I've been getting back into electric playing over the last few years, and the good folks at the Les Paul Forum and Fender Forum provide the backing tracks for me to play along with. My lead chops are probably better than they've ever been, which isn't saying much, and my rhythm playing has withered a bit thanks to this style of mostly lead playing. But I'm learning a ton about recording, mixing, the bits and pieces that go into polishing up a decent piece of music. while getting a chance to tackle things outside my usual comfort-zone like funk and jazz.
From 1973-1977 or so my high school band in Dunwoody, GA was called Spectrum. Kinda cosmic, eh? For some embarrassing 30 year-old cassette tapes of what we sounded like back then, search here on 'spectrum1'
Have you performed in front of an audience?
Haven't played in front of paying customers in thirty years, but do get out a few times a year to guitar jams.
Your musical influences
Keith Richards (forever), Mississippi John Hurt, Muddy Waters, Hubert Sumlin (but Wolf's the coolest cat who ever lived), Duane Allman, Billy Gibbons (back in the day), Mick Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Johnson, Freddie King, Albert King, Otis Rush, Chris Kilgore, Brian Balmes, Curt Harper, Tom Burch, Bigsby Tracks.
What equipment do you use?
I use a variety of equipment in my home studio, but the signal chain usually goes something like this: Guitar to either a pedal by Damage Control called the Womanizer or or a Tech21 Trademark 10 amp (which has a great direct out recording feature and good tube emulation for a solid state amp) to a small Behringer mixer (which really helps to cut down on wrestling with wires and record levels since it also has a lot of other things plugged into it: my monitors, a drum machine, microphones for my acoustics and more). From there, it goes into an M-box pre-amp and on into a Mac Powerbook G4 running ProTools LE software. Guitars are usually one of the following: 2003 Gibson CS-356, quilted maple, Heritage Darkburst finish. It was one of the Music Machine "Stinger" series guitars, and the wood (and tone) is incredible. 2000 MIM Nashville Telecaster 1999 Taylor 812-CE 1995 Gibson J-100 Extra. A 1995 model with mahogany back & sides and no internal pickup. It's a cannon. 1973 Epi Crestwood -- the one I have now is a bit like my first electric ever (only guitar I ever sold). Other gizmos occasionally in use: Destination Phase, Boss Blues Driver, Crybaby Classic, an m-audio keyboard for one-fingered synth playing, and a ton of software for shaping my sound or building backing tracks out of loops.
If you're a guitarist looking to get into the world of online jamming for practice, fun or friendly advice you can't do better than the JamZone at the Les Paul Forum or the home recording area of the Fender Discussion Page. Great communities, both... and I've tried nearly all of them.