Artist Spotlight: Stone Mob

Stone Mob’s instrumental masterpiece “Galaxy” in the words of up and coming guitar hero Blaine Kaltman 

by Amanda Epstein 

If you’re wondering why Stone Mob’s guitarist Blaine Kaltman is known as The Shred Master General all you have to do is listen to any of their songs which are defined by innovative guitar riffs, incredible fills, and face melting yet undeniably catchy solos.   But if you really want to hear Kaltman pulling out all the stops, listen to Stone Mob’s instrumental “Galaxy.” 

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It is a tour de force of various extremely difficult guitar techniques, blinding speed, creativity, and sheer virtuosity.  And, all the more amazing, it’s played acoustic without the aid of distortion or effects.  This is a departure from Stone Mob’s usual brand of super heavy fun rock which assaults the eardrums and commands you to party.   And while we missed the hard driving beats and handsome wild man Doug Masterson’s all-powerful vocals, “Galaxy” deserves recognition as, if nothing else, a triumph of musicianship.  Like instrumental masterpiece’s preceding his- Van Halen’s “Spanish Fly” and Yingwie’s “Black Star” come to mind- Kaltman has once again reset the bar for what is possible on the guitar.  I asked The Shred Master General himself what was the inspiration behind this mind- and string bending unique piece of music. 

Here is his reply:

“I’m a big fan of Neil Degrasse Tyson- he’s sort of the rock star of astrophysics-  and he said we are composed of the same atoms that stars are made of, and those atoms came from other stars.  In other words, we are quite literally stardust.   And music, at least on earth, being the universal language- I mean, how could Stone Mob not write a song called “Galaxy?”  Although what you’re hearing is not the original.  I had been tinkering with this alternate picking arpeggio lick for months- so much that I felt it was a song in itself, albeit a 30 second one.  So, I played it as a concept in the studio one day and Wil (David) and Doug were both like “No dude, you are not putting that on the album.”  They just both felt I could do better.  Wil felt I wasn’t using enough varied techniques.   In fact, when I finished he kinda stared at me for a minute and then asked “OK so…where’s the tapping?”  Doug felt the same way, suggesting I take a bunch of my tricks and throw them all together into one song.  Ultimately that’s what I did and I think it worked because we were trying to capture the chaos and order of the universe.  Changing time signatures and bouncing from one style to another create chaos within Galaxy.  But within that chaos are mathematical constructs which I tried to illustrate through scales and repeating patterns.   The more we learn about the universe the more we realize how little we actually know.  To tell the truth I feel the same way about music.   And just like the universe music is full of patterns and chaos- sometimes the chaos occurs within the patterns, sometimes the patterns exist within the chaos.   And in the end just because we perceive a pattern in our effort to make order out of something chaotic doesn’t mean it is there.  Just as something may appear illogical to our myopic perspective- but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a pattern. It just may be we have yet to comprehend it. “

All we have yet to comprehend is how Kaltman can move his fingers like that on the fretboard.  Check out the video for Stone Mob’s “Galaxy” and other Stone Mob songs on YouTube.  And be sure to follow Stone Mob on: