Tag: VAN HALEN
For more VAN HALEN click here.
VAN HALEN has just announced a new North American tour with support from Kool & The Gang on select dates.
18 – Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center
20 – Auburn Hills, MI – The Palace Of Auburn Hills
22 – Indianapolis, IN – Bankers Life Fieldhouse
24 – Chicago, IL – United Center
28 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden Arena
1 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden Arena
3 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
5 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
9 – Buffalo, NY – First Niagara Center
11 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
15 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
17 – Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
21 – Ottawa, ON – Scotiabank Place
24 – Atlantic City, NJ – Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
28 – Washington, DC – Verizon Center
30 – Pittsburgh, PA – Consol Energy Center
1 – Rosemont, IL – Allstate Arena
10 – Sunrise, FL – BankAtlantic Center
12 – Tampa, FL – Tampa Bay Times Forum
14 – Orlando, FL – Amway Center
16 – Jacksonville, FL – Jacksonville Veterans Mem. Arena
19 – Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
21 – Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Coliseum Complex
25 – Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Arena
27 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
1 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
5 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
7 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
9 – Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome
11 – Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
17 – Winnipeg, MB – MTS Centre
19 – Saint Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center
22 – Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
24 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
27 – Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena
1 – Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center
3 – Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
5 – San Jose, CA – HP Pavilion At San Jose
12 – Anaheim, CA – Honda Center
14 – San Diego, CA – Viejas Arena
16 – Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center
20 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
22 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
24 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
26 – New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Arena
VAN HALEN have revealed the following tracklisting for their new album, A Different Kind Of Truth, which will be released in North America by Interscope Records on February 7th:
A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH
She’s The Woman
You and Your Blues
Blood and Fire
The Trouble With Never
The first single from the album, ‘Tattoo‘, and its accompanying video will debut simultaneously on Tuesday, January 10th, with album pre-orders starting that day.
The Deluxe Edition bonus DVD will feature the following: Bonus DVD disc containing four brand new acoustic performance videos titled The Downtown Sessions. Tracks include: ‘Panama’, ‘You And Your Blues’, ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘Beautiful Girls’.
VAN HALEN performed a show at Cafe Wha?, a 250 person venue in New York, on Thursday January 5th. Some fan filmed video for Everybody Wants Some and a new song entitled She’s The Woman have been posted below.
For more VAN HALEN click here.
CHICKENFOOT, the supergroup featuring guitarist Joe Satriani, drummer Kenny Aronoff, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and frontman Sammy Hagar – debuted their new music video for the song “Three and a Half Letters (I Need a Job)“.
The song, from their recent release, “CHICKENFOOT III” (eOne Music/Edel/EarMusic) is motivated by the dismal job economy and features letters that were sent to Hagar as pleas for help. “CHICKENFOOT” is partnering with Feeding America to encourage fans to help alleviate some of the effects of the job economy. The band will perform “Three and a Half Letters (I Need a Job)” on Jimmy Kimmel Live on the evening of November 3rd.
“I received a lot of letters from people over the years who were looking for help or work and recently I received one from an Afghan War Veteran that ended with ‘Can you help? I need a job’ that just really hit me and the song came together,” said Hagar. “We really want to encourage anyone to help where they can and I think one of the easiest ways is by making contributions to their local food banks so I hope we get that message across in this video and while we are on tour.”
“I Need a Job,” directed by Arthur Rosato (Springsteen, Bonnaroo), features the real life letters received by Hagar and closes with a call to action in partnership with Feeding America. Beginning today, the band is inviting fans to post their own letters and stories to their website in hopes it will help them find employment and continue to shed light on the critical condition in America. The band is also planning on additional outreach to bring more awareness to the issue in each city on their upcoming “Road Test Tour.” While those who are better off may not be able to offer actual jobs, Chickenfoot believes that contributions to food banks in their hometowns is one simple way, among many others, that fans can help firsthand on a local level.
The band is set to embark on the recently announced “2011 Road Test Tour,” beginning November 1st at the Warfield Theatre, San Francisco.
11/1/11 – San Francisco, CA – Warfield Theatre
11/2/11 – Los Angeles, CA – Avalon Hollywood
11/4/11 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
11/5/11 – Chicago, IL – Metro
11/8/11 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
For more CHICKENFOOT click here.
CHICKENFOOT – the supergroup featuring guitarist Joe Satriani, drummer Kenny Aronoff, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and frontman Sammy Hagar – have announced “The 2011 Road Test Tour,” the first live performance dates in support of the band’s forthcoming “CHICKENFOOT III” due September 27th from from eOne Music in North America and around the world by earMUSIC/Edel. The tour is taking them through San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago and New York early November. Venues and ticket on-sale information will be announced October 3rd. Chickenfoot III is available now for pre-order on iTunes.
CHICKENFOOT are also offering fans a very special free Live Concert Webcast: Chickenfoot Presents “III” at 6PM PACIFIC DAYLIGHT TIME on TUESDAY, SEPETMBER 27TH. The band will perform tracks from the new album at TRI Studios in Marin County, California and host a 30-minute Q&A session with the fans at www.chickenfoot.us. Fans can submit their questions to be included in the live Q&A session at www.chickenfoot.us leading up to the live webcast. Special promotional opportunities to be a member of the live in-studio audience in the studio will be announced on the band’s social sites. The webcast will rebroadcast on the band’s website September 28th at NOON PACIFIC DAYLIGHT TIME.
“CHICKENFOOT III” was produced by Mike Fraser features an elaborately designed 3D package with optical illusions and special codes giving fans a fully immersed creative Chickenfoot experience, creating a spectacle with spectacles. With special “3D optical enhancers,” otherwise known as old-skool 3D glasses that come with each package, the cover and inside photos feature artwork that trick the eye by looking through the two different red and blue lenses of the glasses. Having used a special state-of-the-art 3D camera rig to create the designs, CHICKENFOOT gives fans a truly multi-dimensional experience throughout the packaging that also offers a 3D photo of each band member with stats and Q&As, QR codes for behind the scenes 3D video content from the photoshoot on smartphones and much more. A look through the red lens even reveals a very special message on the CD itself.
THE 2011 ROAD TEST TOUR DATES:
November 1 – San Francisco, CA
November 2 – Los Angeles, CA
November 4 – St. Louis, MO
November 5 – Chicago, IL
November 8 – New York, NY
For more CHICKENFOOT click here.
After 2 years of extensive international touring, guitar virtuoso, singer/ songwriter Richie Kotzen is back to unleash his new album 24 HOURS, releasing November 11 on Headroom-Inc.
24 HOURS reflects the guitar style’s that has defined his career as a virtuoso, while taking it to another level of playing. “I feel like I have reached a new level of soloing on the opening track 24 HOURS,” explains Kotzen. “I stopped using a guitar pick on electric a few years ago and my playing has evolved in a different way. Some of the solo lines I play on the song 24 HOURS, and others as well, are lines I would have never been able to play with a guitar pick. So I would say the solo’s on this CD are at a different level than previous recordings.”
24 HOURS is an absorbing collective blend of Kotzen’s musical influences and diversity. 24 hours takes you on an inspired, musical journey as the opening track sets the tone that falls stylistically somewhere between early Van Halen and Sly and the Family Stone. Kotzen also brought in his talented daughter, August Kotzen and friend Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, to complete the album. “My daughter, August is singing with me on a few songs and is playing electric piano on the song STOP ME,” states Kotzen. “My friend Jerry Cantrell is singing backgrounds on LOVE IS BLIND and does a very cool lead vocal ad-lib in the final chorus of the tune.”
24 HOURS is an album that has been in the works since Kotzen started playing guitar. The guitar virtuoso burst onto the heavy metal scene as a teenager with a lightning-fast guitar techniques. With his talents Kotzen has played with some of the best musicians; securing such major collaboration with the band Mr. Big and renowned jazz great Stanley Clarke as well as his own solo projects. “I have been lucky in the sense that I have been able to play with guys who I could learn from,” explains Kotzen. “The biggest musical lesson for me was playing in a band with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White. Obviously these guys are jazz musicians and I am not, but I learned so much from the time we recorded and toured together. My favorite rock bassist is Billy Sheehan and we were in Mr. Big together for 3 years which was awesome.”
24 HOURS was recorded and produced in Kotzen’s studio Headroom-Inc. 24 HOURS will be released on 11.11.11. Expect the first single, title track 24 HOURS to hit airwaves sometime soon.
For more RICHIE KOTZEN click here.
Is there life on other planets? With the introduction of the hard rockin’ quartet MESSAGE TO VENUS we just may find out. Jandre Nadal, John Feliciano, Edgar Ramos, and JuanMa Font are just beginning to unleash their wrath unto the masses, with a style that’s both melodic and metal, that will no doubt be played loud enough to invoke a visit from the planet next door. So fasten your seatbelts, stow all carry-on items in the overhead compartment (don’t worry no unecessary pat-downs here), and join me as I get the chance to catch up with John Feliciano, M2V’s aspirational axe-man, to get the story behind rock’s next great tympanic treasure.
AWAY-TEAM: I’d first like to congratulate you on the release of your killer E.P. The Envelope, and perhaps even more importantly on the upcoming release of your first full length album Victims and Villains.
JOHN FELICIANO: Thank you so much man!
AWAY-TEAM: I’m excited to hear the whole album. I know there’s not a set release date yet for Victims and Villains, but can you give us an idea as to when we might see it?
JOHN FELICIANO: Well right now, today, the singer is actually in the studio working on another song. We have four songs left to record, and the album is done. Then it will go, of course, to mixing stages and mastering. We’re hoping that the album will be finished by around October of this year. In terms of when it will be released, we are working with management to see what route we will be taking, because we have the option of releasing it independently like we did with The Envelope, but we are also open to the possibility of maybe having a record label involved. Ya know partnering up with them to release that album to maximize it’s release. So we have our options open, but in terms of a release date, we would love to see it released early next year, but there’s no set release date, as of yet.
AWAY-TEAM: Now, how did the band all meet and get started?
JOHN FELICIANO: Well, JuanMa and Edgar, they are the drummer and bassist, they’ve been friends for many, many years. I went to the same University that JuanMa went to; I’ve been involved with bands for about 14 years now, and in the local scene we knew each other. JuanMa and Edgar played in a band together, I played in another band, and Jandre, who is from the west side of Puerto Rico, had a pretty good local following. So we knew each other from the music scene. But basically, in 2003 I started a band with a couple of friends and we needed a bassist, so I called Edgar. Fast forward to 2006, bands change and go through different stages, the drummer that we had at that time quit. So we called JuanMa who I’ve always wanted to play with because he’s a very technical drummer, and he has pretty good chops, and I always wanted to have a project with him. Edgar, being a good friend of JuanMa as well, it made complete sense. So JuanMa joined the project, which wasn’t this band, but we all decided that we wanted to move to the United States in the future, because if we really wanted to pursue this we had to make that jump. Maybe not now, but that would be the ultimate goal. So we decided to go into the studio and record a three song demo with the band. The producer Leo Alvarez tells us, “You know guys, you should really start recording a full length, before you do anything. Because right now you have the means, and that would be really good to have up your sleeve” So we start recording this full length album, but then in the process of recording it the singer that we had at the time; for personal reasons, he’s a really good friend, he decided to leave. So that’s when we got the opportunity to call Jandre to join the project, and work with him in the studio with Leo Alvarez, the producer, to make this record that will be Victims and Villains. So it’s basically an evolution of bands, ya know, and a process of natural selection that we got together. Because in this business, there’s some people that are really good musicians, but they get married, they have kids, and they decide to take another route with their lives. But the four of us, we’ve been very focused and this is what we wanna do. The music was already recorded when Jandre joined the project, and it has been a challenge for him, but so far it’s been great. And being that we already knew each other for at least 5-6 years it’s even better, because you already know the person on a personal level and then to be able to create music with them, it’s good. There’s no surprises in terms of friendship, ya know. We’re friends first, and bandmates second.
JOHN FELICIANO: The name of the band comes from a song that Jandre was writing, lyrics that he was writing, in that song he was talking about life on another planet. Possibility of life, and we are not alone or whatever, in a part of the song he mentioned “Message to Venus”. The song never worked, as a song, but he always found that phrase very interesting, because it’s kind of open to interpretation. People might say “Message to Venus” is a message to the women, or it’s a message to another world, or it’s something out of this world. So we incorporated it as the band name because we felt that it’s a name that allows us to explore, in the musical aspect. We can be heavy, we can be subtle, and the lyrics of the songs are like short stories. We have a beginning, an end, a climax and you can hear that in the songs. If you really listen to the songs, they have characters. Like for example, in “Cold and Grey” you have this person that basically is a psychopath, and is obsessed with this woman, and he’s basically telling her “If I don’t have you, no one will.” That’s why it’s called “Cold and Grey”, if someone else is gonna have you, he’s gonna have you “Cold and Grey”, ya know. It’s kinda harsh, but it is what it is. So you have characters, you have the psychopath, and in a part of the song you have this girl screaming “Let me go”; and in the songs, that’s how Jandre, and Edgar go about creating lyrics, they’re basically short films. So that’s the story behind the name, we’re comfortable with it because it allows us to explore with our music, and gives us the flexibility.
AWAY-TEAM: Now, Puerto Rico is not typically a place that you associate with Hard Rock music. Usually when you think Puerto Rico, you think Salsa, or Merengue, or Reggaeton, anything but Rock music…
JOHN FELICIANO: Ricky Martin! (laughs)
AWAY-TEAM: Yeah. (laughs) …is that just a misconception? Or are we missing out on alot of great bands? What’s the Rock scene like in Puerto Rico?
JOHN FELICIANO: In terms of an industry, and let’s talk about the local scene first. You have the full spectrum of rock, over in Puerto Rico, you have from the very light alternative, pop band, to the very heavy death metal. But in terms of a local scene, and a business, the island doesn’t support it. I think it’s a mixture of cultural, and size. If you play in San Juan, how many times are you gonna play in San Juan? You know what I mean? So it’s really not the ideal environment, for a local scene to develop, and bands to be able to be successful. Because you can measure success in many ways, but for this example let’s measure success by a band that is able to meet their means by playing music. Unfortunately, at least that’s my personal opinion, the conditions are not there in terms of the business aspect. But of course, you have many, many talented bands in Puerto Rico that… ya know, we have really good friends in all the genres. You asked if we’re missing out, and I think the world is missing out on the talent that is there. There’s some really, really good bands from the island.
AWAY-TEAM: Well maybe you’ll help shine a light on that!
JOHN FELICIANO: Hopefully! We really hope to make it! We’re doing the part that is our responsibility, that is we’re working hard, and it makes us feel proud because we’re working hard for what we really love. Another thing I was gonna tell you, in Puerto Rico there’s many rockers. Iron Maiden was there a couple of months ago, 30 Seconds to Mars was there like a month ago, and Van Halen sold out show, Paul McCartney sold out show. Ya know, there’s many people that like rock music, but those bands are already established, they have already gone mainstream. They have been fortunate enough to have the means of letting themselves be known, but for a band that is starting, and starting in Puerto Rico the conditions are not there, for the reasons that I already explained to you, to be successful, measuring success as financial success.
AWAY-TEAM: So how did you first get started plating guitar? And what was the first song you ever learned to play?
JOHN FELICIANO: Wow… I got an interest in music when I was around 15, I had a friend that had a guitar, you know I think it’s always like that, that’s the cliche! I had a friend that had a guitar and he knew how to play a couple of things, and I was like “Wow, I really would like to play guitar!” So then for Christams, I asked for, and received a guitar. I didn’t have the slightest idea of how to tune the guitar, what to do with it, but I played with it. Even though I was doing nothing that made sense, but I played with it for hours. Then I moved schools, and I made friends with a guy that knew how to play guitar. He taught me a couple of chords, what to do with the guitar, how to tune it. And that’s how I started playing something that actually made sense. I don’t remember exactly the first song, but I think it was “About A Girl” by Nirvana. That was the first song that I could play, put two chords together, E-minor with G-major. I never took classes, never. I would just spend hours, and hours, and hours playing. And at that time, we’re talking about maybe 1995, the internet was really a blessing, because you were able to download these tablatures, and everything. So you could basically go home for hours, and learn a song by reading tablature. Really early on, like maybe a year into playing guitar, I knew I wanted to make my own stuff. I just felt it pretty quickly, I put learning to play other people’s songs to the side and starting writing my own things. Of course this was a long time ago, it’s not really what we write today, but I had that urge really early on.
AWAY-TEAM: So what was your parent’s reaction when you told them you were moving to Miami to become a rock star?
JOHN FELICIANO: (laughs) Well, in Puerto Rico I think we tend to be a little bit more conservative about those things. But, I really have their support, my dad and my mom support us all the way. And we are fortunate that the rest of the band has parents that are the same way. Their really supportive, and they really believe that you have to make life what you want it to be. One of the worst things that I think can happen to a human being is getting to the last phases of their life and looking back and saying “Gee, I never tried it. Maybe I had a shot!” I prefer to fail, but at least I tried. Because if I don’t know, I think I would go crazy, I would go completely nuts! Wondering what could’ve been, what if… that would drive me crazy!
AWAY-TEAM: So why Miami? What made you choose Miami over an L.A. or a New York?
JOHN FELICIANO: You know I had a… you know like any person, we have to work, and it basically fell in my lap. I had the opportunity to relocate, and I didn’t even think about it. I had my girlfriend back in Puerto Rico, who is now my wife, and I thought “This is the chance, this is it! I’m moving, I’m taking this step.” I was given the opportunity on Friday, and by Sunday I was already in Miami. It was super fast. I said “This is what I have to do.” I told my girlfriend, not to worry, we’re gonna make it, I’ll find a way; and now look, a couple of years later we’re here and settled, we got married. I think if there’s a will there’s a way, ya know what I mean? We hadn’t even finished tracking the album yet when I moved, so I flew back to Puerto Rico and finished my part of the album in one weekend, three days of like 16 hours apiece. Basically, the opportunity came in Miami, and it’s pretty strategic in terms of it being on the east coast, and you can get to Puerto Rico pretty easily, and to other parts of the nation.
JOHN FELICIANO: (laughs) Ha! Oh my God… Yeah, you know, the company is a human resource recruiting firm, and they were doing a story on illegal immigration, and illegal immigrants working in the United States. It was a hot topic. You know there’s a lot of federal agencies that go into Puerto Rico to find talent, especially bilingual talent, because Puerto Rico mainly speaks Spanish, but educated people are bilingual. They wanted to do a story on companies going to Puerto Rico, and why it would be good for a company to look at Puerto Rico as a good source of talent, etc. etc. And since I’m in that business, I don’t know why someone referred me because I’m Puerto Rican, and they were talking about Puerto Ricans, but… I live in Miami, and CNN in Miami called me to do an interview with CNN en Espanol. So I went there and did that. It’s crazy because you see the studios and you think that they’re very big, it’s not. It’s like a closet. You’re in a closet with a camera there, and no one else with you. The reporter is in like Atlanta, and that’s it. It’s just you inside a closet with that camera. It’s pretty funny.
AWAY-TEAM: The Envelope contains a really great cover of the Depeche Mode classic “Stripped”. Who were some of your strongest influences growing up?
JOHN FELICIANO: I would have to say that one of my main influences is Tool. I love how they evolved, you listen to the first E.P. Opiate, and you listen to the last one 10,000 Days and it’s great. It has technical, musical value, and it also is entertaining. I could hear a band that makes something difficult, but I don’t like difficult music just for the sake of being difficult. I like technical music, that might be pretty challenging to play, but it has to be entertaining, it has to catch my attention and I have to be entertained. I have to feel that there’s some sentiment being transmitted through that song, and I feel that with Tool. Of course, you can branch out to A Perfect Circle, in which you have a different set of musicians. You have a great drummer, great guitar player, bassist, and of course Maynard from Tool. Another band that I was really into, at the time, was Nirvana. That was like my favorite band, at that time, like in 1994-95. What I liked about Nirvana was their energy, you know the music was simple in terms of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-interlude-chorus, but it was powerful, entertaining, and straight to the point. I think my biggest influence has to be Tool, but if you want to include other bands I would say, from my early years I would say Nirvana, and right now I listen to alot of music. I like heavy stuff, I like 36 Crazyfists, I like Pierce the Veil, I like Nonpoint, Puya, Pantera, all of that.
AWAY-TEAM: It’s funny, I knew you were gonna say Tool, because I hear quite a bit of Tool in “Change”. The guitar work on that is very Tool.
JOHN FELICIANO: Yeah, it’s got that oriental scale.
AWAY-TEAM: “Universal You” debuted on Music Choice yesterday, and “Cold and Grey” is being played on Sirius XM’s Octane. I understand that Jose Mangin of Sirius XM said that you guys were the first band from Puerto Rico to be played on Octane…
JOHN FELICIANO: Yeah, I don’t know if it was Jose Mangin, the DJ at that time, but the DJ that was on shift said that was the first band coming out of Puerto Rico to be played on Sirius XM Octane which was very flattering for us, ya know. We are very proud, but at the same time we feel very humbled, because it’s a big weight to carry on your shoulders to be the first one.
AWAY-TEAM: Yeah, that kinda makes you guys like the godfather’s of the Puerto Rican rock scene. (laughs)
JOHN FELICIANO: Yeah, at least in the Active Rock/ Hard Rock scene. Because you have Nonpoint which has it’s roots or beginnings in Puerto Rico, and I’m not talking bad about them I love that band, that’s one of my favorite bands, but they really were made here in South Florida. It started over there, but the people that were the original ones from Puerto Rico are no longer with the band. The original, original member is Robb Rivera the drummer. So I think that’s what they were talking about, a band that was formed in Puerto Rico, and coming straight out of Puerto Rico. And we feel very proud about that.
AWAY-TEAM: You guys have played alongside many great bands, Anthrax, Puya, Ill Nino to name a few. What was the most memorable of those shows?
JOHN FELICIANO: Just to be clear, that was from our personal experiences in other bands. It wasn’t with MESSAGE TO VENUS. For me the most memorable one, is when we played a show with three great bands in one night. It was Ill Nino, Ankla, and Nonpoint. That was the bill, and then us with the band that I had at that time. That was a great experience to play in front of many thousands of people, and people that don’t know you that were like “Wow, you guys played great! I really loved your band.” That was amazing.
AWAY-TEAM: I think I know the answer to this, but if you could make anyone live or dead a fifth member of the band, who would it be and why?
JOHN FELICIANO: Alive or dead… ya know, I would really love to have Tool’s guitar player Adam Jones. (laughs)
AWAY-TEAM: That’s where I thought you were going with it. (laughs)
JOHN FELICIANO: I would really love to be able to collaborate with that guy. He has a certain style of playing, which is kind of dark, but at the same time it doesn’t go to that point of no return. It’s still energetic, it’s still listenable. It’s not simple, in terms of being easy, but he makes music that’s not complicated for the sense of being complicated. It flows, you know what I mean? The patterns might be odd, but it flows as a composition, as a whole, as a song, as a story. It would be amazing to be able to drink from that fountain of knowledge.
AWAY-TEAM: With Victims and Villains on the horizon, what new song do you most look forward to playing live?
JOHN FELICIANO: There’s this song called “The Unknown”, the reason I look forward to playing that song is, not only that I live the song, but in the middle of the song when it’s in it’s climax there is a chorus of people. We brought 20 of our closest friends into the studio to sing a part, they sing ‘We are not alone.’ So I really look forward to playing that song and getting that reaction from the crowd, having the crowd sing that part. You’ll be able to hear that part on the album, but being able to hear the crowd sing that part back to you, that would be amazing.
AWAY-TEAM: So last, but not least… Captain Morgan or Bacardi?
JOHN FELICIANO: For me it’s Bacardi. (laughs)
AWAY-TEAM: John, I wanna thank you for your time. Best of luck to you, I know you’re probably not gonna need it, you guys are solid as they come. I know you’re destined for great things. Hopefully next time we talk, we’ll be talking major label release.
JOHN FELICIANO: Hopefully! Thank you so much.
AWAY-TEAM: Talk to you soon buddy.
JOHN FELICIANO: Definitely, we’ll talk soon. Bye.
Special thanks go to John Feliciano for so graciously giving me his time.
Big 3 Records
0 out of 10
Ok, who here had The Yellow And Black Attack? Raise yer hand! Right.
Who here had Soldiers Under Command? RAISE YER DAMNED HAND! Right, thought so.
Who here had To Hell With The Devil? Raise yer hand, yeah you, there, right there. Raise your hand, you know you had that cassette jamming in your Pinto on the way to high school in 85. Don’t lie to me.
Now, who has any album after that by Stryper? Me neither.
25 years later and the bumble bees are back buzzing around with a new album. Only this time it is covers of their influences, the songs and bands that made them want to be musicians. The list of bands they are covering on the album is great. You’ve got Ozzy, Sweet, Black Sabbath, Scorpions, UFO, Kansas, Kiss, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Van Halen, and Led Zeppelin. Sounds like a pretty badass CD doesn’t it?
Well it’s pretty bad alright. Don’t believe me? Here is Away Team‘s very own Bam Bam’s two word review of The Covering right here.
Musically there are some decent points to the disc. I mean, as soon as the song starts you can name every song they are playing. So, there’s that. That should almost be worth a point on the 1 to 10 scale right? Ok, so we’ll give them 1 point for being able to recognize the songs they are playing.
And of course the song list is great. Lights Out, Immigrant Song, Breaking The Law, The Trooper, Over The Mountain, Heaven And Hell, Carry On, Highway Star, Set Me Free, Shout It Out Loud, Blackout, and On Fire. I mean, I truly don’t think I’ve seen a better cover album song list than this on one album. So there’s a point for that. Now we’re at 2 out of 10.
The dude on the cover of the album looks like Chris Jericho the wrestler to me, so if you’re into wrestling you might give them a point for that. Now it’s 3 out of 10.
Then Michael Sweet begins to sing. Not that the guy has a bad voice, I mean he’s no Joey Belladonna and that is a point IN his favor, so we’ll give them a point on this CD just because he CAN sing better than Joey Belladonna. Here’s to 4 out of 10. Damn, they’re almost batting .500!
Oh, wait, Michael is still singing. Wow. Ok, I am TRYING to be fair here. His vocals on Set Me Free aren’t THAT bad. I’ll say that. So, in starting off the album it is OK. Of course starting off an album at just OK is not a good place to start. You better go up real quick, because you don’t have far to fall into the ‘this stinks like 10 pounds of hot steaming dog shit’ pile of no return.
The opening riff to the Scorpion’s Blackout kicks in, and you’re like, ok… Let’s get this going. Hey, Michael Sweet doesn’t sound too far off from the Scorpion’s Klaus Meine here. I’ll be damned. Oh wait, there’s the Michael Sweet Stryper Scream… Oh wait, just fucked the whole song, and now his inflection is more Stryper than Scorpions. Lost me there boys.
Heaven And Hell is next. I mean… It’s HEAVEN AND HELL for fuck’s sake! How can you butcher this? Dio, Tony, it may very well be the ultimate old school metal song. And these holier than thou jesus freaks are singing it? I was personally offended when Michael Sweet said that Stryper could have written Heaven And Hell themselves and YOU SHOULD BE OFFENDED TOO because he said that. I’m calling Bullshit! If you could have written something as epic as Heaven And Hell you’d have had a longer career than three years of semi-relevance. And the chorus of ‘ahhhhhh’ during the breakdown????? This isn’t church camp, this is Black Sabbath motherfuckers. How do you remove the balls from one of the most badass songs of all time? HERECY!!!!!!
UFO’s Light Out. Skip it. I can’t deal anymore. Again, I’ll say FOR THE MOST PART, the music isn’t bad. But fuck his voice is so unique, and so pussified that it has no balls to it. And every chance he has to pull this off, he just completely fucks it up. Maybe this should be an instrumental cover album!!!! Yeah, then it would only suck half as bad. Hell, I’d probably rate it a solid 5 then.
The weak ass drum intro into Carry On. What the fuck is that? There’s no balls in the drums either? WTF?????? Skip.
Everyone has their breaking point when it comes to savagely raping the legacy of metal. Stryper covering Deep Purple’s Highway Star is it for me. And we haven’t even gotten to Judas Priest or Iron Maiden yet. Fuck you Stryper for even THINKING about doing this album. Skip.
I don’t think I can continue. Really… My blood pressure can’t take this; my ears can’t handle the blasphemy coming from the speakers, my co-workers are yelling at me to stop killing the litter of cats in my cubicle already. Must. Finish. Worst. Album. Ever.
Shout It Out Loud. Starts out as pussy as the original does. Does that make it bad? No, but at least they can’t fuck up such simpleton songwriting as KISS. If this was maybe the second or third song on the disc, I could probably have handled it, but as we are on the seventh song of this musical abortion, I can’t take anymore, I am up to my limit in shit, so…. Moving on…..
Over The Mountain. Holy Fuck Randy Rhoads just died again. I can’t play guitar that well and I can play the opening riff better than Oz Foxx. Skip.
The Trooper. Stupid fucks, if you are going to take songs like Over The Mountain (Randy Rhoads), Highway Star (Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord), The Trooper (Steve Harris), that have such a distinct musical sound and style, you best be able to reproduce the opening riff, the organ solo, the bass line (respectively) of those songs, or fuck off and JUST DON’T DO THEM. And never mind the shit fucked guitar solo in The Trooper, come up with your own (not). Skip.
Nobody should cover Judas Priest. Period. Skip
Van Halen. Really? You try to tackle the intricacies of Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi, Randy Rhoads, AND Eddie Van Halen? Who do you think you are, Oz Foxx? Oh, wait… skip.
Do I even have to say anything about Stryper trying to cover Led Zeppelin? Really? Are you going to make me listen to this? FUCK YOU. and fuck Stryper.
And no, I’m not going to listen to their new song called ‘God’. Fuck that. You don’t get to do that to me after aurally sodomizing me for the last 30 minutes.
So, we got the album up to 4 out of 10 before Michael sang, so now where are we? Someone owes me for my therapy bills now!
DO NOT PICK THIS UP, you’ll thank me later.
When we last left our Hero, Mr. Altier was chomping at the bit to get out of the house and go catch his Dolphins playing. But we had just gotten to the meat of the interview. We had discussed why Slider left Brand New Sin and we were delving into his reasons for leaving/getting kicked out. And hell, we’re 30 minutes into the interview and haven’t even really talked about the new band ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN, so here you go… (If you haven’t read the first half of our interview with ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN’s frontman and former Brand New Sin frontman, click here.)
AWAY-TEAM: And that was when about the time you were on your way out (leaving/getting kicked out of Brand New Sin)?
Joe Altier: Yeah, yeah, pretty much. You know it was in ’07. It was after the Tequila (BNS’s third album) cycle had ended I think we started speaking a little bit before that, we didn’t really start striking our friendship (Joe and Slider BNS and ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN’s guitarist) back up again until that time. I didn’t really know what the hell I was going to do. I didn’t realize I was going to end up leaving Brand New Sin. I didn’t think I was leaving Brand New Sin right up until the moment of the night I walked into that room and left. In the back of my mind, how hindsight tells me, yeah there was a lot of things that was showing me that I definitely didn’t want to be in that band anymore. But I didn’t think I was not going to be in that band until January 8th of ’08. I said ok now I’m leaving after the conversation that we had that night, the argument, and the yelling at each other, and realizing that I wasn’t happy there. And they weren’t happy, so I was, ‘If you guys have a better vision of where you’re going and you’ve got plans and I’m holding you back,’ Because that’s basically what I was told was that I was holding the band back then, and I wanted time off. I had suggested time off for everybody, I think we all needed to get our heads on fucking straight you know? I have a drinking problem and a slight drug problem and we’re all broke and my father just fucking died and my life is completely upside down I need some time off! And that’s what I asked the band. I asked the band for an indefinite amount of time off, I said we can still get together and write but I don’t want to be gigging. I don’t want to be running forward, we don’t have a record label or have any tours, what’s the fucking hurry? Why don’t we just take some fucking time off? And they didn’t feel that way. They felt that they needed to move forward at a hundred miles an hour and I’m like alright well then, ‘good luck to ya! See ya later; I’m fucking out of here!’ For me to get accused of being selfish and being the one that’s holding the band back from success then you know if you really think so then I will leave. For a long time I didn’t really speak about that cuz I didn’t want to live…the emotions were very raw and I didn’t want to bad mouth anybody. But it got to a point where I was just like, ‘Now I’m ready to talk about it!’ I don’t really give a shit what they think because they’re going to have their opinions too, but I’m telling you pretty much word for word what happened in that meeting. And I told them….I started getting a laundry list of things being told to me that what I did over there, ‘on this tour you did this, and you chose to do this over that, and one of them was you chose to work a piano gig making money other than going to open up for Drowning Pool!’ And I’m just like we never got offered a Drowning Pool show so I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. ‘Well they played it in Watertown and we had an offer’ I’m like we never had an offer, if we had an offer I might have gone through with it. And on top of that until fucking Brand New Sin can fucking pay my goddamn cell phone bill and my bills then I need to take some work over some gig sometimes I’m sorry! They called me selfish, and they said that I wasn’t in for the business, and yadda yadda yadda. It was a personal attack on me at first. In my mind I was like how dare you?!?! Man, my fucking father… I just found my father fucking dead like 2 months ago and you guys are going to fucking start getting on me about this? Fuck you! Especially when two guys in the band had already fucking lost their fathers as well so they know. Then when they started accusing me of shit, I wanted to be like alright well if you want to start making a laundry list let’s start going around the room… Ok Chris (Weichmann) let me make a list, how many times you did this, how many times did you throw a temper tantrum and not fucking do something on stage? Kevin Dean How ‘bout this? How ‘bout Chuck Kahl falling over? You know I mean we could sit here and do a laundry list of things that everyone else did too you know? But at the end of the day I finally am like I’m not going to sit here and do this. Obviously you guys have a plan; obviously you want me to go, so I’m leaving. And I think 3 years later the position that I’m in compared to the position they’re in speaks volumes of what…of what’s really happened.
Joe Altier: I think we are you know?
AWAY-TEAM: Are you?
Joe Altier: We talk to each other when we see each other but we’re not calling each other up ‘hey man you know wanna go hang out?’ Nah we don’t do that anymore. When we see each other we talk and we’re friendly and cordial to each other but I mean after everything we went through it’s like almost like being in a war. You know in Vietnam with somebody and then not talk to somebody but you still have a connection because you went through some pretty fucked up shit together and had that bond. But we’re friendly. Me and Kenny Dunham actually talk more than I do with anybody else in that band but Kenny’s removed from that band as well so you know I talk to him, and I mean I’m still in contact with everybody. On some levels I got to do some business shit that still involves those guys. There’s still checks that come from Century Media once in awhile so we have to speak, but you know I’ve never seen them play since I left the band, and I really got no interest to be honest with you. It’s no offense to them I just got no interest. I think if they were called fucking John Brown’s Toe or whatever I would go and be a huge fan but that’s not Brand New Sin to me.
AWAY-TEAM: Well you and I had talked about it a little bit prior to this, about how they’re not bad. I went and saw them when they were here in town and it’s not Brand New Sin. And I wish them much luck and the stuff they were doing, the new stuff for what it was, was good. But it’s not Brand New Sin. At some point you know you went from God Below to Brand New Sin because you made this major change (music style and vocalist change). Well you just had another major change your style is different, your singing is different, your singer is different, and you don’t have a Joe wannabe after Joe left so you probably shouldn’t be the same name.
Joe Altier: Right. I think that’s just them, I mean I really think that some people in that band think that they should keep riding on those things, but the true fans are… I mean there’s some fans that have stuck by and there’s always going to be fans. There’s fans from Anthrax that are still fans of John Bush and Joey Belladonna and they’re fans of both but you know there’s COC changed a million times you know from their sound and stuff like that. I really think that honestly if you wanted to ask me what my biggest guess was for why they stuck with it is because they fucking… Chris was like ‘well you know COC changed from a punk band to a punky rock band to a fucking rock band and changed singers along the way why can’t we do the same thing?’ Whatever, I mean they can call the band whatever they want.
Joe Altier: Yeah, absolutely. But you can’t drastically change the sound of a band and expect the fans to be there. I mean I think Elephant Mountain sounds more like Brand New Sin than Brand New Sin sounds like Brand New Sin. And I’m not really trying! I think really Elephant Mountain doesn’t sound like Brand New Sin but it sounds more like Brand New Sin than Brand New Sin does today I should say.
AWAY-TEAM: Fair enough that would be more accurate.
Joe Altier: It’s cool, I don’t wish any ill will on them, and I hope that things turn around for them and stuff like that. But I see where things are going and it’s just, if that’s what’s making them happy then fucking so be it. I know I’m happy on my end and as long as they’re happy on their end and my opinion doesn’t matter you know at the end of the day.
AWAY-TEAM: So you guys went through a lot of label shit throughout that time and looking back on it now, how much do you think that actually hampered you guys and added to the stress and the issues? And how do you think it could have been avoided or could it have been avoided?
Joe Altier: You know I think it hampered quite a bit. I mean we got in and we’re pretty much playing the game, we played the fucking game! When you’re in there and you gotta play the game you gotta play by some certain rules, and some people in the band didn’t want to play by those rules. We had labels telling us different things, we wanted to call certain things, we wanted to call the record The Tequila Record, they wanted to call it Tequila. We’re like, ‘No it’s The fucking Tequila Record!’ They’re like, ‘No, Tequila!’. So it’s things like that that happen to every band and the changes between labels and the lull between the first record and the second record I really think contributed to Slider being kicked out. I think if we had if Now or Never (BNS’ first label) stayed intact or if we immediately went to Century Media (BNS’ third label) instead of going to somewhere else, cuz we had the offer to go to Century Media right away, I think Slider would have weathered that. Obviously without getting further or going through more examples it absolutely did hinder us because that lull between the two albums we lost a member and it sent us on that path that we were on, and it changed things. I just think that… I wish… I don’t wish we could change anything else because there wasn’t anything we could do. I mean everything that I got now I’m learning not to do you know? We made a lot of mistakes along the way on the way we handled our band and I think we entrusted other people to do things. Not that those people weren’t competent, I think we should just have been more involved and more educated on what we were doing, and maybe not so fucking drunk all the time how’s that sound? You know, I mean it’s cool to play rockstar and get drunk and stupid BUT…
AWAY-TEAM: Well you know I was talking to Brian Fair from Shadows Fall about that and musicians are musicians for a reason. A) They’ve got talent. B) because of that talent and because of the time spent in the garage or in the bedroom practicing they didn’t study a lot in school, they’re not necessarily you know rocket scientists and they don’t study business and they never had to although maybe even as far back as the 70s they probably should have. But that’s why you have managers and accountants and agents and shit because they’re the ones that are hopefully working for you. But today starting out because you don’t have the big machine that you used to churning out these bands, labels etcetera… as a band you have to do everything! You have to be your own manager, you have to be your own accountant, you have to know how to read a contract and know what it means and fight and negotiate for what you feel you need to get out of it, and you haven’t had to do that in the past.
Joe Altier: And that’s really where I’m at now, it’s like these kids nowadays are going to have to educate themselves and not just going to be a guitar player. They’re going to have to learn how to do accounting for their band, they’re going to have to learn how to talk to merchandise companies, they’re going to become… you’re going to have a graphic designer in the band, you’re going to have someone who can engineer your record, you’re going to have a lot of things. You’re going to become a multi-faceted person, that’s how you’re going to become successful. And we don’t come from that, we just missed it by two years and we’re still learning and Shadows Fall are doing it themselves now.
AWAY-TEAM: Yes a hundred percent.
Joe Altier: I went and saw them and visited with them when they were in town and they’re old friends of mine, and it was really cool, but it was funny to watch them now than it was 6 or 7 years ago. They’re still out and they’re back out selling their own merch they’re taking turns ‘hey Matt it’s your turn to be at the merch table.’ Somebody’s taking care of merch, someone’s doing this and someone’s doing that. I mean they still have a guitar tech and they still got a tour manager and stuff like that but they’re a business now and they act that way because they know if we want to make it that’s what we have to do.
AWAY-TEAM: And it’s not so much even about making it, it’s about protecting yourself. You know it’s not about becoming the next Metallica. It’s like you said, it’s about paying my goddamn cell bill, it’s about making sure that at the end of the day we have something to show for this other than some kick ass music. We still have to pay bills, if you are smart enough to be able to control your band then you can do it, but unfortunately you are the one that has to do it now.
Joe Altier: Yeah you know and that’s really what I kind of did the past two and half years educating myself. I got away from the business, and I kinda fell back in love with music and playing covers and found myself again and figured out what I wanted to do. I don’t have to sell, I mean do I want to sell a million records, fuck yeah that’d be cool! But if I could sell 20,000 records of my solo record 20,000 records of Elephant Mountain and do it on my own, play some shows here and there, I’ll make a good living. I’m making a good living now and I’m not even selling 20,000 records. And I’m investing my own money so I don’t have anybody to yell at other than myself if something doesn’t work. I don’t go to the label, ‘Oh my god you motherfucker! You cut me off from tour support! You did this you did that.’ I use Just Joe… Just Joe playing covers is how I fund my record label Just Joe. It’s a help fund as part of the funding of Elephant Mountain. I help with that, it’s completely how I fund my solo shit. So you know some people like ‘well you know don’t you want to…’ I don’t want to play covers but it’s how I fund things because it’s easy, because I get to go play for 3 or 4 hours and I have another 20-21 more hours in the day to do my other shit….for now. It’s not where I’m going to be 4 or 5 years from now playing piano bars.
Joe Altier: I don’t mind it and if that’s really where my life ends up and I just end up selling a couple thousand records and I’m still traveling around the United States playing in piano bars and playing it, that isn’t even so bad. That ain’t even a bad backup plan in my mind. So I think I’ve set myself up for a really good life in this business whether it’s gonna be all originals or small covers or more covers and then some originals. Either way I’m happy, I’m playing music, I’m still traveling, on a much smaller level, but I’m still traveling so I’m happy dude, completely happy.
AWAY-TEAM: Very cool. I have this song from a band and I won’t mention the band (Brand New Sin) but they covered Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd and it blows Shinedown’s version out of the water. Why was it recorded and why was it never released?
Joe Altier: It was recorded because the second label we were on… instead of Now or Never we were on Barter Records which was a Sony imprint. They asked us to start doing some covers cuz they figured well maybe we’ll release a single of a cover, of you guys doing a cover in order to launch you guys. Van Halen did it; I mean a laundry list of people who ended up getting careers after they did a cover song… I mean Shinedown… that’s really what broke Shinedown. So me and Slider had always played around with it and we’re like alright let’s record it. It’s a much simpler version, no pun intended, but there’s two verses missing and we did it as a demo to show the label what we could do. We’re like alright let’s do this, we’ll shorten it down a bit one chorus, one solo, out. We don’t need to record the whole song, why do that if it’s only a demo. So we did it, we did it real quick, we sent it to them. And they basically said ‘we don’t know if this would really work, we don’t know if this is tangible, we don’t know if people remember who what song this is.’ And six months later fucking Shinedown sells a million records because of Simple Man and now I mean it really jump started their career and everybody knew who Shinedown was and then all of a sudden they re-released the singles that happened before Simple Man Fly From The Inside and 45 and then it was dude it was really a catalyst! If anyone would argue with me differently I would call them stupid. Simple Man was everything for that band. I mean I don’t know maybe it wouldn’t have worked for us at all, maybe it was Shinedown’s moment, but it would be interesting to see what do you think Shinedown would have done it if we went for a full radio campaign? If we fucking released it before they did? I don’t know man I don’t know. But that’s why we recorded it and we recorded a few other covers at that time we actually recorded Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell which I’ll have to send you sometime too.
Joe Altier: It kinda got shelved and then we went through this whole process with that label and we just kinda went nowhere and then we ended up with Century Media a year and a half later so that was why it was recorded and why it was never released they didn’t think it was gonna work. ‘Oops’
AWAY-TEAM: Did you go back to them and say, ‘Ummm….’
Joe Altier: Absolutely like. ‘Jesus man way to go!!!’
AWAY-TEAM: So who are your musical influences or is that what Just Joe is? Is Just Joe where you sing… or is it kind of an example of your musical influences?
Joe Altier: Yeah I take… it’s everything… I do 1200 songs, just about 600 of them I don’t ever want to play, but I do because I just got to do it. And there’s about 600 I really love. My interest in musical influences go from Otis Redding all the way to Metallica. I mean if I made a list my biggest influences it’s fucking mindboggling, right now I’m listening to Zac Brown Band and I love it so. But it kinda encompasses a lot of things and a lot of genres: Skynyrd, Metallica, Pantera, The Eagles, are probably some of the biggest ones and Social Distortion.
AWAY-TEAM: So how did Elephant Mountain come about? How did you and…you and Slider obviously apparently started talking again…
Joe Altier: Yeah, we started talking again. We talked about writing some songs together and then my guitar player John suggested. ‘You and Slider and me and Luke (our drummer) should get a bass player and we should just jam together.’ So it kind of organically came from me and Slider talking about writing together to John forcing us to kind of jam together. And on a cold night in January of ’09 we got together and we started jamming and in a nutshell that’s how Elephant Mountain was born. We got a buddy of ours from Cortland to play bass and then we ended up getting a B3 player a year later in January of this year and voila here we are here’s Elephant Mountain.
AWAY-TEAM: So you have a full-time B3 player?
Joe Altier: Yes he’s in the band. He’s a grandfather he’s 55 fucking years old! He’s been around for years. He played in a band called Bloodline that was signed to Columbia which was Joe Banamassa and yeah it was just a bunch of guys that were all bloodlines of guys from the Allman Brothers and The Doors and everything else. Lou is the B3 player of that band. He’s had a history of being in bands in Syracuse and nationally for years.
AWAY-TEAM: So who is Joe Banamassa a bloodline of?
Joe Altier: Joe Banamassa senior… nobody famous (laughs)…he’s a wicked guitar player.
AWAY-TEAM: Oh yeah I know who he is, I’ve seen him a few times, I just… cuz you were talking about being bloodline of stuff and I was trying to figure out who the hell he belonged to.
Joe Altier: He was just a wicked guitar player as a young kid and he’s from Syracuse area he grew up around here.
AWAY-TEAM: Oh I didn’t know that.
Joe Altier: Yeah he’s a local cat, that’s how Lou ended up in the band because Lou played in his solo band so…
AWAY-TEAM: So for those that don’t know Brand New Sin and don’t know Elephant Mountain how would you describe your sound?
Joe Altier: Pure rock ‘n roll motherfucker! That is the best way man! I mean I think we sound like a lot of different things, and I just think we sound like just straight up rock ‘n roll a very classic style. I think Brand New Sin was a very classic style of rock ‘n roll and metal and I really think that Elephant Mountain is a real classic style of rock ‘n roll I think we sound like a band that should have been around in like 1977 more than 2010 but we have a twist obviously with my vocals. I think that’s the best way to describe our sound it’s just rock ‘n roll, no frills.
AWAY-TEAM: You just released The Last Days of Planet Earth which is the first album for Elephant Mountain and how can people find it?
Joe Altier: So since we don’t have our proper website built yet you can find us on Facebook and that will lead you to CDBaby and you can find all our stuff on CDBaby. iTunes. And eventually we’ll have our own, we’ll have our website built it’s actually in the process right now. That’s the best way to find us is on Facebook and then we actually have a MySpace page you can find us on there and then both of those places will link you to how to buy the record. You can actually buy it physically or you can download it for real cheap. The actual physical CD is a little bit more because of shipping and everything else but you can get the download for like 8 bucks 8 or 9 bucks and if you actually find me in person or you’re in Syracuse you can buy it for 8 bucks.
Damn, we talked forever! There you have it. No holds barred. You want the straight shit, you go to Joe and ask a question, and the straight shit is what he is going to give you.
My thanks to Joe Altier for taking time out of a Dolphins game to talk for 90 minutes to me about EVERYTHING.
You know that ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN’s The Last Days of Planet Earth was in my top 10 of 2010. So go here, or here, or here to get yourself a copy of it. You’ll thank me for it later.
And my thanks to Melissa Dolak who went above and beyond editing and transcribing the interview from hell.
Frontiers Records is excited to announce the release of HURTSMILE self-titled debut album on January 21, 2011 in Europe and February 8, 2011 in the US.
HURTSMILE is a new band featuring singer Gary Cherone (Extreme, Van Halen) who has teamed up with his brother Mark to write his most succinct record to date. The self-titled, HURTSMILE is a raw sonic sucker punch in the face! From the opening buzz saw riff of “Just War Theory” to the epic finale of ”Slave” and “Beyond The Garden/Kicking Against the Goads”, Gary continues to push and poke you in the ear with his lyrically provocative themes.
“Hurtsmile was a long time coming… I always wanted to write a record with my brother,” says Gary. “I’m a big fan of Mark’s song writing and his snarling guitar riffs.” The timing was right as Extreme was in-between their touring and record cycle, leaving Gary the freedom. They recruited Joe Pessia (bass) an alumnus of Nuno Bettencourt’s Dramagods as well as the guitar player for Tantric. Joe also engineered, and co-produced the record with Gary. To round off the lineup they enlisted heavy hitter Dana Spellman on drums “It’s an east coast-Boston thing,” states Gary. “Mark, my brother, was in a band with Nuno’s brother… Joe was in Nuno’s band and Dana was a friend, and student of Mike Mangini (former Extreme drummer) … we like to keep it in the family.”
The lineup is not the only thing familiar with the band. In true Cherone fashion, the record is chock full of swaggering guitar, soaring vocals and the trademark Cherone eclecticism on tracks such as “Jesus Would You Meet Me”, the reggae-tinged “Just War Reprise” and the Dylanesq “The Murder of Daniel Faulkner (4699)”. “Hurtsmile was about returning to my roots, writing a record in my basement, a straight up rock ‘n’ roll record… but it turned out to be more diverse and ambitious than I expected.”
Gary is no stranger to taking on intense topics, and Hurtsmile is no exception. The first half of the record is a group of more loosely knit songs such as the cynically inquisitive “Just War Theory“, the limit’s of free speech “Tolerance Song (edit)” and the disturbingly mesmerizing “Kaffur (Infidel)”, inspired by the beheading of Daniel Pearl.
The 2nd half of the record is more conceptually cohesive; an introspective look at the nature of man and the condition of the human heart. “Stillborn” introduced earlier, and “Set Me Free” both touch on mans inclination toward darkness, culminating with an epic journey from sin to salvation… “Slave” to “Beyond the Garden/Kicking Against the Goads“.
For the most part both themes are represented as 2 sides of a record. A concept familiar to Extreme fans but make no mistake, whether reading between the lines or just moved by the visceral power of the music, this is a completely different type of record. Gary adds, “All the boys in the band have brought something new to the table, and you’ll never know what hit you!”
The songs “Just War Theory” and “Love Thy Neighbor” can exclusively be listened in full in streaming on the Frontiers Web radio.
For more HURTSMILE click here.
BRAVE WORDS recently interviewed ACCEPT‘s Wolf Hoffman:
Stranger things have happened. But whenever a classic act feels the creative juices flowing, yet need to find a new voice due to a death, split or other drama to complete the puzzle, it’s a recipe for disaster. Ask Mr. Iommi about the revolving door of singers post-DIO. In history, two success stories stick out; AC/DC and VAN HALEN. Nothing else comes close. So when guitar legend Wolf Hoffman‘s creative juices were flowing and he couldn’t convince Udo Dirkschneider to take another kick at the can, he started looking for the new voice of ACCEPT. You could hear a big sigh in the distance. No disrespect to former TT QUICK singer Mark Tornillo, but Accept made the disastrous call once in their career and our ears are still ringing from the ‘generation clash‘ (1989′s dismal Eat The Heat with singer David Reece). But here we are in 2010, and Hoffman‘s gut instinct is churning again. He’s got a waft of material he’d created with bassist Peter Baltes and the band needed a voice. Fast-forward to the present and Accept‘s new album, Blood Of The Nations is a blinder, even to the point of entering the German album charts at #4, marking the highest entry ever in the band’s career at home, beating out the #5 position of 1986’s Russian Roulette. So what the hell happened? Hoffman fills in the blanks with BraveWords.com below:
Hoffman: “Man, we really just wanted to prove to the world that we’ve still got it, and we got a little bit ticked off about the early people who said it couldn’t be done, which in turn made us try even harder. We wrote this whole album in two or three months. And this is all brand-new stuff. We just met Mark and figured he’s the perfect man for the gig, and we sat down and asked him whether he wanted to join us. And we called the other guys and within a day or so it was decided that we were gonna re-start Accept. And then we sat down and said, ‘oh, shit, now we need to write new songs, so let’s get to it.’ And Peter and I did, and we wrote all that stuff over the summer last year.”
From USA TODAY:
The concert business will end 2010 on a sour note, Live Nation Executive Chairman Irving Azoff told analysts today.
“We’re still not seeing a consumer recovery” in ticket sales, after a summer when revenues declined, Azoff said at a meeting organized by Liberty Media. Liberty owns 14% of Live Nation, the No. 1 owner of concert halls and, with Ticketmaster, an e-commerce powerhouse.
Next year may improve, he said, as hitmakers who sat on the sidelines in 2010 plan major tours. He’s especially optimistic that the cast of the TV show Glee, Van Halen, Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, and Fleetwood Mac will fill arenas and ampitheaters.
Read the whole article here.
***EDITOR’S NOTE: Sure Glee and Van Halen MAY pack arenas in 2011. But Christina Aguilera already cancelled her tour this year because of poor ticket sales. Fleetwood Mac has always been steady ticket sellers but they’ve gone the way of the Eagles (who cancelled shows this year also) and the Rolling Stones as far as insanely escalating ticket prices. Is the general public going to shell out up to $200 each to see the Mac do a greatest hits package yet again? Sure they forked it over for Lady Gaga this summer, but she is the anomaly not the norm this concert year.
You want to pack arenas again? You want to sell tickets again? It’s a simple fix that everyone in the industry except Live Nation seem to understand. Lower the ticket price.
Do you know where your ticket price comes from? first and foremost it is the band’s guarantee. So if the smoking gun is to be believed, Aerosmith received $1,000,000 per gig for their last 18 show run. The production costs of the show equal the second part of the ticket price. Everything from the local crew (people that set up and tear down the show) to dressing room demands, to feeding up to 100 people backstage two or three meals per show (say $25,000 per show).
If your local venue holds 15,000 people then for the last Aerosmith tour $66.66 went to the artist Guarantee and $2 went to production cots. That’s $68.00 per 15,000 people, assuming the show sells out. Most promoters don’t bet on a sell out. They take HALF the house as a figure to base the ‘break even’ point for each show. Here the math gets fuzzy and harder to figure out. Now the promoters have come up with a sliding scale for tickets. You want to get sweat on by a band? Then they figure you’ll pay up to $200 or more for that privilege. You want to smoke a joint in the nosebleed sections then you are only paying $60 or so.
It all boils down to the promoters paying too much money for the rights to the artists’ tour. Most of the major promoters have seen this and are attempting to get the bands to lower their guarantees. Allowing them to lower their ticket price, thus getting more people through the door to sell merchandise and beer to. Live Nation wants to be the biggest, and the baddest, so they keep over bidding for artists and over paying them to ensure that LN has more tours, more shows, and more artists than anyone else.
This results in you the music fan having to decide if you want to shell out your hard earned money in this cash strapped economy to see your favorite band or to sit at home and pay a bill, or get your car repaired. When concert tickets are as much as new car payments, your decision is pretty simple.
Based on the spring and summer concert ticket sales for 2010 it seems you the music fan and concert goer have spoken out by simply NOT buying high dollar tickets. Most promoters AND artists have heard you. And they are working to reduce ticket costs while still making money themselves (after all music IS a business… sadly).
Live Nation, based on many industry reports and articles I have read, haven’t figured that out yet. They want to be top dog. And they seem to be saying they’ll get there regardless of you, the fan, (read you the bottom line… you pay their bills, not the artists, not their employees, you the one buying the tickets) and how these ridiculously high ticket prices negatively impact you.
After the tragic passing of co-founding QUIET RIOT singer Kevin DuBrow in 2007, many figured that the band was over. But while going through the vaults of vintage video material for an upcoming documentary of the band’s history, the spark was reignited once more for drummer Frankie Banali to kick QR back in gear. The easy part was filling the guitar and bass slots – as former members Chuck Wright (bass) and Alex Grossi (guitar) promptly signed on. However, having to fill DuBrow‘s large shoes was no small task.
A longtime fan of heavy metal, singer Mark Huff came to Banali‘s attention while fronting a California-based VAN HALEN tribute band (that focused on the SAMMY HAGAR era). A true Cinderella story, Huff auditioned via a cattle call audition, promptly blew Banali away, and got the gig. After getting the blessing from DuBrow‘s mother to carry on with Quiet Riot (and to celebrate her son’s music), the group was ready to rock once more.
Quiet Riot is currently firming up plans for a full US tour – their first in three years. And with the aforementioned documentary on the horizon, and the band’s music being used in hit films (The Wrestler, Tropic Thunder), video games (Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The 80s), and even musicals (Rock Of Ages) – as well as QR being name-checked in songs by WEEZER and BEN FOLDS – Quiet Riot remains a major force in heavy metal. And soon, you will get a chance to bang your head once more to Quiet Riot, at a concert venue near you!
For more QUIET RIOT click here.
In a new announcement from its publishing company, VAN HALEN are reportedly back in the studio recording a new album with original vocalist DAVID LEE ROTH. The record, expected to be released in 2011, will be the band’s first full studio album since 1998’s Van Halen III, which featured vocals by EXTREME singer Gary Cherone.
Since forming in the early 70s, Van Halen have released 11 studio albums and have had an on-and-off relationship with Roth. From 1986 to 1997, Roth was replaced by the red rocker SAMMY HAGAR and Cherone was called in for one album after that. Roth’s return to the band in 2007 produced the largest grossing Van Halen tour in history.
Warner/Chappell Music has extended its administration agreements with two original members of the legendary rock band ( Eddie and Alex Van Halen). Under the agreement, Warner/Chappell will continue to administer their catalog of works, including any new releases.
Source: Rockstar Weekly
For more VAN HALEN click here.