Guitarist Phil Palmer Discusses Dire Straits Legacy Tour

Phil Palmer is a legendary session guitarist who has performed on countless albums for acts such as Robbie Williams and George Michael and Bob Dylan. Palmer has also had the distinction of being a member of both Eric Clapton’s band and 80’s hit makers Dire Straits. Palmer is currently on the road touring with Dire Straits Legacy (DSL) a group made up of former Dire Straits members wanting to pay tribute the bands amazing catalog. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Phil recently about the group’s formation and the bands first tour of the United States in ten years.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some history as to how you initially became with Dire Straits?

Phil Palmer: I was part of the band during the group’s last world tour between 1991 and 1992. I think we did something around 270 shows. Prior to joining Dire Straits I had been in Eric Clapton’s band for about three years. That time period was quite busy for me as Eric’s group was very active and then I went right over to Dire Straits to play over 200 shows.

AL: What was it like transitioning stylistically from Eric Clapton to Dire Straits?

PP: The main difference I guess was for Eric’s tour we did around three days of rehearsal. It was all very much by the seat of your pants. At that time I think he had the best band in the world. The situation was very fluid and the arrangements would often evolve as we began playing as the environment was very free. When I joined Dire Straits we rehearsed for three months prior to the tour starting. There were quite a few complicated sections and the arrangements were very important to Mark. That was probably the biggest difference. To be in Dire Straits you have to be regimented. Half of my job was to make sure that when Mark decided to be spontaneous with his playing that I stayed out of his way while still providing a supportive role. This was much different than where I had just come from. As a session player those are the types of things I am good at so after the three months of rehearsal and we started playing shows things lightened up a bit. The real important thing was the dynamics which tended to be the hardest thing to get everyone in sync to.

AL: Now how did the Dire Straits Legacy project start out?

PP: This group was born out of a chance meeting really. I had not seen any of the other Dire Straits guys in about ten years or so. There was an idea for us to get together and play the Dire Straits music presented so we all met in Rome and at the start we weren’t really in to the idea. After a nice dinner and a few bottles of wine everyone loosened up to the idea. After that a small show was set up for us just outside of Rome. With very little rehearsal we showed up to a field filled with around ten thousand people waiting to hear us play. We realized then that there was a lot of life left in the Dire Straits band and the only person who was not there that should have been was Mark Knopfler. Most of the original Dire Straits personnel from the tour in 92’ came out for this show and had fun.

AL: With Mark not being involved in the project was there any trepidation on your part to do the project?

PP: Yes. We weren’t sure people were going to accept it without Mark. The surprising thing is it’s the music that shines through. Marks songs and arrangements are so good that people still love it and even after twenty five years of being away the shows go over great! The music is just so interesting that people really love it.

AL: Can you tell us about the current DSL line up?

PP: Steve Ferrone and I have known each other since the Eric Clapton days. He is such a great drummer and to have him involved in this is very cool. His history with Tom Petty speaks for itself. Trevor Horn is a guy who I have worked a lot with over the years and, one day I mentioned to him that we were going to be doing this tour. He said he was interested in being a part of it and jumped on board. It’s interesting to look at the resumes the guys in the band have. It’s just extreme! There so much material that we could pull from each of our careers. The other day we were playing “Owner of a lonely Heart” which Trevor wrote and produced for Yes. That’s a great song to listen to and play. It also gives a slight diversion from the Dire Straits stuff. We really wanted to explore everyone’s talent even if it was outside of Dire Straits. We plan to add a few other songs outside of the Dire Straits set as time goes on.

AL: It has been awhile since the group has been to the United States. Can you tell us about the upcoming shows here and possibly why you have been absent from the U.S. market?

PP: We like playing in the States however this project can be a bit hard to promote. We are playing the music of the Dire Straits however we are not the Dire Straits. We can’t legally use the name so it’s hard for us to explain to people what they are buying tickets to see. That’s really been our main issue. We have a showcase booked in Nashville for all the American promoters and it was basically brought us to the States. We are doing some other gigs because we want to play but everything sort of revolves around this showcase which we hope will generate gigs for 2019. By coming over to the States now in late 2018 we are hoping to get the foot hold we need to make a solid presence for next year.

AL: In 2017 DSL release “3 Chord Trick”. Are any of the songs from that album going to be featured in the set for this run of U.S. shows?

PP: We are going to play a few tracks from that album. We had a lot of fun recording that record. The idea was to record the old way where the band was all in one room and not use any modern equipment. It was a lot of fun and I think the album has a depth that you just don’t hear today. It is quite diverse. There are some Dire Straits moments in there as the nucleolus of the band (Alan Clark and myself) we were inspired by Mark’s music but we didn’t deliberately go out and try to produce a Dire Straits album. We like to think that “3 Chord Trick” is the next stage of our development rather than Dire Straits.

AL: Are there any other projects you are currently working on outside of the Dire Straits Legacy project?

PP: Alan and I have been working with Trevor on a project called “The 80’s Reinvented”. It’s a bunch of classic tracks from that era done in Trevor Horn’s signature style. That’s been a lot of fun! We have been working with a full orchestra and a lot of very special guest performers. Trevor being who he is able to call up just about anyone and ask them to be on his record and they more than likely will do it! It’s great fun.

For more info in Dire Straits Legacy visit www.dslegacy.com

 

Nothing More Guitarist Mark Vollelunga Talks About the Bands Recent Single “Just Say When”.

Mark Vollelunga is the guitarist for the Texas based rock band Nothing More. The group’s latest single “Just Say When” (which is a bit of a departure from the bands heavier style) recently rose to number 16 on the Billboard Charts for main stream rock songs. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Mark recently about the release, the bands current tour with Five Finger Death Punch and the bands plans for the remainder of 2018.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the band’s latest single “Just Say When”?

Mark Vollelunga: Personally I am really stoked and happy with how the song is doing. It is a bit of a different color for us. It’s nice to have something that is a little more bare bones and that is all about the lyrics and melody. The song really came about after having toured so much on our self titled release. Touring takes a strain on your personal life and it had started to cause some division for Johnny and myself. What I poured into the song was the idea of co-existing. Sometimes you use that spark or connection which can cause a point of staleness. It can be sad when you just co-exist with the love of your life. Not to be a complete dreamer and say that is completely realistic as we all go through dry spells. This song hits at that pinnacle point when you are not sure whether to hold on or let go.

AL: Was this song actually created while you were out on the road or was put together after you were back home and in the studio?

MV: It started when we were still on the road. I was listening to a lot more folk jam songs at the time and I came up with this start of the start and showed it to Johnny. We clicked on it right away and started putting melody to it pretty quickly. After that the song sat for awhile until we were jamming together one day. After that we finished it to the point of what you almost here now. When we were done we weren’t sure if the song really fit with the rest of what we had put together and it almost didn’t make the record. The song emotionally fit but sonically we just didn’t know if it was in the same vein. At the eleventh hour we thought it would be cool and different to include it and I am so glad we did.

AL: Being that this track was much different from your other material did you approach the initial writing process any differently?

MV: Writing for me is different every time. If I have a guitar part or lyric thing happening or Johnny has a wacky programming idea or interesting spiritual thought it all just depends. Other times it comes out us all sitting and jamming together. We try not to limit ourselves in any way. I think if you go through the same process every time things can get stale. Even though we are approaching the same thing we try to come at it from different angles in hopes of inspiring something neat and unique.

AL: At what point was the decision made to release this song as a single?

MV: Generally you try and go with a more emotional song on your second or third single. This song really appealed to everyone and the feedback we got from people was great. I think a lot of people have been at the point that the song talks about and they can relate to it.

AL: There is also a video for the song as well. Can you tell us a little about that?

MV: We got to do something different once again with this as well so it’s been another great experience. My wife recently got me interested in to contemporary/lyrical dance. She loves a lot of the dance shows which are on television right now. At first I thought they were kind of cheesy and I didn’t really get them but the more I watched them I learned to appreciate them. What I like is when the choreography matches with the emotion and mood of the song. That’s kind of what we tried to do with “Just Say When”. We some professional dancers come in and we made this great piece which is sort of out of our genre but we try to tie everything in through our lyrics. The others guys may have been a bit skeptical at first but after showing them some pieces that moved me and were very compelling they became interested in the whole thing.

AL: Can you tell us about the tour that the band is currently apart of?

MV: We are coming off of doing three festival shows with a bunch of different bands. We got to play with Stone Temple Pilots headlining one and Incubus headlining another. I hadn’t seen Stone Temple Pilots with their new singer yet and being able to do that was really cool. It was a trip down memory lane for sure. Currently we are out on the road with Breaking Benjamin and Five Finger Death Punch. We have toured with both of these groups before and they are seasoned bands that have a lot of wise words they can pass on to us. We definitely try to be sponges when it comes to stuff like that. We will be going all over the United States from now until September. After that we will be doing this great self help festival that A Day to Remember puts on in Detroit. After that we go back to Europe for a run with Of Mice and Men and Bullet For My Valentine. To end the year we will be touring Canada with Three Days Grace. All these tours are going to a lot of fun.

AL: What is it like being able to play with such a diverse group of bands on all these different tours?

MV: It’s awesome! I love that we can cater to our audience. If you are a metal fan, a rock fan or just an alternative pop person I feel there is a lot in our music that touches on all of those genres and it can be appreciated. At the end of the day a good song is a good song. I feel our society puts too much importance on the style of songs and where it needs to be lumped into. If you think about bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin who had so many different genres of music within their own sound I am proud that we can do that as well.

AL: Was it difficult for you starting out being that you were trying to be very diverse?

MV: Absolutely! It was difficult. In 2011 I think we had our first label interest. We did some showcases and I remember hearing back from one label on my birthday that we weren’t left of center enough. We were just too much in the middle of the road for some people. To us it’s always been if the song is good then that’s what we go with. It has been hard to gain belief and understanding at times from the music industry because of that. Put us in front of any crowd though and we will win people over.

For more info on Nothing More visit www.nothingmore.net

Guitarist Michael Landau Talks About His New Solo Album “Rock Bottom”

Michael Landau is world renowned session musician and producer who has worked with everyone from James Taylor and Michael Jackson to Pink Floyd and Miles Davis. Outside of his work as a session player Michael has released a hand full of solo albums and on February 23rd will release his newest solo album titled “Rock Bottom”. Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Michael recently about the albums creation, his studio work and his touring plans for 2018.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some details on your new solo album “Rock Bottom”?

Michael Landau: My last couple of albums had been instrumental albums. With this new one I reunited with my old pale David Frazee who I played with in Burning Water in the 90’s. We wrote a bunch of tunes and I got to rock again. I wanted to do vocal music again and put out something that had a little harder edge to it. We did this album to actual tape as I still have a tape machine in my studio. The album has a real nice creamy tape sound that’s just big and gooey.

AL: Are the songs that made it on the album all newly written songs or are there some that have been around for awhile?

ML: A few years ago I got together with my brother Teddy and Alan Hertz as I had some tunes I had written and we recorded those over the course of a couple days. It took me awhile to getting to finish those however once I reunited with David things came together pretty quickly and we also started to write new material.

AL: Can you tell us a little bit more about who you have playing on the album with you?

ML: The drummer is Alan Hertz who has toured with throughout the years. My brother Teddy who doesn’t really play professionally is a rock solid bass player. I love the way he plays as he has a really big tone. He actually co-wrote a couple of the songs on the album. David and I did those three or four records together in the 90’s and he is just a great vocalist and lyricist. He writes really interesting melodies and I am just a big fan of his. Also playing organ on the record is Larry Goldings. Any record I do I try and get him on there as he is one of my all time favorite musicians.

AL: When you are working with a group or on your own where do you traditionally start with your songwriting process?

ML: I play a lot every day. I don’t have a real practice regime or anything but I do play around the house quite a bit. Songs always start with some kind of riff. There was one song I wrote titled “Freedom” which is this sort of spooky ballad that I had lyrics for first. Mostly things start with toying around with riffs that come about when I am playing at home. From there I will edit them and move things around until everything comes together.

AL: Having done predominately instrumental albums over the last few years, what was it like delving back in to lyrical based music?

ML: David did most of the vocal on the record. I would say he wrote probably seventy percent of lyrics as well. There are one or two tunes that I sing but I don’t think I wrote the lyrics for those. It’s fun for sure as I enjoy singing if it’s a range I am comfortable with. Lyrics are fun for me to write even though I don’t write them that often.

AL: With you having done a lot of work/playing for other musicians how do you go about putting your personal touches on someone else’s material?

ML: One of the things I think I do well is backing up a vocalist. I try and contribute parts that will enhance the material while still being respectful of the tune. I kind of pride myself on being able to do that quite well. For a long time when I was doing sessions people would hire me as they had an idea of what I was about sonically so when you go in there you have to sort of fit in but push and add to things without taking anything away. Overtime with experience I learned that being able to edit myself made things quicker rather than having whoever I was working with at the time have to do it.

AL: The album is set for release in late February. What are your plans once it is out?

ML: The plan is certainly to get out there and play this material live. Europe is obviously easier for a musician like me to put together a tour over there. We actually have a nice four week run of shows set up over there in support of the album. We are looking at hitting Asia also this year along with some dates here in the States. After that I will be touring Europe with the Steve Gadd band right after my tour finishes’ so I will be over there for quite a bit. I have some more James Taylor duties to handle this year as well and those start in either April or May. There have been talks to end that tour by doing a couple shows with the Eagles so that should be really great.

For more info on Michael Landau you can visit his official site at www.mikelandau.com

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Greta Van Fleet Guitarist Jake Kiszka Talks About the Bands New EP “From the Fires”

Greta Van Fleet burst onto the rock music scene in early 2017 with their debut EP titled “Black Smoke Rising”. By September the track “Highway Tune” was topping the Billboard charts. To capitalize on this momentum the band has released a second EP titled “From the Fires”. Media Mikes had the chance recently to speak with the bands guitarist Jake Kiszka about the bands new EP, their recent tour with Halestorm and the bands plans for 2018.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some back ground on Greta Van Fleet and possibly tell us some of your influences?

Jake Kiszka: With Josh, Sam and I being brothers our influences are very similar. We were exposed to music at a very early age. I remember going on trips and listening to bands like The Allman Brothers. We had access to the same vinyl collection so I think that had a lot to do with what we are doing now. Danny also was in to a lot of the same music. Around the time I got into high school I started bringing friends over to jam and eventually Josh would start coming out and singing then a little later Sam started coming out and playing bass. A short time after all that happened Danny started coming over and was basically the last piece of the puzzle.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands new double EP “From the Fires”?

JK: We had put out “Black Smoke Rising” and we still had a bunch of songs that we had either written or recorded so to showcase some other elements of our playing we dipped into those songs. We also wanted to cover some material from a one of our influences Sam Cooke. We had those songs and some live tracks that we picked from for this release.

AL: How does your work on this release compare to that of your debut EP?

JK: The first EP was a spread of songs we had written over the course of five years. “Highway Tune” was actually the first song we had ever written followed by “Safari Song” about a year later. “Flower Power” was another song that was written about two years into the group’s existence and “Black Smoke Rising” was written right before we were set to go in to the studio and record.

AL: What type of process does the band have for song writing?

JK: We write in a lot of different ways. A lot of times one of us will bring something to the table and then we all decide if it is something we want to work on. That’s when the four of us really start to contribute to making one piece of music. We all bring things in to the writing process so it tends to vary.

AL: You guys just wrapped up a tour with Halestorm. Can you tell us about that experience?

JK: It was fantastic! Seeing people singing our songs and just rocking out was really great. I don’t think that was something any of us really expected as our sound is a bit different. The whole experience of that night after night was shocking and humbling.

AL: You guys have a string of sold out shows lined up through December. Can you tell us your thoughts on that?

JK: That’s another thing that was not expected. We really didn’t figure all those shows would sell out so quickly. It’s going to be a great thing that takes us right up until the holidays and then after that we plan to head into the studio in January to record our first full length album.

AL: What can we be expecting from that new album?

JK: The album will probably be another spread of both newer and older material that we have written at different points in time. We hope to have the album done early to mid 2018. With everything that has happened for us this past year we have gained some resources that will help us take things further with this new album. We will be looking to hit bigger venues and festivals as well as hitting some new countries also.

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Tetrarch guitarist Diamond Rowe talks about the bands new album “Freak”

Photo By: Jeremy Saffer

The Atlanta, GA based Nu-Metalcore band Tetrarch are set to release a brand new full-length album on September 29th titled “Freak”. The band is currently out on the road with Devil Driver and Media Mikes had the chance to speak with guitarist Diamond Rowe about the creation of new album, the bands plans for the remainder of 2017 and got her thoughts about being a female guitarist in the heavy metal scene.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the formation of the band?

Diamond Rowe: I started Tetrarch with my best friend while we were still in high school. It took us a little while to hone our sound and really figure out what it was we were going for but things came together and from there we just started touring. Our sound is a mixture of early Nu-Metal with a few modern elements.

AL: Did/Do you ever have any reservations about being a female guitarist in a scene that is predominantly men?

DR: When I started playing guitar and playing in bands I never honestly thought about the fact that I was a female playing metal music. I didn’t see it as anything really different. It wasn’t until people started bringing it to my attention that I noticed this was something different. I was never nervous or hand any reservations as I just did what I could to make the band work and get better at guitar. With they’re not being a lot of females out there playing metal it’s kind of cool to be somewhat influential. We are starting to see a few more females come up in the metal world however there still aren’t a lot of African-American females performing in bands. Being a female metal guitarist I think people might expect you to not be that good (Laughs) so I just go out there and really try to be the best as I can at my instrument.

AL: Can you tell us about the band’s new album “Freak”?

DR: We had never done a full-length release prior to this record. In this day and age it’s not really necessary to release more than one or two songs at a time via an EP. We wanted to do something different this time so we could give people more of who we are. As we were writing I noticed we were getting a lot of influence from more than just metal music and that there were quite a few different music elements present. Lyrically a lot of the subject matter is about weird things and/or embracing differences. We started looking at being weird in a positive way as opposed to negatively. The title “Freak” really came out of that approach.

AL: How did the bands creative process work this time around and, what was it like working with Producer Dave Otera?

DR: Josh Fore and I the predominant writers in the group. We live together so it seems we are always working on something. One of us might start out with a riff and then the other builds on or vice versa. Once we have the basics of a full song will take it to the other guys and they will put their spin on it. Dave actually mixed one of our first EP’s. People had said they really liked the sound so we knew he was someone we wanted to work with again. When it came time to do this record he was someone who came up naturally during the selection process of where to go. Dave is a big name in the death metal scene so working with him certainly brought a new/different perspective to things. Dave was excited to work with the band as we were something a little different for him and things went well. Dave is very easy to work with and made things comfortable.

AL: The band is out until till late September, What do you guys have planned for the rest of the year and going forward in to 2018?

DR: We will be out on this run of shows for a couple more weeks with Devil Driver. After that we return home for a few days and then we head out with Devil Driver for a few west coast dates. We also will be shooting a couple videos in that time as well. The album comes out September 29th and we will be doing a festival show in Texas in November and we might possibly do a short run shows towards the end of November. Once the New Year starts we will be out there in full force pushing this album.

For more info on Tetrarch you can visit their official website at www.Tetrarchmusic.com

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

 

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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.

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/

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

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

Legendary Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein announces US Tour

LEGENDARY MISFITS GUITARIST DOYLE WOLFGANG VON FRANKENSTEIN ANNOUNCES US TOUR WITH ELEMENT A440

Currently wrapping up the European leg of the ABOMINATE THE WORLD Tour, DOYLE, the eponymous band of Legendary MISFITS guitarist DOYLE WOLFGANG VON FRANKENSTEIN has announced their first US dates of 2017, the first supporting their upcoming LP DOYLE II: AS WE DIE, in stores May 5th from EMP LABEL GROUP, and Doyle’s own MONSTERMAN RECORDS.

Doyle recently released a clip of “Run For Your Life”, the first track from AS WE DIE at the following location: https://soundcloud.com/emplabelgroup/doyle-run-for-your-life-clip

AS WE DIE will be available Worldwide on CD and LP May 5, and is currently available for pre-order from empmerch.com, including several international versions with alternate artwork configurations, including art by legendary horror/comic/album cover artist Mister Sam Shearon, known for his iconic works with Rob Zombie, Iron Maiden, Clive Barker, KISS, Ministry, Rammstein, X-Files, and more.

ABOMINATE THE WORLD TOUR 2017
EAST COAST INVASION

3/23/2017 The Reel Café Wilmington, NC
3/24/2017 Drunk Horse Pub Fayetteville, NC
3/26/2017 Fish Head Cantina Halethorpe, MD
3/29/2017 The V Club Huntington, WV
3/30/2017 The Warehouse Clarksville, TN
4/1/2017 Top Fuel Saloon Braidwood, IL
4/2/2017 Emerson Theater Indianapolis, IN
4/4/2017 Big Shots Valparaiso, IN
4/5/2017 Lookout Lounge Omaha, NE
4/7/2017 The Back Bar Janesville, WI
4/8/2017 The Rave Milwaukee, WI
4/9/2017 Outland Ballroom Springfield, MO
4/10/2017 Firebird St. Louis, MO
4/11/2017 Trixie’s Louisville, KY
4/12/2017 The Token Lounge Detroit, MI
4/13/2017 The Agora Cleveland, OH
4/14/2017 Diesel Pittsburgh, PA
4/15/2017 Gramercy NYC, NY
4/18/2017 Canal Club Richmond, VA
4/19/2017 Brighton Bar Long Branch, NJ
4/20/2017 The Reverb Reading, PA
4/21/2017 Montage Rochester, NY
4/22/2017 Loft Poughkeepsie, NY

ABOMINATE THE WORLD TOUR – EUROPE 2017

2/21 BADED, SWITZERLAND – WERKK
2/23 MADRID, SPAIN – SALA LEMON
2/24 BARCELONA, SPAIN – ESTRAPERLO
2/25 ROMANS/ISERE FRANCE – LA CORDONNERIE
2/26 ST JEAN DE VEDAS FRANCE – SECRET PLACE
2/27 PARIS FRANCE – GLAZERT

In addition to AS WE DIE, EMP/MONSTERMAN will release several limited edition vinyl configurations, as well as a CD reissue, of DOYLE’s Critically-acclaimed ABOMINATOR, and releases from DEAD GIRLS CORP., element a440, and more.

DOYLE, the current project of Von Frankenstein, with CANCERSLUG vocalist Alex “Wolfman” Story, and a current touring lineup rounded out by bassist Brandon Strate and drummer Brandon Pertzborn, continues the lineage of Doyle’s former projects, pairing crushing metal riffs with ferocious Punk Rock swagger.

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

 

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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/

Guitarist Phil Sgrosso talks about his new band Poison Headache

You may recognize Phil Sgrosso as the guitarist for bands such as As I Lay Dying and Wovenwar However, not one to sit idle for any length of time Phil is back with yet another new band, Poison Headache. The 3 piece power trio is set to release their self-titled debut album in June via Metal Blade Records and Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Phil recently about the group’s formation, the albums creation and the status of his other projects.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the band how everything came together?

Phil Sgrosso: Andy Kukta the bands other guitarist/co-vocalist and Kyle Rosa our drummer had been friends for quite some time and this sort of started up when I was with As I Lay Dying. Andy is a fellow riff writer who was looking to put a band together after his previous one broke up. He reached out to Kyle and I and we would jam off and on when I wasn’t out with my current band. Nothing serious really came of it until we had enough songs to make up an album. We decided that’s what we were going to do and got Metal Blade Records on board and they were super supportive of the whole thing which was great. Things were a bit slow starting out but we are now ready to kick things into the next gear and get going.

AL: Where did Poison Headache fit in during that period of time where As I Lay Dying was ending and Wovenwar was beginning?

PS: It was something we wanted to do and during that time I actually had the time to do it. We were just waiting for that window to open. Now that we are making a go of this we have to make the most out of it. I don’t for see Wovenwar being as busy as it was when we first started. It will still be an active band but I want to be doing as many musical projects as I can be. I don’t want to put all of my eggs in one basket because if I have another band that I really love doing that’s something I want to be able to go out and do. So far this year I have the Poison Headache album coming, we are finalizing the second Wovenwar record and I also have been out on tour with the band Saosin as well as one called Nails who I also have been touring with. I try to fill my schedule with as many musical things as I can to keep me busy and going.

AL: What type of adjustment period did you have to allow yourself for going from playing/writing in 5 piece bands to now doing the same for a 3 piece band?

PS: It is a very different animal. With all the bands I have done I tend to like being the overseer of things. When I have someone like Andy writing a lot of stuff and I can play the producer role on the songs he has written which allows me to hone in on his vision within that role. In a way its easier being in a three piece but there is still a lot of work. You have to take on more roles that may be delegated to another member in a bigger band. Knowing that I have that type of control over things I can process things the way I do. There is a little bit of a different mentality especially with gear and such. We both want to play guitar live so we have to be creative with our tones and things like that. Once we start moving into the live stage of things we will have all that stuff figured out. Vocally it takes a lot of practice to build up your stamina to be able to do a whole song and not just backup vocals and then to take it further being able to perform an entire set.

AL: How do you separate your roles as Producer and Performer?

PS: You have to really rely on your band to produce you when you are in that type of situation. What’s nice about a three piece is you ask the other two guys what they think and their cool with it that’s really it. I really trust Andy and Kyle’s opinions so I think that’s what keeps me in check when I am trying to oversee the big picture of things. I feel trust and respect is the foundation of any relationship so the fact that we have that together along with being on the same creative page has made things very easy.

AL: Is a majority of what makes up the album material Andy had written or is there new material you all contributed to on here as well?

PS: I would say probably a third of the album is stuff Andy had written with another third of it being stuff I had written. The other third was probably pieced together from things the three of us had written together. Andy and I are both capable of writing a complete song and seeing its vision so we bounce a lot of ideas off of one another. I can say that Andy’s approach and style has been the inspiration behind the sound of the band.

AL: The album has a very hardcore meets thrash sound to it. Was this sound something that evolved over time or was it present from the very beginning?

PS: I think having that hardcore type feel or groove is something completely Andy. When I hear the album and a part like that comes on, I can say that’s totally Andy. Kyle is a very dynamic drummer that is able to adapt to that which is certainly a strength. That’s the type of music that we like and want to play so when we can include those elements we enjoy that. There is one track on the record called “Be Numbed” which is an instrumental track that I wrote to break things up a little. That track has more of a shoe-gazing, post metal vibe. We just sort of threw in things here or there which we may have not done yet. I don’t think there was ever an instance where we said “no we can’t do that”. If a song called for something we went for it. This really helped push our creativity.

AL: What types of touring plans are in place for you guys at this point?

PS: It’s tough for any new band to get out there on the road. We could do that but being older now we have more responsibilities. We just can’t go jump in the van for a tour and come home with no money and be ok with that like we did when we were teenagers. We all want to have jobs and security for our families so with Poison Headache we plan to build gradually within out scene in Southern California. I also co-own a venue with two of the other guys in Wovenwar with my wife acting as the promoter so we know a lot of bands and we feel that’s a smart way for us to start. From there we will see what opportunities come our way.

AL: Where are things at with the upcoming Wovenwar album?

PS: Things were a bit different when we shifted from As I Lay Dying to Wovenwar. We had become this machine and had gotten used to a certain way of doing things that when we had the rug sort of pulled out from under us we tried using that same design with Wovenwar. We had to step back and realize that we were still a new band despite our previous work together. The business side of things is a bit different and where we are at with life now is all different. We have to be smart about what we do. We are all at different stages in our lives with having kids and being married and what not so we all had to look at what we wanted to do and how we could make the band work. We did all of the production ourselves and it is currently being mixed by Nolly from Periphery. Everything is just now entering the final stages.

 

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Guitarist Paul Gilbert talks about Great Guitar Escape 3.0

Paul Gilbert is probably best known as the guitarist/co-founder of the rock group Mr. Big a band who dominated the airwaves in 1991 with their acoustic ballad “To Be With You”. After the group broke up in 1996 Gilbert embarked on a solo career while also performing in numerous other side projects and groups. Paul recently announced the 3rd installment of his “Great Guitar Escape” which is set for late July. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Paul recently about the upcoming event and what those who attend can expect.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the recently announced Great Guitar Escape 3.0?

Paul Gilbert: It’s the most fantastic, inspirational and unforgettable guitar event of all time! There will be concerts every night, Seminars every day and lots of opportunities to jam. It’s just going to be great mix of good food, the California coast, and great times with people who love the guitar.

AL: With this being the camps 3rd yr are there things you have planned which weren’t possible during the camps previous 2 sessions?

PG: The first two Great Guitar Escapes were both really great, so I don’t want to make any drastic changes. The biggest difference would be the location. The Cambria Pines Lodge is about halfway between L.A. and San Francisco, so it’s an easy drive for people who live in California. But for the last two camps, I had people fly in from South America and Russia, so I know that nothing will hold back guitar players who really want to rock.

AL: Can you tell us a little bit about this year’s guest counselors and how you went

PG: Andy Timmons and Bruce Bouillet are both incredible guitarists that I’ve spent a lot of time with. Bruce and I played together in the band, Racer X, and Bruce toured in my band when I did Joe Satriani’s G3 tour. He’s a monster player, and a great teacher. Andy is an Ibanez endorser like me, so we’ve played together at a lot of Ibanez events, and of course, Andy was at my last Great Guitar Escape camp. He’s one of my favorite guys in the world to jam with. He’s somehow intimidating and generous at the same time. I’ve met Kiko Loureiro several times over the years, and he’s always been super cool. He can play a lot of different styles, but I’m happy that he’s getting a taste of big gigs with Megadeth. Dave Ellefson, who plays bass with Megadeth, is from my generation of musicians, so he’ll have a head start on the songs that I’ll be playing in the jams. And Bumblefoot has a reputation for being creative and surprising… and still rocking hard, so I’m excited to finally get to jam with him.

AL: Is this camp designed for all level of players or is it geared more towards advanced players?

PG: The GGE is good for anyone who wants to get motivated. You can sit back and enjoy the concerts and seminars, or you can plug in and join the jams. We’re all there, in person, so I like to be flexible enough to work with anything that people are interested in. Also, my idea of “advanced” has really changed over the years. To me, an advanced musician is not necessarily somebody who can play fast or complicated, but just a person who can sound really good. I could talk about this sort of thing for the next 10 hours, so I’d better save it for the camp!

AL: As we start to see more and more interactive camps taking place how do you go about keeping things fresh and making your camp stand out above others?

PG: There are some musicians who are best known for what they do visually. They’ve got the best leather jacket, the most explosions in their stage production, or just an astounding number of consecutive good-hair days. I’ve got legendary musicians at my camp, but they are legendary for the way that they play. And they’re good people. No bodyguards or attitudes. Just a great time being immersed in music, and the guitar.

AL: What other projects are you currently working on outside of Guitar Escape 3.0?

PG: I’ve got a new solo album coming out soon called, “I Can Destroy.” Kevin Shirley produced it, and it turned out great. The opening track is called, “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal,” and I think I might actually save a few lives, if people heed the message of this song. I’m also nearing my fourth year with my online rock guitar school for Artistworks. I’ve recorded nearly 4000 Video Exchange lessons, and I’m still having a great time, so I’m going to keep going. And later this year, I’ll be going on tour with my solo band to play my new songs, and my favorite songs from my previous albums. Life continues to rock!

For more info on Paul’s Great Guitar Escape 3.0 you can visit http://greatguitarescape.com

 

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