Axe Banger: The Guitarist Showcase

Eric Mantel

Name: Eric Mantel

Playing (years): 33 Years!

Style: All styles: Rock, Pop, Fusion, Jazz, Classical, Country, Bluegrass, Reggae, Blues, Delta Blues, Ragtime, Blues Rock, New Age, etc.

Gear: Over 35 guitars: Fender Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazz Master, Jaguar, Gibsons: ES-175, SG, LES PAULS, ES-335, Taylor Acoustic and Classical guitars…. many many more! Fender Twin Reverbs, Marshall JMP 50 Watt! With 4×12 bottom! Tons of guitar pedals! Roland GR-3 Guitar Synth, Roland VG-8, etc.

1. Visual Sound = added
2. Xotic Effects = added
3. Digitech = added
4. Talyor Guitars = added
5. ghs Strings = go to Rock Artists – added
6. Rocktron = go to Artists -added
7. Boomerang = – added
8. SE Electronics Microphones = got to Testimonials – added
9. Auralex = added
10. Home Brew Electronics = added
11. Peterson Strobe Tuners = added
12. L.R. Baggs = added
13. Sabine Tuners = go to “Players & Pros” added
14. Graph Tech = added
15. George L Cables = added
16. Option 5 = added
17. Real McCoy Custom Wah Pedals and Teese Effects = added
18. Death By Audio = added
19. Ice-Pix Guitar Picks = added
20. AxSak Guitar Jackets = added – they still need my photo!
21. Stompin Ground = added
22. Roger Mayer = added
23. Farley’s Musical Essentials = added
24. Cat’s Eye Custom Analog Effects = added
25. J.Philpott Effects. = go to Artists – added
26. Jet Slide = added
27. Jim Dunlop =
28. Radial Engineering / Tone Bone =
29. DLS Effects =
30. Toad Works =
31. Conquest Sound =
32. Gig Mate = added
33. ISP Technologies =
34. Axes Straps =
35. Eminence Speakers =
36. Damage Control = added
37. = added
38. Killertone =
40. Big Bends Nut Sauce =
41. Kangaroo Amp Covers –
42. Furman Sound
43. Levy’s Guitar Strap
44. THD
45. Jelly Fish

Past accomplishments:
Eric has opened up for numerous international acts: Allan Holdsworth, John Campbell, Robben Ford, Danny Gatton, Bassist Stu Hammon (Joe Satriani), Scott Henderson, Vinnie Moore, Michael Angelo, and many others and has played at various establishments all over.

In 1990, with his new band, “The Eric Mantel Trio,” Eric released a 12 song LP, The Politics Of Experience, an electric sizzle of sound that received rave reviews from local and national critics. As a result of this release Guitar Player magazine featured Eric in its “Spot Light” column by Mike Varney (April 1991). Guitar World magazine also featured Eric in its “Hometown Heroes” column (May 1991). The publicity gave Eric overnight international attention and fan mail from around the globe.

In addition to features in Guitar Player & Guitar World magazines, Eric has also been covered in various publications: among them, Local Live Chicago Magazine, In The Mix, The Illinois Entertainer, CAMM, Street Rock, The Midwest BEAT, Chicago Music Magazine, The U.S. Rocker (East Coast Monthly), Star Publications, The Daily Southtown, The Indiana Times, and many others.

During his “Experience” days, Eric signed an artist development contract with agent Peter Katsis (now the vice president of The Firm in L.A.) The Firm has worked with the Backstreet Boys, Michael Jackson, etc. Peter Katsis presently manages Limp Bizkit, Korn and others. Peter heard “The Politics of Experience,” and confidently related Eric’s success: “I can get this guy a record deal.”

Peter put Eric in the legendary Streetervillle Recording Studio, located in Chicago, to record some new material. Peter started shopping Eric’s new demo and even gave Todd Rundgren’s manager, Mary Lou Arnold, a tape of Eric’s music in hopes that Todd would produce Eric’s debut solo album. Nine months later Eric’s contract ran out, there was no record deal, and Eric’s band fell apart. Nirvana and Sound Garden were all over the radio and nobody really cared about listening to a guitar virtuoso /singer / songwriter out of Chicago, IL. So, in early 1992, Eric decided to take a break from the music business and stopped live performing.

Three years later, in 1995, Mantel focused on the acoustic side of his personality when he released, A Time To Remember, which includes four guest tracks by violinist David Ragsdale from the multi-platinum rock band, Kansas. The CD showcased Eric’s finger-style abilities a la Chet Atkins, Leo Kottke, Phil Keaggy, Michael Hedges, etc.

Highly respected for his firmly established and tremendously successful premier guitar instruction business, (launched in April 1992), Eric has also held many guitar clinics throughout the Midwest. Throughout the 1990s and for the first part of the 21st Century, Eric devoted his time to teaching, a task undertaken since 1979. To date, Eric has taught over 3,500 students and instructs his students with concentrated, accelerated, and challenging lessons.

Eric learned how to play many Beatle songs and also started singing and playing the piano during that time. In 1975 Eric started listening to ELP, YES, The Moody Blues, Robin Trower, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Jethro Tull, and many others. And in 1976, when the Frampton Comes Alive LP came out, Eric learned every Peter Frampton song on the album. Eric also learned how to play Steve Howe and Jeff Beck songs note for note.

In 1977 a friend turned Eric onto RUSH and Eric taught himself how to play all of their songs as well. Between 1977 and 1989 Eric played in various rock bands, recorded often, and studied with many private guitar teachers in all styles of music: Classical, Jazz, Country, Ragtime, Blues, Reggae, etc.

In 1978 Eric played in his high school Jazz band, took private lessons with a Berklee School of Music guitar teacher by the name of Bob Mirallis and was turned onto Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, John McLaughlin, Bill Connors, Al DiMeloa, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs), Ted Greene, Lenny Breau, and many others. That same year Eric joined the progressive rock group “NRG” (Yes, ELP, Kansas, Utopia…) and became a big fan of Todd Rundgren’s music.

In1979 Eric played in the pop/punk/rock group “The Droogs” (The Bealtes, Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols…) and he also started teaching guitar. Eric joined a pop/rock/new wave/ska band out of Park Forest, IL in1980. This teenage rock band, wrote all original music and was managed by the famous Park Forester Tom Zutaut. Tom Zutaut worked for Warner Bros. in Chicago in the late 70s and then left for L.A. where he worked for Elektra Records in 1979-80. Tom later became the executive A&R for Geffen records where he signed such bands as Berlin, Guns N Roses, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, Motley Crew, Dokken, Tesla, and many more.

Kim Thayil, also from Park Forest, IL, was the guitarist from the multi-platinum selling 90s rock band, Sound Garden, and had previously been in a band called Identity Crisis in 1979-80. Kim was friends with the band and attended the same high school as a few of the band members. The group recorded an LP in 1980. The keyboard player and singer of the band, moved to LA to hang with Tom Zutaut in 1981. He played keyboards with Motley Crew for 5 months and then later came back to Illinois and formed the band, “Last Gentlemen”­ one of the biggest bands out of the college town of Champaign/Urbana and the Midwest! Last Gentleman stayed together for 9 years and signed a major record deal with ZOO RECORDS, the same label that recorded pop star Matthew Sweet. The famous Peter Katsis managed the band for several years.

For a short time in 1981 Eric joined an original progressive rock group called “Dark Horse”. Late in 1981 Eric formed an all-original hard rock band called “Spice” which played in numerous establishments and recorded a 5 song EP. In 1982 Eric was in the Jeff Douglas Group as a sideman. After reading an Article on Steve Vai in Guitar Player magazine in 1982, Eric began transcribing Allan Holdsworth and Steve Morse compositions. At Prairie State College Eric studied music theory, composition, classical guitar, violin, piano, etc.

In early 1983, at the age of 19, Eric independently released his first solo album, Montage, featuring Marc Levinson on drums and Eric Levinson on keyboards with Ron Hansen on bass. This record showcased Eric’s prolific songwriting skills and his virtuosi guitar playing ability.

Eric also played in the rock band “Ring” and in 1987 put together his own private recording studio. In 1988 Eric joined the Alternative Rock Band “The Escape”, which filmed a video and recorded a 5 song EP. In the late 80’s Eric established Holistic Music Entertainment (so named because Eric believes in the healing and spiritually uplifting quality of music).

Current and upcoming projects: Christmas CD for 2006! Numerous guitar instructional DVDs to be released in 2006-2007

Favorite guitarist: I have too many favorite guitar players to list only one!

Best musician you’ve ever seen: Shawn Lane!

Four words that best describe what you want to get across in your playing:
1. Versatility = All styles of music!
2. Virtuosity = Highly skilled playing!
3. Melody! = Being very melodic with all my music!
4. Tone! = Having GREAT TONE!

Your hero: Todd Rundgren ­ John Lennon (The Beatles) many more!

Ultimate goal: To sell MY music world wide and to tour world wide! Ultimately to sell 8 million records! That would be nice!

Contact: Stephanie Wilson / Artist Management or


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