Friends of Cygnus – Guitarists

I wanted to take an opportunity to promote a couple of the greatest guitarist friends that I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with, who are also listed in the “Associates” link in this blog menu.

So, in chronological order…

Vincent “Ange” Angelo
Home base: Colonia, New Jersey
Ange’s YouTube Channel

Ange 1

The cherished friendship between Ange and myself goes all the way back to high school, and I consider him the Brother I never had. From the day we first met, we just “clicked”… I truly love this guy.

Musically, we started out with just the two of us jamming alone, then later formed a band called “Aftermath” in which I played drums for several years performing mostly Rolling Stones tunes. As you may have guessed, the band’s name was derived from the Stones album of the same title, along with the fact that several of us had also played in other bands that had broken up, so it seemed fitting.

It was an absolute pleasure to play in Aftermath, I had so much fun in that group. No narcissistic attitudes or other problems that you typically find in many Rock bands, just friends playing music and getting along with each other in complete harmony (pardon the pun).

As a side anecdote, I personally witnessed the worst of that I’ve ever seen in a band called “Krome”, which I mixed live sound for on the NJ club circuit until I graduated college and moved to Colorado to work for IBM in 1979. Several members of Krome considered themselves Rock Stars, when in fact they sucked. One hilarious incident which occurred during a practice session immediately comes to mind. A guitarist they had just picked up was conspiring with the lead singer (both complete assholes) and he announced they were throwing my good friend Phil out of the band (one of the original members, on bass guitar). Phil wasn’t having any of it, and extreme fisticuffs ensued to the point we almost couldn’t tear him off the guy. Needless to say, Phil remained with the band until they split up a few years later because of, you guessed it, major attitude issues.

The point is, Krome and Aftermath were complete opposites of that in the ego department, and it was so refreshing to play drums in the latter band.

Ange and I still keep in close touch to this very day. He currently writes, performs and publishes demo songs which he posts on YouTube to attract other artists who may be interested in purchasing the rights to record them. Please visit his channel linked above to check out his work, he’s truly an excellent song writer and guitarist.

I just wish Ange and I still lived close together. I really miss playing those 45 minute versions of the Stones tune, “Sympathy for the Devil”!

Elmo Karjalainen
Home base: Turku, Finland
Elmo’s Home Page

Craig and Elmo Karjalainen - At Guitar Gods finals in Miami Beach - 2016-02-19

Elmo is an incredibly gifted guitarist and songwriter, who is simply a star waiting to be discovered. His chosen genre is Instrumental Rock, and his style reminds me of artists like Yngwie Malmsteen (his hero), Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, among others. In my opinion, he is totally up to par with any of those guys, and I’d prefer to listen to Elmo instead any day of the week. During live solo performances he incorporates backing tracks which he creates himself and also plays in several Finnish bands, my personal favorite being “Seagrave”:

In 2015, Elmo won the Finnish “Tilu & Lilu” competition, and the title of best Finnish shred guitarist. In 2016, he was a runner up in “Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory” competition. The same year, Elmo finished in the top 8 of the Yngwie Malmsteen annual “Guitar Gods” competition in Miami, Florida, where I got to meet him for the first time. Considering his massive talent, I was pleasantly surprised to find him such a humble, unassuming guy with an off-the-wall sense of humor. Here’s just a few examples of that:

  • “Warning” labels on the covers of his albums

“DANGER: This record contains plenty of guitar, no Auto Tune and no Rap. Thus it is totally unsuitable for radio play, or anything else.”

  • The “Here to Eternity” incident

While I was visiting Finland in April of 2017, one day I was keeping company with Elmo’s father Christer at KC Sound watching him mix down a song called “Here to Eternity”. All the artist delivered to him was a vocal track that sounded like it was recorded in a closet lined with cardboard, along with the entire band on just one other stereo track. It certainly wasn’t much to work with, and we must have listened to it more than a hundred times over a few days before Christer could complete his magic and get the mix to where it sounded decent. Elmo happened by one day in the process, and stuck his head into the booth. He listened for about 2 minutes and proclaimed, “I need to go, this makes my brain hurt”. Not a headache mind you, brain damage.

Also during my trip to Finland, he was kind enough to record lead guitar at KC Sound for my original song, “Medians Conspire”. Elmo came in and improvised that lead in about a half hour after only a couple of listens to the tune, and it couldn’t fit in any better… Far beyond any expectations I had. Of course, he wailed like a banshee, as usual. He performed the volume swells at the beginning of the song, and his main lead guitar performance starts at around 03:30. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed!

Release announcement, which describes the meaning behind “Medians Conspire”

Thanks for so many great memories, you two!

2 thoughts on “Friends of Cygnus – Guitarists

  1. Wow, that was an awesome tribute! Appreciate all the kind words, and you know the feeling is mutual.
    I have great memories of our jams, first just the two of us, and however else we could scrounge up, and later with Les and Jimmy in Aftermath. I have no doubts that if you had remained in Jersey, we would have continued for many years after, maybe till this day. Love ya brother, and who knows, .. maybe someday.
    P.S You’re guitar chops are pretty impressive these days!!


  2. Every word true and straight from the heart, my Brother… It was a pleasure to write. There’s a FB share button above, put it on your timeline… Couldn’t hurt and may lead to a bigger audience for you, plus I could use more email followers here too!

    P.S. Hope you enjoyed that little Krome story, the assholes. ;^)


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