Wishing you a very happy birthday! I've been very fortunate not only in working with you for 3 years now but also spending a few birthdays together. Highlights:
1. June 6, 2010 - The Favored Nations team wanted to do something special for your 50th birthday so we called Ibanez, got a JEM and all signed it. In the process, one of us decided it would be fun to color in some of the fret markers with Sharpie. I won't say who (*Juli*n* cough cough*) and the next thing we knew, we were doodling all over your present. After looking at it -with all the doodles- we were thinking we might have screwed up the whole thing; hoping some saving force would come along to help clean things up. Enter Scotty, who proposed building a gorgeous coffee table with a crushed velour bed to rest the guitar in with a glass panel on top. We were saved by true artistry:
There was also this that year http://bit.ly/dub0lL
which I worked into my freelance job at the lamp store. Segue to...
2. September 21, 2011 - My 30th birthday. You gave me the coolest surprise imaginable-- an Ibanez JEM FP2! The very guitar that you unveiled at Jemfest X the previous summer where I shot a promo video for Ibanez-- placed in my hands as a gift. After playing the guitar for 2 years, I've learned it's the only guitar that you would ever play-- and it makes me sound like I have heightened guitar abilities! Was it just a dream or did 20 friends and I party in The Mothership the next day, recording music with Greg Wurth at the console/helm
3. This birthday - Although you're in Russia, the birthday wishes coming in from all over the globe are exceptionally cool. The website has undergone cool changes in the last year, seeing your Facebook page has nearly 2 million fans & top guitar publications have wished you a happy birthday through social media. It's just awesome to see. Not to mention today marks the release of Naked Tracks Volumes 6&7 http://www.vai.com/home/
I suppose fans who don't know you personally might want to know that in addition to being a virtuoso musician, a boundary-pushing composer and an artist in multiple realms, I have seen you go out of your way to do kind things for others, are a great family man & can run an Excel worksheet better than Bill Gates after 3 cups of coffee (dudes, it's scary when one-of-a-kind talent comes together with unparalleled focus.. even when it comes to documents).
Wishing you a special birthday from sunny Southern California, where I'm going to see Greg in a bit as well as Thomas later this afternoon- to be transported into the future (and help tweak his new Macintosh).