Dave Shelley, of David Shelley and Bluestone, Battles Cancer

via YouTube
By Evan Rowe

Local musician Dave Shelley, who sings and plays guitar and percussion, usually with his band Bluestone, has cancer and is flying out to California for treatment.

He and his supporters have set up a GoFundMe page dedicated to helping cover his medical expenses. The page explains that he was diagnosed one hour after being offered a record deal -- and that, tragically, the deal was rescinded once it was known he was sick.

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Holly Hunt's Gavin Perry: Guitar Heroes of South Florida

Monica McGivern

Holly Hunt's Gavin Perry is quite the antithesis of the archetypal "guitar hero." But Perry's approach to the instrument, as a coconspirator in creating the crushing sonic monolith that is Holly Hunt's sound, undoubtedly qualifies him as an hero of sorts.

With the unchecked proliferation of sludge, stoner, and doom-metal bands that have spawned in recent years, Holly Hunt is an anomaly in that the duo (Perry plays with his partner Beatriz Monteavaro) has developed an extremely original sound without the assistance of vocals or even a bass player. Thanks in no small part to Perry's sludge/psych guitar style, Holly Hunt's music is as imposing as it is intriguing: A pummeling, repetitious assault of texture and color, delivered with gloriously unbridled volume.

As anyone who has ever experienced the cocktail of fear and excitement provoked by staring down Perry's wall of amplified death in the flesh can attest, the band's sound relies heavily on some rather unique kit. Perry has painstakingly curated his setup through years of experimentation and Ebay crawling to bring the sounds in his head to wall-shaking reality.

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The Riot Act's Christian Clarke: Guitar Heroes of South Florida

Clarke in action with his Gretsch Double Anniversary Model

For most musicians, an instrument is very simply a tool. A necessary vehicle of expression that is often romanticized, but a tool none-the-less. Then, there are people like the Riot Act's Christian Clarke, a man whose relationship with the electric guitar stems into a mythical respect for it and its history, and a relationship which has spiraled over the years from childhood fascination into an all-consuming obsession.

Clarke has spent the better part of his adult years hoarding and caring for an astounding collection of rare, unique, and, above all, inspiring, vintage guitars and amplifiers -- each with its own tale and curiosities, each containing its own voice, and each as compelling as the next. We met with Clarke to take a closer look at his collection and to speak at length about his passion for the instrument, what makes vintage guitars such special beasts, and the influences that put him on a path to six-stringed nirvana.

See also: Orbweaver's Randy Piro: Guitar Heroes of South Florida

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Orbweaver's Sally Gates and Jason Ledgard: Guitar Heroes of South Florida

Janette Valentine

In part one of our series profiling South Florida's most inspiring unsung champions of guitar, we spoke with Orbweaver's Randy Piro about his gear, influences, and what sets him apart as a player. Here, we speak with Orbweaver's other intrepid shredders, guitarist Sally Gates and bassist Jason Ledgard, both of whom happen to be athletic, creative players that are integral to Orbweaver's off-kilter conjurings and belligerent pummeling.

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Orbweaver's Randy Piro: Guitar Heroes of South Florida

Janette Valentine

South Florida gets a bad rap as a barren wasteland when it comes to guitar music and guitar culture. However, lurking in the shadows strewn by the area's neon festooned dance clubs thrives a community of inspiring guitarists, all with their own unique philosophies and approaches to the instrument and the passion of true artists. After all, isolation breeds innovation.

In our time covering music in South Florida, we've been fortunate enough to bask in the crushing chords, fleet fingered riffs, and swirling atmospheres of so many interesting and varied players that we here at County Grind have decided to give some of the area's unsung heroes their due -- complete with uncensored gear pornography, discussions about history and influences, and all of the minutia that proper guitar dorks (such as your author) get all hot and bothered about.

To kick off the series, we've profiled experimental metal troupe, Orbweaver. The band has been most accurately characterized as "mind-erasers" and features former members of Florida death-metal greats Hate Eternal and Gigan. Boasting a trio of esteemed string-stranglers, Orbweaver has massaged the intensity of black-metal into an altogether horrifying blend of extreme metal and adventurous psychedelia. A bad trip by any other name, harsh noise, dissonance, and a Zappa-esque thirst for outlandish anti-harmony come together to make the band's entirely singular sound.

Read on for the first part of our series in which we cover the gear and influences of Orbweaver guitarist, vocalist, and sound manipulator Randy Piro.

See also: Orbweaver's Randy Piro Loves the Tron Soundtrack: "It's Satan's Chord!"

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