Night Flight Orchestra Guitarist David Andersson talks “Amber Galatic”

Guitarist David Andersson is probably best known for his work with the Scandinavian metal band Soilwork a band which he has been a part of since 2012. Prior to joining the Soilwork Andersson was hard at work with his classic rock tinged group Night Flight Orchestra who recently released their third album titled “Amber Galactic”. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with David recently about the album, its sci-fi theme and the bands plans to perform the album live.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on how Night Flight Orchestra initially came together?

David Andersson: Me and Björn (Strid, also in Soilwork) first met in ’06, when we did our first Soilwork US tour together. We soon found out that we shared a mutual love for classic rock, so we started bonding over all those classic records, and before the tour was over, we’d decided to start a classic rock band ourselves. It took us a while to find the right people, but eventually we succeeded.

AL: What can you tell us about the upcoming release “Amber Galactic”?

DA: “Amber Galactic” is a concept album in a way, although it doesn’t have a straight narrative. It’s more a collection of stories that takes place in the same universe. “Amber Galactic” is set in a future where humanity is exploring and conquering space, but all the space commanders are women, just like the leaders back on Earth, and the men are mostly concerned with providing the ground service and idolizing and falling in love with those superior women that are always slightly out of reach.

AL: Where did this concept come from?

DA: The space theme was my idea. I’ve always read a lot of sci-fi books, mostly because in science fiction, anything is possible, and the things that you never thought would happen actually do happen. And, in a way, all those classic bands and artists from the 70’s and 80’s had the same totally over-the-top approach to everything that they did that was very science fiction-like, where everything was possible and there was no self-irony or “less is more“-thinking involved. Although the music industry was very different back then, and there was a lot more money, resources and drugs involved, I still felt that it is a shame that no one does those kinds of things anymore, at least not in rock music. It’s always been a dream to do something really epic, and what can possibly be more epic than space? So we decided to give it a go at it and just try to do the most epic, outrageous album possible.

AL: Was there anything new this time around with your writing/recording process?

DA: Nothing changed in the recording process, we’ve always produced and recorded everything ourselves. We don’t have any formula as such; we just meet in the studio, throw up some microphones, have a few drinks and start playing. But I guess we’ve gotten better at playing to our strengths and emphasizing the elements in our music that sets us apart from other bands. Though it’s nothing we’ve talked about, more like something in our collective subconscious.

AL: The band recently released a video for the song “Gemini”, can you tell us about that and why that song was chosen for a video treatment?

DA: Our label, Nuclear Blast, wanted to have “Gemini” as the first video release. It’s a song about a female space commander lost somewhere in space on a secret mission, and a love struck man back on Earth trying to get in touch with her to find out if his feelings are reciprocated. I’ve always dreamed of having an 80’s-style animated video set in space, so when we found Elia Cristofoli, an Italian animator/producer, it was fantastic to get a chance to finally do it.

AL: Are there plans to perform the album live/tour?

DA: Yes, we’ll do an exclusive show at the Rock Hard festival in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on the 3rd of June, and then we’ll hopefully do some sort of European tour in the fall. After that, we’ll see. It’s really fun playing live with The Night Flight Orchestra, and we’re always open for suggestions.

Amber Galactic is available for purchase now: http://nblast.de/TNFOAmberGalacticNB

 

STRIFE Guitarist Andrew Kline talks about 20th Anniversary of “In This Defiance”.

The iconic Los Angeles hardcore band STRIFE is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their landmark second LP “In This Defiance”. To commemorate the release the band has put together an extremely limited vinyl release and to find out more about the album Media Mikes spoke with STRIFE guitarist Andrew Kline.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the limited LP package you have coming out commemorating “In This Defiance”?

Andrew Kline: I wanted to do something special for the 20th anniversary of In This Defiance. We teamed up with WAR Records to produce a bubble gum pink colored record that comes in a hand numbered and hand silkscreened cover. There were only 100 made and were sold with a limited edition long sleeve.

AL: What was it like for you looking back and revisiting the album?

AK: “In This Defiance” is my favorite Strife album and we still play a lot of the songs live. It’s a record that I feel doesn’t seem outdated and still fits in with what’s going on within the current hardcore scene.

AL: How do you feel the album relates to the world we are living in now in 2017?

AK: Lyrically, In This Defiance is a pretty personal record. The songs “Grey” and “Blistered” still resonate with me as those songs really relate to the world now.
“Blistered by a raging sun’s flames
Mankind sealed its fate in its haste
Warning signs sent time after time
We just sit back in all this waste”

AL: There seems to be sort of a resurgence of hardcore bands from that late 80’/90’s starting to happen what do you feel has sparked that?

AK: I think that every few years there are a new crop of hardcore kids. They get involved with the scene and they start looking back and getting into bands from different time periods. I think this really created the demand. We’ve definitely seen more than a few bands reunite over the past few years, and I am ok with that.

AL: Are there plans to do some shows where you perform the album in its entirety?

AK: We are hoping to do some shows to support the anniversary of “In This Defiance” at some point before the end of the year. Fans can check out http://strifelahc.comto keep up to date with what is going on.

Jeff Caudill talks about his new EP “Reset the Sun”.

Former Gameface front man Jeff Caudill is back with a new EP titled “Reset the Sun”. The six track EP is a bit of a departure from Caudills emo/rock sound and Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Jeff recently about the new sound, the special Record Store Day release of the EP and his summer tour plans.

Adam Lawton: Tell us about the new EP set to release on Record Store Day?

Jeff Caudill: It’s a concept record, an alt-country road record. The story is about about guy who made some questionable life decisions and is struggling with forgiveness and starting over – and the idea that no matter how far away you go, you can always come back.

AL: Was this release originally designed to be for RSD?

JC: No, but I’m really happy that it worked out this way. I’m a total vinyl nerd and I love Record Store Day so this is kind of the best thing ever. I’m releasing this EP on my own label, Fortunate Son, but my friends at Revelation Records are helping with distribution. They submitted it for RSD and it seemed that the stars aligned.

AL: Being this project is quite different from your work with Gameface were you nervous about exploring new genres?

JC: Well, I’ve always loved this kind of music. Even in Gameface I kind of leaned into the ‘twang’. I put out a couple solo records before this that have a more singer-songwriter vibe so I’ve been working towards this. But yeah, if people are expecting Gameface, they might be wondering what’s going on.

AL: What was it that appealed to you to go the way of the singer/songwriter as opposed to starting a new band?

JC: I’m always writing songs. It’s what I do. I just don’t get paid to do it. The way my life is these days, it makes more sense to just keep going and let the band members come and go as they may. Keeping a band together is tough. I’m enjoying playing with new people, and I enjoy playing solo. I think the solo artist thing allows for more versatility and freedom.

AL: Are there plans to tour behind release?

JC: I hope so. I have some tentative summer plans for some solo acoustic shows on both coasts. I’m also getting a backing band up to speed now too so who knows? As long as I’m playing music in some capacity, I’m happy.

Guitarist Brian Bell talks about The Relationship’s new album “Clara Obscura”.

Photo Credit: Renee Carey

Brian Bell is most notably known as the rhythm guitarist of the band Weezer, a group he has been a part of since 1993. Bell’s latest side project The Relationship released their debut self titled album in 2007 and are back with a new full length album titled “Clara Obscura” which will be released on April 18th. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Brian recently about the group’s formation, the new album and their plans for touring.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on how The Relationship first came together?

Brian Bell: It originally started out as a song writing partnership between Nate Shaw and me. That started basically right after high school when I first moved to Los Angeles to attend music school. I had actually already graduated and was working in the cafeteria during the time that hair metal was the big thing. Guitarists at this time were more into flash and speed as opposed to the emotion and where music has gone today where you do have a lot of soloing. My style of playing has always been more about the emotion and texture which is what drew me to alternative music at an early age. One day I am in the cafeteria wearing a Butthole Surfers shirt and this guy comes in wearing a Chameleons UK shirt. With us both being so different from the other people at the school we connected and started jamming. We wrote our first song immediately after that. At the time we didn’t know how to shop songs or anything like that but we did know how to start a band so that’s what we did. That’s when we came up with name The Relationship. It was something that can have a lot of meaning and was also something that I knew could stand the test of time throughout all the trends in music. It’s a powerful name. In 2007 both Nate and I were going through some big personal changes and we needed something to make sense of our lives at the time so that’s when the band really came together and those changes played a bit part in the writing of our first album.

AL: What can you tell us about the new album “Clara Obscura”?

BB: The title of the album is a play on words about a fictional character named Clara who maybe inspired these songs. The songs are actually a collection of many things and hypothetical/fictional situations. After we had all the songs done I was looking for a word or phrase that summed up the sound of the record. Listening back I felt there was a balance between dark and light both lyrically and modally. I started looking for words that meant what I was feeling. I kept coming across a lot of art themes so I put a few of those together and came up with “Clara Obscura” which basically means clear and obscure.

AL: Did the changes in the bands lineup impact the writing of the new record in any way?

BB: I don’t know how much it impacted the writing as I was the primary songwriter on both records but as far as the band I had more opportunities this time around. I used studio musicians for the first album and they were all great players but one thing I have noticed about studio players is that they are there for the day and not necessarily there after they leave. They aren’t like a traditional band member who might go home and continue to work on things such as nuances and textures. With this second record you get a lot more of that I have a dedicated line up now made up of Jon LaRue, Justin Goings and Brandon Graham. Nate had left the band prior to the recording on the new record so we didn’t use any of his material or performances.

AL: Do you notice any differences when you are writing for The Relationship as opposed to when you writing for Weezer?

BB: With Weezer I submit songs and ideas. I will generally record an acoustic guitar and vocal and that’s it. These days I try not to over demo as I think an iphone recording of just me playing and singing is enough to sell the song or idea. If Rivers or management is drawn to it then he runs it through what I like to call “the Rivers computer” or simply his brain. After, it comes out it’s in its own unique way. I am just happy to be involved at all in that process. If it’s for The Relationship I may expand a little more on things and give space for the other musicians to fill up.

AL: Are there plans to tour outside of what has already been announced?

BB: I would certainly like to tour more however I don’t think anything has been booked yet aside from what has been announced. My schedule is very full at the moment so it’s hard to think outside of the two month blocks I set for myself. I have these two dry erase calendars which are super helpful in making sure I know what is going on from day to day. In this business you have to be able to roll with the punches so if something comes up and we are available we will do it.

AL: What other projects are you currently working on?

BB: The Relationship is really the only one right now. Last year I took some classes at UCLA for orchestration and arranging which you get a taste of on this new record but I would love to some more of that. In sort of tying in with that film scoring is something that seems intriguing to me as of late and something I think I would enjoy doing.

For more information on The Relationship you can check out http://www.therelationshipband.com/

Singer Amy Lee of Evanescence talks about her new single “Speak to Me”

Amy Lee is the co-founder/lead singer for the Grammy Award winning rock group Evanescence. Lee has also participated in numerous other musical projects and has performed as a solo artist. Amy’s latest release is for the film “Voice From the Stone” starring Emilia Clarke and Marton Csokas. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Amy recently about the film, her experience at Skywalker Ranch and what’s in-store for Evanescence this year.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your new single “Speak to Me”?

Amy Lee: This was quite different for me. Writing a song comes from a lot of different places. This one has a really cool and unique story. It was written for the film “Voice From the Stone” which I got to actually see before writing the song. I really loved the film as it made feel so many different things. Being a new mother I was really able to connect with the film main theme as it centers on the bond between mother and son. For me to watch that and relate it to the new huge inspiration in my life I instantly knew it was something I wanted to do. I spoke on the phone with the film’s director Eric Howell and Michael Wandmacher the films composer and we had a great talk about the directional idea and once we were off the phone I went straight to the piano and came up with the initial idea. That doesn’t always happen with me. Sometimes I can go months waiting for an idea to come that I feel is good enough to move forward with. Working on this track was a very inspiring experience.

AL: Were you basing your idea on a portion of the films score or
was it something completely separate from that?

Amy: When I saw the film the score was there but it wasn’t completely finished. They weren’t looking for me to do anything related to the score. They wanted me to write the one and only song in the film which has lyrics. It was helpful to see the visuals and hear some of what was going on as it helped me envision the finished product.

AL: Was this your first time writing for a film?

Amy: I have actually written quite a few things for movies however, most of the time it hasn’t made it through all of the different doors you have to go through to get to the final product. (Laughs) There have been several things that have made it though. In 2014 I did my first score which was a much bigger undertaking as opposed to doing just one song when I worked with David Eggar on the movie “War Story”. There’s another film titled “Blind” coming out later this year that I worked on the score for as well. My experience working on this latest film was very unique as I was able to travel to Italy and visit the filming locations and I was also invited out to Skywalker Ranch in California while they were mastering parts of the film. That was just a dream come true!

AL: Do you ever find differences between writing solo/Evanescence material and music for films?

Amy: Definitely. When I am writing for Evanescence or for my solo stuff and I am writing something that is supposed to represent me. I have these expectations I set for myself to ensure that whatever I do represents who I am. From the lyrics to the music I want it to showcase me. Luckily there are lots of sides of who we are so I get the chance to go down a lot of roads. When you are writing for something like a movie where you are trying to represent the emotions of a character you have to put yourself in that place and try to speak artistically from that view point. Even though it’s someone else’s emotions you are their voice and vehicle. This is different but it’s a nice change as you are allowed to make other choices

AL: What was it like being able to work at Skywalker Ranch?

Amy: After showing my idea to everyone a couple days after our initial talk and them really liking it I was invited to the Ranch to record. I had never been away from my son at the time as he was only thirteen months old. I had to really think about things as it was such a great opportunity but living in New York I would have to fly across the country to California and leave my baby for the first time ever. We hadn’t even had just a single overnight away from one another at this point. After deciding to do it things really couldn’t have been more perfect. Being away put me emotionally in the right place to write the song as I was dealing with separation which was something the song needed. It was just perfect. The ranch is such a great place for creation. There recording studio is the most immaculate place I have ever seen. I actually stayed there and when you are a guest you get stay in your own private cottage with a bike you can ride from place to place on. The one night I was there I had this idea in the middle of the night so I rode my bike down to the studio and just started working. It was the perfect free space to work. Any chance I get to work there again I will certainly take it.

AL: Can you give us an update on your solo work and what is going on with Evanescence?

Amy: About a month ago I released a new solo song called “What Exists”. Looking at my solo releases I feel like I have released more than I actually have. (Laughs) I certainly feel like I have done a lot. I have done a lot of covers. Doing covers is something you can put your own style to without the pressure of having to write a song. I did some of those covers for Disney a few years back. Evanescence has started touring again and we are gearing up to start next month. We will be in South America for a few weeks then we go to Europe. We are working on a bigger project right now which I can’t talk about just yet but we will be releasing something this year. I am very excited!

AL: Any other projects you would like to mention that you have been working on?

Amy: I worked on the score for an independent film titled “Blind”. The film stars Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore. I am not sure of the exact release date for it but I believe it should be coming out this summer, possibly fall. It was a different type of project for me. I didn’t do the soundtrack but as there was a need for music David Eggar would call me. It’s a very different film than “War Story”. For me it’s really fun to be able to work on different things as I get to learn about different genres of music or how to play a different way. There are different feelings which come along with all of that. It’s great to be able to find new collaborators and projects as you are giving yourself the space and a reason to try new things which I think can only be good for you.

Guitarist Alex Grossi talks Maps to the Hollywood Scars and their new EP “Vol. 1”

Alex Grossi is one of the busiest guitarists in today’s music scene. Some of his projects include the bands Beautiful Creatures, Hookers and Blow, Hotel Diablo and most notably Quiet Riot which he joined in 2003. Alex’s newest project Maps to the Hollywood Scars” recently released a new EP titled “Vol. 1” featuring former American Idol contest James Durbin. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Alex recently about the new project and the recent addition of James to the Quiet Riot lineup.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the new project Maps to the Hollywood Scars and, how you and James Durbin came together?

Alex Grossi: I had met James back in 2011 through a mutual business acquaintance when he was doing American Idol. We became friends during that time but lost touch for a few years. It wasn’t until James was doing a residency in Las Vegas recently that we reconnected and I started sending him demos. He was recording some great melodies and lyrics and the more we worked the better things kept getting. Eventually we have almost a dozen songs done. We decided to put out an EP to see how things would go and that led to us doing a second one and so on. Things happened very organically and we are very happy where things are at.

AL: What was the process like for working on the new EP titled “Vol.1”?

AG: I had been working on songs as they came to me for about a year prior. When I sent them to James he immediately got it and was inspired. There was really no set plan for anything but I had been demoing songs for about a year and finally found the right outlet for them. Having James come in has been great and also working with our producer AJ St James and Dizzy Reed who played piano and strings.

AL: How did Dizzy Reed become involved with the project?

AG: I have been playing in a cover band we do called Hookers and Blow for the past twelve or thirteen years. When we wrote the song “Death” I could just hear the string parts and piano parts. I sent him the song and asked him what he could add and what he sent back is what you hear on the record. He did a great job and nailed it.

AL: Are there any plans to tour behind this release?

AG: There have been some offers that have come in but with the both of us now being in Quiet Riot we have to work around that schedule and we would have to put a band together. Right now we are only going to do what makes sense for everyone as it’s hard to schedule something for spring and summer when we already have commitments with Quiet Riot. There has been talk of doing some late night television appearance but as far as a full blown tour we will probably only do a show here or there. It’s a side project and something that we want to keep special. We have plans but we just have to wait for the right time when everyone’s calendars line up.

AL: Can you give us an update on the recent Quiet Riot line-up change?

AG: We just announced James as our new singer and we are currently recording the new album with him titled “Road Rage”. We have bunch of new tour dates that just went up on the Quiet Riot website which will taking us all over the country and also to Canada. More shows keep getting added to it hard to keep up with them all. (Laughs) We are very grateful for the support which keeps us going.

AL: How instrumental were you in bringing James into the Quiet Riot fold?

AG: I was demoing the songs with James and during that time I was sending the tracks over to Frankie to check out. He has been very supportive of the project since I started it so when it came time make a singer change I offered to call James up and see if he would be interested. I called him up; he said he was interested and about two weeks later things were on their way. We did rehearsals and a photo shoot and that was it. It all happened very quickly. James is such a pro in that he came in prepared knowing all the songs and was ready to go. I am very blessed to play with such a great group of guys. We all get along great and I am really excited to get out there with this new lineup.

AL: What other projects are you currently working on?

AG: Back in 2002 I joined Beautiful Creatures replacing DJ Ashba. We recorded an album called “Deuce” which we just got the rights back to. We remixed and re-mastered that album along with adding a few new things. That is going to be released March 31st. We are calling it “Deuce Deluxe” it’s going to have a bunch of new stuff on it and it sounds really great. I also do a fun cover band with Dizzy Reed called Hookers and Blow which we will be doing some shows here and there. I also am working still with Steven Adler. Getting to see him play with Gn’R this summer was amazing.

For more info on all of Alex’s projects visit: www.alexgrossimusic.com

Heath Fields of Shallow Side talks about the bands new EP “One”

Sarah Carmody Photography

Voted by Loudwire.com as “Best New Artist of the Year” Alabama rockers Shallow Side have just released a brand new six track EP titled “One”. The release not only showcases the group’s unique blend of high energy modern rock but is laying the ground work for the bands full-length release later this year. MediaMikes.com had the chance to talk with drummer Heath Fields about the release, the bands upcoming tour and their connection to rock legends STYX.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background info on the band such as how the band came together and its members?

Heath Fields: Shallow Side formed in November of 2010. Seth, Eric and I went to school together in a small town outside of Cullman, Alabama. Cody was introduced to the trio at a local rock show and the four of us began writing and touring nationally almost immediately. We still have yet to slow down.

AL: Tell us about the decision to release an EP ahead of your full length release which is slated for later this year?

HF: The writing process is a very tedious one. Coming out of the studio we had a very mixed bag of songs. Ultimately we decided it would be a better to release that material in our EP format for our future endeavors.

AL: Will the tracks which make up the EP also be included on the full length or will that feature a different group of songs?

HF: The full length release will be totally new material separate from the EP “ONE”. We are excited about our freshly released EP, but as you can imagine, we are also looking forward to getting back to the studio in the near future to prep for new material.

AL: How did the bands connection with Styx frontman Tommy Shaw come about?

HF: It started from our respect and appreciation for the band, and the decision to cover one of their classic smash hits, “Renegade”. Through mutual friends and cyber handshakes, we were privileged to introduce our cover of the song to Tommy, and the rest of the band. It is an honor for the guys to have given us the thumbs up and stamp of approval, as it is a band we have always taken inspiration from.

AL: What can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour in Feb and are there any plans to tour past these announced dates?

HF: We will be hitting the road with our friends in Seasons After and Guns Out At Sundown for the “Rebels & Renegades” tour which starts February 1st. We basically live on the road and consider it a luxury when we are home for short periods of time. We are going to be touring for the majority of 2017. All dates and future tour announcements can be found at www.shallowside.net

Stephen Pearcy talks about his new solo album “Smash”.

Stephen Pearcy is the founder of the heavy metal band RATT a band whose songs “Round and Round” and “Lay It Down” dominated the airwaves throughout the mid 1980’s. Since that time Stephen has released a number of solo albums with the newest one titled “Smash” slated for release in late January. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Stephen recently about the album, its creation and the group’s upcoming tour.

Adam Lawton: How much time was put into the creation of the new album “Smash”?

Stephen Pearcy: Quite a lot went into the album actually. We started this project well over a year or two ago. Originally it was called “Sucker Punch” and it was going to be a four song, four EP type thing. Beau Hill did the mixing and mastering on the first batch of songs and it sounded amazing. During this time I was on and off the road and we just kept writing. I finally decided to take the band in the studio to start tracking and ended up getting a call from Frontiers Records. They really liked the song “Take It” which I felt was a good schematic to start with. Things took off from there and we started re-writing some of the previous songs and also write new ones as well. Eric my co-writer was coming up with some really great stuff and at the end of the day we had enough material for a double album. We took the best ones from there and started recording about six months ago. We really wanted to make sure we had the best songs possible for this album. We didn’t want a lot of studio effects on the tracks so when we thought they were good enough we left them alone. We wanted the album to have both light and dark subject matter along with tings they wouldn’t expect. At the end of the day I think things really worked.

AL: How many songs from the first writing/recording session made it on to the finished album?

SP: We took thirteen songs. We re-recorded one as an acoustic track similar to “Led Zeppelin III” but there were actually seven more songs that we started tracking that we didn’t use. It was very hard to pick which songs were going to be on the album because there were so many good ones. I picked what I thought was crazy and different. Each of these has something different going for it. For the mixing and mastering we also did some different things as we mixed it so that even turned up to eleven it’s not going to squash out. No matter how loud you go with it your still going to be able to hear everything.

AL: Was the albums diversity something you planned or did that happen naturally over time?

SP: That was done deliberately. I wanted a lot of the songs to start off with choruses which just would get nailed into people’s heads. Some of the songs have a more laid back approach. There were times in the writing process where I would finish the lyrics for a song and decide to start over because I felt it didn’t express what the song was actually about. I was writing all the time and practically on everything I could find. From burger bags to napkins and match books I was writing on it. There wasn’t a minute that went by that I wasn’t working on these songs. Eric was writing really great stuff also and sometimes I didn’t even want to tap into my stuff because his was so good. Everything we were doing was relevant to the Smasher character which is on the front cover of the album. It’s all in retrospect to him because that’s what the record is about. What people think is good is not and what is light is dark. If people really read the lyrics they will get the idea. Normally I don’t like putting lyric sheets in albums but I am glad I did with this one as I wanted people to understand what I was saying as its all pretty heavy.

AL: Being a producer yourself can you tell us about the decision to bring in an outside producer for this project?

SP: This wasn’t the first time I had worked with Beau. When we first started working on these songs I was curious to hear what he could do with this material. He and I are friends and his schematic for producing is what I have used for years. The stuff he did was crazy so I wanted to keep him in the mix. When he wasn’t able to work on the final stuff the band sort of jumped in and we did well. Matt our bassist is an engineer so he was able to do all the recording.

AL: Who did you have play on the album with you this time around?

SP: Eric Ferentinos has been around now for almost fourteen years. He is the lead guitarist and co-writer. Greg D ‘Angelo who played drums in White Lion has been with me for about the last six years, Matt Thorne plays bass has been around since the early days of RATT going back to 1981. We also have Frankie Wilsey back on guitar.

AL: What are the bands plans to tour?

SP: The “Smash” tour kicks off in February and will run through July. We have quite a few offers for shows but I am not trying to interrupt what could happen with RATT. We will be hitting a lot of different places this time out and my motto has always been “We go where most bands fear to go”. It doesn’t matter the size of the place or how many people are there we bring the same show every time. We don’t discriminate so if someone wants there ass kicked we will be there!

For more info in Stephen Pearcy you can check out is official website at www.stephen-pearcy.com

Grace Kaufman talks about her role on the CBS series “Man with a Plan”

Teen actress Grace Kaufman has appeared in a variety of television shows including “The Closer” “2 Broke Girls” and the “The Last Ship”. Graces newest role has her playing opposite Matt LeBlanc in the CBS hit comedy “Man with a Plan”. Media Mikes has the chance to speak with Grace recently about her role on the show and also about her new film “Brave New Jersey”.

Adam Lawton: Tell us about your role on “Man with a Plan” and how the role came about?

Grace Kaufman: I play Kate Burns on the show. She is a very fun role to play because not only does she have a little bit of sass along with some rebellious qualities but she also really loves her family. That’s where I feel I connect with the role. Kate can be disobedient but loving at the same time. I had heard about the role by going through the normal auditioning process. I got the script and immediately fell in the love with my character Kate. I knew she was definitely a role I wanted to play. After my first audition I received a call back and that’s when I met Matt LeBlanc for the first time. That was very exciting for me as I have always loved his work. I found out shortly after reading with him that I had gotten the role and I was just over the moon about it.

AL: Was the role fairly laid out when it was presented to you or were you allowed to develop certain traits
of the character on your own?

GK: There were definitely some parts of the character that were already set ahead of time but, I also brought in my own set of traits and personality to the character. I think that’s what makes things more natural. I was very grateful for the opportunity to do that I was able to explore the character of Kate and really get to know her as well.

AL: What has it been like working alongside Matt LeBlanc?

GK: When I first met Matt at the initial call back it was like meeting one of your idols. I loved him on “Friends” and I have enjoyed his other work as well. Matt is very talented and a brilliant actor. To be in the same room and read with him was such a cool experience. Just being there was very exciting. We did our read through and there was some notes they gave me for the next read and everything just went from there.

AL: The show recently got picked up for a full run. What do you feel makes “Man with a Plan” stand out from other family based comedies?

GK: I feel like the show is not only one that’s fun for the whole family to watch but one that every member can relate to. I feel like a lot of the situations that happen on the show are things that happen to real families. That’s what I think makes the show so special and enjoyable for families to sit down and watch together.

AL: Was this your first experience filming in-front of a live studio audience?

GK: I have done some guest starring roles on shows which film in front of live audiences so I had some experience with that going in to this show. This was my first show that I was a series regular on where there would be a live audience. Even though I had done guests spots before in similar settings it was still very exciting and a bit nerve racking. The more we work in-front of the audience the more I have been able to see that they are not there to judge us. They are there to support us and laugh with us. Knowing that has made me start to feel very comfortable in-front of them now.

AL: You also recently had a film premier at the Austin Film Festival. Can you tell us about that?

GK: The film is called “Brave New Jersey”. I filmed that about a year ago in Tennessee. It was a lot of fun as I had never been to that state before nor had I ever done a period piece. The film takes place in the late 1930’s on the night of Orson Wells “War of the Worlds” broadcast. It’s set in a small town in Lullaby, NJ which overhears the broadcast and assumes real aliens are in-fact invading. The premise is based around if you know you only have one night to live what would you do? Having never done something like this before it was a lot of fun and I got to work with some really great people that I learned a lot from.

AL: What are your plans for the coming year?

GK: We start filming “Man with a Plan” again in January so I have that to look forward to. I also have a role on the show “The Last Ship” which is on TNT that just got picked up for a fifth season. I start working on that in April. I have been working on that show for about four years now so I am very excited that we are coming back for another season. The cast and crew have become like a family to me there. It’s quite different than “Man with a Plan” but they are both special to me in different ways. Shooting this fifth season is going to be really great.

For more info on Grace and her projects you can check out her various social media accounts at @ImGraceKaufman

Fred Hajjar talks about taking over the holidays with his website, UglyChristmasSweater.com

The holiday season is upon us in full swing and we took some time to chat with owner of UglyChristmasSweater.com to discuss the huge phenomenon that is taking over people’s wardrobes during this time of the year! Everyone has or wants an Ugly Sweater. They are silly fun and a great way to kick back and relax during those lame holiday get togethers. Fred Hajjar is the CEO of the site and has taken over the holidays with this hot craze. We had a chance to chat with Fred about his work and celebrating the holiday season.

Mike Gencarelli: When did you get started with UglyChristmasSweater.com?
Fred Hajjar: The domain was purchased in 2011. The site went live in 2012. I have another clothing website, www.tvstoreonline.com, and thought this would be a great way to expand when I noticed demand for sweaters on eBay and the salvation Army in 2011. I also noticed more and more holiday parties happening every year and also saw statistics showing an increase in searches for ugly Christmas sweaters. From there, www.UglyChristmasSweater.com was born.

MG: Why do you feel that there is such a demand for this product?
FH: Popularity for Ugly Christmas Sweaters has been increasing year to year due to more families, businesses and events around Ugly Christmas Sweaters, thus the overall website traffic has also increased.

MG: Tell us about how you choose your designs?
FH: We do a lot of research on what does well across the web. We also have search term statistics along with data that shows trending designs.We feel the term “ugly” for sweaters has come to encompass not just old style sweaters, such as those at the Salvation Army for example, but also newly designed sweaters that can have a classic or outgoing feel. Everyone has a different opinion, but we feel it represents a sweater that makes you stand out and portrays your true holiday spirit.

MG: I read you even have ones with LED Lights?
FH: Yes, we do! People love creative designs and for some, the more extreme, the better!

MG: Give us some background on the new custom design your own sweater generator on your site?
FH: We decided we needed something creative this year and the customizer was a hit! With sweaters being more mainstream this year, what better way to get something unique!

Save Ferris front-woman Monique Powell talks about the bands reformation and upcoming EP “New Sound”

    (photo by Piper Ferguson)

Monique Powell is the lead singer of the Orange County ska-punk band Save Ferris. After a 15 year break the band is set to release a new EP in February titled “New Sound” and embark on a US tour also starting in February. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Monique recently about the bands return, their pledge music campaign and about working with producer John Avila.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background info on the reformation of the group in 2013 and leading up to where the group is now in 2016?

Monique Powell: In 2012, I was diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition that had caused irreparable spinal cord damage in my neck. I was told by doctors that, without emergency surgery I could eventually lose my ability to walk. The catch was that, the surgery I needed was typically performed from the front of the neck, an issue that would have prevented me from ever singing again. I had one doctor say to me “Do you want to sing or do you want to walk?”. At that point, I became determined to find a doctor that could perform the surgery I needed through the back of my neck, a procedure considered far more dangerous, painful, and with far more required rehabilitation. The minute before I went under anesthesia for the difficult surgery, I decided I was going to bring Save Ferris back if I woke up from the procedure with my ability to walk and my voice intact. This is what led to the reincarnation of Save Ferris in 2013. I had to relearn how to hold my head up, how to do simple tasks with my arms, and through it all, I had Save Ferris and the fans to aim for. The response to the shows in 2013 was so positive, I decided to bring us back for good!

AL: What was it like heading back into the studio after being away from that process for so long?

MP: At first, scary. I didn’t eat for days prior due to nerves but then something happened and the magic of John Avila filled the studio, and, I settled in beautifully. It was as if a day hadn’t gone by.

AL: How did the relationship with producer John Avila come together?

MP: John produced the first Reel Big Fish album which was the first album I ever sang on when I was about 19 years old. We had a great time recording “She Has a Girlfriend Now” for Reel Big Fish and I never forget John’s kindness and calm demeanor. When I was shopping for producers for my new stuff, John’s name came up, and I thought, “how crazy would it be if this all came around full circle”. So I scheduled a meeting and here we are.

AL: Can you tell us about the pledge music campaign that is happening around the new EP?

MP: Well, being a band that was virtually inactive for so long, I had no idea how I would finance a new album. Thanks to Pledge and our fans, this new album has been made possible. It has been really fun, we had a studio party with our fans that donated to be on the record it was an epic night for all of us.

AL: Can you tell us about the upcoming tour and what other plans you and the band have for 2017?

MP: The band and I are all so excited to be finally touring together. It really is a dream come true for us, and I cannot believe it is actually happening. I’ve worked so hard for 3 years to make this possible. As for 2017, after we release the EP early in the year, and the 6 week Fall tour of North America, we will continue working on a full length album. If all goes as planned, we will release the full length prior to our 2017 summer tour so fingers crossed!

For more info on Save Ferris and a complete list of tour dates visit http://www.saveferrisofficial.com/

Bassist Pete Griffin talks Giraffe Tongue Orchestra and their “The Walking Dead” connection.

Pete Griffin is a Grammy Award-winning bassist who has worked with everyone from Dweezil Zappa and Steve Vai to Edgar Winter and Dethklok. Griffin’s latest musical endeavor is that of Giraffe Tongue Orchestra a group whose members also include Brent Hinds of Mastodon, Ben Weinman of Dillinger Escape Plan and William DuVall of Alice In Chains. The group released their debut album titled “Broken Lines” in September and is hitting the road this month in support of the release. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Pete recently about the bands formation, the creation of the album and what fans can expect from the upcoming tour.

Adam Lawton: How did the group initially come together and what is the story behind its unique name?

Pete Griffin: Ben and Brent had been touring together off and on for a decade with their respective bands Dillinger Escape Plan and Mastodon. Even though their sounds are a bit different there groups are both heavy and are very forward thinking. They have been friends and co-workers for some time. Those guys started kicking ideas back and forth and they ended up being better than the average ideas one might pass along. This all started back about eight years ago. The idea for the group has been around for some times and there have been various rhythm sections and recording sessions that didn’t yield any solid results. Last year I got a text from Brent after meeting him while I was out with Dweezil Zappa. I got asked to come and jam with those guys and we started working on a song that would end up being titled “Crucifixion”. They had already started working on things before I got there so I just walked in and just started going. It was at that moment that I think we all agreed there was something there. A month later we tracked the rest of the record with no vocalist. During that time Ben and I were having some pretty hilarious text messages back and forth about who we should get to sing. We were throwing out names like Sting and Paul McCartney which were just pipedream ideas. Around this same time Brent ran in to William in Atlanta and asked him if he would be interested in doing the record. The name of the group was already in place by the time I came along. I think it was one of those flash in the pan ideas where they saw a nature documentary about giraffes and you got to have a band name so there you go. On the flip side you have the abbreviation GTO which when you read it often gives people thoughts of the muscle car which is a hard driving automobile. I think that is a pretty accurate description of our sound as well so in a silly backhanded way it became a good moniker for us.

AL: Are the songs that make up “Broken Lines” ones that were already put together before you joined the group or is this an entirely new group of tracks?

PG: About seventy five percent of the songs were blocked out before I came in. The parts were all there but the bass lines may have needed some tweaking. We also may have done some arrangement changes but Ben had demos for three quarters of the album. When we got together we wrote three more songs as a band and things went from there. The last song we did was put together from three different jams we had recorded. We came up with a way to put them all together and make them work as one song. The interesting thing about that was going back and learning that song in its new form. Now that we have done it a few times its one of the more fun songs to play as it jumps around quite a bit.

AL: The group made some ties recently to “The Walking Dead” television series can you tells us how that all happened?

PG: Bear McCreary who is the composer on the show is a good friend of mine. I have worked with Bear for many years now on a number of his other projects. Have yet to work on “The Walking Dead” but I have done stuff for “Black Sails” and a bunch of other movie score stuff. I had let some of my music friends know about the new album when it came out so they could check it out and a couple weeks letter Bear made a post telling people to go check it out as well. It was cool to get the praise from him.

AL: What can fans anticipate from the upcoming live shows?

PG: So far I know we are going to be performing the full record. With the record being only forty five minutes I am sure we are going to be looking to add some other material or do some extended jamming but we will have to see. At this point we are still experimenting with who we are live. We did two festival shows in England but other than that this is all still very new. It’s definitely going to be a great show though every night we get up there. I am really excited to get things going. A couple days before the tour starts we are all heading out to Ben’s in New Jersey to put everything together so it’s going to be a lot of fun.

AL: This tour runs through mid-December. Have there been any talks of what you and the band have planned for the remainder of the year and into 2017?

PG: Currently after December there isn’t anything else booked for Giraffe Tongue. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be anything else as I would love to keep doing this but nothing is scheduled for right now. Personally for me after this tour wraps up I have a pretty quite rest of the year. Going in to next year I will be working with Paul Gilbert in January and February as we will be going down to Brazil which I am definitely excited for. Ben will be out with Dillinger in Europe promoting their last album and Brent has a new album with Mastodon coming out. It’s going to be a busy 2017 for all of us. That’s something fans should consider when thinking about coming to see Giraffe Tongue Orchestra is this could one of the few times you will get to this project live. That fact also will make the shows even more special.

Guitarist Todd Campbell talks about teaming up with his family to form Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons

Phil Campbell and the Bastards Sons is the latest post Motorhead offering from long-time guitarist Phil Campbell. What makes this group unique is that the “Bastard Sons” really are Campbell’s sons. Along with Neil Starr on vocals Phil’s sons Todd, Dane and Tyler round out the group’s lineup which is set to release their self titled debut EP on November 18th. Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with Todd Campbell about the group’s formation, the creation of the EP and about the bands upcoming tour.

Adam Lawton: How did the idea for the new band come about?

Todd Campbell: About four years ago I celebrated my 30th birthday and we had a party with a band. My dad happened to be home at the time and we got up and jammed along with my buddy Neil Starr. We did a few Rolling Stones songs and it went really well. We had said that we should do that more often and things have just sort of carried on since then. That really was the basis for the band. My dad and I play guitar, my youngest brother Tyler plays bass, my other brother Dane plays drums and we have Neil singing. Us Campbell’s we can play a bit but our voice is a bit un-cool. (Laughs)

AL: From a creative stand point how did the album come together?

TC: The whole process was really cool. We didn’t really have a time frame to get the EP out so we just played quite a bit together. We would sort of sit on the material for a bit then my dad would come in and give his thoughts and input in different parts. It was all really easy to be honest. I think my dad actually enjoyed the process as well because being related we were all sort of on the same page already so it was a good experience.

AL: What was it that appealed to the band about doing an EP for your first release as opposed to a full length album?

TC: There were some time and budget factors that helped with that decision but when you do a full album you in a way are sort of tied to that specific sounds for a couple of years. With an EP you can bounce to the next thing a little quicker and get some fresh material out there to your fans. It also gives us an angle to play some new songs live as we move on to the next album.

AL: Do you think the music market right now sort of lends itself more to EP’s as opposed to full length albums?

TC: The value of music these days is just lost. Gone are the days of saving up your money and going to the music store and buying an album. We originally had this idea of doing just one song and then charging $100 dollars for it. (Laughs) We figured if we made the most expensive song people would look at it and just wonder why it was expensive in hopes to bring value back to the industry. We never ended up doing it because we figured after one person bought they would just share it and the thing would die on its ass. In today’s market you have about 30 seconds to grab some ones attention and that’s all you get. Despite all of that I think for rock bands the album will always be there. You get that 45 minutes or an hour to put your stamp on something which is important in rock music.

AL: “Big Mouth” is the bands first single. What was about this track that stood out above the rest?

TC: That song has a good rock and roll vibe and is also really punchy. That was about the third song I think we actually worked on. I had come up with the riff and then my dad unlocked the rest of it. I think that song came together the most organically. We all agreed this was the one that should go our first to everyone so they could gauge us as a band. It was all a very natural process.

AL: A lot of times we see band members taking on dual roles as producers. Your situation is even more unique as you are not only both of those but also a son and brother. How do you go about balancing all of those rolls?

TC: I have worked/played with a lot of different bands and when you don’t know someone as well you have to be rather tactful with your approach to different things. In this case where I have known everyone practically my entire life you just get right to it. If I think something is shit I can come right out and say that. (Laughs) You can be really upfront with everyone. Sometimes when people see us sound check they are a bit taken back as we are very honest with each other. We have these mini arguments but then 2 minutes later it’s all been forgotten about. Everyone is very honest and no one’s feelings get hurt as we just move on being we have that family bond with one another. Where I had to step back from things was during the mixing process. I wanted to bring someone in with fresh ears. You can sort of obsess when it’s your own work so we brought in Cameron Webb who mixed the last few Motorhead records. He did a fantastic job and that sort of took some pressure off of me. Having those outside ears keeps you on the ball as well because you can’t be lazy. You have to get everything right before it goes on to that next process where you won’t be as involved.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming UK tour and if there are plans to bring the band to the States?

TC: We are doing a run of shows on our starting October 18th and then towards then of the year we will be doing some shows with Saxon which should be really great. We definitely want to come to the U.S. and we have representation there now. The EP is really kicking things off for us and now that we have the Motorhead team behind us I think that’s going to really help. Before we just called ourselves the “All Star Band” and only played here or there but now we have something bigger going and we are taking it serious so we hope to be able to get out to as many different places as possible.

For more info on Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons you can check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PhilCampbellATBS

Guitarist Andy Timmons talks about his new album “Theme From a Perfect World”

Photo by Simone Cecchetti.

Andy Timmons has been performing on stages all over the world since the mid 1980’s most notably with the band Danger Danger, Kip Winger and as the musical director/guitarist for Olivia Newton-John. When not working in the studio or with one of his many projects Andy focuses on his group The Andy Timmons Band. The group has just released a new instrumental album titled “Theme From a Perfect World” and Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Andy recently about the albums creation, his creative process and the bands current U.S. tour.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about your bands latest album?

Andy Timmons: We started working on the record about six years ago. What happened was is we started working on “Theme From a Perfect World” and that sort of morphed in to the “Sgt. Pepper” album. That really took on a life of its own and we ended up finishing the Pepper record first. It took us a little bit of time to get back to this new record as we had been doing a bunch of live shows along with all of us being very busy outside of the Andy Timmons. We are here now after about ten years with a new batch of original material. That certainly was much too long of a stretch and we hope to correct that in the coming years.

AL: Can you tell us about the decision to do an all instrumental album?

AT: For me I think my uniqueness to music is my voice on the guitar. I have certainly done a fair share of music with vocals and such but I think guitar is what I do best and that’s really what I have spent my life doing. Instrumental music is a more pure and direct way of communicating especially if you are able to develop that connection on your instrument. With the guitar I think I am just scratching the surface really. Two of my heroes are Jeff Beck and Pat Matheny. Those guys really set a bench mark with their level of expression. There are a lot of great players out there but those two guys are at the forefront of people who raise the bar. That’s the path I am aspiring to and the band and I are just really trying to strike a deeper chord with our music as opposed to taking a more generic route.

AL: Is there a different creative process for you when writing instrumental music as opposed to lyrical
music?

AT: It’s all driven by the same muse. I am trying to create music that I love. I think the songwriting process or the guitar soloing process is really driven by that same desire. I want to create something that’s equal in quality to all the music I have taken in over the course of my life.

AL: The album has a deep melodic feel to it. Is that something that evolved over the course of making the album or was that something you consciously wanted to do?

AT: That has been sort of an ongoing growth/development. It’s been a natural progression for me. I think there have been some good songs on some of my earlier releases but what has always been in the forefront of my mind. Yes I wanted to write some good songs but I also wanted to play my ass off. With the maturing and growing process it’s clear that none of that means anything unless you have a great song. You want people to listen repeatedly and it to be something they want to hear multiple times.

AL: How do you think your songwriting has evolved since your early days with Danger Danger?

AT: It sort of has just evolved in the way it’s evolved. It’s hard for me to really speak much about that because I am so close to it. The inspirations and motivations haven’t changed that much. I do think I am getting better at reflecting the emotions that I want to get across. Not every moment on the new record has a deep meaning but there are a handful of the songs that are based around some very heavy life changing events. Everything was very much in the moment and a heartfelt document of what was happening at that time.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands current tour?

AT: This is the bands very first U.S. tour. It’s a bit crazy to hear me say that because we have been a band since 1988! It’s been an interesting trajectory for the band in that our career has sort of lived more in Europe and South East Asia. In the States things seemed a bit more daunting. We have all done higher level touring here in the states with other bands so the prospect of jumping in a band and potentially lose money didn’t seem that appealing. Doing that is fine in your early 20’s but not so much these days. Thanks to the internet and things like that people have been able to find more of our material which is great because we now are able to get out on the road here in the States. We will be out in the states for three weeks then we head over to Asia in November. We have December off and then in January we will be appearing at the NAMM show in California. I want to concentrate more on the U.S. at this point. We will still probably hit Europe sometime next year as well. There’s going to be several pockets of touring activity but Mike and I have a lot of recording we want to do as well. There’s going to be a much more ongoing creative process going forward.

For more info on Andy and the Andy Timmons Band you can visit http://andytimmons.com/

Charred Walls of the Damned’s Richard Christy talks about the bands latest album “Creatures Watching Over the Dead”

Richard Christy may be best known for his work on the Howard Stern radio show however long before his antics made him a regular fixture on the long running show Richard was a heavy metal drummer for bands like Death and Iced Earth. In 2009 Richard formed his latest group Charred Walls of the Damned. The group’s current lineup which along with Christy features Jason Suecof, Steve DiGiorgio and former Judas Priest front man Tim “Ripper” Owens are set to release their fourth studio album titled “Creatures Watching Over the Dead” on September 23rd. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Richard recently about the new album and its creation, possible tour plans and this year’s hot Halloween trends.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album?

Richard Christy: The new album is called “Creatures Watching Over the Dead”. It has nine songs on it and it’s been five years since the bands second album. I took quite a bit more time with the writing on this one than the previous two. A lot of that has to do with Brian Slagel from Metal Blade Records who is real cool about letting us take our time when getting an album out. He really understands our schedules and knows how busy we are all. Aside from the schedules I wanted to take the extra time because with song writing there is always a learning process. Just like with anything else the more time you spend doing it the better you start to get at it. I went through each song to make it the best I possibly could. I initially ended up writing 24 songs between the last album and this one. I had always heard about bands writing a bunch of material and then picking the best from that and with this album we were able to do that as well. I always do pre-production for the albums so during that time Jason Suecof and I picked what we thought were the best 9 tracks and those are what took in to record. It took about a year to get everything recorded from there.

AL: What type of process did you have for selecting the 9 songs that make the album?

RC: That’s what the great thing is about having Jason as our guitarist and producer. When he hears these songs fresh for the first time he is able to pick the ones pretty quickly that catch his ear. For me it’s hard to choose as I wrote them and am a little too close to the song to be objective. Jason has a great ear for songs and melody. He is also a really great song writer. I told him the ones that catch his ear right away are the ones we should go with and that is kind of how we did it. When we finally got together for pre-production we started tweaking the nine songs a little further so we had them exactly the way we wanted them on the album. By the time we get in the studio we are pretty much set to go which allows things to flow pretty smoothly.

AL: With you doing a majority of the songwriting where do the other members fit in during the creative process for a new album?

RC: The other guys in the band have total creative freedom. I basically give them the blue print and then have them add to it or make changes if they need/want to. I am not a good bass player or singer. I can do enough to get what I am hearing in my head out but with Steve Digiorgio and Tim “Ripper” Owens those guys are great and can just go crazy. When we go in to record the guitars and drums are already done so I tell those guys just go as nuts as you want to go. I love when Steve matches stuff up to my drum fills. When we do the vocals we are generally all there and we work together with Tim. Jason is great with vocal patterns and melodies so usually what happens is if we can’t come up with something better than what I put down on the demo or everyone really likes what I did on the demo we will go with that but, I like to get Tim and Jason’s ideas for the vocals first and then we just pick the best of those ideas.

AL: The album has sort of a dark title however a majority of the vocals are rather positive. Was this something that happened consciously or did those themes develop more naturally over the course of writing?

RC: I guess it’s sort of a conscious thing. I am a pretty positive person. I have tried to write lyrics about more brutal subjects or what’s going on in the news. When I was in Burning Inside I would write about horror movies and things like that but with getting older these days I like to think about things that make me happy. It’s not that these lyrics are about it being a nice sunny day but I try and make the lyrics about stuff I have experienced and also about things that inspire me. I write about a lot of stuff I see just living in New York City and walking the streets there. I find it’s easier for me to write and things flow better when I am writing about something that means a lot to mean. I do try and write things in a way that doesn’t make them sound too happy or cheerful. I want things to sound cool but at the same mean something to me and to other people.

AL: Can you tell us a little about the album art?

RC: Being a huge fan of Halloween I came across this really great photographer by the name of Pumpkin Rot. He has a website called www.pumpkinrot.com where he showcases his photos of these scenes he sets up where he lives in Pennsylvania. One day I saw a cool picture of his and I decided to just email him and ask if we could use that picture for the album art. He was totally cool about it and with the name of the band and that photo I thought it fit very well together. The title of the album actually comes from me staring at that picture trying to come up with a title for it. I also wanted to come up with something that started with the letters CWOTD to fit in with the theme of our previous album titles. I have been asked if there was some sort of deep meaning to the cover but really it’s just a picture that I liked which I came up with a cool sounding title for. (Laughs)

AL: A lot can happen when a band takes an extended amount of time between albums. Were you ever worry about the effects that it could have not only on the band but also your fans?

RC: I don’t think there was anything that difficult for us as we are all a little bit older as are our fans. I also don’t think the extended time between albums is as much of an issue with metal fans in general. For me once you’re a metal head you are always going to be a metal head. If a band that was around in the early eighties comes out with a new album today I would still be in to checking it out. I am very open minded as a metal head. The culture as well as social media has changed a lot since our last record but we are not really a trendy band. We are a band that has aspects of having a modern metal sound but we also have a very classic metal sound to us as well. We try to blend all that together. Because of all that I don’t think we as affected by changes and trends going on. In fact I think it may have helped us. A lot of people weren’t sure if we were still going to be together but I think people are pleasantly surprised that there is a new album coming out. I think also because all the guys in the band myself included have other projects that keep us busy people may have thought we would do just one album and be done but, we are now on our third album with the same line up and people are seeing this is a legitimate thing. I think those five years as helped us. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

AL: What does touring look like for this release?

RC: It is something that really depends on our schedule. I am excited because have been asking me a lot about if and when we are going to be playing. It shows me people do want to see us and it’s something that I really want to do. Hopefully it is something we will get to do. Festivals would seem to be the best option for us because of all our different schedules. We played Orion Fest with Metallica for our last album and that was amazing! We did a two week tour run for the first album which was awesome as well. We can’t promise anything just yet as we don’t have anything booked but it’s something we definitely want to do. I am really hoping we get to do some stuff. With all of us living in different places we have to make sure all of the logistics will work for everyone so something can happen.

AL: Knowing that you’re a big fan of Halloween and with the day just around the corner what do you think will be some of this year’s hot trends?

RC: Definitely anything having to do with the show “Stranger Things”. I have watched that series twice now all the way through and can’t stop listening to the soundtrack as well. I have been listening to it since August when it first came out. I think anything having to do with that show is going to be big. Also with this being an election year I think there is going to be a lot of Donald’s and Hillary’s. I have heard that the sales of masks determines the election. I want to say that the last few elections have in fact been determined by who sold the most masks. Pumpkin Beers are going to be big again this year as well as haunted houses. I think you will start to see more of the “extreme” haunted houses where you have to sign a waiver to go in because the actors can touch you and stuff. People seem to always be looking to take things to the next level. Me personally I will just stick to the ones where people jump out at you and that’s it. I don’t need people’s hands in my mouth or something like that. (Laughs)

For more info on Richard Christy and Charred Walls of the Damned be sure to check out www.richardchristy.com