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WesFest 8 Press

Post-Show Press Release


May 1, 2013                                       


* 8th annual event breaks all previous years’ fundraising results
* Epiphone “Thunderhorse” Explorer Guitar and Gallien-Krueger MB500
given away to two lucky fans

Group shot of Galaktikon playing live (L to R: Mike Keneally (gtr), Jude Gold (gtr), Tim Yeung (drums), Brendon Small (gtr/vox), Rick Musallam (gtr), Bryan Beller (bass) - photo by Dave Foster
Group shot of Galaktikon playing live (L to R: Mike Keneally (gtr), Jude Gold (gtr), Tim Yeung (drums), Brendon Small (gtr/vox), Rick Musallam (gtr), Bryan Beller (bass) – photo by Dave Foster

LOS ANGELES, CA (May 1, 2013) – WesFest 8, the eighth annual WesFest benefit concert, took place at The Roxy in Los Angeles on March 3, 2013. For the second year in a row, the concert and related fundraising drive broke all previous records and raised more than $27,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship Fund at Berklee College of Music. The total amount generated by the WesFest initiative since its inception in 2006 has now exceeded $175,000.

 Officially supported this year by corporate sponsors Epiphone GuitarsGallien-Krueger Amplification, Mike Lull Custom Guitars, D’Addario Strings, DW Drums, and Studio Instrument Rentals, the WesFest concert series has made the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship one of the leading awards for performance majors at Berklee College Of Music. Established by Wes’ family and friends in 2005, the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship is awarded annually to a continuing student at Berklee who best exemplifies the excellence and grace Wehmiller showed as a bassist and as a human being. The WesFest concert series serves as the centerpiece for a continuing fundraising drive for the scholarship fund, which honors the legacy of Wehmiller, a Berklee graduate (‘92) and highly accomplished bassist, athlete, and photographer who died of thyroid cancer in January, 2005.

“We’re grateful to everyone who donated their time and efforts to make this year’s event an unprecedented success,” says WesFest producer Bryan Beller, “and especially for our sponsors, who had a big hand in making it possible.” Two lucky fans walked away with a Gallien-Krueger MB500 bass amp, and an Epiphone “Thunderhorse” Explorer guitar.


Epiphone contest winner (L to R: Stacey Ferguson (event co-producer), Robbin Burton (contest winner), Peter Leinheiser (of Epiphone) - photo by Erin Fotos
Epiphone contest winner (L to R: Stacey Ferguson (event co-producer), Robbin Burton (contest winner), Peter Leinheiser (of Epiphone) – photo by Erin Fotos

The WesFest 8 concert was headlined by Brendon Small’s Galaktikon, the critically acclaimed side-project led by the creative mastermind behind the smash-hit animated [adult swim] TV showMetalocalypse and the band Dethklok. It was the all-star 11-piece band’s debut live performance, featuring guitarists Jude Gold (Jefferson Starship, Billy Sheehan), Mike Keneally (Dethklok, Frank Zappa, Joe Satriani), Rick Musallam (Ben Taylor, Carly Simon), and Small himself; keyboardist/guitarist Walter Ino; bassist Bryan Beller (Dethklok, Steve Vai, The Aristocrats); and vocalists Ben Thomas (Zappa Plays Zappa), Kira Small (Peter Frampton, Martina McBride), Ali Handal (Neil Young, Paul Williams) and Jude Crossen (Patti Austin, Lee Ritenour, Phil Perry).


Brendon Small (Galaktikon, gtr/vox) - photo by Ron Lyon
Brendon Small (Galaktikon, gtr/vox) – photo by Ron Lyon

In a long-standing WesFest concert tradition, the 2012 Wehmiller Scholarship winner performed at WesFest 8. Bassist Jed Lingat showed the 300-plus crowd exactly what they were supporting, laying down heavy grooves with Danny Mo & The Exciters, a band of mostly Berklee graduates featuring legendary drummer John “JR” Robinson (Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, Madonna, Eric Clapton), as well as singer/songwriter Kira Small (Peter Frampton, Martina McBride) on lead vocals. The band was led by Wehmiller’s Berklee Bass Professor and close friend Danny Morris.Danny plays a key role in selecting the scholarship winner, and is central to the WesFest community both in Boston and Los Angeles. 

“The LA experience is unique and cherished every year by the award recipient, and Jed’s bass playing and demeanor are exemplary of the kind of person Wes would have loved and grooved to,” says Morris. “At rehearsal, ‘JR’ gave me the sign of approval acknowledging the deep groove pocket that Jed was cementing in the low end. And the WesFest crowd at the Roxy shared their love with a tremendous ovation to the bass player. Now that got Wes smiling!”

Other performers at WesFest 8 included many musicians who knew and worked with Wes during his twelve years in Los Angeles, including first-time bandleader Joe Travers (drummer for Zappa Plays Zappa), Rick Musallam, Griff Peters, Colin Keenan, Ali Handal, and Janet Robin. WesFest newcomer Derek Frank opened the show with a blistering set of tight, horn-drenched funk.

“It really says something that, for every one of the past eight years we’ve done this, we’ve been able to hit our fundraising goals and increase the size and scope of the WesFest community,” says Peter Gordon, Director of the Berklee Center In Los Angeles. “This year we’re extremely grateful to Brendon Small, as we are to all of the WesFest 8 performing artists, for helping us reach a whole new realm of awareness for both the event, and for Wes himself.”

For additional biographical information on Wes Wehmiller, WesFest, and all related merchandise, please visit the official Tribute To Wes Wehmiller Website at  For more information on the scholarship, or to find out how to contribute to the fund, please contact Peter Gordon at (818) 380-3041, or by e-mail at

 For press inquiries and additional information, please contact Adrenaline PR and Maria Ferrero at732-462-4262 or



Guitar Player Magazine

THANK YOU to Jude Gold for getting this in the August edition of
Guitar Player Magazine and to Ron Lyon for the amazing photo!

Guitar Player Magazine article

Too small to read, though, so here it is!


When Dethklok’s Brendon Small agreed to headline this year’s WesFest by staging the first live performance of his ambitious solo album, Brendon Small’s Galaktikon [], he faced a daunting challenge.

The thing with the Galaktikon stuff is that there are often as many as five or six distinct guitar parts on each song, and we’re not talking just parallel harmonies and octave doubles, which are often fairly intuitive to learn,” says Small.  “We’re talking countermelodies and other independent parts.”

WesFest–named in honor of the late bassist Wes Wehmiller–is an annual Hollywood benefit that raises scholarship funds for Small’s alma mater, Berklee College of Music, so he definitely wanted Galaktikon to translate precisely to the concert stage.

“No one ever taps me on the shoulder and says, ‘Hey, stop overdubbing so much because you’re not going to be able to recreate all those parts live,'” he says.  I take inspiration from Queen.  Their studio records were very elaborate, yet you forgave them for not having 18 guitars on stage, because they were such a solid band.  But in this case, the project really required all the overdubs to be heard.  So I thought, ‘You know, we can probably make it sound like the record, but only if we can assign each of these moving parts to a human being.'”

The result was an 11-piece metal orchestra fronted by five singers and four guitarists, with Small in both camps.  Galaktikon’s intricate guitar arrangements were delivered by Small playing his signature Dethklok Gibsons through a Joe Satriani-edition Marshall JVM410 head with the Crunch channel run in “orange” mode; Mike Keneally running a Rivera Metal Shaman pedal; Rick Musallam rocking his trusty ’74 Marshall JMP head, enjoying extra gain courtesy of a Todd Langner-style mod and an Xotic EP Booster pedal; and yours truly captaining a Mesa Royal Atlantic head with the lead channel set to “Lo Gain.”

“Single-note lines played in harmony by three or four guitarists is one of the coolest sounds you’re going to hear in life,” says Small.  “And if you’re lucky enough to be part of that onstage, the experience is all the more amazing.  You have to bust your ass to make something like that happen, but, somehow, with four flat tires and your engine on fire, you manage to cross the finish line.  It’s a great feeling, but it also might make you want to go home and just play Albert King Songs afterwards.  Or maybe Richie Havens had it right–just go out with an acoustic guitar in open-G, and bang away on it until you break all the strings.” – Jude Gold


One more huge Thank You to the band that brought Galaktikon to life!

Brendon Small – Guitar/Vocals
Jude Gold – Guitar
Mike Keneally – Guitar
Rick Musallam – Guitar
Bryan Beller – Bass
Walter Ino – Keys/Vocals
Ali Handal – Vocals
Kira Small – Vocals
Ben Thomas – Vocals
Jude Crossen – Vocals
Tim Yeung – Drums


WesFest 8 – 2013: