Incite’s Richie Cavalera Discusses Their New Album “Built to Destroy”

Richie Cavalera is the vocalist for the heavy metal band Incite. The Phoenix, AZ based group is set to release their fifth full length studio album on January 25th titled “Built to Destroy”. Media Mikes spoke with Richie recently about the upcoming release, their new video and, the groups subsequent tour which kicks off on January 25th as well.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the bands upcoming release “Built to Destroy”?

Richie Cavalera: We have two tracks from the album out now. The first is “Ruthless Ways” and then we have a video for the title track “Built to Destroy”. This was a killer record to make as it is the third one with this same lineup. We have been touring a lot and getting more comfortable with one another so I think that helped the process quite a bit. When people hear it they are going to know what it’s like to hear us live as I think this album captures our live sound quite well. There are lots of great solo spots as wells as two guest spots. One features Kirk Windstein from Crowbar and the other has Chris Barnes of Six Feet Under. From beginning to end this is a no bullshit record.

AL: This being your third release with the same lineup was there anything different you set out to accomplish?

RC: I think the biggest thing right off the bat was that we let Dru (Rome) our guitarist really write. In the past we had always pieced things together but for the first time we sat back and let Dru present us with full songs. It was a cool move which added a killer feel. People will notice that guitar work on this album is like nothing we have ever done before. Seven or eight of the albums eleven songs have solos and there is a lot of dynamic. This album was a lot of fun to make.

AL: What was it that led you to the decision of having Dru take control of a bigger part of the writing?

RC: I think there were quite a few things that led us to that decision. In the past we had done a lot of the email stuff by just sending parts back and forth to one another. We would assemble songs from riffs. This time things were presented as full songs. We had been touring a lot so a bunch of the work was done in venues and dressing rooms. Basically where ever we could get work done we did it. I think that helped add to the albums live feel. Switching things up worked out really well.

AL: Even though the process worked well for you did you find it difficult to write/record while on the road?

RC: It was defiantly difficult. At this stage of all of our lives there is a lot going on and there isn’t ever a real stopping point. The cycle between recording and touring never seems to end so you just have to go with it. We found a time where we were stopped and just went full bore while keeping our fingers crossed that no tours would come up. Thankfully we were able to get everything done the way we wanted it.

AL: What was it that made you decide to work with producer Steve Evans again?

RC: We had known him from working on our last album “Oppression”. Steve has worked on so many great albums so when we got to work with him on the last record we were very excited and it was just a great time. We knew going into the record for the new record time was going to be a big factor so being we were comfortable with Steve we wanted to work with him again. He actually came out to Arizona and sweat it out with us this time around. To be able to have a good bond with your producer really helps the process.

AL: Can you tell us about the video for the title track “Built to Destroy”?

RC: That song is the opening track on the album. It is a full on explosion of everything this band is. We feel we are at a point to take on the metal world and be that band to help carry the metal torch. We have always done crazy videos in the past but this time we wanted to showcase what the band is about. I think the video shows a great image of the band. We are rocking out with nothing else crazy going on. This is actually one of two video we shot. The other is for the song “Resistance”. We shot that one on skid row in Los Angeles and I think it will be out around the time the album comes out.

AL: Can you tell us about the upcoming tour which starts on the same day the album releases?

RC: We lucked out and things lined up quite nicely with that. We will be out opening for Kataklysm and Soulfly. We haven’t toured with those guys since we first got this band going. The tour is going to be a lot of fun and we will be going all over. I think there are around twenty eight shows scheduled on this run then we head over to Europe with Septic Flesh and Krisiun. We are also working on some things in June and July here in the states before heading back to Europe for the summer festivals. This will be our first time getting to do the big festival shows so to be able to play in front of twenty five thousand people is going to be amazing. We have been dreaming along time about what we could in front of that many people and now we are finally going to be able to do it.

For more info on Incite you can visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/INCITEband/

Richie Ramone talks about his 2014 tour and debut solo album “Entitled”

Former Ramones drummer Richie Ramone who was a member of the legendary punk group from 1982-1987 and penned such classic songs as “Somebody Put Something in my Drink” and “I’m Not Jesus” has just returned to the music scene after an extended hiatus with a debut album titled “Entitled”. To support the release Richie and his band our out touring the U.S. and Europe and Media Mikes sat down with Richie recently to discuss his time with the Ramones and why he felt now was the time to release a solo album.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us how you originally were chosen to join the Ramones?
Richie Ramone: There was a big 3 storey house in Brooklyn were we all used to party and hangout. There was also a recording studio there. I just happened to be there one day and Little Matt who was a roadie for the Ramones was leaving after hanging out and I happened to ask him where he was going. He told me that the Ramones were auditioning new drummers and that he had to be there. I told him to my name in the hat for consideration and a short time later I got a call from Monte Melnick the bands manager and the rest is history. I just happened to be in that building at the right time. I didn’t know any of those guys initially as it was an open audition.

AL: What was the band atmosphere like when you joined?
RR: They were worn out. Things were good but of course Joey and Johnny tended to fight a lot. I was just this kid from New Jersey. I was new blood and once I got in there things just settled down. When someone new comes to the band everyone is on their best behavior. (Laughs) It was a good climate in that band for many years. John and I both loved baseball and when I first joined we would go to games at the different ball parks together. Sadly as time went on and it came time to do business things just didn’t work.

AL: What is your take on the recent marketing explosion of Ramones merchandise that often doesn’t include yours, Marky or Cj’s names?
RR: They won’t put mine or Marky’s name on the t-shirts anymore. Apparently the one with Tommy is the biggest seller. If you are able to find an original Richie shirt it’s worth around $300 or more. I’m not part of that merchandising thing anyhow and these days I have mine own merchandise and things are fine. I know the Ramones still sell around 20-25,000 records a year and things are going well. I think things were a bit cheapened when after I left they tried to make it seem like I never existed. People knew I was there. I went through a lull for awhile and now I have risen to the top.

AL: Being you along with CJ were both very instrumental in the continuation/success of the Ramones what were your feelings toward being excluded from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions?
RR: When you see bands with multiple members in a situation like that there really needs to be a decision to take everyone or just the original core members. That’s how it’s supposed to work and when the Ramones went in it didn’t work that way. I still went to the ceremony and spoke on Joey’s behalf. It all worked out. Big fucking deal I didn’t get a statue.

AL: Why did you choose now to come out with a solo album?
RR: I have no idea! I didn’t even pick up a drum stick for 10 or 12 years. In 2006 Joey’s brother Mickey invited to me to perform at the Joey Birthday Bash. That kind of got the fever going. In 2007 I did “Suite for Drums and Orchestra” with the Pasadena Pops and did some shows and then did a few more Birthday Bashes the following 2 or 3 years. From there I started writing and the material turned out real good. People started saying that I should do an album. I had never done a solo record before and one thing just sort of led to another and here I am now. Things weren’t really ever planned they just happened.

AL: How did you go about putting together the material and the band which plays on the record?
RR: I wrote all of the stuff in my home studio. I found Tommy Boland who plays guitar on the record through a friend of mine. I play all the instruments but for this I needed real players. Tommy added a lot of color. I knew I wanted a little heavier guitar sound with solos. I wanted a little metal in there and that’s what I got with Tommy. Jiro Okabe came in and played bass on the record. Playing the material live is a little different. Tommy wasn’t available for this run and Jiro’s vocals didn’t work so I let him go. The live sound has to be a little harder as it’s more stripped down. There are only 4 of us up there and we don’t use any backing tracks. We just plug in and go. This line up of Clare Misstake on bass, Alex Kane on guitar, and Ben Reagan on guitar/drums is really fucking good. I am excited to be out with them.

AL: Where do you generally start when working on new material?
RR: It happens all different ways. Sometimes it starts with a beat, sometimes with a chord progression or a lyric idea. I am not a guy who writes about politics or anything like that. I just write about stuff that happens in my life. A lot of times what’s happening in your life is also happening in other peoples as well.

AL: The U.S. tour runs through March. Does the band have any plans scheduled after that?
RR: We will be heading to South America for the month of May and then will be in Europe and Italy in June. We are going to be touring all of this year. We have to see how this all goes and maybe will do another record. I have more material that I have been thinking about but I want to see how well this first record is going to be received. If the kids want more I am going to give them more.

AL: What has the overall reception been like for the record/tour?
RR: The reception has been real good. Especially from the people who come out to the shows who already have the album. It’s hard if no one has listened to the record before hand because there’s no relationship built around those songs yet. Some fans coming out may get a little bewildered at the new material. That was a big part of why a waited a couple months to tour behind the release as I wanted people to have a chance to sit with the material.

AL: What do you feel is the biggest change in the music scene now as compared to the 1980’s?
RR: In the old days you generally just hid from the fans. I would put my sunglasses and just stay hidden. Now you are totally exposed. It’s a huge difference! Touring is still touring. You’re riding in a van all day and then wait in a cold room till you go on. The music industry has changed also. I just come out and have fun with the fans as that’s who it’s all about. 5 minutes after our set is done I am out at the merch table meeting everyone and taking pictures with them. They pay their hard earned money and we give them a show.

Concert Review: Richie Ramone “Something in My Drink Tour”

“Something in My Drink Tour”
Richie Ramone, One Last Shot, Home Court Advantage
Date: Wednesday, February 19th 2014
Venue: The Lost Horizon, Syracuse, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Former Ramones drummer Richie Ramone made a stop at the legendary Lost Horizon in Syracuse, NY on February 19th as part of his 2014 “Something in My Drink” tour. The gig was an intimate in your face experience as Ramone and company treated the crowd to slew of Ramones classics as well as songs off Ramones debut solo album “Entitled”. Though Ramone had some stiff competition with SU Basketball also being in town it did little to phase the fans or the band as all eyes were on Richie.

Starting off the night was a local act by the name of Home Court Advantage. The groups sound was a mixture of pop-punk that teetered on the edge of straight forward rock as the group mixed cover and original material. Though as the group’s name may have suggested they may have in fact had the home court but there was certainly no advantage as at several times throughout the brief set it seemed as though the band members were all playing something different which resulted in a number of timing issues. Next to take the stage was another local act by the name of One Last Shot. The group’s metal-core sound was promising as it was quite a bit of a departure from the previous band and a bit more refined. Sadly the minute the singer opened his mouth any promise the band may have shown went directly out the window. Dressed in homemade pants fashioned from duct tape the singer read like a cheap Darby Crash knock off. This really was a disappointment due to the tightness of the backing band however, they were able to get the crowd somewhat warmed up for the headliner so I guess their mission was accomplished.

After a brief set change Richie Ramone and company would take the stage. Flanked by the lovely and always entertaining Clare Misstake on bass, the energetic Alex Kane on lead guitar and multi talented rhthym guitarist/drummer Ben Reagan, Richie proceeded to take the audience on a music joy ride that enticed several circle shaped pits and pogo Malays fitting of the high octane 180 beats per minute music that was being performed. From classic songs like “Somebody Put Something In My Drink” to “Commando” and “Something to Do” to newer songs like “Entitled” and “Smash You” which are featured on Ramones new Solo album Richie and his crew held the audience in their hands and left them wanting more. Don’t let the fact that Richie now in his 50’s is going to slow or dull down that legendary break neck speed or sound synonymous with the Ramones name as he appears to be at the top his game and ready to take on the world.

The U.S. leg of the “Something in My Drink” tour runs through March and from there the band will be heading overseas for a group of shows in Europe. I highly suggest going out to see the band as Pinheads and Animal Boys both new and old will not be disappointed.

Richie Ramone Set List:
1.) Criminal
2.) Somebody Put Something in my Drink
3.) Smash You
4.) Something to Do
5.) Better Then Me
6.) Durango
7.) Animal Boy
8.) I Know Better
9.) Blitzkrieg Bop
10.) Entitled
11.) Warthog
12.) Elevator Operator
13.) Can’t Say Anything Nice
14.) Forgotten Years
15.) Take My Hand
16.) Today Your Love
17.) I ’m not Jesus
18.) Loudmouth
19.) Humankind
20.) Cretin Hop
21.) Into the Fire
22.) Vulnerable
23.) Commando

Richie Kotzen talks about new band The Winery Dogs and debut album

Richie Kotzen is a singer/guitarist who along with an impressive solo career has played with bands such as Poison and Mr. Big. Kotzens newest endeavor is the trio known as The Winery Dogs which along with Kotzen consists of Billy Sheehan on bass and former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy. Together the trio is set to release their debut album titled “The Winery Dogs” and Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with Richie about the album and the group’s formation.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the formation of the Winery Dogs?
Richie Kotzen: I had gotten a phone call from Eddie Trunk who I have been friends with for a few years now. He called to tell me that Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan were looking to start a power trio and that he mentioned my name. The guys were in to it so we got together and did some jamming. From jamming together we came up with ideas that would turn into songs that appear on the record.

AL: What was that first jam session like for everyone?
RK: I have known Billy for 20 years now so it was familiar territory with him. Mike and I hit it off right away when we met and we just started jamming in my studio. We started playing and creating these ideas that I recorded. From there we went our separate ways for awhile. I went back and listened to what we had done and sang on a couple and added a few other things. I sent them off to the guys to listen to and they liked them so we decided to see things through. We did this a few times and that developed into an album.

AL: What is your take on the power trio?
RK: This has been the standard for me since I started making solo records. For the most part I have always played in that type of format and I am very comfortable playing in that type of scenario.

AL: From a tonal stand point did you try anything different with this recording?
RK: I don’t think so. What your hearing on the record is the collaboration of what we sound like when we are together writing. No one’s identity got lost on this record which is something that I think is really cool. When you listen to it you know who’s who and it’s really great. Yes the record is a collaboration but it still sounds like us as individuals.

AL: The songs on the album are very accessible. Was this done on purpose or did it happen naturally?
RK: That’s kind of my nature being a singer/guitarist. Everything I am involved in revolves around the vocals. When you add the fact I am playing guitar while I’m singing I probably won’t be shredding at the same time. That’s not to say the record doesn’t have shredding elements to it. The crazier lines that you do hear came out of improvisation. A lot of times Billy and Mike would start improvising parts and I would go back and listen to the r ecordings and either double what Billy was doing or something along those lines. When it was all done we had this track that sounded like we spent a lot of time orchestrating it. Things were very much improvised and I like the spirit of that.

AL: Being both a singer and guitarist do you find your approach to songwriting favoring one or the other?
RK: The song always comes down to the vocals. It’s the lyric and the melody. Everything is built from that at least in the style of music I perform. When you strip everything down the melody is the song. Anything else you put in a song can be altered or changed be it by using different chords against the melody or what have you. In the end that melody is what it is.

AL: What are the group’s tour plans for the release?
RK: We are doing our first show in Osaka, Japan. Then we have two shows in Tokyo before heading to South America. After we play Brazil and Chile we will be playing in New York and a few other places on the east coast. After a little break we head over to Europe for about 3 weeks and then were back in the states to hit the west coast.