Born in Chicago Illinois, and after being mesmerized by his uncle Jeff Brown playing guitar, Toshi Iseda was inspired to pick up the guitar. A guitarist since the 7th grade, Toshi has become known as THE prominent up-and-coming guitarist in the Midwest. In the “beginning”, he was inspired by listening to a lot of different kinds of music, but especially that of KISS, Aerosmith and Peter Frampton (The song “Do You Feel Like We Do?” had a profound affect on Toshi). He then was motivated to practice up to 2 hours a day when first learning how to play. Toshi’s first “serious” influences were guitarist such as Rock greats Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Adrian Vandenberg (when he was in the band Vandenberg), Uli Jon Roth, Jimi Hendrix, and Michael Schenker among others.
After reading an interview with then UFO guitarist Michael Schenker in an issue of Guitar Player Magazine where Schenker spoke of how he practiced as many as 4 hours a day when starting, Toshi decided it was time to up the stakes on his practice regime. Toshi then started practicing up to 5 hours a day in order to play like Mike! Toshi eventually worked his practice schedule up to 15 hours a day!!! This practice schedule also included Toshi’s classical guitar studies which he had later taken up after hearing about Randy Rhoads’ classical influence. Toshi’s classical guitar influences include Christopher Parkening, Andreas Segovia, Liona Boyd, John Williams and Julian Bream.
Later his Rock influences would include Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, Paul Gilbert (circa Racer X), Jason Becker – basically the whole Shrapnel records collection -, George Lynch, Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. Unlike many of Toshi’s guitar playing friends, he was also influenced by a great deal of non hard rock guitarist such as Ernie Isley, Al Mckay (from Earth Wind and Fire), George Benson and blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn, B. B. King, Johnny Winter and Robert Johnson. As Toshi improved his influences grew to include such “fusion” guitarist as Steve Morse, Al DiMeola, Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin and Bill Conners. In 1985 and 1986, Toshi entered and won the ‘Hot Licks’ contest for two years in a row. The only guitarist to ever do so! He then received a scholarship to the world renown Berklee College Of Music where he majored in Music Synthesis and Performance. At Berklee he was consistently asked by fellow class mates for instruction on the modern techniques of the time and started teaching.
Soon Toshi would have enough students to where his was able to financially support himself doing this. Eventually Toshi was teaching over 50+ hourly students a week which is what he averaged up until he stopped teaching, due to career commitments, in 2001. (During his time teaching in Chicago Toshi, according to a readers poll results, was considered the #1 guitar instructor in Chicago – some say the Midwest!) It was during 1988/89, that he hooked up with then Aerosmith keyboardist C. Bruce Ost who had recently gotten off tour with the group and formed the band ‘Shoot Shoot’, which went on to become one of Boston’s most popular bands. Toshi left Shoot Shoot to form his own groups ‘Clyde’ then ‘Autumn Lords’ which also featured recently departed Tony MacAlpine bassist Mike Jacques. He then submitted tapes to Mike Varney and John Stix and featured in both Guitar Player Magazine’s “Spotlight” column (July/1990) and Guitar F.P.M.‘s “Resume” column (November/1990). It was then, in the winter/spring of 1991, that Toshi received a call from Columbia recording artist Heaven’s Edge and was asked to join the group. Iseda had met the guys in the band while hangin’ out one night in Philadelphia in 1990 with Shrapnel recording artist Richie Kotzen. Toshi then relocated to New Jersey where the band is from, and went on to play with them for approximately 6 month’s where he then moved to N.Y.C. after leaving the group to be closer to a major music metropolis. While in New York he also taught privately and at the American Institute of Guitar in Manhattan.
Toshi has also served as a visiting instructor at the Musicians Institute in Tokyo, Japan and is a former faculty member of The National Guitar Workshop. It was right about then that Toshi started playing 7-string guitars. A major turning point in his musical life. Toshi now plays 7-string guitars exclusively and is considered to be the foremost rock player and authority on 7-string guitars, currently owning 115 of them. In 1996 Toshi co-organized and performed at ‘The Midwest Jason Becker Benefit For ALS’ in Chicago, Illinois. The Benefit that Toshi spearheaded featured such stellar musicians as Eddie Van Halen, Marty Friedman, Zakk Wylde, Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, Billy Sheehan, Steve Lukather, Richie Kotzen, Michael Lee Firkins and many, many more! Toshi has been featured in guitar/music magazines around the world including; Guitar Player, Guitar World , Guitar/Guitar One, The Guitarist Network. Internationally in magazines such as Young Guitar, Guitar F.P.M. and Guitar Magazine (JAPAN), Musica Pro (South America), Guitar Chef (Italy) and others.
He also writes instructional columns for several guitar oriented magazine’s. He has been featured in full page, full color ads with Carvin guitars, Morley pedals, Audix microphones, Spectraflex cables and INTEXcables. Having been featured on over 14 CD’s (including all four of Guitar World magazine’s ‘Indie Bin’ CD’s – the only guitarist asked to be on all four CD’s!), in 1998 Toshi released his first solo CD, the critically acclaimed ‘Full On!’ (Over The Top! Records), and collaborated with former Dixie Dregs bassist Andy West to record and co-produce ‘RAMA 1’ on Magna Carta records. This project also features such renown musicians as drummers Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater/Liquid Tension Experiment), Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs/Winger/Jazz Is Dead), Jonathan Mover (Joe Satriani/Einstein) and keyboardist Jens Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen/Stratovarious), T. Lavitz (Dixie Dregs/Jazz Is Dead) and Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa/Steve Vai). He is the Editor-In-Chief of ‘Intense Guitar!’ Magazine.
He owns and operates ‘All Access Recording and Rehearsal’ studios, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Plays in his own instrumental solo band and the hard rock vocal oriented group, ‘Ego Machines’ as well as producing other artists. He is a member of ASCAP and a voting member of N.A.R.A.S. (The GRAMMY’S). He is endorsed by Big Bends Nut Sauce, Digitech, DiMarzio, Dunlop, Ernie Ball, Eventide Harmonizers, Floyd Rose, FloydUpgrades.com, GraphTech, Keeley Electronics, INTEXcables, Morley, Ovation, PRS (Paul Reed Smith) guitars, Rock-N-Roll GangStar Apparel Clothing, Samson microphones, Tech 21 NYC/SansAmp and TonePros. – Over The Top! Records, Inc.