At the end of summer, Trapt will be releasing the album Trapt Live! which will feature the new single “Stay Alive”. Check out “Stay Alive” here! .
Trapt will head into the studio in July to start work on their next studio album with producer GGGarth Richardson, who co-produced the bands debut album. The band is also putting together a new tour and will hit the road in October. For more info on Trapt and their new live album, check out their Myspace page at this location.
The Answer are big in Japan but can they become just as popular closer to home?
“Things are easy when you’re big in Japan,” sang the synth-pop act Alphaville in 1984. Some 23 years on it’s a sentiment not lost on the young hard-rock outfit The Answer, whose stirring Free and Led-Zeppelin-influenced album Rise shifted 14,000 copies there in its first week of release.
In Britain, Kerrang! had already dubbed them “the new kings of rock” but, in February 2007, when Rise reached No27 in the Japanese chart, a trip to the Orient beckoned. If The Answer’s debut album could chart in Japan without them playing there, what would happen when they actually showed up?
Two months later, I’ve joined the band in the futuristic, neon-lit surrounds of Shibuya, Tokyo to find out. Their first promotional engagement is a sold-out show at the AX Club that also happens to be the County Down quartet’s first performance in Asia. With an 11-strong camera-crew in attendance to film the concert for Japanese television, the group is understandably nervous. “I’ll be fine when I start hitting things,” laughs the drummer James Heatley as he paces a backstage dressing room.
Like Cormac Neeson (vocals), Paul Mahon (guitar), and Micky Waters (bass), Heatley is still nursing a saki-and-Sapporo-beer-induced hangover. Still, the astronaut-style vitamin-drink packs and hand-rolled sushi that the Japanese have provided are helping, as are the gifts of custom-built electric guitars and “welcome to Tokyo” bouquets. “They’ve thought of everything,” attests the red-haired, spectacularly side-burned singer Neeson, holding up a glow-in-the-dark set list. The Japanese show comes hot on the tail of a tour of Australia supporting Queens of the Stone Age, and Neeson and his cohorts are in buoyant mood.
Impressively, The AX club also boasts a state-of-the-art sound-desk and a stage-set that has been especially designed for the Irish visitors. “We asked for a backdrop and we got Star Trek!” beams James Cassidy, the UK head of Albert Productions, the independent label to which The Answer are signed.
Cassidy is clearly delighted to see such attention being lavished upon his band. “You have to remember that hard rock not being cool is a very British problem,” he says. “It’s just not like that over here.”
Events while exploring the chic Shibuya district with The Answer the previous evening had certainly borne this out. Various fashionable young fans had approached the no-frills, Seventies-style rockers; the boys wanted things signed, and the girls wanted photos with the band that they took it in turns to snap on dazzlingly hi-tech phones. “Three months ago we were unheard of here,” Cormac Neeson had remarked, obviously flattered by all the attention. “Funny old world, eh?”
“We did a licensing deal with the Japanese independent label WHD Entertainment late last November,” explains James Cassidy when quizzed further about The Answer’s success in Asia. “They were very passionate, but I don’t think either side anticipated things would move as fast as they did. As a label ourselves, we expected they’d need a few months to build the band’s profile and that the album would come out in March or April. They said, ‘No, 24 January – it’s all going to be fine.’
“I knew they’d serviced to print and radio but I was still pretty surprised when I got this e-mail saying Rise had exploded onto the Japanese market. I was like: ‘Exploded, you say? What does that mean exactly?’ They told me they hadn’t seen a new band impact like this since Bon Jovi, and that they were going to ship another 15,000 units immediately. At one point only Norah Jones and Bloc Party were higher in the international chart. You think it can’t be right and there’s something fishy going on, but no.”
In Britain, The Answer can count Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and the former Deep Purple singer David Coverdale among their fans. Joe Elliott, the frontman with the hugely successful pop-metal act Def Leppard, also rates them highly. When AOL interviewed Elliott recently about his own band’s forthcoming new album he cited “…this young Irish band called The Answer” as a possible influence. “They’re amazing – they could be the new Free,” he added.
Such “peer accolades”, as Cassidy calls them, have helped push the total sales of Rise close to 100,000 units – remarkable given that airplay for the band in Europe has been virtually non-existent. “It’s very frustrating,” says Cassidy. “With some Radio 1 support I firmly believe we’d be doing at least 300,000 albums worldwide.”
A fixture of the County Down live circuit as early as 2000, The Answer are not the overnight success that they might at first appear. Mahon and Waters worked with several other frontmen before recruiting the mighty-lunged Neeson, and it wasn’t until he returned from a working holiday in New York and Heatley finished studying at Belfast’s Queens University that the definitive line-up of The Answer arrived. “From there, we spent four years just plugging away,” says Neeson. “We sent demos to umpteen different record labels, journalists and DJs.” “Once a month we’d drive over to London from Belfast to play showcases at places like The Dublin Castle in Camden,” adds Waters, “then we’d pack up our gear and drive straight to Holyhead to get the ferry home. We did that trip 14 times.” Not for nothing did The Answer call their debut EP Keep Believin’, the group having secured a deal with Australian independent label Albert Productions in 2005.
Established in the 1960s and home to such hard-rock royalty as AC/DC, Albert Productions clearly has the financial clout and knowledge of the hard rock market to steer The Answer effectively. “We’re a top priority there and we know they’re going to bust their balls as much as we are,” says Neeson. “We’re going to build things up over three or four albums.”
The band were thrilled to be able to record parts of Rise at Olympic studios in Barnes, a complex that has played host to Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. Having lunch alongside Eric Clapton was certainly fun, they tell me, but sessions for Rise at Monnow Valley studios in Wales were to prove memorable for less pleasant reasons.
“Basically, we got a serious haunting!” says Waters. “James and I were sharing this room that had three female ghosts. You’d feel this pressure on your chest, or they’d slap your face and you’d hear them laughing.” Heatley adds: “It was terrifying! I couldn’t sleep except on the couch downstairs.” The Answer eventually emerged with an album that Classic Rock magazine called “The best British rock debut of the decade.”
On its release in Britain in June 2006, gloriously unreconstructed riff-fests such as “Under The Sky” and “Come Follow Me” won the band legions of new fans – and a Royal Albert Hall support slot with Paul Rodgers, formerly of Free. The ultimate stamp of approval, though, came when Philomena Lynott, mother of late Thin Lizzy legend Phil Lynott, allowed The Answer’s Micky Waters a go on the black, mirror-scratch-plated Fender bass that her son is pictured with on the cover of Lizzy’s seminal 1978 album, Live and Dangerous.
“It was incredible – too much, almost,” says The Answer’s bass guitarist. “Philomena had it locked in her basement and, because Phil wrote on it, you could feel all that history, all those songs. We played a gig to help raise funds for the bronze statue of Phil that went up in Dublin, and that was Philomena’s way of saying thanks. She’s a lovely woman. We call her the queen of Ireland.”
The Answer and Albert Productions also seem mindful of the fate of The Darkness, the last British hard-rock act to make it big. A poppier, much more flamboyantly packaged act than The Answer, Justin Hawkins’s band topped the UK album charts with Permission to Land, then nose-dived with the appalling follow-up. Hawkins subsequently went solo and had a failed stab at Eurovision Song Contest success earlier this year. Ouch.
Neeson says: “It was a shame to see it, because The Darkness guys were good to us whenever we played together. Our music is very different, though – we avoid the novelty aspect.” This, coupled with the fact that The Answer were smart enough to record far more material than they needed for Rise, means that they already have plenty of ammunition for that difficult second album. “There’s a monster ballad with strings already in the can,” says James Cassidy. “It’s going to blow people away.”
Back at Shibuya AX, The Answer are wrapping up a taut and muscular set. Two things have distinguished the concert from its British equivalent: the superior quality of the live sound, and the quiet, almost devotional reverence of the audience. “Arigatou!” roars the sweat soaked Neeson, thanking locals, but the slogan on the T-shirt of the Japanese fan nearest me suggests he needn’t have worried about things being lost in translation. “Everything louder than everything else!” it reads.
Courtesy of Belfast Telegraph
Dave Evans, Awards Nomination!
Dave Evans, the former singer of AC/DC, has been nominated for the 2007 Los Angeles Music Awards to take place on November 29th in LA! The Nomination is for Rock Group with Vocal for the Song, Sold My Soul To Rock and Roll.
The Los Angeles Music Awards is the largest and longest running Hollywood red carpet event for Independent Artists in the world!
More information is available at the L.A. Music Awards website.
You can also check out at the Hard Rock Hideout, Dave Evans Podcast here!
New Jetboy, The Glam Years Movie And CD out this summer 2007
The complete CD/Dvd release will be available late this summer on Cleopatra records with the audio portion available on itunes next month. The audio disc will include 21 songs In a chronological order of old demos from the bands 8 year run plus the re-recording of their hit single ‘Feel The Shake’ along with their rocked up version of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ !!
The DVD side will include a show from 1986 at the Whisky a Go Go along with a slide show photo movie of rare & personal photos through the years plus interviews & footage from the re-recording of ‘Feel The Shake’ & their cover version of ‘Folsom Proison Blues’.
The packaging will be loaded with old photos along with a complete story on the bands history with quotes from each member and more.
STARBREAKER II – Featuring Tony Harnell – Due Out Next Year
It is with great pride we announce the continuum of the Starbreaker saga. There has been much speculation as to what Tony Harnell’s next move would be after leaving TNT in April 2006; we can now reveal that Tony will be teaming up with the STARBREAKER gang for the creation of Starbreaker II.
The line up has gone through a change and on this new release we introduce Swedish bass player Tomas Johansson (SCAAR). Together with the rest of the band: vocals – Tony Harnell (TNT, WESTWORLD, MORNING WOOD), guitar -Magnus Karlsson (LAST TRIBE, ALLEN/LANDE, BOB CATLEY), drums – John Macaluso (UNION RADIO, ARK, TNT, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), an album will be ready for release early 2008.
The album will be written and co-produced by Tony Harnell and Magnus Karlsson and both are excited to take Starbreaker to the next level. Tony comments: “After having taken some valuable time off with my family I am ready and excited to jump into this project. As I really enjoyed the first Starbreaker album, it felt only natural to do a second one. In addition to Starbreaker, the song writing for my first solo album is well under way and I have some killer tracks I am absolutely thrilled with!”
Courtesy of Bravewords
Comment: Magnus Karlsson is the guitarist on the last two Allen Lande releases, The Battle and The Revenge. This one will be a must own release.
Saxon has been a revolving door of musicians over the years and singer Biff Byford, and guitarist Paul Quinn are the only original members.
Judging from the quality tunes on The Inner Sanctum, it doesn’t matter who is in the band because Saxon is still kicking ass in 2007.
This disc opens up with three great crushing metal tracks in a row, and does not let up until you get to Red Star Falling.
Red Star Falling slows the pace down to give the listeners a break. This track has a hauntingly cool feel about it. There are keyboards layered into the track, but it isn’t over powering, and gives the song a cool feel.
Need For Speed is a great track, and will be one of my favorites for a long time. This is the perfect anthem for any racing fan.
Without going into a further song by song breakdown, I can easily say that their are no bad songs on the Inner Sanctum. This is a great heavy metal disc, that will appeal to fans of 80’s metal. The stand out tracks to me are State of Grace, Need For Speed, Going Nowhere Fast and Ashes to Ashes.
It blows my mind that Inner Sanctum is Saxon’s 19th studio album. This band was a critical part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, yet they fail to get the same respect on U.S. soil as some of their counterparts. Inner Sanctum is a disc that takes me back to the early 80’s sound of Judas Priest and Accept. It is a superb metal disc, that is easily one of the best of 2007. And to boot, my copy of the Inner Sanctum came with a bonus DVD with a bunch of live performances. Talk about getting more bang for your buck!! Looks like I need to work on some Saxon back catalog now. For the rest of you, pick up Inner Sanctum! You will not be disappointed.
Rating: Out of 1o
1. State Of Grace
2. Need For Speed
3. Let Me Feel Your Power
4. Red Star Falling
5. I’ve Got To Rock ( To Stay Alive)
6. If I Was You (Album Version)
7. Going Nowhere Fast
8. Ashes To Ashes
9. Empire Rising
10. Atila The Hun
NEW YORK (Billboard) – Bon Jovi topped the U.S. album charts for the first time since 1988 on Wednesday, while rock duo the White Stripes scored a personal best with a No. 2 debut for their latest release.
Bon Jovi’s “Lost Highway” sold 292,000 copies in the week ended June 24, the rock troupe’s biggest one-week sum since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data in 1991. The Island/Mercury Nashville set is Bon Jovi’s third No. 1 album, joining 1988’s “New Jersey” and 1987’s “Slippery When Wet.”
Sales were fueled in part by the group’s new country fanbase, wrangled in with the Grammy-winning 2006 hit “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” featuring Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles.
The White Stripes’ “Icky Thump” sold 223,000 copies. Jack and Meg White have enjoyed increasing success with each new album: 2005’s “Get Behind Me Satan,” started at No. 3 with 189,000, 2003’s “Elephant” peaked at No. 6, and 2002’s “White Blood Cells” topped out at No. 61. “Icky Thump” also opened at No. 1 in Britain, their second chart-topper after “Elephant.”
Brad Paisley’s fifth studio album, “5th Gear,” bowed at No. 3 with 197,000 units, the country singer’s best sales week ever. Last week’s champ, Toby Keith’s “Big Dog Daddy” slid to No. 4 with 73,000, suffering a 64% sales hit.
Paul McCartney’s “Memory Almost Full” fell two to No. 5 in its third week with 64,000, while Linkin Park’s former chart-topper “Minutes to Midnight” sat tight at No. 6 with 63,000.
Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” rose three places to No. 7 with 62,000, Maroon 5’s “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” dropped four to No. 8 also with 62,000, and Fabolous’ “From Nothin’ to Somthin'” tumbled seven to No. 9 with 59,000 in its second week. T-Pain’s “Epiphany” fell five to No. 10 with 56,000.
Powered by the hit single “Party Like a Rockstar,” rap combo Shop Boyz’ debut album “Rockstar Mentality” opened at No. 11 with 52,000. Other big debuts included Lifehouse’s fourth album “Who We Are” at No. 14 with 49,000, rapper Huey’s “Notebook Paper” at No. 26 with 29,000, Chrisette Michele’s “I Am” at No. 29 with 26,000, and Mandy Moore’s “Wild Hope” at No. 30 with 25,000.
Album sales were down 7.1% from last week’s total at 8.9 million units and down 5.2% compared to the same week last year. Overall album sales for the year are down 15% compared to last year at 221 million units.
Courtesy of Billboard
Comment: Almost 300,000 people foolishly spent their money on this pointless drivel. Amazon has 70 used copies now.