Tristan Avakian – guitar


“Just wanted to say how great it was to see you playing so well and that I listened to your wonderful CD. You have a great pop sensibility…” STEVE STEVENS (BILLY IDOL)

“A fine musician – produces beautiful effects.” MARIE-HELEN GAGNON (ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL)

After getting a first dose of his older sister’s record collection, Avakian picked up the guitar and has not put it down since. By the time he was 16, he was a fixture of the New York City club scene, playing stages like CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City when he was still too young to be in the crowd. “I learned a lot about music,” says Avakian, “and a lot about life.”

Mentors proved relatively easy for him to find — lessons from the legendary Steve Vai and watching Steve Stevens ascend to fame in Billy Idol’s band influenced Avakian to follow the same path: “It wasn’t anything specific they showed me as much as who they were, what they were, and the discipline they brought to the task — no matter how glamorous it looked on the outside, seeing their work ethic is what shaped me as a player.”

From that influence, he racked up the credits for a truly eclectic batch of artists: a stint with the New York Dolls’ Syl Sylvain, co-writing and recording with punk poet Jim Carroll, a brief tenure with hardcore icons Biohazard… along with teaching guitar to Lauryn Hill and playing on her still-unreleased second solo album. A singer/songwriter in his own right, he has held a major label deal and opened for national acts in arenas.

Several other projects have been theatrical rock: a role off-Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a tour with Christmas rock icons the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a movie and stage show created by Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, and touring with Cirque de Soleil. All those roads eventually led Avakian to Toronto, and jobs as lead guitarist for the musicals We Will Rock You and Rock of Ages.

No longer living out of a suitcase has given Avakian the opportunity to build a studio and focus on production. For the past few years he has been developing emerging artists, both as a freelance producer and with Venus Records chief exec and Canadian Idol judge Zack Werner. A SOCAN member and published songwriter, he has 2 cuts on Idol winner Brian Melo’s new release.

He was selected by Roger Taylor of Queen to be one of two guitarists representing Brian May in the first North American tour of the official Queen tribute, Queen Extravaganza.

Currently, after 2 consecutive Tony award winning smash musicals (Book of Mormon and Kinky Boots) he is focusing on his artist career as a singer songwriter and touring behind his debut album of classic story-song, As Waters.