Meet the Contestants for Guitar Player’s Guitar Superstar 2008 Competition!

Now, let’s meet the ten GPGS finalists who will battle it out onstage at the Great American on September 13 in front of Andy Summers, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, George Lynch, Elliot Easton, Brendon Small, and a club full of crazed guitar fans.

Eric Barnett

Sonoma, CA
Eric Barnett first picked up a violin at age five, eventually attending the Manhattan School of Music and Julliard summer programs. After switching to guitar, Barnett attended GIT in Los Angeles, and developed a reputation as a respected studio musician. As a performer, Barnett has shared the stage with acts as diverse as The Offspring, Henry Rollins, Ween, the Lemonheads, and most recently (with his band, Points North), Michael Schenker, Eric Martin, and Larry Carlton.

Eric Brewer

Erie, PA
Eric Brewer began playing drums at 15, and then went on to learn bass. But after the guitarist in one of his bands left his guitar at his house, Brewer immediately discovered that guitar was the instrument he was destined to play. Brewer ultimately entered Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University Music School, where he studied performance jazz guitar and sound recording. The 23-year-old musician now performs with four bands, teaches guitar, and does studio sessions with local and national artists. Brewer embraces every form of music from rock to jazz, metal, funk, blues, country, acoustic, and everything in between in order to combine the varied styles into a sound that is uniquely his own.

Mark Christian

Los Angeles, CA
Mark Christian was born in the entertainment capitol of the world, and has been in the music business his whole adult life, playing, guitar, bass, and a little banjo for hire. In Los Angeles, he has worked as a music producer, session musician, and songwriter for many different kinds of artists. He started playing guitar and taking lessons at age nine, and grew up to sign four record deals with three different bands, and tour the U.S. many times. Christian is one of the founding members of the grunge-rock trio the Big F (1989-1994), as well as Disappointment Inc. (1998-2000). He is currently in Merle Jagger—an instrumental blowtorch that is sort of a “hats off” to all of the country pickers and rock innovators who pioneered the sound of electric guitar as we know it today.

Vicki Genfan

Fairview, NJ
Drawing from folk, jazz, pop, soul, and world music, Vicki Genfan is redefining singer/songwriter culture. With a mastery of the acoustic guitar that borders on pure alchemy, audiences are often mesmerized by the waves of sound Genfan creates with just two hands—using her guitar as a percussive instrument, as she slaps it, taps it, and employs 29 alternate tunings. Genfan has performed at festivals such as The International Montreal Jazz Festival, Germany’s Open Strings Guitar Festival, Italy’s Soave Guitar Festival, as well as at venues and Performing Arts Centers across the US and abroad.


Honolulu, HI
A protégé of the Hawaiian slack-key masters, Makana has dedicated his life to evolving the art form. Slack key or Ki Ho'alu is more than 200 years old and indigenous to Hawaii—hence a traditional American folk art—and was created by island families as a personal expression of their beautiful surroundings and way of life. By “slacking” the strings to open chords, hands are freed to alter the sound whilst self-accompanying with a triad of alternating bass patterns, rhythms, and sweet melodies. From this tradition, Makana has evolved his own dynamic, high-octane style infused with elements of bluegrass, rock, blues, and raga—which he calls “Slack Rock.”

Daddo Oreskovich

Chicago, IL
Daddo Oreskovich was born in 1978, in the small town of Bihac in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the age of six, he began studying classical guitar and piano. Between 1992 and 1995, Oreskovich evolved musically by listening to records of Gary Moore, Richie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, Richie Kotzen and Reb Beach, eventually merging his classical background with modern rock expression on the guitar. When the war broke out in Bosnia, Oreskovich spent most of his days in his basement, playing guitar and writing music. After the war, he attended the Music Academy in Sarajevo as a Music Theory major, some friends from Boston encouraged him to apply to the Berklee College of Music. After a tape audition, Oreskovich was invited to Paris for the Berklee College of Music Live Scholarship Tour. In 1999, he received a Berklee scholarship award, and in January of 2001, he moved to Boston, where his musical mentors were Joe Stump, David Fiuczynski, Mark White, and Don Lappin. He graduated in 2004 with a degree in Guitar Performance.

Michael Orlando

Staten Island, NY
Michael Orlando fronts Mike Orlando’s Sonic Stomp instrumental band, which released its debut instrumental CD Sonic Stomp to critical acclaim, and will release Sonic Stomp II later in 2008. Orlando also plays with Symphony X frontman/vocalist Russell Allen, and their collaboration will be released on Allen’s Frontier Records solo debut this year. Orlando is a GHS/Rocktron featured artist, and has performed at various artist-signing events for the company.

Dan Peters

Morton Grove, IL
Peters’ rollicking surfabilly” trio, the West Side Winders, has recorded two albums, Come and Get It and Snaken Not Stirred. The group blends all the styles Peters loves to play—rockabilly, surf, jazz, blues, swing, country, and hard rock—and his work is also heard in the current version of Incredible Technology’s video golf game, Golden Tee. Peters was a member of the Big Swing in the late ’90s, touring Europe and appearing on ABC-TV’s Cupid. Peters also appeared on Beat Route—a BBC-produced series starring legendary British keyboardist Jools Holland. He credits his training at Hollywood’s Guitar Institute of Technology with exposing him to “a lifetime worth of knowledge and skills.”

Ben Robinson

Jacksonville, FL
At nine years of age, Ben Robinson locked him self in his room with a guitar his father had given him, and soon taught himself how to play. “I copied Stevie Ray’s every lick, and then worked hard to create my own style,” he says. The guitarist eventually became an in-demand sideman for such notables as, Warrant, Gilby Clark, B.B. Chungking, and the BuddaHeads. At almost 6'6", Robinson has a bigger-than-life presence, and captivates crowds young and old alike with his style and virtuoso playing.

the guy

Norwalk, CT
Known as “the guy,” guitarist Christopher Schreiner possesses substantial technique, but his compositions are never dominated by the intention of demonstrating it. His music is subtly sophisticated, hypnotic, and groove oriented, and Schreiner exhibits unique phrasing, inspiring tone, and an expressive touch. Before graduating from Berklee College of Music, Schreiner was a member of Kenwood Dennards’s band—often cutting class in favor of jamming with the legendary drummer. In 2005, they recorded the album Metajam. This summer, Schreiner will release his first solo album, Only Human, and embark on a tour of Nepal and India.