Well… that was ****ing amazing.

Posted: September 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

After taking a day to process everything, that’s still the best sentence to describe this past Saturday.

Once the gear was loaded in, Sean and I stayed downtown and walked around the Pecan Street festival, eating food and paying tribute to House of Pain, and running into a few friends, all in between going back to the venue to check on the gear.

Finally that evening, the bands started, and people started coming into the Dirty Dog. Everyone played and sounded great. But while An Army at Dawn started, the one thing I was afraid of happened – that’s when everything sunk in. The nerves hit me like a brick wall. The first note they played, that was the official kick off to the event. That’s when it all became real. The nervousness that seemed to have absent pulled right up and made itself at home.

But once 9:15 rolled around, it was time to focus. We went and started getting the gear ready to be taken on stage, and that focus helped calm everything down. They started playing Black Label Society’s “Overlord” on the house system, so I took that as a good sign. After a quick set up and sound check, we went at it. Derek and I started letting our guitars ring out, then Rob hit us off, and we all started the show, right into Equites Mortis.

In the same moment, it was solidified this is what I will do with my life, and one of my biggest dreams came true. And I got to share that moment, and the remaining fourteen minutes and fifty nine seconds with three of my friends playing music, and my friends and family in the audience.

Zakk Wylde said once how he always wears his mining boots, whether he’s working at home off the road, or on tour. So that at the end of the day, he can take them off, and know he put in another day’s work. Converse aren’t the exactly the same, but it was still a great feeling none the less.

All in all, it was an amazing time, and I would do it all over again in a heart beat. Special shout out to Fall of Man Kind for being awesome guys, and a huge congratulations to Buried Under Texas for winning the battle! We hope to play with you guys again soon! Everyone that played was awesome and brought it, on top of being super nice. Everyone that came out to the show and hung out afterwards was fantastic, there just isn’t more to ask for.

It was ****ing amazing.

The day is here…

Posted: September 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

For years, I’ve thought about this day. All the daydreams played the scenario of being a nervous ninny right now. But it’s different. I feel very calm, like the show is still two weeks away. It’s like there is a war going on tomorrow, and I’m up at 2:42 in the morning, waiting for the sun to come up, still at ease.

It’s a dream come true in every sense of the saying. Since I was eleven, this is what I wanted to do with music. And I’m kicking it off with three of the best guys I could be playing with, at the best venue, and for the best circumstance.

The top prize for Battle for KnotFest is an opening slot at this year’s KnotFest. And I hope we do win, but the show today is what’s more important. Just having a killer time with my friends and family, playing a great show, and destroying the stage. If we win, then it’s all guns blazing to our first California show, and then trying not to freak out cause we’re opening for Mastodon. Until then, the focus is on now.

Anyway, the sun really will be up in about four hours as I’m writing this, so I should get some sleep. If you’re still wanting to get tickets, text/call/email/message me and I can deliver them to you on the way to the venue this afternoon, or arrange for you to pick them up before the show. They’re $13 each, and we play at 10pm!

I’m so incredibly grateful for the fact we’re playing this show, the hard work and dedication everyone in the band has been putting in, and for everyone coming out to the show – special thanks to Violet and her friend for coming in from Dallas!

Thank you guys for reading, and I’ll see you tonight!


This past Wednesday, we had the first full band rehearsal for the show this Saturday (Tickets still available!). It was the first time any of the songs I’ve written have been played by a full band.

It was an incredible experience. The guitar solo was botched the first few times running through Equites Mortis because I was amazed. Hearing other people play your music is weird. Hearing three other guys play the music is really, really weird.

A few years ago, I had a violinist try out for the band. He was an accomplished musician, and very talented. Though it didn’t pan out because he loved stoking his ego just as much as he did stroking his violin. It was a slightly awkward audition, but hey, MERCILESS. If nothing else, it solidified that a violinist is a must for the live band. Maybe in the not so distant future.

Anyway, that was the first time I heard another person play something I wrote that wasn’t my guitar teacher. Well, like how people talk about their first time having sex not being great, I wish I could take back the first time I heard other people playing my music. This past Wednesday was a MUCH better experience, through and through. All those weeks (years, how ever you look at it) of prowling the Craigslist musician’s section, posting ads, making flyers, calling people, all came to this. And naturally, I end up playing with three guys I already know.

It’s one thing to have the song idea in your head, then to watch it evolve and come to life as it’s being written and recorded, then to hear the mastered product. Those are all unique experiences. But hearing a band play them is such a different take on it. You can spend weeks getting a band to sound exactly like the album, but why would you want to? There’s an energy that’s in the songs when it’s live. It almost makes the album seem stale. Or stagnant. That energy will be what I chase through life.

Whew, this page hasn’t been updated since March. Lots of stuff has changed!

First, I’m very proud of how Thank You For Everything turned out. There was a tremendous out pour of positive feedback about the music the meaning, and what the goal of the EP was. The mission to keep Scrappy’s memory alive and to keep positive things coming from his passing is still going on, but that was a great start.

On a happier note, I’ve been getting a lot busier with music. A few auditions in the past few months that went really well, and I’ve been playing with a lot of people lately. Meeting new people.

My buddy Sean and I started a synth pop/grunge cover band, and last night, I got to fill in on lead guitar and play with The Cash Band as we played the Broken Spoke in Austin, and got to play with some great guys, and see a few familiar faces! That’s always fun. The circumstances weren’t ideal though. I got a call Wednesday afternoon offering the fill in position, and then did my best to learn the 20 song set list as quick as possible. Stressful, but we pulled it off.

On the new music front of things, I’ve been writing a lot of music, and know exactly what direction the next EP/album will go. It’s different. I don’t feel the need to go heavier with each release, but to see how well emotion and the concept of the music can be conveyed. And with this, it definitely has the ability to do that.

But by far, the biggest news is the show we have coming up next month. This will be the first time playing my original music with a full live band, and I couldn’t be more excited! This is one dream coming true that’s been long awaited.

The show is “Battle for Knotfest”. A battle of the bands, where instead of recording time at a local studio, the winner gets an opening slot at the upcoming Knotfest in California! Tickets are $13 advanced, or $15 at the door. I have tickets I can mail out, so if you want one, get in touch and you’ll have yours! (Click here for the full event page)

Thank you guys for reading, and I’ll update again soon.


I’m extremely proud to announce my new EP, “Thank You For Everything”, to be released on March 17th.

The EP serves as a tribute to my dog, Scrappy, who passed away on May 12th last year. I wanted something positive to come from his passing, so 25% of all proceeds from this EP will be donated to Dallas Fort Worth Lab Rescue!

You can check out the announcement video for more details:

(Video here)

If you’d like to donate directly to DFW Lab Rescue ahead of time, you an absolutely do that here.

More updates to come! Thank you guys for reading.

Lee’s Top 5 Albums of 2014

Posted: December 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

This was going to be a top 10 list, and even could be a top 15 list. But let’s just cut to the chase, the top 5 are what we all really want to see on these lists anyway, right?

And while it’s a shame that there wasn’t even a metal core album that went #1 this year (Though props to Taylor Swift, there almost wasn’t anyone to hit that milestone this year), that doesn’t mean there wasn’t good music released. So without further ado, let’s get to it.

5. Down – Down IV Part II

I’ve really grown to appreciate Phil Anselmo outside of Pantera over the past year, and that’s mostly thanks to Down. It’s almost like falling in love with Zakk Wylde’s work with Ozzy back in the day, and then finding out he went on to create Black Label Society. It’s a win/win bonus round for all.

No matter what, Down is extremely consistent in writing heavy, southern sludge songs that are beyond amazing. And I’m sure all the other fans of the band were thrilled with this EP. I certainly am, as it’s another solid entry in the band’s discography.

4. AC/DC – Rock or Bust

This might not be completely fair, as I’m kind biased (and almost obligated) to love anything that AC/DC puts out. They’re a huge reason I play guitar, and helped shape how I play guitar. Angus and Malcolm together are easily the best power house duo in rock, so to hear about Malcolm being diagnosed with dementia was truly saddening. He had written several of the band’s best songs, and produced/engineered a lot of the albums. He was pretty much the Australian Jimmy Page on that front.

So with Malcolm out (and what ever is going on with Phil Rudd), a lot of fans were questioning if they should even continue. Of course they should! And from what Angus said, it was a hard process to not have his brother there in the studio or in the writing process. But, the album still turned out amazing! I would even say I like it more than Black Ice, and I really enjoyed that one.

Even though it’s rated to not be the most dynamic album,  it still sounds great. There’s an “air” to the music, if you will. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s one of the best sounding albums in a while. Straight up rock’n’roll, no tricks or anything. The songs are outstanding, and Angus is at the top of his game. What else do you need?

3. Nick Johnston – Atomic Mind

As a fellow instrumental guitarist, Nick Johnston is undoubtedly one of the most talented guitarists on the planet, and his third album “Atomic Mind” shows that yet again.

With the backing band of Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann (both of The Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, and much, much more), the album just soars. From the licks, technique, song writing, and my goodness… Nicks’ guitar tone, this is one of the best instrumental and best rock albums of this decade!

Also, with guest appearances by Paul Gilbert and Guthrie Govan, it’s a solid 10/10.

Nick Johnston - Atomic Mind Album Art 500x500

2. Black Label Society – Catacombs of the Black Vatican

Okay… Okay… I know that AC/DC being on this list was a little biased. And to be honest, this is too. Zakk has been my main musical influence for almost a decade, so it’s hard to not love a new BLS record. But, just like with Rock or Bust, this is a solid album.

Social media only built anticipation for this album as Zakk posted photos and videos from in the studio on Instagram, teasing the fans about what was to come. And boy did it deliver.

The opening track, “Fields of Unforgiveness”, is like if BLS and and Alice in Chains collaborated on an song together.

WAIT… Jerry Cantrell and Zakk writing music together… That would be a highlight of heavy metal.

Anyway, the rest of the album is amazing. And all of the bonus tracks (domestic and abroad) are all songs that would have been worth just putting on the album as regular songs. Dark Side of the Sun and The Nomad are two of the best BLS songs in my opinion.

Lately, it’s been teased on Instagram that Zakk’s been writing a lot of new music again, so hopefully a new BLS album isn’t that far away.

I thought The Order of the Black was the best Black Label album of all time, but then CCOTBV showed otherwise, and then told me to go sit in the corner for my amazing stupidity.

A solid 5 fists of fury out of 5.

1. Pink Floyd – The Endless River

Oh my goodness – if you told me a year ago that there would be a new Pink Floyd album (Actually, if you told anyone that), I would have thought you were just trying to pull a fast one on me. But low and behold, about a year later, this CD’s been in nearly constant rotation.

You all should know the story of this album by now. It’s all left over pieces and soundscapes from The Division Bell sessions. And, unfortunately, the last (new to the public) recordings of Richard Wright that we will ever hear.

From the second I hit play, the album constantly sent goosebumps all over my body. It was almost as magical as when I heard Dark Side of the Moon for the first time. The songs really do flow together perfectly, and while it’s bitter sweet that the only song any vocals appear on is the last track, it’s the perfect send off for the album, and what is the end of Pink Floyd’s history, at least as far as new music.

I can’t express how much I love this album. It’s one that, if you could marry music, It’d be my 20th wife.

The endless river 500x500

Lame jokes aside, those are my top 5 albums of 2014.

Honorable mentions go to:

Mastodon – Once More Round’ The Sun

Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways (Seriously, I liked this album a LOT more than Wasting Light)

Beck – Morning Phase (Seriously, listen to this album)

Next year’s “Best to come”:

Tame Impala – ??

Melody’s Echo Chamber – ??

Rob Zombie – ??

Dear companies that make music software (Audio work stations, VST’s, plug ins, etc.),

For years now, as a professional musician/composer, I’ve legally purchased your music software every single time I wanted or needed one. Whether it was from Musician’s Friend, or often right from your own websites, I’ve always paid for your software, and have never torrented or stolen it. I did use some pieces through a trial period, but just to make sure it did what I needed it to do.

I am not the only one like this. There are hundreds of thousands, dare I say millions, of hard working musicians like myself that regularly pay for the products you provide. And while I’m well aware of the number of people that steal your software and share it, I’m confident that the good outweighs the bad. So why do those who do good get the short end of the stick?

There’s nothing worse than finally buying the new virtual instrument you’ve been waiting to get, only to spend a ridiculous amount of time with confirmation emails and activation codes that are a character too short (or just flat out don’t work), and I wind up needing help from tech support – nothing turns me off from a company faster than needing to talk to tech support when I’m SETTING THE PRODUCT UP rather than using it. I worked hard to get that new compressor, so the last thing I want to do when I finally get it is wait over night for a half-assed and generic “We’ll be with you shortly” email, followed by waiting two or three business days for someone to get with me, about a problem that he or she likely has spent half their week helping others with. To your credit, everyone else’s problem probably isn’t about the product crashing. But when there are projects and deadlines, waiting to talk to tech support is the last thing I need to do.

So please: Stop screwing over your loyal, paying, hard working customers, and find a way around software piracy that isn’t a giant middle finger to your consumers.

Thank you very much,

– Lee Chavez

PS: It seems every single company now has their own separate software of which it’s sole purpose is to enter and keep track of activation/product codes. This is the cherry on top. While I have yet to run into any software that takes more than 20 minutes to simply download to my computer, it’s a major inconvenience to also have to install and keep track of (what honestly is) a major waste of time – this isn’t necessary, and I say that as a musician who, like you guys, is in an industry where everyone seems to expect your product/service for free.

Seriously – if anyone wants to contact me, I’m completely open to discussing and brainstorming on how we can get past this problem.