JAIME ST. JAMES - From 1984 to 1988 Black ‘N Blue was signed to Geffen Records and released four studio albums of pumped-up Hair/Glam Metal. These albums were usually cranked up at many a keg gathering back in the day, the days of those memorable 80′s when I used to feel invincible. Around 1989, the legend of Black ‘N Blue disbanded, still the Hard Rockin’ albums remained as a solid reminder that this band could Rock your face off and make the girls cry for more.
Black ‘N Blue eventually resurfaced for a one-time reunion concert in 1997, resulting in the 1998 release: One Night Only: Live. By 2002, lead guitarist Tommy Thayer replaced the legendary Ace Frehley in KISS. The charismatic lead singer, with the long blonde locks, would find himself fronting the ever famous Warrant, being featured on their 2006 studio album Born Again. With the subsequent return of the late Jani Lane, Jaime St. James moved on. That is the abbreviated history of Black ‘N Blue, certainly there are many other engagements and facts to tell. As time moves on more Rock ‘N Roll history is to be made… Black ‘N Blue history that is.
Fast forward to 2011 and Jamie St. James finds his band rejuvenated and once again Rockin’ like it was 1984 all over again. Frontiers Records is now the label launching pad for the kick-to-the-teeth, Hard and Heavy Rock ‘N Roll that Black ‘N Blue is truly known for. On May 17, 2011, Black ‘N Blue returned with their fifth studio album: “Hell Yeah!”. Fans of Black ‘N Blue have been waiting since 1988 for a brand new studio album and Jaime St. James and the boys have delivered. Recently, Jaime St. James took the time to speak with Hard Rock Hideout on a variety of topics, from the new album to Tommy Thayer to chasing down a chick. Here is what Jaime had to say:
HRH: How did you hook up with Frontiers Records?
JAIME: It all happened rather accidentally. We were on Z Records, they ran out of money so we talked to management and Frontiers bought us out. They were a fine label, its been like six, seven years so they were happy to get money back. I’m happy to be on Frontiers Records. We’ve made a kick ass Rock and Roll record for Frontiers. There are inside jokes on the album. I got out-voted by the band on leaving them off the album, so, oh well.
HRH: Is releasing “Hell Yeah!” likened to getting that monkey off your back?
JAIME: I suppose so. “Hell Yeah!” was never a burden to me, it was not like heroin. I want people to hear it and it’s finished and finally done. I’m like, wow, we had fun making this album. Would I ever do it this way again? Hell no. The next album I want to get finished in three weeks.
HRH: What is the story behind “A Tribute To Hawking”?
JAIME: I get asked this same question in every interview. Oh lord, I did not want this song to be put on the record. It’s an inside joke. I sang “hail, hail” and Patrick (Young) said: “Jaime sounds robotic”. I played the track back and made up the lyrics spur of the moment. It was all just a joke. It makes us all look kinda mean, it’s a bizarre song. Look, you don’t wanna listen to it more than twice, that’s for sure. We might get sued for this song but I don’t give a shit. The beauty of being in Black ‘N Blue in 2011 is I don’t give a fuck about nothing. Frontiers did not want to put this song on the album and Frontiers did put it on this album and God bless ‘em for it. Frontiers is one of the best labels out there and I’m happy to be with them.
HRH: What sparked the song “Angry Drunk Son Of A Bitch”?
JAIME: First of all, it’s a fun song. “Woop” (Jeff Warner) wrote the music. I love the rhythm of it and it has a really cool groove to it. I had this idea about writing a song and I wanted to call it “Angry Drunk Son Of A Bitch”. I said let’s drink, get drunk and write the lyrics. It was amazing how the shit just keeps coming out when writing these lyrics. Like: “I’ve got a bomb in my ass and I’m ready to go…”. This song in general was truly a great moment in creating this “Hell Yeah!” album.
HRH: Did you ever consider using “Candy” as the new album title? That song is everything great about good times and Heavy Rock and Roll!
JAIME: Well, “Candy” is a cool tune. Lyrically what is “Candy” and what does it mean? Well, it’s shooting sex on a girls face! Look, we called it “Hell Yeah” eight years ago, way before Hell Yeah got together as a band. I wrote this song “Hell Yeah!” ten years ago! Tommy Thayer said we should write a song called “Hell Yeah!” ten years ago! Anybody who says we ripped off Hell Yeah can go fuck themselves. Now, I don’t care about what people write, saying we should be ashamed of ourselves for using the album title “Hell Yeah” and that we owe Vinnie Paul an apology. To all these people who feel this way, I forgive them for they do not know.
HRH: Do you stay in touch with Tommy Thayer?
JAIME: All the time! I went to his birthday party recently, I saw Gene (Simmons) and Paul (Stanley) there. We’re really close, I’ve known Tommy since we were little kids, I’ve known Tommy since we were seventeen years old! I root for him with KISS and I am so happy for him. Just because Tommy is in KISS doesn’t mean he is going to kick me in the curb. I love Tommy and he really loves me. I’m friends with Ace Frehley too, but trust me, Ace doesn’t want to be in that band anymore. I see people saying shit about Tommy all the time, I can’t stand it.
HRH: Who? What people are saying stuff about Tommy Thayer? I’ve never wrote a bad word about Tommy.
JAIME: Blabbermouth. I read the shit on Blabbermouth. Just because Ace isn’t in the band, it’s like, hey, Tommy is in KISS because he can play.
HRH: If “Jaime’s got the beer”, what brand is it?
JAIME: Budweiser. I took all the beer, me and “Woop” were at his place and I was chasing some chick around and never came back. So I took all the beer and I went and got laid with this chick. When I came back, the guys wrote that song, they were singing it: “Jaime’s got the beer”.
HRH: Looking back, which two albums do you feel defined 80′s Hard Rock and/or Heavy Metal?
JAIME: This is not an easy question. Def Leppard “High ‘n’ Dry” and Iron Maiden “Killers”. Those are the two records that I love from back in the 80′s. “High ‘n’ Dry”, I love that album so much. If I went to live on another planet, these two albums I would bring with me and listen to. I know Bruce Dickinson can sing, I just love that “Killers” record and Paul Di’Anno. Thanks for the hard question you son of a bitch! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs). Well Jaime, you can write a song for your next album and title it “you son of a bitch”. The song can be about a press guy asking you a hard question.
JAIME: I can easily write a song called “you son of a bitch”. (laughs).
HRH: Any festivals or touring planned for the remainder of 2011?
JAIME: We’re wide open to touring. M3 Rock Festival may be one of the best in America. We’ve also played in Denver and Phoenix. Black ‘N Blue hadn’t played on the East Coast since 1985 or 1986. It’s been a long time. I’ve played on a lot of dates in the past with Whitesnake, we were both on the same label together with Geffen. David Coverdale is a true English gentleman. David, he’s such a cool guy. We’ll see what happens with the new record and it might open doors for us. We need to rebuild again. We’re not twenty years old and on fire. We’re all in our forties now and not about to torture ourselves by riding around in a tour bus and playing gigs in shit holes.
HRH: Can you reveal one hilarious or shocking moment you experienced while on tour back in the 80′s?
JAIME: There’s a few. I can’t reveal any cause I might get arrested. There’s a few though. Let’s just put it this way, the Black ‘N Blue tour bus was the eighteenth level of hell back in the day. Maybe down the road I’ll write a book about it all and I can get arrested for it. (laughs).
HRH: Would you consider, if asked, doing a reality show on your daily life? If so, what would the show be titled?
JAIME: The big chair. I’d be sitting in a giant chair and people would ask me these ridiculous questions, like, “Jaime, I want to have sex with a rhinoceros, what do I do?”. Then, I’d be telling idiots what to do and I’d slap ‘em in the face and tell them to move on. Next! I’d like to slap you in the face for asking me all these stupid fucking questions.
JAIME: Hey, there’s my next press call phoning in. Gotta go! Make me look good!
HRH: Jaime, are you there? Hello? Jaime? Uh, well, okay, I’ll do my best.
Black N’ Blue’s new album Hell Yeah is available for purchase at this link.
A video interview with David Coverdale is now online at www.whitesnake.com . He talks about the making of the new album “FOREVERMORE”, working with Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach as well as the newest members of Whitesnake, Briian Tichy and Michael Devin.. and hints of more surprises.
“FOREVERMORE” has received rocking acclaim as one of the best rock albums of 2011. Some say it could be THE best Whitesnake album ever!!!
Check out the interview below!
BIG DAD RITCH – Since the Texas Hippie Coalition released their sophomore album, “Rollin’”, (Carved Records), on July 6, 2010, this Hard Rockin’ meets Heavy Metalin’ band has been tearing up every venue they play at and attracting new fans by the second. This is a band built on American and Southern pride, fronted by a large man, with a large voice that can’t mask the fact he also has a large heart for his community, kids and U.S. troops abroad. Big Dad Ritch is his name and bellowing out songs that can make cement foundations split apart… is his Rockin’ game.
Hard Rock Hideout had the Rockin’ pleasure to speak with Big Dad Ritch recently and he was never lacking any Texas hospitality or pride. Touring, patriotism, politics, influences, charity and of course, the new Texas Hippie Coalition album were all covered, in a very candid and Texas big way, by Big Dad Ritch. When it was all said and done, this writer walked away knowing he spoke to one of the biggest gentleman he has ever interviewed. Contrary to an old fashioned line which is used much too often, however, sometimes big things do come in big packages. Here is what Big Dad Ritch had to say:
HRH: Texas Hippie Coalition has a full slate of touring ahead, any tales about life on the road you want to share?
BIG DAD RITCH: Naw, that’s all a big secret. I have a wife, a girlfriend and an ol’ lady! (laughs)
BIG DAD RITCH: That’s how we say it down here in Texas, ol’ lady! (laughs)
HRH: Did you and the guys ever think “Rollin’” would have such an immediate impact like it did?
BIG DAD RITCH: We felt strong about this album from the start. From beginning to end, it’s a very strong album. Two months were spent on drums, twenty days spent on bass, one month spent on guitar and just twelve hours were spent on vocals!
HRH: Whoa, you spent just twelve hours on vocals for this album?
BIG DAD RITCH: That’s right, twelve hours! I did vocals for six or seven songs in eight hours and the other four or so in four hours. Everyone wondered what our producer, David Prater, would do. As it came out, it’s a masterpiece! People always said, when you’re working with him, he is a juggler and just let him do his thing. Well, he’s actually a magician after it was all said and done! Listening to this album now, he was a magician.
HRH: Are there any Summer festivals you’ll be playing in 2011?
BIG DAD RITCH: Man, we’re trying for Rocklahoma, playing for those people was the greatest experience of my life. Texas Hippie Coalition got their break at Rocklahoma. Being there, it’s like being packed into a tent on a Sunday afternoon with the bible! Rocklahoma was a religious experience for me! We’d also like to get back to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
HRH: “Rollin’” has an enormously bold and loud made in America sound and vibe to it. Have you or will you play overseas for our U.S. troops?
BIG DAD RITCH: As a matter of fact, our management are trying to get us on the USO package for next year! We’re just building on our name and recognition right now, but we’re chomping on the bits to go there and play for our troops. We’re proud to be from Texas! Our colors are red, white and blue and at home nationwide! Texas Hippie Coalition has a “boot campaign” for our troops, check it out, it’s on our website.
HRH: That’s really cool, Big Dad Ritch.
BIG DAD RITCH: I received a letter from a girl that’s serving in the military. She wrote, that every morning when they wake up, the troops hear sirens. The sirens are practice for being ready to battle. So, she had the speakers rewired to blast out the our song “Crawlin’”, from our first album! She wrote it was blasting as loud as hell! That’s awesome stuff to hear. We’re all spreading our wings for the red, white and blue. Everything about this band is red, white and blue. That’s what Texas Hippie Coalition wants to be known for too, as an American band that’s proud of their country and troops.
HRH: I’ve never been a huge fan of ballads, yet if “Groupie Girl” is your answer to one, that is a damn cool ballad. How have the fans responded to this song live?
BIG DAD RITCH: We have a pretty big canvas we’re painting on, with a broad stroke. Man, that song, when this song Rocks, it makes the fans go wild! I had put this song on the back burner and didn’t know how Metal fans would like it. We were playing a club in Texas one night, we just started clowning around playing “Groupie Girl” during our sound check. All the tough bastards liked it! Then, when we played that night, we didn’t play “Groupie Girl”, all the tough bastards and biker dudes wanted it! (laughs)
BIG DAD RITCH: It went over great though when we played it. Everyone seems to love it, girls always seem to find that big pole to dance around when we play “Groupie Girl” though! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) I’m sure they do, Big Dad Ritch!
BIG DAD RITCH: Aw, yeah!
HRH: Texas Hippie Coalition blends Hard Rock, Southern Rock and Metal to perfection. Was this blending of music styles deliberate or just the way it happened?
BIG DAD RITCH: Actually, I’ve been in a lot of bands and it was always someone else’s band. When I was forming Texas Hippie Coalition, I told the guys, this is what I’m doing, I want to be as southern as 38 Special, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd and have the Metal rawness of Pantera and Corrosion Of Conformity, while still being outlaws like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Absolutely, it was deliberate to blend all those styles together.
HRH: I’ve read how Johnny Cash influenced you at a young age. How important is your connecting to the fans while performing live?
BIG DAD RITCH: Oh man, I want to personify the front man, not just by singing the songs. Texas Hippie Coalition is a band of brothers and I want the fans to perceive us as like pro wrestlers or super heroes. In between songs, what I say is very important, I want to affect and touch people with my words. I know my audience and fans. I know what my fans are looking for in a front man and I want to lead our fans into battle and come out with a victory!
BIG DAD RITCH: It means a lot to us. Just like our song “Jesus Freak” says and comes across, you can never tell by looking at a man as to how religious he is. I’m the guy that wants to go down by the river, with a beer and whiskey bottle in my hands, smokin’ something on the grill, yet we have prayer before we hit the stage before every show. We’ve given a hundred guitars to children, through the “Little Kids Rock” charity. We’ve given an entire school music supplies. We believe in giving back to the community so that youngins’ can learn and hear about good music. Through giving, these youngins’ may be the next little Ozzy or Eddie Van Halen when they grow up.
HRH: What’s your favorite Southern pastime that is not Rock And Roll related?
BIG DAD RITCH: Football! I’m a sports addict and football is the only sport I bet on! My bookie hates me, I’m undefeated on nighttime football! I live in Northern Texas and Texas is my favorite team. I drive all of my friends crazy with my Longhorns!
HRH: I feel so strange asking this next question, cause you are such a nice guy to talk to, Big Dad Ritch.
BIG DAD RITCH: Go ahead, fire away!
HRH: What really pisses off Big Dad Ritch?
BIG DAD RITCH: Bitches that don’t pay the bills when you leave them the bill money! (laughs)
BIG DAD RITCH: What pisses me off are government bailouts of the filthy rich and not the poor or middle class. Tax cuts for the upper class and upper middle class, with no tax cuts for the lower class. So much in politics pisses me off!
BIG DAD RITCH: Right? The guy I voted for president six years ago did a good job and delivered. Our new president we have now I voted for and he is not delivering what he said he would deliver to me. Our current government this time around pisses me off. Out in California, marijuana not being legalized. The people are not out there in California pushing their ticket to get marijuana legalized. I just want to tell all these politicians, if you guys just did what you said you were gonna do, you all wouldn’t have been voted out of office!
HRH: What dream band or musician would Texas Hippie Coalition want to jam onstage with?
BIG DAD RITCH: Man, you know, it’s like that old question, if you could have a quarterback who would you have? For my two minute drill it’s Roger Staubach. For my Super Bowl it’s John Elway. For my full season it’s Joe Montana. There’s different ways to look at it. We are the biggest party band out there of this era! We are drinking with our fans at the bars! To play with Motley Crue, with all the girls at that show, it would be ridiculous! If we paired up with Hellyeah and Black Label Society, we could do some major damage together!
MelodicRock Records is proud to announce the release of the next title in the fledgling label’s line-up – Italian symphonic melodic metal band VIOLET SUN.
Their debut album “Loneliness In Supremacy” will be released November 19, with pre-orders shipping November 12.
Violet Sun’s core goes back to 2005, when Dario Grillo (Platens, Thy Majesty) heard the voice of Alessandra Amata, a singer of great talent of Catania, well known in the Sicilian musical circle. Dario had some interesting unpublished work that proposed to her. Alessandra immediately showed herself to be very enthusiastic about the project and so in a few months they began to work to the drawing up and the realization of the songs contained in the debut album.
Loneliness In Supremacy is not a normal Metal album, but a real blended work in which the styles such as classic and opera music, heavy metal, oriental, progressive and AOR blend perfectly together to create powerful and memorable melodies. This record places itself midway between a real Metal Opera (Avantasia, Aina, Nostradamus) and bands as Nightwish, Epica, Kamelot.
MelodicRock Records owner Andrew McNeice: “There is nothing harder in this scene than breaking in a new name, but just as my other signings have impressed, so to did Violet Sun. One listen and I called upon Dario to sign up. I wasn’t looking for a heavier project to add to the label, but taking each release on its merits, this just screamed out for attention. The production is simply world class. Intense themes, immense arrangements and the power and emotion of the material appealed to me instantly. I am very happy to have such a strong group of artists involved in the label and Violet Sun only enhances that.”
The album comes with 12 powerful tracks and a deluxe 16 page booklet featuring the outstanding artwork of Ciao Caldas (Degreed).
Audio samples can be heard at: www.melodicrockrecords.com. Pre-orders are open now.
Track Listing 01) Dust In The Wind 02) Inside Out 03) Midnight [Instrumental] 04) When The Lights Go Down 05) Cross The Line 06) Falling In Love 07) Where Is My Way Home 08) My Flame Still Burns 09) Pray On The Grave 10) Break Your Chains
11) Synthetic Pleasures 12) Loneliness In Supremacy [Instrumental]
WebLinks: www.myspace.com/violetsunofficial / www.facebook.com/pages/Violet-Sun/219691939228 / www.melodicrockrecords.com
Violet Sun joins three other acts on MelodicRock Records, all introducing their debut albums – Degreed (Sweden), Fenrik Lane (Finland) and All I Know (Belgium).
All albums can be ordered now via: www.melodicrockrecords.com/store and all good melodic music outlets.
KROKUS - Established in 1975, Krokus is a Hard Rock band synonymous with good times and Old School. Despite lineup changes within the Krokus camp over the decades, Marc Storace is the front man who has given this band it’s vocal identity. Along with being the lead vocalist for the most prominent Rock ‘N’ Roll Band ever imported from Switzerland, Marc Storace is a musician, lyricist and song writer as well. Krokus is without doubt, one of the most flamboyant, successful and commercially accessible heavy bands, to lay claim of making the 1980′s a Hard Rockin’ decade to remember.
With the classic Krokus lineup of Marc Storace, Chris Von Rohr, Fernando Von Arb, Mark Kohler and Freddy Steady reunited once again and the March 2, 2010 release of their new, critically acclaimed Hard Rock gem - Hoodoo, (released on Sony), Marc Storace and his band mates are back on top of the Hard Rock world once again. Marc took the time out of his hectic schedule recently, to talk to Hard Rock Hideout. Marc was graciously amicable and very proud of where Krokus has been, from those memorable 1980′s to present day. Here is what Marc had to say:
HRH: Can “Rock ‘N’ Roll Handshake” be considered a brotherhood song amongst the members of Krokus?
Marc: Of course it can! The lyrics are all about us. Or, the lyrics can be used for any situation where there is brotherhood. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Handshake” is breaking the fight with an old song and it symbolizes our reunion. We had done a three minute medley from our “Metal Rendezvous” album, it was on Swiss television for a show called “Biggest Swiss Hits”. This performance of this three minute medley had the studio become a ballroom of mayhem! At the end, we all slapped each other on the backs and gave each other “Rock ‘N’ Roll handshakes”! It was definitely burying the hatchet.
HRH: The power ballad in Heavy Music is either a smash or trash, there’s no in between. What is the secret formula for Krokus always landing a smash power ballad like “Ride Into The Sun”?
Marc: You have to be careful not to sound too mushy or sweet, with your emotions as a singer you have to be careful. There is a fine balance to keep emotions and let people hear the blues in the ballad. With “Ride Into The Sun” there is more of a self portrait in there with God and humankind, it’s more philosophical. Due to the tempo of this song, there is more space for emotions. Aggression always has to be done in a more powerful and gigantic way within a song. As with “Ride Into The Sun”, in the studio we do comparison testing of a song, to see if we all agree, our saying is “the zeppelin is leaving the ground”!
HRH: All eleven songs on “Hoodoo” are prime cuts and vintage Krokus. How many other songs are there that could have made it on “Hoodoo”?
Marc: Two or more at least could have made it on “Hoodoo”, you always have to be ready and have that extra bullet in your belt. Music and song writing was better in the ’60′s, ’70′s and ’80′s. As time went by, there seemed to be less and less great songs out there. It’s always better to have more great songs because you never know who is going to come knocking at the door for another. Chris Von Rohr (bass & backing vocals), produced this album. Fernando (Fernando Von Arb/lead guitarist & backing vocals) and I entrusted him to produce “Hoodoo”. The whole album has a big and warm sound and feel to it. Traditional and classical amps were used to capture the right sound, Fender and Les Paul. “Hoodoo” was done on analog, 32 tracks. Dennis Ward, our engineer, worked this new album like easy meat with Pro Tools. With Chris’s guidance and Dennis’s engineering, a lot was done in one afternoon’s work.
HRH: Can America expect a Krokus tour in 2010?
Marc: The important question for us is, can supply meet demand? Honestly, it takes a lot of time and money to fly over to America. This time around, we are building our tour in Europe for the first time and we’ll take it from there. There was the time years ago, where we started our tour in America. If we can sell a lot of albums in America and the demand is there for us, then that would be great. We can never forget how good the U.S.A. has been to Krokus, American fans made Krokus in the ’80′s.
HRH: “Too Hot” is an all-out, pump-you-up and psyche-you-out, Hard Rockin’ song. Who or what was the inspiration for this unreal cool song?
Marc: Actually, this is the only song that I composed alone at home with my guitar. I had two sets of lyrics and two sets of ideas that I took to the band. Chris and Fernando got involved with the music, while Mark (Mark Kohler/rhythm guitarist) worked on the title and chorus. “Too Hot” took on a totally different shape at the end. We kept the chorus and the main skeleton of the lyrics throughout though. Fernando and Chris caught onto this song right away. “Too Hot” will be our second music video! It’s a trashy video, if you like. A gorilla/student video team made it for us, it was a chance of a lifetime for them to get their career off the ground. The video was shot at a big bike festival in Alsfeld, Germany. There was ten different takes on this video, it was amazing. It was a good time hanging out with biker fans. The “Too Hot” video has hot girls, hot bikes and hot Rock ‘N’ Roll!
HRH: Check out the “Too Hot” video below!
HRH: “Born To Be Wild” is yet another memorable and Hard Rockin’ cover song by Krokus. Would you and the band ever consider doing an all covers album?
Marc: I don’t think it’s the “in thing” to do in the industry. We do have a collection of cover songs though, that we play when there is time to kill. These songs were great to play in the very beginning of our reunion, they got our spirits high and helped us get that feel of each other again. We jammed to The Who, Free, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. These bands are all in common with us five band members and there are lot’s of songs from them we all love, it’s like, which one’s do we play actually? I need a lot of room to endow a song with my ideas while not destroying it either. I like to take a song a step further through energy and rearrangement. Some songs are almost too holy to cover, like a sacrilege to cover, “Stairway To Heaven” is a good example.
HRH: With the classic Krokus lineup reunited and your new album “Hoodoo” kicking the fans asses worldwide, after thirty years is this the best of times for Krokus?
Marc: Let’s say so far we want to keep it going! Since we released “Hoodoo” we have had gold and platinum selling success. In eight weeks since the European release we have had great concerts, with four sold out ice hockey stadiums. The Krokus reunion is like a team of music. This is the 1982 “One Vice At A Time” lineup doing it again and it’s not to be taken for granted. Were humbled. We are a really a Blues Rock Band and Krokus has been faithful to this all these years. Back in the 1980′s, the music was colorful, melodic and people were happy. Krokus was a part of that. The 1980′s was a magical time, Krokus shared the charts with Michael Jackson, with his “Thriller” album being #1 and that was amazing! Going through the whole musical scene back then, things were really happening and it was the zenith of our career. Looking back on the “Headhunter” album and touring with Def Leppard, filling out stadiums, it was the Old School days. The ’80′s was the land of freedom for Krokus in America!
Any Metalhead will attest, (from what we can recall), that they had a pretty darn good time back in the ’80′s, so did Ron Keel. This man has seen and done it all – musician, vocalist, song writer, lyricist, composer… and he is still writing his own legacy in 2010. Ron’s most famous band KEEL not only jumped on board the Heavy Metal explosion of those colorful ’80′s, the original lineup is back for another hard and heavy go round with their loyal fans… both old school and new. Ron Keel is a smitten guy these days and there is more to this Heavy Metal veteran, more to this man, once you take in what he has to say. Oh, Ron Keel does have a lot to say too, taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to Hard Rock Hideout recently.
With the new KEEL album Streets of Rock & Roll, (released February 9, 2010), receiving it’s just praise from around the Heavy Metal and Hard Rock circles, concerts being aligned in support of this album and the KEEL NATION rising, Ron Keel is a man that is busy, happy and proud to be alive! Ron is excited about the present, reflects on the past, looks more to the future, holds friendship sacred, values his fans, respects and cares about the American troops both past and present, has a charitable heart, reveals his Heavy Metal and Hard Rock dreams and also has a message for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Walmart too… (phew), check it out:
HRH: So, Ron, how are you doing?
Ron Keel: I’m doing great! Keel is back! We just released Streets of Rock & Roll and I’ve never been a bigger fan of Keel in my entire life than right now!
HRH: You sound really happy Ron!
Ron Keel: I am! You know, back in the ’80′s, I used to want to go down in a blaze of glory. I used to think it would be cool to die young in a plane crash or something crazy like that. All those crazy thoughts go through your mind when your young. Now, I want to live! I’m 48 years old and I’ve seen and done it all and I’ve never felt better about life! I’m a husband, father and grandfather now, I want to make music, tour, do the things I love most in life and continue to Rock! I want to continue on with Keel and talk about this band and new album to everyone!
HRH: I’ll have to admit Ron, I really like this Streets of Rock & Roll album, it’s a great album. It Rocks hard.
Ron Keel: Thanks, I really appreciate that, I’m glad you enjoy it. It’s an album that I have in my truck right now, a great album to listen to while taking a long drive through the desert with the windows down. People are liking it, unfortunately Streets of Rock & Roll has been downloaded illegally already. There are ten thousand illegal downloads that were aware of in the first two weeks alone. It’s the other one million illegal downloads that we don’t know about!
HRH: That’s terrible Ron, it’s definitely not like the ’80′s anymore, where each album sold is accounted for.
Ron Keel: Sure, only back in the 80′s there were people out there buying chart positions. It gets real bad with how some albums got pushed up in the charts back then. It’s something I might want to touch on with my autobiography that I’m working on.
HRH: I’m sure I would be schooled on some of those stories.
Ron Keel: Keel was a young band back then, we were screwed out of money, we didn’t know any better back then. We probably sold a lot more albums than was being told to us, maybe a million more. It’s not like that anymore, I’m in charge now of everything.
HRH: Going in to record Streets of Rock & Roll, were there any pre-conceived ideas that were scrapped at the last minute?
Ron Keel: None. The cream always rises to the top, we just let it happen. Recording this album was a natural, easy, creative process. The entire album was written last year, after our (Keel) reunion and there was an excitement of working together again. There was no band meeting or anything like that. It was a six month creative process, it came to be where expressing two to three songs a day was happening and we recorded on June 18th of 2009. Streets of Rock & Roll was the greatest joy of my recording career.
HRH: Sounds like you are very proud of this new album.
Ron Keel: Definitely, it’s a reunion album, it was the right move and I have no regrets. Streets of Rock & Roll has all the great qualities of past Keel albums, the twin guitars of Marc Ferrari and Bryan Jay trading licks, big choruses, rhythmic duo voicings, power grooves, the lyrical content, strong attitude and fighting for what we believe in. Lot’s of power. Plus there are different tempos and key grooves, a whole different feel on this new album that takes you on a journey. The strong bond and friendship among Keel shows through these songs. Life felt very natural in the studio while recording Streets of Rock & Roll. This new album would not sound as great if not for Pat Regan, he is the best in the business, his state of the art recording techniques made this album happen!
HRH: Hold Steady, bravo for writing such a patriotic song! Are there loved one’s of yours serving or have served in the Armed Forces?
Ron Keel: Both of my parents served and I have many dear friends that have served or are serving. Back in ’98 and ’99 we toured military bases and that inspiration carries to this day! Everyday is a sacrifice for our service men and women. I have dedicated, to their honor, a free mp3 download of Hold Steady that is available on Keelnation.com. We appreciate and honor the service men and women, by giving them and the fans this song.
HRH: The song and the free download are commendable, Ron.
Ron Keel: Thank you. We really care about our veterans, I like to donate money when it’s available by taking it out of whatever comes through the office in earnings. I don’t care about having the extra money laying around, I’d rather donate it. Just recently, I wrote a check out for The Veteran’s Hospital in Las Vegas. My wife and I strongly support and endorse a special charity as well, it’s to pay for arts classes for kids with parents that have been either severely injured or passed away in war or service. Anyone can donate by visiting http://www.our militarykids.org., it means a great deal to us.
HRH: Again Ron, very commendable.
Ron Keel: Thank you. I have lived a good life and made my money. Donating is not going to hurt our bottom line.
HRH: Live, from Streets of Rock & Roll, is this a personal message from the heart? Sounds like it to me.
Ron Keel: Forty eight years of experience wrote the lyrics to this song. I thought of these lyrics while driving home from a gig one night. I never expected to live this long, I love my life and all of it’s blessings. I have also gone through a change in my personality. My thought is now… you get through the bad times to enjoy the good times. Live is a celebration of good stuff in my life. Let me just say, finding the music to fit the lyrics for Live was the challenge! The melody and lyrics came first, then the music. I’m used to writing or being handed the music first, then adding the lyrics.
HRH: Live came out just fine to me, it Rocks!
Ron Keel: Thank you, I appreciate that you like it.
HRH: I have read recently your statement, that you have some unfinished business to still take care of. What singer or musician do you wish to collaborate with as an unfinished business item?
Ron Keel: One band I want to open for is the Scorpions, on their farewell tour. Keel wants to play with the Scorpions! I am friends with Jon Bon Jovi, Keel opened for him on the Slippery When Wet Tour, so I would love to sit down with him and write some songs together. I also would want to write songs with Chris Daughtry, he is a special, strong and unique talent. I feel Chris Daughtry has bridged the gap between modern Hard Rock edge and old school mentality.
HRH: Those are some powerhouse choices of musicians and bands, Ron. Plus, I really hope the Scorpions read this and give you an opening slot on their tour! You just never know Ron.
Ron Keel: Thats it, plus it would be a dream to play with the Scorpions! I would want to sit down with both Jon Bon Jovi and Chris Daughtry, drink some beers and kick out some songs for an album. I think the three of us together, we would write some great Hard Rock songs!
HRH: (laughs) I would love to sit down with you guys and share a six pack while you write songs.
Ron Keel: (laughs) Oh yeah!
HRH: How come Streets of Rock & Roll is not at Walmart or Target?
Ron Keel: Hey, don’t go to Walmart to buy your music! I buy everything online, it’s all out there. Walmart has nothing for Hard Rock or Heavy Metal! Hey, if Walmart wants me to send them two million copies of Streets of Rock & Roll, no problem! Just ask me! The AC/DC Black Ice marketing campaign was incredible, what Walmart did with them was brilliant.
HRH: KISS Sonic Boom as well. They had the KISS kiosk.
Ron Keel: Yes, KISS Sonic Boom was huge at Walmart! I remember seeing that KISS kiosk.
HRH: You know what you need to get into Walmart besides CD’s, is a Keel kiosk! (laughs)
Ron Keel: (laughs) Yeah! A Keel kiosk! That sounds good to me!
HRH: Well, you know how it is Ron, I’m caught in Walmart, with the family, the CD aisle is a cool escape to hang out in.
Ron Keel: I understand, actually, I went into a Walmart recently and looked for the new Chris Daughtry deluxe edition CD. Walmart didn’t even have it!
HRH: What 1980′s moment in your career do you laugh most about now?
Ron Keel: The ’80′s were happy times, it was a non-stop grind with all of the arena shows. Everyday in the ’80′s was like the 4th of July, New Years Eve and Halloween all together! We had nothing but sold out shows in Japan. As far as remembering a moment where I can laugh about today… there were many crazy female moments.
HRH: Crazy female moments? Such as? Or do we use our imagination?
Ron Keel: (laughs) Yeah! Use our imagination! That’s a good way to put it! Actually, there was this one time, where a girl handcuffed herself to our tour bus door.
HRH: Gee, what happened to this girl?
Ron Keel: (laughs) Well, no one had the key to the handcuffs! I really don’t remember what happened to her! Honestly.
HRH: (laughs) That’s funny.
HRH: What band would you pay top dollar to see, past or present?
Ron Keel: Well, top dollar or no dollar, because I’m friends with many of the bands. I like to support my friend Bret Michaels on his solo tours as much as I can. Nickelback, only when they came to Vegas, I was out of town on tour. Chris Daughtry, AC/DC, and a Van Halen reunion. Bon Jovi just blows me away every night as a fan! Queensryche as well, as a fan!
HRH: What band or musician has been ignored too long by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Ron Keel: KISS! They are one of the five most iconic bands that ever lived! Don’t even get me started on this topic! I’ve expressed my disgust for that place many times in my past. Who votes in that place anyways? I’m not trying to throw The Who under the bus here, but, one hundred years from now, most people will say who is The Who? Not with KISS! One hundred years from now, people will know who KISS is and was! I’m not just saying this because Gene Simmons is a friend of mine either. Man, Gene Simmons’s kids will be running KISS, then the grandchildren will have the run of KISS! Their music, marketing and brand will never go away.
HRH: What song or album did you hear, that inspired you to become a musician?
Ron Keel: The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. I was two years old, it was February of 1963, I believe. The song was I Wanna Hold Your Hand. I remember looking at my parents and saying, this is what I want to do! I became so addicted and drawn to it at that moment. There were many milestone albums and songs, I devoured it all! KISS, Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Bad Company and Led Zeppelin all inspired me. Later on, the edgier stuff like Black Sabbath I listened to. As a kid, it all goes back to the 45, those little records I would buy at K-mart. The top thirty songs on 45, I bought them all! Every week, if the top thirty changed too. I learned them and sung them all! My father used to play Country Music all around the house, that is where my Country exposure came from. The Van Halen 1 album changed the world when I was a junior in high school! When I first heard Van Halen, everyone was saying, who is this guy Eddie Van Halen? No one was around that sounded like Eddie Van Halen on guitar. No one sounded like Van Halen, it was great! Because of Van Halen’s overnight explosion, credit Heavy Metal in America because of them.
HRH: Those are really cool influences.
Ron Keel: The kids today, they already know about most of these bands because of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. These two games are exposing all of this great Hard Rock and Heavy Metal to new generations, our music will be kept live and fresh for decades to come.
HRH: If you could go back in time and rewrite a movie soundtrack, what movie would it be and why?
Ron Keel: I’m a music movie fan, I also like music biographies of famous people. I would not want to go into the past, I’d rather want to do something new. It’s interesting to consider, with all the t.v. and film work that I do. If I had to go back, it would be Spinal Tap. I would rewrite all the music and lyrics for that one! I wouldn’t mind contributing to a Rock movie as well. My favorites are Eddie and the Cruisers, Pure Country, Crossroads and Rock Star with Mark Wahlberg.
HRH: If you were to make just one more album, knowing it would be your last, what genre would it represent?
Ron Keel: An acoustic album by myself. I already released an acoustic album called Alone At Last. It was the biggest and most personal music achievement of my career. I sang the best of my career on Alone At Last. I want my next generation to listen to it and know that grandpa gave this to them, to know that I am at my happiest when by myself with a guitar and song. Alone At Last was the single most demanding project that I have ever done in my life. My fingers literally bled while making that album. Alone At Last is driving at night songs, through the desert. You can find it on CDBaby.com. Sabre Tiger is the heaviest music I have ever done, progressive too. Country maybe… it would be another acoustic album.
HRH: What is the common thread that has kept Ron Keel, Marc Ferrari, Bryan Jay and Dwain Miller together from the very start?
Ron Keel: Friendship. We never let anything get in the way of friendship, not money, women, drugs, nothing. We became Rock stars together, sharing the best times of our life together. Now we get to do it again! This Keel reunion is not about money, together we have already pumped so much money back into the business. At the end of the day, we settle our differences. We raise our glass to each other, brothers in blood is what we are!
HRH: Just like the song on Streets of Rock & Roll.
Ron Keel: Just like that.
HRH: Any message you want to say to the fans?
Ron Keel: Listen to this new record and enjoy it! It’s special. Fans of commercial Heavy Metal and Hard Rock will enjoy it. Fans can stay in touch with us by visiting online at Keelnation.com. The Keel fans are the people that helped me, helped us, to live a dream life and I cannot forget that. Twenty years from now, I hope the fans still listen to Streets of Rock & Roll!
A few months ago I reviewed Badmouth’s debut here on HRH, and I’ve been a big fan ever since. Badmouth finished the year tied at #3 on my album of the year list, which I would say is pretty good for a debut considering the other 3 bands at the top of my list have all been around for 10 years or longer. If you haven’t heard Badmouth you are missing out big time because songs like “Pedal To the Metal”, “Last Train”, “And Take Your Toothbrush With You” are serious ass kickers. Of course when the opportunity came to interview bassist Chris LeMon and lead guitarist Randy Joy I jumped at it. In my opinion Badmouth is one, if not, the best new band of 2008 and I have a feeling they are going to be making a lot of noise not only in 2009 but in the years ahead too.
HRH: For the people that may not be familiar with Badmouth can you give us a little bit of the band’s history?
Badmouth: Well, it all started in the summer of 2007. 5 friends who wanted to make GREAT music, tired of the music scene of today. We wanted to write music close to our hearts…the kinda music we grew up on. We never discussed how Badmouth should sound it all came naturally. All 5 of us have different influences from Punk, Country, Powerpop to Heavy Metal…and all that mixed together became what you hear on our debut album.
HRH: “Rivethead” is my favorite song off the album and one of the best songs I’ve heard this year. Is there a story behind it?
Badmouth: The song is based on a book with the same name….but I guess people can relate to those lyrics in different ways.
HRH: Do you think it will be released as a single?
Badmouth: Yes, hopefully it will be released as a single in March/April.
HRH: I’ve been looking on youtube for videos from the album, but I haven’t been able to find any. Are there any plans to film any videos for the singles?
Badmouth: We haven’t done an official video yet. There is a “Heartbreaker” video in the making, our latest single (the cover of the Pat Benatar hit from 1979)…that will be a video just for the internet and hopefully it gets its release by the end of January…And then we plan do a video of “Rivethead” to be released as the same time of the single, a video that will also be released to the Music Television, so hopefully everything will work out and you got something to look forward too…
HRH: The sound of “Last Train” and “And Take Your Toothbrush With You” really remind me of Backyard Babies would you consider them an influence on Badmouth?
Badmouth: Backyard Babies are a great band, but wouldn’t say that they have influenced us directly. We’re the same age and have a lot of similar influences so guess that’s why you can hear that…also we live in the same town, Stockholm….influenced by the streets..lol
Badmouth: Like I mentioned before we have a lot of different influences. I think the one band we all have in common is Guns’n’Roses…then also Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper,Elvis, Ramones, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash and Cheap Trick have probably influenced us all in different ways…
HRH: Paul Sabu produced the band’s album how did that partnership come about?
Badmouth: Paul heard some of the demos we recorded in the fall of 2007. He loved the sound and contacted us asking if we wanted to work togther…and we said..YES!!! Its been a great experience. Paul is a great, great guy and its been an honor to do this album with him, he really took the best out of our sound and made the album sound exactly like we wanted, and its an impressive career he has behind him and he has worked with a lot of our influences like Alice Cooper and David Bowie…
HRH: With so many Swedish bands getting attention from fans and record companies is it hard for a band to stand out and make a name for themselves?
Badmouth: Guess its the same whatever country you are from…its hard today to get the music out if you aren’t one of the big bands that can put millions into promotion. We’re doing this an independent way and working hard ourselves. I think a lot of bands sit back and relax just cause they have been signed by a label. Badmouth ain’t nothing like that! We’re working hard 24/7 to get the word of Badmouth out there…of course we hope our music will stand out. We don’t think we sound like anything else today, not saying that we sound original but we sound like Badmouth, we feel that on our album we have 10 different songs and sounds and not 1 song with 10 different titles…then of course it’s up to the listener to decide but hopefully they feel that way too..
HRH: A lot of the bands coming out of Sweden seem to be heavily influenced by the 80′s Hollywood Sunset Strip days is the club scene like that also?
Badmouth: No, I wouldn’t say so, but I think a lot of people would like it to be…actually the club scene for rock ‘n’ ‘roll in Sweden is pretty small and there are a lot of bands struggling to get gigs and attention…We’re trying to avoid the current “Sunset Strip Revival” cliche trend.
HRH: Do the bands support each other or do they keep to themselves?
Badmouth: A lot of bands support each other but also a lot of bands keep to themselves…guess its the same over the world…
HRH: What are some of the bands coming out of Sweden and Scandinavia you like or would like to go out on the road with?
Badmouth: There are a lot of great bands, well one band we talked about earlier of course, Backyard Babies..We have a great band in Sweden called Marvel…and a lot of other bands for example Fatal Smile,The Poodles, Bullet, Danger, The Scams, Hammerfall…And hopefully we will be on tour soon…We are READY!!
Badmouth: Yes, this is a contest called “The Nordic Challenge”. It’s being arranged by MySpace and Sweden Rock Festival…For people outside of Sweden, this is the biggest festival in the country with more than 35,000 in attendance, and its 90 bands playing over 4 days..and ofcourse Badmouth wants to play at this festival..So we entered this contest with the aim to win. And we made it thorugh the first round of voting which took place between december 12th til january 6th, a couple of hundred swedish bands were competing from start and now there are only five left, and Badmouth is one of them. The final voting round is between january 9th – 23rd So if you’ve got a MySpace account you can vote one time per day and myspace account, and if you dont have a account, sign up now, and if you got several accounts vote from them all!:) Its 5 bands from 5 regions in the finals (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland & International) and you can vote on one band from each region, so if you support another band from another region you can also vote on Badmouth and vice versa….
HRH: What are the band’s touring plan as far as the U.S. is concerned?
Badmouth: The plan is to play and tour as much as possible, right now we have nothing 100% confirmed but we wanna play everywhere! Hopefully we’ll be able to get to the States in the fall. We would love to come there and meet our American fans…
HRH: Are there any plans for Badmouth to play any of the festivals here in the states such as Rocklahoma, South Texas Rockfest, or the Rock Gone Wild Festival?
Badmouth: We would love to play them all…so the people doing the bookings for the festivals are more than welcome to contact us…and they will get a killer show from one of the rising bands from Sweden…And of course we are in discussion with a lot of festivals around the world, hopefully we will get something confirmed soon…Can’t think of a better way to spend the summer of 2009..
HRH: Is there anything you would like to pass on to the Badmouth fans?
Badmouth: Yes, THANK YOU!!! YOU FUCKIN’ RULE!!! We have the best fans and we are so happy to be doing this, and believe me…this is only the beginning…so help us spread the word of Badmouth, demand us on the radio and at the venues in your town…Can’t wait to meet you all on the road…2009 is the year of BADMOUTH!
Note: I received an email from Chris informing me that all voting for the Nordic Challenge has been suspended and the final bands winning the slots to play the Sweden Rock Festival would be selected by jury now instead.
If you have been a regular reader at HardRockHideout.com, you have heard me carry on more than a few times about this awesome new band from Northern Ireland called The Answer. Hard Rock Hideout recently had the pleasure of speaking with The Answer’s Cormac Neeson. We talked about the history of The Answer so far, the bands’ current tour with AC/DC, and their soon to be released album. Take a few minutes, and get to know The Answer!
The Answer is:
Cormac Neeson – Lead Vocals
Paul Mahon – Guitar
Micky Waters – Bass
James Heatley – Drums
HRH: Tell us a little about the history of the Answer. How long have you been together?
Cormac Neeson: We have been together close to eight years. We got together. Originally it was Paul Mahon’s idea to get a band idea together to play this hard rock like we are currently playing. They have been in out of different bands from fourteen years of age. They wanted to do it right this time. They got in touch with me. I was back in America at the time. I was working in a pizza place in New Jersey. They sent me a letter and said if you are coming home any time soon to look them up and get the band up and running. As luck would have it, I was heading home a month later to enroll in the University. As it turns out I was in the same class as Paul, which was quite a bizarre twist of fate. So we got a practice organized and got James on board on drums, and after that we haven’t really looked back since.
HRH: It almost sounds like it was meant to be.
Cormac Neeson: It sounds like it yeah, I am afraid so. (laughs).
HRH: Who are some of the key influences in your music?
Cormac Neeson: Key Influences would included a lot of late 60′s and 70′s rock and roll bands, like Led Zeppelin, The Who, and The Rolling Stones and stuff like that, but also I suppose The Black Crowes and a lot of varying influences. Paul is into the 80′s metal. We all have different influences, but the music we play is kind of where we all meet in the middle.
HRH: Are you listening to any of the current artists that are out there today?
Cormac Neeson: I suppose today we are into bands like Queens of the Stone Age, The Raconteurs. Any bands that are playing the hard style of rock and roll we would be in to.
HRH: How do you think the music scene differs in the United States as compared to Ireland?
Cormac Neeson: I think there are a lot more choices in America. I think a lot of that has to do is the number of radio stations playing the different genres of music over here. At home everybody listens to two or three of the same radio stations and thats about it, you know. Definitely there is a lot more diversity, which is very healthy, I think at home. A lot of people kind of fall into specific categories that are heavily influenced by whatever radio DJ they are listening to. Over here you have so much choice. People tend to make up their own minds, which is a very good positive thing I think.
HRH: I first found out about The Answer when you won Classic Rock Magazine’s Best New Band of 2005. What was it like receiving such a cool award, and how has that affected your career so far?
Cormac Neeson: That was great. That was the first taste of success that the band had. We haven’t even released our first album at that stage, it was all based on a couple of EP’s that had been released before hand. I suppose more than anything else, it was a great boost and great encouragement, and obviously it got us a lot of positive press off of the back of it. It was a nice platform, from which to release our debut album and kind of take things from there. It was an enjoyable experience that I can look back on. I got to meet Jimmy Page that night. It was great.
HRH: Prior to your tour with AC/DC, you have played with Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, The Who and in front of 80,000 people with the Rolling Stones in Serbia. What has it been like playing with so many classic hard rock acts?
Cormac Neeson: It has been amazing. If I had to pick a favorite gig that we have played, that would probably be it. The sheer number of people, standing and clapping their hands. It was breath taking. It was as far as the eye could see. Up to this point, we haven’t managed to play for more than 80,000 you know. The fact that is was supporting the Rolling Stones you know, I mean The Rolling Stones and AC/DC are probably the two greatest rock and roll bands still currently touring. It was unbelievable and breath taking.
HRH: How have these bands reacted to your music? Have they given you any advice?
Cormac Neeson: Different bands react in different ways. Some bands like to keep to themselves. Other bands like to take us on, and take us in as part of the family. AC/DC is one of those bands. Brian Johnson is consistently coming in to the dressing room and making sure that we are all right, and having a good time. When we toured with Whitesnake we were made part of that touring family which was great, you know. A band is going to give you advice, it is always to keep our heads down, to not to do many drinks and drugs. The usual kind of stuff. It is nice to know we have friends in high places that keep an eye on our progress.
HRH: When did you find out that you landed the AC/DC tour, and what was your reaction?
Cormac Neeson: We found out literally, two weeks before we packed our bags and headed for America. It was a whirlwind. It was an unbelievable shock for the band, but obviously a great shock. One day we were in London recording B-Sides for a future single. He took us out for a pint and sat a paper face down on the table in front of us, and said boys, I have some band news. You can’t do the European tour that we had planned for you this November. I said “Why”, he said flip that page over and you will find out. There were 42 dates on the page with AC/DC for all of across America. It was a real cause for celebration. It happened so fast we really haven’t had time to step back and think about it all. We have a week and a half off at Christmas. We will take stock of where we are at. This is a great opportunity, and hopefully we will make the best of it.
Cormac Neeson: We were yes. That was the initial plan, but obviously you can’t turn down a band like AC/DC if they ask you to come on tour with them. Black Stone Cherry are a great band. We were very much looking forward to that tour, but it wasn’t meant to be.
HRH: How have the U.S. fans reacted to your live show?
Cormac Neeson: Very positively. I think the cold weather, the rain and the wind, helps get everyone into the arena. We are playing to 80 to 90 percent in arenas every night. We were told and warned in fact that the support slot for AC/DC is no easy task. They haven’t played here in 7 years or whatever it is. You expect crowds to be very impatient. We have been getting standing ovations every night, and a lot of hits on our myspace, and a lot of positive stuff. We seem to be really devolping a good solid fan base over here, which is great considering this is our first tour of America.
HRH: Last Christmas you performed with Paul Rodgers at the Planet Rock Christmas party, which you later turned into a live CD later on. How did that opportunity come together, and what was the experience like playing with Paul?
Cormac Neeson: It was a dream come true for myself. Paul Rodgers is probably my greatest influence as a singer. It all came together, just a lucky coincidence really. Paul Rodgers was supporting Led Zeppelin the night before our gig in London. He got word that we were playing, and said he wanted to come down. We suggested that he get up and do a song or two. He came down, and we rattled through “Mover” and “The Hunter” during soundcheck, and decided we would give it a go. We had a great gig from the offset, and the fact that Paul got up and did two songs with us was amazing. It was also great that we caught it on tape and could release it as an official bootleg. It was nice to have that part of history documented.
HRH: Why did you choose to release the Never Too Late EP instead of your CD “Rise” in the U.S.?
Cormac Neeson: Unfortunately we tried very hard to get our first album released over here, but we just couldn’t get the label to get a date over here in time to release it. By the time we released Never Too Late a few weeks ago, we have our second album ready to go with the released date of 17th of February. Rather than release two albums in such quick succession, we thought we will release an EP, and whet peoples appetites a little bit. Then we will hit them with a full album in February. People can always go back to Rise if they like what they hear. Our opinion is the second album is better than the first, so why not give America the best we have to start with. Then people can trace us back to our roots.
HRH: Do you foresee Rise getting a release in the United States at a later date?
Cormac Neeson: I am sure it will be released later on down the road. We don’t want to short change our audience. We will keep putting out fresh material. If there is a demand for it, we will put it out there.
HRH: You recently had a couple of your songs used in the video games Guitar Hero World Tour, and Pure for the Playstation 3. How did that come together?
Cormac Neeson: To be honest, I don’t really know, their must be somebody in the gaming industry that likes the band, and puts our songs in those games. That is an unbelievable opportunity to get our name out there. Guitar Hero sells millions and millions of copies worldwide. In fact on the AC/DC tour, coming in every day, I hear “hey man I was playing your songs on Guitar Hero last night, drinking beers”. Between that and that AC/DC tour, and our new album, it is all coming together nicely for us.
Cormac Neeson: I have my fingers crossed. (laughs)
HRH: You have a new album coming out in February. What will the new album be called?
Cormac Neeson: The new album will be called Everyday Demons.
HRH: What was the writing process like for the new disc?
Cormac Neeson: It was very positive, and completely different from the process of the first album. Obviously, every bands’ first album is going to be a collection of tunes basically dating right back to the very beginnings of the band. In our case we had three or four years worth of songs to choose from. In contrast, this album was written in six months just before last Christmas. As a result it is a lot more consistent, and a statement that we are trying to make is a lot more fluent. The band is captured where we are right now in our song writing, musical ability and everything like that. It is a true statement where The Answer are currently at. It is good.
HRH: How long did it take you to record it?
Cormac Neeson: It took us two months. We did 5 weeks in L.A., we did a couple of weeks pre-production before we came to L.A. and then Paul did some more guitars in London for about a week and a half on the way back from America. It was very intense and very hard work and not a lot of breathing space, but the end result was well worth it.
HRH: With so many cool videos under your belt already, do you have videos planned for the new record?
Cormac Neeson: We actually just made a video for a song called On and On, which is the third track on the album. It is going to be the first single on the album. We had a gig in East Rutherford, New Jersey recently. We had the day off the next day, and went to Brooklyn to a big studio and set up a lot of different backgrounds, and shot a video for On and On. It was great you know. I got to a lot of work with a with a beautiful model which is never a bad thing.
HRH: Do you know when the single will be released?
HRH: What do you feel are some of the highlights of your career so far?
Cormac Neeson: Nothing is bigger than the current tour we are on, but as we already mentioned the Serbia gig with the Rolling Stones, we got to meet them as well, they are living legends you know, signing with Paul Rodgers and supporting Paul Rodgers in the Albert Hall was amazing. We always really enjoy getting out on tour for ourselves. We would like to be playing for an hour forty or an hour fifty minutes, getting to really entertain the audience for long stints of time. We did a couple of tours in Australia and Japan which was a great experience. It is always great to get back to Belfast at the end of a long tour to do homecoming gigs.
HRH: How long do you expect to be on the road with AC/DC?
Cormac Neeson: We honestly don’t know, we are hoping that they will give us some of the European bits. Nothing has been confirmed yet, so we can’t really presume that we are doing that. We are on tour with them until the end of January all across America. If that is all we get, we will be happy with that, but obviously if we get some more gigs, we will be even happier. (laughs)
HRH: If not, hopefully you can come back to the U.S. and do a tour of your own.
Cormac Neeson: Absolutely, as soon as we come off of tour with AC/DC, we are going to start having to do tours of our own in America, and Europe and Japan and Australia. It is going to be a very busy couple of years.
HRH: What would you like to tell all of your fans?
Cormac Neeson: I would like to say keep your ear to the ground, and don’t forget about us. Check us out. If you are into your rock and roll, we are a good honest hard hitting rock and roll band. I think you will enjoy us very much. I hope to see you very soon at a gig of our own, where we can entertain you for a couple of hours, and have a few beers with you after the show.
It isn’t every day when you get to talk to a guitar legend like Yngwie Malmsteen. I have listened to his music since I was a teenager, and never imagined that I would one day get the honor to talk to him. I have heard lots of unpleasant things about Yngwie over the years, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I interviewed him. What I found was a person who was very easy to talk to, and at times quite humorous. He was a total class act during our interview session. We talked about his new album “Perpetual Flame”, his history and influences, and his opinion on music today.
HRH: How did you start working with Ripper Owens?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Well, what happened was I did this album a little different than normal. Normally you have like a cycle where you make a record, you go on tour for that record, then you come home and start writing songs for a record and do another tour. This time around I was just writing songs as I was touring for the last album. I eventually had enough music to cut real songs. I went in recorded like 30 songs. Then I went back on tour and so forth. The songs all sounded different when I came back. Everytime I came back I wrote some guitars, I wrote some bass, I wrote some lyrics. Eventually the songs started taking shape so much that they had names and they were finished. Songs like Death Dealer and Live to Fight (Another Day) and so forth. I realized that the singer that I had at the time (Doogie White) he would not fit the new songs, so Tim’s name came up. I invited him down to Miami. I said hey do you want to come down and sing with me a bit. He came down, I showed him a couple of songs, and that was it.
HRH: You worked with him once before on the Bat Head Soup CD right?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Yeah, but that was different. I was in one studio and he was in another one.
HRH: Ripper’s voice really seems to compliment your style of playing. “Death Dealer” and “Red Devil” are two of the coolest songs I have heard by you in quite some time. What was the recording process like for Perpetual Flame?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Thank you. It was a little different because I needed drums. I went on tour. I came back, I had guitars and bass recorded and lots of lyrics. I came back again added keyboards. I had my Pro tools on my laptop and I was hanging out with a guy who had a string section who put some strings on it. All of the recording was done and Tim came in and just sang the lyrics I had written, and that was it. It was pretty simple. It was done in sections.
HRH: How does Ripper compare to past singers that you have worked with?
Yngwie Malmsteen: His voice really fits in with almost exactly what I hear in my head. When I write songs like “Death Dealer” and “Damnation Game” I know what I am looking for. That is why I decided Doogie wasn’t going to cut it. I feel that Tim fits right in.
HRH: This album is a lot heavier than the last couple of discs you have put out. Was that your intention when you were writing the music?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Not in the beginning, but the songs started coming together, and I knew that is what we were going with. In the beginning, I was kind of letting it flow . That was one of the reasons why I changed singers too, because the songs were starting to get so heavy, that there was no way that Doogie would have fit in.
HRH: You have a pretty large collection of guitars. Which guitars did you use while recording Perpetual Flame?
Yngwie Malmsteen: I used a lot of different ones. Fender Strats, and different bases of course and two Marshalls. The Fender guitars I used on this album from the late 60′s and the Marshall amps are also very old.
HRH: What are your Tour plans for the new album?
Yngwie Malmsteen: We have done Europe in the summer, not so much for the album, but we just toured. We did five weeks in America, by no long shot was this complete tour but it was good. We will be going to South America, Japan, Australia, America and Europe again. It is going to be a big tour.
HRH: There are quite a few festivals popping up in the United States. Do you see yourself performing at one of the new musical festivals like Rock Gone Wild, Rocklahoma or Rock the Bayou?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Yeah, sure why not, that is always cool.
HRH: The number of guitarists that cite you as an influence is pretty much endless. Who inspired you to pick up the guitar and make music such a huge part of your life?
Yngwie Malmsteen: I grew up in a very musical family. My older brother and sister they were very good musicians. I was the youngest. I got my first guitar when I was five years old. On the news they showed the day that Jimi Hendrix died. They showed him setting his guitar on fire at Monterey Pop. I saw him burn his guitar and I knew that is what I wanted to do. I started playing the guitar the same day. A year later or so I got a record from sister. She gave me the Deep Purple Fireball album. I thought it was very cool. When I grew up in Sweden there was nothing there. It was completely empty from rock and roll and music or anything like that. There was classical and Jazz, but nothing like what it was here. The impact of hearing Purple was very big on me. I really like that. The biggest influence on my music are Bach, Vivaldi and Niccolò Paganini. If you listen to my stuff you will hear it.
HRH: If you could give advice to any young guitar players out there, what would you tell them?
Yngwie Malmsteen: It all depends on what they want to achieve. If they want to achieve greatness and be like something that is out of the ordinary. It is a lot of hardwork. There are no shortcuts to that. Obviously, if they wanted to learn how to play, they can learn bits and things and carry on. It all depends on what they want to do. If they want to be serious, there is a lot of hard work involved.
HRH: There have been a lot of classic hard rock and metal acts reunite over the last few years. Ron Keel has recently announced the reunion of KEEL for several live shows next year. Can you see yourself doing a Steeler or Alcatrazz reunion in the near future?
Yngwie Malmsteen: I have been contacted a lot about that. I don’t know. I will never say never.
HRH: What is your opinion on the current guitarists of today?
Yngwie Malmsteen: I haven’t really kept track of them. I am so extremely busy with what I am doing myself. When I am not playing music I am usually doing other things. Playing around with my Ferraris and playing Tennis and things like that. What I understand there is a new group of kids that are very serious about playing which is great, I think that is a good thing.
HRH: Are you still a big Ferrari Fan?
Yngwie Malmsteen: (Passionately) Ohh Yeah!
HRH: Have you seen the new Spider Model that has just been released?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Yeah, but I am more into the vintage Ferarris.
HRH:Why do you think hard rock/metal was able to maintain it’s popularity in Europe and Asia but not here in the states?
Yngwie Malmsteen: I am not even sure about that. What I do know is Rock and roll and metal never goes away ever. It took the back seat in America in the 90′s. In Japan and South America it was still really big. I never followed trends so I don’t know the exact function of them. I think there must be somebody in league to changing things. When the glam metal thing of the late 80′s became to glammy, then instead of having two bottles of hair spray in your hair, it became better not to wash your hair at all. To me its all trend stuff. I don’t follow that stuff. I just do what I feel is the right thing. I don’t know what the reason is for that. Its not fashion.
HRH: Did your involvement in the G3 Tour with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai help get your music back out there in the U.S.?
Yngwie Malmsteen: It had some impact, sure, yeah. I think that it helped all three of us, but I think the most important thing now, that you can see nowadays are kids are being introduced to this music through video games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. This seems to be a big influence on kids. Its a new thing to them.
HRH: What do you think about the new generation of music fans being introduced to hard rock and metal through games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band?
Yngwie Malmsteen: When we were younger it was Radio and MTV. It is just a different way of getting it. If they have a game that has rock and roll in it, that is going to introduce the kids to the music. That is good. It is cool.
HRH: Are their any plans for your songs to be added in future editions of the games?
Yngwie Malmsteen: I think so yeah. I am pretty sure that is happening right now. (A few days after our interview, it was announced that some of the songs from Perpetual Flame would be available for download in the game Rockband.)
HRH: Your son Antonio is 10 now right? Has he taken on your passion for music yet?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Yeah, Not in the same way that I did. When I grew up there was no TV, nothing. The guitar could be my whole life. The kids today have internet and TV and games and all that stuff. When he does pick up the guitar, he is a natural for sure. For sure he is going to play. I was so extreme, I was playing 24/7 all my life. That was bizarre anyway, kind of like a (laughs) a circus freak you know.
HRH: There is a new line of Yngwie Malsteen Play Loud tribute guitars from Fender coming out next week. What you can you tell us about those?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Fender had made my guitars for 20 years now. The model has been improved on and updated. It is just fantastic, that is why I love to play it. This is a special series of just 100 pieces that is an exact replica of the guitar that I brought with me from Sweden when I was a teenager. It has the exact same rust particle scratch, feels the same, smells the same. It is amazing. I have never seen anything like it my life. It is scary, it is frightening. It is limited to 100 pieces.
HRH: I saw how the even mimicked your bite marks on the guitar, and wondered how they did that.
Yngwie Malmsteen: I wondered if they had some witchcraft going on there. (laughs)
HRH: You were recently inducted to Guitar Center’s Rockwalk in Hollywood, what was that experience like?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Very Bizarre (laughs). I have time to reflect on it now. Apparently it is in the street already. The next time I go there I will see it. I remember walking those streets as teenager. Its amazing. I don’t know what else to say. Thank you, I am honored.
HRH: Is there anything you would like to tell your fans in closing?
Yngwie Malmsteen: I would like to say thank you. I would like everyone to check out my new record Perpetual Flame. If they have heard my stuff before they will dig it. If they haven’t I hope they will dig it. Thank you for the support for twenty years. God Bless You All! God Bless America!
Hinder is back and in a big way with their new release “Take It To the Limit”, which was released on Nov. 4th and rocketed into the Top 5 on the album charts. HRH recently had the chance to talk to Hinder’s skinman Cody Hanson not only about the new album but also, their upcoming tour with Motley Crue and the band’s love for Jaeger. With no one rushing us through the interview Cody and I ended up talking for close to 30 minutes so it is impossible to put everything we talked about down without it running for 3 or 4 pages. I have to say Cody is one of the coolest people I have interviewed, not only for HRH but going back to the days I worked in radio also. Enjoy!
HRH: “Take It To the Limit” is Hinder’s first album in 3 years, with the way the music scene changes so fast these days did the band worry about it taking so long to get the album out?
Cody Hanson: Actually yeah, that is always a concern whenever you are going in. But we were on the road so long and “Extreme Behavior” had so much life that we had to stay out on the road and tour on it as long as we could. But once we got finished we didn’t take a break except for maybe a week and a half if that, then we were writing and going into the studio shortly after so we definitely got it out there as quick as we could.
HRH: You worked with Brian Howes producing again. Did that make the process easier since you had worked with him on “Extreme Behavior”?
Cody Hanson: Oh definitely man! We work so well with Brian, he’s like our sixth member of the band. He’s one of our best friends and he’s amazing so anytime we can work with him it makes it a lot easier.
HRH: “Loaded & Alone” and “Far From Home” are two autobiographical songs. What are some other songs that came out of real life experiences?
Cody Hanson: Well, a lot of our songs are true life experiences, Almost every song on the album is an experience that one of us has had. Austin and I do the majority of the lyric writing but we pull things that we see happening to the rest of the guys as well or even some friends or family members.
HRH: You have a video for “Use Me” and have “Use Me’ and “Without You” on the radio. Are we going to see a video for “Without You” anytime soon?
Cody Hanson: Yeah it should be out already. I wanna say MTV2 just picked it up and Fuse might’ve picked it up I’m not sure. We shot it out in L.A. two or three weeks ago. We had Aimee Teegarden, from “Friday Night Lights” and Kellan Lutz from “Twilight” are both in it.
HRH: What are some of the other songs you would like to see released as singles?
Cody Hanson: Man you know what it is hard for me to say. I’m in love with the entire album, but “the Best Is Yet To Come” is my favorite song on the album so at some point I would definitely like to see that one released and “Up All Night” is another one I would like to see out there.
HRH: Everyone knows Mick Mars played lead and solos on the title track “Take It To the Limit” but he initially contacted you guys to write some songs together. What was your reaction when you found out Mick Mars wants to write songs with you?
Cody Hanson: It was pretty much holy sh*t you have to be f**king kidding me. All of us look up to Motley Crue and they are one of our biggest musical influences, so it is pretty crazy when someone you look up too like that calls and reaches out wanting to work with you, that’s pretty incredible.
HRH: Did anything come out of the writing sessions that we may be hearing in the future?
Cody Hanson: We actually never got a chance to write, but there is a good chance it might happen in the future we are going to be spending some time with them out on the road coming up pretty soon so we’ll see.
HRH: What do you think it is going to be like going out on the road with Motley Crue next year?
Cody Hanson: Um I don’t know man, I am not really sure what to expect because things are so much different then they used to be with those guys but I think it is going to be fun. It is going to be cool to get in front of Motley Crue fans, especially those that aren’t familiar with Hinder. It should be a blast for sure.
HRH: You guys are from Oklahoma City. When you were playing the clubs there did you ever think you would be hanging out with Mick Mars or Playboy Cybergirls, like the ones in the “Use Me” video?
Cody Hanson: I don’t know man I never really thought about it. We were just so focused on gaining new fans and doing what we had to do to get somewhere, at that point it was all business, of course we like to have a good time and stuff but we were really really focused on just getting our music out there. I definitely never thought it would be this way that is for sure.
HRH: You guys are out on the road right now with the Jaegermeister tour with Rev Theory and Trapt. How is that going?
Cody Hanson: It’s awesome we’ve been great friends with the Rev Theory guys for a long time so it’s always great to get back out on the road with them, live it up and have some good times. Of course Jaegermeister is amazing the company and the drink I think we drink more Jaeger than water so it’s great.
HRH: You installed a Jaeger machine on your tour bus so there has to be some wild road stories.
Cody Hanson: Yeah there are always stories, always good stuff going on. We actually just got one of the new pull styles machines and they gave us a road case for it so we can take it anywhere we want to go without it getting all messed up.
HRH: Your first album “Extreme Behavior” was out for a year before it actually hit big. Did the band get discouraged when it didn’t hit right off?
Cody Hanson: No not really, we knew it was going to be a very slow build like it is for any baby band. “Get Stoned” did really well for us, it got up to number 2 on the rock charts so we were moving some pretty good units off of that single alone and then of course when “Lips” hit things just got insanely crazy. We were just excited to be out touring and doing our thing.
HRH: “Lips of an Angel” was such a huge song. It is hard for a rock band to get respect when your first hit is a ballad?
Cody Hanson: Well I guess it depends on who you are talking about in the press and the reviews I read all the time there are so many people that just f**king hate us with a passion but all that matters to the band is our fans love the music that we write, if they pick up the album and the music touches them on some level and they come to the show ready to party then I don’t care what anybody else says.
HRH: Was there any pressure from the record company to write “Lips of an Angel 2″?
Cody Hanson: No it was pretty cool they were actually like nonexistent during the whole process. It gave us the chance to write the album that we wanted to write and record. I don’t know that they are so happy now but we’ll see.
HRH: AC/DC’s “Black Ice” was leaked weeks before the release date. How hard is it for bands to protect their music and make sure that doesn’t happen?
Cody Hanson: It’s pretty tough especially on the label end. Our A&R guy at the label keeps it on lock down, he is really careful about who he gives music too, he basically keeps it all to himself. We were able to have one version, he wasn’t even able to give it to everybody in the band that’s how careful they were.
HRH: Anything you would like to say before we wrap it up?
Cody Hanson: We are out on the road, so come see us and be ready to party and thanks to the fans that support us, we appreciate it they are the reason we do what we do.
A few days prior to the release of their latest album “Black Butterfly” I had an opportunity to talk to Buckcherry guitarist and co-founder Keith Nelson. Now almost two months since the release of the album I had the opportunity to talk to front-man Josh Todd not only about the new album and tour but also about his acting career and his opinion about President elect Barack Obama. I went into this interview with an idea Josh was a wild and crazy front-man but when the interview was over I was left with a completely different impression, in a good way.
HRH: Josh, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.
Josh Todd: Sure, no problem
HRH: You guys are currently on the road with Avenged Sevenfold, Shinedown, and Saving Abel, how is the tour going so far?
Josh Todd: It was going great until we ran into a blizzard and couldn’t make it to our show tonight.
HRH: You played Billings, MT last night and were supposed to play Fargo tonight?
Josh Todd: Yeah last night was awesome.
HRH: Buckcherry.com has this line up of bands together till December. Who are some of the bands you are looking at taking out on the next leg?
Josh Todd: We are trying to figure that out right now as far as what we are going to do after the new year. But when we find out we’ll let everybody know.
HRH: What are the plans going into the new year for the band?
Josh Todd: Well we have this new album “Black Butterfly” and it has a lot of great songs so we are going to be putting in alot of time and effort to make sure everyone gets to hear the depth of this record like we did with “15″ we toured two years and over 300 shows and we have already done 65 shows and the album hasn’t been out for two months yet. So we are just going to be touring and getting these songs out on the radio so everyone will know what’s going on here.
HRH: How many songs off of “Black Butterfly” are you able to include in the set?
Josh Todd: Let’s see, we play Rescue Me, Don’t Go Away, Too Drunk, and Cream so about four.
HRH: You have been covering “the Stroke” by Billy Squier live. Is that something we may see you guys releasing for maybe a soundtrack or a b-side?
Josh Todd: We don’t play the whole song, we do it as part of a medley with “Crazy Bitch” and the fans seem to like it.
HRH: Do you get to play any of the songs off of “You Made Me”?
Josh Todd: No
HRH: Are there any plans for another solo album?
Josh Todd: Not at the moment.
HRH: After 4 albums “Black Butterfly” is the first one to hit the Top 10. How big is that for the band?
Josh Todd: It is huge for us you know. We have been after this for a long time and that is something you dream about hitting milestones like that. We always want to elevate our game from record to record and that is what we try to do.
HRH: Buckcherry is on the third single and video with “Rescue Me” Are there plans to release more singles or videos from the album?
Josh Todd: Yeah everybody really loves “Rose” but right now we are focused on what we got going on with “Rescue Me” and “Don’t Go Away”. We’ll probably do something with “Rose” sometime after the new year.
HRH: When you release a new album is there a set number of singles that you plan on releasing or is it more of a wait and see approach?
Josh Todd: Sometimes we are clear on it, sometimes the singles change over the course of the album’s cycle. Songs we thought were going to be the one change because more people are hearing the music and we find out what everybody is really gravitating towards.
HRH: How much say does the band have in what songs are released as singles?
Josh Todd: Oh we have final say.
HRH: What other songs do you think might have been overlooked or didn’t get as much attention as they deserve?
Josh Todd: I personally like “All of Me” I think it is a masterpiece. Hopefully that will be a song, I mean there are already a lot of people that love that song but I think it is different for everybody.
HRH: I talked to Keith a few days before “Black Butterfly” release and he mentioned “Imminent Bailout” and “Cream” as two songs that were special on the album. What was the inspiration behind the lyrics of “Cream”?
Josh Todd: Cream is just about my love for music and being a music man and all the sacrifices you have to make to do this for a living. It’s my deepest love that is what it’s about.
HRH: You and Keith started Buckcherry because of a mutual love of AC/DC. Have you had a chance to hear “Black Ice”?
Josh Todd: I did I have the record, but I thought Stiff Upper Lip was a better record. But there are a couple of songs I really like, I like the first single “Rock-n-Roll Train” and there is another song called “Anything Goes” where Brian is singing with a lot more meoldy and I thought that was cool. As a whole I didn’t think the record was a great record but it is a good rock-n-roll record.
HRH: You are 37 now, can you see Buckcherry still together and performing when you are in your late 50′s early 60′s?
Josh Todd: No I don’t know why anyone would want to see that.
HRH: You were in a band called Slamhound prior to Buckcherry and I found a demo a few years ago at a record store in San Francisco. Will there ever be an “official” release of Slamhound’s music?
Josh Todd: No probably not that band hasn’t been together for years. I really enjoyed that band when I was in it but I doubt I’ll be putting anything out.
HRH: I want to change gears here a little bit if you don’t mind. Are you a political person?
Josh Todd: Nope
HRH: Do you have an opinion about President elect Barack Obama?
Josh Todd: I really like his energy plan that is something I really like but i’m not too excited about the taxes. But as far as what this guy is made of I just don’t think we know yet you know. As a whole as far as both candidates were concerned I just wish we had more choices, because I think a lot of people were on the fence with both parties. I think it is really to soon to see what is going to happen with Obama I mean we’ll see. He has to back all of his words I mean he’s got a very difficult job. I definitely wouldn’t want to be handling it. I congratulate him for his courage to take on this incredible task and hopefully he will do it with grace and really bring something to the office.
HRH: You recently had a part in the movie Eagle Eye and you have had parts in the New Guy and Salton Sea along with a couple of t.v. shows. Do you see acting as something you would like to get more serious about as far as pursuing some bigger roles or is it more of something to do when you have down time from Buckcherry?
Josh Todd: I would love to get a bigger role because I love challenges but we are never home. We tour so much that it is really hard for me to get gigs. When I’m home I get to do stuff here and there but I would love to be challenged with acting bigger than what I’ve done.
HRH: What was it like working with Val Kilmer on Salton Sea?
Josh Todd: Wow Val is like, he is an incredible guy to watch, he is a great great actor and he really taught me a lot. He was very nice to me at that point in time, he understood my situation that it was the first movie I had ever done. He was very instrumental and kind of pushing me along and I am very grateful to him for that. I just thought he was a joy to work with.
HRH: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers before I let you go?
Josh Todd: I would just encourage them to go out and pick up a copy of “Black Butterfly” if they haven’t already and to check out Buckcherry.com to see where we are at and come out to the show and have a blast.
2008 has been a pretty good year for Tesla. They have released a new DVD, “Comin’ At Ya Live” and a new CD, “Forever More“. When the opportunity came up to interview Brian Wheat from Tesla, I couldn’t pass it up. Tesla has been one of my favorite bands for a very long time now. Brian and I talked about Forever More, the current Tesla tour and more. Check out the interview below. Enjoy!
HRH: I have seen Tesla live a couple of times in the last year on the Real to Reel Tour. Dave Rude is fitting in well with the band. How did you guys find Dave ?
Brian Wheat: Frank found Dave on myspace. It is pretty well documented that we were having problems with Tommy Skeoch. When it came to start looking for someone to replace him, Frank started looking at myspace, and people in the Sacramento area. Dave is from Oakland, California so he was pretty close by.
HRH: Do you still keep in touch with Tommy Skeoch?
Brian Wheat: No, I don’t keep in touch with Tommy at all.
HRH: Forever More is the first album with new studio material with Dave Rude. What
musical influences does he bring to Tesla?
Brian Wheat: Dave likes Guns ‘N Roses, Tesla and Motley Crue. A Lot of the new stuff out there he listens to as well. He is 30 years old. Frank is 42 years old, I am 44. He brings a younger spark, and a lot of positivity to the band. He is a great guitar player. We all wrote the songs together on this album. He has a positive attitude and money can’t buy that.
HRH: What are some of the circumstances the band was going through that inspired the songs on “Forever More”?
Brian Wheat: There was a lot going on. People coming to life changing decisions. The general gist is that we didn’t want to put up with any more bullshit. We just wanted to move forward. Just like the song “I Wanna Live”. I wanna live before I die and I don’t want the world to pass me buy. “Breaking Free” is we are done with the negativity, lets get on with positivity.
HRH: When Tesla prepares to record a new album how many songs do you usually go into
the studio with and what happens to the songs that do not make the albums?
Brian Wheat: We go in with ideas for songs with bits and pieces. We brought in Terry Thomas for this record. Even with the ideas that we had, he stripped them down to their basic form and we rewrote them all. In the end it came out great. While we were doing it there were some growing pains. When it was all said and done the results came out brilliantly. The songs that didn’t make it on the album were ideas that we didn’t finish.
HRH: What songs are you current favorites on the new record?
Brian Wheat: I like “Falling Apart”, “I Wanna Live”, “Breaking Free”, “First Time”, and “Forever More“.
Brian Wheat: We have a guy that works with us Dwayne Serfass. Frank(Hannon) had this idea that he wanted to call the album Eternity, and none of us are eternal and none of us were too keen on that. We had a song on the album called Forever More which much means the same thing. Once we agreed on the theme, Dwayne found this photo of these two bodies buried in Pompeii that was 4000 years old. They were buried together embracing each other. The photo is called the “eternal embrace”. That is where the skeletons come from. It is a well noted photo.
HRH: What songs from Forever More will you be performing on tour?
Brian Wheat: We are playing six songs. We will probably play each of them at one point in time. I can’t tell you which ones. We have only been on tour for a week.
HRH: How long will you be out on the Forever More tour?
Brian Wheat: The better part of this year and see what evolves with this record. We will probably do 4 or 5 legs in America. We will hit Europe, Japan and Australia and see what is left. We want to play everywhere we can. We usually do a month on and 3 weeks off, that way we don’t burn ourselves out.
HRH: Tesla played in a couple of big rock festivals in the U.S. this year, The South Texas Rock Festival and Rocklahoma. What was your Rocklahoma experience like?
Brian Wheat: That was great. Those guys do a really good job on that. They keep expanding and keep coming up with new ideas. It was a really nice festival that was reminiscent of the festivals we have played in Europe. There are a lot of festivals in the summer there. It was good.
HRH: Will you be playing in any U.S. Music Festivals in 2009?
Brian Wheat: In America? I don’t know. The question is do we do Rocklahoma two years in a row or do we wait a year. That is kind of the question that has been posed. There may be a Texas Jam next summer.
HRH: There is a new festival called Rock Gone Wild that will be in Iowa next summer, that has 5 or 6 bands lined up to play so far.
Brian Wheat: That will probably be something that may end up playing.
HRH: Your new video for” I Wanna Live” came out really cool. Do you have plans to do any more videos for Forever More?
Brian Wheat: Yes, absolutely. We are doing a lot more stuff in house. We have our art department, we have our own recording studio, we have our video department. We are pretty self sufficient. If we want to do something we can do it. If we were in a situation where we were on a major label, that might not have always happened.
HRH: You are current on the road with Pop Evil. How has the tour been going so far? How did you meet those guys?
Brian Wheat: A guy that works radio manages them. George Capalini, he sent us a disc, and we liked it, and we put them on the tour. They are out there promoting their record, trying to bring in new fans and young fans. They are good guys.
HRH: What is the status of the Tesla box set?
Brian Wheat: The Tesla box set is currently on hold. Until we and Universal can come to a mutual agreement and understanding of the box set, it is on hold. We wanted to get it out by our 20th anniversary, maybe it will be the 25th anniversary. We just don’t know.
HRH: Is there any unreleased or cover material in the box set?
Brian Wheat: There is some stuff. I just don’t know if we are going release more cover stuff. We did two records of covers. The box set will be material with Tommy Skeoch. We did release some additional cover songs on iTunes on “A Peace of Time”. There were two or three covers. The version of “I Love You” and the Bread song (“Everything I Own”), those two came out really good. Lets hope that we all see the box set. It is kind of in Universal’s court right now.
HRH: Is it easier to get music out to the fans since Tesla now has their own label?
Brian Wheat: Yes and no. It is young. How does your music get out there? Is out on iTunes yet? You have to look for it. The way most people find out about music is the radio. Some stations still think Tesla is really relevant and some stations don’t. It is hard because you have to convince them that band still is relevant. I don’t think that wouldn’t matter with a large label, or our a label of our own. You can’t buy radio time, its against the law. You just have to go out and swing the bat you have.
HRH: Do you have plans to signing additional bands to your label?
Brian Wheat: No, Tesla Electric Company is just for Tesla.
HRH: A lot of bands are releasing their music as downloadable content for sale in the
video games Guitar Hero and Rockband. Any chance the Tesla catalog will be made
available this way?
Brian Wheat: Absolutely, yes.
HRH: In closing, do you have anything you would like to tell your fans?
Brian Wheat: Go out and buy the new record, I think you will enjoy it. Come out and see us this year on the Forever More tour, if we play in your city or a city near you.
That was the way the interview closed. Brian had another interview call to make and we were a little over on time. Brian was very cool and easy to talk to. I am looking forward to catching Tesla on the road on the Forever More tour!
If you haven’t picked up a copy of the new album, click on the cover below to place your order today!
I don’t make it a secret that Buckcherry is one of my favorite bands out there so of course I jumped at the chance for the opportunity to interview guitarist Keith Nelson. I thought it was a great interview, there were a lot of questions I didn’t get to ask because there wasn’t enough time but that is ok I will save them for the next time. Here is what he had to say, Enjoy!
HRH: Buckcherry recently wrapped up the inaugural Cruefest, how did you think the tour went
Keith Nelson: I thought it was phenomenal, a lot of fun
HRH: What were some of the other bands on the bill that you watched when you had a chance?
Keith Nelson: Papa Roach they are a great live band and of course the Crue they were just over the top.
HRH: Do you think Buckcherry will go out with Cruefest next year?
Keith Nelson: Definitely if we get the chance.
HRH: Buckcherry did over 300 shows in support of 15 are you looking at the same kind of tour for “Black Butterfly”?
Keith Nelson: We were thinking of maybe 600 or 700. Just kidding, Yeah you know we are a live band and that is what we do so going out on the road and living out on the pirate strip as they call it and making rock-n-roll 6 nights a week is kinda what we do.
HRH: 15 was recorded in 15 days how long did it take to record “Black Butterfly”?
Keith Nelson: 21 days on this record
HRH: When it comes to writing is everyone involved or is it you and Josh?
Keith Nelson: Everyone is involved, every song ultimately ends up in the room with all 5 guys weighing in regardless of where it starts. A lot of times Josh and I will come up something, get it pretty much completed, take it in and start rehearsing it. I want to hear what the other guys in my band think of it and see if they have any ideas.
HRH: Is there a story behind the title “Black Butterfly”?
Keith Nelson: Not really, well I guess the only story is there was a song called “Black Butterfly” that we all loved but ultimately didn’t make the record. Not because it was inferior to anything else but in the big picture of the record that piece just didn’t seem to fit, we loved it and certainly it will see the light of day at some point. But when we were coming up with concepts for the cover the image of the Black Butterfly was kind of stuck in my head so I proposed that as the title of the record and everyone seemed to like it.
HRH: So far there are 3 songs available for the fans to hear with, Too Drunk, Rescue Me, and Don’t Go Away, what are some of the other songs you like off the album?
Keith Nelson: Well there is a song called “Cream” that ends the record that is a pretty special song. It was written and rewritten and left for dead and then rewritten again and that is one of my favorite songs on the record. There is a song called “Imminent Bailout” which I think is probably one of the best rock songs I’ve ever written as far as sheer rock-n-roll intensity. There are so many songs, there is a song called “Rose” that I think is a great stretch for us as far as sonically in our approach to songwriting. Man there is a lot of great songs on the record.
HRH: Was the band surprised by the reaction of “Too Drunk” when it was leaked?
Keith Nelson: You know it is crazy how that all went down cause we actually finished mixing the record on a Sunday and 3 or 4 days later we left to start Cruefest, while that was all kind of going on while we were out of the road. Obviously it is in our best interest to present our record in a very structured, you know thought out way and with all the songs being passed around to different people for mastering, remixing, and what not unfortunately that song leaked. In this day and age we just kind of make the best of what we got so once the song was out there we just kind of had to follow it but it wasn’t our first choice for what the single was going to be.
HRH: You always have extra songs on the singles and imports, has there ever been any talk of putting out a B-sides album?
Keith Nelson: Yeah, I mean there hasn’t actually been any talk but it’s funny because early on the B-sides were very much, well you could tell why those songs weren’t on the record and now the left over tracks are as good as anything on the record but you can only put so many songs on a record. You never know I’m sure at some point after we have more of a discography behind us there will be some more special stuff.
HRH: After “Time Bomb” Buckcherry went on hiatus and you and Josh end up recording some songs with the guys from Velvet Revolver. The story goes there were 10 or so songs recorded is there a chance they will ever be made available to the public?
Keith Nelson: Well what happened with those songs is they were actually live recordings that we would make in a rehearsal room, they were multi-tracked. We didn’t make a record but we did do a very detailed recording of them in a live situation. They do exist, I do have them but they will never see the light of day.
HRH: In the past you played with Huck Johns and now he is playing with JB, Devon, and Yogi in a project called Black Robot. Is that something you helped put together?
Keith Nelson: I have no knowledge of that and know nothing about it.
HRH: Legend has it that you and Josh started Buckcherry because you both love AC/DC. Have you had a chance to hear their new single yet?
Keith Nelson: No but I am so excited about the new AC/DC record you have no idea.
HRH: With Cruefest finished and “Black Butterfly” tour starting up who are some of the bands you are looking at opening for you?
Keith Nelson: Well we start this next leg of the tour in a few days with Avenged Sevenfold, Shinedown, and Saving Abel, which are all great bands that is going to be a fun, fun tour. Airbourne is awesome, I would love to have Airbourne and we are actually going to do some dates with those guys in Japan.
HRH: If you could put together a Cherryfest and you could have any 5 bands past or present on the bill who would it be?
Keith Nelson: Well we would have AC/DC close the show for us and we would go on right before them. Right before us or maybe flip flopping every night we would have Stone Temple Pilots and Rage Against the Machine and I would probably get Muddy Waters to start things off.
And with that we wrapped the interview up, like I said earlier I think it was a great interview, very relaxed and laid back Keith was extremely easy to talk too. I definitely look forward to talking to him again if and when I get the chance.
JORN LANDE: New Audio Interview Available – Mar. 17, 2008
TheRightToRock. com has issued its latest podcast (episode #49), featuring vocalist former MASTERPLAN vocalist Jorn Lande (who is performing/recording under the name JORN).
The interview lasts approximately 50 minutes and can be heard at this location .
Jorn Lande has set “Lonely Are the Brave” as the title of his new solo album, tentatively due in early June via Frontiers Records. The CD was mixed at Tommy Hansen’s Jailhouse Studio in Denmark.
Jorn Lande is one of the guests on “The Scarecrow”, the third installment of EDGUY frontman Tobias Sammet’s AVANTASIA solo project. The album was produced by Sascha Paeth, who also played the rhythm guitar on the CD. The drums were laid down by KISS/ALICE COOPER drummer Eric Singer and the bass was handled by Tobias himself.
Hard Rock Hideout recently got the opportunity to do a Q & A with the band Black Tide. The band has a brand new CD coming out in March, called Light From Above. I have listened to it, and it is going to blow people away!
HRH: Tell us how Black Tide got its start?
BT: Well, we started out almost 5 years ago, when we were called Radio, playing at backyard parties and the one small local club in our area. We just practiced a lot in the garage and living room, always trying to write new songs and just play everywhere that we could. We played at the Florida Music Festival and kinda just got this buzz about our band running through the industry. We talked to a lot of labels and even singed a demo deal with Atlantic records at one point. After enough time had wasted, we moved on and signed a deal with Interscope Records.
HRH: How long have you been playing?
BT: I have been playing the bass for about 5 years now, I pretty much started the day I joined this group.
HRH: What are the ages of the members of Black Tide?
BT: Gabriel (singer and guitar) is 15, Alex (guitar) is 18, Steven (drummer) is 19, and I am also 19 (Zakk).
HRH: Who are some of your musical influences?
BT: My musical influences come from all over and I really have no preference about what I listen to. I listen to Van Halen, Drive-By Truckers, The Velvet Underground, Regina Spektor, and Lupe Fiasco. That’s what I’m listeneing to lately anyway.
HRH: What is one of the last concerts that you attended (that you did not perform at)?
BT:I think the last concert I attended was Stone Sour and Dirty Little Rabbits, and that was like 6 months ago. I wish I could just go to see more concerts but I never have time anymore.
HRH: What are some of the CD’s that you are listening to today?
BT: I’ve been really enjoying The Drive-By Truckers new album, Brighter Than Creations Dark. It’s just so all over the place and I can’t really get enough of it.
Southern Rock is what I’m in the mood for lately. I’m also listening to Velvet Underground’s amazing masterpiece The Velvet Underground & Nico.
HRH: In 2007, You played on the Ozzfest tour. What was that experience like?
BT: Waking up everyday and realizing that we were playing on one of the biggest traveling metal tours was insane! That tour was our introduction to real touring and we learned a lot from all the bands and crews.
What’s cooler than getting to say that we shared the stage with Ozzy and we aren’t even old enough to drink.
HRH: Do you have some good stories from Ozzfest that you would like to share? Did you get to meet Ozzy?
We don’t really have any crazy stories from the Ozzfest tour, we got hazed pretty bad on the last day, but nothing really amazing. We were kept on a pretty tight leash because of being underage. We sadly enough didn’t get to meet Ozzy, and we were pretty bummed about it.
HRH: You are currently on tour with Avenged Sevenfold. How is that going? How have the A7X fans reacted to Black Tide?
BT: Touring with A7X has been fucking great! The fans have been really open to us and are really into the music and what we are trying to accomplish. All the guys in the band have been really cool with us and their crew is fantastic.
HRH: You have already toured across the United States and Europe. What are your plans in 2008, when your tour with A7X concludes?
BT: Our plans are to just tour as much as humanly possible. That’s the only thing we really want to do anyway. I don’t really know any specifics at this moment but we should have something announced pretty soon.
HRH: Your new CD, Light From Above, will be released in March.What can you tell us about the new CD?
BT: I can tell you that every song is great and we took our time to make sure that each song was well crafted and as good as we could possibly make it.
HRH: Is there anything you would like to tell your fans?
BT: Thank you guys for supporting us and we can’t wait for all of you to hear our album and we hope to see you all soon!
The band has recently announced a tour with All That Remains in February and March! You can hear two of their new songs on their myspace page. Go Check them out today!
HardRockHideout.com and Rock Nation Radio are proud to bring you the following interview with Georg Dolivo and Brian “Damage” Forsythe from Rhino Bucket.
Check out some new tunes off of Rhino Bucket’s release, And Then It Got Ugly, and find out what is going on with Rhino Bucket in 2007 and beyond!
Click on the player below to listen to the interview!
The Hairball John Radio Show as made a 2004 audio interview with Quiet Riot vocalist Kevin Dubrow available for free download.
In August of 2004 I conducted one of several interviews with Quiet Riot vocalist Kevin Dubrow. During this particular interview I felt he was the most open and candid as he discussed the fresh (2004) break-up of Quiet Riot, his first solo release “In For The Kill“, his conflict with other artists and his memories of the late Randy Rhoads. In light of Kevin’s recent passing I felt that fans of Kevin and Quiet Riot would treasure this unedited conversation. So we are making as a free download courtesy of The Hairball John Radio Show.
Enjoy the interview. Hairball John
The entire 10-minute interview with Quiet Riot vocalist Kevin Dubrow and can downloaded for free at the home site of The Hairball John Radio Show
Show Host Hairball John posted the following personal thoughts regarding the passing of Kevin Dubrow.
This past week the Metal community lost a very instrumental player in the passing of Kevin Dubrow from Quiet Riot. I was shocked when I heard the news but it did not fully register with me until we were recording our show later that week and were using a promo from Kevin to lead into “Cum On Feel The Noize“. It was then that I recognized the passionate artist that we had lost. I remembered the numerous times that I had been up against the stage for Quiet Riot shows since 1984, the three interviews that I had conducted with him over the past five years and then The Acid Chimp and I meeting him in person in 2004.
Over the past 25 years Kevin fully embraced his personal freedom to speak his mind and do as he pleased. Not always to the liking of the fans, other musicians or for the good of Quiet Riot, but always true to himself and that sense of living in the moment and speaking freely is something to be admired. Although it is always sad for a generation to lose an icon I am extremely grateful for the legacy that will live on and the incredible affect that Quiet Riot has had on the music industry. Not only were they the first Heavy Metal band to have a number one record (Metal Health), but the success of that release opened the flood gates for numerous Los Angeles based bands to get the full marketing support of their labels. This in turn made Los Angeles a magnet of proportional strength as it drew bands from all over the world to ride the second and third wave of success off of the Sunset Strip. But one of the most valuable aspects that came from Kevin Dubrow and Quiet Riot is the bevy of incredible artists that it spawned in the likes of Frankie Banali, Rudy Sarzo, Carlos Cavazo, Chuck Wright, and Randy Rhoads. All of which went on to play in a multitude of high profile bands. Try to imagine what Hard Rock and Heavy Metal would be like without the contributions of these artists.
While many fans and friends mourn the loss of Kevin I think he would want to be remembered by a line from Metal Health that seemed to represent how he lived his life I’m not a loser and I ain’t no weeper. Kevins contributions are invaluable, unforgettable and forever eternal. What more could an artist want?
You rocked us til it struck the hour.
The Hairball John Radio Show is a syndicated radio show featuring the best of Hard Rock, past and present. It is broadcasted worldwide by more than 30 web-based affiliates. For a complete broadcast schedule visit www.hairballjohnradioshow.com
In addition to talking about how the band’s personal drama helped create their latest CD – “Blood Stained Love Story”, he also talked about living the rock star life to the fullest, how Nikki Sixx helped him with his personal demons, and he answers the burning question – Boxers or Commando!
It is a really cool, and funny interview, that you hard rockers need to take the time out to listen to.
Thanks to Tori, for the heads up on the awesome Interview!
Here is the video for Saliva’s tune, Click, Click Boom!