Star Licks Productions

Star Licks Productions (also known as StarLicks) was an instructional music publishing company conceived by Mark Freed and co-founded by Andrew Cross and Robert Decker. The company was at the forefront of creating instructional videos featuring well-known musicians demonstrating their unique musical styles and techniques on-camera.[1]

In 1984, the company's video portfolio debuted with a wide-ranging group of musicians including: Brian May of Queen, Steve Lukather of Toto, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, Al McKay of Earth, Wind & Fire, Carlos Cavazo of Quiet Riot, Louis Johnson of The Brothers Johnson, noted country guitarist, Albert Lee, and acclaimed guitarist/educator Wolf Marshall."[2]

Star Licks Productions
IndustryMusic Education
FounderMark Freed, Andrew Cross, Robert Decker
HeadquartersSanta Monica, CA
Area served
Key people
Wolf Marshall, Al Lapin Jr. Rex Olson
ProductsStar Licks Lead Guitar Series
Star Guitar
Star Jam
Star Licks Master Series
Star Licks Master Sessions
ServicesInstructional Video/Audio products
ParentHal Leonard Corporation

Other notable artists (Alphabetized)


  1. ^ "Star Licks: 15 Years of Innovation in Instructional Videos". Musical Merchandise Review Magazine. September 1998. Retrieved 4 July 2011. External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ "The New Star Licks Master Series is Here!". Star Licks: FAQ/History w/ media producer, Robert Decker. October 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2011. External link in |publisher= (help)

External links

Al McKay

Al McKay (born February 2, 1948, in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American guitarist, songwriter, producer, and former member of the American funk band Earth, Wind & Fire, and a recipient of six Grammy Awards. McKay now leads his own group which started life as Al McKay's L.A. All Stars, with former EWF members Johnny Graham, Fred White (younger brother of EWF founders Maurice White and Verdine White), Rahmlee Michael Davis and Michael Harris of the former Phenix Horns, and Andrew Woolfolk.

In 2001, the group released an album entitled Al Dente through the Japanese label Videoarts Music. A live album (Live At Mt. Fuji Jazzfestival 2002) followed in 2003 on the same record label. Both releases are available only as imports.McKay's first professional gig was as a guitarist for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue at the age of 18. Throughout most of the 1970s and 1980s, McKay was hired for numerous studio sessions from different artists and produced/composed for various projects, including George Semper, Brenton Wood & Al McKay Productions, United Soul Association (Sticky Boom Boom Too Cold - 1972 / Epic, Prophesy, Mr. Woods Records), The Temptations (Truly for You – 1984 / Motown), A Taste of Honey (Ladies of the Eighties – 1982 / Capitol), and Finis Henderson (Finis – 1982 / Motown), among many others.

His instructional video for Star Licks Productions appeared on VHS in the mid-1980s. With a re-designed video sleeve, it was re-issued on VHS during the 1990s.

He now performs with his band, The Al McKay Allstars, performing a show called The Earth, Wind & Fire Experience, and tours along the major jazz festivals in the world with this 13-piece ensemble. There is also a live DVD (Live In Kaunas Jazz 2004) from this project, which was filmed in Eastern Europe. It was released on the Lithuanian label Rhythm Records.McKay is a left-handed guitar player.

Blas Elias

Blas Elias (born August 18, 1967) is the original, and former, drummer of the glam metal band Slaughter. He also drums for the Las Vegas production of Blue Man Group. He toured with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in the winters of 2017 and 2018. He presently performs in the Las Vegas production show Raiding the Rock Vault.

Brad Gillis

Bradley Frank "Brad" Gillis (born 15 June 1957) is a guitarist most famous for playing with the band Night Ranger. He was in the band Rubicon during the 1970s before Night Ranger. Since forming in 1979, Gillis and drummer Kelly Keagy are the only members to have appeared in every incarnation of the band and all studio releases. However, since Keagy missed several shows for the first time in 2017, Gillis is the only Night Ranger member to have appeared at every live performance in the band's history. He has also played for Ozzy Osbourne and Fiona, and has released solo albums. Gillis’s musical side projects include placing over 300 songs for ESPN’s Sports Center, The X Games, Fox Sports, Tiger Woods Sony PlayStation Games, EA Sports, The Fuse Channel and many others. He has appeared in over a dozen music videos, with TV performances on American Bandstand, Solid Gold, Rock & Roll Tonight and thousands of live concerts. He also participated in the one-time collaboration, Hear 'n Aid, for the promotional single, "Stars," which helped raise $1 million for famine relief in Africa. He was one of several lead guitarists to contribute guitar solos for the cause, including Vivian Campbell, Buck Dharma, and Neal Schon. His first solo album Gilrock Ranch produced a top twenty single, “Honest to God,” which was co-written and sung by Gregg Allman.

Davey Johnstone

David William Logan "Davey" Johnstone (born 6 May 1951, Edinburgh, Scotland) is a Scottish rock guitarist and vocalist, best known for his work with Elton John.

Freddie Washington (bassist)

"Ready" Freddie Washington is an American session bassist who has played with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Michael Jackson, Al Jarreau, Aaron Neville, Lionel Richie, Anita Baker, B.B. King, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston, Donald Fagen, the Crusaders, George Benson, Deniece Williams, Johnny Mathis, Burt Bacharach, Kenny Loggins and Steely Dan.He is best known for his songwriting contribution to "Forget Me Nots" by Patrice Rushen, which heavily features his bass work and was later sampled by Will Smith for "Men in Black". During the 1990s, Washington and Patrice Rushen were part of a popular rhythm section known as "The Meeting". More recently, the bassist has toured with Steely Dan.

In 2005, Washington was a participant in Star Licks Productions’ All-Star Bass Series.

Jeff Berlin discography

Solo1985 Champion (Passport Jazz)

1986 Pump It! (Passport Jazz)

1997 Taking Notes (Denon)

1998 Crossroads (Denon)

2000 Star Licks Master Sessions: Jeff Berlin (Star Licks Productions) (VHS)

2000 In Harmony's Way (M.A.J. Records, multiple re-releases)

2004 Lumpy Jazz (M.A.J.)

2006 Aneurythms/Ace of Bass (M.A.J.)

2006 Mel Bay Jeff Berlin-Bass Logic from the Players School of Music (Mel Bay Publications) (DVD)

2010 High Standards (King Japan / M.A.J.)

2013 Low Standards (Random Act)As sideman1976 Patrick Moraz – The Story of I (Charisma (UK), Atlantic (US/Canada), Voiceprint (reissue))

1976 Esther Phillips – Capricorn Princess

1976 Patti Austin – End of a Rainbow (CTI)

1976 David Matthews with Whirlwind - Shoogie Wanna Boogie (CTI)

1977 Ray Barretto – Eye of the Beholder (Atlantic)

1977 David Liebman – Light'n Up, Please! (A&M)

1977 Ernie Krivda – Satanic (Inner City)

1977 Bruford – Feels Good to Me

1978 Don Pullen – Montreux Concert (Atlantic)

1979 David Sancious – Just As I Thought

1979 Bruford – One of a Kind (Winterfold)

1980 Bruford – Gradually Going Tornado (Winterfold)

1980 Passport - Lifelike

1980 Joe Diorio – 20th Century Impressions

1981 Bruford – The Bruford Tapes (Winterfold)

1981 Herbie Mann – Mellow

1983 Allan Holdsworth – Road Games

1983 Janis Ian – Uncle Wonderful

1984 Clare Fischer and Salsa Picante – Crazy Bird

1985 Shumate-Reno Jazz Quintet – Hurricane

1986 Bruford - Master Strokes: 1978–1985

1986 T Lavitz – Storytime

1987 Henderson-Berlin-Smith-Lavitz – Players

1987 Kazumi Watanabe – The Spice of Life

1988 Kazumi Watanabe – The Spice of Life Too

1989 k.d. lang – Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

1993 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe – An Evening of Yes Music Plus

1994 Nathan Cavaleri Band – Nathan

1995 Richie Kotzen – The Inner Galactic Fusion Experience

1995 Michael Zentner – Playtime

2002 Novecento – Featuring...

2006 Chambers - Jeff Berlin-Fiuczynski-Lavitz – Boston T Party

2006 Bruford - Rock goes to College - (2006 DVD Winterfold Records)

2012 Henderson-Berlin-Chambers – HBC (Tone Center)

2012 Nick Miller – My Memories

Jeff Watson (guitarist)

Jeff Watson (born November 5, 1956 in Sacramento, California) is an American guitarist originally known as one of the founding members and lead guitarist of the band Night Ranger, in which he has played as co-guitarist with guitarist Brad Gillis. He appeared as a special guest on Douglas Docker's Docker's Guild project. Watson has also released solo albums. In 2007, he left the band to pursue other opportunities and Reb Beach replaced him on tour. During 2009 Jeff was part of Dennis DeYoung's travelling band.

Louis Johnson (bassist)

Louis Johnson (April 13, 1955 – May 21, 2015) was an American bass guitarist. Johnson was best known for his group The Brothers Johnson and his session playing on several hit albums of the 1970s and 1980s, including the best selling album of all time, Thriller.His signature sound came from the Music Man StingRay bass guitar, which Leo Fender made for him, and from his slapping technique. He is ranked number 38 on Bass Player magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time".

Mark Whitfield

Mark Whitfield (born October 6, 1966) is an American jazz guitarist.

Michael Angelo Batio

Michael Angelo Batio (; born February 23, 1956), also known as Mike Batio or MAB, is an American heavy metal guitarist and columnist from Chicago, Illinois. He was the lead guitarist for the Los Angeles-based glam metal band Nitro in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Batio's work has encompassed many genres, but he is best known for playing heavy metal and its subgenres such as neoclassical metal, and speed metal. Batio has an advanced knowledge of music theory, having a deep understanding of complex scale combinations and time signatures which assist him in his compositions. He is widely known for his technical mastery of the fretboard and his extremely fast picking and sweep picked arpeggios. He is also known for his showmanship during performances, particularly his use of the "Over-Under" technique, and for his ability to play a double and quad guitar, using both hands to play. Batio is also noted for his guitar instruction DVDs in the "Speed Kills" series which teach shred guitar techniques and how to "master the art of playing lightning fast". Batio was voted the "No. 1 Fastest Guitar Shredder of All Time" by Guitar One Magazine in 2003.

Neil Stubenhaus

Neil Stubenhaus is an American bass guitarist.

Randy Castillo

Randolpho Francisco Castillo (December 18, 1950 – March 26, 2002) was an American musician. He was Ozzy Osbourne's drummer during the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, and later as drummer for Mötley Crüe, from 1999 to his death in 2002.

Ray Flacke

Raymond James Flacke (born February 11, 1948) is a country guitar session player from Milford on Sea, England. He has graced countless recordings with his trademark ‘‘Tele-wielding Chicken pickin’’’ style for such artists as Emmylou Harris, Janie Frickie, Kathy Mattea, Lacy J. Dalton, Marty Stuart, Patty Loveless, Ricky Skaggs and Travis Tritt.

Shock 'Em Dead

Shock ‘Em Dead, also known as Rock ‘Em Dead, is a 1990 comedic horror film written by Mark Freed, David Tedder and Andrew Cross, and directed by Mark Freed. It stars Stephen Quadros and pornstar Traci Lords in one of her first post-adult film roles. The film is also notable for featuring Nitro guitarist Michael Angelo Batio as a guitar double. Shock 'Em Dead is also a thriller with a music comedy twist, a self-aware take on metal guitarists from the 80's.

Simon Wright (musician)

Simon Wright (born June 19, 1963) is an English drummer best known for his work with rock bands AC/DC and Dio. He started playing drums at the age of 13 and cites Cozy Powell, Tommy Aldridge and John Bonham as his greatest influences. He was also the drummer for Rhino Bucket. He currently plays in the band Operation: Mindcrime.

Tony Iommi

Anthony Frank Iommi (; born 19 February 1948) is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. He was lead guitarist and one of the four founder members of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He was the band's primary composer and sole continual member for nearly five decades.

While working in a factory as a teenager, Iommi lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his right hand in an accident, an event which crucially affected his playing style. Iommi briefly left Black Sabbath's forerunner, Earth, in 1968 to join Jethro Tull, after which he returned to Black Sabbath in 1969, recording their self-titled debut album. In 2000, he released his first solo album Iommi, followed by 2005's Fused, which featured his former bandmate Glenn Hughes. After releasing Fused, he formed Heaven & Hell, which disbanded after Ronnie James Dio's death in 2010.

Iommi was ranked number 25 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

In 2011, he published his autobiography, entitled Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath.

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