Mike Slayen

The Riffs of the 80s Live on the LeBrain Train

Awesome, fast-paced show tonight!  We picked our favourite riffs of the 80s, and Mike Slayen did his best to play some of ’em for us.  A big round of applause for Mike, please and thank you!

Your Riff Merchants tonight were:

Added extra bonus:  Lana Teramae and Harrison the Mad Metal Man both submitted lists, read towards the end of the show.  Aaron also wrote ’em all down if you wanna read ’em.

For me personally though, the highlight of the show was the brand new music video by T-Bone.  I have been waiting two weeks to play this.  If you’d like to catch this new song, a wonderful tribute to our own Uncle Meat, then go to 0:14:00.

See ya next week when I return with Harrison, Deke and Aaron with some Iron Maiden cover art lists!

Top Riffs of the 1980s tonight on the LeBrain Train – Mike Slayen returns!

The LeBrain Train:  2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano

Episode 53 – Top Riffs of the 1980s


The last time we talked riffs, San Diego-based guitarist Mike Slayen was there to show us how to play ’em.  Tonight, Mike will be back to talk the 80s.  The era of Van Halen, Scorpions, Motley Crue and Metallica.  Mike is gonna have his hands full — literally!

Added bonus:  This time, Rob Daniels from Visions In Sound will be joining us with his own 80s rock perspective!  The panel is seven, so we will be doing these lists very quickly with minimal jabber:

Added extra bonus:  Lana Teramae submitted an 80s list and I’ll be reading it at the end!

There are additional surprises lined up, so take it from someone who knows:  you don’t wanna miss this week’s show.  You want to catch this one live.

7:00 PM E.S.T.
Facebook:  MikeLeBrain  YouTube:  Mike LeBrain

The Riffs Kept A-Rockin’ on the LeBrain Train

Dude!!  What a show that was!  Technical difficulties aside, another excellent Nigel Tufnel Top Ten.  Hottest Riffs of the 1970s was the topic at hand.  The lists went far and wide and everybody came out of it with huge smiles on their faces.  Rush, Van Halen and Black Sabbath received a lot of extra love tonight, but you’ll have to watch to find out!

Your panel:

It was a tremendous amount of fun to actually hear some of these riffs instead of just talking about them.  A huge thanks to Mike for doing this with us.  And he will be back when we talk about the 80s.

The less said about this show, the better, because who wants spoilers?  Not you, trust me!

To jump straight to the lists without all the preamble and introductions, go to 0:21:00 and enjoy!

Top Riffs of the 1970s tonight on the LeBrain Train – special guest Mike Slayen

The LeBrain Train:  2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano

Episode 47


In October 2020, we did one of my favourite LeBrain Train episodes:  Van Halen deep cuts.  Shortly after, I was contacted by guitarist Mike Slayen about how much he enjoyed the lists.  He asked me if there was any way he could participate and I “sure DUDE!”  See, Dude is the title of his excellent instrumental acoustic CD.  But Mike knows not just acoustic, but also the sweet siren song of a fully electrified six-string.  Why not talk about Top Riffs?

Kevin, Aaron, and Uncle Meat were interested.  But it was quickly obvious that the scope was too large, so we decided to break it down by decade.  In the future, we’ll reconvene to talk about riffs of the 80s and 90s, but tonight, we talk about the greatest time ever (perhaps) for guitar riffs:  the molten 1970s.

Tonight’s panel will be five:

Mike Slayen is a guitar teacher, so what I am hoping is that he can demonstrate how some of these riffs are played.  This is going to be a fun night with plenty of great picks for you (and I) to check out.  See you tonight, and please share with your music buddies!





#729.4: LeBrain’s Unorthodox Top 10 of 2018

Given everything that happened in 2018 (cancer, more cancer, death), I wasn’t as tuned-in to rock and roll as I normally would be.  I missed a lot of new releases, some on purpose, others by accident.  Therefore, this year I’m doing something different from my Top Lists of 2018.  Before we get to the lists, let’s talk about the past 12 months.


January saw new CDs by Joe Satriani and Corrosion of Conformity, finally reunited with Pepper Keenan on vocals.  There was new Loudness, and a release by Beth Hart & Joe BonamassaDef Leppard had a low-key EP exclusive to iTunes (The Lost Session).  In February we got the return of the mighty Saxon.  March was a big month, featuring Judas Priest, Stone Temple Pilots, Jack White and Myles Kennedy.  The rock kept rolling in April.  The big metal one here was Stryper‘s God Damn Evil, along with new Godsmack and Thirty Seconds to Mars.  During this time I was personally only able to get the Stryper and Priest.

As temperatures warmed in May, Bad Wolves came out with their novelty cover of “Zombie” by the Cranberries which became a predictable hit.  Frank Turner and Five Finger Death Punch also released new records in May.  News in June was unfortunately dominated by Kanye West and Drake, but don’t forget Ghost, The Darkness (with their first live) and Nine Inch Nails!  In July, Halestorm came out with the critically acclaimed ViciousAlice in Chains made their long awaited return in August with Rainier Fog, an album I bought but have not yet fully penetrated.

Autumn began with the biggest name in rock and roll, Sir Paul McCartney himself.  SlashPaul Simon, Lenny Kravitz and Suicidal Tendencies had records out on the same day.  VoiVod, Therapy?, Metric and even Rod Stewart returned in September as well.  October featured two big soundtracks:  Bohemian Rhapsody, and A Star Is BornAce Frehley, Greta Van Fleet, and The Struts came out with new music the same month.  In November we got Mark Knopfler, the Smashing Pumpkins, Ted Nugent and yet another live Beth Hart.  The month closed with the latest Def Leppard best-of.  December boasted Metal Church but not a lot of rock.  Thank the Metal Gods that Max the Axe swooped in with Status Electric to save the year.

I spent most of 2018 checked out mentally.  I missed most of the new releases and have a lot to catch up on.  The summer was spent on Highway 401, and a flash drive loaded with music helped me survive it.  New releases were not the be-all and end-all for me.  Therefore, my Top Albums of 2018 list includes some oldies that just helped me get through it all.  It seems right to do it this way, since I can’t really do a well-curated list of new releases without absorbing them properly.


  1. Blotto – Combo Akimbo (1982)
  2. Max the Axe – Status Electric (2018)
  3. Ghost – Prequelle (2018)
  4. The Darkness – Live at Hammersmith  (2018)
  5. Judas Priest – Firepower (2018)
  6. Blotto – Tonight At Toad’s (1982)
  7. Ace Frehley – Spaceman (2018)
  8. Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson & Steve Vai – G3 Live in Concert (1997)
  9. The Sword – Used Future (2018)
  10. Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds (1978)



  1. Fu Manchu – Clone of the Universe (2018)
  2. Hello Hopeless – Dark Pasts, Brighter Futures (2018)
  3. Mike Slayen – Dude: A Guitar CD (2018)


Can’t do a movie list this year.  Not possible.  I didn’t see ’em all, but one movie blew away all the rest.

  1. Avengers: Infinity War

A PEEK AT 2019

What’s hot for 2019?

  1. Star Wars:  Episode IX
  2. Motley Crue‘s long awaited movie The Dirt, and new songs too.
  3. Dream Theater – Distance Over Time
  4. Avengers:  Endgame
  5. Queensryche – The Verdict

Stay tuned….




REVIEW: Mike Slayen – DUDE: A Guitar CD (2018)

MIKE SLAYEN – DUDE: A Guitar CD – 12 Notes & the Truth (2018 Mike Slayen)

San Diego’s Mike Slayen crowdfunded his latest album, titled DUDE: A Guitar CD.  I think Mike was born with the perfect name; after all, he’s just slayin’ it on this album.

The format is laid back acoustic instrumentals.  Upon first track “Chill”, you’ll be hooked immediately.  Slayen’s writing on DUDE is consistently memorable.   The arrangements have just enough meat — bass, drums/percussion and occasional keys back up the main guitar melodies.  The key element to each song is the lead melody.  Similar to fellows like Joe Satriani, Mike writes catchy guitar melodies to take the focus.  Each track is memorable for that reason.

The musicianship and recording is immaculate.  The warm atmosphere is inviting for return listens.  DUDE is a perfect CD for chilling and relaxing and it’ll work particularly well on the porch during summer.  Mike explores different tempos, and demonstrates an intimate knowledge of the acoustic guitar with his intricate picking.  Yes intricate at times, but never anything less than enjoyable.  DUDE is a guitar CD but not necessarily for guitarists.  DUDE is just a good CD to have for folks who enjoy relaxing and memorable music.

Check out songs such as “The Secret”, “Ice Cream” and “Chill” for a taste of what Mike Slayen does on DUDE.  There are exotic and latin influences along the way, and enough variety to make the CD an easy one to listen through.  There is even one fairly heavy piece — heavy for acoustic anyway — which is the title track “Dude”.

Go to MikeSlayen.com and check out DUDE.  Discerning fans of instrumental guitar music are unlikely to be disappointed.

4/5 stars

Full disclosure:  I first “met” Mike Slayen as a reader on this site.  I believe that this review is impartial and I would have given DUDE the same score even if I didn’t know Mike.