008 following a $5 million renovation targeted to make it the premiere venue for a wide variety of private events and celebrations. Located at 240 West 47th Street in the heart of Times Square (between Broadway and 8th Avenue), the Edison Ballroom boasts a long and illustrious history that is still visible in the details of its restoration.  The new renovation is meant to highlight the room's art deco flair of the 1930's.  Owner, Allan Wartski (Christo's Steakhouse and Hakata Grill) hired Glen Coben of the award winning New York-based architecture and design firm Glen & Company to design the interior.  A neutral palette was used to play up the architectural details, spotlighting their beauty. The main floor houses a 700 square foot stage framed by elegant and traditional silk curtains. Upstairs is a balcony that has its own bar.


Nearly three decades ago, in an era when punk, new wave and heavy metal ruled, a Chinese-American musician named George Gee launched his imaginative big band vision.  A native New Yorker, George Gee has always loved the syncopated jump styles of the Big Band Era and his career was propelled by the support of  swing giant Count Basie.  He grew up with rock 'n' roll, R&B and disco – but also developed a powerful passion for swing. At renowned Stuyvesant High School, George Gee wowed the crowds with his flashy showmanship on bass in the school's jazz band.  After an extended stint on the road, George returned to his hometown of NYC in 1989 to make his big band dream a reality.  He  summoned top notch musicians – (young and old), including veterans of legendary bands such as those led by Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and also Latin and pop music giants – all to continue living his big band dream.
With each performance, George Gee's powerful and entertaining swing orchestra continues to set new standards and reach for loftier heights.  George Gee and the band were recently invited to the Middle East to perform for an audience including The Prince of Jordan and musical impresario Quincy Jones. Gee also served as a primary expert for the nationally broadcast and DVD distribution of the documentary "The Joint is Jumpin'" and was also a featured appearance on PBS's "Live at Lincoln Center" for 11 million viewers.  George Gee continues to tour the world spreading the Gospel of Swing and is ecstatic about his collaboration with The Edison Ballroom.

Celebrate NYE with Railroad Earth - 3 Nights in Portland!

photos by Sanjay Suchak- for the Grateful Web

Railroad Earth released Amen Corner , their first studio album in 4 years, this past spring and enjoyed a busy and successful 2008.  Touring virtually nonstop in support of the record, Railroad Earth hit both coasts hard and more than a hand full of stops in between.  This New Year's Eve, the New Jersey based band will post up in one of their favorite West Coast cities - Portland, Oregon - for three nights at The Aladdin Theater.  Known for skillful improvisation and thoughtful lyrics, Railroad Earth promises to put on a performance to remember and a run of shows not to miss.  More information about the NYE run and Railroad Earth can be found at www.railroadearth.com.

Monday, December 29th, Tuesday, December 30th
and Wednesday, December 31st @ 9:00pm (Doors @ 8:00pm)
Aladdin Theater
3017 SE Milwaukie Avenue, Portland
Tickets: $30.00 for 29th, $30.00 for 30th, and $55.00 for 31st - NYE
All Ages Welcome on 29th and 30th, Ages 21+ Welcome for 31st
For more information, please contact 503-233-1994 or visit www.aladdin-theater.com

Celebrate NYE with Hot Buttered Rum in Denver!

Hot Buttered Rum- for the Grateful Web

To ring in the New Year, San Francisco's Hot Buttered Rum returns to Denver for a three night run, starting off at Owsley's Golden Road on December 29th and culminating in a two-night blowout at The Oriental Theater.  The band is offering discount multi-night passes for those who don't want to miss a minute, and travel packages offered by Sage and Spirit Travel for friends coming from out of town.  Visit www.hotbutteredrum.net for full details on the NYE run, packages, and more.

Hot Buttered Rum's current list of confirmed tour dates is as follows: 

November 11 Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry NH
November 12 Empire Dine & Dance Portland ME
November 13 Higher Ground South Burlington VT
November 14 Westcott Theater Syracuse NY
November 15 Mauch Chunk Opera House Jim Thorpe PA
November 18 Castaways Ithaca NY
November 19 Sullivan Hall New York NY
November 20 East Hartford Community Center East Hartford CT
November 21 Lowell Auditorium Lowell MA supporting Dark Star Orchestra
November 22 Electric Factory Philadelphia PA supporting Dark Star Orchestra
November 23 Fairfield Theatre Bridgeport CT supporting Dark Star Orchestra
November 29 The Fillmore San Francisco CA
December 04 Majestic Theatre Madison WI
December 05 Martyr's Chicago IL
December 06 Miramar Theatre Milwaukee WI
December 09 Music Mill Indianapolis IN
December 10 Madison Theatre Covington KY
December 12 University of Wisconsin at Steven's Point Steven's Point WI
December 13 Cabooze Minneapolis MN
December 29 Owsley's Golden Road Denver CO
December 30-31 Oriental Theatre Denver CO
January 24 Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute Utica NY
January 30 Moe's Alley Santa Cruz CA
February 20-21 Wintergrass Tacoma WA

More dates to be announced.

Hailing from the San Francisco Bay area, the guys of Hot Buttered Rum grew up on the trails, in the mountains, and on the slopes.  Their ties with nature have only grown and as a group, the band has dedicated much time and energy to reducing their carbon footprint and promoting alternative fuel sources.  As a heavily touring band, Hot Buttered Rum had to face the tough reality of how a national tour can affect the environment and counter it with a positive change.  In response, the band helped to promote the biofuel renaissance, touring the country on recycled vegetable oil and biodiesel as early as 2003.  Band members have participated in numerous Renewable Energy and Biofuel conferences, as well as sitting on discussion panels at such renowned music festivals as Bonnaroo and High Sierra.  Highlighted in the November/December 2005 issue of E: Environmental Magazine, Hot Buttered Rum is commended for trying to "leave an impact on its fans, and not solely on the road that passes beneath its bus tires as it travels from coast to coast".  For more information on Hot Buttered Rum and their greening efforts, visit the band's website.

The widespread appeal of Hot Buttered Rum's music stems not only from the band's musical versatility and prolific songwriting, but also from the magnetic chemistry the group creates onstage together.  It is this chemistry that is propelling the band to ever greater success. The band has performed at festivals as diverse as the Newport Folk Festival, Bonnaroo, Grey Fox, High Sierra and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and has shared the stage with such artists as Phil Lesh, Bela Fleck, Ben Harper, Chris Thile, Mike Marshall and Peter Rowan, the last two of whom worked with the band on its critically-acclaimed studio release, Well-Oiled Machine.

Icy Demons Tour With Of Montreal and Yeasayer

ICY DEMONS- for the Grateful Web

Icy Demons are touring with Of Montreal and Yeasayer to continue supporting their newest album, Miami Ice, released this past July on Obey Your Brain.

Miami Ice, the upbeat and wide-ranging third full-length album from the Chicago/Philadelphia ensemble, features Chris Powell aka Pow Pow (Man Man, Need New Body) on drums, Griffin Rodriguez aka Blue Hawaii (Need New Body, Bablicon) on bass and vocals, Jeff Parker (Tortoise) on guitar, Josh Abrams (Prefuse 73, Sam Prekop) on upright bass, esteemed Chicago improvisor Tomeka Reid on cello and Russell Higbee (Man Man) on guitar. Recorded at Blue Hawaii's Shape Shoppe studio with an odd assortment of vintage keyboards and ethnic percussion used to create warmth, the album focuses on rhythm and melody within songs about dreams, endurance, alien paranoia, community, time travel and the western frontier.

Previously acting as support for Slint, Arcade Fire, Man Man and more, Icy Demons' live shows are energetic and fast paced as the multi-instrumentalist members dance around the stage playing keyboard driven melodies and interlocking rhythms to create a propulsive sound. The touring band consists of five individuals - Chris Kalis, who is also in the recently Obey Your Brain-released dance/prog ensemble Chandeliers, heads up the instrument juggling, Jeremiah Chiu plays multi-handed parts and sings with ease, Emma Yohanan and Dylan Ryan (Bronze, Herculaneum) create the frontline, and Griffin Rodriguez provides vocals and bass. More vocals, clever arrangements and keyboard mastery combine to present a propulsive sound.

Icy Demons'  - Tour Dates:
Thu. Nov. 6    Louisville, KY @ Skull Alley w/ Royal Bangs
Fri. Nov. 7    Nashville, TN @ The End
Sat. Nov. 8    Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle w/ Of Montreal, Limozeen
Mon. Nov. 10   Birmingham, AL @ Bottle Tree
Tue. Nov. 11   New Orleans, LA @ Howlin Wolf w/ Of Montreal
Wed. Nov. 12   Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live w/ Of Montreal
Thu. Nov. 13   Austin, TX @ Fiesta Gardens w/ Of Montreal
Fri. Nov. 14   Dallas, TX @ House of Blues - Dallas w/ Of Montreal
Sat. Nov. 15   Amarillo, TX @ Nat Ballroom
Sun. Nov. 16   Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre w/ Of Montreal
Mon. Nov. 17   Murray, UT @ Murray Super Theatre w/ Of Montreal
Wed. Nov. 19   Vancouver, BC @ Richard's on Richards w/ Yeasayer
Thu. Nov. 20   Seattle, WA @ Neumo's w/ Yeasayer
Fri. Nov. 21   Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theatre w/ Yeasayer
Sat. Nov. 22   San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo's 365 Club w/ Yeasayer
Sun. Nov. 23   Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour w/ Yeasayer
Tue. Nov. 25   La Jolla, CA @ The Loft (UCSD) w/ Yeasayer
Wed. Nov. 26   Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room w/ Yeasayer
Fri. Nov. 28   Telluride, CO @ Sheridan Opera House w/ Yeasayer
Sat. Nov. 29   Denver, CO @ The Bluebird Theater w/ Yeasayer

Sonya Kitchell with The Slip | The Higher Ground | 9.25.08

"The show is tonight, not tomorrow." A statement like this one can upend your day and, for me, it did. Mere inches away from walking onto the ferry that would take me back to New York; I fielded a call from my incredibly observant wife.

U-Melt Back on the Road with Fall Tour

U-Melt- for the Grateful Web

The New York City based progressive groove machine known as U-Melt has announced their twelve state fall 2008 tour that will take them from the east coast, to the Rocky Mountains and back again – all before Thanksgiving. The nineteen-show trek, kicking off October 3rd at the Highline Ballroom in New York City, will feature familiar stops in familiar cities, as the dynamic quartet closes out the year. And of course, what U-Melt fall tour would be complete without one of their legendary Halloween performances?

Boasting a reputation as one of the hardest working bands in the business, U-Melt showcases their diligent work ethic through their musical chops. Blazing guitar runs, precise rhythms, punchy bass lines and mind-bending keys comprise the trademark U-Melt sound, as the band manages to raise the bar night in and night out. With a penchant for taking listeners on a musical journey through time and space, the four piece provides an aural experience unlike any other. U-Melt blends elements of rock, jazz, trance and funk and fuses them into a musical state of mind.

After the tour kickoff show, U-Melt will return to Castaways for a Saturday night party in Ithaca, NY. Following stops in Ohio and Kansas, the group will make their long awaited return to Colorado with shows at the Fox Theater in Boulder and Dulcinea's and Owsley's in Denver October 9th through the 11th. The three night stand will mark the first time the band has played in Colorado since early 2008, when the band played seven shows in seven nights at a mile high. U-Melt will then return back east, rocking Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, before capping the tour off at The North Star in Philadelphia on November 15th. Included in the mix will be U-Melts Halloween spectacular, which will be held this year at the brand new Westcott Theater in Syracuse, NY.

Continuing on a path of evolution, U-Melt marches on like a well-oiled machine. Their dedication to the music shines in every performance. Don't miss U-Melt on tour this fall!


09/24 – Revolution Hall – Troy, NY
09/25 – Lupos – Providence, RI
09/26 – The Wheel House – Narragansett, RI
09/27 – Higher Ground (Ballroom) – Burlington, VT
10/03 – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY
10/04 – Castaways – Ithaca, NY
10/05 – Wilberts – Cleveland, OH
10/08 – The Bottleneck – Lawrence, KS
10/09 – Fox Theatre –Boulder, CO
10/10 – Dulcinea's 100th Monkey – Denver, CO
10/11 – Owsley's Golden Road – Denver, CO
10/15 – Zydeco – Birmingham, AL
10/16 – Gottrocks – Greenville, SC
10/17 – The World Grotto – Knoxville, TN
10/18 – The Rocket Club – Asheville, NC
10/31 – The Westcott Theater – Syracuse, NY
11/01 – Nietzche's – Buffalo, NY
11/06 – The Main Pub – Manchester, CT
11/07 – Bill's Bar – Boston, MA
11/08 – Revolution Hall – Troy, NYl
11/13 – Higher Ground (Showcase Lounge) – Burlington, VT
11/14 – St. Lawrence University – Canton, NY
11/15 –The North Star – Philadelphia, PA

Dinner with Kimock & Goodman - October 3rd, Teaneck NJ

hanging with Kimock - Mike, Steve & Aaron- for the Grateful Web

On Friday, October 3rd Steve Kimock and Billy Goodman along with John Morgan Kimock (drums) and Trevor Exter (cello, bass) will play an exclusive table-side dinner performance at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ.   This special sit-down concert will be one of the few fall performances, while Kimock develops new live & recording projects.  This night promises to be an intimate evening of guitar magic and song, as Goodman & Kimock join together stateside for the first time, following their critically acclaimed European Spring tour.  The duo released a collectors edition of the "Big Red Barn Sessions" recorded at Kimock's home studio earlier this year, which Relix proclaimed the "duo discovers the elusive pearl".  Tickets are available exclusively at www.kimock.com.

This weekend the duo will also open for Little Feat for a series of Philadelphia and New York performances, Oct. 25, 26 and 27.

An Evening of Dialogue and Insight with Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa- for the Grateful Web

Guitar Center is pleased to announce the next installment of Guitar Center Sessions: An Evening of Dialogue and Insight with Joe Bonamassa. Taking place Wednesday, September 17 at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, CA, the evening is free and open to the public. The evening will be powered in part by Gibson Guitars.

Joe Bonamassa is one of the premier blues-rock guitarists of his generation. At the early age of 12 he was already a touring pro, opening for the legendary B.B. King. Since then, Joe's incendiary playing has earned him a loyal legion of fans and numerous albums in Billboard's Top 10 blues chart. Also a gifted singer and songwriter, Joe Bonamassa was named Best Blues Guitarist by Guitar Player Magazine's readership in their annual Reader's Choice Awards for 2008, and recently released From Nowhere in Particular, a 2-CD live album recorded during his fall 2007 U.S. tour and released on his own J&R Adventures label. The CD debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Charts. Joe also hosts "Daily Cup Of Joe" as well, a Monday-Friday show on Sirius Satellite Radio's Blues Channel 74 that airs from 12-12:15 PM (ET).

Designed to provide informative, provocative conversation and hands-on tutorials, Guitar Center Sessions serves as an incubator for musicians, providing them an opportunity to network with their peers in an intimate setting and gain career-fostering advice from their heroes. Join us for a very special in-store event as Joe shares tips, techniques and experiences, talks about his signature Gibson Les Paul, and lays down some seriously soulful licks.

Wednesday, September 17 @ 7 pm

Guitar Center Hollywood

7425 Sunset Blvd.

(323) 874-1060

Free to the public. Limited capacity.

About Guitar Center

Guitar Center is the world's largest retailer of guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment. Our retail store subsidiary presently operates 214 Guitar Center stores across the U.S. In addition, our Music & Arts division operates more than 100 stores specializing in band instruments for sale and rental, serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students. We are also the largest direct response retailer of musical instruments in the United States through our wholly owned subsidiary, Musician's Friend, Inc., and its catalog and website. More information on Guitar Center can be found by visiting the company's website. The Guitar Center logo is a registered trademark of Guitar Center, Inc. Other brand or product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.