“Have a Good Time” is the first video/single taken from the KING KOBRA 2013 album entitled “II” available NOW on Frontiers Records. Check out the new clip below!
KING KOBRA is:
Paul Shortino – vocals
David Michael-Philips – Guitar
Mick Sweda – Guitar
Johnny Rod – Bass Guitar
Carmine Appice – drums
Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the release of KING KOBRA’s new studio album “II” on July 5th in Europe and July 9th in North America.
King Kobra’s long-awaited reunion album “King Kobra” (s/t) released on Frontiers Records in 2011, left no doubt that this was a band to be reckoned with. Even though nearly 25 years had passed since the original line-up recorded the landmark “Ready To Strike” and “Thrill Of A Lifetime” albums, the energy and immediacy of the bands lightning attack had not diminished one iota and fans responded in kind.
“We chose to name this album “II” because it is both the second album of our reformation with Frontiers Records as well as the second generation of the band with Paul Shortino as lead vocalist,” says guitarist David Michael-Philips. “Paul’s unique style gives the band a new feel apart from what we were in the 80s with original singer Mark/Marcie Free. I think the “re-boot” naming gives Paul the credit he deserves while paying homage to our original singer and sound”.
The thick, soulful vocals of Paul Shortino, dual guitarists Mick Sweda and David Michael-Philips, and the thundering bass and drums of Johnny Rod and Carmine Appice delivered an album that, while easily carrying on the tradition of the first two releases, brought a contemporary twist to a signature melodic, hard rock style. “The “70’s” flavour of this new album was a conscious move to incorporate our influences into the music,” says David Michael-Philips, while Carmine Appice adds “King Kobra was a band in the ‘80s with great players…and had roots in the ‘70s also.. We tried to make a cool combination of both, which I think we achieved with this new album”.
Produced by David Henzerling with Carmine Appice and Paul Shortino, “II” digs into King Kobra hard rock roots to create an album that has all the swagger and swing of the classic 70’s albums (think Montrose, Bad Company, Deep Purple and even Carmine’s own legendary Cactus) with a crystal clear sound that combines the best of both analogue and digital recording techniques. From the tight and punchy “Have A Good Time” to the 8-minute epic “Deep River”, “II” shows a more mature band confident of its songwriting ability performing with the technical prowess garnered over years of experience.
“II” tracklisting includes: Hell On Wheels; Knock ‘Em Dead; Have A Good Time; The Ballad Of Johnny
Rod; Take Me Back; When The Hammer Comes Down; Running Wild; The Crunch; Got It Comin’; Deep River;
Don’t Keep Me Waiting; We Go Round.
Enjoy a Youtube presentation of the new album following this link : http://youtu.be/pBx-B16Pgzk
Paul Shortino – vocals
David Michael-Philips – Guitar
Mick Sweda – Guitar
Johnny Rod – Bass Guitar
Carmine Appice – drums
This video was shot tonight after their video shoot at Vamp’d in Las Vegas. This is the first time they have played live in 26 years, and obviously the first time with Paul Shortino on vocals.
Check out the clip below!
KING KOBRA are busy recording the follow up album to the successful self titled release of 2011.
Guitarist David Michael-Phillips says: “We’ve got a high-energy combination of the classic King Kobra sound mixed with some of our favorite (heavy) influences: Led Zeppelin, Whitesnake, Blue Murder. Cool, heavy grooves, great melodies, soulful lead vocals by Paul Shortino, infectious harmonies and hooks…blazing guitars by yours truly and the thundering rhythm section of Johnny Rod and the legendary Carmine Appice! This is the next natural progression of Ready To Strike and our last, self-titled album King Kobra”.
Some of the songs set for inclusion include In The Night, Feelin’ Fine, Take Me Back, Deep River, Got It Comin’, We Go Round. Stay tuned for a release in early 2013.
Check out the band’s 2011 video, “Turn Up the Good Times” below!
Every year putting together a top 10 list becomes harder and harder. There were so many outstanding releases in 2011, there were far too many to do a top 10 list. Below are my top 20 Hard Rock & Metal Releases of 2011. Agree or disagree? Let us know what you think!
20. The Poodles – Performocracy
Can anyone take a band seriously with the name, The Poodles? Maybe, not, but the band’s latest album Performocracy
is cram packed with excellent hard & melodic rock tunes that you should take notice of.
19. Five Finger Death Punch – American Capitalist
Five Finger Death Punch may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this heavy metal band has been putting out some of the best
new music from a newer metal band. Their third effort American Capitalist does not disappoint in the least.
18. Anvil – Juggernaut of Justice
Anvil’s Juggernaut of Justice came as somewhat of a surprise to me. I never expect to enjoy an Anvil CD so much, and JOJ is easily
one of Anvil’s best releases yet.
17. Chickenfoot – III
Sammy Hagar & company turned in another outstanding CD with their sophomore effort III. This CD is much better than the band’s debut.
16. Alex Beyrodt’s Voodoo Circle – Broken Heart Syndrome
Sinner/Primal Fear/Voodoo Circle guitarist Alex Beyrodt has released a killer CD with classic influences that include
Whitesnake & Rainbow. Every hard rock fan needs to give Broken Heart Syndrome a listen.
15. King Kobra – S/T
For King Kobra to come in at position 15 tells you just how good the music is in front of it. King Kobra’s reunion
effort, with Paul Shortino on vocals, is easily one of the best in King Kobra’s catalog.
14. Emphatic – Damage
I am not a huge modern rock fan, but every year there are some outstanding releases that deserve attention. Emphatic
simply outdid their Peers (Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman, Pop Evil) with their debut effort Damage.
13. Tora Tora – Revolution Day
It seems like every year a long-lost CD that was buried due to record company politics, finally gets a proper release.
Tora Tora’s third CD Revolution Day was released by FNA Records, and carries on the excellent bluesy hard rock
that Tora Tora is known for.
12. Coldspell – Out From the Cold
Coldspell has already released two outstanding CD’s with Infinite Stargaze & Out From The Cold. I can’t wait to hear
the next set of tunes from Coldspell. Out From The Cold should not be missed.
11. Havok – Time is Up
Havok is one of the new bands leading the Retro-Thrash Metal movement. Time is Up is their second effort and easily their
best. If you are a thrash metal fan, you need to seek out Time is Up now!
10. Michael Monroe – Sensory Overdrive
I have been a Michael Monroe fan forever but I never expected one of his solo CD’s to be THIS good. Sensory Overdrive is easily
the best Michael Monroe CD since 1989’s Not Fakin It.
09. Warrant – Rockaholic
Warrant’s Rockaholic is easily my favorite Warrant CD since the band’s 1992 effort, Dog Eat Dog. The late Jani Lane will always
be missed, but Robert Mason is an outstanding singer, and he may be the best vocalist Warrant has ever had. Rockaholic will
make people take notice of Warrant again.
08. Sixx A.M. – This is Gonna Hurt
With the recent news from the Motley Crue camp as of late, it sounds like a farewell tour may be coming from the band soon. If this
is truly the case, Nikki Sixx can carry on his band Sixx A.M. This is Gonna Hurt took a while to grow on me, but it has become a favorite of mine
over the last few months.
07. Black Country Communion – 2
Out of all of the supergroups, Black Country Communion outdid them all with their second effort 2. 60-year-old Glenn Hughes could (and probably
should) give a clinic to young rockers, on how to rock. He is still getting it done.
06. Anthrax – Worship Music
You would think that Joey Belladonna returning to Antrax would be create a major amount of excitement, and it has. Belladonna’s vocals are
not the high point of Worship Music. This is easily Anthrax’s best CD from a musical standpoint, and the best thrash metal CD of 2011.
05. Whitesnake – Forevermore
If Doug Aldrich & Reb Beach keep helping David Coverdale put out CD’s like Good To Be Band and Forevermore, folks may forget about the
band’s monster hits from the 80’s. Forevermore is another outstanding effort from the Whitesnake camp.
04. Mr. Big – What If…
Mr. Big’s reunion CD What If is the band’s best CD since 1993’s Bump Ahead. You SHOULD NOT miss What If…!
03. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
Alice Cooper’s reunion with producer Bob Ezrin was a very good one. Welcome 2 My Nightmare is an outstanding sequel that should not be missed.
02. Vain – Enough Rope
I can not say enough good things about Vain’s latest CD, Enough Rope.If you liked Vain’s debut, No Regrets, you need to seek out the band’s latest
effort Enough Rope. It is quality all the way through, and easily to my ears one of 2011’s best.
01. Electric Boys – And Them Boys Done Swang
I never would have thought The Electric Boys could have outdone their debut, but with And Them Boys Done Swang, they have done just that.
Sure, some of the lyrics are somewhat cheesy, but the band has every bit of the Funk that was found in their debut.
The Japanese edition has some excellent bonus tracks which pushes this one over the top.
Rival Sons – Pressure & Time
Black Stone Cherry – Between the Devil & The Deep Blue Sea
Megadeth – Th1rt3en
Badmouth – Heavy Metal Parking Lot
Motorhead – The World is Yours
Riot – Immortal Soul
House of Lords – Big Money
The Answer – Revival
Pop Evil – War of Angels
Beggars & Thieves – We Are The Broken Hearted
George Lynch – Kill All Control
Michael Schenker – Temple of Rock
Want more Top 10 lists? You can find them at the following websites:
All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/
Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/
The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/
Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/
Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com
Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/
Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/
Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/
Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/
Metal Excess — http://metalexcess.com/
Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/
The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/
Top Ten Hard Rock Albums Of 2011 – I have listened to many Hard Rock albums released during 2011. There seems to be quite a few Hard Rock albums that are of standout quality, this past year for me. With that said, my “Top Ten Hard Rock Albums Of 2011” simply cannot represent the totality of Hard Rockin’ thrills I’ve experienced with my ears these past 12 months.
What my Top Ten list does represent are the Hard Rock albums I turned to most often to play… and play LOUD! I lean towards the “complete” album of songs, an album that goes further than just 4 or 5 great tracks. I gravitate towards the Hard Rock albums that psyched-me-out and made me feel very damn good inside. These are the Hard Rock albums that made a difference to me. A personal list it is and hopefully there are a few here you may agree with. Thank you for visiting Hard Rock Hideout in 2011 and supporting Rock ‘N Roll! Happy Holidays, Rock Steady and Happy New Year to all!
IRON CLAW – A DIFFERENT GAME
REV THEORY – JUSTICE
KING KOBRA – S/T
FAITHSEDGE – S/T
BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION – 2
WARRANT – ROCKAHOLIC
9 CHAMBERS – S/T
(Samson Records / eOne Music)
JOURNEY – ECLIPSE
SEBASTIAN BACH – KICKING & SCREAMING
SEETHER – HOLDING ONTO STRINGS BETTER LEFT TO FRAY
MR. BIG – WHAT IF…
Check out the new video “Turn Up The Good Times” from King Kobra! King Kobra is Paul Shortino on vocals, Carmine Appice on Drums, David “Michael Phillip”s Henzerling and Mick Sweda on guitars and Johnny Rod on bass!
I have been a fan of Paul Shortino since his Rough Cutt days. When I heard he was taking over the vocals duties for the King Kobra reunion, I couldn’t have been happier. I was hopeful that his vocals would help propel King Kobra to new heights. I can happily that say that Shortino’s voice is stronger than ever. His vocals are a good match for King Kobra.
In my opinion, King Kobra’s music has been hit or miss over the years. Their debut album Ready To Strike is still my de facto favorite. The latest effort from King Kobra, doesn’t surpass the debut album, but it is still pretty good. In all reality, it might not be fair to compare this version of King Kobra to the original version as Shortino’s vocals are much different from those of Mark/Marcie Free. If I were to compare this CD to the original releases of Rough Cutt, Shortino’s former band, it stands out extremely well.
“Rock the House” opens the album in fine fashion with a cool party rock anthem. “Turn Up the Good Times” helps deliver that one-two punch. This heavy rocker is the perfect complement to “Rock the House”. King Kobra came firing out of the gate for this CD.
The pace slows down for the song “Live Forever”. The funny thing about “Live Forever” is, if this song was released twenty years ago, it could have been a hit for King Kobra. It might just be the perfect melodic rock tune.
“Tear Down The Walls” was always just a clichéd title from the 80’s. I remember a lot of bands taking a lot of crap for this song title. Nonetheless, King Kobra’s “Tear Down the Walls” does rock.
“Midnight Woman” is a great sing-along tune that won’t get out of my head.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I love the drumming of Carmine Appice. His drum fills on “We Got a Fever” remind me so much of the way he played on the Blue Murder debut. His excellent drumming combined with the awesome riffs from Mick Sweda and David Michael-Phillips make this one enjoyable tune.
It was a minor disappoint to me that the song “Monsters & Heroes” was not on this CD. This is a really cool King Kobra tune that was released last winter. It got quite a bit of play on the Hard Rock Hideout radio show.
Personally, I am quite happy to see these guys back in action. I have been listening to King Kobra, and all of the bands the members of King Kobra have been in for years. From Blue Murder, to W.A.S.P., to Bulletboys, to Rough Cutt, and Big Cock. There are so many great bands that the collective members of King Kobra went on to form. I think it is cool that they all got back together to give us another cool set of tunes to enjoy.
Overall, this is a solid album for King Kobra. I think the band’s long time fans will enjoy it.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Rock This House
2. Turn Up The Good Times
3. Live Forever
4. Tear Down The Walls
5. This Is How We Roll
6. Midnight Woman
7. We Got A Fever
8. Top of the World
9. You Make It Easy
10. Cryin’ Turns To Rain
11. Screamin’ For More
12. Fade Away
Carmine Appice – Drums
David Michael Philips – Guitar
Johnny Rod – Bass
Paul Shortino – Lead Vocals
Mick Sweda – Guitar
Carmine Appice – An undisputed Rock legend is Carmine Appice. With a Rock and Roll resume that screams “Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction NOW!”, Carmine never once spoke of acceptance into any clique or popular circles. That’s because Carmine Appice knows his accomplishments and knows he belongs with his countless fans. Carmine is not just a legendary Rock drummer, he is also an accomplished teacher of drumming and unquestionably his profession’s biggest advocate spanning six decades.
To appreciate the works of Carmine Appice is to also appreciate Rock Music history. Carmine has played and written for Rod Stewart, while founding such Classic Rock icons as Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and Beck, Bogert and Appice. His drumming can also be heard on albums from Ted Nugent and Paul Stanley to Pink Floyd’s “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason”. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of this famed drummers accomplishments. With two of Carmine’s biggest 80’s bands being King Kobra and Blue Murder, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal fans alike gravitate to Carmine Appice with a justifiable reverence.
2011 has ushered in the reunion of King Kobra, with their newly released and self-titled album on Frontiers Records. This King Kobra reunion album shakes loose everything we all adore about 80’s Melodic Hard Rock… King Kobra style. With new vocalist Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Bad Boyz, Quiet Riot) surrounded by the original King Kobra lineup, there could not be a better time than now to celebrate this bands everlasting Hard Rock appeal. Carmine took the time recently to talk to Hard Rock Hideout about the reunion of King Kobra and their new album. As I anticipated, Carmine wasn’t just a receptive interview, he was a downright good guy. Here is what Carmine had to say:
HRH: King Kobra in 2011, does it feel like the first time or old hat with the band?
CARMINE: It’s a little of both. We have a new energy from Paul (Shortino). He adds a bluesier sound to the band. Some songs we wrote back in ’84 and the first meeting with Dave (Henzerling) and I was writing all our takes from ’84 down. Me and Dave initially were part of the heavy writing on the first two King Kobra albums. My drums and Dave’s guitar are the core of King Kobra’s sound and we captured that sound once again, blending everything else together nicely.
HRH: This album is a great listen Carmine, it does take me back.
CARMINE: Thank you. I was very surprised it came out so good! We were never all together in studio to record this album. This King Kobra album was an international undertaking. Me and Paul were together and Dave was in Phoenix. It was all put together and mixed in Germany by Mike Ross. The track we used to get Mike Ross on line in Germany was “Monsters And Heroes”, a tribute song (about) Ronnie James Dio. All the royalties from this song go directly to the Ronnie James Dio Cancer Fund.
HRH: A fine job you guys did with that Carmine.
HRH: How did Paul Shortino land with King Kobra?
CARMINE: Our first press release was back in December of 2009, when the idea to do this reunion and album came about. It was my saying hey look, let’s get together and let’s do a record. It all took time because we all live in different cities you know?
HRH: What event or series of events triggered the reunion of King Kobra after the initial idea?
CARMINE: It was never a planned thing or anything like that, it just happened one day. David (Henzerling) by trade is a computer programmer. He was coming out to L.A. to Edwards Air Force Base to program jet fighters. Dave and I were together one day when Pat Regan called and said he would be in town mixing a new album for KEEL, so we went down and said hello to the guys. Pat told me Frontiers Records is signing a bunch of 80’s bands right now. Pat said “why don’t you guys do an album?” I’ve had a bit of a run-in with Marcie Free, so I called Paul (Shortino) because I’ve worked with him before, plus he’s a great person and has a great voice. Of course, when I called Paul and asked him he said “yeah, I’d love to do it”. So, me, Dave, Paul and Mick (Sweda) were up for it. Johnny Rod has always been asking me when we were going to get King Kobra back together, so he was in for sure.
HRH: That’s really cool how it all came back together.
CARMINE: It is. Do you remember Paul played Duke Fame in Spinal Tap? (laughs)
HRH: Man, Carmine, I forgot about that! (laughs)
HRH: King Kobra captures all good things about Melodic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Is this a sound that is missing from young bands today?
CARMINE: I think this album to me, is more of a Hard Rock album than anything else. The words “Heavy Metal” describes a certain era. Heavy Metal is more of the dark side of stuff. I consider King Kobra a Hard Rock band. This is a really good Hard Rock record. Blue Murder I’d consider as a Heavy Metal band. Some of the songs on “Beck, Bogert & Appice” are heavy. When Y&T came out, they were a Rock band, then everyone began to call them a Heavy Metal band in the 80’s.
HRH: That’s a good point there about Y&T.
CARMINE: Look back on the song “Hot Legs” with Rod Stewart, now that was some good Hard Rock! When I hear a cool new song on the radio now, from a new band, they never announce the band! That drives me crazy!
HRH: I know what you mean Carmine, we’re supposed to figure it out ourselves!
HRH: Would you ever consider reuniting Blue Murder for a new album or one-off show?
CARMINE: Since 2000, I’ve wanted to do another Blue Murder album. I want to do an album and a tour with Blue Murder, the only thing stopping it is John Sykes. To do an album with John Sykes would take forever, he is a real perfectionist. The longer we wait, the further and further away we get from when the last album was released. The real money is made with touring. Right now with the economy, there is really no market for an album like Blue Murder.
HRH: Any tour plans for King Kobra?
CARMINE: King Kobra used to play arenas. Now, all us bands are playing clubs. Dave (Henzerling) is too busy with his regular job to tour with King Kobra. I don’t want to lose money either. If we go play and lose money, it makes no sense to me. Big acts have to package up with other big acts today. Rod Stewart is packaged up with Stevie Nicks. Now Rod Stewart is packaged! We never saw Rod Stewart packaged up!
HRH: It’s the sign of the times, Carmine.
CARMINE: Doing gigs with Cactus, Slamm!! and clinics is the playing live side of my career. I will be doing gigs during the Summer with Vanilla Fudge.
HRH: That’s pretty cool stuff to be involved with!
CARMINE: It’s very hard to get out and play right now because the economy is bad and the record business is bad. I used to sell six, seven or eight thousand drum books on top of two hundred thousand records. Now, I sell more drum books than records! I released Carmine Appice’s (“Guitar Zeuss”) “Conquering Heroes” double album back in 2009. I had tons of great guitarists on that album with Ted Nugent, Brian May and Mick Mars, for example. Only two thousand units were sold here! Fifty thousand were sold in Europe and forty thousand sold in Japan. A little over one hundred thousand units sold! Business is down.
HRH: King Kobra is such a good times album. Was this all intentional or did it just fall into place this way?
CARMINE: All the positive themes like, “I’m number one”, “don’t get left behind” and “let’s party!” have always been our way with songs. All the songs are about good times. I compare this album to the first King Kobra album (“Ready To Strike”) with it’s energy. “Tear Down The Walls” is a political song. The concept behind “You Make It Easy” is about making a phone call and you’re put on hold by customer service or some Spanish message. So, originally this song was called “It Ain’t Easy”. (laughs).
HRH: (laughs) That’s funny, Carmine.
CARMINE: (laughs) You know how it is, you’re pushing all these prompts all the time to get some service and you’re thinking please make it easy! (laughs). There are lot’s of stuff going on in this song.
HRH: (laughs). I hear you, about waiting on the line for service from a human being!
CARMINE: In comparison to the second album, (“Thrill Of A Lifetime”), the label made us do five singles on one side of that album. The other side was our songs.
HRH: “Live Forever” is my personal favorite on the new album. Is there a story behind this song you can share?
CARMINE: If Bon Jovi did “Live Forever” it would be a number one single!
HRH: I feel “Live Forever” would have been a number one single or at least a top ten single for you back in the late 80’s.
CARMINE: I Want to send this single to Richie Sambora after this album is released and get it in the Bon Jovi camp. Let’s see what happens! (laughs). I guess I’m dreaming right?
HRH: Not really, Carmine. The Bon Jovi camp should be honored you would even take the time to send them over a song.
CARMINE: I guess I do have a track record. (laughs).
HRH: You took the words right out of my mouth, Carmine. (laughs).
Check out this classic video “Take It Off” from King Kobra. This song is from the CD King Kobra III, on which Johnny Edwards was the singer.
Frontiers Records is excited to announce the release of the Self-Titled come back album from KING KOBRA on April 15th in Europe and May 5th in North America.
Formed in 1984 by legendary drummer Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne), Los Angeles heavy metal outfit King Kobra recorded two critically acclaimed albums for Capitol Records – the 1985 release ‘Ready to Strike’ and 1986’s ‘Thrill of a Lifetime’.
Along with Carmine, the band featured four relatively unknown musicians at the time – David Michael-Philips and Mick Sweda on guitar, Johnny Rod on bass and Mark Free on lead vocals. King Kobra toured the U.S., Canada, Europe and Mexico playing shows with Kiss, Iron Maiden, Quiet Riot, Ted Nugent, Queensryche and Autograph.
The band was featured regularly on MTV and performed the theme song for the #1 1986 motion picture “Iron Eagle“. After disbanding in 1988, each member continued his career in other successful major-label groups – Carmine to Blue Murder (Geffen), Mark Free to Unruly Child (Interscope), Mick Sweda to the BulletBoys (Warner Bros.), Johnny Rod to W.A.S.P. (Capitol/EMI) and David Michael-Philips to Lizzy Borden (Metal Blade).
The year 2010 saw the band reunite the original classic ’85 lineup, replacing original singer Mark Free (now Marcie Free) with veteran lead vocalist Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot). “This album captures all the great points we had in the 80’s, but better” says Carmine Appice “The music is more traditional King Kobra music. Great lyrics, kick ass songs with cool hooks and really good playing. A really great hard rock/metal record with lots of energy”. David Michael-Phillips adds “It truly is an all-star album. Paul Shortino is amazing! I can honestly say he is one of the best vocalists in the business along with being one of the nicest and most generous people I have ever met”.
The band is planning to get on some targeted American and European summer festivals this year. Watch out: King Kobra is smokin’ hot, back stronger than ever and “Ready to Strike” once again!
The new album “King Kobra” will include the following tracks: Rock This House, Turn Up The Good (Times), Live Forever, Tear Down The Walls, This Is How We Roll, Midnight Woman, We Got A Fever, Tope Of The World, You Make It Easy, Cryin’ Turns To Rain, Screamin’ For More, Fade Away.
Weblinks: www.frontiers.it / www.myspace.com/frontiersrecords www.myspace.com/officialkingkobra
Marcie Free – After interviewing Marcie Free, I could only walk away feeling I’ve spoken to one of the nicest and most sincere person from the Rock Music world. Formerly Mark Free, Marcie Free has a newfound lease on life, with her voice sounding as vibrant, harmonious and memorable as ever. Just one listen to the new Unruly Child album, “Worlds Collide”, will support my claim as to Marcie’s vocals being amongst the best in the business. Released back in November of 2010, Marcie and her band have truly created an album of songs that transcends decades of AOR and Melodic Rock goodness.
Marcie Free speaks about “Worlds Collide” and their new music video for “Very First Time”, along with memories of fronting King Kobra and dastardly villains of the music industry’s past. She also touches on living through earthquakes and crazed fans in Mexico. To say Marcie Free is a survivor is an understatement from this writer, Marcie Free exemplifies what it means to be your own person and carry on through life, regardless of what obstacles may deter you. Marcie Free has indeed seen it all and I can only applaud her contentment with life and the music she has created with Unruly Child. Here is what Marcie had to say:
HRH: Hey Marcie, I’m a huge fan of this new Unruly Child album!
Marcie: I’m a fan of it too! The first time I really heard it was on my home stereo. It’s just so great sonically, this album echos really good spaciously, almost three dimensional. The Beatles are responsible for everything we’re doing right now!
HRH: I won’t disagree with you there. That was and still is some band.
Marcie: I remember the whole Ed Sullivan Show appearance and everyone talking about their hair. I went and had my hair cut like the Beatles and all the girls at school were saying, what did you do to your hair! (laughs)
HRH: How much fun did you have recording “Worlds Collide”? I get a vibe from the songs that there was some fun involved.
Marcie: We’re not crazy, we’re serious about what we do as a band. I’m in Ypsilanti, Michigan and the other guys are in L.A., so video phones and skype allowed me to do my vocals in my studio, here in Michigan. Bruce (guitarist Bruce Gowdy) and I built a good studio here together. He taught me how to run my studio, so I could do engineering and vocals at the same time.
HRH: That’s very cool, Marcie.
Marcie: We wrote and recorded World’s Collide in four months. These songs are a gift from God, they just pour out of me!
HRH: Will Unruly Child be touring or playing any dates to support “Worlds Collide”?
Marcie: Absolutely, we’re all committed. I was just talking on the phone with Bruce last night about it. No Nonsense Bookings in Europe handles all the Frontiers Records acts. We’ll wait after the record is out two months, then look over our budget and everything, lay it all out on the table. Jay (drummer Jay Schellen) has commitments with Asia and Larry (bass guitarist Larry Antonio) has the same with Pablo Cruise, so we have to work around that. We’d like to tour in the Summer, write in the Fall and record during the Winter. We’re that serious about it. I never expected all of this, I just go with God and let him take control of the reigns please!
HRH: Are U.S. tour dates in the mix?
Marcie: Europe is where we’re focused right now, for our kind of music is played more over there and popular. There is nobody telling the radio stations what to play anymore in the U.S., it’s just like dogs chasing their own tails with the radio stations in the U.S.!
HRH: I always say, when it comes to the media and Hard Rock or Heavy Metal, Europe gets it!
HRH: “Very First Time” is a standout song on “Worlds Collide” for it’s positive lyrics and energy. What’s the inspiration behind this fabulous song?
Marcie: Well, Bruce and Guy (keyboardist Guy Allison) wrote that one. You know, this song is about what transcends love, gender, age, sex and race… it equals pure love. Being in love for the first time, having an infatuation with life and getting high on everything when we’re together. Guy was inspired on this organ – ‘lighter shade of pale” sort of thing. (laughs)
Marcie: I was surprised we lead with this song, it really surprised us, the record company pulled it out at the last minute. We went from “When We Were Young” to “When Worlds Collide” to “Very First Time”.
HRH: The music video for “Very First Time” is excellent.
Marcie: Thank you. It only cost us five thousand dollars to make it! We did not have a huge budget, so we made use of available natural light, up in a loft, inside a L.A. warehouse. All that natural light came through the windows, it looks like heaven! Devin DeHaven was our director. He has worked with and directed Eminem and Y&T videos as well.
HRH: Check out the “Very First Time” video here!
HRH: “You Don’t Understand” has some progressive keys happening, at the onset and towards this song’s climax. Are you an Electric Light Orchestra fan? Those keys remind me of ELO.
Marcie: Oh yeah, I was a huge fan of The Electric Light Orchestra for awhile. I love the simplicity and overall melodic approach to their music, it was very cool. I liked when Jeff Lynne (vocalist/guitarist of ELO) got together with The Traveling Wilburys. I dig him. George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, were all together in that band.
HRH: Are the lyrics to “You Don’t Understand” meant for someone that was or is close to you?
Marcie: Yeah, it’s personal. I interjected some personal memories of how hard it is to go through what I went through. It destroyed my marriage. Lyrically, it’s about how some people just don’t get it. These lyrics were written metaphorically and not in your face. I was sitting at my computer one day, I picked up my acoustic and wrote this song. I made the demo that same day, along with background vocals. I played it for Bruce on skype and I started crying. Bruce loved it and did all the arrangements.
HRH: “Love Is Blind” flat out Rocks! How did you come about including such memorable chorus moments in this song?
Marcie: Bruce and Guy wrote this. I first heard it when I went out to L.A. to shoot pictures for the album cover. Bruce played it for me and it grabbed me, it spoke to me. This song does have an amazing chorus. There are Doo-wop answer style, background vocals. It’s a really strong song.
HRH: What’s missing in the music industry today, that existed back in the 1980’s?
Marcie: Well, it’s always been kind of soulless and cruel, with lot’s of crooks. In lot’s of ways, it’s sweet justice to see record companies brought to their knees now. Too many cruel things have been done to artists over the years by them, still, no one wants to see the industry decimated. Technology has given power to the artists to make their own records and sell their own music. There has always been a monopoly with the larger labels. With all the downloading of free music, I hope it’s run it’s course for the masses. Illegal downloading would put us all out of business. Just because you can download music, doesn’t make it right.
HRH: I couldn’t agree with you more on that, Marcie.
Marcie: At the end of the 80’s, the country was split up into four main sections, with four main guys, that handed down and dictated what to play on radio and MTV too. They were known as the four cartels, the four cartels of radio programs and they pulled the plug on all Metal acts in the early 90’s.
HRH: Whoa, Marcie, that’s nasty. What a shame, that these four cartels could control the media with so much power.
HRH: I miss going into a record store, that feeling you had back in the 80’s.
Marcie: I miss the record stores too! Especially back in the 70’s. I would take an album home and put it right on the turntable. I would polish and cherish the album!
HRH: I know that feeling, Marcie.
HRH: When you sing, your emotions are so non-pretentious. Does it disgust you when you hear another vocalist force emotion on a song?
Marcie: Disgust might be a strong word. It’s instinct, people can tell when it’s forced or not. It’s got to be real and if it’s offensive, just don’t listen to that vocalist ever again. I grew up on Motown, that’s where I learned my singing chops. Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, all of them. I grew up in Flint, Michigan, where there was a lot of blue collar work and music.
HRH: So you were living right next door to Motown, surrounded by it.
Marcie: My junior high school was eighty percent black. Seventh through ninth grade, Motown was big part of that culture I was living in.
HRH: “Worlds Collide” is an album of songs and no filler. Each song carries it’s unique accessibility for me. How many songs were tossed out during the entire creation of this great album?
Marcie: None were tossed out. Actually, we had two more songs that were not finished for the record and we are planning to have them on the next Unruly Child record. We were on a roll, we were saying, we got to stop! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) There’s nothing wrong with that, Marcie!
Marcie: The acoustic version of “Talk To Me” will be on the Japanese version of “Worlds Collide”.
HRH: How come Japan always gets the cool bonus tracks?
Marcie: It’s not up to us, it’s not our decision, you’ll have to talk to Frontiers Records executives about that one.
HRH: Unruly Child displays a dark side with “Life Death”. Can this song be summed up in these two words: reality check?
Marcie: Well, it’s interesting too. With life, death, it kind of goes to death in the verses and with the chorus, it’s almost like there’s life, there’s the light! Bruce and Guy wrote this song. When I first heard the riffs, I knew it was a heavy song.
HRH: Which band or artist has been ignored the most, by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
Marcie: I really don’t know who’s exactly in or who’s not these days, so I don’t want to be non-factual or slight anybody.
HRH: How about KISS?
Marcie: KISS is not in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
Marcie: I would say KISS then! Gene (Simmons) and Paul (Stanley) are the coolest and most giving guys I’ve ever toured with. They were so great with King Kobra. Gene and Paul gave King Kobra perks that were not normally given to an opening band. They let us use their lighting and gave us free reign on the stage. We toured with KISS in 1986, I remember it being on the Northeast leg of the tour.
HRH: Not counting your own music, what album could you not live without? Regardless of Rock genre too.
Marcie: I’d probably say, any Motown 60’s stuff. Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. All the Soul and Rhythm and Blues!
Marcie: Led Zeppelin would be awesome! That would be a real fun thing. We all owe them a lot. I was a huge fan of Led Zeppelin through my teens and early twenties, they played a big part in my life, Bruce and Guy’s as well.
HRH: Do you stay in touch with Carmine Appice?
Marcie: Carmine and I haven’t stayed in touch over the years. I wish him well with whatever he’s doing.
HRH Note: Carmine Appice was the founder and drummer for King Kobra.
HRH: What moment, on a personal level, do you reflect on from touring with King Kobra?
Marcie: I was watching on You Tube, just last night, things about me. There’s this one video, of a fan standing in line one day for a King Kobra in-store signing at Kamelot Music. A lot of fans were out there that day. This video was filmed by the fan’s perspective, of getting in line and getting up to us as we were signing autographs. As I watched this video of me, I was wondering of what it felt like? What was I thinking? Back then, I was not in tune with the present at the time. I remember of always having to be “on”. There was no partying, I always had to keep my voice. It was cool seeing that video.
HRH: Which do you prefer, playing arena’s or club’s?
Marcie: Years ago, it was different to play clubs. Clubs always got too smoky for me. It’s hard on a singer with smoke in the air. It may be different today though. There’s so much fun about arenas! You have a larger stage to move around on and you can have a bigger stage show.
HRH: What band that you have toured with, was your favorite?
Marcie: It has to be KISS when I was with King Kobra. Gene and Paul gave us so many privileges, it was because of their relationship with Carmine (Appice) and our manager, Alan Miller, was associated with their manager. They gave us full monitors and a light show that helped us out tremendously.
HRH: Where is the greatest place King Kobra had ever played?
Marcie: Hands down, it was back in January of 1986, at the Mexican/American Friendship Festival in Acapulco, Mexico. This was a one time festival, it never happened again. We went out onstage before Quiet Riot. We flew into Mexico City to perform at this festival just eight or ten months after this area suffered a major earthquake. Our hotel was falling apart! There were tent cities everywhere. We did take in some sights and saw the Mayan Pyramids. When we flew into Acapulco, we met the mayor of Acapulco. We just signed for everything once we got there! The gig was on a Saturday and it was a great gig. This festival was on a balmy and beautiful night, on the beach, facing in at thirty five thousand people!
HRH: That sounded like a great time Marcie.
Marcie: We had the fans going crazy! At the end of our set, we saw the fans wanted more, so we came out for an encore and made them more crazy! Riot police were pointing automatic weapons at the fans! We had Mexican security take us through a back exit, away from the fans that were going crazy for us. We never made it to our bus. It felt like we were the Beatles!
HRH: King Kobra were the Beatles of Mexico! (laughs)
Marcie: (laughs) We got inside an old ambulance that drove us through the jungle! The driver was taking all of these remote back roads through this jungle back to our hotel to avoid the fans! There was no air conditioning in the back of this old ambulance either, it was really hot and humid, so we were kicking the backside of the ambulance and shouting at the driver! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) Wow, Marcie, you guys were lucky to get out of there alive!
Marcie: I was living in North Hollywood during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. I’ve been through many of them between 1979 and 1995 and the one in ’94 was the worse. I was living in an apartment that was on stilts, with parking underneath. This earthquake knocked everything down in my second floor apartment and everything went pitch black. I went outside and buildings all around me fell down, mine never fell. People were frightened to go back into their homes that were still left standing.
HRH: What would the title of your autobiography be?
Marcie: I am the king kobra!
HRH: What does that mean?
Marcie: It’s all about me, not about the other guys. And, it wasn’t really all about me. In Mexico City, where King Kobra played, there was this fan who took me aside and said to me… you are the king kobra!
HRH: Would you like to rant about the BP Gulf Coast oil spill?
Marcie: It’s a tragedy. I really had a problem with a lot of the politicians blaming the company for this. BP had to do something that they were forced to do, by being told by the government to go out that far to drill in the first place. The Obama administration took so long to get their shit together. This administration had well enough time to get anything done and corrected with what happened in the Gulf.
HRH: Is “Worlds Collide” a launching pad or exclamation point for Unruly Child?
Marcie: A launching pad! It’s a rebirth for us, certainly I as well. We came out with a bang with this new album. “Worlds Collide” is a huge statement for me, it’s a coming out album for me as well. This is the first album where I’m being Marcie, after being Mark for so long.
HRH: What do you feel is your greatest musical accomplishment of your career?
Marcie: It is yet to be done and to be determined. I do expect some really great things to come from this new record!
HRH: What is your proudest moment?
Marcie: A really exciting time for me was the first time I saw my dad really proud of me. I almost felt guilty for I was so used to him not being proud of me. It was Christmas of this particular year and we went to a local mall in Saginaw, Michigan. I had long, bleached white hair with streaks in it and my dad was saying to everyone, “hey, that’s my son”! I was on a major label, with a big time band and my dad was proud of me.