Friday, January 24, 2014

RUSH's ALEX LIFESON Joins PRS Acoustic Signature Artist Family

PRS Guitars has announced the new Private Stock Alex Lifeson Thinline acoustic guitar, new for NAMM 2014. While the craftsmanship and attention to detail are very consistent with other PRS Private Stock acoustics, this instrument embodies some new design elements that take the instrument in a unique direction. The Alex Lifeson signature PRS acoustic is slightly thinner than the company's Angelus Cutaway and Tonare Grand and is constructed in such a way that it lends itself to louder stage volumes and the rigors of the road.
"During the 2013 RUSH 'Clockwork Angels' tour, I had the opportunity to spend some time with a PRS Angelus Cutaway," said Lifeson. "It quickly became my pre-show warm-up guitar, and I spent many hours in many hotel rooms lost in the gorgeous sound and tone of that beautiful instrument.
"I'm very happy to announce that I have collaborated with PRS to develop an Alex Lifeson signature model based on this superlative platform. If you're like me, you won't be able to put it down."
The Alex Lifeson signature acoustic is made in PRS Guitars' Maryland shop and features a bearclaw spruce top and koa back and sides with a mahogany neck and ebony bridge, fretboard, and headstock veneer. It is adorned with Mother of Pearl and Paua "Birds in Flight" inlays and Paua purfling along the top, fretboard, and headstock veneer.
"We are honored to work with Alex, a guitarist with world-renowned acclaim, experience, and talent," said Jack Higginbotham, president, PRS Guitars. "It would be difficult to find a better person to lend a discerning ear and such voluminous experience to a project like this.
"Our goal has been to develop a musical instrument that can perform equally well at home, on the stage, in the studio, or in the practice room. With Alex, we have found the perfect balance of all the above in an elegant package."

The PRS Private Stock Alex Lifeson Thinline acoustic will be available starting in the spring of 2014. More details can be found at

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Remembering Oliver Withöft, co-owner of Century Media

Remembering Oliver Withöft, Co-Owner of Century Media

Withöft, 49, Passed Away January 20, 2014


"I have lost my best friend of 32 years and my business partner of 24. Although the unthinkable already happened three days ago, I am still in a state of utter shock. Oliver Withöft leaves a space that cannot be filled for all who held him dear. He was a tremendous father, husband, son and friend and will be terribly missed. I will always treasure him in my heart as the witty, brilliant and altogether great person he was. Farewell Oliver, see you on the other side and in our next life. Your brother, Robert" 
--Robert Kampf, Century Media founder

Oliver Withöft, co-owner of independent record label Century Media, passed away on January 20, 2014 after falling ill several months ago. He was 49.

Born in Dortmund, Germany in 1964, Withöft studied linguistics, business and history in both Germany and the U.K. Robert Kampf started Century Media Records 25 years ago simply to create a suitable label home for his own band, Despair. He was looking for a trustworthy and strong partner to lead the company with and found this person in his best friend and fellow musician Oliver Withöft, who joined the company eighteen months later, sharing the same love and passion for music, and metal in particular. Since that very day, these two friends developed one of the most important independent record labels on the planet. Today the company has around 100 people on payroll in Dortmund, London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Melbourne and the Netherlands. A lot of musical careers were developed over the years: Lacuna Coil, Shadows Fall, Suicide Silence, In This Moment, Otherwise, Iced Earth, Die Broilers, Arch Enemy and Heaven Shall Burn are just a few of them. Century Media became a brand name recognized across the world. Oliver Withöft was always the strategic, legal and financial mind behind the organization. He was not only a strong fighter for the company, but also a very intelligent and forward-thinking leader. When the music industry drastically changed in the '90s, he was the first to think about new ways to adapt to the needs and challenges of the rapidly-changing market. We have lost a great man with an amazing sense of humor, a warrior, and an overall very human being. Oliver leaves behind a wife, Judith, and their three daughters.

Antje Lange, CEO of Century Media Records: "I learned a lot from him in regards to business, the world and life. He was an extremely smart and visionary business man who cared a lot about the people working for him. He was one of the most open-minded and knowledgeable persons I have ever met. Oliver was responsible for a lot of successful artists' careers and an impressive amount of albums that had an impact in the music world. It has never been easy  for him, but he was a strong fighter. A great man with an amazing sense of humor whose departure leaves a large gap in our lives."

Ula Gehret, who handles business affairs for Century Media Records with his company Clandestine: "He had a razor-sharp intellect and keen business acumen, and as a number of people can attest to, he was not someone you wanted to be sitting across from at a negotiating table. After a few years at the label, he introduced me to how legal contracts worked. Eventually, with training, that became my full-time occupation.  It is no exaggeration to say that without his tutelage and patience, I would not be where I am today, doing something I love, and with principle. He was my mentor."

Oliver was a very special person who touched many people's lives in a positive and special way. This is a tremendous loss for all who knew him and it will take some time for us to grieve the passing of such a great person.

"Oliver was always a winner, one of those that I somehow thought would live forever. A genius, a friend and the best advisor I've ever had. It was all him behind the scenes." 
--Kobi Farhi, Orphaned Land

"Oliver and Robert had the guts, trust and belief to sign us when we were just a bunch of kids trying to play metal. Without these guys, I doubt we would be where we are today. He was not the easiest to work with back in the day, but a very cool guy." 
--Ola Lindgren, Grave

For those who would like to honor his memory:

His family have asked that - instead of sending flowers - they would appreciate it if you could donate to "The Oliver Withöft Scholarship", a fund raised as part of the Kindred Project (

Donation reference:
Account holder: Kindred Project Oliver Withoeft
Reference: The Oliver Withoeft Scholarship
IBAN: GI89 BARC 0204 5216 2863 922

If you would like to share your memories and condolences, please email: