JOHN 5 and The Creatures to Release “It’s Alive!” Live Album in January

JOHN 5 and The Creatures to Release “It’s Alive!” Live Album in January
Physical Pre-Orders Coming Soon | Available Digitally via www.john-5.com
“It’s Alive!” U.S. Tour to Begin February 1 in Orlando, FL | VIP Packages Available

JOHN 5 and The Creatures (bassist Ian Ross and drummer Logan Miles Nix) are set to release a brand new live album, It’s Alive!, in January. Becoming available on Thursday, January 25, 2018, It’s Alive! is the first album released by the world-renowned guitarist to be featured on vinyl. A stunning 24-page, full color tour book covering the JOHN 5 and The Creatures tour journeys so far will also be available for separate purchase.

Pre-orders are available now at www.john-5.com/store, with more options coming soon. Fans can check back to www.john-5.com for updates.

JOHN 5 says about the recording of It’s Alive!, “I remember pulling up to a beautiful venue that we played in Sellersville, Pennsylvania and before we were unloading the equipment, the soundman said, ‘Hey guys, would you like to record the show?’ We said, ‘sure that would be amazing!’ I always wanted to have a really great recording of the show. We were a few weeks into the show so we were really well rehearsed, so I said, ‘Alright guys, let’s not jump around. Let’s just really try to get a great performance because we only have one shot – no other shows if we mess up!’ So, we explained to the crowd that we would be recording. You can hear that on the recording of the album, which makes it very magical. It came out amazingly! That’s the magic of live albums to me – capturing the performance.”

It’s Alive! track listing:
1. Guitars, Tits and Monsters
2. Flight of The Vulcan Kelly
3. Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers In Hell, CA
4. Here’s to the Crazy Ones
5. This is my Rifle
6. Jiffy Jam
7. Hall Haw
8. Season Of The Witch
9. The Nightmare Unravels
10. Portrait of Sydney Sloan
11. Triple D
12. Black Grass Plague
13. Behind The Nut Love
14. Making Monsters
15. Beat It
16. Now Fear This
17. Medley

JOHN 5 adds, “I’m so proud of it that I wanted to put it out and also tour it like bands used to tour live albums back in the 70s. I thought that was so cool! I’ve put out a lot of records, so I thought – goddammit, I’m going to do it!”

JOHN 5 and The Creatures will begin an extensive tour of the United States in February for a first leg, and will pick back up in late March for a second. The tour will start in Orlando, FL on February 1 and come to an end in Tacoma, WA on April 21. Tickets will become available very soon, and VIP packages will be available exclusively at www.john-5.com/store. See below for a full listing of dates.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures It’s Alive! tour dates:
2/1 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
2/2 – Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall
2/3 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
2/5 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
2/6 – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger
2/7 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s
2/8 – Richmond, VA @ Broadberry
2/9 – College Park, MD @ Milkboy
2/10 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
2/11 – Stanhope, NJ @ Stanhope Theater
2/12 – New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom
2/13 – Boston, MA @ Middle East
2/14 – Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
2/15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock
2/16 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland
2/17 – Westland, MI @ Token Lounge
2/18 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies
2/20 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
2/21 – Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue
2/22 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House
2/23 – Lexington, KY @ Manchester Music Hall
2/24 – Chattanooga, TN @ Songbirds
3/29 – San Antonio, TX @ Rock Box
3/30 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
3/31 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
4/2 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
4/3 – Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole
4/4 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
4/5 – San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick
4/6 – Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
4/7 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vamp’d
4/8 – Fullerton, CA @ SlideBar
4/11 – Ventura, CA @ Discovery
4/12 – San Jose, CA @ Ritz
4/13 – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
4/14 – Fresno, CA @ Full Circle Brewery
4/15 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlows
4/17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
4/18 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
4/19 – Bend, OR @ Volacanic Pub
4/20 – Portland, OR @ Hard Rock PDX
4/21 – Tacoma, WA @ Tacoma Dome – Tacoma Guitar Festival

World-Renowned Guitarist JOHN 5 Releases New Album “Season of The Witch”, Kicks off solo tour in support.

World-Renowned Guitarist JOHN 5 Releases New Album “Season of The Witch”, Kicks off solo tour in support.

“Season Of The Witch”, the brand new full-length instrumental solo album from world-renowned guitarist JOHN 5, is out now and can be ordered via iTunes, Amazon and John-5.com, or streamed via Spotify.

In celebration of the album’s release, JOHN 5 and The Creatures are kicked off their U.S. tour in Fife, WA on March 3rd. The tour will hit roughly 35 cities (with more potentially TBA), coming to an end in Chicago, IL on April 16. Tickets and VIP are available now – visit http://www.john-5.com/main/tour for more information.

JOHN 5 and the Creatures “SEASON OF THE WITCH” Confirmed Tour Dates:
3/3 – Fife, WA @ Louie G’s
3/4 – Everett, WA @ Tony V’s Garage
3/5 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater
3/9 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub
3/10 – San Jose, CA @ The Ritz
3/11 – Fresno, CA @ Fulton 55
3/12 – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
3/16 – Fullerton, CA @ The Slidebar Rock-n-Roll Cafe
3/17 – West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
3/18 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vamp’d Rock Bar & Grill
3/19 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
3/20 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
3/22 – Austin, TX @ Grizzly Hall
3/23 – San Antonio, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Bar & Live Music
3/24 – Tyler, TX @ Clicks Live
3/25 – Houston, TX @ Scout’s Bar
3/26 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
3/29 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings
3/30 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighbourhood Theatre
3/31 – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger
4/1 – Wilmington, NC @ Calico
4/2 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s
4/3 – Richmond, VA @ Capitol Ale House
4/5 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East – Downstairs
4/6 – Derry, NH @ New Tupelo Music Hall
4/7 – Queens, NY @ Blackthorn 51
4/8 – Boonsboro, MD @ The Stage House
4/9 – Falls Church, VA @ The State Theatre
4/10 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
4/11 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh
4/12 – Cleveland, OH @ The Agora Ballroom
4/13 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House
4/14 – Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue
4/15 – Westland, MI @ The Token Lounge
4/16 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies

JOHN 5 online:
www.john-5.com
www.facebook.com/John5official
www.twitter.com/john5guitarist
www.instagram.com/john5official

Film Review: “John Wick: Chapter 2”

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Common and Laurence Fishburne
Directed By: Chad Stahleski
Rated: R
Running Time: 122 minutes
Summit Entertainment

Our Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

Did the first “John Wick” need a sequel? No. Does “John Wick: Chapter 2” need a sequel? Yes. I didn’t know I needed “Chapter 2” in my life, but I’m glad I got it and now I want more. “Chapter 2” is more of the same from the first installment and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing.

Picking right up where the previous movie ended, John Wick (Reeves), also known as “The Boogeyman,” is finishing off the lingering threats and hitmen who did him wrong from the first installment. But instead of easing back into a low-key and somber retirement, with a new dog in tow, he’s greeted by an old acquaintance, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio). D’Antonio recruits Wick to help him take over a seat of power in the criminal underworld. Wick isn’t so sure, but Santino uses an old blood oath and three missiles to Wick’s home to sway him.

All the potential consequences and paths of this blood oath, as pointed out to Wick multiple times throughout, are Wick’s death. Luckily for Wick, and the audience, he’s the one who spends entire runtime dishing out death. Before the story even contemplates getting too muddled in specifics and new characters, “Chapter 2” takes a deep breath and once again stops itself from becoming too literal. Just like the original, character introductions are more about the person’s individual quirks, skills and ticks, than their actual name or purpose. And “Chapter 2” keeps the video games tropes around as everything is still paid through magical golden tokens and Wick’s gun is stuck on auto-aim.

This helps keep everything flowing as this sequel is about 30 minutes longer, but rarely dull. While “John Wick” was more about the man behind the blood hungry myth, the sequel appears to be more about Wick diving deeper into the world around him, including the Continental, the criminal safe haven, hangout and safe zone from the first film. The Continental is still shrouded in mystery, but the little depth that is revealed implies it’s a lot more than just a U.N. for gangbangers. It may be the actual cogs of society and government.

What made the original so good is that it never bogged itself down in realism despite the backdrop being New York City. Instead it collects visual actualities to prop up this notion that this alternative reality is percolating beneath the surface. “Chapter 2” expands this alternate reality by dropping visual indications on how all these backstabbing swindlers and emotionless assassins have managed to govern themselves. Murder is their business and they’re serious about it. The rules in this violent fantasy world are simple, habitual, rehashed for clarity, and never biased towards any of the heroes and villain.

“Chapter 2” also further establishes previous canon while building on fresh canon without having any of the new nuances become superficial. The violence is a lot more over-the-top, but played straight-faced for laughs. The killings are more gruesome, but never repugnant. Like much of the visually stunning set-pieces, like a room of rotating mirrors bathed in laser light, the violence is aesthetically pleasing. That’s because it’s visually relayed that Wick doesn’t love or sink his teeth into this line of work anymore, but does it as a necessity for survival.

The same crew from the first is back for more, providing an enjoyable and realistic continuation of a seemingly one-off story about a retired assassin out for revenge. He’s no longer out for revenge, but struggling with the underworld that wants him to be addicted to the rush and thrill of being a hired gun. Wick’s world is noir, retro, and techno all in one cohesive ball. The John Wick franchise is not only a great addition to the action-film catalogue, but a much needed renaissance for the CGI-heavy genre.

4K Ultra HD Review “John Wick”

Actors: Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen
Director: Chad Stahelski
Rated: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Run Time: 101 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
4K Ultra HD: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“John Wick” was easily one of the best films of 2014. It is fresh, raw and not afraid to give you the middle finger. Keanu Reeves is beyond badass in this movie…simply beyond. It is just an insane movie and has become the start of a fantastic new franchise. This new combo pack includes a 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD + UltraViolet copy. Let me just say that if I wanted to show off my 4K TV and player with movie. I have a new flagship Blu-ray to demonstrate the features, no questions. This is a must purchase.

Official Premise: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. With New York City as his bullet-riddled playground, “John Wick” (Keanu Reeves) is a fresh and stylized take on the “assassin genre.”

“John Wick” is one of the movies that I would highly recommend this is worth the upgrade to 4K UHD. The 2160p transfer in 2.40:1 looks outstanding. There is a huge increase in detail for this film obviously due to the higher resolution. When I compared the Blu-ray to this, I was literally blown away. This release contains the same Dolby Atmos track that was included on the Blu-ray release, and it is still as amazing. Wall-shaking! The 4K Ultra HD disc comes with the same set of special features as the previous Blu-ray release. There is an audio commentary track, six featurettes and a trailer.

Elton John Bon Jovi and Ariana Grande in Vegas this February

Concerts in Las Vegas have always been a part of the grand experience, but next month the strip will host some incredible music events featuring a combination of modern superstars and long-time music legends. From classic rock bands to pop divas from both now and then, February’s program has a treat in store for all types of music lovers.

In the world of pop, Britney Spears dominated the 90s and continued a successful streak of fame through the 2000s. She will be playing at The Axis, located at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, between the first and fourth of February. While Britney may be a blast from the past, for millennial pop fans Vegas will also be hosting Ariana Grande on the 4th of February. With plenty of billboard hits in 2016 alone, Ariana Grande will play for thousands of fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Just as she pops back into the media spotlight with tabloid rumors about a relationship with the infamous rapper, Drake, Jennifer Lopez will grace the stage at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace between the 1st and 4th, and before catching the show you can also take this opportunity to enjoy one of the four most famous casinos in Vegas! If you can’t make it to Vegas between the 1st and 4th don’t be alarmed; after a short break, she will continue her tour with concerts taking place throughout the 8th and 25th at the Axis Theater.

While entertainment news is plagued with new faces, some music legends have built a fan base so strong that no viral sensation or span of time could ever knock them down from their throne. Several pop and rock legends will join modern singers in Vegas next month including Cher, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi, Willie Nelson, and Elton John.

Cher, real live Cher not look-a-like karaoke Cher, will be performing between the 8th and 25th of February at the Park Theater in Monte Carlo. The legendary Diana Ross will also be performing at the Venetian Theatre during the same period while fans can also catch an Elton John concert between the 8th and 20th at Caesar’s Colosseum.

Adding to this lengthy list of infamous artists, you can also relive the ballads of Bon Jovi on the 25th of February at the T-Mobile Arena. If this star-studded program isn’t enough to lure you to Vegas, once you find out that the Strip’s February 2017 program also includes Santana, The Righteous Brothers, Willie Nelson, and George Strait you just might want to book your flights and tickets before they’re sold out!

John Doe discusses his new album “The Westerner” and his book “Under the Big Black Sun”

(Photo Credit: Jim Herrington)

John Doe is a singer, songwriter, poet and actor. He is probably best known for his work with the seminal Los Angeles punk band X which formed in the mid 1970’s. 2016 has been a busy for year for Doe as earlier this year he released his first solo album in five years titled “The Westerner” along with a book chronicling the L.A. punk scene titled “Under the Big Black Sun”. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with John recently before his performance in Ithaca, NY about the idea behind his new album and what it was like revisiting the stories contained in his book.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album “The Westerner”?

John Doe: My friend Michael Blake who wrote “Dances with Wolves” and several other books was like a brother to me. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and over time couldn’t remember anything. It bugged the hell out of him but we remained close through everything and I would always go up and visit him. We influenced each other a lot in art and writing. Howe Gelb and I were reconnecting around the same as I was writing songs about Michael and using him as a character. I like what Howe has done with different peoples sound as well as his own in Giant Sand. He has really refocused the sound coming out of the Tucson area. I wanted the songs to have space and reverb so working down there seemed like the natural way to go. I had the title “The Westerner” sort in my mind as someone sent me a Doors record. The Doors were also Michaels favorite band so I began looking up stuff on them and my connection with that band goes way back. I was searching the internet and found an image done for one of their record store day releases. Shepard Fairey is the artist who did the piece and he and I have been friends for some time so I asked if he would redo the piece for me and he said yes. The original photo was shot at the Rose Bud Reservation by Aaron Huey who has an organization called “Protect the Sacred”. This was one of Michael’s main charities so it was great to be able to tie all this stuff in with the album. The album is a tribute album but it’s not sad.

AL: Was the idea to do a new solo album already in your thoughts prior to Michael becoming ill?

JD: Everything happened very organically. These days I sort of sit back and look at my watch and say “Holy shit it’s been 4 years since I made a new record” (Laughs). I always am writing bits and pieces of things but it just so happened that Michael was on my mind and I started to see how things were happening and I began tailoring things with what was going on. I loved the song Exene wrote called “Alone in Arizona”. It seemed to be kind of about Michael even though it really wasn’t. I am a big fan of Chan Marshall especially her albums “The Greatest” and “Sun”. I started doing the song “A Little Help” and realized it was similar to “The Greatest” and asked Chan if she would sing on it with me. With the song “Go Baby Go” I reached out to Debbie Harry as X had toured with Blondie and I had asked her before that if I ever had something I thought she would be good for would she do it. That song is a fun rock song and it worked out great. I am very fortunate that I am still around and that people want to come and play.

AL: Having been in the music industry for some time now aside from digitalization and the internet what has been the most notable change?

JD: MTV was really big when it first came out. All the other stuff out there I don’t really concern myself with. I have Instagram and my manager does Facebook so I have a small to moderate presence with social media but if people really want to see me then I think they should come out to show as I am generally hanging around. There is so much great music out there these days that it’s hard to rise above the static. Think of the old music business like an hour glass. You had the music at the top, at the pinching point was the business at the bottom was the public. Over time the shape of the industry changes to where now it’s square. There is just so much stuff flooding people ears these days.

AL: What can you tell us about your new book “Under the Big Black Sun”?

JD: Tom DeSavia who is the co-author and my sweet heart were both telling me that I should write a book. I thought it was going to be just too much work so I didn’t really pay attention to them. One day I had this brilliant idea about how the scene in L.A. was about community and collaboration. With that I knew that I wouldn’t have to write this book all by myself or suffer the pain if people didn’t like it I could just blame it on somebody else. (Laughs) I didn’t have to be the authority on things. I liked book such as “Please Kill Me” and “We Got the Neutron Bomb” however there is not a lot of fact checking that goes into oral histories. Los Angeles was sort of a romantic place in that era so I thought it was important to have it be its own character. I really feel that everything that is Los Angeles from the weather to the cars affected the way the music sounded. After Tom and I decided to do it we got a book deal and things became real. We got paid a pretty good advance and then we knew we really had to go through with it. We started getting people together and selecting topics based on what was important to that scene and what would make people care. The big one was it was that what happened was a cultural revolution. That was Exene’s big part of the book. Dave Alvin was part of the roots scene which got pulled into punk rock so he is the expert there so, that’s where he tells his story from. Robert Lopez was in a Latino band called The Zeroes. He was not out at this time but he was obviously gay so he was able to talk about that aspect of things. Jane Wiedlin talks about where people lived and how that played a role. By doing things this way we were able to give the book a much broader perspective.

AL: The book shines a light on the L.A. punk scene as it was/is often overshadowed by what was going on in New York and London around the same time. Can you tell us a little about that?

JD: I think at some point the media picked up on The Sex Pistols and few other bands that were young and/or un-experienced who said “Fuck You”. The media then said “Ok, Fuck you” which caused them to not cover things as much. When the L.A. scene finally came around about a year and a half later they possibly had enough images and maybe had made up their mind that we weren’t going to play ball. I think bands like Blondie, Talking Heads and The Ramones just wanted to be part of music and have a career. That’s what we wanted also. It wasn’t until the hardcore scene that people felt like they had been abandoned leading to bands doing things on their own. That’s when labels like SST started popping up. Everyone had sort of a chip on their shoulder and over time L.A. punk has started to carve out its own niche which has been good. Twenty or thirty years ago I would have probably been pretty bent out of shape about how the L.A. scene was looked upon but these days I couldn’t care less.

AL: Was there a present rivalry between the two coasts/scenes because of this?

JD: Sure. I think there was a healthy rivalry between New York and L.A. and L.A. and San Francisco but it wasn’t anything to wild. I do remember Exene getting into a fight with Handsome Dick from The Dictators once. (Laughs) What we loved about the whole thing was that almost all of those bands came out to Los Angeles to play at The Whiskey. We saw The Ramones, Blondie, The Damned, Television and a few others who played out our way regularly.

AL: What was it like for X when they would travel to the east coast?

JD: It was rough at first. Exene’s sister got us three shows in NYC in 1978 after we put out our first single. We basically drove from L.A. to New York with all of our gear, played three shows and then drove home. There is a little of that in the book but it was sort of a lukewarm reception. Debbie Harry and Chris Stein came to the shows at Studio 57 and later on we got to be pals with The Ramones. It took a little while because everyone thought L.A. was just swimming pools and Farrah Fawcett. You weren’t just given a Mercedes when you moved there. It was a pretty hard scramble. It was cheap to live there at the time though so there were a lot of young people with nothing to do but create stuff.

AL: What was it like revisiting a lot of the memories from that time period, especially the ones around the time of the death of Exene’s sister?

JD: That specific event wasn’t hard to dig into as I had experienced it so deeply in the beginning. It changed everything for Exene and by relation me too. It wasn’t too hard to look back. I don’t necessarily wish I had kept diaries or anything. It might have been good? You sort of start channeling towards a certain direction and things start to come back. I think it’s all about the details. I worked with everyone who wrote for the book and I always asked for more details. I think everyone was happy to tell their story and I was surprised by quite a few of them.

AL: With your current solo tour coming to end do you have planned for the coming year?

JD: The fortieth anniversary of X is coming up next year. We have the initial schedule which consists of around one hundred shows! Usually we do between thirty and fifty shows a year so this is quite a bit more. I think it’s great! Forty years ago we put a big investment into the bank of punk rock. At the time everyone though it was bullshit but we all have been able to make pretty good careers out of that initial investment. We are one of the few remaining punk bands from that time with its original members. Everyone is healthy now which is really great. We also will be looking to put out some live material and if Exene will write some more lyrics will put out some new songs as well. (Laughs)

Concert Review: John Doe

John Doe, Anna Coogan

Friday, November 4th 2016
The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

John Doe founding member of the legendary Los Angeles punk band X made a stop in Ithaca, NY on November 4th as part of Cornell University’s “Punk Fest: Anarchy in the Archives” a week-long event which included various speaking panels and music performances which coincided with the opening of the Universities “Anarchy in the Archives” exhibit which showcases a vast array of rare punk artifacts. The performance was second of three performances the venue was schedule to host and fans who attended were treated to a great night of music which was highlighted by a guest appearance by X front-woman Exene Cervenka.

Little did I know when I walked through the intimate river side venue doors that on this night I was going to witness an amazing performance by not one but two! Legend’s in punk rock music. The venue was buzzing with excitement as people had heard that X front-woman Exene was in the building after being asked earlier in the day by John to perform with him. After a brief yet eclectic opening set from singer/songwriter Anna Coogan who despite battling some seasonal illness put forth a solid effort which the Ithacan crowd seemed to quite enjoy from the local artist who just returned from a tour with Alt/Country artist Johnny Dowd. After a very quick set change over the man himself John Doe was front and center where he announced his plans for the evening and confirming that Exene was in-fact in the house and that she would be performing with him this night. This announcement only further electrified the crowd as everyone in attendance now knew just how special this night was going to be. To start the set off Doe played selections from his solo career including a handful of new tracks from his recently released “The Westerner” album. Mid way through the performance Doe welcomed up his X cohort Exene to the dimly lit stage. The long time collaborators then proceeded to take the evening to the next level. Though the portion of the set with Cervenka was impromptu the two veterans armed only with one acoustic guitar and their voices delivered a mesmerizing performance that went off as though they had done it hundreds of times before. Much like their work in X the duos haunting voices complimented one another and despite the minimal instrumentation the music was equally if not more powerful in its raw form.

Doe took the stage like a pro and with the help of his long time band partner Exene Cervenka held the Ithaca crowd in the palm of their hands.

Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with John Doe in the interview section of the site.

Singer/Guitarist John Corabi talks about the latest release from The Dead Daisies “Make Some Noise”

For over 20 years singer/guitarist John Corabi has been recording and performing with a number of hard rock acts ranging from Union and ESP to being the replacement for Motley Crue vocalist Vince Neil for a period of time in the mid 90’s. Since that time Corabi has embarked on a successful solo career and also joined the group The Dead Daisies a group whose current lineup also includes Marco Mendoza, Doug Aldrich, Brian Tichy and David Lowy. Media Mikes spoke with John recently about The Dead Daises upcoming album titled “Make Some Noise” which is due out on August 5th and also about the groups upcoming U.S. Tour with Kiss.

Adam Lawton: You joined The Dead Daisies in 2015. What has the first year of being in the band been like for you thus far?

John Corabi: It has been crazy! I got the call originally from Marco as they had been working with someone prior to me and things weren’t working out. They had plans to go over to Cuba and they asked me if I would be willing to go with them. I went and did that and we had an amazing time there. I think that was sort of a way for the guys to feel me out a bit. I think they wanted to see if I was a good fit or not. After that trip I got a call from the guys asking if I wanted to go to Australia and do an album. We got together in March of last year and wrote and recorded the “Revolucion” album in about 33 days. After flying home from that I did some solo shows with my band and the next thing I know I was in California doing a video with guys and also rehearsing for some upcoming European shows with Kiss. We then came back and did a run with Whitesnake after which we went back to Australia with Kiss. We then did the Kiss cruise and went back to Europe again but this time with Whitesnake. I got home at the end of December and by January of this year we were back in the studio working on the new record “Make Some Noise”. Things have been pretty busy. When I’m not out with The Daisies I’m out with my solo band which has a live album coming out in October.

AL: What has the addition of Doug Aldrich been like for the band?

JC: When Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus got the call to go do the Guns N’ Roses tour we reached out to Doug. He is a really great player who has just jumped right in. I have known Doug since he was about 17 as we grew up in Philadelphia together. With this band it’s about friendship as we all hang out and have known each other for a long time. Doug was able to step in to that as he has a great sense of humor to go along with his amazing playing and song writing ability. With this new record we wanted to go in and do a straight forward 70’s era type rock album. All the guys in the band have similar influences so for us to be able to go in and do that with the addition of Doug was really great.

AL: How did the writing for “Make Some Noise” compare to that of your previous album with the band?

JC: When you bring in a different member things do change a little. Doug fits in with everyone and we all have similar interest so that certainly helped. I think the biggest difference with the new record wasn’t really anything with the guitars but it was more so the fact that we didn’t add keyboards this time around. That allowed the guitars more room to be a little more aggressive. David Lowy made that decision as doing a band similar to the style of AC/DC was his original idea for the band. When Richard and Dizzy left it was decided not to replace them so Doug and David had a little more space to expand on their parts in each song.

AL: Do you prefer working on material that is more stripped down and straight forward as opposed to something with a lot of layers and instrumentation?

JC: I think the song really dictates how much or how little it needs. There was one song we did that we didn’t end up putting on the album that I want to put on my new solo album that had a lot of stuff going on within it. When we looked at what we had this song didn’t really fit in with the others because they are all very straight forward. Again the song really decides what it needs in the way of production. I think back to the first album I did with Union which is a pretty stripped down album as that’s what most of those songs required but there is one on that recorded titled “Let It Flow” which has a bunch of cool over dubs and instrumentation on it because that’s what it sort of dictated.

AL: How was it working with producer Marti Frederiksen this time around?

JC: I had known Marti since he opened for my band The Scream in the early Nineties. I always sort of kept an eye on his career. I realized when he started working with groups like Brother Cane and Aerosmith that he was going to do a lot of cool stuff. We were looking for not just a producer but also someone who understood the writing process and would actually listen to what we were doing with a fresh set of ears. Marti was very open to suggestions throughout the process. We have all been making records for quite some time now so things worked well. We would just record things and if for some reason if something didn’t work we would just take it out after the fact. Marti was great in that he knew when to reel us in and also we to let us keep going. It was a two way street that worked pretty effortlessly.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour with Kiss and any other plans you and the band have scheduled?

JC: We start in the states with Kiss on August 10. Those guys have been really great to us. The shows are going to be very high energy. I am not sure how long we are going to be playing just yet but no matter how long we play its going to be pedal to the metal. We plan to do a mix of both old and new material along with a few covers to get the crowd riled up. That tour goes through mid September then we have a headlining show set in Los Angeles. After that I start rehearsals with my solo band and then we go out on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. From there The Daisies head over to Japan for the Loud Park Festival and we are booked all the way through December. We will be hitting a bunch a places all over.

For more info on John Corabi and The Dead Daisies be sure to head over to http://www.thedeaddaisies.comand also www.johncorabimusic.com

A Tribute To John Lennon Benefits Local Families Living with Disabilities

Imagine John, a benefit concert for Lift Disability Network, will be performed Saturday, May 21st at 6:00pm on the lawn of The Bear Club at Keene’s Point in Windermere, FL.

Lift Disability Network’s desire is to elevate life in the disability family. Their passionate mission is to inspire individuals and families living with disabilities to discover a new vision for their future. They do this through camps, community events and groups and family care. The Imagine John benefit concert, hosted by Promoting People, will raise funds to help Lift Disabilities provide a permanent home for their outreach and service activities in the West Orange County community.

The artist, Carm Castiglione is a versatile singer and songwriter. He was been performing in cover bands for over three decades, and has impersonated artists such as Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees), John Lennon and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) across North American venues. He writes and produces audio for film and licensing placements as well as arranges and composes Classical sheet music. Castiglione is also a secondary school music educator in Canada.

Tickets are available for $40.00 online at liftdisability.net/imagine-john/ or at the door the night of the event. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be available for purchase.

Come enjoy a great evening of music and fun and elevate life in the disability community at the same time.

When:              Saturday, May 21, 2016 | 6:00 PM
Where:             The Golden Bear Clubhouse at Keene’s Point
Tickets:            General Admission:  $40      
https://liftdisability.net/event/imagine-john/

Reserve your tickets: (407) 228-8343 at the door May 21, 2016.

Howie Fields and “Big” John Wallace discuss music and Harry Chapin

As much as I admire many of the actors, musicians, ball players and others that I’ve grown up watching, I’ve only cried at the death of four of them:  John Lennon, because it was so senseless; Roy Scheider, because he was my friend; Ron Santo, because he was my first “idol” and Harry Chapin… just because.

When I was 13, Chapin’s song Cats in the Cradle came out.  It struck a chord in me that I never forgot.  It was almost like Harry was singing about my father and me.  My son is going to be 31 later this month, and that song still rings true.  Where I was once the little boy that wanted to spend more time with his dad, now I’m the father who has to accept that my son now has a family of his own.  As I got older I became a fan of Harry Chapin’s music and I was crushed when he was killed 34 years ago today, July 16, 1981.

Today, Harry’s music is still being played, the torch being carried by his brothers Tom and Steve and the members of Harry’s band.  I recently asked drummer Howie Fields and bass player “Big” John Wallace a few questions about Harry Chapin and his music.

Mike Smith:  What were your musical backgrounds before joining up with Harry?
Howie Fields: Drum lessons at age 15 followed by a parade of teenage basement and garage bands playing Beatles, Stones. Rascals, Dylan, Kinks, Hollies, Who, etc. Better bands WITH PAY in my college years leading up to my entry into Harry’s band in 1975.
John Wallace:  I started out as a vocalist in the Grace Church Choir in Brooklyn, New York, where I met Harry and the other Chapin brothers.  I dabbled with the bass guitar in my teen years and my first public appearance on bass was in my teens when Harry asked me to perform his songs with him in people’s homes in Brooklyn. Fast forward approximately 10 years when he asked me to join his band.

MS:  When did you join the band?
HF: 1975
JW: I was a founding member, 1972.

MS: How was Harry to work with – was he open to collaboration when working out his songs with the group?
HF:  That ran the gamut. Sometimes Harry would run down a new song or two and ask us to come up with some ideas during concert sound checks (which he rarely attended) and at other times he would come in with a song and have very precise ideas. The rest of the time it would be pretty equitable collaboration in the recording studio.

MS:  Is there a favorite song you enjoyed playing live?
HF:   “Mercenaries,” “Odd Job Man,” “The Mayor Of Candor Lied”
JW:  Too many to choose from.

MS:  Do you have a favorite memory you’d like to share?
HF:   Quite notably for me, within the run of the show (NOTE – in early 1975 Harry and the band performed on Broadway in a show titled “The Night That Made America Famous” with words and music by Harry.  The show went on to earn two Tony Award nominations), was the night of March 1, 1975. Both Saturday performances were completed and Harry entered the band dressing room and asked Big John if he would come with him to attend the Grammy Awards ceremony at The Uris Theater for which he had one extra ticket and for which he had been nominated as Best Male Vocalist for “Cat’s In The Cradle”. He was also performing the song that night but John politely declined. Harry then put the ticket up for grabs and only after it appeared no one else was taking, I found myself in a cab with Harry, his wife Sandy, and his dad Jim, rushing over to the Grammy’s which had already begun. We entered the building and as we approached the doors leading from the lobby into the actual theater, a young usher (about 20) noted that Harry was overburdened with a guitar (not in its case), a leather bag, and one or two other items. He offered to take the guitar which Harry gladly gave up and then, somehow, as the usher was holding the guitar and at the same time attempting to open the door to the theater for us, he simultaneously dropped the instrument and tripped in such a way that one of his feet came down right on the guitar. So…there the guitar lay…smashed on the ground. It happened in a nano-second and it wasn’t pretty. All I remember at that point was Harry putting his arms around this devastated and horrified kid, saying “Don’t worry about it bro”. He could be like that.

MS:  Harry was killed on his way to perform at a benefit concert.  Did that show ever go on?
HF:  No, that show did not occur but one year later the band plus Tom Chapin did a memorial show on the same stage in Eisenhower Park in Long Island.

MS: Are you amazed that, three decades after he passed away, Harry’s music continues to gain new fans?
HF:   I am, as it’s pleasantly remarkable to me that Harry’s music has endured AND in many circles/families has been passed down to younger generations. The variety of age groups are evident at many of our concerts.

Rock and roll fans take notice:  I first “met” Howie when I was working on a screenplay about Harry’s life.  I contacted Howie and asked him if he had any idea what the set list was at Harry’s last show.  He sent me a copy of it.  Not a list of the songs, but a copy of the actual set list.  Howie runs a web site called “Rock Paper” and I’ll let him tell you about it:

HF:   Rock Paper is a business I have had going for over 20 yrs. It’s an archives of rock music and its two main entities are a complete archives of Rolling Stone magazine, whereby ANY article, record review, concert review, advertisement EVER published in the magazine can be located. Rock Paper has over 10,000 back issues o the magazine going back to the issue #1 (1967). There are also thousands of other back issues available of other classic rock magazines….Crawdaddy, Circus, Creem, etc, etc, etc,

It also has an archive of concert ads cut from newspapers from NYC & the UK.

You can search for whatever you’re looking for at www.RockPaper.net.

All photos copyright www.harrychapin.com

 

Director John Maclean and Stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn talk about “Slow West”

Slow West held its New York premiere on April 19th at the SVA Theater during the 14th annual Tribeca Film Festival. Writer and director John Maclean joined stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn in speaking with me about the Michael-Fassbender-lead western on the red carpet.

Ben Mendelsohn is a renowned Australian actor who in Slow West takes on the larger-than-life role of Payne. Payne, in his oversized furry coat, is the leader of a vicious gang that Fassbender’s character Silas used to run with, and like his character, Mendelsohn seemed a bit bitter at the abandonedment of his gang-mate…

Lauren Damon: Can you discuss the relationship of Silas and Payne
Ben Mendelsohn: Okay, so Silas and Payne rode together back in the day and Silas essentially decided he was gonna go his own way–you know, he’d had enough, like ‘Yeah yeah, I’ve got what I wanted, I’m off doing my own thing’ Which, when you think about it is sort of a really punk move, you know? Because essentially Payne you know, gave this guy A LOT. Now, I’m not saying Silas isn’t a talented man, he is. But basically, he packed up and he got his tail between his legs and off he ran. And you know, time’s come now where our paths  have crossed again and [Silas]’s got this fine little bounty he’s traveling around with and really I just wanna know what’s up with that? Are we gonna share this spoil? Or are you gonna TRY and take it all for yourself? Or are you gonna try and be “a good boy”? So that’s a lot of what that’s about.

 

LD: And how did you all develop the look of Payne?
Ben: Oh the coat is genius. The very talented wardrobe lady [Kirsty Cameron] had it made and showed me all the pictures of trappers and what not from that period with these massive coats on. So once you put that coat on and that hat and you’ve got the tattoos, the rest of it’s a cake walk.

 

LD: How was it to shoot in NZ and with that wardrobe?
Ben: It was…yeah, it’s really crazy open wide spaces. It’s very desolate, it’s harsh. It’s a harsh sort of enviroment but very beautiful too. New Zealand’s a great place to shoot, it’s really got an extraordinary array of you know, locations and looks and feels…it’s all there. It’s a beautiful place to shoot.

 

LD: What attracted you to the film? I mean for a western it had a sense of humor about it too that I didn’t expect at all.
Ben: Yeah, I wasn’t sure how that would go. Michael Fassbender had started with John Maclean and they’d done a couple of short films and essentially the fact that you know that Michael Fassbender had sort of backed this to the degree he did was a very good sign. I’d seen his short films that John Maclean had done and they had something. You know, you could feel there was something there, western, it felt pretty cool. It felt like a good bit of fun with a decent chance of it working.

 

Director John Maclean had previously worked with Michael Fassbender on the short film Pitch Black Heist, which was shown at the 2012 Tribeca Film Fest.
LD: Can you talk about how you initially came to work with Michael Fassbender, what drew you to him or him to your work?
John Maclean: I think it was around the time that he was shooting with Tarantino [on Inglourious Basterds], I knew his agent. And his agent had given Michael some of my early short films I was making on my own. Michael saw something in them, came to me and said you know, if you want to do something, I’ll give up a day. So we started working together there.

 

LD: And when you approached this script, there’s a lot of dark humor in it—did you primarily come at it as a comedy or a western first?
John: I think, like my favorite films—I mean you look at a film like Fargo and it’s not a comedy, it’s not a thriller—I think some of the films I’m interested in, I think you just have to try and be truthful. And like life, comedy comes in to sad moments and sadness comes in to comedy moments.

 

LD: And it’s unconventional that your young romantic lead, his love interest doesn’t actually like him like that back!
John: I think “spoilers” here!

LD: I know, I’m sorry, my review says he’s been friend zoned
John: I just I mean, maybe that was from personal experience (laughs) when I was younger. But that’s what happens with young boys, I think. I guess it was for personal experience actually but um, I think he was never right for her. I think she was always more practical and he always too much of a dreamer. So from the beginning, I guess it’s doomed.

 

LD: How do you describe the back story between Payne and Silas?
John: Yeah, I think that’s the hard thing with wanting to make a shorter film—you can’t branch out into too many of the backstories but…I just imagined that the wild west, there wasn’t that many people at that time. So people sort of crossed paths much more often than you’d expect. I imagine they travelled together and [Silas] was part of Payne’s gang and then didn’t like the senselessness of some of the violence and left and went to go alone and Payne’s trying to draw him back into it.

 

Kodi Smit-McPhee was recently cast as Nightcrawler in next year’s X-men: Apocalypse, seeing as his previous film co-starred Nicholas Hoult (“Beast”) and this one he shared the screen with Fassbender (“Magneto”) I had to ask about joining them as mutants.

Lauren Damon: Have you contacted your past coworkers here for advice on joining the X-Men?
Kodi Smit McPhee: I haven’t contacted them yet. So we got Nicholas Hoult, Ty Sheridan and Michael Fassbender whom I know well. And I really can’t wait to get on set and work with them. And I haven’t said a word to them.

 

LD: What’re you most looking forward to about playing Nightcrawler?
Kodi: I really love the warmth that comes with the passion behind his character. And the novelty within just the tradition of him. I don’t necessarily have a desire to bring new things to it, but just show the world that they love.

 

LD: And are you familiar with Alan Cumming’s take on it from X2?
Kodi: Yes, absolutely. Usually, I mean if I don’t need to–like for Let Me In, I didn’t look at Let the Right One In–but for something like this, I thought it  was right to just find all the roots, you know, see how Nightcrawler evolved into who he is now.

 

LD: If you could choose your own X-power what would it be?
Kodi: I would love to physically, and within my own body, be able to travel back and forth and time. See how the history and the future plays out.

 

LD: Back onto Slow West, I was rewatching The Road recently and I saw your character there sort of as the young optimist to an older guide, like Jay in this film, did you feel that connection there?
Kodi: Absolutely and maybe in fact this whole story itself and the concept of a western story, it was very much like that. Like desolate and moving towards something hopeful. So yeah I really loved that idea and that was never intentional, but I guess it’s something that I’m just great at expressing and hopefully with Nightcrawler, I can move onto other things.

Next week: A more in-depth discussion with John and Kodi, meanwhile, you can check out my review of Slow West here.

Jamie Bamber talks about new role in “John Doe: Vigilante”

Most audiences are familiar with actor Jamie Bamber from his role as Apollo on the acclaimed television series “Battlestar Galactica” and its accompanying films. I was a huge admirer of his work on the UK version of “Law and Order.” This week Mr. Bamber appears as a man on trial for 33 serial killings in the new film, “John Doe: Vigilante.” While taking a break at home (with his dog) we spoke about the film and the change of pace casting.

Mike Smith: Hello and a belated Happy Birthday (Mr. Bamber recently turned 42 on April 3rd)
Jamie Bamber: That’s very kind, thank you.

MS: “John Doe: Vigilante” is such a change of pace role for you. What drew you to the project?
JB: Definitely it was the script. I just thought it was such an unusual script. It definitely addresses the view of the audience…without hitting them over the head and railroading them into having an outraged, bloodthirsty, justice-seeking mob opinion. I found the subject to be very threatening to society and civilization and goodness and everything like that. But then it shifts on you. Just as you’re being pulled into this mob response and losing your faith in justice, it changes your view on what that view is. It makes you feel reprehensible for going there. And I think it really does do that. When you watch the film… (Mr. Bamber’s dog starts barking) Sorry (more barking and whispering). Sorry. It was that very unusual script that drew me to the story.

MS: You’ve played quite a few likable characters in the past. Was the kind of character John Doe is part of your decision in taking the role?
JB: Definitely. You’re quite right. I’m often offered roles that are the decent guy in an extraordinary position. Actually, when I looked at this, I thought “this is an opportunity to do something very different.” And I thought that the guy was fundamentally a decent guy who ended up going on a very unusual journey. Some awful things have happened to him in circumstance and he has lost his moral anchor. But the places he goes to – the dark places – the extreme isolation he experiences behind the mask and when he’s in prison – those are the opportunities to play things I hadn’t played before. And I greatly enjoyed the challenge.

MS: You’ve done quite a bit of both film and television work, do you have a preference? Do you prepare differently as an actor for a film role as opposed to a television role?
JB: They’re both so wonderfully different and yet so wonderfully the same. They both use cameras and the cameras help tell the stories but there’s something about television where you get to watch the stories unravel and go on and become more and more complex. And that also applies to the people you’re working with, too. You become a family. I mean I consider “Battlestar Galactica” one of the greatest experiences of my life. So that side of television is certainly a wonderful thing. The longevity and the continuation. And yet there’s also something amazing about telling a story from beginning to end, from A to Z, in two hours of screen time. I mean you go into the project knowing how it ends. So it may be a bit more demanding in the acting choices you make. You have to be able to tell a story in ninety minutes.

MS: You’ve also voiced a few video games. Is that another “type” of acting as well?
JB: I love doing voice work. I love doing that, it’s great. I love trying to communicate the scene only through the spoken voice. I’d like to do more. I’d like to do a motion capture game, I think that would be interesting.

MS: What do you have coming up?
JB: I just finished a film in Canada called “Numb.” It’s a film I’m very proud of and I can’t wait to see. I also just finished “The Better Half,” which is a romantic comedy which should be out later this year or early next year. I’m keeping busy with different things. No long-running TV show at the moment but I’m keeping busy.

DVD Review “John Doe: Vigilante”

Starring: Jamie Bamber, Lachy Julme and Sam Parsonson
Directed by: Kelly Dolen
Rated: R
Released by: ARC Entertainment
Release date: April 14, 2015
Running time: 1 hour 33 mins

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

Vigilante films have been around for many years. The most popular, “Death Wish,” made Charles Bronson a star and spawned four sequels over 2 decades. Even more subtle films, like “The Star Chamber,” made the question of whether vigilantism is acceptable. Now a new film takes on that question, and your answer may not be what you think it is.

John Doe (Bamber) has been put on trial, charged with killing 33 people. The trial is over and the verdict is about to be read when suddenly an explosion rocks the courthouse area.

A violent film with a compelling message, “John Doe: Vigilante” is a well made, thought provoking film that asks viewers to put away their black and white definitions of right and wrong and truly ask themselves “what would you do?” The film begins with John Doe sitting down with a journalist to answer any questions he may have. John’s first crime was killing a pedophilic former priest. He videotapes the killing and sends it to the mainstream media. They run it, but edit it, so it looks like John killed an innocent old man. No mention is made of the crime or the fact that the tape contains an image of the man giving piano lessons to a young girl with his fly literally open. A woman who’s boyfriend abuses her refuses to leave him. After another horrific beating John Doe beats the man to death. Murderers who’ve escaped justice. Abusers. Rapists. Anyone who has committed a horrific crime and escaped punishment, be it by no prosecution or being released with a slap on the wrist by the court, is told to watch their backs.

Eventually John Doe grows a following, calling themselves “Speak for the Dead.” This faction begins imitating John Doe’s actions, though not as successfully as the real thing. As the interview progresses we see how the media also had a hand in promoting John Doe. A station manager says he was against running the footage supplied at first, but agreed when assured it would be exclusive.

The film is well written and well cast. Bamber, who I’m very familiar with through “Battlestar Galactica” and the UK version of “Law and Order,” steps out of the proper comfort zone he’s been in and gives a dark, yet enlightened performance. He’s an even more crafty Clyde Shelton, Gerard Butler’s character from “Law Abiding Citizen.” The direction is first rate as well, with filmmaker Dolen mixing up the source materials (film, surveillance camera, hand-held video) cleanly.

The EXTRAS are also enjoyable, featuring (2) audio commentaries by the director and screenwriter as well as one by Jamie Bamber, three “behind the scenes” featurettes and cast and crew interviews.

Concert Review: John 5 and the Creatures, Montage Music Hall, Rochester, NY

John 5 and the Creatures
Date: Saturday, March 7th 2015
Venue: Montage Music Hall, Rochester, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Guitarist extraordinaire John 5 slid into the frozen tundra of Rochester, NY on March 7th to perform at the intimate Montage Music Hall. John is currently out on his first ever solo tour which coincides with his latest solo release titled “Careful with That Axe”. Though the crowd wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the guitarist who has worked with everyone from Kd Lang and David Lee Roth to Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie all were quickly wiped away.

The trio who along with John 5 includes bassist Ian Ross and drummer Roger Carter hit the stage basked in rays of red and green light before instantly launching in to the song “Flight of the Vulcan Kelly”. As the set progressed through songs like “Sin”, Jiffy Jam” and “Six Hundred and Sixty Six” 5 and company seemingly became more comfortable with the Rochester crowd and paused briefly to thank them for their support before closing out the night with John’s instrumental rendition of the Michael Jackson classic “Beat It” for closing out the night with a medley of songs ranging from AC/DC’s “Back in Black” to Iron Maidens “The Trooper” to White Zombie classic “Thunder Kiss 65”. This little medley alone made the night worth the price of admission and then some.

Though this may be John’s first tour as a solo artist he’s certainly no stranger to the stage as his 20 plus years of experience in music certainly showed as he worked the audience like a true veteran of the stage. He often signaled for crowd response or sending his guitar into the audience for them to play. Later on in the set he even brought up a fan play his guitar while he passed out high fives to those in the front row. If John 5 and the Creatures are making their way to your time in the coming month or two definitely make it a priority to get to the show as you won’t be disappointed. For those looking for something a little extra out of the night John is offering special VIP packages through www.John-5.com where you can attend sound check, meet the band along with getting some other really cool limited edition swag.

John5 Set List
1.) Flight of the Vulcan Kelly
2.) Villisca
3.) This Is My Rifle
4.) Sin
5.) El Cucuy
6.) Jiffy Jam
7.) Portrait of Sidney Sloan
8.) Guitar Solo
9.) Six Hundred and Sixty Six
10.) Mad Monster Party
11.) Young Thing
12.) First Victim
13.) Feisty Cadavers
14.) Beat It
15.) Medley

John 5 talks about latest album “Careful with that Axe”

John 5 is probably best known for his work with Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie however he is also a successful solo artist who recently released his 8th solo album titled “Careful with That Axe”. The album blends a multitude of styles and sounds making the album impossible to ignore. Media Mikes spoke with John recently about the album creation, his backing band The Creatures and what fans can expect from his first ever solo tour.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about your latest solo album?
John 5: The latest album is titled “Careful with that Axe”. The album was recorded live so there are no punch ins or anything like that. I had an amazing band which consisted of Rodger Carter on drums and Matt Bissonnette on bass. Everything just went together real well which led to the idea of taking things out on the road. The songs all sounded really great and Rob was going to be working on a movie so the timing also worked out. The album has everything from western swing guitar to Spanish style guitar. There are also a couple Jerry Reed songs on there as well. This is really my favorite record from the ones I have done.

AL: What made you decide to cover some of Jerry Reed’s material?
J5: Everything is from childhood. Jerry Reed was someone whose music was always being played in my house. My father loved “Hee Haw” and was into guys like Chet Atkins and Jerry. One of my favorite pickers is Jerry Reed so I wanted to pay a little tribute to him and maybe educate a few people along the way about who he was.

AL: What type steps did you take during pre-production to ensure you could record each song live?
J5: I would sit with a metronome and really work at the songs to get them as tight as I possibly could on my own. I would then go in and rehearse with the guys. It was sort of like training for a fight as after those rehearsals we would go in and record it. It only took a couple hours for each song and then I would go back and mix things. It was a pretty fast recording process however preparing and getting to that point took some time. It was a challenge doing things the way we did but it I like that and it was a lot of fun.

AL: Can you give us some info on the upcoming tour?
J5: This will actually be my very first solo tour. This is a tour that is going to be very special for me. For the fans we are doing a special meet and greet package where people who purchase these will get to come to sound check and meet the band along with all the standard photos and such. You also get the super rare John 5 soda. People have been driving hundreds of miles for this stuff! We are going to be everywhere with this tour and I am very excited to get out there. We also have plans to record a live album during this tour which should be a lot of fun as well.

AL: Are you going to have the same backing band that played on the album out on the road with you?
J5: Rodger Carter will be on drums. I have known him for quite awhile and he is just a really great player. However Matt will not be out with us due to his commitments with Elton John. To find a replacement I had to go to the Musicians Institute to find someone who could play this material. I found a guy buy the name of Ian Ross who is just a monster. This band is just phenomenal.

AL: Are there plans to change any of the song arrangements for the live shows?
J5: They will pretty much have the same formula. When I would go see bands and they wouldn’t play songs the way they were on the albums it sort of bummed me out. I loved going to see bands like Rush that played exactly what you heard on the record. I just found that so cool. I tend to take that same approach and keep things pretty close to the records.

AL: You also have a new live album with Rob Zombie coming out. Can you tell us about that?
J5: This album is a completely live album. There are no overdubs what so ever. We captured the material over a couple different shows. This record really shows just how tight of a band we are. I am very proud of that fact. Rob has done an amazing job and this album came out really great. I personally enjoy live albums especially ones like that this that are true live albums. You can go back and listen to that live performance time and time again.

AL: What other projects do you have in the works for this year?
J5: We just finished work on a new Rob Zombie album. I’m not sure when it’s going to be out just yet however it’s probably one of the best Zombie albums to date. I was a big Zombie fan even before I was in the band and I feel this new album is the best one by far. I also will be working with Rob on the score for his next film “31”. Another thing I have out is a new set of signature guitar strings which are being put out by Dean Markley. I have used their strings since I was a kid so to have my own signature set is pretty cool.