Interview with Adrenaline Mob’s Russell Allen

Russell Allen is best known for his work as the lead vocalist for the progressive metal group Symphony X. Russell is also the vocalist for the progressive metal super group Adrenaline Mob which along with Allen features Mike Orlando, John Moyer and former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy. The group is set to release their first full length album titled “Omerta” in late February. Media Mikes had a chance to speak with Russell about the new album and the bands tour plans.

Adam Lawton: What was the idea behind putting this group together?
Russell Allen: I and Mike Orlando were working on some solo material I had while Symphony X was on break. We were kind of getting burned out on it and Orlando said he had some rock band type material lying around. He was helping me with my thing so I figured I would help him with his. I worked on a few tunes and we got immediate interest from a record company. They wanted to hear another song so we put together some more material and before we knew we had a record. Everything came together really fast. The music just happened. When it came time to put an actual band together I sent my friend Mike Portnoy the material and within 30 seconds he emailed back that he was in. The group really started with the 3 of us. I had already recorded all of the vocals and Portnoy came in and recorded his parts. From there we started looking for guys to put a touring group together.

AL: How does the material on the new album compare to what was on the previous EP?
RA: The stuff on the EP has more of a live/heavier feel. We didn’t put a lot of our melodic oriented material on that release as we saved it for the full length album. We also kept the singles off of that because we were waiting for a label to tell us what they wanted to do with those songs. When we did the EP the band was not even signed yet. The songs on the EP were where the band was at during that time. We needed some songs to go out on as we had a great opportunity to go on the road with Godsmack. “Omerta” is the full realization of the songs on the EP. Everything is mixed and produced the way they were meant to be.

AL: Did you take a different approach to this album as compared to your work with Symphony X?
RA: It’s a totally different approach. There was a way more organic and collaborative approach with myself and Orlando. We worked openly on everything. He and I really hit it off and we have great chemistry together. Symphony X is a different animal. The Symphony X arrangements are very intense. I generally will come in after a majority of the songs are laid out and try to make something out of it all. I always have been very lucky with Symphony X to be able to do that but it’s a challenge. It can be a very tedious process. The songs are very well crafted. Adrenaline Mob is an organic rock band that writes in the moment songs. Adrenalin Mob has been a much different experience.

AL: Is there a track off the album you are really looking forward to playing live?
RA: I am into the live feeling stuff. The song “Feelin’ Me” is one of my favorites.  That song is sort of like my soap box song. I get to jaw about how big brother is always fucking everyone over. That song seems to really get the audience going.

AL: What are the touring plans for the group?
RA: We are trying to put something together for the U.S. in the spring to support the album’s release. We currently do have some summer shows booked in Europe for late June. We obviously want to put together a solid late summer tour. We have also looked at trying to get on a U.S. festival tour. We really are still putting our schedule together and trying to find where we will best fit in.

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