The St. Louis BattleHawks had their season opener in front of an XFL record attendance crowd of 29,554 people. The offensive struggles of the New York Guardians continues losing again on the road 29-9 to the St. Louis Battlehawks. The New York Guardians dropped to 1-2 for the season. The new York Guardians continue to struggle on 3rd down conversions going 2 for 10. This week again they lost the turnover battle 2-1. Penalties in any game will hurt your chances of winning 12 penalties for 86 yards. Quarterback Matt McGloin left the game with a rib injury no word on his status on his injury or if he will play on Saturday at home against the LA Rams.
Watching New York guardians today was exciting for the first minute. After that it was a tough game to watch. It makes me wonder did this team believe the hype on how good they were last week and did they come prepared to on the road in their first home game. They couldn’t convert on 3rd downs they were 1/11. Against any team if you convert only once you are going to loss. The most critical three turnovers The DC Defenders turned the ball over only once. Quarterback Matt McGloin looked awful 8/19 for 44 yards and two interceptions before being benched. The reality is you can’t have three turnovers and except to win the game. The team looked uncomfortable. The defense the first half took care of business they kept the offense in the game and gave them plenty of chances to put up points any kind of points for that matter to at least end the first half on a positive note. Give DC Defenders credit they came prepared they won at home. They gave the most dominating performance out of all of the games played so far. It is still early there are three more XFL Games to be played before the week two wraps up.
Right now, it is hard to imagine what’s going to happen next week. New York Guardians are going on the road again to St. Louis to face Battlehawks next Sunday. They will have an extra day to rest and prepare. It was hard to watch this game and think this was the same team who beat the Tampa Bay Vipers 23-3. On the sidelines there were miscommunications between Coach Gilbride and quarterback McGloin based on comments I have been reading about his interview, he is going to have to play his best game next week. It was only one game and it was a terrible game a terrible first half and an even worse 2nd half.
To prove that they are a championship team New York guardian will have to win the next two games. The next two games are must wins you are on the road against St. Louis BattleHawks then you are back home against LA Wildcats. At times this is the kind of loss you need to move forward. I think New York Guardians will get it together. They are going to come into St. Louis as a team on a mission again. They have an experienced coaching staff who has been through this before. They will make sure when they get to practice again that they learn from this loss. It’s on to St. Louis
For football fans the sunday after the super bowl can be a sad day. The thought of having to wait five more months for football to start. Luckily for the football fans the XFL football league gives fans an extra 12 weeks of football 10 game season plus two playoff games. If you are a football fan who would not want 12 weeks of football. Sunday, February 9, 2020 over 17,000 fans showed up to see their new football team the New York Guardians taking on the Tampa Bay Vipers. There was a lot of excitement and questions about how good this team would play.
A lot of questions to be answered going into week one. There was a familiar face leading the New York Guardians Kevin Gilbride who was with the New York Giants from 2006-2013 and won two super bowls with them. Coming into the parking lot you felt the excitement. This was my first time covering any sports team. The feeling of excitement and jitters was mutual coming up to the press box and being excited. The New York Guardians were four point underdogs as they say this is why they play the game once the game starts stats and charts go out the window and so it did. The best part of the XFL is the fan experience. Fans can get autographs meet the players and tickets are affordable. Parking is $30. NJ Transit has free shuttle busses that go from Secacus junction to the stadium. If you are like me and want to get there early you can catch the bus that goes to the American dream mall and then walk over to the stadium. Once the game kicked off one thing was certain New York Guardians came to play and they came to win. On this day New York Guardians had the best defense that was there to play like there was no tomorrow. That is the best way to describe it they shut out Tampa Bay Vipers in the first half. In the second half in a respectable attempt to get something going the Vipers went with their backup quarterback to start the 2nd half. It didn’t work either or faze the New York Guardians defense.Jim Herrmann had this defense prepared for every possible scenario. Two interceptions and three turnovers only three points allowed.
The XFL Team the New York Guardians is preparing to kick off the season on Sunday, February 9, 2020 at Metlife Stadium. I had a chance to talk to team President Janet Duch
Angel Alamo: what can fans expect for the upcoming XFL season?
Janet Duch: You know, I think for us right now, revealing the name and the look of the brand, we’re really focused on inviting fans to partner with us to help write our story. You know, we want to make the game affordable and we certainly want to bring fans closer to the action, both in stadium with behind-the-scenes access on social and digital, and you know, certainly with our broadcast partners. So for us really is about co-creating right now and really building up our campaign.
AA: How did the name, New York Guardians, how did the name come up?
JD: You know, it’s been a quite collaborative process amongst outside agencies and internal creative resources at the Stanford office, and the inspiration was drawn from numerous resources locally and nationally. I think the process was probably started nine, 10 months ago. So you know, there were a lot of design efforts that were leading the charge and certainly it’s quite typical of creative process and a brand process to start really wide and start to narrow down, and for us, we’re real proud of the name. We’re proud that the name is going to represent the spirit of this new team and certainly the region that we play for.
AA: With the partnership with the fans, will the XFL be like an experience where, for an example, fans can after the game meet the players or actually meet them at events throughout the season?
JD: We’re not ready to announce any specific details. We are working, again to bring fans closer to the games to have events out in the community. Certainly, you know if you’re a season ticket member, there will be opportunities to meet, the team. We’ll be doing events in the communities for players. So there’ll be lots of opportunities to connect our fan base with our players. I mean we’re eager to, once we have the draft in the late fall, certainly eager to introduce our players to their new fans.
AA: Who is coaching the New York Guardians?
JD: Yes, Coach Kevin Gilbride was announced back in April along with myself. We actually did a joint announcement and he’s very familiar with the region. Fans are quite familiar with him. He certainly was a two time New York Giant Super Bowl champion and offensive coordinator.
AA: Wow. So it’s cool that you guys, again brought in somebody that is familiar with the New York football fan base.
JD: Yeah, I mean, he’s familiar with this area certainly and sort of what fans are looking for and, I think based on the reaction of just being out in the community yesterday and around New York, and in New Jersey, he’s definitely received a warm reception for lots of fans.
AA: With having the XFL start right after the NFL season, is there any worry about football fatigue from people kind of having football right after the season?
JD: I certainly hope not. For me, all the research is pointing to fans want more football. Quite frankly, there seems to be a little bit of fume when the NFL season ends and the college season ends, so for us, we want the XFL to be about football and fun. We’re ready to kick off. The season will be 10 weeks and we’ll have five home games and five away games. 10 weeks, and then they’re split up in a championship game. We’re certainly looking to partner up with all sorts of partners, businesses in the community, partners in the community. Really want to make sure we get the awareness out. We want folks to know that tickets for MetLife Stadium will be affordable.
Marc Anthony brought his Opus tour to Atlantic City Hard Rock casino Saturday, January 25, 2020. The tour is in support of his latest album Opus his first studio album in six years.
The concert was supposed to start at 8pm. On this night Marc Anthony proved why after 30 years in the music business he is still one of the best entertainers in the music business. The one-hour wait was well worth it. The later the party starts the better it is. Marc Anthony concert was no exception.
Marc Anthony knows how to get the crowd warmed up and excited. Shortly after 9pm the house lights went down. Marc Anthony and his 16-piece band gave the fans a night to remember. Marc Anthony wore many hats throughout the evening singer, music conductor, and drummer. It was a night to celebrate life and his music. During the show Marc took a moment to wish his guitarist a happy birthday and a couple got engaged during the show.
He had the crowd on his every word. I have been to many shows. It is rare to witness an entertainer who can deliver song for song and have the audience on their feet for the whole show.
I have never seen people salsa dancing on the isles and after a while even security could not help but move their hips. Seeing a Marc Anthony concert, you are witnessing one of the best entertainers. I didn’t know what to expect coming to a Marc Anthony concert, I had never seen him live. Even in the YouTube era there is nothing like being there in person witnessing the energy, excitement, how he can seduce a crowd. One thing to give Marc Anthony credit for is his live performance. There are no backing tapes. This is why he has a 16-piece band. It would be easy to bring backing tracks. Marc Anthony knows better he respects and loves the fans enough to instead bring a full backing band.
If you bought any records from KISS, Bon Jovi, or Aerosmith and read the songwriting credits the name Desmond Child always popped up. Desmond Child has been the man behind the scenes writing hit songs such as Aerosmith “Angel”, KISS “I was made for lovin’ you, Bon Jovi “Living on a prayer”. He has had a career now spanning 5 decades and numerous hits and number one songs. Desmond Child has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. Last October he released a live album Desmond Child Live he has finished writing his biography Livin’ on a prayer Big songs, Big Life to be released later this year and has plans on putting out new music and do live shows. It is good to be a Desmond Child fan these days with a lot of things to look forward to. I had an opportunity to talk to Desmond Child about everything from writing with Paul Stanley to details about his book and live album.
Angel Alamo: How did you come up with the idea to do the live album (Desmond Child Live) that you just released?
Desmond Child: Desmond Child Live. After many, many years of not performing, because the last time I was performing was with my group Desmond Child and Rouge back in the late 70’s. I decided to do a show of my own. Which was actually the first time I’ve ever done a show that was me, a solo show. It’s the first time I was ever performing and I wanted… I’m back in New York City where I started out and I found this gorgeous little club called Feinstein’s/54 Below. Which is underneath the original Studio 54 but I think down there that was kind of like orgy room or where everyone took drugs and stuff originally. But now it’s a very chic club and I brought together a lot of my friends and musicians that I had played with during the years and Desmond Child and Rouge with Maria Vidal, Miriam Valle and Diana Grasselli.
Desmond Child: I had a ball. We performed over three nights. Lena Hall sang her jazz song, “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and Justin Benlolo a young, new talent, he’s 22 years old, sang some of the songs that were too high for me to sing. Like, “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”, and “You Give Love a Bad Name”, “How Can We Be Lovers?”. He did the heavy lifting and I sang more like the ballady kind of songs and we just had a ball. I’m very proud of the record. Turned out great. And we also did a version of that show on PBS, a show called Live at the Kate so I had some different guest artists on that. Deborah Cox and Amanda Gonzalez from Hamilton came up and sang. I’ve just been getting out there with music. After this live album, I’m going to be releasing singles on BMG, which is my label, that are duets stars that I’ve worked with. My first one’s with Alice Cooper.
Desmond Child: We’re going to be putting that out in April and I’m just going to keep dropping music. And the whole music business has had a system where it’s like, you make an album and then you release it, up tempo songs, your first single. Hoping it’s catchy and then maybe leads people to buying the record. And I think all bets are off now because the way the Spotify space works, you can record a song that day and release it that night and it’s very egalitarian.
Desmond Child: I love that and it’s a very different world and you don’t have to worry about genres and this and that. You can just put out your music and make your own genre, make your own market. And so it’s been very exciting to be free of the way it used to be. That’s why I waited so long, it was so daunting to get a record deal then you wait a year for finally your record to come out and then if it doesn’t test well then you’re dropped from the label. All of that stuff. I think the way it is now, artists can just grab their careers into their own hands and make things happen.
What do you like better? Being in the studio or performing on stage?
Desmond Child: I think I prefer being on stage. A shorter amount of time. Being a studio rat, you could be working at a song for weeks, just the one, the same song. Playing it over and over again, making this little adjustment, that little adjustment. Because you can, with the technology, continue tweaking until it’s perfection. Sometimes one can go over something and it sounds completely weird and dead, but that’s a whole other art form. I love connecting with people. I love telling stories. I love making people laugh. I love being a clown. I love making people have tears, you know. So I love that. And so I hope that to be able to do it more but that’s very expensive because clubs usually make you pay to play.
Desmond Child: Yeah. That’s just how it is. And you can fill a room and they’ll just give you a tiny bit. That’s the only way they can survive. It’s a career to itself. To be a performer, to be an actor. My sons going to be going to NYU. And so my husband and I decided, okay, now we’re going to go travel the world. I’m going to go do masterclasses. I’m going to do performing but that it’d be out there and you know. Well, guess what? We’re the ones flying away.
Angel Alamo: How did John Kalodner contact you to work with Aerosmith?
Desmond Child: I have had big success with Kiss, “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.” Paul Stanley of Kiss introduced me to Jon Bon Jovi. And I started writing songs with them. We right away did “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer”. John Kalodner noticed me and asked me if I would work with Cher because they had asked him to oversee signing Cher and who hadn’t made a record in eight years. I always loved Cher. When I was little, I had posters of her all around. I didn’t know if I wanted to be her or sleep with her, I couldn’t decide. That’s how I got into the world of rock because he was also A&Ring their record.
Angel Alamo: Aerosmith, they have a song on the Pump album called F. I. N. E, which is one of the coolest titles that they have released. How did that song come together and who came up with the title for that song?
Desmond Child: Steven set the title, F. I. N. E. Fucked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional.
Desmond Child:I just had such a great time. The first song we wrote together was “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and then next one, “Angel”. Then I wrote a song called Heart’s Done Time”
I wrote three songs on that record (Permanent Vacation). I wrote “Crazy”, “What It Takes” and other songs like “Flesh” and “Hole in My Soul”. Through the years.
Angel Alamo: How did you get the job to produce Ratt Detonator album and what was it like working with Ratt?
Desmond Child: It was a difficult time for them and they had a lot of problems, emotional problems and drug addiction problems and the band wasn’t really getting along with each other. I just worked with Warren DeMartini and Stephen Pearcy together and I was executive producer of record and my engineer produced it.
Angel Alamo: That album is still a great record.
Desmond Child: Yeah. I mean, that song “Loving Is a Dirty Job” and that’s just such a great song. It’s classic. And for me, it’s all about the message. They weren’t really telling stories like the kind of music I was writing with Bon Jovi and with Aerosmith. It was more balls out, rocking, macho. I don’t know, what did they call that? Chauvinist? At the same time, the hydrogen bomb on everything was Nirvana and that brought in grunge music and this whole Seattle sound. All these other bands that came out of there. Those are the bands They really struggled. They went from playing like huge venues to like kind of club shows. Legacy acts.
Desmond Child: It was like from one day to the next. It was like, “Oh, my God. The era is over”. Because those other bands were way insular. They didn’t co-write. They didn’t do out world songs that were meant to entertain and make people have fun. They were very introspective. We call them shoot lasers. They tend to have hair in their face and they look down because they were like three cords. They weren’t even like musicians; they were like are med students. The whole thing was like very artsy but those songs made no sense. They would put out and it was completely opposite of the kind of music that I had been making.
Angel Alamo: When you work with Bon Jovi on These Days album. On that one, you wrote “This Ain’t a Love Song” and “Something For the Pain”. How did those songs come together and was the band thinking about this is what’s going on now with grunge? Because it turned out to be a great album, but just with more dark lyrical themes compared to their previous albums.
Desmond Child: I think that what was happening was Jon was growing up. When he was 22 years old. It was like, “Go out there and shake your ass.” He became much more educated, having seen the world more introspective and mature. Becoming more melancholy and spiritual and deeper perspective. Until this day, he’s writing a lot of songs with social justice themes and all of that because that’s who he is and that’s what he cares about. He’s very honest about who he is. He’s not over writing a gratuitous song, because he thinks that it might fail. That’s never been the way I’ve written. He has integrity about what he does.
Angel Alamo: I’m a big fan of the These Days record. And I think that’s why it turned out to me to be really good because he wasn’t trying to sound like raunchy was still writing the way that he does.
Desmond Child: Yeah. He can only be him and he has his own market. I was over at his apartment in New York last night and he’d played me his new album and it’s a masterpiece. I mean, it’s just fantastic and the sounds and just physical lyrics. And I didn’t pull that on the record. I’m just very proud at the work that he’s done. And I think his team, and co-writers, John Jackson, Billy Falcon, they’re very unified in the message. If he goes out and he can do worldwide tours, he’s very successful. And politicians go to him for advice and endorsements and all of that kind of stuff, He’s a huge influence on the culture, the world. He’s just consonant artist. I just love everything about him.
Angel Alamo: You worked on the comeback album (Trash) for Alice Cooper. That was called, at the time, his comeback album. Was there any pressure on you as a producer on working on that record?
Desmond Child: Not really. I didn’t really think of it as a comeback up. I didn’t know anything about him really, except that I had gone to see Alice Cooper concert with my friends, in the makeup and the black tears and all that stuff. I’d always been a fan and honestly, he invented heavy metal there would be no KISS if it had been not been for Alice Cooper first. He really understood the character that he plays in. When I got together with him, he explained, “Look, I was Alice Cooper the character”. When he first came up with Alice Cooper, that was the name of the band and his name had been Vincent Furnier and then people start saying he’s Alice Cooper.
Desmond Child: It’s kind of fun because it’s a female name, it’s androgynous. But when you say Alice Cooper, you don’t think of it as a girl. But I think that’s what made the brand so intriguing. And he was very kind of creepy and androgynous. But the thing about Alice Cooper is he’s the son of a preacher man and his father was a minister. He’s very spiritual and a normal person in spite of how he lives because he’s forming society in a way because we have a dark side. We love seeing the dark side played up on the stage or in a creepy movie or something like that. This way, it gets out of our system, and we don’t have to be creepy. If Alice Cooper punched the head off of a doll, he has to be punished for that.
Desmond Child: Then by the end of the show, his head goes into the guillotine and it gets cut off. There’s always a price you pay for being bad. And so we wrote the album called Trash as a kind of opera, rock opera. It has all these different stories and movements. And then we got all of our friends Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Joan Jett, Kip Winger, Kane Roberts. Everybody just jumped into the record. I was going to say it was instead of a barn raising, it’s like a barn burning. It was one of the most fun records ever. We made it up in Bearsville studios up in Woodstock and the musicianship was incredible and the sounds were fantastic. I loved it. And then, unfortunately for whatever reason, I didn’t get to take to make the next record, even though he went from selling I think 18,000 records to four and a half million. We’re still very good friends and he’s my first artist on my new music that he and I are doing. Things happen. I think he was influenced by his A&R guy that was kind of upset that he wasn’t invited to co-write. Then he pushed me out of the way and then he’d co-write the next record and then of course, he wasn’t as skilled as me and that particular kind of thing. That record didn’t sell. So then the label dropped him. And so he continues making records. I’m not sure what label he does, but I’m hoping that he calls me back and says, “Let’s start writing hits again”.
Desmond Child: I’ve only been writing for 35 years, but that’s okay.
You can say that you’ve been very patient.(laughter)
Desmond Child: I’ve been very patient and by the way, I went to see his show with his recent show out. It’s stunning with his musicians. Incredible. And Cheryl, his wife, is in the show now and so it’s like mom and pop show in a way. Because their kids all grew up and they’re out there and they really the audiences are just singing every song. He put a song that we had written on trashing into the show called bed of nails. And I don’t think he had ever really performed it and he put it in the show and it’s like a show stopper. People loved it. I just admire him so much because he never gives up. He’s just out there and I loved him in Jesus Christ Superstar. He played Pontius Pilate or one of those songs. Who is the King? Did you see that? It was, I think John legend played Jesus and they had Jesus Christ Superstar live.
Desmond Child: Wasn’t it Pontius Pilate? I’m not sure. He’s the one that sends Christ to the cross. And he came out looking like Louis the fourteenth. He looked amazing with the skull on his cane. He’s a true entertainer. He’s an American legend. I think we should put his face up next on Mount Rushmore.
Angel Alamo: Who else would you put up there?
Desmond Child: Exactly. I think it’s his turn next.
Angel Alamo: Theater rock of incorporating that into the rock music.
Desmond Child: I learned a lot from him because he’s got a very fun way of looking at things. He just shows up. He does his best. He doesn’t have huge expectations. He just keeps growing and everything’s okay. He golfs. He really takes care of himself and it’s so beautiful to see him with his wife. They’re just so in love and they’re such a beautiful family. And he’s a true success. I love him for that.
Angel Alamo: Because he’s one of those musicians that he’s still out touring with almost no plans to stop. He hasn’t announced the next tour is going to be the farewell. He could still go on with no plans in sight to stop, really.
Desmond Child: Why should he? He loves performing. He loves his fans and they love him.
Angel Alamo:You worked on Kiss, “Heavens on Fire”. How was working on that song and I guess just a title because the title is something that no one would come up.
Desmond Child: Well, I think one of the things that I learned from my mentor Bob Crewe we wrote a bunch of songs the four seasons and co-produced. I worked with him for a couple of years. I wrote 38 songs with him and he wouldn’t start a song unless he had a killer title. And he also targeted the irony of having opposites in the title. And that’s how I came up with a thought of like, you give love a bad name, so love and bod are things that go together, they’re opposites. I hate myself for loving you. How can we be lovers but we can’t be friends? There’s always kind of irony and once you have a title that has irony, then it’s easy to write the song. Everything just flows right out of it. “Heaven on Fire” was one of those titles.
Desmond Child: Heaven. Fire. Heaven’s associated with hell, not fire. Heaven’s on fire. Double on tontra actually. Meaning something very sexual. I’ve always just co-written with Paul, I’ve never co-written with Gene. And I think that because they tour a lot together and they’d have a lot of business together and all that. It’s like too much togetherness. So they go off to their own corners and go out with other people and bring the songs to the table. And then, may the best songs win. Same thing with I was made for loving you that’s when I was in my group as a Desmond Child and Rouge.
Desmond Child:He used to come and hang out and he said, “Hey, why don’t we try to write a song together”? At that time, I was experimenting with the little tiny time machine and I started getting the idea that why should dance music or disco music, just be all R&B? Clean guitars and all kind of stuff. What about being with head rock guitars? And so I hoodwinked it, trying that concept. And it’s still to this day biggest international hit. And Gene still hates the song, but it’s in the show. So he must not hate it that much.
Angel Alamo: I think because of how fast he (Gene) kind of has to play with the baseline.
Desmond Child: Yeah. He has to work on that. Extra effort (laughter)
Angel Alamo: Well that’s an awesome song. Everybody still goes crazy. I still listen to it. It’s on my MP3.
Desmond Child: I’ve written about 20 songs with Paul Stanley through the years. One of my favorite songs that we wrote was called “Live to Win”. South Park did a parody of that song, which I just love so much.
Angel Alamo: You’re going to be releasing your bio this year is that correct?
Desmond Child: Yes. It’s called “Livin’ on a Prayer: Big Songs Big Life” with David Ritz, my coauthor. It’s a story of my life. Still putting finishing touches on it actually. I started saying, “You know what? Maybe, I shouldn’t tell that story.” I’m still tweaking it, but I’m definitely putting it out this year.
Angel Alamo:You’ve actually written songs with Diane Warren. How is it, like I said, writing with my brain today, how is it writing songs with her, with Diane Warren?
Desmond Child: I first heard the song she wrote called, “Don’t Lose Any Sleep” that was recorded by John White and produced by Rick Nowels. And I heard the song and I went, “Oh, my God. That sounds like my music. It’s like something I would write.” And so I tracked her down and she wouldn’t answer my calls. Then my song, “You Give Love a Bad Name” went to number one. And then she called me back. She said, “Hi, this is Diane Warren. Welcome to the number one club.” Then we became fast friends and wrote a bunch of very cool songs. “Love on a Rooftop” which is on my album, Desmond Child Live. Actually, this is a funny story, I’ve been writing with Paul Stanley and we’d go back and forth, kind of singing titles of songs and I’d been typing it into my computer. So it wasn’t working or whatever.
Desmond Child: I wasn’t marking whose title was whose. When I went to write with Diana, she loved “Love on a Rooftop.”. We wrote the song “Love on a rooftop. I produced it, it was my first production that I did with Ronnie Spector I called up Paul (Stanley) “I’m so excited. I produced my first record. It’s called “Love on a Rooftop”. There was silence, dead silence. That’s my title Oh my God! That is so messed up so of course, he’s a co-writer on the song.
Angel Alamo: The song, “Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore” was supposed to be on the (Bon Jovi) New Jersey album? How did the song, how did Cher and Kane Roberts ended up getting that song?
Desmond Child: Well, I think we wrote that song for New Jersey and there was another song called “We All Sleep Alone” and I was producing Cher. I pitched it to her.
Desmond Child: So then, he (Kane Roberts) cut it. I was an executive producer on that record. In those days, if a song wasn’t a single then, just pitch it to the next one. There’s this great song that I wrote with Paul Stanley called “Hide Your Heart”. And I was producing for Bonnie Tyler and I was looking for songs for her. Which by the way, I found the song called “Simply the Best” and I had written, “Just Like Jesse James” that ended up being on Cher’s record. We were just like throwing the songs around like “Simply the Best” and “Hide Your Heart” is one of my favorite songs. And so then I tried it again with Robin Beck.
Desmond Child: Different artists would interpret the song their own way and it was played because after a long period of time where people had to write their own songs. The way, it’s like when I co-wrote with Kiss, it was like, “I Was Made For Loving You”. It was unbeknownst to me, creating a career, because then they saw the success so they started hiring me. Usually, it was forbidden. That bands would co-write with an outside writer, maybe they’d co-write with a producer. But then once I started doing that, then a lot of other writers started jumping on the bandwagon. Like Mark Hudson and all these people who worked like independent in a professional song writing starting co-writing with bands and it was more allowable.
Tilted will be having a record release party on Saturday, November 30, 2019 at Brighton Bar 121 Brighton Avenue Long Branch, NJ 07740 show starts at 7pm. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online https://tilted.ticketleap.com/?fbclid=IwAR34kBgCI6i-ZMahbHE_7FDKAeqcKcQxbsVZSC5bkVayFtwgToMXF5KzLO4
Angel: Who produced the album Full Speed Ahead?
Tilted: The new album FULL SPEED AHEAD, while mixed and mastered at 2 well known recording studios in New Jersey, was actually produced by TILTED aka TILTED Productions.
Angel: How did the band come up with the name of the record?
Tilted: After we did our EP a couple of years back, we were at the TILTED studio talking about many things we would like to do. We had some personnel changes and after that one of us said once we solidify the new unit, it’s FULL SPEED AHEAD. And we said, what a great album title!!! We were discussing doing a new album also.
Angel: How did the band come up with the songs for the album?
Tilted: Most of the songs we have had completed for quite some time and play them live. We knew we had good material to do a new album with these great rock songs. One song happened to be one we had for years but never saw the light of day in any aspect and that is on the album and it is called “This is the 1st Day”
Angel: Are there any outtakes from the album?
Tilted: Close!! 2 tracks are bonus tracks called “Rock & Roll Show” and “Stalk-Her” that were pretty much live and one take in the studio. These also happen to be some of the 1st songs we ever written and are still fan favorites. I like the feel of them on the album.
Angel: What are the band plans to promote the album?
Tilted: We do a lot of social media promotion. The album can be purchased on CD and most of the known online media outlets (Apple, Itunes, Google Play, Amazon music, Spotify) We plan on doing a number of shows. We were showcased as the Jersey Rock Band of the week on 95.9fm WRAT The Rat on 9/3, 9/4, and 9/5 at 1130pm. 1 tune per night from the album was played.
Angel: How was it opening for Ace Frehley?
Tilted: For me personally, it was a dream come true. Many know I am a huge KISS fan for over 40 years. If someone would have told me in 1978 when I was 7 with KISS on my walls that one day I would be sharing the stage with Ace Frehley, I would have said you were nuts. But things happen!! It was a definite highlight for sure! The band was pumped up and we killed it that night. KISS is without question my biggest influence.
Angel: Would the band ever do a cover song for an album?
Tilted: Never say never but unlikely.
Angel: How did the songs come together?
Tilted: They typically either come from a lyric idea or a guitar riff. We then start humming/strumming what we may think the direction could or should go. We tend to record bits and pieces and go back and forth. We try to stick to a formula that works for us with hopes of having a good hook and chorus.
Angel: Any plans for the band to tour behind the record?
Tilted: Yes, and will try to stick to good quality shows. We plan on a CD release party as well. Trying to line up the time and place.
Angel: What has been the best advice the band has gotten?
Tilted: We have gotten some good advice over the years from friends, family, and fans of the band. One of the things that comes to mind is make sure you have fun and do what you feel is great for the band and everything else will fall in place. Yes, take it serious but having fun is important. People tell us when they see us live that it is clear we look like we are having a ball on stage.
Angel Alamo: How did you come up with your entertainment name?
Beverly Blue: Well, I had that name since I was a teenager, hanging out in New York City with all the lesbians and gays. I was a lesbian, so that was my little tag name.
AA: How long have you been in the industry for?
BB: I got started around 2008, so definitely over 10 years, almost 12 now.
AA: Wow. Congratulations.
AA: Not many people make it that long in the industry?
BB: Not many. You’ve got to really love what you do.
AA: What’s the best part of your job?
BB: The best part of my job is that I bring fantasies to reality. I love that part.
AA: What is the place would you like to travel to that you still haven’t been to yet?
BB: Europe. I would love that. But I need a friend to take me there.
AA: If I hit the Powerball we’ll make that happen.
BB: Oh, you better.
AA: What is the toughest part about being in the industry?
BB: Dating. It’s so hard. Because the guys are not worried about their income, their worried about their cock. And it’s all right, I just want something average. Just love me for me, baby.
AA: Is it like a jealousy thing, do you think?
BB: Yes, they are jealous. They think I could have any dick in the world, or any rich man. I mean, I probably could, but if I choose you, I choose you.
AA: Yeah. Gosh, be happy.
BB: Thank you.
AA: Some guys can’t even get a woman.
BB: And I love head anyways. Lick it.
AA: Besides events, do you ever get recognized when you’re out in public.
BB: Oh yes, yes. I went to file taxes, got recognized. Grocery shopping, got recognized. Went to go buy some chicken, got recognized. Yeah, it happens, all over.
AA: Do you ever get discounts when they recognize you? Or a freebie?
BB: Yes, definitely. I love discounts, I’ll take anything that’s free.
AA: What are your future plans?
BB: My future plan is to produce more content and not take breaks in between. I want to be on it. So, this is what I’m doing all 2020.
AA: Who would you like to work with in the industry that you still have not worked with?
BB: Oh my gosh, that’s a hard question. I mean, I want to strap on and fuck me. But, pretty much anybody that wants to work with me, I’m very open to it.
AA: What are the most annoying fan emails and requests that you get that are just downright annoying?
BB: There’s so many. I’m trying to think of the best one. Most likely its, “Can I get to know you?” You can, call me, call my chatline, webcam with me, book me. You can get to know me on a session. That’s the perfect way to try to get to know me.
AA: Right. And support what you are doing.
BB: That’s right.
AA: What are your favorite places to travel to?
BB: I love the ocean. So, the beach, a nice beach, Clearwater Beach in Florida. I really like that. It takes my mind someplace else and it’s very relaxing.
AA: What’s your favorite type of scenes to do?
BB: Well I love fetish scenes, I love guys worshiping me, worshiping every part of my body. And of course sex. Any type of sex, I love fucking.
AA: The biggest misconception about working in the adult industry?
BB: Working in the adult industry. One is that you can have everyone you want, anyone you want. One is that you always love big dicks. And one is that you don’t have to work too hard. I mean, some days we do have to work too hard, some days it’s not. It’s still work.
AA: After 12 years, what keeps you motivated and what keeps you going?
BB: What keeps me motivated and what keeps me going, I’m passionate. I love it. You know. This is me, I’m doing what makes me happy, and it just so happens that it makes y’all happy too.
AA: Do you listen to any type of music before you do a scene?
BB: You know what, necessarily I don’t, but I love any music. Like this music right here, I could just go on and on with it. I love all music.
For More information on Beverly Blue you can visit her websites:
It has been an exciting year so far for Autograph and Jimi Bell. The band has been playing shows and keeping rock and roll alive. Now the band is starting a new chapter with the addition of Jimi Bell replacing founding member Steve Lynch. I had the opportunity to interview Jimi Bell a guitarist who has had an amazing career. I had the chance to talk to him about joining the band and also being in the movie light of day.
Angel Alamo: How did you get the gig in Autograph?
Jimi Bell: I met Steve and Randy many years back at NAMM. We reconnected about 5 years ago when Autograph and Maxx Explosion played on the same bill. Steve and I are good friends and when Autograph played close to my area, I would get together with them and hang out. They are the nicest down-to-Earth guys. When Steve made his departure announcement, I contacted Randy and said I would love an opportunity to audition as guitarist. The rest is history.
AA: What were the rehearsals like?
JB: Rehearsals were absolutely incredible. From the very first song we played together it was like magic. We instantly connected on all levels, musically, vocally and as friends. Lots of good energy!!
AA: Had you ever met any of the guys in the band before?
JB: Yes ( see question one)
AA: Did you have any concerns replacing a founder member of the band?
JB: As I stated before, Steve and I are very good friends and we have nothing but the utmost respect for each other. My main concern was to do my absolute best for the band and their fans. Our first show together was amazing. The response was truly overwhelming. They all welcomed me into the Autograph family. I’m so honored.
AA: How do you manage being involved in multiple musical projects?
JB: Well I have always been a full time musician so I try to stay as busy as possible wether it’s performing or recording. I truly love being a member of Autograph and all their show are top priority.
AA: You was in the movie light of the day. How did you get that gig?
JB: My band Joined Forces was managed by a member of Blackheart Records at the time. We did an east coast tour with Joan Jett which led to us getting the part in the movie. Joan is incredible and has always treated me great.
AA: How was it making the movie?
JB: It was an amazing experience being in a national motion picture. I can’t say enough wonderful things about Michael J Fox and Joan Jett.
Up at 4am for makeup which took a couple hours before any filming started. We did about 10 takes of the song then let all the extras in for the scene. What an incredible time we had.
AA: What was the first studio album that you played on?
JB: Honestly I can’t remember. I know the Joined Forces EP came out in 1984 but I do remember playing on a few other things prior. On my website www.jimibellguitarist.com the covers of all the CDs I played on are posted. At least the ones I can remember.
AA: Are there any festivals you still want to perform at?
JB:ALL OF THEM !!! LOL!!! I’m really looking forward to playing as many shows and festivals as possible with AUTOGRAPH for years to come.
AA: Any plans for new music from Autograph?
JB: All of us are writers. I’m definitely looking forward to collaborating on new music with Simon, Randy and Marc. In fact I have already been laying down ideas for new songs with the band. I actually played one of them for the guys at rehearsal and they loved it.
During a recent match. I had the chance to interview professional wrestler Roni “Big Bang” Nicole who put on an electrifying wrestling match that fans won’t forget. I had a chance to interview and see her wrestling match. She is loved by fans. After the event was over there were fans waiting to for a picture and autograph.
Angel Alamo: Do you listen to any music before your wrestling match?
Roni Nicole: Music is such a huge part of my life. Growing up listening to the classics, funk, soul, ‘dad rock’, jazz, EVERYTHING!! In elementary, middle and high school band was my life, so music seamlessly transitioned into my pre-match ritual. I usually listen to music on the way to the venue in the car, because that gets me in ‘show mode’ , once I hit the venue it’s go time so music pre-arrival Is what gets my mind focused. Usually it’s something Techno/EDM/House to start and then I transition into rock or hip hop depending. I’m obsessed with Keys and Krates at present so theyare ALWAYS in the mix pre-show.
AA: Is it hard eating healthy while on the road?
Roni: Dear GoodnessYES! It wasn’t until I started meal prepping that My diet on the road improved. It’s so easy to eat unhealthy because at every gas stop you’re flooded with terrible yet delicious choices!! Now, I prep my meals for the entire weekend and then eat 1 meal after the show on the road, keeping it close to what I’ve already prepared. It’s tempting but in order to perform at a high level? Your body HAS to be properly fueled.
AA: Have you ever been injured during a match?
Roni:In professional wrestling it’s not IF you’ll get hurt it’s WHEN. My worst injury to date was in Japan, when I blew out my knee after a match facing Manami Toyota, Ayako Hamanda and Nanae Takahasi. The match was a dream come true and being hurt was absolutely devastating, however, I was fortunate enough that the World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana staff and wrestlers took such good care of me. I was able to have my knee treated in Japan so that I was ready for outpatient surgery in the states.
AA: You have a lot of charisma and have the audience cheering for you, is that something that comes with experience in working a crowd?
Roni: Thank you for your kind words! 🙂 Everything in professional wrestling in my experience requires just that, experience. It is such a multi-faceted business and even though we may be taught or trained for specific circumstances? Nothing matches the actual subjective experience that each person has when they actually engage in something. Just as with working out in the ring, it takes time to build that comfort, muscle memory and presence with performing in front of others. I’ve always been a performer and so being in front has always been a huge part of my life!
AA: What other place overseas would you like to wrestle?
Roni: I adore travel, I would love to wrestle in more countries in Africa, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Turkey, France… EVERYWHERE!!! I love experiencing other cultures and people, seeing how they live and love and experience their corner of our world. At the end of the day we are all people who hope and dream and cry and work and play and strive to be greater. Wrestling gives me the opportunity to share and experience what I love with my global family.
AA: Do you ever read the comments on YouTube about your matches?
Roni: My grandmother raised me to believe that what others think of you is not your business, and I’ve always kind of held true to that. Of course it’s hard not to get caught up in what people may say or think, but at the end of the day their opinion is theirs and theirs alone. I apply that to my YouTube only, some of the comments are more colorful of language and appropriateness so I choose not to engage. I love when my supporters reach out on my other social media, especially Twitter it makes me feel like I’m truly connected to those who follow me on this journey.
AA: What is the toughest part about traveling?
Roni: For me I love the road, but I do notice different challenges now that weren’t always noticeable. Most recently I’ve noticed the driving itself has become a little more challenging… Oh, and crazy gas prices!!
AA: Do you ever get recognized when you are out in public?
Roni: Not nearly as much here 😉 but when I’m overseas yes.
Angel Alamo: How did you come up with the idea for your website?
Good Curvy: Well, I wanted to show the artistic side of curvy bodies… I had been seeing comments about curvy modes photos being raunchy and “not art” and I knew that was not true… I wanted to make a conscious effort to display curvy women in a positive light and make it accessible to everyone! Often photos of curvy women are down played and seen with no value, I wanted to make something that upheld the true value of curvy women.
AA: How long has your website been around?
GC: The website has been around for a little over two years.
AA: How long did it take for the photobook and collection to come together?
GC: This process took about one year. From conception to execution.
AA: Are BBW models becoming more accepted now than in the past?
GC: Absolutely! From mainstream models like Liris and Tess we are making way for women like Lizzo to be successful. It’s a process, but it is coming along.
AA: You have an art show in Atlanta on April 4, 2020 what can fans expect and will there be information soon as for prices of tickets for the art show?
GC: Expect to fall in love with the curvy body. It will be an artistic experience that you have not seen before. Imagine Met Gala meets Full Figured Fashion Week in one evening music and art. models… live performance exhibit… food… body positivity!!!
Tickets/pricing will be released in January.
AA: Any plans on bringing the art show to other cities?
GC: This is in the works for sure! Where should we go?!
AA: Are BBW models becoming more accepted now than in the past?
GC: Absolutely! From mainstream models like Liris and Tess we are making way for women like Lizzo to be successful. It’s a process, but it is coming along.
AA: What has been the most positive feedback you have gotten?
GC: Hearing someone say my journey influenced their journey to start following their dream!! That brought tears to my eyes… I want women to feel their value so that they can feel worthy enough to follow their dreams… that was confirmation to me that I’m heading in the right direction!
For more information on Good Curvy feel free to check out the following websites:
Steven Adler played at M3 festival. Fans didn’t know quite what to expect. All the fans knew was we would be hearing some Guns N Roses classics. Fans didn’t know quite what to expect from Ari Kamin didn’t disappoint fans by the end of the set everyone was wondering who is this guy. It was one of the biggest surprises. Afterwards Ari was nice enough to take pictures and talk to the fans many of them wishing him the best and telling him how much they enjoyed his set. He has a great vocal style. It’s good to know that the future of rock n roll is in great hands. What I admire most about Ariel he reminds me of what makes rock n roll fun. He has a great stage presence and charisma
Angel Alamo: Who were your influences growing up?
Ari Kamin: My first musical influence of all time was Michael Jackson. I was 5 years old when Dangerous album was released and I still can remember me playing that record over and over again thinking “Ok, that’s what I wanna do”. Then they came Queen, Aerosmith, Extreme and obviusly Guns N’ Roses.
AA: How did you get into music?
AK: As I said before, I knew I wanted to be a singer since I was a little child so my parents tried to stimulate that desire taking me to piano lessons and guitar lessons. In elementary school, while kids of my age were playing sports games or trading cards I drawing my band’s logo and trying to write songs. But it wasn’t till high school that I was able to step on a stage for the very first time. I still remember that night, it was awesome!
AA: How did you get the gig to be the new singer in Adler’s Appetite?
AK: Before being Steven’s singer I used to play in two bands back in Argentina. “Criaturas Salvajes” and “Son Of a Gun”, a GNR cover band. In 2016 Steven went to Argentina to play as a special guest of Guns N’ Roses at River Plate stadium and after the show he joined Son of a Gun at The Roxy club for a 3 hours jam where we played the entire “Appetite for Destruction” and a couple of songs from the Use your Illusion albums. Two years after that gig I receive a call from Steven asking me to join his band. How cool is that?
AA: What was the first show like with Adler’s Appetite?
AK: Picture yourself as an Argentine guy who never left his country except to go to neighboring countries a couple of times. Suddenly you are sitting on a plane heading Hollywood to play with one of your heroes, the drummer of the most dangerous band in the world. It was mind blowing! I will always be grateful to Steven, he is one of the nicest human being I met in my life and he and his wife Carolina took care of me from the first moment.
AA: Any plans for the band to perform overseas?
AK: Thing’s been growing up since last year when I joined the band, we’ve played in a couple big festivals, we have a couple more ahead and the Kiss Kruise in October. We are writing new material, something really exciting! So I think it’s just a matter of time for us to be playing near your area, wherever you live!
AA: Did you take voice lessons?
AK: I had a great teacher named Diego Valdez who taught me how to get the most out of my voice. It’s funny, because a few years ago Diego and I took separate paths and we did not see each other again, but while I’m working with Steven I know he’s living in Spain and he’s been working with hard rock legends like Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo and Simon Wright.
AA: Growing up who were your favorite singers?
AK: While growing up my favourite singers were Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Steven Tyler, Axl Rose and Meat Loaf. Then I started listening to Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin. The last few years I’ve been listening to a lot of southern rock and country music I love Charlie Starr from Blackberry Smoke and Jaren Johnston from The Cadillac Three and I’m also into Kid Rock, Blake Shelton and Alan Jackson. But the only one for me was and will ever be Freddie.
AA: Are there any Guns N Roses songs that you haven’t performed yet that you would still like to perform?
AK: In more than 15 years of career I think I have given myself the pleasure of playing almost all GNR songs and I have enjoyed them all but now I’m focused on our originals. It’s a very important step in my career and there’s nothing more exciting for me than thinking about putting my voice together with Steven’s drums on a new album.
AA: How do you wind down after a show?
AK: I would love to tell you, but then, of course, I’d have to kill you. Ha Ha
Steven Adler jugó en el festival M3. Los aficionados no sabían muy bien qué
esperar. Todos los fanáticos sabían que estaríamos escuchando algunos clásicos de Guns N Roses. Los fanáticos no sabían muy bien qué esperar de Ari Kamin no decepcionó a los
fanáticos al final del set, todos se preguntaban quién era este tipo. Fue una de las mayores sorpresas. Luego, Ariel tuvo la amabilidad de tomar fotos y hablar con los fanáticos, muchos de ellos le desearon lo mejor y le dijeron lo mucho que disfrutaron su set. Tiene un gran estilo vocal. Es bueno saber que el futuro del rock n roll está en buenas manos. Lo que más admiro
de Ariel es que me recuerda lo que hace que el rock and roll sea divertido. Tiene una gran presencia escénica y carisma.
Angel Alamo: ¿Quiénes fueron tus influencias mientras crecías?
Ari Kamin : Mi primera influencia musical de todos los tiempos fue Michael Jackson. Tenía
5 años de edad cuando se lanzó el álbum Dangerous y todavía puedo recordarme tocando ese
disco una y otra vez pensando “Ok, eso es lo que quiero hacer”. Luego vinieron Queen,
Aerosmith, Extreme y obviamente Guns N ‘Roses.
AA: ¿Cómo te metiste en la música?
AK : Como dije antes, sabía que quería ser cantante desde que era un niño, así que mis padres
trataron de estimular ese deseo llevándome a las clases de piano y guitarra. En la escuela
primaria, mientras los niños de mi edad jugaban juegos deportivos o intercambiaban tarjetas
I Dibujando el logo de mi banda y tratando de escribir canciones. Pero no fue hasta la
preparatoria que pude subir al escenario por primera vez. Todavía recuerdo esa noche, fue
AA: ¿Cómo conseguiste que el concierto fuera el nuevo cantante en Adler’s Appetite?
AK : Antes de ser el cantante de Steven, tocaba en dos bandas en
Argentina. ” Criaturas Salvajes “y” Son Of a Gun “, una banda de covers de GNR. En 2016,
Steven fue a Argentina para tocar como invitado especial de Guns N ‘Roses en el estadio River
Plate y, después del espectáculo, se unió a Son of a Gun en el club Roxy. por un atasco de 3
horas donde tocamos todo el “Appetite for Destruction” y un par de canciones de los álbumes de
Use your Illusion. Dos años después de ese concierto recibí una llamada de Steven pidiéndome
que me uniera a su banda. ¿Qué tan genial es eso?
AUTOMÓVIL CLUB BRITÁNICO: ¿Cómo fue el primer show con Adler’s Appetite?
AK : Imagínate a ti mismo como un chico argentino que nunca abandonó su país, excepto para
ir a países vecinos un par de veces.De repente, estás sentado en un avión en dirección a
Hollywood para tocar con uno de tus héroes, el baterista de la banda más peligrosa del
mundo. ¡Fue alucinante! Estaré siempre agradecido a Steven, él. es uno de los mejores seres
humanos que conocí en mi vida y él y su esposa Carolina me cuidaron desde el primer momento.
AA: ¿ Hay planes para que la banda actúe en el extranjero?
ALASKA: La cosa ha ido creciendo desde el año pasado cuando me uní a la banda, hemos
tocado en un par de grandes festivales, tenemos un par más por delante y el Kiss Kruise en
octubre. Estamos escribiendo nuevo material, algo realmente emocionante! Así que creo que es
solo una cuestión de tiempo que estemos jugando cerca de tu área, ¡donde sea que vivas!
AA: ¿Tomaste lecciones de voz?
ALASKA: Tuve un gran maestro llamado Diego Valdez que me enseñó a sacar el máximo
provecho de mi voz. Es gracioso, porque hace unos años Diego y yo tomamos caminos
separados y no nos volvimos a ver , pero mientras trabajo con Steven, sé que vive en España y
que ha estado trabajando con leyendas del hard rock como Craig Goldy , Rudy. Sarzo y Simon
AA: ¿ Creciendo quiénes eran tus cantantes favoritos?
ALASKA: Mientras crecí, mis cantantes favoritos fueron Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury,
Steven Tyler, Axl Rose y Meat Loaf.Entonces empecé a escuchar a Ray Charles, Louis
Armstrong, Aretha Franklin. Los últimos años he estado escuchando mucha música rock y
country sureña. Amo a Charlie Starr de Blackberry Smoke y Jaren Johnston de The Cadillac
Three, y también me gustan Kid Rock, Blake Shelton y Alan Jackson. Pero el único para mí fue
y será Freddie.
AA: ¿Hay alguna canción de Guns N Roses que aún no hayas interpretado y que aún te
ALASKA: En más de 15 años de carrera, creo que me he dado el placer de tocar casi todas las
canciones de GNR y las he disfrutado todas, pero ahora estoy centrado en nuestros originales. Es
un paso muy importante en mi carrera y no hay nada más emocionante para mí que pensar en
unir mi voz con la batería de Steven en un nuevo álbum.
AA: ¿Cómo te relajas después de un show?
ALASKA: Me encantaría decirte, pero entonces, por supuesto,
tendría a matarte. Ja ja
Singaya is a 4-piece Punk Rock outfit. Started in the summer of 2016 after toying around with the sound and musicians Singaya really starting to come into their own by 2017 with the releases of “You’ve Got the Bite” and “Yeah Whatever Lady” this band is a well oiled machine ready take over venues and clubs across the country. As the band posts news and new tour dates I will post them here.
Angel Alamo: How did the band get the name Singaya?
Singaya Band: We got our name from one of the best horror movies ever made Dead Alive it is also Peter Jackson’s first movie in the opening scene one of the guys get bit by a rat monkey the villagers yell Singaya!! You’ve got the bite (which is also the name of our debut ep and lead track) and they proceed to cut his limbs off before he turns to a zombie pretty gnarly stuff
AA: How did the band form?
SB: Originally the band formed when I reached out to a buddy of mine about working on some old songs I had laying around that I just wanted to record we ended up jamming and having a lot of fun with it and started looking at really putting a band together through plenty of lineup changes we finally got it down with Jon Hamilton on lead guitar Jeff “sickboy” on bass and Dan drew on drums and I’m the only original member on guitar and vocals haha its kinda cool to look back on where it started and what it’s turned into now
AA: Any plans to work on a full length album?
SB: We would love to! Unfortunately the way music is consumed these days it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense releasing a full length it is just not the way people buy and listen to music anymore if you look back on the last 20 years how the music industry has evolved you just aren’t selling cds anymore people aren’t getting signed to major labels it’s a very diy passion project to artists now we don’t do it for the money of course all of us would love to do this as a full time career but it’s a very different industry the income comes mainly from shows and selling merch the actual physical copy of the music is just not worth what it was anymore we released our first two e.p.’s on Spotify iTunes all that with this new one “Unapproachable” we are just releasing it as singles accompanied with a music video and making limited pressings of it available at our shows only
AA: How does the band write songs?
SB: In the early stages I wrote a majority of the material after we started getting a more solid lineup everyone contributes now and you can really hear it from our first release “You’ve Got the Bite” to our latest release “Unapproachable” the writing has really progressed we all come from different backgrounds of music so it’s fun when we all bring it to the table the songs just write themselves all of us love our instruments and play all the time there is never a shortage of riffs
AA: What is the toughest thing about being in a band?
SB: Keeping a bass player! Haha we’ve gone through 5!! But seriously just finding the right guys that all have the same drive and all on the same page being a musician is very tough these days we all work full time jobs three of us work together so that helps so we play out as much as we can we do everything diy make our own merch our own recordings our own releases book our own shows we certainly aren’t in this for the money but we also don’t need anyone else’s hands in our pockets cause they aren’t that deep
AA: Does the band play covers?
We’ll throw an occasional cover in there from time to time we’re from jersey so it’s almost a unwritten rule you play a Misfits cover every now and again we’ve also done some Chuck Berry and Tom Petty depends on the bands we’re playing with and the energy of the crowd we’ve got plenty in our arsenal covers are always fun people get involved with something that’s familiar so if we can draw them in and they dig our original stuff great if they don’t hey at least they enjoyed one thing we did
AA: How does the band come up with a setlist?
SB: I usually write out the setlist on the way to the show haha sometimes we’ll have it planned out before hand (rarely) we are also known to switch songs around during the set depending on the energy keeps us on our toes
For more information
Days before the M3 festival. I had a chance to talk to Autograph guitarist Steve Lynch. The band played twice at M3 festival they played their day 2 of the M3 festival. The best part was hearing Autograph play a short set at the after party at the Sheraton at 2a.m. That was rock n roll for the fans that wanted to rock all night.
Angel Alamo: How does it feel coming back to play the M3 Festival again this year?
Steve Lynch: Oh it’s fantastic, we’re so glad to be back and seeing our old friends there that run the festival and with Brad and Eric and Bobby and everybody, and our agent Sullivan’s going to be there and then plus all the other bands and everything and I have family up in the area, so. It’s going to be great, it’s going to be a fantastic day.
AA: You switched instruments from bass to guitar on the date that Jimi Hendrix died. What is the story behind you switching instruments?
SL: Well I started off on bass because there was already another guitar player on the block. I mean, back in ’67 I was only 13 years old, or actually 12 years old, and so he wanted me to play bass. So like, “Okay I’ll learn to play bass” and so I did. But I always wanted to play guitar because of Jimi Hendrix. I’d listened to Jimi faithfully and eventually when he passed away I started noodling around more and more with guitar but when he passed away I just went, “You know what, and I want to do what Jimi Hendrix does. I don’t want to play bass, I want to be able to bend the notes and everything and do all that crazy stuff.” And so I switched to guitar, September 18th, 1970, the day that he died I traded my bass in, got a Stratocaster and that was it. From then on, I quit school and I got kicked out of my house so I lived in a tent and I had a Stratocaster and I had my own tent. I had a little Coleman heater and a lamp in there and cot with a sleeping bag on it, and I was good to go.
AA: Are there any new guitarists out there that you’re a fan of or are impressed with?
SL: You know I don’t listen to a lot of the new music. Chris Broderick is a really good player. Ethan Brosh is a really good player. God I’m trying to think of all the guys. All of my heroes were back in the day, you know with Jeff Beck and of course Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. And then the last one I really listened to back in the day was Allan Holdsworth really. That’s when I stopped listening to guitar players because every time I listened to guitar players they’d influence you, but that was my bowl of Cheerios that I ate out of everyday. It was listening to those guys.
AA: Can fans expect any new music either this year or in the near future from the band?
SL: Well it’s a couple years ago now but we released the album Get Off Your Ass and we released an EP before that and we’re still, just released a new single called Meet Me Half Way. And we have two other singles that we’ve released already off of that, it’s gotten a lot of radio play. One is the title track Get Off Your Ass and then the other one was Every Generation which also got a lot of YouTube play and a lot of radio play, so. Everything’s going good.
AA: Is this like the band experimenting with whether to put out a new album or just go ahead and just put out singles?
SL: What we’re going to do from this point on is just put out singles. Because it’s like back in the ’80s, I remember this very, very well when the original group was together, and we put out an album. We put out our first album and it had many songs on it that could’ve been singles but back then they just pushed one or two songs off the album and that was it. And we wrote and wrote and wrote to get all these great songs on the first album and the second album and the third album, but then they wanted you to do another album the next. Then I thought, you know what every time this happens all these other songs get ignored.
SL: So you’re basically putting out a 10 song album and only one or two of them are ever going to get heard. I thought, what’s the point in that? And we just released an album. It’s the same thing. A couple of them got heard, like I said we just released the third single, but I think the way to do it is just one single at a time. I mean, but that’s just my opinion. Other people feel differently about it, but that’s just my opinion. And then once you have, say you got 10 singles out then of new material then you release it on a compilation, like on a CD or whichever format you want to release it on.
AA: What was it like opening up for Mötley Crüe on the Theater of Pain tour?
SL: Oh I don’t remember that tour at all. There was a real camaraderie there, but it was over the top partying. As a matter of fact at the end of that tour, I stopped drinking for five years. I mean I never wanted to see another drop of alcohol again, ever. So yeah I just completely quick. I just went, that’s it for me. But it was great. The guys were great. They said “Hey whatever you guys need, whatever you want to use on the PA and everything, lighting whatever,” they just said “Just ask us and we’ll make sure that you got it.” So that was really cool.
SL: With the Van Halen tour it was quite different because I wasn’t allowed to do my two-handed technique which basically I had that and had even written, before I’d even heard of Eddie Van Halen. And so I was kind of perplexed about that and we were only allowed to use one quarter of the PA and just one of the six spotlights and just a fraction of the lighting systems. So they really cut everything back on us. But you know, the tour worked out. We got a record deal because of it, so I’m certainly not going to complain about it but I’m just making a comparison that with the Mötley Crüe tour after the Van Halen tour was completely different as far as accommodating us.
AA: So before that tour started, were you expecting it to be a different experience or expecting it to be different?
SL: The Mötley Crüe one?
AA: No, before the tour started did you expect it to be the same as with Van Halen? Did you expect the band just to be as welcoming and as nice as they were?
SL: We were hoping for something different and it was something completely different. All the rest of the bands that we played with actually were very accommodating. It was only Van Halen that wasn’t, you know. I’m not going to say anything against the personal members, it’s just the way that they operated. It’s just their management and everything, it’s just they said “We got to give the opening band just as little as possible. Don’t even put their name up on the marquee.” So we were not introduced. There was no… Nobody even knew on the tickets or anything that we were with Van Halen. So that was kind of add, that our name wasn’t even on anything. That was one thing that they just didn’t permit whatsoever.
AA: How did the band get involved in the movie soundtrack to Youngblood and Like Father, Like Son?
SL: That was through RCA, and we were actually out touring when they pitched that at us. So we had to write songs while we were touring those movies. What we did was we got a VHS video clip of it, they mailed it out to us, and so what we’d do is we would watch that on the tour bus and we’d sit there and write lyrics and come up with song ideas. I’d be sitting back there in the state room back in the back of the tour bus with my guitar and we’d be hammering out ideas and that’s how the whole movie soundtrack thing came about.
SL: But because of the fact that we kind of had a reputation as being very fast working in the studio and everything, that hey, get these guys to write some songs for this movie, for this movie, for this movie. And then of course we got songs used in different television series too like Miami Vice and co-wrote one of the things for the series Hunter and everything, the theme song and all that. It kind of just went on and on and on with us getting more and more invites from different companies to be involved in the writing and there performance of different songs they used in movies and in television as well.
AA: Did you ever imagine that three decades later you would still be playing music?
SL: Well I knew I’d always be playing guitar and I did release a solo album called Network 23 and that was after Autograph. I actually quit the band and we just fell apart at that point. It was December of 1989 and it’s like, the ’80s were over. I mean literally, the ’80s were over because it was December of 1989. The next month was January of 1990. But the whole thing came in, the grunge scene and everything and it just wiped out the whole ’80s thing. So I quit, we were in the studio actually doing demos for Epic Records for a three album deal with Epic Records but they were having a hard time because they were thinking, oh we got to sign these grunge bands this isn’t what’s happening now.
SL: And we just kind of threw up our hands and I just decided I want to do something else and at that point what I did was I started promoted, I had written three books by then on advanced guitar techniques. They wanted me to go out and to promote the books, and the gear for us it was too at that time, and they distributed and everything Ampeg amps and Crate amps and Alvarez guitars and all that. So I said “Yeah I’ll do some clinics for you” so I ended up doing 325 clinics in a year and a half time and in 20 different countries. So they kept me really busy doing that and then when I got done with all of that is when I actually recorded my solo album Network 23. Then after that I opened up my own music school in Seattle, but I missed playing a lot. When I ran into Randy, the bass player Randy Rand at the NAMM Show in 2011, we started kicking around the idea of putting a version of Autograph together.
SL: In 2013 it came together and we decided to go out and do it again but the original singer declined the offer. He said his voice just wouldn’t be able to sing those parts again, which was unfortunate. But he wished us well and everything. So we got another singer, Simon Daniels who used to be, actually he was Danny back when he played with Jailhouse. The original drummer that we had at the time, Kenny, he wasn’t working out. He had some issues with drugs still and that was very, very unfortunate. He was trying but it just wasn’t working. Anyway so we decided to get another drummer at that point and that’s when Simon said “Hey, good friend of mine Marc Wieland from Switzerland who’s been living in LA here” and he said “Let’s check him.” So he came in and he just fit like a glove. So Simon and Mark just came in and they just absolutely fit in right away.
SL: We decided not to use keyboards, unfortunately the original keyboard player Steve Isham passed away in 2008. So we decided we were going to go for a little bit more of a heavy sound and that’s what happened. So I’ve always been playing guitar, I’ll always play guitar. I actually have a new side project going too, it’s called 222 and that’s with my fiancee, Alena Rae who’s a well-known country singer. We’re starting this project called 222, it’s a side project from Autograph, so. It’s going to be completely different, completely different from anything that has anything to do with the style of music from Autograph. It’s just more world music and very experimental. Just like I kind of did with my solo album. So that’s where it’s at now.
AA: Is there anything in the works with the side project?
SL: Oh yeah, yeah absolutely. We’re writing right now, going into the studio. Actually I’m doing some of the stuff down here in Florida and she’s up in Nashville, she’s working with the producer up there. And then I’m going to be recording some of the stuff from files that are going to be sent down here, then send them back. That’s going to happen in just a couple weeks. Then at the end of May I’m going up there to record on a few more songs. So we’re going to be putting out material pretty soon, and again we’re just going to be putting out one song at a time. Just singles.
AA: For the fans that are overseas, because we noticed on the website you just have on tour dates until the end of summer. Will the band be doing anything overseas in the near future?
SL:Yeah, we’re booked in England in March for another festival. And so all of that’s looking really good. Yeah, so we’ll probably be in Europe a little bit more next year.
AA: I know that they will be happy to hear that because they seem to be really loyal to the bands.
SL: Yeah, absolutely. Every time we play there it’s just been a phenomenal reception from the audience. It’s great here in the States too but they’re really hungry for it over there because it’s like getting a foreign band in to play from abroad, across the Atlantic, and they’re really happy about that.
AA: What band would you like to tour with that you haven’t toured with yet?
SL: Oh boy. Queen? That would be a good one. You know there’s a lot of different ones. So… Gosh I, you know probably doing more shows with Whitesnake. We did some shoes with them in the ’80s and we’re playing with them this Saturday at M3. But yeah, I’ve always really liked Whitesnake so that would be a fun band to tour with. Any of the bands out there, love to tour with any of them. We like that and they like touring with us too, so it’s a great thing.
Warrant are no strangers to M3 festival. They have performed eight times. Last year they did an acoustic set and this year played a rocking set that made us wish they could keep playing. They are in the middle of the yearlong Dirty 30 tour celebrating the release of their debut album Dirty, Rotten, Filthy, Stinking, Rich. A few hours before they hit the stage, I was able to sit down for an interview and a few laughs with singer Robert Mason and bassist Jerry Dixon.
Angel Alamo: How does it feel to be back playing at M3 Festival?
Robert Mason: It feels great I only have to sing with one band this year. It is half As much work.
AA: I remember last year you have to do a double duty having to sing with Walmart’s and then go out again with Lynch Mob.
Jerry Dixon: It’s a half day for Robert but yeah feels good. We were stoked that the festival has done well.
RM: I think this is the 7th. It is 10th or 11th for M3 it is our 7th or 8th
RM: I can’t believe we have done that many of these things. It’s a really cool thing we honestly look forward to it.
AA: How hard is it putting together the setlist?
RM: We let Joey do it
JD: Joey is the setlist guy and then what happens is nobody opens him up to read then we go on stage we’re like what the f*** is this.
RM: I don’t want to play this.
JD: Well you f*** didn’t say anything.
AA: Now the fans know who to blame when they don’t hear their favorite songs
RM: Go immediately stage left.
RM: Jo mama on Instagram (laughs) Jo mama warrant
AA: Does the band have any outtakes from previous albums that they would put together for future release?
JD: I don’t think we really do because when you are in there making a record there is not a lot of time to be goofing around?
AA: I remember back in the day people used to write 30 or 40 songs for an album.
RM: We are usually too focused, yeah you are right we usually write more songs recorded than they end up on the record. Even back then like in Japan import they always want to add another song or two. Sometimes they will end up getting used on the next record or never.
RM: Is there really that much demand for outtakes from our records?
AA: Not really but people are always curious and looking on YouTube for them curious to hear early demos.
JD: There is one extra song released for so far for louder, faster, harder.
Editor’s note: for fans who are curious about the extra song on Japan release it is a song called stop the world.
AA: This year the band is doing the dirty 30 year to celebrate 30 years since the release of Dirty Rotten Filthy, Stinking, Rich. Could fans next year see the band performing Cherry Pie album in its entirety?
JD: I still can’t believe that cherry pie came out the next year. I am still arguing with Joey about that.
AA: I know I can’t still believe it either. I was 11 years old going like yeah.
JD: Let me shake your hand.
Editor’s note: If someone would have told me 30 years ago that I would be shaking Jerry Dixon’s hand talking about the release of the cherry pie album. I would have thought they were crazy.
RM: Technically 89 and 90 right must have been late 90.
JD: It must have been
AA: It was September (1990) that the record came out.
RM: I swore it was like 91′
JD: It must have been 90.
RM: You know when you come out with the first record they like it to be out in the spring. Then when you come out with the next record they want to see it early in the year or later in the year so it is like a Christmas record. That was supposed to be fall record as a 2nd album. It makes a great Christmas gift kids.
JD: We had to do the POISON (Flesh and blood) tour. I don’t know if we would but you never know.
AA: As a fan, I have been dying to ask this question who came up with the name
Blood, Sweat, and Beers tour?
JD: I don’t know we were drinking. (laughs) I don’t know Erik might have thrown that out there.
RM: Then Eric Church stole it.
AA: Did you guys imagined that you would still be doing this 30 years later.
JD: That’s a hard question. You hit a patch of 4 or 5 years where things are messed up. It’s more of like do you want to play through the pain and wait for stuff to come. It is not the band or the artists it is the cycles of what’s happening.
RM: Image in your early 20’s do you image that in your 50’s you would be doing the same thing. no of course then again, I look up to the stones by the times the 90’s came around they had been around for 30 years. So there you go. They have already done that so if that is what you inspire to yeah. You do a great thing for a living so yeah.
JD: you just have to be willing to be around through the good and the bad. You can’t be around when s*** is great. You can’t just play when the market is up. It goes up and it might go down. WE don’t fuck we are going to quit you just do what you love whether you are playing in front of five people or 50,000 people you are fine. You don’t think about it we are lifers we are walking to take the highs and lows.
AA: A lot of bands doing the Las Vegas residency. Would Warrant ever do a Las Vegas residency?
JD: Yes, I live there. I am in. I think eventually what I would like to see is a residency package. Warrant, Bret Michaels, and warrant great white, warrant, firehouse. Maybe we can do residency for two nights we are not that big of a deal.
RM: With an added 3rd night.
JD: We can go from April 1st to April 1st and a half.
RM Afternoon April 3rd with a matinee.
AA: How does the band manage to stay together after all of these years?
RM: I joined this band 10.5 years ago and I saw four guys who are willing to do this and have fun and firing on four out of five cylinders and I became the 5th one. We are all here for the right reasons. We like what we do we still love doing this. The b***sh*t you endure for 22 and a half hours is worth the one and a half on stage.
JD: Within our band it is like a safe zone. We try and leave the family stuff, hardship, and heartache of life everyone comes out here we block that out we give everyone room to do what they and be what they want. If Robert wants to make a record with (Jeff) Pilson and his buddies
RM: It’s not like no you have to be in Warrant dude you can’t do interviews.
JD: We let each guy be themselves.
RM: Erik did a punk record with his friends from Orange County, it was cool.
JD: Anybody who doesn’t want to be here we don’t want them here.
RM: Everybody knows this is our priority and where we stand.
JD: It works out that way.
Norm Yip brought his art exhibit beyond skin to Untitled Space Gallery. Attendees were able to see his work and look at his 20 year journey. Attendees also were treated to the man himself Norm Yip guests being able to mingle and take pictures. I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Norm Yip to talk about his work.
Angel Alamo: What was the exhibit like in Bangkok?
Norm Yip: I was asked by RCB Gallery, or River City Bangkok to see if I was interested in showcasing my Asian male photography in their new gallery space. Quite honestly, the space took me entirely by surprise, which was more than 2,000 sq ft. My work certainly displayed inside the space really well, with twenty-eight photographs being shown in all. I think female nudity is fairly common in Thailand, so it was refreshing for visitors to see the male figure being showcased.
AA: What made you get into art and photography?
NY: I have always been interested in art and photography from a very early age. Much of my youth consisted of winning prizes in school and competitions, mostly in drawing and paintings of natural habitat. I learned how to use a camera and develop black and white photographs from my older brother. He taught me all the basics. We didn’t really get along much, but he was gracious enough to teach me. I owe much to him and his patience.
AA: What is your inspiration for behind the skin?
NY: The photographs for the exhibition was selected by curator and sponsor James Tong. Initially he asked me to select my absolute best photographs, but that amounted to me having over several hundred photographs. I needed someone to look and select the images objectively to make a cohesive story. My own story is less structured and more organic, and that would take a lot of image and story-telling to get the message across. James’ approach was tighter and from a different viewpoint.
NY: As for how I was inspired to take photographs of male nudes, it all began when I helped another photograph named Derek Lam do a book launch called Boynextdoor Hong Kong. I thought to myself I could do the same thing, but shoot the images in my own way.
AA: Will you be taken behind the skin to other cities?
NY: There are plans for the New York show to head to another city in North America, and the Bangkok show to go another Asian city, but things are still in discussion, so I can’t discuss much.
AA: What makes a good picture?
NY: That is a very difficult question, as it depends on what the image is aimed towards. A photograph meant for commercial means will have a different set of criteria as a portrait or fine art nude. I guess however, I can break it down to the following formalistic elements: light and shadow, tonality, symmetry/asymmetry, composition, line, texture, movement dynamics, expression, and colour. Most importantly for me though is the part that is more difficult to talk about, which has to do with mystery and transcendence. I think a good photograph is like a great musical composition, and can draw you into it’s world.
AA: What keep you motivated?
NY: I will be honest. I am not always motivated to create something new. It can be a struggle at times, since there is so much information being thrown at us on social media and events. There are countless other photographers that are taking up the genre of shooting Asian guys, and are much more successful at gaining Instagram fame than me. I know however I have my own way of approaching my craft and what I find beautiful and interesting. For that, no one else can be or do what I can. And I am deeply grateful for whatever opportunities come my way.
AA: Who influenced you growing up to be a photographer?
NY: My greatest influence stems from 2 vastly different areas of my life. Firstly, I think that growing up in the Saskatchewan prairies allowed me to connect with my environment. Every instance of beauty and awe was around us. The sky, rain, clouds, thunderstorms and contrasting weather conditions from deep freezing temperature to scorching hot summers gave me the necessary experiences as a young child to appreciate that life is about changes and cycles. I recall the aurora borealis, the freezing ice on the station wagon window while at the dive-in theatre. These memories are all embedded into my consciousness.
NY: Secondly, for a more direct answer, it would have to be the photographer Herb Ritts and his work with male and female celebrities. The simplicity of his work was something I admired greatly, where all the elements that I mentioned before come into play. He was a master in his own right.
XYZ gave M3 fans twice the fun while performing on day 3 of the M3 Festival. The band performed a small set for fans at the after party event at the Sheraton and then peformed at M3 festival on Sunday afternoon giving fans a 30 minute set that left them hoping they could keep playing for another half hour. The band was nice enough to meet with fans and take pictures. One of the most fan friendly bands to perform at the festival. After the set I got the chance to sit down with bassist Pat Fontaine. The band consist of vocalist Terry Ilous, bassist Pat Fontaine, guitarist Tony Marcus, and drummer Joey Shapiro.
Angel Alamo: Great performance by the way too as well.
Pat Fontaine: Thank you. It was a great time.
AA: How does it feel to be back at the M3 festival? You guys did the first one in 2009?
PF: I think so, you’re right. It was an A stage and a B stage back in the day. The B stage were up there in the woods. It was really good though. It was still an Eric Baker in charge. He was always very generous with the bands and of course these places of his magnificent now. I mean, there’s are pool, there’s f***ing games and catering is fantastic. This is a massive thing. Back in the day was more trailers in the woods. It was still the same vibe. The vibe was great. People were great, very friendly. The weather was much better. I think last time we played.
AA: Yeah, it was.
PF: It’s still a gorgeous place. The woods are green, it smells great, and I love this place.
AA: What’s the vibe like when you played at the festival with your peers?
PF: Some festivals are more fun than others. Of course. Typically, strangely enough, the more north you go, the more fun it gets. I think, maybe people that come from a climate where things are a little bit less sunny, they have a tendency to party a little more. But you know, overall it’s really up to the promoter to create the vibe. Some of them are great. This is always a great place you can, they can sense that there’s a love for that music. Music from the 80s you know, of course, 50 years ago, 40 years ago. We’re not current, we’re not modern, and we’re not hip. We represent the 80s and the people that work this thing seem to have a love for it, which is fantastic because he could’ve gotten in lad after Nirvana, I think it’s good to have just gone. That it’s over and the 80s would have vanished into in the fall.
AA: Yeah. But look, I mean, I know it was the eighties music and everybody is still coming out. Everybody’s still partying until three or four in the morning.
AA: That’s what makes it sense. It’s about entertainment, not singing and standing on stage singing, “daddy doesn’t love me. Daddy doesn’t care.”
AA: Many of your peers are doing the farewell tour? Does XYZ plan to retire. What are the bands plans?
PF: I wanted to retire when I turned 30 years old, but eventually you keep in mind that what we do is, is it a little bit of a dream come true really? And then you kind of look at the big picture and say, “You know what, if somebody wants to buy me dinner and give me gas money just to hear my songs, I’m going to f***ing do it and I’m going to do until they stop paying me.” So we were very fortunate that some people are willing to hire us to come here to play for 30 minutes. They buy us food and hotels and gas money and beer money, it’s fantastic. As long as that is valid, it seems silly to walk away from it. Now we’re all getting old, you know, we’re in our fifties of course. We started in Hollywood in 1984 we were all, you know, 25 years old, 20 years old. My guitar player actually was 18 I think when he joined the band. We have a tendency to change a little bit our view of the world. Now, I seek more peace and quiet and less drugs and less partying than back in the day. We’re still, you know, we carry the eighties message, which is, “Have a good time, enjoy your life, have a couple of beers with your friends and spend the night, look at the stars and enjoy the music.” That’s what the message is. The generation that came after us had a different message that kind of vanished. And then there was another message with the rap world, which is everybody is a bitch and an f***ing hoe and there’s a different message. And then somehow the message is coming back a little bit now, which is, “You know what? F***, let’s just have a good time and a couple of beers and have some fun and share a few laughs.” As long as that goes, we’re in.
AA: And it’s still going strong
AA: Who were your favorite bass players growing up?
PF: The first time I discovered the bass player was Lemmy in Motorhead and I was mesmerized by this guy. He was a little bit of my hero. I even bought those white boots that he always wore. I wanted to be Lemmy, you know. As I want, of course I understand that it’s a difficult music to sell. So we went a little bit more commercial because we want it to be successful. We didn’t want to make music to stay in a basement. I never wanted that. I started in the basement like everybody else, but we wanted to do earn a living at it. So I decided to go with a little bit more rock than punk, but I still remained and a little bit attracted to that era. You know, where the late seventies the great bass players like Lemmy. I’m still a big fan of UFO. I grew up on UFO and I was not Led Zeppelin. I was more Rolling Stones. Yeah, it was two camps. I was never Led Zeppelin. I love Led Zeppelin. I understand it. It’s not really my thing. I was more Stones.
AA: Did you ever get to meet Lemmy?
PF: We met Lemmy a bunch of times. In fact, I toured with Lemmy as a roadie in the early eighties in Europe and the person actually booked me on a tour is sitting in the room next door today, which is very strange. I met Lemmy of course because I lived in Hollywood for 30 years and I went through the whiskey every night and Lemmy was there every night. So we often sat and have a couple of drinks together and chit chatted about the good old days. He was a great guy and it’s funny to think that the classic Motorhead that we love is completely gone. Everybody’s dead. Field Taylor, the drummer dead. Eddy Clark, fast Eddy Clark dead. And Lemmy, dead. They’re all dead. The three Motorhead people are dead. Is used to f***ing different… It’s like a different page status turn I think.
AA: How was reuniting in 2002 and how did the idea come about?
PF: You don’t understand, they didn’t want to do it because I was signed to another group. I was in another band on Interscope and we actually did pretty good. We were an underground punkish type of thing and I didn’t really want to go back to commercial and rock and roll or two melodic rock and roll. But Terry called me and he said, “Look, I heard about this festival called Rocklahoma.” It must have been 2005 or so, maybe a bit later than you mentioned. So we didn’t do the first one. We did the second Rocklahoma and I say, “Well, you know what? F*** it. Yeah, I’ll do one show. I really don’t know if anybody remembers us, you know?” So I did Rocklahoma with Terry and the guys that aren’t here today, of course, and I was so f***ing shocked. We got onstage, it must’ve been 6:00 PM the sun was setting down and it was f***ing packed. It was like, “Who the f*** are these f***ing people?” And everybody knew our lyrics. People sang along with the chorus. As I said, “Who the f*** are these people? Where have they been? I thought everybody was dead.” And it was kind of a bit of a revelation. I felt, well look, if there’s a market here, let’s do another strangle shows and they’d kind of just kind of carried on like that. We’ve got an agent, Sullivan who is here today, and he started to book us in clubs and venues and festivals and we don’t go every night, we don’t play every weekend, we do that once a month kind of thing. And that’s it. We keep the ball rolling until nobody wants us no more.
AA: What are the band’s tour plans?
PF: We don’t have tours lined up.
AA: Ok just with the fly in shows?
PF: That we fly in. We have a bunch of those festivals. You know, we’re going to Canada next, couple of shows up there. And then we have a couple of things in Europe. We’re talking about, South America is always something in Rio and in Argentina and it’s this thing in Australia next year, early 2020 melodic rock fest that we’re going to probably do. And that’s kind of it. We’ve done a few clubs last a month we did three, four clubs in a row and we were, no, we’re not against that. We’ll do a few clubs here and there. But really what’s fun is those festivals, because it’s organized, you show up, there’s no surprises. Everything is in place. The staff is fantastic. It’s just very smooth, very smooth.
AA: So as far as music, can fans expect like a new song?
PF: Yeah. In fact, you know, we were working on a couple of things starting next week. In fact in Sacramento on Thursday we were going to get together and we’re going to sit in the studio. A friend of mine owns a studio in Sacramento and we’re going to sit around a table, we going to order some pizza and beer. Then we’re going to kind of see where it takes us, you know, we don’t really know. But yeah, we are booked in the studio to record new stuff starting next week.
AA: With the way it is. I guess with, with music and not having major label, will the band have a producer or something else?
PF: Yes. We actually involved with the label now we’re talking to a US label. They’re not as present as it was back in the 80s when we on a major label, there’s no major label anymore unless you have a mini skirt and you’re 16 years old, you’re not going to get on a major label. So the labels that exist are independent and the people that got into this independent business are people that really love it and love the artists and the music so they can kind of tend to give you more freedom. Then the big labels of the eighties so we do have some freedom but we also kind of, you know, under the impression that I, one point you got to report to someone, you can’t just be completely obnoxious about things because you kind of want to get on the radio here and there. You want to do some press you want to kind of fit a little bit of a jaw if you will. So we do have a producer that comes in and not every day that he’s not a dragon. It’s more like a guy that shows up once a week and tells us, “Hey! you know, I like that, that song’s not so great. Can you guys redo this? Can you redo that?” That type of thing. Pretty cool.
Vixen played an exciting eight song set at M3 festival Sunday may, 5, 2019 it was a mixture of covers and some of their songs from there earlier albums. The rain did not stop Vixen from rocking or the audience from enjoying their set after the band put on a great show and did a meet and greet with the fans I had the opportunity to sit down with all four members of the band and talk to them about the new lineup the band’s future plans.
It was exciting to be in the same room being a fan hearing off the lineup change and then being in a room with them it feels like they are a new band. If you walk into the room and meet them as a band without knowing that they are Vixen you would think that they are this brand new band that is just excited. The band is excited about the new lineup and moving forward with a new record I had the opportunity to talk to them and had a few laughs along the interview and that’s the energy that they bring.
Angel Alamo: How has the tour been going so far?
Vixen: Fantastic it has been going amazing. Where you at the show today?
AA: Yes it was awesome even with the rain and all.
Vixen: Can’t stop rock n roll. We are working on touring Australia, Japan, and everywhere. We want world domination.
AA: Will there be any new music from the band?
Vixen: That is happening already. We got a few things and a few tunes together. We hope to give to Lorraine. We want to have it out in 2020. We want it to happen organically. It will be classic Vixen the harmonies will be in there. We love Paul Stanley we saw KISS in LA. We would love for Paul Stanley to produce it. He was supposed to produce one of our records.
AA: What were your influences growing up?
Vixen: KISS, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, David Lee Roth, Van Halen, Stones, Fanny. The first all-girl band. They are awesome way ahead of their time. Bret Favre (laughs)
AA: He should be a rocker. He is retired now.
AA: How did you end up writing with Richard Marx?
Vixen: Actually Allen Kovac set that up. Richard came to our show and he loved the band so we inspired him to write Edge of a broken heart. Then he came to rehearsal and we put it together in rehearsal.
AA: Was there any concern back then that you had a pop star writing a song for you?
Vixen: No because he is a great songwriter a great song is a great song. We had lyrics written by Fee Waybill and it doesn’t get much cooler than that.
AA: It seems like there seems to be a renewed energy in the band with the new lead singer Lorraine Lewis. It kinds of feel like you are a new band now. What has the reaction been in the short time?
Vixen: That’s interesting. It is kind of like a new band like vixen 2.0. It’s a new fire. We worked with Lorraine before. We have a history with her. We are very comfortable with her. This is family. It’s not someone you have never heard of from wherever. They are like Oh! It’s Lorraine. It was fairly easy. It wasn’t a stretch. We are 80’s girls we love rock n roll. People know that it is obvious it is contagious we are having a blast it is contagious they see us laughing and having fun on stage they are laughing and having fun they will make comments. We are having a blast. We are having a great time.
Lorraine: I feel so honored and so lucky. I love the songs for sure. These girls bring it to a whole other level of badassery. They are fueled different and it feels so good. I am honored and grateful.
How do you put together the setlist?
Vixen: That’s Roxy’s job. I will get a text message. She sends a text message.
Roxy: You what I get their input. What do you think of these depending if we are doing a 40(minute), 50 (minute), 60 (minute) or 90 (minute) set.
AA: So u don’t pay attention to fans who say oh why didn’t you do this song or that song?
We have done a lot of songs that people have requested over the years that did go over or didn’t go over well. We have been honing that more and more. Sometimes people have requested certain songs and we have tried them out for a year or two years then we kind of went well maybe not.
AA: The 30th year anniversary of rev it up is coming up next year will the band do anything special?
Vixen: Thanks for reminding us! (Laughs) I am kidding
AA: (laughs) I’m going to get killed.
Vixen: It’s a number what was the question
AA: Will you do a 30th anniversary tour of rev It Up
Vixen: We could do that. Yes we could totally do that like a set of dates where we do it. That’s a cool idea. I like that idea. Rev It Up 2020. We can go for that whole race theme formula one. We are going to stick with some sort of race theme formula one #hashtag vixen formula one. Formula one needs a new theme song. We are just putting it out there.
Tora Tora kicked off the 2nd day of the M3 festival with a rocking 30 minute set that the band didn’t disappoint at all and were happy to be playing at M3 Festival. Fans who attended got to see the band live and also meet the band. After the performance the band took time out to meet the fans who were happy to see Tora Tora was back. This is not a reunion as the band is back and here to stay having released a new album earlier this year Bastards of Beale the album doesn’t disappoint it stays true to the band’s sound. The band still maintains all original members Anthony Corder-Vocals, Keith Douglas- Guitar, Patrick Francis- Bass, and John Patterson-drums. I had the opportunity to talk to Anthony Corder and John Patterson about being at M3 festival, the new album and more.
Angel Alamo: How does it feel, playing M3 Festival? This is your first time.
Anthony Corder: Man, it was awesome. I didn’t want to come off stage. I loved it. It was so fun.
John Patterson: Oh, it was awesome.
AC: It’s been a bucket list thing for us, isn’t it?
JP: We’ve been trying to get out here for many years, and we finally did it.
AC: The audience is awesome. They’re crazy.
AA: And it lived up to everything that we expected.
AA: Cool. Hopefully we’ll have you guys back next year, hopefully.
AC: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. We’d love to come back.
AA: How long did it take the band to record your latest album, Bastards of Beale?
AC: Six days.
AA: Six days, wow.
AC: Seriously, six days.
AA: So was that like writing, recording like?
AC: We were writing it-
JP: We had everything … it, what, took a year to write everything?
AC: I think it was from like November to maybe June.
AC: November of ’17 to about June is when we went in, but we did a ton of pre-production because we wanted to go in and cut as much as we could live in the studio. So the band was all in the room, I was in a little booth, and we would do the takes and then … We were kind of doing it old-school. It was kind of fun.
JP: It was old-school.
AC: It was really fun. The energy and everything was super.
AA: What are the band’s future plans? Can fans expect to see more albums, more tours coming?
JP: Oh, yeah. We’re … Anthony was talking a little bit, a little earlier, we’re writing new songs, going to start working on a new album. We’ve got a few gigs coming up here the next few weeks. Got one in Denver, a gig at home.
AC: Yeah, we’re going to Denver. We’re doing an acoustic show in Memphis that we’ve never done. We’ve never done an acoustic kind of setting. We’re going to do that as a real special kind of thing for our home audience. And then I think we go to Missouri, and I think the tentative stuff is Texas and Chicago.
JP: Bastards of … I’m sorry, Bastard of Beales stays true to the band’s sound. Going into recording, was that the plan?
AC: Yeah. I think we were trying to just … We were excited, like everybody else, about what it was going to sound like, and we were wondering what it was going to feel like, and all that stuff. I think we kind of picked up right where we left off with Revolution Day.
AC: I mean, from just my perspective or whatever. But it just felt like it was a continuation of where we left … picked up. And it’s funny because it’s been a long time. We were kind of nervous.
AA: Yeah, it kind of feels like that last album came out right after maybe the third album.
AC: Yeah, that’s what we were thinking, too. But we were excited. I mean, Keith definitely … It’s the four of us, me and Keith’s guitar sound, and Patrick playing bass, and John on drums. I mean, I know that sounds cliché, but that’s the sound. Jeff Powell, the guy that produced the record, he wrote me … we had done a show in Memphis, and he wrote me a couple months after the show, and he said, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about y’all.” He was cutting straight to vinyl at Sam Phillips studio in Memphis. He said, “Do you guys want to come cut a couple of songs with me, do like a single, two sides, and two songs?” And I said, “You’re not going to believe it, man. We want to do a whole project. Do you have time to do it?”
AC: But we were talking about what had gotten his interest was, he said, “I saw you do this benefit y’all were playing,” and he goes, “Man, the sound. It’s the four of y’all, when y’all get up there together.” Because there was a bunch of bands and a bunch of people sitting in playing with each other and all that, and he was like, “When the four of y’all are playing, that’s the Tora Tora thing.” You know?
AA: What artist made you want to go into music? Was there an artist or album that justkind of made you want to just-
AC: This is a good question.
JP: That’s a loaded question.
AA Or artists that made you say Okay, this is what I want to do”? Like, there was a band, or album even, that just kind of made you want to go do music?
AC: There’s so many.
JP: Yeah, that’s a long list. There’s not one. For me, anyway, as a drummer, there’s not one album, but it was a collection. Mainly three different drummers. There was Alex Van Halen, Tommy Aldridge, and Neil Peart. Those guys influenced me more than anything, and listening to them made me want to play. So if you want to say that’s what got me into it, then that’s what it is, you know?
AC: Yeah. That’s crazy. I think my family had a lot to do with mine, the singing part. We’re all from down in the Delta in Mississippi, and I don’t think I realized it, when I was younger, what kind of profound effect they would have on me, as far … They were musicians, kind of like porch pickers. You know, they’d just sing harmonies and play guitar. And as I got older and started getting into stuff, I was listening to all of the … I mean, these guys kind of corrupted me, got me into all different kinds of music.
AC: But it depends on what era you’re talking about, too, because I think we were inspired by what everybody else was. We were fans of all the classic rock, and Zeppelin, and Bad Company, and Aerosmith, and all those kind of guys. But as I kept digging in deeper, we got into the blues guys, the Elmore James and Etta James. God, I wanted to be Etta James for a long time. She was a great singer. I used to drive them nuts, playing all these old blues records and stuff.
JP: He would. He’d crank them up in the bus and then just … We’d be like, “No! Come on, man!”
AC: But I think I was inspired by a lot of stuff, and I think my granddad … he played a lot of Mississippi John Hurt and stuff like that, so that blues thing definitely was ingrained in me, that aspect of it.
JP: Yeah. You know, being from Memphis, that kind of music, I didn’t grow up playing it, and neither did the other guys, Keith and Patrick, but it’s still in you because you grew up in it, and it kind of just soaks into your blood, you know?
AC: Yeah, that’s true.
JP: And it comes out in your playing, and I think that’s a big part of our sound.
AA: How have you guys been able to maintain the same lineup? I mean, it’s the four original guys, where that’s a rare thing now, it seems. So how do you guys keep that together?
AC: We signed some contracts. No, I’m joking. I’m kidding.
JP: We’ve got a lot of information on each other.
AC: Yeah. We blackmail each other. No, really, we’ve been friends since high school, so we’ve known each other for 30 years, and we do enjoy playing and creating music and writing. I think we’re … we don’t really say this, but we’re kind of inspired by each other. You know, the stuff that Keith plays, man, I mean … Even on this last record and stuff, where the guys would get together, and they would come up with some of the early arrangements and stuff and send it to me. We’re kind of located in different places now. They’re in Memphis, and I’m in Nashville, so it was kind of a different approach to writing I think we just enjoy doing this stuff together.
AA: When you guys got together in 2008, was it the plan to do a short reunion tour for, hey, let’s just get together? Or was the goal was to, hey, let’s get this started again?
AC: What do you think?
JP: I don’t know that there was a plan. We just said, “Yeah, let’s play.” But as far as sitting down and strategically planning anything out, that never happened.
AC: Yeah. No, and man, actually, we had played a little bit around town. I was playing a little bit. All of us kept the creative thing. I think that the passion for creating music and playing and all that never went away for any of us, but we were kind of involved in different things. But I think around 2008, we just wanted to go test the waters for a minute. We missed it a lot. And when we had initially stopped playing together, like after the A&M’s record label stuff and all that had kind of gone away, we were like, “Hey, man, let’s take a break,” because we were all kind of just freaking out. We had been really busy for about six years and playing, and we were like, “Let’s regroup when we have time.” And I thought it was going to be like a month. I was like, I’ll see them in a
couple weeks or whatever. And man, it was like six or seven years before we played together again.
AC:It was a big break. But I think that we all just needed to process the thing that was going on with us, because we had taken off like a bolt of lightning, you know? We were young kids, and we were signed in Memphis, and we put a video out, and all of a sudden it was on a countdown on MTV, and we were playing arenas, opening up for people and just … we were like, “Wow, this is what our life’s like right now.” And then, all of a sudden, it went into like a screeching halt, where we just went, “Oh, my God. My identity and everything that we’re about is changing all of a sudden.” And I think all of us just had to step away for a second, just to kind of process the whole thing.
AC: But it was a good thing. When we got back together, it was just like nothing had ever happened. And it wasn’t any hard blood or anything between all of us. It was just, I think our life had just taken such a random turn. You know, it kind of throws you a curve ball every once in a while. But it made us really appreciate it when we got back together. We were like, “Oh, man. This is like a breath of fresh air.” I knew there was something missing, and it was them being around and playing together.
AA: So how was that first show? It was 2008 in Rocklahoma, right?
AC: It was fun. It was hot, oh, my God.
AA: So how was it? Was there any jitters of, you know, how … are people going to remember? Was there any jitters or anything like that going on?
AC: I definitely think so
JP: Yeah, there was a little bit of anxiety-
AC: We were surprised, though, that people were wearing Tora Tora shirts-
AA: And they still are, in the audience.
JP: Yeah, that’s cool
AC: Yeah, we couldn’t believe it.
JP: I’m sure it’s … all four of us feel the same way, but when you see fans with your shirts on them there, it makes you feel … it relaxes me, anyway.
JP: It gets rid of a lot of the anxiety. I’m not having to feel like we’re having to win people over, because our fans are there, you know?
AA: Yeah. Same thing here today. You’ve definitely got quite a few people with the Tora Tora shirts on, walking around.
AC: Oh, man. It was fun. That was a really great time.
AA: When you guys came out 30 years ago, Nashville was not the way that it is today, where now a lot of your peers actually live there to write music. What is it about Nashville that just seems like a special place now, where it’s not just known as country, but now a lot of your peers, a lot of people actually go there just to write songs in general. What is it that makes Nashville that special place?
JP:Well, Ant actually lives there, so-
AC: Yeah. I moved there in 2005, but I think it has a lot to do with just the infrastructure, that the industry itself is there. I mean, it’s always been considered kind of the third coast, with New York and LA and Nashville. And Nashville was built on publishing. When it started out, it was people selling paper, the hymns, to churches, right? And that’s how that city was built. And then that built this infrastructure that started … you know, 100 years ago, it started all this. But now I think the attraction is, especially when a lot of the ’80s guys were moving there, is it was cheaper to live there. You still had all the accolades and everything of being in the big city, but you were in this kind of … it’s a small town. I mean, it’s still growing. There’s 100 people a day moving there. They can’t build the high-rises fast enough. I think there’s 20-something cranes downtown that are … they can’t fit the people. I’m just blown away.
AC: But I do think a lot of it is the industry side of it. Memphis and Nashville, to me, they’re both river cities. They’re like Louisville and St. Louis and all those, where it’s a transient kind of place where people move in. But the thing that attracted everybody to Nashville was that infrastructure of your contacts, your networking, your relationships, and everything’s right there. LA is super spread-out. You’re all condensed in New York, where it’s like the population’s … you know, getting around and all that kind of stuff. But Nashville’s still like a … it’s still like a small town, even though it’s grown. Music Row is two strips right in the middle of the city, which is changing every day
AA:A lot of the bands that come from LA, a lot of them are now in Nashville.
AC: I remember walking in … I went to … I had been at William Morris one night for a Christmas party, and I turned around, and it was Tom Keifer and the Cinderella guys, and I was like, oh, my God, what are they doing here? And somebody looked at me, and they go, “Man, they’re all here.” Kip (Winger) is here-
AA: Yeah. Kip, Matthew Nelson-
AC: Yeah, the Nelson brothers are there.
AA: Nelson twins. Dave Mustaine just moved there recently.
AC: Dave Mustaine’s there. His daughter’s doing stuff with music. Mick Mars is there. John Corabi’s there. Have you ever seen the Rock N Roll Residency guys? You ever seen them?
AA: No, not yet.
AC: So they’re a bunch of musicians in Nashville. They kind of created a culture and a whole community of people getting together and jamming when they’re off the road. It was a place where people could get together, that were musicians, and see each other. And when you go to this event and you look around, it’s like all these ’80s people. You just go, oh, my God. I mean, it’s just crazy.
Capitol wrestling celebrated its second birthday in a very big way on Sunday April 7th 2019. Capitol wrestling broad great Wrestling entertainment to Ridgefield Park New Jersey and if you were there you were not disappointed and if you didn’t show up you need to do yourself a favor check out the next event buy a few tickets and come check out there Wrestling entertainment spectacular that they put on because it is worth every dollar spent. Tickets for the event we’re at $15. If you love wrestling you really need to come to one of their events.
Off the road not too far was MetLife Stadium the site of WrestleMania 35. For fans that love wrestling they got the best of both a great Wrestling entertainment show for ready or not followed by WrestleMania. Just because it is a local wrestling organization the wrestlers are professional they give you 100% to put on a great wrestling event. It was my first time ever attending a wrestling event and for 4 hours in was great entertainment you did not want to miss any second of the day because every match was good every wrestler gave it their all.
I had the opportunity to be at the wrestling event where I arrived three hours before showtime and saw the wrestlers we’re already there preparing the ring was already set up. it was a nice family atmosphere among the wrestlers who were nice to each other.
The wrestling matches were action packed. In one match the action was happening outside of the ring. Tickets were $15. The matches are still exciting. It is worse seeing this was a 3 hour wrestling show for a family of four $60 and free parking.
Mike Tramp released his 11th studio album Stray from the flock earlier this year. He also kicked off his world tour that will keep him busy and on the road. I had the opportunity to catch up with Mike Tramp on one of his tour stops at Hopewell Theater in Hopewell, NJ to talk about the new album, tour, and his career which is still going strong after all of these years. He has had a long career, he is still enjoying playing the music, meeting the fans which he did before the show, and making records.
Angel Alamo: Just want to say congratulations on the new record.
Mike Tramp: Thank you much.
AA: Is the song No Closure, is that an auto-
MT: Oh you starting with that?
AA: Yeah. That’s a great song.
MT: Yeah. Yeah. Seriously, let’s dive deep into it.
AA: Is that song (No closure) a biography or a story?
MT: Yeah. In many ways yes, I’ll get deeper into it but the thing is I made the final decision in ’96 whenever I started writing and recording my first solo album Capricorn that the word I, me, myself would always represent me from that day on. When I was in White Lion, I represented a band regardless of if I was lyricist and melodist. Same thing happened in Freak of Nature but especially when I started writing my solo albums, those albums, it’s my life. It’s my journey, it’s my view of the world. It’s my take on politics. It’s me. You’re getting the songwriter and the singer singing about himself and his heart and the whole world.
MT: And now, 11 albums later on, most people are aware of that. This song is very special in many ways because I’m taking my brother’s voice. I lost my brother last year and the year before, I lost my father. I got closure with my dad before he passed away. My older brother didn’t and I just knew how important it had been to me to close that down that I would not, for a second, think back, or say “I should have done this. I should have said this and this and this.” But the last year of my brother’s life was like that.
MT: I came up with this. I says I’m gonna take his voice and I’m gonna sing this song to my dad. Both are gone in that time but that’s what that song is. So this is my older brother singing to my father. Both equally stubborn. They couldn’t face each other. They didn’t have the balls enough to deal with these issues.
AA: Like I said, it’s an amazing song.
MT: It is and I’m looking forward to the time when I can get to play it and talk about how important it is. This is a little more serious issue but I remember the thing about closure and about not leaving something lingering is, even in the early White Lion days, you know leaving rehearsal always in turmoil and going home. Calling my manager, my manager calling Vito. I was just standing next to the guitar player, I was just standing next to Vito, not saying “Come on, let’s work it out.” But instead, you go home in anger. And it was something I took on, later on, I knew it was so important for me that I would never leave an argument unresolved. Once I started doing that, I’ve had incredible success with my own stability because I finish it on the spot. I don’t have to wake up the next day as if it’s unresolved. That’s no closure.
MT: There’s closure to everything I do.
AA: How long did it take you to record Straight From the Flock?
MT: It doesn’t really take very long to record these days. The preparation for the album had been a good eight months. When Vito and I wrote the songs in White Lion, we would write them, him and I and then next day or day after, the band would be together and we would start rehearsing and working the song out with the full band. That’s also how we would go into the studio. We would of course rehearse the album before we go to studio. Then we would go in and we would sometimes record and listen back.
MT: These things don’t exist anymore. There’s no big record deal. There’s not the money for it anymore. So all the pre-production, all the experimenting, I do in my own studio. I’ll set a program to drums and play the guitars and the bass and the keyboard and test out the song, because I will not have the time with the band, and the way everything is today.
MT: But once we hit the studio, the basic tracks are recorded in two days and things like that. Then you know, I do some of the guitars at home. I did all the vocals in my own studio and things like that. You just do it in a different way because there ain’t the budgets anymore and we all have our own little studios at home. It’s not the way I would prefer it but it’s the way it is.
AA: Is it true that for each record, you only write a short batch of songs instead of writing 30-40 songs for a record?
MT: Yep. I take a long break now. After this album. I mean, okay obviously it’s been almost a year since I finished writing the songs. I have not even attempted to write anything else. It’s very important that I get hungry again there’s a point between it. I said it in a most simple way. I’m writing a book here. And each is a chapter, a moment in time, of my time, of my life.
MT: Of course some of the songs can reflect other times but it’s where I am at the moment. It’s what I’m thinking about. It’s how I’m feeling. Each chapter is like that. We actually wrote in a similar way, Vito and I with the Pride album, that we wrote song after song and were able to look back, we had written that kind of song, we’re not going to repeat that kind of song.
MT: Once I started writing my solo albums, I wrote and in many cases, the opening track of the album is the first track I write for the album and it kind of sets me off and starts me on the journey of where I’m going with this thing. It would catapult myself onto the next track. It comes like that. After salt you want something sweet. It’s one of those things. I’m comfortable with that and now it’s become a method that I follow.
MT:To me, it’s also a commitment and a personal belief, because if I’m in the middle of writing something and I don’t feel it does, I’ll just throw it away. I won’t finish it, you know. And then I’ll just start fresh. It’s almost like a painting and I’ll just scratch it, you know? I want to get really deep involved. It doesn’t take me very long to write the song. I know it within two or three minutes as I’m starting to write to song, I know how it got from here.
AA: Okay so you know right away.
MT: Yeah. It’s just … because I don’t sit and force it but the second I pick up the guitar, besides for soundcheck, I’ll start playing something without really knowing it. I don’t ever sit and repeat something. I never pick up a guitar and play Walk This Way or Stairway to Heaven. I’m always just playing in my own original work. I stay there and I’m not interested in going outside it.
AA: Dead End Ride is the first single from the album, how did that song come about?
MT: I would probably say that Dead End Ride is the DNA of Mike Tramp. It has those ingredients where I sort of, you could say if there was going to be a song on that album that would represent me, then that song would probably represent more than most of the other songs. It’s one of those songs that it probably didn’t take me more than 10-15 minutes to write the structure of the song, the melody of the verse and the chorus. Once I’m secure with that, I will then write the lyrics. The lyrics could be written you know, two months later. But once I know I have the song, melody wise and I sing it, I might sing something else, there might be some words that stick in there that when I open it up to sit and write the words.
MT: Many different songwriters probably do, but I want the words to fit the music and the phrases as an example, like Eddie Vedder, I know sits and writes and pokes some outside melody and thinks like that. And then suddenly the band has some music and he’ll pick it up and he’ll starting singing but now you have to phrase yourself in a different way. I want the music in a very traditional to really flow with the song. And not that have I have to stretch a syllable or something like that because I’ve written a syllable outside the music. So, I write the words to fit the music.
MT: But also the vibe of the song inspire me to what I’m going to write about. I don’t some here and say how does this song, it’s a really sad song and throw into a really happy song musically.
AA:Has the way you approach songwriting changed from when you first started until now?
MT: Not really but of course, we’re in a whole different game, sitting and writing for White Lion with Vito across from me, I’ve always been the same. I’ve always been sitting there with the guitar and strumming and doing the folk background that I come from. Then we have, at that moment we understood and I understood what decade we were in, and how we wanted the band to sound. But the core of the melody, which when I play some of the White Lion songs tonight, they’re down to their purest and rawest form where you will hear that the melody stands by itself.
MT:Then we put the big guitars and the Vito did these great solos and the band is kicking in and they’re a great rock songs, but they’re also great songs with just an acoustic guitar, playing them very simple and that’s where the songs come from.
AA: Have you decided on the next single for the album?
MT: Yes and no. I was actually very lucky that American Rock Radio really favored Dead End Ride and gave it a lot of airplay which is basically the first time any of my solo albums have been played on those stations so because there are different territories in the world and it’s not so grand anymore that there’s just this worldwide. I can have a single on Danish radio that’s not going to matter anywhere else.
MT:It might be Homesick (as next single) which would be the next song that maybe we’ll do a video for. But intentions will probably be more that I started in my home country. We might with a different song for American radio, who knows?
AA: Til Death Due Us Part, that’s one of your most underrated songs. How did you write that song.
MT: I sang that yesterday because there was a guy who had come to the show and he said that he was going to propose to his girlfriend so I brought them in the first row and he proposed and I played the song.
AA: What’s the inspiration for that song? It’s such a beautiful song. It’s timeless.
MT: Obviously, it’s proven the test of time and a lot of people, obviously it’s the ultimate commitment.
AA: Right. I posted that song on my Facebook page because I loved the song and people are like, who wrote that song and a lot of them don’t know it is you.
MT: Yeah. You know what? Here is just something, of course everything is always like, you know, as prepared as we were for Main Attraction because Vito and I had taken a long time to write this album, we wanted to have the time, we didn’t have the time to write Big Game. Big Game was written very short because we had been on a two year tour with the Pride album, and the record company wanted an album quickly. We’re happy with the songs we wrote but we needed more time to live with the songs and we where we wanted to go ourselves. Main Attraction had come out in the summer of ’89, where Big Game had come out and Til Death Due Us Part had become a third single classic on MTV, it would have been very, very big. We came two years too late with that.
AA: What was it like making your first solo record Capricorn without having a band being that it was your solo record would be just your name on it? How was that experience?
MT: It was a fine experience. A lot of the fan don’t know the chapters that’s called ’92-’95 which is the years I had a band called Freak of Nature and I recorded three albums. When we ended with that, I was very clear in my head that I couldn’t give my heart to a band anymore. But two of the guys on that band played on my solo album and I had that whole half of ’95 and half of ’96 to sit and write songs.
MT: Actually for that album, I wrote a lot of songs. It’s on my box set, the Capricorn that was probably written a good, about 40 songs. This is just really a time where I’m searching or maybe not searching but seeing as I write where I sort of end up and keep coming back to the same and the same and the same. No matter what you do, you will keep returning back home to who you are and that’s what you need to be doing. When you come out of a band, you know, where do I need to do. It shouldn’t really be a question you should ask yourself, you should basically go where you’re going and that’s following the natural way. So I had my little studio set up and started writing songs and demoing them and all these different kinds of things. It was great. It was a nice experience of seeing it and a lot of people will say that about once you do your solo album is that you don’t really have to ask anyone else.
MT: When Vito and I are dealing with it, you know, we have to be in agreement of where we’re going with the song. But once you’re in the solo, you just go wherever. It’s not really ego, but there’s an incredible amount of relief that you don’t have to turn around and ask someone else what they’re thinking.
MT: Even though when we’re rehearsing with the band before we do the album, because this band compared others is, sort of, I think almost recorded live with the full band, you know, me on guitar and the other guitar with bass and drums, you know doing this, and then just me patching up some vocals, which is what I was looking for. Getting something that just felt like energetic, fresh, things like that, you know?
AA: Which album, if there’s one album that you will want everybody to hear from your career, which album would that be?
MT: Yeah, that’s, you know. I, of course would say one of my solo albums, because it is where, I keep using the word journey, make it a trip or whatever, it’s when you return with the experience of your life and you know it all and you see it clear and you don’t really have anymore about why it happened. It’s like you’ve gone out there and you tested yourself and you’ve tried things you were unprepared for and all those different kinds of things. Now, when I came back home and it’s always when I call them and I return back home and recorded the solo album that’s called Cobblestone Street, that’s where I am back at the start.
MT: Cobblestone Street is a song about the street I grew up and the neighborhood I come from and so on and so, but it’s also where I come from musically, and raised in the late 60’s, early 70’s on folk, Johnny Cash, Bob Dillon, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and a lot of Danish folk, it is my true origins. No matter what band I am and no matter what I do, it’s where I start everything from. Being able to record that album in 2012, and making that decision to become that simple on the album and that sort of raw, and pure and honest is something a lot of people don’t really like to do.
MT: I left myself very open and I wanted to come in and feel the pain and hear the stories of the journey. So even though I’m very proud of all the albums, that album still means, probably the most to me because it is a true representation of the strip down, the rawer form, the purer form of Mike Tramp, before you put anything else on it.
AA: What was your experience like in 2012 when you just did an acoustic tour where you was just doing everything by yourself?
MT: It’s one of those things where, let’s not maybe use the word, lost, but when your lost, there’s this old saying about go back to where you come from and see if you find the answers there. It could be a manual, or putting a cabinet together that you bought in a store, and you started all the way and then you go back to scratch, and you just says “Okay. This is how I started out.” There is just this thing about going out with acoustic guitar by yourself which was the first tour and now, the end result of the many tours I’ve done.
MT: It is really to see who am I? What am I made of? If I can do it in this simple form, then there’s nothing I can’t do because this is where … I mean yesterday I just stood under florescent light in a ballroom in a hotel on just two pieces of plywood. You couldn’t get a more raw and more stripped down. I delivered a great show and people are sitting there for another hour and a half and meeting me afterwards and that’s because, there’s no façade, that is the purest, it is the real deal. You can’t hide yourself. Either you got it or you ain’t got it.
MT: It’s just the way it is and it’s strengthened me that I’m not looking for anything. I’m very, very secure in what I want to do. I don’t try to do anything but Mike Tramp. I don’t have any big goals or anything like this. I’m just doing me.
AA: It’s easy, you can tell because, like I said, you’re 20 years in a solo career with 11 albums where a lot of your peers are not making records anymore.
AA: Writing songs the way they used to.
MT: No. No. No. because, it’s their choice but they haven’t made the decision. They’d rather continue with what they’re still doing even though that thing is dying and there’s nobody in that style of music that write a great album. The great albums were written the 80’s where they were known from. I do make that comment many times without slagging anyone. I am the only one that has done 11 consistent, the style is clear through all the albums.
AA: Fans don’t have to wait four or five years for a new record or anything.
MT: You know it’s more me that decides they should wait because I don’t want to release and listen to No End to War and then turn the music off, and then start writing a song. I want it to pour out of me. It will tell me. It will knock on the inside and say “Okay, the planets have to be in the right place.” The problem is not writing it, if I got an assignment to write a soundtrack for a movie, because let’s just say somebody heard my songs and said “I like where you are going and this is the story of the album.” I would be 100% confident that I could write that album in a couple weeks. But why should I write an album right now. This album’s just coming out and who knows where I want to be going next? Who knows? Maybe the next one is not going to be something new, maybe it’s going to be an acoustic album for the fans of all the shows, it’s not going to be live but where I do a double album of the best version of these songs for people to enjoy. Because I feel that maybe there’s not a need for new music right away again.
AA: With so many songs, how do you put a set list together?
MT: It is a dilemma because I must admit I am a little bit of a sucker for the fans. I know a lot of them. You have two kinds of people, some that really look forward. If was going out and seeing somebody that’s in, I would like to hear what they representing them today. You know the fans are, I don’t like the word fans but they start feeling good when they recognize something. Not everybody’s got the solo albums and stuff like that so it’s a combination of the different things.
AA: The song takes them to a memory.
MT: I usually try to go old song, new song, old song, new song, so it’s a cross between that.
AA:If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be to write songs?
MT: I don’t really want to collaborate with anyone but it certainly would not be anybody of my peer. That’s a lot of people At the same time, I don’t write songs for other people. It’s not that I couldn’t, it’s just that, again, I don’t have that draw for other people’s songs. What would I gain by writing a song together with one of my heroes, Bruce Springsteen? He’s telling his story, I’m telling my story would be very difficult lyrical wise.
MT:If it was I would rather choose a really good piano player that would come in from another side and add some different things, not just talking about piano player playing on a record but when you’re writing, the piano has so many more places you can go. I’ve written a few songs on piano, and it’s the thing I keep promising myself that I want to get better at piano because I know it will open a completely new world to song writing because there’s so many more chord progressions you can do on a piano that’s impossible on a guitar.
MT: A guitar instantly becomes strumming a rhythm but a piano can do a lot of different things. You can also switch the sound and just have a hammer or strong that doesn’t have a rhythm, but you just hear it. So there’s many things but at the same time, you’re limited to how much time is left and you know. Like I said, I probably would jump on the chance, on maybe collaborating with someone in writing music for film where we wouldn’t be limited to this mental thing that a song ends within four minutes. It’s like of programmed in me, I don’t know what it is, but most songs are around that.
MT: In the old days it was because of radio but now it’s programmed. After a while you just know the song is over but the second you write film, they’re just going to fade it up and fade it down and you can go with it. You also are free to tell a story or whatever. Many great things.
AA: What album or artist made you want to be an artist?
MT: The thing is I never planned, I never had any wish of getting into music. It sort of happened. I had an acoustic guitar and we were playing in my youth. I used to sit and play around the campfire and this why I always just believed that the simple form of strumming would gather the most people. Nobody’s interested in hearing a guitar solo or drum solo, they just want to have a song they can sing along with.
MT: Once I fell into the music business at age 15 and shortly after, once I knew I was in there, I took it serious and shortly after I knew, I’m going to go forward with this. This is before I was thinking about America or anything, this is just back in Denmark. Once I got to that point, I knew that was the thing. From that time, there’s been no surrender, no quitting, no returning, no giving up. After the ten first years, it got taken over that it’s not, now it’s a way of life. It’s not something you do, it’s your life, it’s what you do, it’s what you are, it’s who you are. Everything I do, it’s the center of it, even my family. The center, my soul is my music. It is become that. It’s not in the way I wanted to be but it’s just become because I’ve done it for so long. It is what I am.
MT: Every decision is made in my life around that. It doesn’t matter if I ever reach a higher level. It’s just whatever I do will have its foundation in my music and my music is a representation of who I am as a human being. How I feel, how I think, how I’m unhappy, how I’m happy, how I’m political view, anything. It’s what it is. I don’t have to put a KISS makeup on. I am myself. When I walk out on stage and you see out there, it will be the same person you saw here.
MT: That’s probably the greatest I’ve been given is that I could just trust in myself and be that. That’s the most important thing you can do somehow.
Darryl Hall and John Oates brought their eight-piece band to Atlantic City Hard Rock Casino for an electrifying sold-out show that didn’t disappoint. Darryl Hall and John Oates played to a sold-out show that consisted of people of all ages. Hall and Oates played a 14 song set with a mixture of hits and other songs. the best way to describe the show is that it was a celebration of the band and their music and a great way to finish out what was a busy touring year.
The audience was into every song. The songs to some takes them back to their high school memories for the young fans a chance to see how good Darryl Hall and John Oates are. Tonight the band gave one of their best performances. The backing band didn’t disappoint, long time member Charles DeChant put on a great performance playing the saxophone and doing double duty playing the keyboards. Percussionist Porter Carroll has an amazing voice that compliments Darryl Hall and John Oates. Darryl Hall and John Oates can still hit the notes on their songs. Give the duo credit for having a backing band that sounds just as amazing as they are. Darryl Hall and John Oates have kept the same line up since 2013, live they sound as if they have been together longer. One of the highlights is the band playing Is it a star which sounds better live in 2018 than in years past. The band left the audience screaming for an encore and why not the night was still young and the band still had a lot of energy to come back and rock the night away. The fans were treated to a four song encore.
Not many bands artists from the 70’s can pull off high energy shows as Darryl hall and John Oates can. It is a treat when the band goes out on tour. After the weekend shows there will be another tour in 2019. If you missed them this year make sure you catch them next year. It is worth the time.
Out of touch
Say it isn’t so
It’s a laugh
You’ve lost that love and feelin
Is it a star
I can’t go for that (no can do)
Kiss on my list
You make my dreams
Russell Powell hosted his first east coast exhibit at One Art Space in New York on October 27, 2018. I was amazed at the art work on display and how Russell had done it by hand and used a new technology where people could use an app and be able to see how the work was done from start to finish. I had a chance to sit down with Russell Powell and talk about the his art work.
Angel Alamo: How did you get the idea to do art work by hand? How did you get started as an artist?
Russell Powell: As a self-taught artist, I’ve been teaching elementary school art for the past nineteen years in Campbell, outside my hometown of San Jose, California. I credit my students as a major source of inspiration for my work and the creation of my unique hand stamping technique. My method is to create a portrait on my hand and then transfer the image to paper. Hand stamping, which took over two and half years to refine, utilizes both color and black and white ink. Although each portrait is created on a raised surface, I strive to achieve as much detail as possible. Many of my subjects are historic figures, indigenous people and exotic animals. To showcase my passion, I founded Pangaean Studios in 2012.
AA: Was this your first art exhibit?
RP: This was my first east coast showing. I’ve had art exhibits throughout California, specifically in San Jose and Santa Clara. Most recently, I was proud to have a spread in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odd is Art book. In conjunction with the book launch, Ripley’s commissioned a special piece featuring the faces of 16 historic guitarists in the shape of a guitar. I was also featured on the cover of Content Magazine. Videos of my hand stamping process have garnered millions of views on popular social media platforms and have been applauded by celebrities including Rohan Marley, Run DMC, Cedric The Entertainer, amongst others.
AA: How did the art exhibit what was the reaction from people?
RP: People were very engaged with my work, which is what one hopes for as an artist. They were particularly excited about the augmented reality component introduced to the show through PhotoBloomAR. To see a final piece and then see the creation by pointing your phone at the work, is truly a unique experience.
AA: Do you plan on doing anymore? Will you be doing any more art shows in the future?
RP: Yes, I am planning a show in Lost Angeles in early 2019. Stay tuned to pangaeanstudios.gallery for upcoming details and new original works.
AA: Some of your art work features famous people who did the idea come about?
RP: At the 2016 Global Citizen Rally, I had the privilege of hand stamping a portrait of Nelson Mandela on attendees, which was displayed on stage during the Eddie Vedder and Beyonce performance. I also had the honor to gift hand stamp portraits to Malala and Ruby Bridges, two women whose contributions have advanced human and civil rights causes.
AA: How can people that may want to buy your painting or book you for an art show get in touch with you?
RP: Email firstname.lastname@example.org, send me a direct message via @pangaeanstudios on Facebook or Instagram or visit pangaeanstudios.gallery.
The exxxotica hosted its annual event at NJ Expo. This is the 11th year that it has been hosted in New Jersey. Edison, NJ is the perfect location to host this event. There is plenty of free parking which is a plus. It’s easy to get to right off exit 10 on the New Jersey Turnpike. According to their official website EXXXOTICA is The Largest Adult Event in the USA Dedicated to Love & Sex. Taking place over three days, EXXXOTICA was created for like-minded adults who are looking to “celebrate sexy”.
The event is a great event for the local area as they host after parties and hotel rooms are booked for fans who come from the all over the United States for this event. The event is a chance of for fans to meet their favorite adult entertainers for a picture and a quick chat. There are both male and female adult entertainers. The event on Friday nights is ladies free. The event also hosts a variety of workshops. It is a fun event. People come to check out the latest new things in the world of adult entertainment. It is still good clean fun. I recommend the event. There is no other event like it in the east coast. All three days are great for the event. Friday night seems the best one if I had to pick which day out of the three is best. There is always plenty of security everything is done in a respectful manner. To check out more information go to to:
Buckets N Joints have been busy lately preparing their 2nd album due for release next year and preparing for a tour to follow. The band is busy playing 100 shows a year. I was able to interview this great new band to talk the band and upcoming album.
Angel Alamo: How did the band come up with the name Buckets N Joints?
Buckets N Joints: The name was made up by Gal, our guitar player during a vacation he had in Thailand. People either think it’s childish or awesome, so no matter what, it makes them think about it, doesn’t it?
Angel Alamo: What can fans expect from the band on the 2nd album?
Buckets N Joints: It’s rocking and it’s fun. We feel like we really captured the essence of the band and how we play live, which can sometimes be difficult in a studio setting.
Angel Alamo: When will the band be releasing the album?
Buckets N Joints: The album will be released on March 2019. The first single “Disappear” is out already and another song will be released as the second single soon.
Angel Alamo: What are the band’s influences?
Buckets N Joints: We love alternative rock groups like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Audioslave, Guns N Roses, Foo Fighters and Muse and such. Every every member of the band likes different kind of aspects in music so it gives us an interesting color we think.
Angel Alamo: How was it playing in Germany and Russia?
Buckets N Joints: Amazing, people responded really well and rock out with us. In Russia we played in a Punk/Metal festival called “Dobrofest”. We were concerned that the people won’t understand what we’re doing there because we’re a more of a rock group than a punk group. But we were pleased to know that people actually really liked that we were different.
Angel Alamo: How does the band approach songwriting?
Buckets N Joints: We usually jam out and get a riff from improvizing and expand on that. Our singer Royi is good with writing lyrics on music that is already made so we usually write the music before everything. But there are no rules in this band, sometimes someone comes up with a song at home and we work on it together.
Angel Alamo: If the band could tour with anybody who would you go on the road with?
Buckets N Joints: I think you’d get a different answer from each member haha.. But I guess all of us with love to just tour with our biggest influences.
Angel Alamo: The band is going on a European tour who did that come about?
Buckets N Joints: We’re used to tour in Israel, but it’s a small country so we wanted to expand ourselves out of the border of Israel. Especially after seeing good reactions from Germany and Russia when we toured there. We’ll have a European tour when the album is released and we’re very excited about it.
Angel Alamo: Are there any other places that the band plans to tour in?
Buckets N Joints: We wish to play everywhere, but right now we work on playing in Europe.
Angel Alamo: How has the band been able to maintain the same line up?
Buckets N Joints: We’re just good friends I guess. We try to stay as honest as we can with each other and as time goes on, I think we get to know each other’s advantages and disadvantages and we work together with that.
For more information on Buckets N Joints go to https://www.facebook.com/BucketsNJoints/
For 30 years, Tyketto’s life is like a Rocky story. A band that has been knocked down, gotten back up, and refuses to give up. They are the band that are still rocking with no signs of slowing down. Tyketto (Danny Vaughn-Vocals, Chris Green-Guitar, Greg Smith-bass, Michael Clayton-drums, Ged Rylands-keyboards) have had a busy year touring. This year will see the release of the band’s upcoming DVD, “We’ve Got Tomorrow, We’ve Got Tonight” and next year, the 25th anniversary tour of their sophomore album Strength in Numbers. I had an opportunity to catch up with Michael Clayton to talk about the DVD and the upcoming tour.
Angel Alamo: How did the idea for the live DVD come about?
Michael Clayton: Once we got back on the world stage and started doing the big festivals, we were exposed to a multitude of different bands. Some just kind of phone it in and are doing whatever to make their money. Then we see several bands that are playing wonderfully, but when you see them from show one to show two and year one to year two, it’s the same cut and paste show. Even though it’s quality, it’s the same thing. The bands we like to go see are the bands that always try to mix it up. We’ve been together 30 years, so how many people in our genre haven’t seen us live?
With the challenge of once again reinventing ourselves, the first dialogue was to record an acoustic DVD where we’d do different arrangements unplugged. We soon remembered that we’d done that once or twice over the years, so it didn’t seem special.
So, the idea started: Let’s get backing vocalists. Great, okay, we’ll do that. Let’s get a horn section. Okay, we’ll do that too. And let’s get a string section. Once everybody got all excited about it, we just started throwing these crazy ideas around. Fast forward six months; we’re in Wales and we’ve got a 14-piece band on stage! We then added the extra pressure of recording it in front of a live audience, so it just became this monster. It was born out of wanting to give our longtime fans something that they never saw before.
Angel Alamo: What can fans expect on the live DVD? Will they get to see, like the backstage stuff, of the band preparing?
Michael Clayton: Our first thought was to look through the catalog and pick obscure stuff, but we then thought that doing stuff that’s lesser known and doing it differently may really throw our fans. I think Chris and I started talking and agreed on just doing our most popular songs. I’m not sure if you remember Bon Jovi doing an “Unplugged” show on MTV many years ago, where and he and Richie did this acoustic version of Livin’ on a Prayer that had this somber feel to it. It was a melancholy version of that beautiful pop song. I never forgot it, because it was a song I knew and loved for many years, but suddenly it became a new song again because they did it differently.
So that became our mindset, and we just started throwing around crazy ideas. I suggested Kick Like a Mule, (which is a flat out, balls to the wall rock tune), but wanted to do it like a big band, with horns and real campy backing vocals, like The Andrew Sisters.
In addition to the live music, there is a ton of interview footage and band commentary, as well as one of the rehearsal days where the five of us did a few songs without the extra members.
Angel Alamo: And then, what were some of the other ones that really stuck out?
Michael Clayton: The Last Sunset is a pure acoustic song. We decided to put instrumentation behind that, and make that a kind of Keith Urban, pop country tune.
Faithless always had a Zeppelin-esque feel, and we just heard these big strings ala, “No More Tears” by Ozzy (Osbourne). The big metal strings sound. So, we put that in.
Wings was one I was pushing for that Danny and Chris weren’t initially hearing. I wanted to do it like a flat out, late 1950s, early ’60s, Frankie Valli doo-wop feel; playing up the backing vocals a lot. Once we got rolling with the idea, they were like, “Wow, okay, this is cool. We’re gonna do it this way.”
The one that was scary for us was Forever Young, because that’s something that you’re just not supposed to touch. That’s the big song. Chris sent this idea over, and in my stubborn, New York head, all I was registering was the word, “Different.” He asked, “What do you think?” I’m like, “I hate it!” It was such a left turn! He loved it, so he asked, “Without giving Danny your opinion, would you mind if I sent it to him?” I said, “No, of course I don’t. It just sounds so radically different, I’m not sure if the fans are really going to embrace this.” So, he sends it to Danny, who immediately calls me up and goes, “I think you’re fuckin’ nuts dude. I love it.” I got outvoted, and the more I listened to it, I very happily admitted that I was wrong. I’m glad they talked me into it, as it’s a DVD highlight.
Angel Alamo: There’s nothing wrong with that, because I mean after 30 years, it’s okay to want to do something different.
Michael Clayton: Danny and I are the only two original members left in Tyketto. With our genre getting a little bit older, I can’t think of many bands that have all the original members. It seems like the fans are a bit more understanding of change, whether you do a song differently or have different members on stage.
Angel Alamo: What has been the key to keeping the band together? The band, it’s like you guys seem more like a family than a band.
Michael Clayton: We’re all busy in our lives and in our own businesses. We’re all doing well out on our own, so Tyketto is a very elective decision. Danny said it best in an interview back in June that it’s like a family reunion we don’t get to do all that often.
Chris brought his son to M3 this past May. I was flashing back to our M3 appearance a few years prior. That was the first time my son Ryan saw Tyketto, and now here’s Chris’ son Sullivan seeing us for the first time. It is very much a family thing. We say it so much; we’re always paranoid it’s gonna come off non-sincere, but it’s true.
Angel Alamo: Is he the one that got to sing with Slaughter?
Michael Clayton: Yeah, Sullivan went up onstage and sang with Slaughter! He’s a rock star. We do phone Q&As and trivia contests discussing his faves; KISS and Alice Cooper. He’s a beautiful boy.
Angel Alamo: Back to the DVD. Any release date in mind?
Michael Clayton; We were talking about maybe an October release, not realizing this is 14 songs. It’s mixing a 14-piece band. It’s new renditions. There’s probably an hour, hour and a half of interview footage, behind the scenes stuff and the artwork to tend to. I would say a late fall release is probable,
Angel Alamo: Was there any reaction to how the fans would feel to the arrangements of the songs on the DVD? Like you mentioned they don’t like the songs being messed with, but was there anything in the back of your mind saying, “Is this a good idea?”
Michael Clayton: We were petrified! This could have derailed in a thousand different ways, and I can honestly say I’ve never been more nervous behind my drums. The event ended up becoming very personal. Each band member took turns introducing a song and adding in their own personal thoughts. It was very emotional for all of us. When we went into the audience for the post-show dinner, fans were saying, “When you did that version of Forever Young, I was crying.”
We struck a personal chord with people. Doing the songs stripped down and hearing what went behind these songs when they were first written, it became this special moment in time. I can’t even describe what went on that weekend, but we all felt it. If people listen to it and hear the same thing that we all felt that weekend, it was worth all the stress. Logistically, it was very risky and there were many times when we thought we were in way over our heads, but I think the fans are gonna absolutely love it.
Angel Alamo: The band are actually going on the road to do the 25-year anniversary of Strength in Numbers. Besides the European tour, is the band gonna do any other tours beyond?
Michael Clayton: That one we totally stumbled on. I went to do a Facebook post, and I really had nothing to say. Nothing was really going on to report, so I went through my laptop, looking for a picture to put up. I wasn’t even thinking about any kind of business. I just put the Strength in Numbers album cover up and wrote something like, “Holy shit, next year’s 25 years.” That’s it. And it got over 800 likes in two hours. Suddenly, people are saying, “You have to tour on that album!” It just lit everybody up. We got to talking about it, and agreed it was a great idea. A few weeks later, the March 2019 tour was booked! We’ve also signed on for a September 2019 festival in Hamburg Germany. Once we can take a breath from the DVD, we may add a few European dates onto that.
Angel Alamo: What are your memories of making the Strength in Numbers album?
Michael Clayton: Misery!! For many years, that record represented us getting dropped by Geffen and the advent of grunge music, (which put us out of business for a while), a few of us ending long term relationships and Jimmy leaving the band. All that is the Strength in Numbers era.
I think it wasn’t until Chris and Ged came into the band that I changed my outlook. With new blood comes new energy. Watching the new guys play the Strength In Numbers songs, and seeing the fans going nuts was amazing. I thought to myself; Don’t Come Easy was always my baby. That was the good life, big advances signing to Geffen, our first major deal. That has all the positive connotations with it. Once I listened to the Strength In Numbers record without judging all the circumstances around it, I’m like, “Man, this is a fuckin’ good album.”. A lot of fans in England prefer it over Don’t Come Easy. My memories of the making of the record aren’t really that great, because there was so much other shit going on, but my current memory of the album, as far as body of work, is wonderful. I’m looking forward to playing that whole album. We’re doing the record in its entirety on that tour.
Angel Alamo: Like you said, it’s still a great record because at the time you were going through the thing with Geffen, I remember Nelson was like waiting and waiting for the follow up album.
Michael Clayton: We finished the album right when things started turning. We had a fully mixed and mastered record, we had the artwork done, we had the photo picked for the cover, we had a full press schedule ready to go. This thing was as ready as ready could be, so we figure let’s go visit our team. They haven’t seen us in a while, as we’d been on the road and we’d been working on this record.
We went to some journalist friends, and they “weren’t available” to see us. We then went to our accountant’s office to play him the mixes. We weren’t into the first chorus of the first track, and he left! Brooke and I sat there, listening to our own record by ourselves in this huge conference room. He came back in, and I thought it was to say, “Oh sorry guys, I had a call, let’s listen to this.” He came back in to get a folder he left on the desk, grabbed it and fucking left again! We were sitting there like, “What?” That was the beginning of the end of that chapter. Overnight, it was gone. That was devastating for us.
Angel Alamo: Then?
Michael Clayton: The European market didn’t feel the hit as much as the American market did, so we just took it elsewhere. That year when we were in that state of flux, we just hit the road. We toured England relentlessly on that record. We toured Europe and The States too. We’d go out for four or five months at a time and just play anywhere and everywhere. That’s how we survived. And then things went quiet after that. For a band to sustain themselves purely on playing live is exhaustive. You gotta be out on the road how many days a year just to pay your rent?
So that ended. It got us through ’94, but by the end of that year, Danny had just had enough. That’s when he quit. Everything came at a price for us over the years it seems, but we’re still here.
Angel Alamo: That’s the great thing, like when I was talking to Danny at the M3 festival, it was like, wow, you know, it’s kind of cool to have grown up reading about you in Metal Edge magazine, and reading your interviews, I’m here face to face, laughing with you, I’m like, “Who would’ve thought?”
Michael Clayton: No, we never would’ve thought. This whole thing came just as we started getting a little bit of gas in the tank. That’s when the genre just exploded, with the M3 and the Monsters of Rock and all the festivals going on all around the country. It was so weird because we’d go to those Monsters of Rock cruises, or even the M3 festivals we were on. I looked at the bands on those bills, and we’re probably one of a handful of bands that doesn’t have a gold or platinum record. We never achieved that status.
What’s happening now is people like yourself saying, “Holy shit, I get to see these guys finally.” That happens a lot. But in addition to that, they’ll come up and say, “Dude, I’m a Y&T fan, I don’t know who the hell you guys were, but holy shit!” Every night on that cruise, our dear friend Dave Meniketti from Y&T would announce, “If you haven’t seen these guys, go see them!” He was just such a great supporter of us, as are band members from Firehouse, Faster Pussycat, the other members from Y&T, Winger and Queensryche. Many had never seen us live, and just recently discovered Tyketto. The old fans are coming back around, saying “Wow, it’s great to see you again,” and there’s new fans discovering us for the first time.
Angel Alamo: Fans are always curious to know, does the band ever check out what the fans are saying on Facebook?
Michael Clayton: I love our band’s social networking although I’m personally not into it too much. I think Jon Bon Jovi said that it’s much more interesting to be a voyeur, and watch what other people are saying versus you, because right now, if you put your opinion on social media, you’re looking to get your head handed to you! I think our Facebook page is about 18,000 people now. We didn’t go trolling for any names, that’s truly our fan base. One of the many things I love about our British fan base is they give it to you straight. They’ll tell you if it’s good and they’ll tell you if it’s bad.
There was a fan named Luna. Many years ago, on the Strength in Numbers tour. He came to see us, and I remember asking, “Luna, how was the gig?”
He goes, “Eh, you kinda sucked.”
I reply, “Excuse me?”
And he goes, “Dude, you look like you were gasping for air up there.”
Well, I was. I was smoking a pack of Marlboro reds a day. He was being so brutally honest with me. It really hurt me that my smoking had deteriorated my performance to the point where a fan recognized it, and I must have told him ten times over as many years that I quit smoking that next day because of him. Now, that’s a REAL fan!
You gotta take it as it comes. Some fans will tell you you’re the greatest thing in the world if you’re not, just because they’re your fans. You get the pessimists out there, and the haters, that nothing you can do is right. We listen to everybody, but at the end of the day we make our own decisions. But yeah, we are very active, we always want to know what our fans want to hear. We respect them. They’ve been with us for 30 years. When we did that DVD in June, I think there was maybe 120, 130 people a night. I knew 90% of them by first name.
Angel Alamo: Did you know that one of your friends is involved with a Tyketto fan page?
Michael Clayton: That’s Julie. Julie is Wonder Woman! She handles our merchandise, our website and is involved on the fan page. She and her husband Darren are just sweetheart people, very intelligent and get the business side of things. They are both indispensable members of the family.
Angel Alamo: Would the band ever do a residency, like your peers, much like in Vegas or in any venue? Like a residency type of thing?
Michael Clayton: In Tyketto, one never says never! Anything is possible. Danny and I are like Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. Little bit younger and not as many zeros in the bank account, but Danny likes to be an artist. He wants to create. He said the business circles give him a headache. I’m a very active businessman and told Danny on many occasions, “‘Til the day I’m in the ground, I’m gonna look for something to spark us,”. That Anvil documentary comes to mind. It just blew them up. We’ll look at any opportunity, residency included. I will always be looking for that one thing to turn our tide, but in the meantime, we’re just enjoying the ride.
Angel Alamo: What has the band been up to lately?
Danny Vaughn: It’s a bit of a quiet year for us. We have a couple of major things coming up with the festivals in June. One in Switzerland one in London. We are doing something we have never done before which is we are filming a live DVD in over two nights, which is kind of reinterpreting a lot of our songs that we are known for that our fans love. We are including a string section, backing vocalists, violinists, soloists all kinds of crazy stuff going into it.
Angel Alamo: Is that the plan that the band has with an evening with Tyketto?
Danny Vaughn: It’s dinner with the band, it is multiple video takes we will do about six songs each night. Working with the audience getting it all filmed.
Ged Rylands: It’s like Michael says it is more of a TV show, that’s the kind of vibe we are going for.
Danny Vaughn: Something we have always wanted to try. It’s something that bands on our financial level rarely get an opportunity to do. We have been very lucky we have had someone helps us, because it cost quite a bit to put on a production quite like that. We have always kind of shot over our pay grade if you will. We are grateful we get included in the same sentence as the same bands that are on today’s bill. We haven’t sold anywhere near what most of these guys have sold over the years.
Angel Alamo: You guys have not really been as active do you think people are now rediscovering the band?
Danny Vaughn: What you are referring to is a lot America we have never left Europe. when you see We tour England almost every year. I’m down and if we don’t I do it with my solo band. We have never gone away in Europe.
Ged Rylands: A lot of the bands here today they come up to us they are envious of our position to be able to go over to Europe because a lot of these bands don’t get that chance.
Danny Vaughn: Our last European tour was like 5 weeks.
Ged Rylands: Yeah
Danny Vaughn: That’s a long time
Ged Rylands: We do good numbers were not playing to 50 or 60 people. It has always been that way.
Angel Alamo: Is it Because audiences are more loyal. In America you have to have a big number 1 Radio hit where in places like Europe and Japan once the fans love you they love you forever.
Danny Vaughn: I think that’s it that is basically right. They have very long memories. They are not locked into the trends. You know that’s not saying that our shows are filled with teenagers but they are there, that’s always heartening to see a 12-year-old rocking out to your songs alright good parenting.
Ged Rylands: We have gotten a lot of new fans these last few years.
Danny Vaughn: The reach album really got us a lot of new fans. You do something like this today even a lot of people come up to me today and say I don’t know who you are I just went out and bought your album you really can’t beat that.
Angel Alamo: Is there any new music on the horizon?
Danny Vaughn: Our last studio album was in 2016 Reach Then we put out live in Milan which was 2017 which was us playing live at the frontiers music festival. So yes it is time to start engaging in the writing process again. I got my Whiteboard out at home by the way with 35 ideas.
Angel Alamo: So there is no timeline as to when the next studio album will be coming out.
Danny Vaughn: Oh no I don’t like to say it because one, I am unfortunately notoriously slow when it comes to writing songs. I can’t make any excuses for it I just think a lot. Also we won’t put something out because it’s time to if it’s not ready it’s not coming out. We want to put out an album that we would happily sit and listen to which is what reach is.
Angel Alamo: The rest of the year will the band be doing any major touring?
Not too sure no just the things that I mentioned with the festivals.
Ged Rylands: The last two or three years we have been touring almost Non-Stop.
Danny Vaughn: In 2017 we did two European tours and We have been very, very lucky to have been included in for about 5 Years running in the Monsters of Rock cruise. That has really opened the doors for America. We have done a few more American shows of course we would like to do more like this. So next year is a quiet year. It will be devoted to writing. Taking ideas back and forth between all of us.
Angel Alamo: What was the feeling like playing in your first arena show in Denver in 1991. Any memorable moments.
Danny Vaughn: The most memorable moments of that show was actually after the show. That was the first tour with Nelson. We had gone a few shows with them but just was the first official night of the tour. A played we had a great night. We watched Nelson and they blew the house down, so we are packing up at the end of the night. I suddenly realized that they got hot tubs backstage and stuff. I turned the corner and someone goes dude, so we got the nelson twins with two or three very lovely young women in the hot tub. They go what are you doing. We are getting on the bus, they go bullshit you are getting in the hot tub. So I get in so yeah that was my first memory.
Angel Alamo: Who was the best band that you guys toured with?
Danny Vaughn: Best is a harsh word.
Angel Alamo: Or good bands.
Danny Vaughn: Nelson was a stunning band but they were a great band. Everybody was building on their looks. They went out on tour they had one of the best guitar players in the world with Bret Garsed, Bobby rock on drums, and Gunner is a stunning bass player. Paul Mirkovich on keyboards. But seriously a solid live act. Anybody ask me that question in my history I will say Iron Maiden when I was in Waysted we were opening for Iron Maiden across the United States and Canada. That is quite an experience.
Ged Rylands: Shows like these with a lot of these bands and then afterwards you just become friends. This can be transported to Germany, UK, different festivals it’s the same kind of bands You meet up with these bands during the summer months’ friendships do develop. It’s nice when bands do gel.
Danny Vaughn: There is a lot less competition between us all, are a lot more of us of course as we are older, be really appreciate where we’re at,that we still get to do this at whatever level. It’s a privilege to do it.
Angel Alamo: You read my mind about the next question back then that you would imagine that you would still be doing music today after all these years?
Danny Vaughn: I mean back then my imagination was quite Limited. I just wanted to be a star man and that was it you wanted to be Bruce Springsteen, or Bon Jovi or whatever. And then it becomes your life. No, there was nothing in my imagination that would of prepared me to be 56 years old and looking ahead Band camp I still do this and I do not do anything else. Believe me I have over the years. It is quite nice to not have another job.
Angel Alamo: I have to share this as fan, I still remember reading one of your interviews on metal Edge magazine.
Danny Vaughn: Oh Gerri Miller.
Angel Alamo: The one segment where you guys were shooting the music video (forever young).
Danny Vaughn: Yeah, I still got that.
Angel Alamo: I remember reading the interview. Before the whole internet thing.
Danny Vaughn: Those were the good days. One of the things that has killed music a little bit. There is none of that anticipation for information anymore. Go back a little further to Led Zeppelin. They didn’t do a lot of interviews. So what day did for example kerrang magazine So we have spoken to Robert Plant. Bought that because that was your only insight. Now because the demand is so immediate Internet anything video or whatever you’re constantly feeling this machine that’s why the attention span is short while I heard that song now 400,000 times this month now I’m moving on.
Angel Alamo: After knowing the songs were so many years do you guys still practice?
Ged Rylands: No
Danny Vaughn: Cat is out of the bag.(laughs)
Danny Vaughn: You want to know what’s funny this thing that were talking about and evening with Tyketto. It is the hardest that it’s been and it will work. So this is going to be concentration time. A lot of times you think you should practice but these guys are so locked in let me tell you a story. We played the Barcelona rock festival in front of 25,000 people hot as balls literally I am hallucinating on stage. I feel bubbles is that hot. I normally for a longer set would have to acoustic guitars because I use different tunings so one it’s normal to me and then their songs like standing alone Where it’s dropped down a whole step so I’m playing standing along And I picked up the wrong guitar The one that is tuned up a whole step higher than what I would normally sing in. I am playing the song because I do the whole Intro by myself. And half of my brain is going excuse me excuse me my brain shout out I am busy. So I’m playing I’m playing The first chorus where I sang Stand up and both sides of my brain goes you asshole so my point being is that at that point you can’t stop so I have to tough it out a whole step higher and these guys I think you picked it up first Jed picked it up first. And look at the bass player and said you’re not playing as an F this is G so without missing a beat that I can see now I got to have the whole band played the exact same song The guitar player transposed the solo, On the spot and played the solo a whole Step Up from the way he has been playing it for three years. So I’m really confident About you know we can get together and rock.
Angel Alamo: How do you warm up for show?
Danny Vaughn: Just waking up we have to be on at 11 so we have to be here around 9 if I have a chance I’ll do warm workups but there was no time today I don’t think warming up is really big and are things to do.our drummer Mike will always do some drum stuff.
Everyone just does their own thing and is to their own space. Over many, many years before shows we tend to freak people out. Before shows no matter how big or small we tend to fall asleep and people go like dude are you alright is anything wrong what’s the matter aren’t you into this you are about to go in front of 10,000 people. Is just your body going I know it’s coming. I need to be explosive to end so we just save it now as you get older you have to parcel out your energy wisely.
Ged Rylands: This is actually what you can expect backstage. This is what it actually looks like everybody’s just relaxed and chill
Danny Vaughn: That’s kind of how we are I mean you can find endless things to get all worked up about and it does no good to anyone to yourself to your friends to your family. As long as the essentials are in place any of these bands will tell you. You do this long enough you are so used to okay we didn’t have a keyboard stand so let’s put the keyboard on some boxes is that okay yeah fine.
Angel Alamo: Would you ever put out a remastered version of your debut album?
Danny Vaughn: We actually did there is a remastered version that’s kind of a weird spot for us because we have never been able to have any control of that it’s only by Geffen the publishing is owned by Universal I believe so we never been able to say hey would you please give us this album so we can rework it we do it we release it because it was unavailable for years completely out of reprint but one of these companies that does that Rock Candy Music got a hold of it last year and re-released don’t come easy. That coincided with the 25 year anniversary of the album so that year we toured Europe and did just played whole don’t come easy album all the way through.
Ged Rylands: That was the basis of our live show with live album and DVD live in Milan.
Danny Vaughn: The live in Milan is the whole don’t come easy album. That’s what they wanted. It’s imperfect everything is not completely right there are mistakes here and there but it’s what a live band is, it is a shoot from the hip kind of thing. As a matter of fact the opening song my acoustic guitar I come out in the beginning and I singalong while the band is jumping around and didn’t have my guitar on the guy doing monitor board just forgot to turn it on so the beginning you kind of hear and if you don’t hear it then look at the monitor guy going yo the n it comes on going back to what was said earlier. If you let something like that turn you into fuck you tighten up like that there goes the whole show. I think its dynamite live album. I’m not a live album fan but it’s great to be able to put it out.
(After the interview we got to chat a bit and talk about metal sludge Danny was enough to share a story about his first interview with metal sludge)
Metal Sludge has got me in a little bit of trouble over the years so it’s nice to do something nice. I’ll tell you a story and it’s a good story. I had my first interview with Metal Sludge years and years ago. I made a horrible mistake right after I did it. Which was I listened to the metal sludge interview first with Dee Snyder. I was taken in by the fact that Dee Snyder does not give one single flying f*** he says whatever he really means and I got that into my head and I said some really shity things I said some shity things about some of my contemporaries who I actually quite light and I just was in the wrong mind frame consequently I insulted Ted Poley and we didn’t talk for years and when we did finally talk he said why did you do that not only are these are my peers these are also my friends I have known Ted for over 35 years we go back to playing cover bands together so I was just trying to stir up a little controversy to be something I’m not which is a combative arrogant mouthy kind of guy it wasn’t Metal Sludge fault I just went with the flow and it cost me Of course we’ve become friends since and I did apologize.
I was able to talk with M3 festival headliners Queensryche (Todd LaTorre & Michael Wilton) before hitting the stage.
Angel Alamo: How is the new album coming along?
Todd La Torre: It’s going well actually; it is in the mixing stages right now.
AA: How is playing at the M3 festival different from some of the other festivals?
Michael Wilton: We have a variety of festivals that we play. Like in Europe there’s all different kinds of festivals. We play Rockin the rivers music festival which is more heavier bands I guess, this is more kind of traditional 80s style of music. It’s a different genre it’s a different flavor. But that’s cool that we can play in Rockin(the rivers music festival) and M3 festival.
TL: I think it’s probably one of the only festivals in the states that hosts this type of event with the lineup that you have where some of the other festivals have a lot of new bands and some of the older bands and across as a lot of different genres. This is a little more what’s the word that I am looking for a little more of the same era. Which is fine.
AA: Todd you wear originally a drummer in the future would you ever do a side project as a drummer?
TL: Sure I mean it would be fun. Not for a touring thing because Queensryche is what I do with the band full time.
I can’t imagine any time that would be able to do that but as a drummer I would love to drum with a side project recording or video or maybe a couple live shows as the drummer where I’m not the front guy that would always be fun.
AA: What songs are the most difficult to play live?
TL: We kind of nail them all. It’s a hard question
AA: Which album or band made you want to go into music?
MW: The first Van Halen album and there’s Black Sabbath, Never Say Die tour
TL: For the rock genre early Ratt and Dokken. Those were two of my all-time favorites Stryper outside of that genre when my ears really started to pay attention to music really want you started to pay attention to Fleetwood Mac Billy Joel stuff like that. As a young child I started playing guitar when I was 10 and then that took a backseat to drunk when I was 13 and that was more of the rock influence took place with the bands that I just mentioned.
AA: Once the new record comes out what are the bands touring plans?
Normally we would tour europe twice a year this year we decided to take some time off because of the new album we want a really hit it hard once the new record comes out so we don’t want to saturated any markets prematurely or anything like that, there are some potential shows in South America we just came back from India a few days ago surely a North American tour. We will definitely be going overseas once the new album comes out.
I got the chance to talk to Stryper frontman Michael Sweet a few hours before he was to hit the stage at the M3 festival for the start of the world tour to support the new album God Damn Devil.
Angel Alamo: How does it feel playing at the M3 festival this year?
Michael Sweet: Well we just got in very late last night, I went to bed and I arrived here on the scene just a few moments ago so it looks like it’s going to be awesome man some great bands good turnout is going to be exciting.
It’s a bit cooler today it was like 95 degrees’ yesterday right.
MS: It’s going to be 65 which is a lot better so yes we’re excited it’s going to be good.
AA: Before a show how do you warm up your voice your voice still sounds amazing after all these years?
MS: I smoke about four cigars and drink about a fifth of bourbon, I’m just joking (laughing). You know what man I don’t do what I should do most of the time. I try to warm up, drink some tea do some exercises and chill out and decompress. I do not always have the time to do that. But yeah I try hard to take care of myself so I think that helps.
AA: With the new album God Damn Evil How long does the band plan to be on the road for?
MS: By the end of the year we will have done two tour runs about 6 to 7 weeks long each we will have done many fly dates were going to Japan, Australia, Spain, and quite a few other fly dates as well Puerto Rico I know so when are we going to a lot of places. We are working on hopefully some south American dates hopefully that comes together. A lot of touring between now and the end 2018 all in support of the new album (God Damn Devil) We are going to keep going, we have a lot in store for people in the next 10 or 15 years.
AA: After spending so many years together is it easier to get along as a band as the years go by?
MS: We figure out how to get along as a band after spending so many years together. Like anything you’re dealing with four different personalities so you have to communicate you have to learn how to deal with things and handle things in a professional an adult manner I think over 34 years we figured out how to do that it gets tough sometimes you know like someone has to get on me about something I have to pick up after someone you know what I mean those little tiny things that really don’t matter what they do we go through that like any other band which is just like a marriage that just came out working to talk and communicate as much as you do that’s going to be great
AA: Will the band ever released a box set of unreleased music or album remastered with bonus tracks?
MS: I mean that is certainly a possibility we have never discussed that. I think we are at a point where we have enough music to do something like that we have quite a catalog and loud music so that’s something that we could do but it would have to make sense though it would have to be in demand and people would have to want it. For us to put it together and go through the effort of making that happen in today’s music world is questionable.
AA: How has technology changed to hate that you write music or has it changed?
MS: It’s change a little bit I’m able to put things together faster because of drum software and programs and iPads and guitars apps It makes it a little easier you can set up anywhere and write which is really cool. Obviously Pro tools has made life more difficult and easier. the easier side is that you can pretty much do anything you want with Pro Tools in terms of editing and what not and the difficult side is that you can pretty much do anything you want so with that comes more time and expense and effort and all that kind of stuff so in the old days there was something really cool about going in and recording on tape analog not spending two hours on a guitar solo like you can now with Pro Tools. You can do a 100 takes and piece them all together now a little bit of cheating with them and you can lose your spontaneity you can lose your energy and it becomes stale pretty fast.
AA: And my last question are there any places that you haven’t played yet?
MS: There are a few places we’ve never been to China or Russia and we’ve never been to Mexico we almost went to Mexico a few times but it didn’t work out but man we would love to go to all three places especially Mexico because it’s so close and we have such a large fan base there so it will be amazing to see that become a reality.
Angel Alamo: What do you enjoy the most about wrestling?
Roni BIG BANG Nicole: Wrestling is SUCH an memorable and timeless sport. The combination of athletic prowess, pageantry, storytelling, conflict and victory are lived out in real time inside (and sometimes outside) a wrestling ring. Its truly a marvel to behold. I think what i enjoy most about wrestling is creating one of a kind moments with my opponents and supporters alike. It is always SO validating to look out and SEE the fans reacting to what I do because something we (my opponent and myself) created FOR the patrons to enjoy. Its cathartic and anxious, crippling and liberating. I enjoy being able to weave a story for the crowd to delight or despair in, it’s intoxicating. Seductive. Addictive.
Angel Alamo: What do you enjoy the least?
Roni BIG BANG Nicole :Wrestling definitely follows the 80/20 rile, so knowing that and having the heart-set and mindset that wrestling is a gift and privilege, and not a right? Lessens the sting of some of the more challenging and disappointing moments that come. Even with that proactively positive outlook, difficulties do present themselves. One of the more challenging aspects of professional wrestling are the individuals who disregard the mantle of professionalism and utilize other means for booking opportunities. In turn, the promoters or bookers ignore in-ring skill and focus on ‘favors’ or the buddy system. However, wrestling has become SO broad that now wrestlers have amazing options for weekly or bi-weekly wrestling opportunities.
Angel Alamo: What got you into wrestling?
Roni BIG BANG Nicole: I was introduced to Olympic style wrestling at a very young age, I have older family members who were scholastic wrestlers and as a girl I attended these events with my uncles. I was captivated and entertained by the athletes who were relying on mental acuity in order to physically win a contest. It was an enthralling experience and from there the transition into professional wrestling was inevitable.
Angel Alamo: How is wrestling in Japan different and how are the fans over there?
Roni BIG BANG Nicole: Wrestling in Japan is different top to bottom, not only the wrestling culture but the entire approach is completely different. From the conditioning to the training regiment Japan takes a integrated approach to professional wrestling that is actually mainstreamed into Japanese society. It is refreshing to see how valued professional wrestling and wrestlers are and how the fans are so supportive and hospitable to this bewitching form of entertainment. The matches are are physically demanding and on each show, each match truly builds to the finish which makes each event it’s own interactive spectacle. The energy in the venues is so electric it’s palpable. I was at first concerned about the language barrier between myself and the other Joshi wrestlers. However, wrestling consistently proves to be universal in both understanding and fundamental principles, it was an easy adjustment after my initial tour there. I loved the passion that is present in EVERY wrestler there, you can see and feel how much they want to be the best and it drives you to do the same.
Angel Alamo: How did you get into wrestling?
Roni BIG BANG Nicole: I stumbled into the opportunity to train just by happenstance, even though I had previously searched for professional wrestling training online. I found schools, some credible and some not so credible but all of them required relocation. At the time I was just finishing school and was not prepared to relocate to another city, I felt the situation was turning into a pipe dream of sorts and it was only then, by chance, I was connected with an individual who had aspirations of wrestling promotion who was looking to train a core roster of members. It was then that I began my initial training in Fayetteville, North Carolina with ‘NiteStic’ Eddie Brown and Ring Wars Carolina.
Angel Alamo: Who are your favorite wrestlers?
Roni BIG BANG Nicole: Kong| Kyoko Inoue|Manami Toyota| Jazz| Ivory| Eddie Guerrero|Chris Benoit|Undertaker|Owen Hart| 2 Cold Scorpio | Dash Chisako| Meiko Satomura| Mima Shimoda| Minoru Suzuki|Naomichi Marufuji| El Cyclon Negro|
Angel Alamo: You are a model, wrestler, cheerleader, and actress. Where do you find the time to manage doing all of those things?
Roni BIG BANG Nicole: Time management 😉
Angel Alamo: What do you do to prepare for a match?
Roni BIG BANG Nicole: If I know my opponent ahead of time I will watch their film and study their move-set so that I am familiar with their work. I will also work through any skill or techniques that I’d like to polish before the match in training that week and make sure I’m ‘ring ready’.
Angel Alamo: What are your future plans?
Roni BIG BANG Nicole: Watch and see 😉 But world domination is among them. 🙂
Angel Alamo: What does your motto mean “Life has shown no mercy. So Opponents receive no quarter.”
Roni BIG BANG Nicole: This was my old motto when I was doing the ‘She Hulk’ of the South gimmick. I was referring to the fact that life shows no one, any mercy. You deal with trials and tribulations and yet the world keeps spinning. No-one is immune to the tough lessons that life hands out and therefore, my opponents should expect any mercy from me inside the ring.
Snapchat: Roni Nicole R
On a rare nice Saturday afternoon, I got the chance to meet and talk to Bob Dee with Petro in Jersey City NJ. Not far away from New York City where Bob had been working hard on his new album. It was a rare opportunity to have an in-depth conversation about music, his new album, and what it’s like touring around the world. An experience that many of us would see as a dream job. This year is expected to be a busy year with the release of the new album and a world tour to follow.
Angel Alamo: Where did you grow up?
Bob Dee: Hi Angel, thank you for taking the time to interview me.
I grew up in Utica, NY then moved to Ithaca/Cortland, NY to play with a band called “Tokyo”. I was blessed to have been schooled by some of the legends of rock. The late Gary Driscoll (Rainbow, Elf) he called me cool breeze showed me the ropes of touring along with Craig Gruber RIP (Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Gary Moore) Duck MacDonald (Blue Cheer),Joey DeMaio (Manowar) and Dawk (RIP) he made my guitars and hot rodded my amps.. he was the guy who hotrodded all of Richie Blackmore’s amps and guitars I even bought two of Richie’s Marshall bottoms… I learned everything from them about touring and songwriting… I then moved to New York City and within a short time.
I signed a six figure publishing deal with Famous/Paramount and a six figure record deal with RCA records.
AA: What musicians influenced you growing up?
BD: I was into the rock bands like Kiss, Deep Purple and Mott, The Hoople, and of course Jimmy Page. My favorite guitar player is Gary Moore. I even won the Guitar World Gary Moore contest a few years ago. I have always been a Gibson Les Paul guitar through a Marshall amp player, after seeing them play. I just saw Ace Frehley play in New York City. I was like a schoolboy so excited. I have a large giant “Kiss” poster up in my apt from when they played ‘Madison Square Garden” here in NYC
AA: What are your favorite albums?
BD: As for older albums I have been listening to “Mott The Hoople” and the early “Queen” album called Sheer Heart Attack as for new albums I have been into this band called “HIM” from Finland I have all their albums and saw them recently on their final tour sadly they broke up.
AA: How is recording the new album coming along?
BD: It’s been a journey so far. We had so much success with the last album with “Socially Awkward” as the single … I knew I had to come up with a new anthem for the world… we demoed I think 22 songs all though the holidays it was gut wrenching but on the final weekend of recording I wrote the single. The album is out now
AA: Any new details about the new album?
BD: Well Angel you have the scoop. The title of the new album is called “Killstar”
Yes the album is being mastered by Alex Saltz he just mastered the new Stryper album there will be 11 songs with the new single called “Fight”.
AA: How is making this record different from previous album?
BD: The last album, I wrote most of the songs in a room in Queens. I stayed in that room and just kept demoing songs. The songs just flew out of me so easy this album we demoed something like 22 songs … all through the holidays freezing cold and snow and finally on the last weekend of recording. I came up with the single “Fight” an anthem for the working class man so stoked the song rocks!!
AA: Is it best writing songs at home or on the road?
BD: I love writing on the road something about the tour bus the motion I always carry my iPhone and Evernote app to write and sing all my ideas into it. I have a Pro-tools set-up at home but I always go to Brian Bauers studio in Union, New Jersey to record… Brian has been with me since the beginning my first album “Bullets & Bandaids” we then go to Flux studios in New York City so Scott Campbell (drums) can record his drum tracks
AA: What musician would you like to go out on tour with?
BD: We toured the UK last summer and we were support for “Chris Holmes” former ‘Wasp” guitarist wow we had a blast he really loved us because I was from New York City so he let my guitar player Ade Fisher use part of his amp set-up
AA: How did you get signed?
BD: This is a cool story. I was married living on the Upper Westside NY. in a one bedroom doorman building overlooking the city. a beautiful life, one day two years ago she broke up with me and told me she wanted a divorce. while we were going to Santorini Greece for our vacation. She told me I was a loser and said I would never get another record contract, so we got a divorce and I moved out devastated to Queens, NY with 4 boxes and 11 guitars and two Marshall amps. All I had was a room. I was so broken but I channeled all my pain and I wrote all the singles in one week Socially Awkward etc. I sent the songs over to Mark Berry and he signed me on the single to AMG/Universal records. We then went on to release the full album through AMG/SONY records and signed multiple licensing deals and toured the UK.
AA: How are audiences different in other parts of the world than in America?
BD: I think the highlight for me …when we played in Japan wow talk about love the fans are pretty amazing. I had one fan make me a comic book with my image that I still sell on my website. I also loved our show this past summer when we played in London we got bumped to 1am in the morning so we went out and walked around Soho and just kept drinking and eating when we got back to the club the place was packed the band Ade Fisher, Norm Appleby and Paul AT Kinson were on fire the crowd was rushing the stage and they were just pumped up!!! loved every minute of it.
I can say as for the US.. we played SXSW in Austin Texas and the crowds were amazing .. I had an awesome show in Rochester NY recently ….wow love Rochester they know how to rock!!!
AA: What do you make of the Gene Simmons’s statement that rock is dead?
BD: I heard he said that … hmm we have been lucky I have sold more CD’s and Merch in the last two years than my whole career and the fans and the shows have been amazing around the world.. I don’t believe it!! Gene will be Gene.. I am an Ace fan!!
AA: What is the toughest cover song to play and why?
BD: Its funny you should ask that question. We just recorded a cover of the ‘Rolling Stones” classic “Wild Horses’ it was not as easy as I thought. I didn’t want to record it the traditional way with acoustic guitar real pretty so I got in the studio with My Gibson Les Paul guitar and my Voodoo Amps and just cranked out power chords and I had Scott Campbell drums just record a groove… I just sang over the top of it almost ethereal sounding vocals we then had a cello player come in and play a counter rhythm It sounds huge so far.. I hope our fans will enjoy it!!
AA: How is it determined how much time do you play?
BD: It is always up to the promoter. I will give you an example. When we played in London we got bumped up to 1 in the afternoon we were all pissed off. The place was packed. This is not bad for a guy from New York but the crowd was rushing the stage anit was a heatwave and we played an hour.
AA: Which do you prefer to play festivals or just playing on your own?
BD: I like festivals it is amazing you get put in with these bands I love it. It’s so many people to play for.
AA: What was some of the best band you opened up for?
BD: We did support for Chris Holmes he took us backstage he was nice he took pictures that was the highlight he was super nice. I have different bands I have a band here in the US I have one in the UK and one in Japan.
AA: What are Japan audiences like?
BD: Japanese fans don’t go as crazy but they are very respectful everything is done to a tee.
I still remember flying to Maui and then Japan I believe I went from New York to LAX then to Maui and we did Tokyo and Osaka coming back and they would not let me with my guitar. I had to basically sit down while they went through the stuff that I bought. They finally checked my guitar I almost got arrested going through the airport but I did it with no problems.
AA: How is Domino’s Pizza?
BD: Domino’s is a little different McDonald’s they have more fish sandwich and someone that’s all they do it over there.
We are working on a Japanese store with the promoter over in Japan. I want to go everywhere.
AA: How is traveling on the road?
BD: You travel in a van for 5 hours you get fatigued never eat good food. In Germany they’re really big on beer I remember going to the airport and Frank port and the employees are wanted me to sign autographs and it was a big deal.
AA: How was the video shoot for the song black forest?
BD: Call time was call time was 530am. It was A2 hour train ride on the way back from 10 to midnight and then fly back. It was 2 hours of plan looking good and lip-syncing you’re still thinking you’ll get that in your veins.
AA: What will be the first single?
BD: Fight song we are shooting the video in Orlando
For more information on Bob Dee with Petro and to buy his new album go to
Foreigner is not slowing down now or thinking about retirement. The band is embarking on another tour this year around the world and doing another 100 shows. The band is also putting out Foreigner with the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus their latest live release on April 27, 2018. I had the chance to catch up with Foreigner’s rhythm guitarist Tom Gimbel to talk about the latest live release upcoming summer tour with Whitesnake, and the band’s future plans.
Angel Alamo: The band is putting out Foreigner with The 21st Century Orchestra & Chorus on April 27, 2018 and doing some tour dates behind the live album. How did the project to work with an orchestra come about?
Tom Gimbel: It’s a long process. We started off doing acoustic shows, and that went so well that (guitarist) Mick Jones our leader decided how can we take this to the next level? Let’s take it one more step, and you might know that we have had choirs on stage with us.
So, yeah, now we’ve got a bigger choir and a full orchestra. So, when you put all three of those elements together, it’s a special sort of hybrid sound, and it’s like massive. It’s like gothic. You know? It’s like something you would see in a movie… It sounds so good, Angel.
We are really the music lends itself really well to the orchestral kind of arrangements and the choir and everything goes together. It makes for a really interesting night. Of course, you got the rock band right there at the center. And, that holds it all together. We’ll do some regular rock stuff, and we’ll do some stuff with the choir and the orchestra. Maybe a couple of acoustic numbers, it’s like a three-part plan.
AA: So, that’s what you guys are going to be doing with the tour? With the orchestra?
TG: Certain dates I think we’re going to do that. I’m just not sure which ones, but yeah, we’ll be mixing those dates in throughout the summer. It’s great.
AA: As a musician, how challenging is it to work with an orchestra?
TG: It’s not a huge challenge because we are all on the same page, and the musicians share that common love of the art of music. So, we’re all naturally just kind of connected. The only thing that’s a little different is following the conductor when you have an orchestra, there’s a conductor there. And, typically, we follow the drummer. You know, in a rock band, but when you’re going with the orchestra, you got to sort of keep an eye on the conductor. He’s setting the tempos, and the drummer getting that from him. So, I don’t know if you’ve seen any of them. He’s got like one eye on the conductor and two ears on the drummer. That gives us three points of reference so I got three chances of being in the right spot.
AA: You guys are going out on tour with Whitesnake. What can fans expect from this upcoming summer tour?
TG: Yeah, we’ll have Jason Bonham and his Led Zeppelin experience. He’s part of our family. He was actually in foreigner for a few years in the early 2000’s so he’s really a buddy his Led Zeppelin show is the best in the business besides Led Zeppelin. So, he’ll be there, and then, Whitesnake comes on. They’re just phenomenal in terms of playing and the songs have a lot … Ton of fun.
And, Foreigner, we’re going to do our high energy show. Kelly Hansen, our singer runs around, dances in the audience. He’ll do shots. He’ll kiss girls. He’ll do anything. Very unpredictable. Very unpredictable. we are going to play all the songs that people want to hear at a Foreigner show. That’s pretty much what you can expect. It’s going to be a triple bill and real real good rock and roll values. Loud guitars.
AA: What was it like playing with Lou Graham last year?
TG: It’s great to see Lou again. I was lucky enough to work with Mick and Lou in the early 90’s, and so I got a chance to know Lou Graham over those ten years. The first ten years I was working with Foreigner was with Lou Graham. And these, last ten years, has been with Kelly Hansen. So, some of the most fun was to see Lou Graham and Kelly Hansen getting along so well because they are both phenomenal singing talents. It’s nice to see people at that level that can have so much in common and get along so well.
We were a little concerned. Yeah, are there going to be any weird feelings? I think they like each other. People get along, and it’s the whole thing. We’re kindred spirits because we are all bound together by the mutual love of music. Most people at this point in their lives, they love music with all their heart. That’s why you would dedicate your whole life to music. So, we’re all automatically on the same page. It works out really well, and it was just so much fun to see Lou back in action with us. Especially surrounded by Mick Jones and those guys all know each other from back in the heyday of the 70’s and 80’s. So, it’s a treat, and it always is. And, I look forward to seeing him again soon.
AA: Can fans expect a new studio album from Foreigner?
TG: That’s a great question. I’m not really sure. Mick Jones as a songwriter, he’s always working on something. So, we just kind of have to wait and see if it comes out, how it comes out. How it will find its way. And, it’s really just a matter of time. I think he’s always working on something, and there has been some talk about Mick and Lou getting out some old songs that they never finished and possibly finishing those up and releasing them. But, it’s too soon to tell.
And, Mick is really the only one that knows. So, we’ll wait and see. I’m not sure about the whole studio album, Angel. Nowadays, bands will put out two or three songs or maybe just one song for a movie. In the old days, you had to put out an album. Now, you can just release maybe a handful of songs. People are going to grab them off the internet one at a time anyway.
And, we don’t have all that pressure to do 13 songs on one album. It takes a long time to make 13 songs. So, maybe just who knows? Maybe just one, two or three might end up in an album or just released as singles. Never know, but we are certainly going to hope so. See what happens.
AA: What are your favorite songs to play live?
TG: I like all the Foreigner songs to play live. They work really well in a live setting. I think maybe that’s the way they were constructed. Mick always put a lot of thought into the way he crafted these songs so they lend themselves really well to a live setting. And, each song has something special that I love about it. So, aside from Virgin where I get to lose my mind on the saxophone, I would say they’re all favorites.
AA:What is the toughest part about being on the road?
TG: Early morning wake up call. That’s the only thing that bothers us. We love being on the road. We love every single part of it, but once in a while if the only flight that’s available is a morning flight and you got to set that alarm or have a wakeup call from the front desk and it goes off at seven and you didn’t go to sleep until six. Ouch. That hurts when you only sleep for an hour or two, and the alarm goes off. That’s the toughest part of being on the road from my point of view.
AA: Any bands out there that you would still like to play with?
TG: I’m not sure. We have done so many. Angel, we’ve played with Def Leppard and Journey and Styx and REO and Kid Rock. The list just goes on and on and on. Dewey Brothers, Peter Frampton You name it, we’ve played with them. So, I would say that that is something we feel very happy about. The opportunity to work and get to know some of those bands. Cheap Trick, what a treat it was to play with them. So, yeah, from a band standpoint, I’m not sure that there are any other acts that we’d love to tour with.
It really is different. Yeah, it really is different when you see something live. There’s an atmosphere. There’s a magic in the air. You just can’t duplicate. I thought for a while, if I get the biggest screen TV and the best surround system, it would be just like a concert. Not unless you can put ten thousand people in your house. That’s a big part of the atmosphere is all those people and the electricity in the air. There’s nothing that comes close, and the outdoor sound if it’s outdoors or even if it’s indoors. It’s that big PA and the stage and the excitement. It’s one of the best things that I have ever had the opportunity to be involved in.
AA: What are the band’s plans for after the summer tour?
TG: Usually, we do shows into the fall. A lot of shows are around the States I believe. I haven’t looked at the schedule, but I know we’re going to some wild places. Iceland. We’re going to Iceland for the first time. That’s one of the places I’ve never been.
We’ll go to South America. It really is a global act so I’m going to guess we’ll be using our passports quite a bit. And, so, that will probably happen after the summer. So, yeah, we are just going to keep traveling. We usually do that up until about Thanksgiving, and then we break for the holidays. Everybody gets to take some time with their families through Thanksgiving, December and Christmas and New Year’s. We take some time off to recharge our batteries, and then, we’ll be at it again. They’re already booking shows for 2019. There is no end in sight.
AA: What was the first instrument that you ever started playing.
TG: For me it was drums. I was one of those kids that was always banging on pots and pans. The dashboard of the car when you’re little and your parents drive you around. I was just playing drum solos on the dashboard of the car so they dropped me off at a drum school. Just crazy kid thinks he’s a drummer, and I had my first drum lesson. And the teacher said, “Hey, not bad for a six-year-old. It’s ridiculous.” So, I started lessons at a very young age. That’s been my life ever since.
AA: Wow, that’s a shocker. I thought you were going to say the saxophone.
TG: Yeah, I got into all the instruments after that which worked out well because rhythm and drums, it’s all sort of the root of music. You start with rhythm and you go from there so. After that, I got into the guitar and the keyboards and flute and the sax and the cousin of the flute. So, they were related and I just had a blast every time I picked up a new instrument I was like, “Ooo, I love this. I want to play it.” So, it just kept going. It was really cool.
AA: What advice would you give to any young musicians that are starting out?
TG: Yes, I think that people that are learning music need to listen to the stuff that they love. Usually, people get interested because they hear something that makes them motivated, and in my case, it was probably the Beatles or Creed Credence Clearwater even Motown. So, whatever that music is that you love, listen to it over and over and over. Let it get inside your soul, and then start singing along with it. Playing along with it. If you’re playing an instrument, try to play along with your favorite albums and favorite music if you can. And, you’ll get little bits and pieces like how does he do that? I’ll stop the record and think how does he do that? And, I’ll figure it out on my sax. Oh, that’s how that goes. So, I really think that a lot of the best musicians in the world learned to be proficient by playing along with records
And, that’s my advice for folks that want to be musicians. You got to listen a ton and then, try to play along with those same records. Even if it means dancing around in front of the mirror if you want to be a singer. Kids today are not shy about this. They dance around pretending they’re singing into a microphone. You can just … Sets you free. You just lose yourself. And, I always recommend that even it if it’s kind of embarrassing. Don’t be afraid, and kids really, they’re not that shy anymore. We used to be shy. Oh, I don’t sing. Remember guys that would stare at their shoes in church while everyone sings, and they kind of mumble along, nobody really wanted to sing.
But nowadays, kids aren’t shy about it. So, that’s the good news. So, I would just say embrace it. Listen to your favorite records as much as you can. Discover music that you like and listen. So much of music is listening. That’s how it gets inside your soul. It buries itself in there and then, when you want to plan in your own fashion that same material will find its way out.
AA: what is the best thing and the worst thing about social media for musician?
TG: Well, when I think of social media, I’m thinking in terms of people being able to say, “I discovered this music. Check it out.” Here’s what I’m listening to on Pandora or Spotify, whatever format they’re finding this stuff. They can share it. That’s the best part of social media being able to share music. In the old days, you had to have a record or a radio. There was no way to hear music if you didn’t have it. Nowadays, you can just click and hear the greatest stuff imaginable. So, to me, that’s the best part of this explosion.
I would say the worst part or one of the downsides is that people are connecting more with their machines and not people. In the old days, literally, my friends and I would get together and listen to music. We would get records, record players and put them on and listen to music together. Nowadays, it’s somebody with their headphones. They could be anywhere by themselves. And, so, I would like it more if people spent more time with other people.
Skyler Blu Jai was the first person I ever interviewed at Exxxotica. It was a nice treat when a year later I was able to talk to Skyler Blu Jai again for a new interview.
Angel Alamo: How did you start in the business?
Skyler Blu Jai: I came across BBW camhouse and I met with Platinum Pussy and I have been with them ever since.
Angel Alamo: Being in the adult industry does it make it more difficult to have a personal relationship?
Skyler Blu Jai: No, I came into this business with a strong relationship. We see eye to eye on things.
Angel Alamo: What do you like to do in your free time?
Skyler Blu Jai: I am a face time video gamer. I love XBox and comics.
Angel Alamo: What are the most annoying fan e-mails that you get?
Skyler Blu Jai: Penis pictures. The I love you and want to marry you, you don’t even know me, all you have seen is my pictures.
Angel Alamo: Are there any porn stars out there that you hope to work with?
Skyler Blu Jai: I would love to work with Cherokee D’ass
Angel Alamo: What is the toughest part about being in the industry?
Skyler Blu Jai: Balancing business and family.
Angel Alamo: What have you been up to lately?
Skyler Blu Jai: Snapchat, social media work which has been really good for promotion. I have been working with Pink Kandi. I am more aware of what I want to do. It’s fun getting to know people. I am going to be modeling for Madame
Angel Alamo: How is BBW Camhouse going?
Skyler Blu Jai: BBW camhouse is going great there are a few new girls at the house.
Angel Alamo: How long have you been in the industry for?
Candace Von: I have been in the industry for 10 years now.
Angel Alamo: What do you like to do in your free time?
Candace Von: I love to shop and travel. My favorite place to travel is London.
Angel Alamo: How did you start in the business?
Candace Von: I had a company that contacted me that they wanted me to do modeling. I accepted the chance to do it.
Angel Alamo: Is internet porn’s friend or enemy?
Candace Von: I would have to say both.
Angel Alamo: What is the toughest part about being in the industry?
Candace Von: Judgements, people doing a lot of judging.
Angel Alamo: What are your future plans for next year?
Candace Von: I plan on doing more branding and merchandising with hats and lingerie. It will be up at https://onlyfans.com/mscandacevon
Angel Alamo: What are the most annoying fan e-mails that you get?
Candace Von: Penis pictures.
Angel Alamo: How did you get started in the business?
Vick Nicole: The way I got started in the adult industry was me and my friend Rose We were having a game between each other. We had all the stuff on the list Sexual things that we wanted to try. We wrote out the list. We made a game of it, Whoever won was going to fly to the other state to see them. The thing on the list was getting paid for sex and I really wanted to do that. Once I tried it and I really liked it a lot. That’s how I continued with that.
The way that I got into the modeling industry is. I took some pictures and I had them on my website. Somebody from big black butt magazine saw me on that website and they asked if I would come to New York to do a photoshoot. I did a photoshoot for them, And then once I got in the cover of their magazine another company called me and they asked me if I would come and work for them and do some videos and magazines and that is how I got started with that.
AA: Being in the adult industry does it make it more difficult to have a personal relationship?
VN: It doesn’t make it difficult. I do have a boyfriend And he doesn’t like that I am in the industry. I left the industry for about 5 years to be with him. Then I need it to be a little bit more money so I got back in the industry About a month ago it can be a little bit difficult because he doesn’t like it. He is not excited about me traveling around, He is not excited about me being with other men. He is not excited about any of that.
AA: What do you like to do in your free time?
VN: In my free time I like to do karaoke, There is a website called meetup.com. I go to a lot of those events in Phoenix. They have all kinds of events art fairs, Museums, everything. I do stuff like that. I watch a lot of TV to be honest with you.
AA: What are the most annoying fan e-mails that you get?
VN: Lately I have been getting a lot of Sandy emails asking me if I would fart in their face. I have never done that before. My friend was trying to give me some advice on what I can do to make you go well. Especially in New York.
AA: What is the toughest part about being in the industry?
VN: The toughest part is trying to get new clients. In the industry that I am because I do escorting. You have to worry about legal issues a little bit. I would like to get back into doing movies. I have written to a few people but they told me is not as easy to get back into it. That is a hard thing to trying to get back into the industry.
AA: When it comes to photo shoot is having a great photographer important?
VN: It is very important. It is very important to have a good photographer that knows what they’re doing. I have worked with professional photographers and I have worked with amateur photographers. First of all lighting is very important You need a photographer that knows how to use lighting properly so that you can look good in the pictures and then photographers That know how to get into different angles, That know how to shoot you from different angles. I have had photographers try to come on to me and I don’t like that that’s not good I just like to stay professional.
AA: Do you have any photographers you enjoy working with?
VN: I had a really good photographer in Phoenix that was really good, He did most of my photography that I use on my website now. I don’t remember his name. It was really good he was the best photographer that I ever had. We got into a little bit of a thing over time management. It was kind of my fault.
AA: Will you continue with writing with your blog?
VN: My Live Journal one I have it locked now. The one fat fit girl I did for my weight loss efforts I haven’t updated that one in a while Because I had not been trying to lose weight. I had gallbladder surgery 3 weeks ago. My doctor told me that I needed to lose weight. I will probably be updating that one again. I make my livejournal on private because somebody had threatened my boyfriend. People can still read it if they join live journal.
AA: What are your future plans?
VN: I have personal plans. I don’t really have a lot of plans Ford industry. My personal plans is just to get surgery. I am trying to get gastric surgery. I’m hoping if I can get that surgery done that I can lose weight. I’m hoping I can do more mainstream adult modeling once.The big magazines they don’t pay you as much. It’s not as profitable.
Angel Alamo: How long have you been in the industry for?
Mulan Blossom: Over nine years now.
Angel Alamo: What do you like to do in your free time?
Mulan Blossom: I like to do make-up and masterbate.
Angel Alamo: How did you start in the business?
Mulan Blossom: I have been a nudist for a while. When I saw how kinky it got, I knew I wanted to do things and do fetish model work.
Angel Alamo: Being in the adult industry does it make it more difficult to have a personal relationship?
Mulan Blossom: Yes! Yes!
Angel Alamo: What is the toughest part about being in the industry?
Mulan Blossom: Photographers that won’t get you somewhere.
Angel Alamo: What are your future plans?
Mulan Blossom: To make a brand out of myself. I want to be the best and most unique girl in the industry.
Angel Alamo: What are the most annoying fan e-mails that you get?
Mulan Blossom: Guys asking can I take you out. They e-mail me their fantasies. They don’t know that it is a business when the dating aspect sets confusion.
Interview with Raquel Love
Angel Alamo: How long have you been in the industry for?
Raquel Love: I have been in the industry for three years now.
Angel Alamo: What do you like to do in your free time?
Raquel Love: I like to play video games and read books
Angel Alamo: How did you start in the business?
Raquel Love: My boyfriend, he got me into the business.
Angel Alamo: Is the internet porn’s friend or enemy?
Raquel Love: That is a tough question, I would say both.
Angel Alamo: What is the toughest part about being in the industry?
Raquel Love: Being a webcam model. My income is greatly dependent on other people.
Angel Alamo: What are your future plans for next year?
Raquel Love: I plan to build my own website soon.
Angel Alamo: What are the most annoying fan e-mails that you get?
Raquel Love: When they send videos or pictures of their penis saying hi.
For more information on Raquel Love
Live shows: raquellive.com
Clip store: loveraquelxo.com
For inquiries: email@example.com
Cherokee D’ass is one of the most popular and sought after adult stars in the industry. She started her career in 1999. She is one of the stars who is popular and always keeping busy. She was nice enough to do a five question with me.
Angel Alamo:What do you like to do in your free time?
Cherokee D’ass: I like to be with my family. I also like to eat, shop, and read.
Angel Alamo: Do you think the internet has hurt or helped the adult industry?
Cherokee D’ass: I think a little bit of both
Angel Alamo:What is the toughest part about being in the industry?
Cherokee D’ass:The toughest part about being in the industry has to be staying focused. A lot of people lose focus in this business. They get caught up with drugs. Stay focused and you can do what you want.
Angel Alamo: What are your future plans for next year?
Cherokee D’ass:I am going to do a transexual website. I plan to make my brand global and make more money.
Angel Alamo: What cities do you like to visit?
Cherokee D’ass: I love to visit Manhanttan, Chicago, Philadelphia, Birmingham, Detroit, and Baltimore.
For more information on Cherokee D’ass you can check out her official website http://www.cherokeedass.com
Angel Alamo: How long have you been in the industry for?
Lucky Starr: I have been in the industry for eight years now.
Angel Alamo: What do you like to do in your free time?
Lucky Starr: I love to sing karaoke, shop, and go dancing
Angel Alamo: How did you start in the business?
Lucky Starr: I lost my job and I was desperate.
Angel Alamo: Is the internet porn’s friend or enemy?
Lucky Starr: It started out as friend but then later became enemy.
Angel Alamo: What is the toughest part about being in the industry?
Lucky Starr: Trying to stay afloat.
Angel Alamo: What are your future plans for next year?
Lucky Starr: I shoot all of the time, when it comes it comes.
Angel Alamo: What are the most annoying fan e-mails that you get?
Lucky Starr: Could you send me a picture for review.
For more information: @clubluckystarr
Angel Alamo: How long have you been in the industry for?
Loni Legend: I have been in the industry for three years.
Angel Alamo: What do you like to do in your free time?
Loni Legend: I love going to movies and concerts
Angel Alamo: How did you start in the business?
Loni Legend: A friend of mine who is in the industry, he was able to set up a meeting for me to meet with the director.
Angel Alamo: Is the internet porn’s enemy or friend?
Loni Legend: Both mostly enemy
Angel Alamo: What is the toughest part about being in the industry?
Loni Legend: Not making as much money as we used to. It is more difficult now to make money.
Angel Alamo: What are your future plans for next year?
Loni Legend: I am building my website, the website should be up by the end of January it’s http://www.lonilegend.net People can go to the website and subscribe now.
Angel Alamo: What are the most annoying fan e-mails that you get?
Loni Legend: The mean comments about not liking my nails.
For more information: Twitter @LilLoniLegend
I remember New Years Eve 2010 December 31, 2010. I was chairman of the Camden Parking Authority. I had come down to the waterfront to see how the employees were doing and to thank them for coming into work on New Year’s Eve. I know how difficult it is for them to come into work on New Year’s Eve when they would rather be with family. I had of course told my girlfriend at the time that we would not be spending new years eve together. I would be down at the Camden waterfront. What I remember the most was the countdown and when the fireworks were going off I was thinking we officially don’t have an executive director and the union contract expired. In that moment I never had a negative thought. What I was thinking was just the reality of the situation. It was a positive atmosphere seeing families and friends all of them celebrating. I didn’t have any friends or anybody around me I just had this beautiful moment to myself.
I was up for the challenge I welcome the challenge because it is easy to be a leader when times are easy. Every leader wants some kind of challenge that lets them know that they are great leader they are up for any challenge. For me 2011 was going to be a great challenge that would define my leadership as chairman of the Camden Parking Authority. I enjoyed the fireworks I thanked the employees for their hard work and dedication during the year.
The thing about leadership is you are there to make tough decisions if you have a challenge ahead of you and you have negative thoughts you have already defeated yourself you might as well step aside and let somebody else do it. My approach was this is going to be a great challenge I’m going to get through it and always make sure that you have a great team behind you. In my case I had a great vice chairman who was being very supportive and was with me. To this day he is one of the best and loyal people I have ever worked with. We became best friends. We both had the same attitude that we have a challenge we are going to get through it and I needed his leadership two get through it and it’s good when you have people around you that have that same passion that same attitude. We had differences of opinions on some things but that is the magic that makes it work.
I had a great board that was with me and those things are very important. When you are a part of something you need to be surrounded by great people. I was blessed to have a great team. If I had an attitude of oh my God what am I going to do we don’t have an executive director to the Union contract just expired. It helped that we had a positive attitude because of the events that happened during the year. We had a hurricane that hit the Jersey Shore and we had an earthquake. Having a positive attitude helped because what happened was we still had a successful year and eventually we ended up getting a great executive director we got a Union contract done in record time it was done quickly it was done very professional one of the things that I am very proud of. You can’t control mother nature but when we had the hurricane we were good neighbors and we let the residence at the Camden Waterfront park in our garage for free because we know how it is with flooding so we wanted to be good neighbors and we did that. When we had the earthquake we work to make sure that the parking garage was safe for our visitors and for our employees. it would be easy at that point to just look up to the sky and say my God can anything else go wrong. I looked at it as a challenge and to be honest I welcomed it I wanted it. I mean who wants to be a leader during easy times you always want to be a leader during tough times that’s what defines leadership other than that people will question your leadership and I’m happy that I made it easier for the next chairman.
The last 20 years have been hard for Van Halen fans the band has only done two studio albums and five music tours. it’s hard to pinpoint what goes on behind the scenes with Van Halen and how they work. The band is approaching 40 years since they released their first studio album so it’s hard to predict what the future will be for Van Halen what the next thing is for the band.
We know that the band has it in them to put out more records if they decide to and when they tour everybody is going to go see them. Sammy Hagar said he would be willing to do a tour with them with David Lee Roth that would be an awesome thing to see.
At this point in life we are all over who’s better David or Sammy I think at this point we can appreciate Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth and what they have contributed to Van Halen.
What I appreciate and respect about Van Halen when it came time to replace David Lee Roth they did not go out and try to get somebody who will be a copycat they went out and got somebody that was completely different.
David Lee Roth he’s the frontman he’s the one that throws the party at a Van Halen concert. He is known more of an Entertainer than a singer or songwriter. Sammy Hagar is more of a singer-songwriter and maybe that is what helped continue Van Halen was that they showed that they are musicians, it’s not taking anything away from David or Sammy but just showing just how different these two individuals are and how they still continue to make Van Halen a great band. The saddest thing about Van Halen that’s how they’re not able to get along again we don’t know what happens behind the scenes we don’t know if Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth hang out or what they do behind the scenes when they are off tour but it would be a good thing for Van Halen to do something next year a studio album or a tour because again we never know what’s going to happen in life illness or death in the band so while all these guys are healthy living it would be good to see them tour.
What is cool about Van Halen they’re still a great live band even to this day I think I’m not speaking for myself but I think the fans in general would love to see a tour with either David lee Roth, Michael Anthony Eddie and Alex Van Halen or see a tour with both lead singers. I do wish that Eddie Van Halen or just simply say let’s do something special for the fans let me reach out to Sammy and David and see if this tour can happen. They’re not 20 anymore they’re not 30 I’m pretty sure that whatever issues they had they can try to bury the hatchet. We know that a lot of the classic rock bands now they don’t travel together they have their own tour buses for example Motley Crue they traveled on four different buses and would work for Van Halen.
As much as I would love to see something happen to next year I really don’t think it is going to happen. I think that there will be another Van Halen tour but we just don’t know when and we don’t know how the tour will be. I think that is why people really go out and see them when they tore because they don’t know if this is going to be the last tour.
Gene Simmons gets a lot of flak for some of the things that he said but one of the things that he said that makes sense it’s the fact that there is no music business because consumers feel they are entitled to download music for free.
Today with the passing of Tom Petty it feels like the Music Died. The first time I ever heard of Tom Petty song was in 1989 when Free Falling came on MTV I thought at first that he was a solo singer putting out his first solo album little did I know who Tom Petty really was and the music that he had made before the full moon fever album.
The music world has had some time to process the fact that this year we sadly lost Chris Cornell. First and foremost he was a father, husband, son, brother and friend. While they had the opportunity to get to know Chris on a personal level we the fans simply got to know Chris Cornell through interviews through the music that he left us with to enjoy.
Guns and Roses is the last dangerous rock band that has existed in 30 years to really has been no other band like them.
Tina Jetter has been a busy actress lately having done musicals, she is also busy doing films. Tina will be playing Laura Thomas in the TV series Platinum Dreams which is scheduled to start shooting February, 2018. I had a chance to catch up with Tina Jetter to talk about Platinum Dreams and her acting career.
Angel Alamo: How has acting changed for you over the years?
Tina Jetter: Being able to have the experiences I have with so many different actors, actresses and directors has taught me a lot about acting and it has definitely made me change the way I act in certain situations and I just love the fact that I just keep on growing and expanding what I learn.
I got a chance to interview a great band from Philadelphia, PA. They are my favorite band from the area. They are a fun group of guys who know how to rock. They have written hundreds of great songs, they play sell out shows, they give you your money’s worth when you come to the show. They don’t charge extra to meet the fans.
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER are © – DON MCAVOY (LEAD VOCAL, GUITAR, KEYBOARD, MANDOLIN, UKE, BANJO, SAX, HARMONICA, ETC), MARC AROT (BASS AND VOCALS), SAMMY PARKER (LEAD GUITAR AND VOCALS),
Angel Alamo: Tell me about the band what kind of music do you play?
The Great Whatever: “ACCESSIBLE” original music for all ages and music tastes. Rated “E” for everyone! Positive, energetic and upbeat.. Fun first. No agendas or causes or political messages.
AA: Are you working on any new music?
TGW: ALWAYS! We have a tough time making our set lists, sometimes! When adding a new song, we end up cutting an older song we really like. It’s a tough decision, sometimes, but a great problem to have! Also in the works, is a musical / rock opera centered around our original songs!
AA: In this download era are people still buying records?
TGW: Our fan base tends to be an older demographic and still buys CD’s. (Our CD went all the way up to ALUMINUM!) Our fan base still wants to touch and feel and to have something tangible to hold for their dollar. They want to read the LINER NOTES and LYRICS and we spent a lot of time getting them together on our latest CD (“There’s Time Between The Bridge and The Water”) The younger crowds seem to be wanting vinyl now which is an interesting trend, although vinyl is very expensive on the musician’s end to produce, though. With all that said, the overarching trend seems to be internet released singles via streaming mp3 or You Tube videos, which will probably be the path we follow for a while since it takes a very long time to record, edit, master, produce, finance and print your own full length CD.
AA: If you could open up for any artist who would it be?
TGW: Well we entered the “Open For Bon Jovi” contest at the Wells Fargo Center earlier this year, but did not get selected. That would have been fun! To answer the question, ANYONE who would want us to!!
AA: If a promoter wants to book you for a show how do they go about it?
TGW: Typically, via our web site, e-mail or Facebook page (all of our digital links are below), HOWEVER, that’s not the way it works anymore. They don’t come to you and seek you out. You have to find them and show them you have a following and gigs and a web presence that you developed all on your own. You have to self-promote and self- book and self-create your own buzz first to even get a glimmer of attention from promoters and the bookers. YOU have to constantly chase THEM.
AA: Toughest part about playing live?
TGW: Technical / sound glitches since you have very little time to set up and sound check before you play. You can’t work all the bugs out first like you’d want to, so it ends up making for some unplanned surprises sometimes! Also, if you are playing more than one set –holding the crowd into the second set can be a challenge (we prefer playing one set whenever we can). Also, sometimes you are just there as background noise especially if you are in a bar or place that serves food. We like to play music-centric venue like the World Café Live (we are performing there Saturday July 29thwith our friends Germany Hill!)
AA: Do you play covers, if you do which songs do your audience seem to prefer?
TGW: We like to refer to our original songs as FUTURE COVER MUSIC! We have SO MANY original songs right now, we don’t have much time for covers. Besides MOST bands play covers anyway. We try to be different. However, once in a rare occasion we have played a cover. Usually a fun, spur of the moment thing. In the past, we’ve done “Gold” by Jon Stewart and “Get In On (Bang A Gong)” by T Rex.
AA: How does the band make a setlist for a show?
TGW: Typically a band vote. We start with our tightest and more popular songs (15 or so) and add and subtract from there. We will only bring a new song to the once we are tight with it and know it up and down. We always mix up the order whenever we can and gear the songs to the venue where we can (rock songs at a bar gig or more acoustic songs at a coffee house for example).
AA: What song is most popular with the band?
TGW: We each have our own personal favorite and each member always lobbies for our individual favorite to get added. Don’s favorite is ALWAYS the newest song he wrote! Right now we all love playing “The Spell” (a song we brought back from our first CD “Sometime The Characters…” from 21 years ago!)
AA: What can fans expect from the band this year?
TGW: A few more shows (World Café Live on Sat 07/29 and an outdoor show at Shamrock Park in Bel Air, MD on Sun Aug 6th which will be broadcast on the local cable TV station!), a benefit / private show or two. From there we are going to work on some newer songs and record them. We also are looking to make another video and develop our musical / rock opera a bit more.
AA: You guys are all in your 40’s and 50’s and have been doing this for over 25 years. Why do you guys still do it??
TGW: Because we can’t imagine us NOT!
Some press like to work BS stories. Happy to report I am not one of them. I am a Motley Crue fan. Dr. Feelgood was the first record I ever bought. I saw them on tour with POISON. I had the pleasure of interview former singer John Corabi. When a BS story came out I knew it wasn’t true. Nikki Sixx has always been the main songwriter for the band. You have to believe the guy when he says no more records. In the last few years Motley Crue has done away with making records and chose to release a new song instead. As a fan I would not want Motley Crue getting back together. The band went out on top what more is there for them to prove. What made the last tour easier for the band was that it was the last tour who knows what goes on behind the scenes with Motley Crue getting along etc and who cares when they hit the stage they are the baddest band in the world.
I wish press would stop writing bad stories not good for the fans who wanted to see a album/tour happen and picking up BS stories. Let’s enjoy the memories, the music that made us love Motley Crue. Since we are talking about the band my memories of the band is seeing DR. Feelgood video on MTV and thinking it was the first record then as MTV played other videos from girls, girls, girls, theatre of pain, and shout at the devil. I discovered the other music and other records that they have made. Dr. Feelgood was my first record listened to it played drums along to it. My parents hated the band but I felt that made me cooler than my brothers. Tommy Lee was simply a drummer who wanted to make his mark and stand out playing the drums upside down no other drummer has done it or won’t do it. We can appreciate Mick Mars for how the bad ass that he is. He is the one member of the band who solidified them as the baddest band. Nikki Sixx one of the best songwriters in music. He should be in the songwriters hall of fame. Vince Neil will always be voice of motley crue and one of the best entertainers. Of course late Randy Castillo who kept the beat going when Tommy Lee quit. John Corabi give Motley Crue credit for what they did in 1994. They gave grunge the middle finger and made a GREAT record. It is ok to say MOTLEY CRUE 1994 record is a great record. I like both Vince Neil and John Corabi and happy they both have shared the stage together. They are both great in their own way.
Thank you for the memories.
Britny Fox are one of the bands to come out of the South Jersey/Philadelphia scene along with John Corabi and Cinderella. The band released their debut album in 1988 that went gold and went on a massive tour. The band reformed again recently. I had a chance to talk to Billy Childs about the band’s early days and the latest on Britny Fox
Angel Alamo: How is the new album coming along?
Billy Childs: Sadly, it’s not.
AA: Any details you can give that to the release date title of the album songs etc.
BC: We got offers to do an album but had to turn them down. There just wasn’t enough money there to make doing it feasible, so unless it was a labor of love doing it didn’t make sense. If we were going all in on britnyit would have made sense to do it, but the whole project was really very splintered from the start. Seemed like everyone had a different agenda for what they wanted to accomplish, and that created a lot of problems, so that’s off the table for now. I think we could have been successful, but it would have required a greater commitment in general, and we didn’t all have that.
AA: How was it like playing at the galaxy in Somerdale, NJ with John Corabi and Cinderella?(The galaxy in Somerdale, NJ is now an aquarium store).
BC: It was a gay club for awhile too, right? And a couple other things also?
AA: Yes it later became a gay club then an aquarium store.
BC: That club was a blast, I have a lot of good memories from that place. That was the first club in the area that started the original rock scene in Philly/south Jersey, so it drew everybody. All the bands recorded there, some, like us, practiced and stored our gear there, we all hung out there, just really a great vibe in those days. Philly was always a huge cover band region, but the Galaxy’s owner Bill Hauge thought they were way overpriced (they were), and thought he could do just as well, or better, with original bands that would just be happy to have a reputable venue to call home. It actually worked and started a whole scene, with bands getting deals,clubs being packed as they started to imitate the success Bill had, and just ushered in the ’80’s rock era. Bill should be better known, he was Philly’s Gazzarri, nobody gets out of Philly without him doing what he did. Put it this way: the guy sued Britny and I was glad he won. We both knew it was management shit that I didn’t know anything about, and we still got along during and after. Crazy, good guy. RIP, Bill, and thanks for all you did.
AA: With a lot of bands being discovered and signed in LA did the band ever talked about or considered moving to LA to get discovered and signed?
BC: No, we never thought about it, Saw others do it and have no luck, in Philly bands were getting deals so why move? Didn’t make sense to us, and we were east coast guys anyway, none of us had that desire to move to L.A. Once we started we were always on the road somewhere anyway.
AA: Does the band have unreleased material from previous albums?
BC: Not much. We never wrote 40 songs and picked 10, like some do, so there was never much left over. We just went with the best 10 we had and worked on those. There were a couple tho, and they ended up on soundtracks and video games. But there was a lot of stuff from BDH that came out, most of it not good at all. I never did figure out who put that out or who got the money, and I never liked when bands did that. If the songs were good enough to be on an album, they would be. There’s a reason why some things never get past demo stage, ya know?
AA: What band treated you the best on the road?
BC: Ah, they were all good to different degrees. We got lucky in that aspect.
AA: What band treated you the worst on the road?
BC: We treated ourselves far worse than anybody else could, believe me. Never a shortage of issues with that band.
AA: Changing vocalist back then there was always considered the death of a band was the band concerned after the split from your vocalist about if the band would be able to continue?
BC: Without a doubt. We were on top then bam, Diz rolls. That sucked, as you can well imagine. I always knew that we were much more of a group effort than we were made out to be tho, so I thought we could pull it off. That wasn’t what killed us as it turns out, that would be the genre change. BDH was pretty good, couple years earlier we probably do very well with that. Lotta good tunes on that album.
AA: Why has the band worked with a different producer on each record that you have recorded?
BC: Really a matter of who’s available in a specific time frame. Who’s available that’s good for the band. For a band at our level that’s how it worked. First album, Jon Janson just ended up with us. We were new and he was available, worked out great. Jon knew to just record us and not fuck with things too much. Very cool guy to hang with for a few months also, that’s pretty important too. Second album was Neil Kernon, an odd choice, but in the end I thought we did a really good sounding album with him. He brought out the best in Michael, I think his playing is great on that one. We did have to back Neil off some from going too far with our sound, tho. We were pretty heavy for him, and he initially wanted to pretty us up a good deal, three part harmonies, chick singers, lighten us up over all, etc. It just wasn’t working, so once we got on the same page it was good. I like that album a lot. Third album was John Purdell and Duane Barron, who had just finished “No More Tears”. Those guys were perfect for BDH album, really cool guys professionally and personally, and we got along great. We also did a tune with Howard Benson around that time, and he was another good producer who went on to have an amazing career. As good as John and Duane were, I think Howard would have done a great job also. We worked with others as well, but those are the guys we liked. Our other albums were self produced, and I’m happy with those also. Maybe I’m just easy to please, but I think we got lucky with who we worked with, and also secure enough to not let any of them change us very much. Bands can fall into a trap of letting producers have too much power and as a result they sometimes lose their identity. We were always careful to avoid that.
AA: What is it about playing Japan that seems to be one of the best places for rock acts to perform?
BC: I don’t know exactly. We didn’t seem to do very well there, I thought, not with all the hype. We played Tokyo Dome with Bon Jovi on new years eve, first time Japan had ever done that, broke tradition, huge press, etc, played that one show, turned around and came home. I’ll never understand that business strategy. Seemed like doing the whole country would have been the way to go, as that’s what the other bands did. As usual withBritny tho, we left money on the table and probably fucked up what would have been a good market for us. Our organization made some pretty strange calls, in retrospect.
AA: Will the band be doing any touring this year?
BC: Don’t think so. May be doing something but too soon to know.
Jim Johnson grew up in Montclair, NJ. According to his website jimjohnson4governor.com Jim served as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, successfully prosecuting violent drug dealers, white-collar tax evasion, and organized crime – including members of the Genovese crime family and drug dealers who tried to assassinate an undercover detective. This year Jim Johnson is a Gubernatorial candidate seeking the democratic nomination for Governor in the June 6, 2017 primary. For more information on Jim Johnson or to volunteer for his campaign go to https://www.facebook.com/JimJohnson4NJGov/ and http://jimjohnson4governor.com
Angel Alamo: What made you decide to run for New Jersey Governor?
Jim Johnson: Last year, I took a civil rights tour of the South with my oldest daughter. The trip was a turning point in my decision to run for Governor. All along the tour, we learned about the people who didn’t have much but decided they were going to make their society better – both economically and politically. For me the question became: what is my contribution to this country, and to New Jersey, going to be?
New Jersey’s economy is off track and our political system is broken. We have one of highest foreclosure rates in the country and are in the midst of a pension crisis. The leadership of the state — not only the Christie administration, but also the Republican and Democratic leaders in Trenton — have greatly contributed to these problems. To get New Jersey back on track, the state needs a leader who will put the needs of the people ahead of the needs of the powerful. That’s exactly what I will do.
AA: As New Jersey Governor would you repeal the gas tax?
JJ: We need to address how the gas tax affects working families. As it is structured now, the tax is regressive and imposes a burden on New Jersey’s families. I believe the tax should provide a rebate for lower-income families.The gas tax legislation also provides little oversight or guidance as to how the revenue from the tax is to be spent. As Governor, I will commit to ensuring that all of the tax collected is used for transportation infrastructure projects. My administration will also frequently assess the positive or negative impacts of these infrastructure projects on our neighborhoods and on the overall economic well-being of the state.In addition, as our economy moves away from fossil fuels, we need to find a better way to fund our transportation projects.
AA: No one has been able to give property tax relief to residents how would you as Governor give property tax relief?
JJ: I have a four-part plan to reduce the property tax burden on families. First, we need to differentiate between commercial and residential properties. Under current law, the property taxes on a $5 million business are the same rate as the property taxes on a $50,000 home. In order to relieve property tax, we need to fix these discrepancies.
Second, as Governor, I will call on towns to enter shared services agreements, which will help municipalities that have duplicative departments save money by using their combined purchasing power to negotiate lower property taxes, resulting in taxpayer savings.
We also need to address the foreclosure crisis in New Jersey. Foreclosures lower the value of all nearby houses in the neighborhood, which thereby reduces the amount in property taxes collected by local governments. Collecting less in property taxes drives local governments to continue to raise the rates to close the gap.
Finally, my administration will help families appeal their property taxes through education and outreach programs. If homes are unfairly valued, homeowners should have a fair chance at appealing their property tax assessment.
AA: You have asked your opponents to limit campaign spending to $15 million any update on that?
JJ: I have pledged to limit my spending by participating in New Jersey’s public financing system because I believe that money in politics is a tremendous problem and greatly damages our democratic process. I hope that my opponents will join me, but one has already declined, which is deeply disappointing. I have been fighting for campaign finance reform for some time, and as the Chair of the Brennan Center for Justice, I was happy to help lead the charge in that fight. As Governor, I will continue to work on the issue by passing legislation that mandates the disclosure of names and employers for all donors to dark money groups.
AA: If elected Governor what are the top three issues that you would take on as Governor?
JJ:First, we need to rebuild New Jersey’s economy. We can do this by investing in infrastructure, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and supporting innovative job sources, like renewable energy. Secondly, my administration will focus on revitalizing our communities by giving relief to those facing foreclosure, protecting our environment and reforming our criminal justice system. Finally, I’ll work to restore trust in our government. We can build trust by enacting ethics reform, like enforcing restrictions on lobbyists, making voting easier and more accessible, and getting big money out of politics.
AA: If you are not victorious in the primary would you run again in 2021?JJ: Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to public service and building coalitions. Whether it was at the Brennan Center for Justice working on voting rights or at New Jersey Communities Forward working to promote fair criminal justice policies, I have always put my community work first. So regardless of victory, I will continue to dedicate my life to public service. Right now, I am focused on the June primary – talking about the issues that New Jersey families face today and presenting my solutions. New Jersey voters are dissatisfied by their political system, so my campaign is working hard to attract people who have checked out of the system but, under the uncertain political circumstances, are checking back in to make their voices heard.
AA: What would you say to the voters on why they should vote for you?
JJ: First, I represent change for New Jersey. As a former prosecutor and Undersecretary for the Treasury, I have the experience to be New Jersey’s next Governor but I am not part of the entrenched political system that favors billionaires and insiders. Secondly, I have been committed to public service throughout my career and believe that all people should have a voice in their government. I am running to put the people ahead of the powerful. Finally, I understand what New Jerseyans need — well-paying jobs, a roof over your head, quality education for your children and a working infrastructure. As Governor, I will work hard to make those needs a reality.
Mark Zinna is a city council President in Tenafly, NJ. Serving now in his 2nd term he has chosen to run for New Jersey Governor. He is seeking the democratic nomination. I had a chance to catch up with Mark Zinna. For more information on Mark Zinna or to volunteer for his campaign you may go to http://www.markzinna2017.com/ or on facebook http://www.markzinna2017.com/
Angel Alamo: Why did you decide to run for New Jersey Governor?
Mark Zinna: I decided to run for Governor because the leaders of our political parties have forgotten the people of this state and it’s time for us to get our priorities straight. My goal is to bring bold ideas that benefit the people of New Jersey.
AA: Would you repeal the gas tax?
MZ: Yes, I would repeal the gas tax. It’s regressive, and hurts people who can least afford it.
AA: No one has been able to give property tax relief to residents how would you as Governor give property tax relief?
MZ: If we want property tax relief we have to start doing things differently, which is not easy. The number one obstacle to property tax relief is home rule. We need to strongly encourage smaller towns to merge their services in order to reduce expensive duplication of efforts throughout the state. The second obstacle to property tax relief is school funding, which should be based on income, i.e. your ability to pay, not property taxes.
AA: If elected Governor what are the top three issues that you would take on as Governor?
MZ: Top three issues are:
1) Jobs – rebuild our major cities, Camden, Trenton, Newark and Paterson and create new centers of employment. Build an electric car manufacturing plant in New Jersey.
2) Transportation – Build the new train tunnels between New York and New Jersey. Extend rail lines. Build electric car charging stations throughout the state.
3) Health Care – Create a “Medicare for all” single payer health care system in New Jersey. Health care services will continue to be run by private doctors and hospitals.
AA: If you are not victorious in the primary would you run again in 2021?
MZ: Right now, we are focused only on winning the Democratic primary in June. But, yes, I would run again in 2021.
AA: What would you say to the voters on why they should vote for you?
MZ: Voters should vote for me because there is a tremendous hunger in New Jersey for a candidate not beholden to big money or entrenched special interests. I am someone willing to propose bold and common sense solutions to the problems that we face in New Jersey.
A local assemblyman posted why he supports the gasoline tax. I have posted a rebuttal.This is the assemblyman’s response to why gasoline tax is a good idea.
The gas tax is how we fund the Transportation Trust Fund which is how we pay for infrastructure projects, road expansions/repaving. With the new constitutional mandate, the gas tax has to go to roads. In the past, we haven’t been the best with maintaining our roads in NJ and we have one of the highest rates of urban and rural roads in need of repair and some of the most congested roads in the entire country. Our poor road conditions beat the crap out of our cars and cause traffic deaths. Having better roads would also mean less spent in car repairs, and from what I’ve seen most would see dollars saved in years to come.
Infrastructure investment is also extremely important for the State’s economy. Nearly 2 million jobs in the state fully depend on a modern infrastructure system. The gas tax hasn’t been raised in over 20 years, and the Governor has already stopped roadwork projects because the fund will be broke by August.
Offsetting the extra cost in the gas tax would be the sales tax reduction. I’ve heard some say this doesn’t seem like a lot but the sales tax applies to so many more items we purchase. I just copy and pasted this from the treasury website but sales tax applies to “receipts from retail sale, rental, or use of tangible personal property or digital property; retail sale of producing, fabricating, processing, installing, maintaining, repairing, and servicing tangible personal property or digital property; maintaining, servicing, or repairing real property; certain direct-mail services; tattooing, tanning, and massage services; investigation and security services; information services; limousine services; sales of restaurant meals and prepared food; rental of hotel and motel rooms; certain admission charges; certain membership fees; parking charges; storage services; sales of magazines and periodicals; delivery charges; and telecommunications services” Its not a simple decision, but it will mean good things for our community.
Good things for the community? What good things. I have spent time talking to business owners, taxi drivers, and other citizens even getting e-mails for a story I was working on the gasoline tax. People working paycheck to paycheck do not see the gasoline tax as a good thing at all. It means the senior citizen who are on fixed income are going to struggle, small businesses will now have to pass on the higher delivery costs to consumers, people who work paycheck to paycheck won’t have any disposable income for going out to eat or anything else. It’s going to encourage more people and businesses to leave the state of New Jersey.
The sales tax is a joke. Long story short when you pay a sales tax you may save a penny. We have the highest property taxes in the nation. We are the 10th most taxed state and now we will be moving up which is a bad thing for New Jersey. The NJ gas tax is a bad idea. There are other ways that the transportation fund could be used. Where is all of the money from tolls going $15 for Holland tunnel and other bridges, Garden state parkway, New Jersey Turnpike. Now, they want to use the gasoline tax to fund Bergen Light Rail didn’t assemblyman Barclay say the money was supposed to go to the road no mention of a light rail.
The gas tax can go up again next year. I spent time talking to people and getting e-mails as well. In 2017 all of the senate & assembly seats are up for re-election. As a democracy we have the chance to change and fix Trenton by voting out the politicians who voted YES. The one thing I have kept hearing from people is that the people are going to forget next year and vote in the same politicians again and again those people are right we do keep voting them back in. Let’s change that next year let’s all work together as people to vote out the politicians who voted YES and vote in new leaders who will vote to repeal the gas tax and work to make New Jersey better for you.
State Senate members voting “Yes:” on GAS TAX HIKE
Addiego, Dawn Burllington R
Beach, James Camden D
Codey, Richard J. Essex D
Cruz-Perez, Nilsa Camden D
Cunningham, Sandra B. Hudson D
Diegnan, Patrick J., Middlesex D
Gordon, Robert M. Bergen D
Greenstein, Linda Mercer D
Kyrillos, Joseph M. Monmouth R
Madden, Fred H. Gloucester D
Oroho, Steven V. Sussex R
O’Toole, Kevin J. Essex R
Pou, Nellie Passaic D
Rice, Ronald L. Essex D
Sacco, Nicholas Hudson D
Sarlo, Paul A. Bergen D
Scutari, Nicholas P. Union D
Singer, Robert W. Ocean R
Smith, Bob Middlesex D
Stack, Brian P. Hudson D
Sweeney, Stephen M. Gloucester D
Vitale, Joseph F. Middlesex D
Weinberg, Loretta Bergen D
Whelan, Jim Atlantic D
State Senate members voting “No”
Allen, Diane B. Burllington R
Bateman, Christopher Somerset R
Beck, Jennifer Monmouth R
Bucco, Anthony R. Morris R
Cardinale, Gerald Bergen R
Connors, Christopher J. Ocean R
Doherty, Michael Hunterdon R
Gill, Nia H. Essex D
Holzapfel, James Ocean R
Kean, Thomas H., Jr. Union R
Lesniak, Raymond J. Union D
Pennacchio, Joseph Morris R
Turner, Shirley K. Mercer D
Van Drew, Jeff Cape May D
State Senate members not voting:
Ruiz, M. Teresa Essex D
Thompson, Samuel Middlesex R
State Assembly members voting “Yes:”
Barclay, Arthur Camden D
Benson, Daniel Mercer D
Bramnick, Jon Union R
Burzichelli, John Gloucester D
Caputo, Ralph Essex D
Caride, Marlene Bergen D
Chaparro, Annette Hudson D
Chiaravalloti, Nicholas Hudson D
Conaway, Herb Burlington D
Coughlin, Craig Middlesex D
Danielsen, Joe Somerset D
DeAngelo, Wayne Mercer D
DeCroce, BettyLou Morris R
Egan, Joseph Middlesex D
Eustace, Timothy Bergen D
Giblin, Thomas Essex D
Greenwald, Louis Camden D
Gusciora, Reed Mercer D
Howarth Joe Burlington R
Jasey, Mila Essex D
Jimenez, Angelica Hudson D
Johnson, Gordon Bergen D
Jones, Patricia Egan Camden D
Karabinchak, Robert Middlesex D
Kean, Sean Monmouth R
Kennedy, James Union D
Lagana, Joseph Bergen D
McKeon, John Essex D
McKnight, Angela Hudson D
Mosquera, Gabriela Camden D
Mukherji, Raj Hudson D
Muoio, Elizabeth Maher Mercer D
O’Scanlon, Declan Monmouth R
Pinkin, Nancy Middlesex D
Pintor Marin, Eliana Essex D
Prieto, Vincent Hudson D
Rible, David Monmouth R
Rodriguez-Gregg, Maria Burlington R
Schaer, Gary Passaic D
Singleton, Troy Burlington D
Sumter, Shavonda Passaic D
Vainieri Huttle, Valerie Bergen D
Watson, Blonnie R. Essex D
Wimberly, Benjie Passaic D
Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz is a lifelong resident of Perth Amboy running for her 3rd term to be Perth Amboy mayor. Observer.com named her one of the 30 most influential women in New Jersey. She has kept busy revitalizing Perth Amboy and continuing the work she has set up to. I had the opportunity to meet Mayor Diaz and talk to her about her plans if elected to another term and her time in office so far.
Angel Alamo: What is easier running for election or running for re-election?
Mayor Wilda Diaz: Both of them are challenging because it is still an election. You still have to get your information out to the public.
AA: Growing up in Perth Amboy did you ever see yourself as a Mayor?
MWD: No I always saw myself as a businesswoman. The city is a business you have to run it as a business knowing it is other people’s money.
AA: What are your plans if elected to a 3rd term?
MWD: Continue with the redevelopment projects and revitalizing the city of Perth Amboy. I want to finish the projects that I have started with the construction and private investments. My ultimate goal is to develop areas that have not been developed in 20 years and bring with that construction and jobs to the city of Perth Amboy. I want to create good paying jobs that will support the economic structure of the city. Redevelopment is the most important thing.
AA: What has been your toughest challenge as Mayor?
MWD: 2008 dealing with the financial crisis left by the previous administration. We have tackled those issues we have gone from a city in financial distress to an A+ credit rating.
AA: A new high school is being built as a former student how does it feel to be able to be a part of it giving back to your alma mater.
MWD: I believe that every child in this city should have the best education possible. I am proud to see we will see a 200-million-dollar School built for Future Leaders.
AA: How will you make Perth Amboy a stronger Community if re-elected?
MWD: I work and partner with the business Community we have a working relationship for the betterment of the city everyone gives me ideas for the betterment of the city. It takes a village I can’t do it alone. Perth Amboy is a historic City I want everyone to know about Perth Amboy.
AA: Why should businesses come to Perth Amboy?
MWD: We are steadily located in the state of New Jersey we have the best transportation in the area all roads lead to Perth Amboy strategically in Central Jersey we are open to all facilities
AA: What advice would you give to the young leaders?
MWD: I would say follow your dreams work hard get involved and give back to your community.
AA: What has been the best part of your job?
MWD: Starting to see the development throughout the city and seeing all of the development. My Administration has been able to improve programs offered to the use we have balanced the budget and we are financially stable.
Yiannis Papadopoulos has been playing on tour across the country as Scott Stapp’s lead guitarist. Many people are getting to know Yiannis Papadopoulos. Yiannis Papadopoulos has won various worldwide guitar competitions and has spent years on the music circuit in Greece working as a session musician before he got his big break as Scott Stapp’s guitarist. I was able to sit down with Yiannis Papadopoulos at the boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey before a sold-out show at the Stone Pony to talk about guitar related topics and how he got the gig playing as Scott Stapp’s guitarist.
Angel Alamo: What guitarists did you admire growing up?
Yiannis Papadopoulos: Slash from Guns and Roses. I love every line, every solo just a great guitar player. Combining the licks and the melody there. When I was 18 or 19 I started listening to John Petrucci (Dream Theater). He is my biggest influence as far as a shredding guitar player. My other favorite would be Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi),I love Bon Jovi, I love his work. He is one of my three biggest influences. My biggest would be John Petrucci.
AA: Are guitar solos important in songs or has it become a thing of the past?
YP: I don’t know if I would say it is a thing of the past. It is definitely not as important as it used to be. Music has evolved throughout the centuries even back in the days of Niccolo Paganini. Before Paganini it was not considered the most important thing to have a very good violinist in an orchestra. When he came out things changed. Then you have the shredding days with Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, and all of these guys Nuno Bettencourt. It’s not the best period for the shredding music; compared to ten years, 20 years ago the need for big heavy solos has declined. I still feel like there is support for this kind of music. For example you have Zakk Wylde out doing great. Yngwie Malmsteen doing a great job on the soloing aspect of music. I believe most people prefer listening to songs no matter if they have shredding or solos. There is an individual focus on the songs and not the solos.
AA: What is the worst part about being on the road?
YP: Being away from home because I am not from the US(United States). Being away from my homeland, my family, and my wife. I do miss everything back home. When you are on the road you get to do what you love most. It’s sufficient to a point but you still miss everybody and you still miss the homeland for sure.
AA: Which do you prefer being in the studio or being on the road performing?
YP: I love both. In the studio you have the freedom to create. To put your soul inside of the song that you write that you compose. You have the freedom of time to think about it to write something good. On the other hand, when you play live you have this feeling connected to the audience which is so valuable and so precious. If I had to choose at this point in my life I would say I prefer playing live rather being in the studio. It changes depending on time and what is happening.
AA: How did you get the gig with Scott Stapp?
YP: That’s a very nice story actually. You wouldn’t believe it but I sent a message to him. Back in the days I felt like all of these cool people go out and play and I want to be like them. One day I decided to send a message to Scott on his Facebook page saying I am a fan. I sent him several things I have done, I won these competitions, I have worked with these guys, these are my social media links a bunch of links you can check out. I completed my message saying if you ever need a guitar player just let me know I am available. I am a big fan, I would love to work with you and go out on the road. The next day I had a reply saying I like what I see, I am just about to hit the road again I would like for you to be my guitar player. Let’s be in touch when the time was right we did the final details and here I am now. I have been with Scott (Stapp) since December, 2015 It’s going great, I am very happy. I am feeling blessed to be here and work with this guy he is one of my idols. I love his voice and admire his lyrics and career. He is just a sweetheart, he is such a good guy. I am very happy.
AA: What are your favorite songs to perform live?
YP: One of my personal favorites is definitely Torn, I love that song from the first moment that I heard it. On the other spectrum I really love overcome. I love the atmosphere of Torn but I really like the energy of overcome. Those are my two favorites.
AA: How often do you practice?
YP: Everyday I don’t live a single day without touching the guitar. I try to practice at least two hours per day when I am on the road. I practice at least three to fours per day when I am back home. I can’t go to sleep if I haven’t practiced.
AA: What are your favorite guitar solos?
YP: That’s a tough one I have so many. I would say first solo I heard and felt like this is what I have to do with my life is (Guns N Roses) November Rain. I love all of it. When I heard that song I felt I want to be like this guy even with the video clip he was so cool with his guitar outside of the church that was so great. Apart from that so many others Dream Theater songs Scarred is one of my favorite Petrucci solos ; Spirit Carries on is one of my favorites the list goes on and on I really can’t decide. Those are my favorites.
AA: One city you would love to perform that you haven’t been to yet?
YP: That’s a very nice question. I really want to go to Tokyo. I haven’t played there it would be a dream come true if I ever got the to play there. The other one was New York. I have accomplished New York so far.
AA: How was it playing in New York (Fox Business Center rooftop)?
YP: New York is possibly my favorite city so far. Playing there was a dream come true. It was a dream also the atmosphere because it was early in the morning. The sun was hitting the skyscrapers and the windows we were on top of the fox business center it was such an amazing atmosphere people going on their walks in the morning. All of these cars. It was an amazing feeling. It was a great experience.
AA: Any timeline on when you will release solo material
YP: That is one of the funny ones because I keep saying to the people my solo album is going to come out soon and soon. I think it’s going to be out near the end of 2017 early 2018. I have the material already but I just keep postponing it. Every year something even better is happening like right now I am with Scott Stapp. I am being introduced to the US market. The best thing to do is wait until the people here in the United States get to know me and my playing here. I would wait for Scott Stapp to put out his work first and then I put out mines would follow pretty soon. That would be the timeline.
AA: If you could play or jam with any guitarist who would it be?
YP: One guitar player that I have listened to throughout the years, I still listen to him and I admire his work is Bret Garsed. I really admire his personal work his solo album I like Big Sky(2002) and Dark Matters (2011). This guy is so brilliant he combines melody I to clique in an aspect that I feel like he speaks to my soul. I like Buckethead. He is very intimate in his playing it is very unique.
AA: What advice would you give to any young guitarist?
YP: If you are going to go, go hard. Never stop believing in yourself never stop practicing. Dream what you want to be .Be sure you have a clear vision of where do you see yourself in the future. No matter what always remember the only limitation is our imagination. That is my motto. I strongly believe in that sentence.
Kip Winger has had an amazing career. He started his career co-writing a song on KIX’s Midnite Dynamite album. The next year Kip Winger would go on record and tour with Alice Cooper before he ventured out on his own and formed his own band Winger. Kip Winger has had a busy year having toured this year behind Winger’s latest album Better days comin’ and having more tour dates as a solo artist. This year Kip Winger will be releasing his debut classical album Conversations With Nijinsky, Ghosts, A Parting Grace coming out on May 27th. I got the opportunity to talk to Kip Winger about the classical album and more.
Angel Alamo: You are releasing your debut classic debut album on May 27, 2016 Conversations With Nijinsky, Ghosts, A Parting Grace How did this album come together?
Kip Winger: I’ve written ten pieces now. After hearing conversations With Nijinsky, Martin West the conductor of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra heard wanted to record it along with the Ballet Ghosts which they had been performing for the last 4 years. We decided to make an album March, 2015. It took a long time for editing and mixing but everything is done now it’s coming out May 27th.
AA: Being a rock n roll musician has it been difficult for classical music community to accept your music?
KW: I’ve been very lucky that a lot of people have taken it very seriously. Some musicians are a little skeptical until they start reading my parts and see that I totally did my homework and that it doesn’t sound like bad Hollywood music, it is very legitimate concert music. I felt as though I did have to prove myself, but for the most part everybody has been supportive. I had a very unusual story that helps in the classical. It’s a bit out of the norm.
AA: You have been studying classical music since you were 16 years old. Does making this record feel like you are coming full circle as a musician?
KW: No it doesn’t. I started very simple guitar but when Winger took off I didn’t have any time to devote to studying music. Then when 80’s came crashing down and popular music was grunge that’s really when I went back to Studying composing music seriously.
AA: In the future will you do more classical music albums?
KW: Yes definitely I already got an outline for another hours worth of music. I have three separate pieces in the works. Once they’re finished I am definitely going to make another record.
AA: You have produced the last three winger albums. Is it challenging making the best record possible without having another person there telling you what songs to go with or what direction?
KW: From the very beginning on the first album I always knew which songs were good. I don’t know I would be a good producer with someone else’s music because I am the type of artist who knows exactly what I am envisioning for my art, probably not the best person to know what someone else would want for themselves. As far as the band Winger goes, It’s not difficult at all because I can see the end result before I begin and if something happens along the way that is better then I use that.
AA: Is there anything you still hope to accomplish?
KW: Only that I want to continue to refine my skills and produce more music. I’ve probably got another album or two winger records in me and maybe another couple of solo records. I am very interested in musical theatre, opera. All the different genre’s I write in seem to balance themselves. It allos me to stay fresh in any given genre I’m working on.
AA: For your 2nd record (In the heart of the young) was there any other album titles that you were considering because on the album cover there is the number II on the cover?
KW: Yes, I guess so, Winger II or In The Heart Of The Young. Reb wanted it to be Winger II and I like ITHOFY so we used both
AA: Does Winger have any leftover songs from previous albums?
KW: We don’t have too many outtakes. I have always used the best material. We don’t have a lot of good unfinished songs. I know within one hour whether a song is going to be good or not. If its not going to be any good I won’t work on it.
AA: What do you remember about recording You Are The Saint I Am The Sinner?
KW: I felt that was a pretty cool riff we have got a lot of mileage from it over the years. It is a very progressive song. We still do parts of it, it’s one of those staples in our live performances.
AA: What songs do the fans seem to talk to you about the most?
KW: Depends on if you are a music fan or if you are a musician. I get asked about winger IV by musicians because it is much more progressive. Fans of the band ask about the hits they like there isn’t one particular song that stands out over the others.
AA: How is your relationship with Reb Beach after 30 years of writing music together?
KW: Better than ever. We get along great we are the best of friends. Everybody in my band is fantastic friends. We love hanging out a lot of laughing we have a great time.
AA: What band do you still hope to go out on the road with?
KW: I don’t listen to rock music these days, though sometimes I will listen to a new stuff if it’s recommended by someone I know well. Mostly I listen and study the classic composers. I am completely in my own bubble and only make records for people that want to listen to them from my point of view. I’m totally out of trying to keep up with anybody or what is going on. What I care about is my music catalog and the new music I write being as good as it can be.
AA: You are being honored this week in Las Vegas at Vegas Rocks Magazine hair metal awards does it still mean something to be honored by your peers?
KW: Absolutely it means a lot.Just because I don’t listen to the records doesn’t mean a) I don’t respect my peers and b) I am not honored by it I am totally honored by it. I respect all of the artists are going to be there. Its great. Take you for example you went to high school and then you went to college right?
KW: So you are not going to go back and relive your sophomore year in college all of the time.You know what I mean you are not going to do it. You might say “oh I remember that teacher that was really cool, I have these friends in college its kind of like my college roommate”. I have a lot of respect for the bands. I like all of the people and I like to hang out its fun I am very honored to be there as far as my personal growth is concerned it doesn’t have much to do with that.
AA: Which winger song was the most difficult to record or you had to rewrite?
KW: There is a lot of them on the latest Winger album Queen Babylon was a very difficult song. I call that “putting up in operating table and trying to bring it back to life”. On my solo album From The Moon To The Soon, I had a lot of trouble with the song Nothing. With Winger there were quite a few songs In my veins was a very difficult song, baptized by fire was very difficult, state of emergency on the first album, living just to die on the IV album. It’s natural for any artist to tell you that. It would not be out of the ordinary.
AA: As a fan I have enjoyed the records especially the last two records Karma and Better Days Comin’ seeing how heavy you have gone.
KW: Thank you. I am hoping one day I will get the time to remix the first two albums because actually there were pretty heavy. The way (Producer) Beau Hill mixed them was a little bit more like the times with the 80’s sound they were actually pretty heavy for example, if I turn up the guitars in the mix a little bit and took off all of the effects and stuff it would very similar to what we are doing now. Pull was really the beginning of where we were able to get our sound really underway the first two albums hit really big but we were just learning who we were but I appreciate you saying that though.
AA: Was Pull the record were as a band you came together and found your niche on what direction you wanted to go for future albums?
KW: That was really when I felt like I presented the band in the way that I wanted it to present it. It wasn’t different from the other things. We just nailed it in the studio with (Producer) Mike Shipley. There’s a lot of great things about the first two records no doubt. The third record is where we really hit our stride. Unfortunately the eighties thing was over and it didn’t sell as many as the first two. That’s why I like to make records with those guys (Winger) because we get better and better. My thing with Reb (Beach) is more natural we just know what we are looking for and we can get to it. Hopefully over time you get better some people don’t push themselves and they stay the same but we try to keep pushing the envelope and improve.
AA: Will Winger be doing anything special the band is planning for 30th anniversary of your debut album?
KW: No we did some stuff for 25th anniversary and that was fun. But past that, no.
AA: What music video was the most fun to make?
KW: Interesting question. Headed For a Heartbreak that was a fun video. We were having a lot of success so we got to do some fun stuff on that. I thought that was a cool video.
AA: Any songwriters would you still hope to work with in the future?
KW: I don’t really do much songwriting anymore unless its with Reb or for my solo albums. I like to work with Reb and beyond that, songwriting is very personal to me. I don’t write songs like “hey lets write a song”. If you’re talking about just jamming, the only person I’d like to jam with that I haven’t yet is Joe Walsh.
NELSON released their debut album After the rain. Releasing four singles hit singles. (Can’t Live without your love) and affection which went straight to #1, After the rain, more than ever, and time will tell all made the top 40 billboard charts. After 26 years NELSON are alive and rocking with no signs of slowing down. There is a lot on the horizon with NELSON with no signs of slowing down. NELSON continues to get better with time. NELSON are touring the rest of the year as Ricky Nelson Remembered playing the songs from Ricky Nelson. I was able to talk to Matthew Nelson about Nelson’s debut album after the rain and his career all the way up until what he has been up to lately.
Angel Alamo: Who came up with the name “After the Rain”?
Matthew Nelson: Gunner and I came up with it jointly. We just thought that it was autobiographical. We had been through a fairly rough go of it, believe it or not. The first thing that somebody would think is, “oh they came from a famous family. They had it easy.” It was kind of the opposite. Honestly, we had each other, we had music. We loved our dad, but he was gone three hundred days a year, minimum, and touring. And our mother didn’t have the mother gene, so for us it was a dream of making music and stuff. In hindsight we had been working in clubs in LA since we were twelve, and it took us almost a decade to get our first album signed, paid, released, all that kind of stuff. I got to see all my buddies get signed before us. That’s why we called it “After the Rain.” By the time it was done it was cathartic, and a culmination of years and years of writing and making it happen.
Angel Alamo”Can’t Live Without Your Love” is a famous song about having a crush on Cindy Crawford. Did you guys ever get to meet Cindy Crawford, and how did she feel about the song.
Matthew Nelson: Yeah I did at the MTV Rock ‘N Jock softball game the year after it was a big hit. The song went to number one on the Billboard Pop Charts, and she was fine. It was just really one of things a story that got out of hand. We spoke a couple times. She was a gracious person, but that was about it. She was thrilled. She said to my brother, “what do you want me to do? Die for it? Come on.”
Angel Alamo: What was going on with the intro to the “After the Rain” video: when the teenager gets put down by his dad? Was that the video’s director idea for the concept for that video?
Matthew Nelson: No it was actually our idea for a concept for the video, and I was happy with the way that it turned out. It almost didn’t get aired; we had to fight for it. Again that was more … Those quotes that the guy’s yelling to that kid was what our mother used to say when she’d had a few too many … You know, to us, so it was a … Those were lines that we kinda came up with.
And the idea for the video, we were really adamant that it had to have some sort of a live performance component in it, because I think that’s what people didn’t get from our first video, you know, for “Love and Affection.” We were live performers before anything really, and then focused on our recording, but the first video was so out there that we also wanted to make sure that if there was a conceptual component in the second video that it absolutely wound up going to and from a live performance setting, and I think it was a good call.
Angel Alamo: Okay, if you had a choice for another single from “After the Rain” what song would have been the single?
Matthew Nelson: “I Can Hardly Wait.” I thought that was one of the coolest songs we did on the whole album. It was a pretty cool song. We definitely did it on our first tour, but I think it kinda showed off the band a little bit more. I enjoy that song, but if there was one song that didn’t make it to single on that album that would be the I would have wanted.
Angel Alamo: I guess that would explain why the song was the second song on the album.
Matthew Nelson: You know, actually the thing about doing that sequence is and it is less important today, because it’s kind of a singles world, but I grew up in the era of albums, and I really wanted to make sure that it was a great sequence, and I’m kinda. That’s kind of what I do what Gunner and I have. I’m more of the final polish, mastering guy, the sequence guy. I do all the set lists, that type of stuff video editing. I honestly thought that from start to finish “After the Rain” really wound up having a really nice flow if we were just going to put it on with the band from stem to stern I thought it worked really well. Plus, we were also releasing on vinyl and cassette, so I had to do it by a Side A and a Side B, and I think we got a really good sequence in that side one is a good good side, side two is a good side, and then if you hear it from start to finish it works.
Angel Alamo: Would the band ever release a deluxe version of “After the Rain” the way some artists do?
Matthew Nelson: That’s a really good question. The first thing I tried to do this year was to go and find the actual unmastered master tapes. In other words, unqueued tapes so I could go and … I really wanted to remix the album, but Geffen Records has now been sold six or seven times, and too be honest, I’m pretty sure that they strategically misplaced our session tapes. In other words they burned them, so I’m trying to find that out right now. I had heard through the grapevine that that happened for a lot of bands of various types. Not just rock bands, but all across the board they … Some genius thought that it would free up money, so they don’t have to store tapes, but it’s really hard for us to do different mixes and things like that when we can’t find the source material.
I guess the only thing that I could do is deal with what I’m dealing with and possibly put out some outtakes of cuts, although … We did do an album that we released on our label called Stone Canyon and distributed through frontiers called “Before the Rain” which was all the demos. It’s material that we actually worked on with our A&R guy John Kalodner before the album came out, so if anyone wanted to see the genesis of that album that’s a good way to do it I think.
Angel Alamo: You know, speaking of John Kalodner, how was it working with John Kalodner?
Matthew Nelson: Amazing and the most difficult thing, like in the top three of the most difficult things, I’ve ever been through in my life.
Angel Alamo: I’m not sure if you remember with Aerosmith, when they did the making of Pump, it kind of seemed like he was kind of difficult, but amazing to work with.
Matthew Nelson: Well he made us. He was going through a phase, honestly, where he made artists re-cut their albums two or three times just because he could. His ego was so unbelievable, and, you know what, he’s fine about saying that, because he says that to people. He says, “if you get into a battle of egos with me, I will win every time,” and that’s how he based his decisions, really.
I’m not saying that they were all great, but you have to. You can’t argue with the man who knew what he was doing, to a certain extent, and had. I mean, the man signed Aerosmith. He totally reformed AC/DC, he signed AC/DC, and reformed Aerosmith. He was responsible for so many hit records, but everybody that worked with him, us included. I’ll speak for myself I got along with him better than my brother Gunner did, but I was always between the two of us, but they were like oil and water. And sometimes when you work on a project with somebody that’s like that, it forces you to elevate and do better work, and I think that’s what Kalodner’s MO is. He used to like to torture his artists and see if they would come back and do better work, and that’s how it worked with us.
Angel Alamo: Out of all of your studio albums, which one was your favorite record to work on?
Matthew Nelson: Well, I’ve done a lot of projects. Honestly my favorite thing to work on actually wasn’t something that I did with my brother. It was a side project that I never released, but was because I did it in a completely different way where I wanted that … If you ever saw that movie Sound City by Dave Grohl about a studio in the valley. I was one of the last guys to record there before they became The Studio, and my band Red 37 went in and in five days cut a fourteen song album that was exactly how Grohl did it, you know? You mic it up … You rehearse before you go in there, you mic it up and you just killed it, and it was. The whole album was mixed and finished in five days.
But for a studio album, my favorite album was probably “After the Rain,” because it was my first, and recording was different back then, because we were cutting on analogue tapes and the tracks weren’t unlimited and you couldn’t fix it in the mix and there was no pro-tools. There was no such thing as tuning. If you blew a take, you had to wait for it to rewind and then for a machine to sync up and all that stuff. It was a different time and I was really impressed by the time we got it done.
You know, “Love and Affection,” actually was not mixed by the guy who mixed the rest of the album. We actually went in and did a lot more work on it, remixed it, and re-recorded a bunch of stuff, because it almost wound up on the cutting room floor. I loved the demo, and I hated the way it turned out when the guy that mixed most of the record mixed it, and we went in with another guy that was that was fairly unknown on the album, he mixed our number one hit single and wound up years later discovering Bush and No Doubt, so I would probably say “After the Rain.”
Angel Alamo: A lot of musicians have moved to Nashville. Being around so much music all of the time, does that inspire you as a songwriter to always write?
Matthew Nelson: Well, sure. I’ve always written my whole life, so to me just … I’ve been coming to Nashville for years and years. My brother and I got signed to a country deal here once. I know the town, and I know the writers, but I think what’s inspiring, honestly, is the amount of talent here. It’s kind of like how LA was in the mid eighties and early nineties before everything went to hell. All the talent kind of moved here, so people that could really play their guitar and write songs and stuff, this is where they wound up, I found out.
There are a lot of practical reasons why I kind of wound up here, mostly having to deal with the realities of touring nowadays and being in a central location. I mean, Nashville, frankly, is right in the middle of the country. Really as far as flying around where Los Angeles paying twice the money just to live, it was really inconvenient just for transportation. That’s kind of, I think why I ultimately wound up here. I just got to spend more time with my family when I wasn’t on the road because I wasn’t on a plane so much.
Angel Alamo: Any musicians or producers that you would like to work with?
Matthew Nelson: I think that anybody who says they wouldn’t like to Mutt Lange is lying. I mean that’s the dream. That’s another one of those people that supposedly is really difficult to work with, but I have loved everything that he’s ever done that I’ve heard, so I would say Mutt Lange.
I’ve talked to Don Woods about working together. That’s probably going to happen on an album for a movie on our dad.
And there’s a guy that’s retired, that frankly Gunner and I should have worked with for our second album, and made a really bad choice. It’s like one of the only regrets I have in my career. A producer named Peter Collins, and Peter Collins produced the Queensrÿche albums, you know, Empire and Mindcrime. He also did things like The Indigo Girls and stuff.
So who knows? I mean, he actually lives in Nashville, but he’s well out of the business, but I thought he was a genius with a work he did. Who knows, maybe I can talk him into doing a record with us.
Angel Alamo: Yeah, he did Bon Jovi’s “These Days.”
Matthew Nelson: Oh did he really? Yeah, he’s a great producer. I like him a lot, and I like him personally, and that’s kind of important.
Angel Alamo: “Leave the Light on For Me,” from your last album, “Peace Out,” it’s a very bluesy kind of song. When I first heard it I couldn’t believe that it was you guys doing that song. How did that song come about?
Matthew Nelson: Oh, how did the song come about? Actually, Gunner wrote that song. I only wrote a little bit of it. You know, we were on the road, I think, and he was missing home, as we all do. I mean, there’s a lot of waiting involved in what we do. The fun part is being on stage, the rest of it is missing your girl or missing your kid or whatever, and Gunner was. We were out on the road somewhere, I believe we were in Nebraska or something like that. It was one of those ten degrees below zero, and we’d been out for a couple of weeks, and he just started thinking about this song. I think he was using, of course, more of a what if in the lyric, but that I think that the things that an old man he runs into in Dallas, that these are all things that have happened to us in our lives, but he had to put it in a song context, and I think he did a good job with it. I mean, I like it, and it’s funny that you say that it’s very bluesy.
You know the thing that Nelson. I think we stood out from a lot of the other bands that broke around the time that we did was the fact that we were not a blues based band. Everything else was. You know, of course, you have Guns ‘N Roses, Even AC/DC, you know, fantastic blues bands, but this is what they are. Blues progressions, blues chord changes, one, four, five, all that kind of stuff, and minor keys, and Gunner and I grew up in Southern California, so our musical DNA was what was happening really in the fifties and sixties out of California. Of course our Dad, The Beach Boys, The Hollies, The Birds, stuff that was kind of like folk, and later country tinged, so when we came out it was definitely melody based.
The reality of it is it’s a whole lot more difficult to sound aggressive when you’re using major keys in your songs. The bands that I think about, like, The Ramones were one of them. You know, they never went to blues scales, or even Green Day is a modern Ramones. If you think about it, all you have to do is throw in some blues and you’re an instant rock band, and that was our challenge. Our challenge was being ourselves in a climate that was hostile to it, and we were okay with that. We even dressed different. We wanted to be colorful where everybody was like black leather and blue jeans. You know, we’re like, “we’re going to take some tips from this, but let’s do something different.”
And “Leave the Light on For Me,” I think was kind of nice for Gunner, but he also said it was one of the easiest things he’s ever written, It’s the blues progressions a really nice blues song. He played great guitar on it, and I’m glad that you like it. I know that he would be happy that you said that you like that song.
Angel Alamo: Yes I do, it’s a really great song. Speaking of the “Peace Out” album, you mentioned that it would be the last record that you guys do, so was it liberating to make that album just knowing that it would be kind of like the swan song?
Matthew Nelson: It was and I’m going to say this truthfully, most of the album was Gunner’s concept. I was off doing other things. We made a Christmas album, and it was a completely different thing. It was a mostly acoustic and Americana based Christmas album, and it actually hit number seventeen on the Billboard chart, on the AC chart, number four on the Holiday chart, so I was kind of busy doing that. Gunner was making this album, and had been doing it for a while. We talked about it, and we had management at the time that said, “look, you’ve got to distance yourself. Even though a lot of those people from back in those times wouldn’t actually let you in the club … You guys were maligned for whatever reason. You were a chick band, or you guys sounded different, you weren’t blues based, whatever.” But he said, “you’ve got to distance yourself from all of that stuff. I mean, it’s ridiculous, and you know the world has moved on. Yada, yada, yada.”
Well the reality of it is, we put that album out. Gunner and I discussed it, and like, okay this is the last thing we’re going like this for the foreseeable future, so therefore, peace out, and then we got another manager, and this manager came at us hard saying, “that guy is fucking nuts. Everybody knows who knows you guys are. At least you’ve got to keep that open as one of your brands. You know, you’ve got to do different things,” but he says, “I see it differently. I see that Nelson is this completely untapped resource. All those other bands from that era have killed this themselves. They’ve played too much. They’ll like play the opening of an envelope. You guys are an untapped resource, and I think what you should think about doing is going through your catalogue, finding the best stuff you’ve ever done, put together an amazing live show, and let me get you out on tour with some huge rock bands and re-brand yourselves.”
So, that’s kind of what we’re doing right now, and you’re the first person to hear this, but it looks like Gunner and I are kind of … We’re working on that set right now. Actually we have to work on four sets, because they have to be different set lengths, but it’s really nice to go back through our entire catalogue and mine it for our favorite stuff, the best stuff we’ve done, and put it out in front of people.
The nice thing about it, though, is that we’ve really embraced the fact that we always sounded different, and that’s what we’re going to go for, is … You know, people that come and see us are, I want them to be pleasantly surprised, and if they’re not that’s okay; I’ve done the best I can. The one thing they’re going to get is they’re going to get us.
It’s nice, what’s most liberating now, after the exercise of … You know, I don’t know if we’re going to make another Nelson album or not. I just don’t know. We’ve got an awful lot of material, and the world really is about playing now.
But we’re never going to stop writing, and at this point, I can definitely say, just because of a renewed enthusiasm and interest by movers and shakers around us that actually makes stuff happen. All I can say is never say never.
Angel Alamo: That’s great to know, because personally I’m a fan of the band. I bought the cassette I would listen to after the rain a lot.
Matthew Nelson: Here is one thing you can break too. How’s this? I just found out from the same manager that we just got a commitment to reissue “After the Rain” on vinyl, a special vinyl release, which is really awesome ’cause I just heard it again for the first time on vinyl in years, and I’ve gotta admit, that’s as close to being in the studio on analogue tape coming back to you as I remember when we made it, and I think it’s awesome. I just think it’s really cool that there’s a renewed interest in actual albums, and I’m glad that we were one of the last Geffen artists to actually release on vinyl back then before it kind of came back, and it’s going to be nice to get it out there again. As I’ve said. All is not lost. I think there’s a renewed thing for Nelson, and I’ve kind of happy for it.
Angel Alamo: How is it doing the songs that your father performed? Was there any difficulties in learning the songs or any concerns on how you guys would pull off the performances?
Matthew Nelson: Oh not at all. I’ll be honest, these are the that songs we grew up with, and they are one hundred percent ingrained. I saw literally thousands of his concerts, and, you know, we don’t go out there try to imitate him, but I definitely knew what he was putting into the music when he was doing it. It’s funny enough. It’s just. It’s a real. See for me it’s kind of like going home every time I play these songs, and you’ve got to have roots and wings, and I just have such a fun time doing it.
One notable thing about it is, when we started doing that show, Gunner was always a decent guitar player, but now he’s a great guitar player, because the truth is you cannot hide when the guitar cleans up a little bit. When you take some distortion off, and you’re doing some of that that Travis Picking, chicken picking, fast stuff, it’s impossible. I know a lot of people … One guy that we play with, Howie Simon, he’s a good guitar player. He played with Alcatraz and stuff like that. He’s a complete shredder, and he even said, “I can’t do that shit. I can’t play like that.” It’s daunting if you haven’t done it, so it basically just gave us a really nice … A bigger musical vocabulary, I’ll say. And more than that, you know, for me … We have video that comes with it, so we kind of go through our family history, and it’s hard to imagine at your age, and stuff like that, but our family’s television show that was around before we were, it was on the air for fourteen years: four-hundred-thirty-five episodes. People always come up to us and say, “man, I grew up with your family. Thank you for doing this. It’s like visiting home again,” and, so that’s always kind of a nice thing, you know?
Angel Alamo: Last question, will Ricky Nelson Remembered ever do a studio album of covers or any project as far as new material with it?
Matthew Nelson: Well, we actually have an album called “Ricky Nelson Remembered”, and I just recorded some tracks, some of them live, some of them in the studio, but I finished it off as a studio album, so we actually already have one, and we’ve done actually really well with it at our shows. It’s one of those things that people are pretty happy with it.
The most wonderful time in Indie films is upon us once again. It’s the 7th Annual NYC Independent Film Festival which will be taking place from April 26, 2016 to May 1, 2016. A celebration of filmmaking. There is a film for everybody. What every film lover can appreciate about the independent film festival is that it’s not about the Blockbuster movie or the movie star. It is just about the art of filmmaking and acting. The independent film festival is about bring the fans and filmmakers together once again. The film festival it’s also a great way for filmmakers to come and learn something new that they can use for their next film project. I had the opportunity to talk to the founder of the New York City independent film festival Dennis Cieri.
Angel Alamo: How did you come up with the idea for the film festival?
Dennis Cieri: I have been making films ever since I was 16 years old. I was working In the corporate world making films. I left the corporate world to make films full time. In 2009 I started working on Films all of the time. They started small. Film festivals always start out small but when they get star power all of the indie films get walked over. I wanted the film festival to focus on the indie films and make it about them. Give them the attention, the pictures taken, the spotlight.
AA: Did you expect the film festival to grow into what it is now when you started it 5 years ago?
DC: The film festival is in its 7th year. I am very happy with the way it has turned out. Last year the film festival had over 150 filmmakers from around the world. It is more than the filmmakers. It is the directors, the finance people, the actors. It will be the same thing this year. We are expecting over 150 filmmakers.
AA: What can fans expect from the film festival this year?
DC: Fans can expect seminars on how to get financing, how to get distribution, what to look out for. Fans can expect discussion groups and over 255 films that will be shown during the film festival. They are incredible great movies. They are different ideas for the art of the movies. It is a good way for the fans to get to know the filmmakers. They are sitting in the audience they will get to ask questions to the filmmakers. It’s a great interaction with fans and filmmakers. We build a community between films and fans. It’s good for the filmmakers to hear what the fans think.
AA: Are short films becoming more popular now with social media?
DC: There is a certain truth with the attention span. There is a great deal of short films. Sometimes there is not enough information or interest. Filmmakers start out that way they start out by making short films. The general idea is that the films are short and sweet.
AA: How can an aspiring filmmakers submit their work?
Submissions will start on May 2nd 2016 people can start applying for next year
SAVE 20%: Coupon Code: Angel2016
I had the pleasure to catch up with Billy Sheehan before he left to Japan to start the next leg of The Winery Dogs world tour in support of their second album Hot Streak.
Watch Koldblooded perform and you won’t believe how young these guys are or how professional and committed they are to the band and to each other if you spend time with them. You would have to see the band live on stage to know what I mean. In an era of singing shows. It is refreshing to see bands who work on their music and bust their butts on any stage and any chance that they get. I have seen the band perform two shows (Stone Pony and Brighton Bar Long Branch, NJ). The band gets better with every show and every song. I was able to catch up with Koldblooded after a great show at Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ.
Angel Alamo: You guys played a great show tonight how do you guys feel?
Kold Blooded: I feel great. I feel like it is the best show that we have ever played.
Angel Alamo: How did you guys come up with the name Kold Blooded?
Kold Blooded: We are big fans of the band Damageplan the Vinnie Paul and “Dimebag” Darrell side project, we were thinking of ideas one day and we thought what about Kold blooded instead of a c we were thinking with a K like the band Korn.
Angel Alamo: What where your musical influences growing up?
Kold Blooded: Everything from AC/DC to deftones, slipknot mudvayne, drowning pool, papa roach. My dad got me into Rush, YES, and king crimson. We also like rap. We like a whole variety of music.
Angel Alamo: What songs do you like to play in your setlist?
Kold Blooded: I would say bodies and break stuff we have done inn the last 3 or 4 shows. We like down with the sickness.
Angel Alamo: How long has the band been together for?
Kold Blooded:I started the band October 23, 2014 he joined a month later, bass player joined last year for a month then he left so we replaced him with a couple bass players it didn’t work, the timing came back together then he decided to rejoin and we have never looked back.
Angel Alamo: are you working on your debut album
Kold Blooded: We are working on an EP right now we got five songs demos that are done we are going to record them in the studio within the next month it should be out by late April.
Angel Alamo: Do you have any titles for the EP?
Kold Blooded: We are going to call it at this moment, which is about our lives whats going on.
Angel Alamo: With the music industry the way that it is normal for you guys to want to do an EP instead of a record?
Kold Blooded: With school its hard to find time to do an album. I feel like give it another year it may worth it. Getting together is tough. We are from different places. when we get together we do really well we take advantage of it.
Angel Alamo: For the fans that are interested are you going to put it on itunes or amazon?
Kold Blooded: We are looking at itunes, soundcloud, spodify and youtube our website. Hopefully get someone to distribute it somewhere.
Angel Alamo: The music business the way that it is now is it difficult to get signed knowing that a lot of record labels are not investing as much time and money in artists as before?
Kold Blooded:I think its hard to get product out because it seems a lot of bands sound the same nowadays we are trying to sound apart from that. We are not trying to fit in but be a band that should have come out in the late 90’s early 2000’s with groove and rapping and singing. We are big fans of metal, rap, hardcore rap metal,new metal, rap metal trying to bring it out together.
Angel Alamo: Any upcoming shows?
Kold Blooded:We have a show coming up Joe Flo’s Bar on May 28th. Thats the only show booked at the moment but we will have more shows coming up.
Angel Alamo: This would be the last question what does the future hold for the band is this something you want to pursue as a career?
Kold Blooded:My goal would be to get a following and put music out. I would love to not go to college and just go out on tour. I think i want to be a famous guitar player and do music but you always have to have a back up plan. It’s far away from now we have to focus right now on getting out music playing shows once the time comes we will know for sure what we really want to do. We want to keep building and building and hope that someone likes it. In the last week we have had an A&R rep from Atlantic Records and Roadrunner Records that said they were looking for unsigned band and to submit.
Angel Alamo: You played a great show at the stone pony but this show it seems you were pushing each other? Is it getting interest from Atlantic records is that pushing the band and telling the band that you guys are doing something right?
Kold Blooded:I think its making us want to get better and better because the music is pretty good but we want to get better and write the best possible album or EP that we can make and hope someone out there likes it.
You can watch the interview on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEG1tnAy0ok
Koldblooded Members: Mike Florentine, Nico Gonzalez and Justin Kennedy.
For more information on Koldblooded go to:
2016 upcoming shows:
May 28 Joe Flo’s Bar Spring Lake, NJ
Scott Stapp is back after having time to deal with the things that happened last year. Scott is back to doing what he loves music. He continues to support his 2013 solo album Proof of life. Scott Stapp has no plans on slowing down as he plans on keeping busy this year. I was able to catch up with Scott Stapp to talk about proof of life and his future plans.
Angel Alamo: It’s been over a year since Proof of life album was released. How are your feelings about the record now. It was one of your most personal and best albums?
Scott Stapp: “Proof of Life” was definitely one of my most personal albums. It really relates to my life and it allowed me to explore the freedom I have now after all the demons that had been holding me hostage for so long. It puts my struggle and journey into music.
AA: What feedback have you gotten from the fans about proof of life?
SS: The feedback from the fans has been inspiring. Whenever I am able to interact with the fans they tell me how it helped them through dark times and allowed them to deal with the conflict within. It is comforting to many who have gone through the same thing to know they are not alone.
AA: Any songs from Proof of life stand out more now than when the record came out?
SS: The song “Proof of Life” definitely stands out now. It perfectly expresses what I was going through and how I was able to come out on the other side.
AA: What are your plans for the future. Can fans expect a new solo album?
SS: I have a few projects that I am working on. By the end of 2016 the fans will definitely be hearing some new music.
AA: You played South Africa for the first time in your career. How was it performing in South Africa?
SS: It was a great experience! I had never been to South Africa so it was great to meet a new group of fans.
AA: After not being on stage for 18 months how did it feel being back on stage? What is the song weathered about?
SS: It was exhilarating! I love being on stage performing and getting the chance to connect with the fans. As for the song “weathered,” with all my music, the lyrics have a strong impact on the listener and everyone takes it in their own way. Since it is so different for every person I like to keep my thoughts to myself.
AA: As a songwriter has your approach to songwriting changed since your first album?
SS: There has been a clear evolution of my music and it corresponds with my life and where my journey has taken me. I started in the industry at 18 and now, being in my early 40’s, my perspective has changed and you can see the shift in my songwriting. The music I have created is all a reflection on where I have been in in my life – I write about what I know.
KIX Steve Whiteman (lead vocals), Jimmy Chalfant (drums, vocals), Ronnie Younkins (guitars), Brian Forsythe (guitars) and Mark Schenker (bass) are one of the bands that are about having a good time and giving their fans their money’s worth. They are loved by the fans for putting out great music and a great live show. In Baltimore, MD there is nothing better than seeing a KIX show. KIX were preparing for their annual KIX MAS show at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a great sold out show with fans bracing a cold December night to see their favorite band put on a great show in their hometown. I was able to sit down with Steve Whiteman to talk about the new album Rock your face off and what’s ahead in the future for KIX.
Angel Alamo: The band has been playing 5 songs off the new record was there any concern about the fans not responding to the new album?
Steve Whiteman: Initially yeah. I thought we would sort of add them in slowly. We started out with just two then we threw in another one, then after a couple of months another one, then another one, it was a slow feed for the new music. But we feel that it was important to let people know that without new music there won’t be a future for us or any other band. So give it a listen, give it a shot, maybe you would want to buy the whole damn CD. It’s important to make them understand that we have to play the new music and its fun for us for not having anything out for 20 years.
Angel Alamo: How did you guys come up with the title for the new album and were there any other titles for the album being considered?
Steve Whiteman: I was reluctant for the title. I wasn’t really a big fan of calling it rock your face off. I thought can’t stop the show would have been a much more appropriate title but we have a song called rock your face off and apparently there was banter going around among management, record company, and Mark Schenker who was in charge of doing mixing and help set up the record deal. They just went ahead and thought we would all be ok with it. Now, that it is all set and done it doesn’t really matter. I wasn’t a big fan of it initially.
Angel Alamo: While the band was in Pre-production was there any expectation for what direction the band would take on making the new record?
Steve Whiteman: That’s the biggest reason why we brought in (Producer) Taylor Rhodes. Taylor knew the band well, worked with the band, worked with our ex-songwriter, produced and co-produced a couple of our later albums. We knew having somebody that understood the direction of the band would keep us in that direction. He had a lot of great advice and he brought in some songs. He revamped some of the songs that we brought in and all decided these would be good candidates for KIX songs. He helped us keep it in the mold.
Angel Alamo: Being it was 19 years between albums did the band feel nervous about putting out Rock your face off?
Steve Whiteman: No not at all. Once we realized after we got together and did some pre-production. We first thought about doing it we threw so much material at Taylor like 25 songs he narrowed it down to 12 songs. When we worked on those 12 songs we came away feeling really good about it. Then a couple of songs like rock me with your top down and can’t stop the show came in as later additions on top of what we worked on and we felt that we had a pretty strong record.
Angel Alamo: You have fans from all over the place on your Facebook page I see fans asking for you guys to come out west. Any chance of the band heading out to play other places?
Steve Whiteman: We have done the Whiskey. We did the Whiskey this past summer. It has to be worth our time, it has to be worth the money to run around the country. We have a really great agent who keeps us pretty busy during fly days. The fly days have to be lucrative. We don’t just go out to play because we want to build a following we are way too old for that. We try to hit places that we know are interesting. We haven’t been in the Chicago or Detroit area in a long, long time. We haven’t been in Texas in a long, long time. We are working on that. I know we are going Texas next year. I know we will be back in California we have a lot of fans out there.
Angel Alamo: Who came up with the cool addictive chorus to love me with your top down?
Steve Whiteman: Mark Schenker. I was in a band called Funny Money. We had a guitar player named Rob Galpin in Funny Money great guitar player, great songwriter, and good friend. Mark and Rob played in a band before they got into Funny Money. They have always been a good songwriting team. They get together to write songs to get into movies or television shows they always write all of the time. That was one of the songs that they came up with.
Angel Alamo: Inside outside Inn is a good song on the record what is the song about?
Steve Whiteman: That is sort of the biography between me and my wife. We have been married for 32 years. As you age and beauty fades a little bit and time takes its toll. It’s the same person that is inside. When you fall in love you got to love them inside and outside so that is where the song title came from. It’s a little biography of our life together.
Angel Alamo: Wheels in motion is the fastest tempo song on the album was that done on purpose?
Steve Whiteman: Probably. That is one of the first songs I heard. I was blown away by that one. That was another Mark and Rob song. As soon as I heard it I am like that is the direction.
Angel Alamo: Did you ever wonder would you run out of breath singing wheels in motion?
Steve Whiteman: I do when we were recording it. It took training for me to be able to do that song. Every night I have to tell myself slow down don’t move around so much.
Angel Alamo: Is wheels in motion a song about cars?
Steve Whiteman: It’s actually about gossiping. Stepping on people’s toes, people getting offended once something gets out there wheels start turning its gets blown out of proportion. It’s not really a song about cars.
Angel Alamo: How do you keep your voice in great shape?
Steve Whiteman: I teach vocals so I took training. I know how to protect myself and keep myself strong. Sharing that with people for the past 20 years has kept me really strong so I have been fortunate and I work really hard at it.
Angel Alamo: Was there any songs on the album that took long to write and record?
Steve Whiteman: Not really. We tweaked them. Once Ronnie and Bryan got involved and put their style into the riffs that I had written and the ones Mark and Rob had written, they KIXsize them. that is when they start sounding like KIX to all of us.
Angel Alamo: What has been the key to the band’s longevity, music wise you never follow the trends, you guys are like an AC/DC where the band just wants to rock and put on a great show?
Steve Whiteman: Exactly, we are about fun, we are not preachy. We are not going to tell people what to do or how to live their lives. We are not going to glamorize politics. We are about let’s get a beer, let’s pick up a girl, let’s get f*cked up and have some fun. It has always been about having fun. People come up to me sometimes and say my friend just passed away can you give him a shout out on stage. I’m like no, that is not why people are here. People are not here to be bummed out. They are here to have a good time. They want to forget about that stuff. That has always been our approach, have a good time make the people have a good time and forget your troubles for a couple of hours.
Angel Alamo: Can fans expect a new album next year or in 2017 or will you release an E.P or put out singles?
Steve Whiteman: We’re now just starting to think about another record. We are not shooting it down. We got to look at what the logistics of what the last one did. If it’s just a waste of time. Records don’t sell anymore how many people are downloading it we are not sure. How many people are stealing it we don’t know. We don’t even care we just want the music out there so we can go out and play it live. If we go and try to play new music and they don’t know what the hell it is then it’s no fun. For us we would love to do it but it’s got to make sense. We have to find a way to hit the people and make them want to buy it. It isn’t just us it’s everybody having trouble with record sales. A lot of people have just given up. 20,000 is considered really good. 20,000 is a piss in the bucket compared to what we used to do. We used to do 80,000 alone in Baltimore/Washington area alone back in the day. Those days are gone, long, long gone.
For more information on KIX:
Official website: http://www.kixband.com
Consider me dead are one of the best new bands to come out. They have been working hard touring all year in support of their debut album young at heart. The band has been hard at work on bringing their music out to their fans while keeping a busy schedule that will keep them very active in 2016. On a tour stop in New York the band talked to me about their album, tour and plans for next year.
(Photos & Video done by William Olivo)
Angel Alamo: What were your musical influences growing up?
Consider me dead: 30 second to mars a lot of different stuff
Angel Alamo: How has life on tour been for the band:
Consider me dead: It’s been great, pretty good. Just tired didn’t sleep at all last night.
Angel Alamo: What are your plans for 2016?
Consider me dead: Probably to write and record, write a bunch of new songs. Recording a newrecord and an acoustic E.P.
Angel Alamo: How many songs are done for the new record?
Consider me dead: We have six songs completed. We plan to finish the rest when we get off the road. We plan to announce the release date soon?
Angel Alamo: Will the record be out next year?
Consider me dead: Yes, we will have the new record and acoustic E.P. we will do some videos.
Angel Alamo: If you could tour with anyone who would it be?
Consider me dead: 1975, I would love it, we would not fit on the bill perfectly i would love to meet those guys that would be cool. One direction hopefully. Justin Bieber’s new album is awesome.
Angel Alamo: What is the song up all night about?
Consider me dead: It’s about making love. It’s about that special moment staying up all night. It’s all about for lack of a better term sex.
Angel Alamo: What songs on the record was the easiest to record?
Consider me dead: Young at heart easiest song to write and that came together. It was purely creative everyone had ideas for that type of song.
Angel Alamo: When that song came together did you think that would be a great title for the record (young at heart)?
Consider me dead: We named the record before that song. Then We thought how cool it would be to incorporate the title into the record. The title of the record was going to be self-titled.
Angel Alamo: What does young at heart mean to the band?
Consider me dead: It’s really an anthem you are never too old. Young at heart you are never too old to do things. You can always go for it. Age is nothing but a number.
Angel Alamo: Has the band toured overseas or any plans?
Consider me dead: That would be awesome. We are working on some stuff for next year a couple of overseas date not really sure yet.
Angel Alamo: Anything you want to say to the fans
Consider me dead: We love you guys. We love everyone We hope to see you guys on the back to back tour which we are on now. We have a couple of dates left, get your tickets now on sale on Facebook.
For more information on Consider me dead:
Bo Blaze is an Entrepreneur, Author and Professional Certified Life Coach specializing in Alternative Lifestyles of all kinds.
He is PCC Certified by the International Coach Federation and a CVCC Certified Graduate of The Center for Coaching Mastery. He is also the arthur of 50 shades of curious.
Angel Alamo: How did you get started in the business?
Bo Blaze: It has made people more curious. It helped to mysdify the bdsm world. There are a lot of inacurricies. It is not a manual on how to do bdsm properly. It’s a romance novel, as long as you realize that it is fun. It’s great to help expose.
Former Camden City Councilman Israel Nieves served as Camden City Councilman from 1994-2005 rising through the ranks to become an influential leader in politics. Israel retired from politics in 2005. I was able to catch up with Israel Nieves.
***(Leadership series will be a series of interviews that I will do with leaders to discuss their being a leader and getting their perspective on being a leader)***
1) Which is tougher running for election or running for reelection?
3)What was your proudest accomplishment as a city councilman?
4)Is there anything you wish you had been able to accomplish before you left office?
5) What was your toughest challenge as a City Councilman?
6) Who are your favorite leaders?
7) Having been retired from politics now do you ever get the urge to want to come back to politics at a certain capacity?
Es más dura en marcha para una elección de primera vez, que correr a la reelección, porque el candidato recién llegado de una primera vez no tiene el reconocimiento del nombre; para un candidato independiente para tener éxito en su primer intento, es necesario tener dos cosas en su lado, Organización y Recursos. Si el recién llegado es ser una copia de seguridad por la “maquinaria política” es un escenario completamente diferente.
2) Como concejal de la ciudad que sirvió bajo tres alcaldes diferentes de ser un miembro del Consejo de la Ciudad fue tan difícil o fácil?
Sirviendo bajo diferentes alcaldes, podría ser fácil o no dependiendo de la Agenda de política que el alcalde encargado tiene en mente; Si el titular demuestra una colaboración abierta y sincera disposición a trabajar diligentemente con todos los componentes de maneras justas, mediante el intercambio de oportunidades de trabajo y los recursos públicos es fácil de llevar el negocio; pero si la agenda del alcalde es sólo para servir y beneficia a su propio pueblo los intereses étnicos, que los problemas de encendido y los conflictos políticos profundos, que era mis experiencias amargas con dos alcaldes de Camden.3) ¿Cuál fue su mayor logro como un concejal de la ciudad?
Mi logro fue más relevante como líder y mentor político que como concejal de la ciudad en sí; Era para traer una representación justa y equilibrio en la política y la Estructura Administrativa en la ciudad como el Condado también.4) ¿Hay algo que te gustaría haber podido lograr antes de salir de la oficina?
Mis intenciones antes abandonaron el Ayuntamiento, era ayudar a Nilsa Cruz-Perez para conseguir alcalde electo, y reforzar con ella como Consejero Administrativo para ejecutar el negocio de la ciudad en una plataforma financiera estructurada más eficiente, para el día de la ciudad a la operación día, y para la creación de la Ciudad de Desarrollo de Negocios y Empresariado Centro de Creación.5) ¿Cuál fue su mayor desafío como un concejal de la ciudad?
Mi reto más difícil como concejal era luchar intentos corruptos para explotar los recursos de Camden por el interés especial, y acusados político federal muy conocido.6) ¿Quiénes son sus líderes favoritos?
Mi líder favoritos son aquellos individuos intelectuales y muy pragmáticos que tiene un concepto claro de la misión, la causa, la disciplina y la acción, que trabajan duro para la unidad de propósito.
Me encantan esos líderes que no son egoístas, y siempre procuran ayudar a cada uno de ellos que son parte del equipo como Uno.7) Después de haber sido retirado de la política ahora es lo que alguna vez la tentación de querer volver a la política a una cierta capacidad?
Me gustaría en algún momento, a realizar, en una organización de Nueva Trasformative Alianza de la Juventud para promover una nueva generación de jóvenes líderes políticos.
8) ¿Qué consejo le darías a los jóvenes líderes?
Mi mejor consejo para los jóvenes líderes, nunca rendirse suyos los sueños y aspiraciones, el trabajo diligente y bien organizado, hacer planes sonado y nunca, nunca será un proscrastinator.
Jani Lane the former lead singer from warrant was perhaps one of the most underrated talented songwriters of the 80’s hair metal genre. He is known as the Cherry Pie guy. The guy that wrote the song that was all over radio and MTV in 1990.
As a fan I really enjoy warrant’s whole catalog of music not just the cherry pie song. Janie Lane was a talented singer and songwriter on the first three albums he wrote all of the songs. He could play an acoustic guitar and sit at a piano and write a great song like I saw red.
The purpose of this blog is to simply give Jani Lane the recognition that he deserves not as the Cherry Pie guy but at the song and dance man. He was more about the songs than anything and if you listen to Warrant’s catalogs of songs you can clearly hear how talented he was. The first record I still love listening to a song like cold sweat a song that still sounds as good today as it did in 1989.
Cherry pie album is a great record there are better songs on the Cherry Pie album than cherry pie. Mr Rainmaker,bed of roses, love in stereo, song and dance man. The third record to listen to a song like bitter pill it takes talent to write a song like that I still love that song. Janie Lane passed away four years ago but the band continues to play his songs and his legacy lives on. This is not to take anything away from the band because for Jani Lane to do the songs he needed the other four guys at the end of the day is not anything to take away from Jerry,Eric, Steven or Joey they are four talented musicians and it’s good that they are still performing and playing live because I still love those songs and I still want to hear them and they have a great lead singer Robert Mason who was also a friend of Jani Lane. I am glad that they got a singer like Robert Mason.
The songs are still great and the music is still fun to listen to not just for one song but the records that he made which became soundtrack to our lives. I loved listening to Love in stereo in my walkman.
Firehouse guitarist Bill Leverty is still rocking and going strong after 25 years. Having written hit songs and played too sold out crowds. Bill Leverty is still going strong after 25 years. He is still playing with Firehouse and is working on a new solo record. I spoke to Bill Leverty recently to talk about the new single and his upcoming projects. Bill Leverty has a new single out now called Strong that fans can buy on his website http://www.leverty.com. If you love good rock songs you will love the new song.
Angel Alamo: How did the song “strong” come about and what is the song about?
Bill Leverty: Like most of the songs I write, “Strong” started with me just playing my guitar, trying to come up with something that sounded interesting to me. After playing for a couple of hours, the riff in the chorus came out and I felt that it was worth developing. I then sang a melody over that riff. At this point I was just mumbling words, but I had an idea of the phrasing that I wanted. Then I figured out the lyrics for the chorus and kind of wrote the song backwards from there.
Angel Alamo: Will the song “strong” be included on your next solo album or will it just be a single?
Bill Leverty: It’ll be on my next solo album after I finish enough songs. I have 6 done so far.
Angel Alamo: With record sales being down, is this something we will see more where you will put out singles instead of albums?
Bill Leverty: I finish a song and then put it out right away. I can’t wait to get it out there. If people want it, they can get it. If they want to wait until the entire album is finished, that’s cool too.
Angel Alamo: When can we expect to see you release your upcoming solo album?
Bill Leverty: As soon as I have enough songs, probably 10, I’ll press up some CDs.
Angel Alamo: Are you working or writing with anyone for your solo album?
Bill Leverty: Not on this one.
Angel Alamo: Will you be doing any solo shows anytime in the future?
Bill Leverty: No. This is a recording project. My live music focus is with FireHouse.
Angel Alamo: Will FireHouse be doing more shows in 2015?
Bill Leverty: You bet. We’ve got a bunch of gigs lined up this summer. The confirmed dates that we have so far are up on my website, www.Leverty.com.
Trixter are roaring back in 2015 with a new album Human Era which comes out on June 9, 2015. The band is back better than ever and still happy to be playing together after 30 years. Trixter came roaring into the the scene in 1990 with their self-titled debut album which spawned three hit singles “Give it to me good”, “one in a million” and “surrender”. Trixter new single Rockin’ to the edge of the night is a great single that shows Trixter are still writing great songs and are moving forward and not ready to rest on what they have done in the past. I had a chance to catch up with Steve Brown to talk about the new album, new tour, and Trixter’s career.
Angel Alamo: How did this record come together?
Steve Brown: Being primary writer in the band I am always working on songs. Wether its for Trixter or other things I do writing music for TV or movies or whatever. After we did 2012 New Audio Machine we knew we would make a new record because we had so much confidence. New Audio Machine was an incredible feat for us 20 years later after our 2nd record to finally make a new studio album. An album that came out spectacular is a feat in itself for a band that hasn’t made a record in such a long time. We were so proud of it we came out with a renew confidence of vitality if you will which made absolute sense. We knew we would make a new record. Frontiers records people Sarrafino texted me called me and e-mailed me said Steve we want you guys to make a new Trixter record. Sure enough we did. Human Era which comes out June 9th here in the states we couldn’t be prouder it is our best record.
Angel Alamo: Being that this is your 4th album was making this record easier than your previous albums?
Steve Brown: Yes and no what I can is that now we made our 2nd record with a new form of recording as opposed to the first two records. The first two records were made in the heyday when bands made albums. We were living in California or recording in New York City the best studios money can buy huge budget nowadays its different ball game. We make records at our houses. I have a studio at my house where we do all of the tracks Pete does all of his vocals in Arizona. With the internet and dropbox and file sharing programs it makes life a lot easier.
Angel Alamo: Did the band do anything different when it comes to recording this record?
Steve Brown: We are just trying to be the best Trixter that we can be. We have no preconceive notion of being something we are not we focus on keeping things conzised simple and powerful and that’s what Trixter is.
Angel Alamo: How many songs were recorded for the album?
Steve Brown: I did more demos once we got it down were set with the 11 brand new songs plus the two bonus tracks Road of a thousand dreams which was recoded and always a victim which is the I-tunes bonus track.
Angel Alamo: Why did you guys name the record Human Era?
P.j. Farley my co-producer and partner in crime. He came up with the concept and I loved it. It is kind of a testament to who we are. It reaches everyone. There is something to be said in this day and age with technology. Social media, cell phone, e-mail. It is something to be said when you have to actually have to sit down in front of somebody and talk to them and having Human contact. That is when we started this band in 1982 those are the foundations this band was built on when you had to call someone on rotary dial phone. We had to ride our bicycles to rehearsals. We had to be there face to face human contact. That is really what the record is as much as we love technology there is something to still be said. As much as we love technology and everything that it brings us. There is something still to be said about sitting in a room together, we are together all of us on the road we were at M3 festival together. We love being with each other and 30 years later that is something near and dear to our hearts.
Angel Alamo: A lot of bands in general may find it hard to play together and get along. You guys seem to be still enjoy being together. After 25 years together how do you manage to still work together and get along?
Steve Brown: This band is not just a rock n roll band or a business. We are family Steve P.J. Scott those guys are my rock n roll brothers. I am closer to them than to anyone in the world besides my wife. It’s that chemistry we have we literally love each other. We have a great time.
Angel Alamo: The 1st single Rockin’ to the edge of the night is a great catchy kick ass rock song. How did the song come together?
Steve Brown: It is an anthem. For anybody in life for the hard workers of the workld everyone has to let loose. When it comes working 9-5 five or six days a week at some point you want to rock into the edge of the night. It is one of our oldest songs from 1987-1988 it was a live show statement. The last record we resurrected a couple of older songs that reason they didn’t make certain records has nothing to do if there where good enough. This one was one I re-worked it dropped they key down a bit. It made sense Pete did a phenomenal job on vocals. It is one the quickest songs we recorded. With give it to me good 3 minutes and 52 seconds of hard rock perfection.
Angel Alamo: You mentioned the song “For you” having a Van Halen feel to it. Did you originally intend for that to happen or is it just how the song came out?
Steve Brown: Van Halen is the band that is Trixter’s biggest influence. It is why we are a band everything we aspire to be is because of them Anything we do has Van Halen spirit. For you is one of those things I came up with riff first it is the first record where Mark is crushing with double bass drums. The guitars is nuts.
Angel Alamo: Are there any ballads on the record?
TRIXTER treated their fans to a sneak peak at their upcoming album Human Era coming out on June 9, 2015. The sneak peek indicates Human Era is a rock album worth buying and listening to. Trixter played a 12 song set.
TRIXTER still has all four of the original members of the band. They still love each other as brothers and still enjoy making music together. It’s a special bond that they have. You can see it in their live performances. They are the band you root for because they still love the fans and know how to put on a great rock show. The band kicked off their set with the new single from Human Era rockin’ to the edge of the night. This was the first time they have ever played the song live. The song works well live with the audience. The band played Play Rough from their debut album. The band was in top form. Steve Brown was all over the stage playing his guitar as if there is no tomorrow which he has always done. Road of a thousand dreams from their 2nd album Hear was a good treat for the fans. One in a million was next as P.J. Farley still sounds as good as ever on bass. Heart of steel and rocking horse was next. The band was having a good time playing and playfully picking on drummer Mark Scott who took it all in stride. The band went into singing happy birthday to Mark Scott (his birthday was on May 1). The band slowed the party for a moment as they went into their hit song from their debut album Surrender. The band played the song live a bit faster. The song really showcases how good Pete’s voice still sounds after all of these years. Machine from their 2012 album New Audio Machine was played next. It looks like the audience was familiar with the audience. Bad girl from their debut album had the crowd going. Mark Scott sounded like thunder on the drums adding more drum fills at the end of the song. Tattoo and Misery and Line of fire were performed next. The band ended the evening with the song that started all and out Trixter on the map Give it to me good.
The show was a great show. The band was having fun and celebrating 25 years ago. They are great live band. I recommend people come out check out their live show. It is worth checking out.
Love or hate Bill Belichick you can’t argue with success. His team wins every year. His biggest challenge will come on the day Tom Brady retires. Week 4 of the 2014 NFL season New England patriots got beaten bad by the Kansas City Chiefs a great team. They lost 41-14 they had a tough road game against Cincinnati Bengals. Everyone was predicting the beginning of the end for New England patriots.
I have followed Coach Bill Belichick. I have seen the documentary a day in the life by NFL network. Watching the press conference it was the most genius thing a coach could have said. Bill Belichick was being asked questions about Tom Brady age and does he have the talent he needs around him. People made fun of that press conference.
Here is my take on it. There was no reason to hit the panic button and send your team into panic mode. A great leader doesn’t do that. He kept it simple by sending a message to his team that hey we are not going to do anything extra special for the Sunday night game at Cincinnati ignore the noise and the hype about the team being done let’s just focus on one game “we’re on to Cincinnati”. He didn’t have his team looking at the past or looking at the future. He had his team focus on the next game. Focusing on the next game is what he has his team do every week.
James Kottak: That was a very special album for me as I co wrote 3 songs including Family Picnic, the title track.
AA: Why do you think a lot of drummers play with one tom opposed to playing with multiple toms?
JK: I only use one tom with The Scorpions because the music only calls for three…I would use more if needed.
AA: Are you putting out any new Kottak music?
AA: Which do you prefer playing drums or being a frontman/guitarist?
JK: I enjoy both very much. Fronting a band gives me that rush that i used to get when I first started playing drums like when i was 14 years old!
AA: Is there any city or country that you would love to play at live but haven’t had a chance to play yet?
AA: What are your favorite songs to play live?
JK: I always love BIG CITY NIGHTS!
AA: Are there any songs that have ever presented a challenge for you to play as a drummer?
JK: I sing on almost every song in the Scorpion set…drumming AND singing really kicks my ass sometimes…but i LOVE it!
AA: Growing up who were your favorite drummers? Are there any new drummers that you like?
JK: John Bonham/Led Zep, Don Brewer/Grand Funk Railroad
AA: You spent a lot of years playing with Rick Steier do you guys still keep in touch? Is there any chance of you and Rick doing anything together?
I have been waiting 8 months to write this blog. Back in January I read the dumbest thing I have ever read on the internet about Camden Waterfront. This person was going back to an old story in 2012. This is 2014. 2013 was a successful year. We were determined to make 2014 a successful year and we did. This was the year were years of hard work came together. It was a complete team effort. I am Chairman of the Camden Parking Authority. I am passionate about Camden Waterfront. I want all of the events to do well. We had 3 million visitors, we had the most concerts in 5 years. All of the concerts were a success. There was no major problems. The Camden Riversharks attendance was up this year. Adventure Aquarium, Battleship New Jersey, Camden Children’s Garden all did well this season. The free Jazz festival series another major success. The freedom festival. The fact is what was in the past is in the past. As I said on Latino Motion with Bert Lopez as a leader we want to see an immediate impact on the work that we are doing, sometimes it takes time to see the result. This year we did. It helps that we all worked as a team. I thank our staff at Camden Parking Authority for giving great customer service and all of the hard work that they did. We know it takes one bad incident to get us on the news. This year we had no negative press. We have reason to celebrate for a moment and enjoy this success. Then in 2015 we have to do it all over again. I hate losing. I like proving the critics wrong. To the 3 million visitors who came to the Camden Waterfront THANK YOU for coming to Camden Waterfront. We appreciate that you came to spend your hard earned money with us because we know you could have gone someplace else.
John Corabi has had an amazing career as a musician having been on the music circuit since 1985 playing clubs in the south Jersey/Philadelphia area with Angora. Later on being the singer for The Scream, Motley Crue, Union, and guitarist for RATT. John Corabi has been a busy man lately playing on tour supporting his acoustic album unplugged John Corabi is working on an electric solo album to be released later this year on RAT PAK Records. John Corabi is also preparing for a summer run of tour dates. I had the pleasure to catch up with John Corabi to talk about the early days, his time in Motley Crue, & what’s ahead as there are plans for John Corabi to keep on rocking.
Angel Alamo: How was the music scene in Philadelphia/South Jersey area when you were first playing in the early days? Did you ever play on the same bill as Britney Fox or Cinderella? What are your memories of performing at the galaxy in Somerdale, New Jersey.
John Corabi: When I started with my band Angora we would play Friday nights at the galaxy and Cinderella would play on Saturday nights. The galaxy was a cool place and had a bar to hang out. The Empire and the galaxy where the only two places for bands that where trying to make it in the area.
Angel Alamo: Is it true that you were asked to be the lead singer of Skid Row? If it is how did that almost happened?
John Corabi: I wasn’t asked to be in Skid Row. Dave”Snake” Sabo was trying out different singers at the time. I had moved to California. My band was getting interests from record labels. They didn’t ask me to be the guy. Dave just said Jon Bon Jovi is helping me out. I was tied to my band. With Britney Fox it was the same thing. I had already gotten a record deal with my band.
Angel Alamo: When you first started recording the Motley Crue album what was the first few months like as far as writing and recording knowing that suddenly Nikki had another lyricist and Mick suddenly now had another guitarist in the band?
John Corabi: Working on that record was easy. We went into a room and just jammed. We didn’t say we were going to do a record that sounds like this or that. We just jammed and that is pretty much how the songs came out. It was a really creative time.
Angel Alamo: Misunderstood is a great song. How was the making of that song both lyrically and musically. Did you do the acoustic arrangements?
John Corabi: Mick came up with the riff. They had the riff already. Misunderstood was the second song we had worked on. Hammered was the first song we worked on. The acoustic part had already been written. I suggested lets have an acoustic part and then a heavy part. We wanted to do like a Stairway to heaven type thing where we have an acoustic then an electric part. Then we decided to have the orchestra in it.
Angel Alamo: How was it working with Producer Bob Rock?
John Corabi: I don’t care what anyone says, I liked working with him. He got into your head and would make you give him his best. Bob Rock made you want to do better.
Angel Alamo: I remember 20 years ago I read an interview on Metal Edge magazine where Nikki Sixx said Motley Crue didn’t add the song 10,000 miles away because everyone was saying it was a #1 song. If you had things your way would that song had been on the album?
John Corabi: We put a strong album together. It’s not unusual to have a few songs not make the record for whatever reason. Bands like the beatles and the Rolling Stones always have a few songs that don’t make the record. 10,000 miles away ended up on the European version of Quaternary EP.
Angel Alamo: It’s been 20 years since the release of Motley Crue self-titled album how do you feel about that record 20 years later?
John Corabi: It has blossomed into a record that even fans that didn’t want to give it a shot are giving the record a shot now and they like the album.You have fans that say I listened to the record when Vince came back. Those are true signs of a great record. The production was great. The lyrics were ahead of their time. We were writing about relevant times. Times that people can still relate to even today There’s no dated songs on the album. It f*cking rocks.
Angel Alamo: How is your autobiography coming along is there a release, time frame?
John Corabi: It’s itching along. I started out with a couple of different writers. My girlfriend tells me that I write a good story and says you should just write it yourself. You have to get an agent and a publisher. I am working on it just one bit at a time. I hope to eventually finish it.
Angel Alamo: What do you do to maintain your voice in great shape after all of these years of singing and touring?
John Corabi: I don’t have any set regiments. I don’t like talking on days that I have a show. I get lots of sleep when I am on the road. Sleep is very important. I don’t drink before a show but I will drink after a show. I do little vocal exercises.
Angel Alamo: Would you ever do a tour where you would do an entire album from start to finish from any of your past albums?
John Corabi: I have been approached by my agent two weeks ago to do a summer tour where I do the whole 1994 Motley Crue album. Welcome to the numb would not be able to be done because of all of the pro tools and guitars that were used. I can’t do welcome to the numb but I could add a song like 10,000 miles away that fans always ask me about, friends or another song from Motley Crue 1994 era.
Angel Alamo: Your solo album is coming out this year did you write or work with anyone?
John Corabi: I wrote a couple of songs with Matt Farley and I wrote some of the songs alone. I have time off after this week to work on it. My father had passed away two weeks ago. Going to rehearse for the Motley stuff.
Angel Alamo: What are your favorite songs to perform live?
John Corabi: Acoustic version of misunderstood always gets a huge response. Hooligans holiday. I like to joke around with the audience and do a storyteller type of thing. I also like to perform man in the moon.
Angel Alamo: Is there any song from your catalog from Scream to your solo stuff that means the most to you?
John Corabi: It’s so hard to pick a favorite it’s like deciding which finger in my hand I don’t need. It depends on how I feel some days I feel like welcome to the numb other days I like something else. It is so hard just to pick one song. Right now with the passing of my father. Father, mother, son means a lot to me right now.
Angel Alamo: What is better for you being in a band or being a solo artist?
John Corabi: I like both being in a band and a solo artist. I had time in Union and I spent a while in RATT. I took a break and I just wanted to get back to singing again. It wasn’t ego or anything. I don’t need total control. I always ask my band what do you think, and I always ask my manager. I get to make the final decisions.
Angel Alamo: If you could sing in any band what band would it be?
John Corabi: Led Zepplin and the Beatles. I would just be happy playing the Xylophone for the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.
Angel Alamo: When your career is all set and done how do you want the fans to remember John Corabi?
John Corabi ha tenido una carrera increíble como músico de haber estado en el circuito de la música desde 1985 tocando en clubes de la zona sur de Jersey / Philadelphia con Angora. Luego de ser el cantante de The Scream, Motley Crue, Union, y guitarrista de RATT. John Corabi ha sido un hombre muy ocupado jugando últimamente de gira en apoyo de su álbum acústico unplugged John Corabi está trabajando en un álbum en solitario eletric para ser lanzado a finales de este año en los registros Ratpack. También se está preparando para una carrera de verano de conciertos. Tuve el placer de ponerse al día con John Corabi.
Ángel Álamo: ¿Cómo fue la escena de la música en el área de Filadelfia / South Jersey cuando usted jugaba por primera vez en los primeros días ? ¿Alguna vez se toca en el mismo proyecto de ley como Britney Fox o Cinderella? ¿Cuáles son sus recuerdos de la realización en la galaxia en Somerdale , Nueva Jersey.
John Corabi : Cuando empecé con mi banda Angora jugábamos viernes por la noche en la galaxia y Cinderella jugarían las noches de sábado . La galaxia fue un lugar fresco y tenía un bar para pasar el rato . El Imperio y la galaxia donde los únicos dos lugares para las bandas que estaban tratando de hacer en la zona.
Ángel Álamo: ¿Es cierto que se le pidió ser el vocalista de Skid Row? Si está , ¿cómo que casi pasó?
John Corabi : No se le pidió estar en Skid Row. Dave ” Snake” Sabo estaba probando diferentes cantantes de la época. Me había mudado a California. Mi banda estaba poniendo los intereses de los sellos discográficos . Ellos no me pidieron ser el chico . David sólo dijo Jon Bon Jovi me está ayudando . Me ataron a mi banda. Con Britney Fox era la misma cosa. Yo ya había conseguido un contrato de grabación con mi banda .
Ángel Álamo: Cuando recién empezó a grabar el álbum de Motley Crue lo fue de los primeros meses , como en cuanto a composición y grabación de saber que de repente Nikki tenía otro letrista y Mick repente ahora tenía otro guitarrista en la banda?
John Corabi : Trabajar en ese registro fue fácil. Entramos en una habitación y sólo atascado. No dijimos que íbamos a hacer un disco que suena como esto o aquello. Nos atascamos y eso es más o menos como las canciones salieron. Fue un momento muy creativo.
Ángel Álamo: Misunderstood es una gran canción . ¿Cómo fue la realización de esa canción tanto lírica como musicalmente. ¿Hiciste los arreglos acústicos ?
John Corabi : Mick llegó con el riff . Tenían el riff ya . Misunderstood fue la segunda canción que habíamos trabajado. Martillado fue la primera canción que trabajamos . La parte acústica ya había sido escrito. Sugerí deja para tener una parte acústica y luego una parte pesada. Queríamos hacer como una escalera al cielo Tipo cosa donde tenemos una acústica entonces una parte eléctrica. Entonces nos decidimos a tener la orquesta en el mismo.
Ángel Álamo: ¿Cómo fue trabajar con el productor Bob Rock?
John Corabi : No me importa lo que digan, me ha gustado trabajar con él . Se metió en la cabeza y haría que usted le da a su mejor . Bob Rock daban ganas de hacerlo mejor.
Ángel Alamo : Recuerdo que hace 20 años leí una entrevista en la revista Metal Edge donde Nikki Sixx dijo Motley Crue no agregar la canción 10 mil millas de distancia , porque todo el mundo decía que era una canción # 1 . Si tuviera las cosas a tu manera sería esa canción había sido en el álbum ?
John Corabi : Ponemos un fuerte álbum juntos . No es inusual tener un par de canciones que no hacen el registro por cualquier razón. Bandas como los Beatles y los Rolling Stones siempre tienen un par de canciones que no tienen el registro. 10.000 millas de distancia terminaron en la versión europea del Cuaternario EP .
Ángel Alamo : Han pasado 20 años desde el lanzamiento de Motley Crue álbum homónimo , ¿cómo te sientes al respecto récord de 20 años después?
John Corabi : Se ha convertido en un disco que incluso los aficionados que no quisieron darle un tiro están dando el registro de un tiro ahora y les gusta la album.You tienen ventiladores que dicen que escuché la grabación cuando Vince volvió. Esos son los verdaderos signos de un gran disco . La producción fue genial. Las letras se adelantaron a su tiempo. Estábamos escribiendo acerca de los tiempos correspondientes. Times que la gente todavía se pueden identificar incluso hoy en día no hay canciones fechadas en el álbum. Es f * cking rocas .
Ángel Álamo: ¿Cómo es su autobiografía llegando a lo largo está allí un comunicado , el marco temporal ?
John Corabi : Ha picazón a lo largo . Empecé con un par de diferentes escritores. Mi novia me dice que escriba una buena historia y dice que sólo debe escribir por sí mismo . Tienes que conseguir un agente y un editor. Estoy trabajando en él sólo un poco a la vez . Espero que el tiempo termine.
Ángel Álamo: ¿Qué hace usted para mantener su voz en gran forma después de todos estos años de canto y de gira ?
John Corabi : Yo no tengo ningún regimientos fijos. No me gusta hablar en los días que tengo un show. Tengo muchas horas de sueño cuando estoy en el camino. El sueño es muy importante . Yo no bebo antes de un show , pero voy a beber después de un show . Hago pequeños ejercicios vocales.
Ángel Álamo: ¿Alguna vez hacer una gira en la que haría un álbum completo de principio a fin desde cualquiera de sus álbumes anteriores?
John Corabi : He sido contactado por mi agente hace dos semanas para hacer una gira de verano donde hago todo el álbum de 1994 Motley Crue . Bienvenido a la adormecida no sería capaz de hacer , porque de todas las herramientas profesionales y guitarras que se utilizaron. No puedo hacer la bienvenida a la adormecida pero podría añadir una canción así como 10.000 kilómetros de distancia que los fans siempre me pregunta acerca , los amigos o la otra canción de Motley Crue era 1.994 .
Ángel Alamo : Su álbum en solitario está saliendo este año qué escribiste o trabaja con alguien?
John Corabi : Escribí un par de canciones con Matt Farley y me escribió algunas de las canciones solo. Tengo tiempo libre después de esta semana para trabajar en él. Mi padre había fallecido hace dos semanas. El ir a ensayar para la materia de Motley .
Ángel Álamo: ¿Cuáles son tus canciones favoritas para tocar en vivo ?
John Corabi : versión acústica de incomprendido siempre obtiene una respuesta enorme . Vacaciones Hooligans . Me gusta bromear con el público y hacer un tipo de narrador de cosas. También me gusta realizar al hombre a la luna.
Ángel Álamo: ¿Hay alguna canción de su catálogo a partir del grito de tus cosas en solitario que significa mucho para usted ?
John Corabi : Es tan difícil elegir un favorito , es como decidir qué dedo en la mano que no necesito . Depende de cómo me siento algunos días me siento como bienvenida a los entumecidos otros días me gusta algo más. Es tan duro para elegir una canción. En este momento , con la muerte de mi padre. Padre , madre, hijo significa mucho para mí en este momento .
Ángel Alamo : ¿Qué es mejor para usted estar en una banda o ser un artista en solitario ?
John Corabi : me gusta tanto estar en una banda y un artista en solitario. Tuve tiempo en Unión y pasé un tiempo en RATT . Me tomó un descanso y yo sólo quería volver a cantar de nuevo . No era el ego , ni nada. No necesito el control total. Yo siempre pregunto a mi banda , ¿qué te parece, y siempre me pregunto a mi manager. Tengo la oportunidad de tomar las decisiones finales .
Ángel Alamo : Si pudiera cantar en una banda de lo que la banda sería?
John Corabi : Led Zeppelin y los Beatles. Sólo quiero ser feliz tocando el xilófono para los Rolling Stones y los Beatles.
Ángel Álamo: Cuando tu carrera está todo listo y hecho ¿cómo quieren que los fans recuerdan John Corabi ?
John Corabi : Sólo quiero que los fans miran el cuerpo de trabajo. Me comprometí con las bandas. A veces me ha costado . Me he tomado el camino largo cuando no me comprometo . El álbum grito fue lanzado hace 23 años y el álbum todavía suena como un gran disco. Todavía estoy orgulloso de ese disco . La Unión cosas que hice suena muy bien. Quiero que los aficionados al recordar que era un compositor creíble y relevante.
When I am at the Camden waterfront which is often during the summertime, My favorite place to eat is Market Street Pizzeria. What can I say about Market Street Pizzeria located at 1 Market Street, Camden, NJ 08102. They have friendly customer service. Every time I walk into that place always a friendly smile. The food is great. The prices are great. From my personal experience the burger is awesome. The cheesesteak is delicious, the pizza is great. They have great food specials. The owner is there most of the time. He always greets customers and makes sure the food and the service is great. They have chairs and tables outside and on a summer day or night always nice to sit outside and enjoy a meal. They are open everyday 11am to 9pm. Its close to all of the waterfront attractions. When you are in town to enjoy a Camden Riversharks game, concert, adventure aquarium or the NJ battleship it is worth stopping by to grab something to eat and relax and enjoy more time.
November 6, 2013 I bought Scott Stapp’s Proof of life album which is an amazing record from start to finish. It is his best solo record the best record his has done since Creed’s Weathered. There isn’t one bad song on this record 11 great songs each one has its own meaning. The record is truly the last chapter to his 2012 memoir Sinner’s creed. My personal favorites on the record are Slow suicide and hit me more.
I was in awe and excitement to wait for the tour dates and to see he was coming to the TLA in Philadelphia, PA on Friday, Aptil 4, 2014. I bought Meet and greet and concert ticket November 23, 2013. It would be 132 days until the concert. A long, long, wait. The best thing to do is live, enjoy winter, and before I know it would be April 4, 2014.
Finally, the day was here. I was already in line at 5:45pm talking to some of the other people there. It’s cool to share stories about Scott Stapp and his music in general. One of his fans brought up the topic of is it ok to say you like Scott Stapp’s music. I enjoyed hearing people’s stories of seeing some of his other concerts. At 6pm his tour manager (nice guy) started giving out bracelets to those who purchased the meet and greet passes. At 6:30pm we were making our way into the TLA venue to meet Scott Stapp. It was a bit chilly outside but it was all worth it. Scott’s tour manager laid down the rule no more than two autographs and he takes the pictures. We were all cool with the rules we were just excited to finally see this moment. Scott Stapp came out and was super nice shook hands with everyone. He signed my proof of life CD and we shook hands. I told him I have been a fan and loved his record with Creed My own prison. I finally got my picture taken with Scott Stapp. I was star struck and thinking I have listened to his music for 17 years here I am face to face with him telling him how much I love his records.
When you are this excited you are praying nothing goes wrong that day that you don’t get hit by a car or struck by lightning. I thank Scott Stapp for doing meet and greet for a lot of his fans this is a opportunity for picture autograph and a chance for small chat. Even at 35 I still get as excited about music as I did when I was an 11 year old kid who would watch rock videos on MTV all day and be in my room listening to music.
After two great opening acts the bands Dive and the terribles. At 10:20pm the stage was set for what would one of the best rock performances in Philadelphia. Scott Stapp hit the stage he had the eye of the tiger. You knew he was ready to rock Philadelphia and take you higher. He started out with a great one two punch with slow suicide and what if. It’s the perfect way to start the show. Justify was the only song from his first solo album but one that represents what he may have been going through in 2005. Justify is one of those songs that you may not like at first but after you hear it live you do. Scott Stapp took time to share a story about a nightmare he had in the past few weeks where he was facing himself and handcuffed himself and threw himself into a prison he went into the song my own prison. New day coming was a great sing along from the new album. The biggest surprise of the night came when Scott Stapp performed bullet from the creed album weathered. It was a surprise but the song fit in the set list well. Bullet is a heavy song the whole place was rocking to that song as if this was the final song of the night. Nobody was expecting to hear that song live because in that song slot in the past shows overcome was played. In the age of youtube and setlist.fm hearing bullets was a welcomed and rocking surprise. Breakout was next another great song from the new album followed by higher. Scott Stapp told a story about hit me more. It is a song about taking hits and moving on. For me personally this was my highlight of the night. Hit me more is my favorite song off the new album. It is amazing as a fan to have heard the song over 100 times and then hear scott Stapp sing it live five feet away from me. One last breath, only one, and my sacrifice were next performed. The band was really rocking as if they have been playing together for a few years and not 10 shows. Scott shared a story on how his daughter would ask him why did he always have to go. He explained to his daughter that he has to go sing for people. She asked on so you are a rock star. He said no Jesus was a rock star. This was another great crowd sing along. Crash and with arms wide open were the next songs to be performed. Dying to live and proof of life ended the 17 song set one hour and 45 minute show. The story telling about the song dying to live was inspiring. He shared the story taking the fans to a dark place in a grave thinking of all of the people you love and all of the people you miss. Seeing the blue sky again having that chance to do it. Pieces of scott stapp died the night of his almost demise.
Scott Stapp has taken many hits from the critics in the past and he still does today. You can’t argue with success. Scott Stapp in 2014 is a 40-year-old man who is a work in progress. His music, his story has inspired and motivated a lot of his fans. The love of God, his wife, and three children keep him moving forward. The most important thing is Scott Stapp is in a happy place. His fans are just as happy for him. Scott feels his life and career has been given a 2nd choice. He is taking advantage of another chance. Scott Stapp doesn’t need to justify or prove anything to his critics. He has made a successful album that connects with his fans on a very personal level. For some of his fans who are going through the same thing the record serves as an inspiration to others. His songs are his legacy. With this record he has made a record that shows that he can still make a record that is meaningful. Proof of life is another landmark album for Scott Stapp. I’m happy to see Scott Stapp live on stage because at the meet and greets he is hearing the stories about how much his record means to his fans. Scott Stapp plans on doing more touring for the rest of 2014. I hope everyone who wants to see him live gets the chance to see him live. This is a must see concert.
I was 15 years old 20 years ago when Motley Crue released their self- titled album. This being their 6th studio album it was the follow-up to their highly successful album Dr. Feelgood. The music scene in 1994 in general was very interesting you had a lot of different genres of music, different bands that were successful and a lot bands from the 80’s music genre that were struggling and breaking up.
I was open to the new Motley Crue album with John Corabi. I love the early albums from Motley Crue but with their self-titled album the band just needed to do an album that would allow them to grow. They had a great singer who also played guitar and gave them a chance to become a heavier band and I really love the self-titled album from Motley Crue the same way that I love the solo album that Vince Neil did called exposed to which came out in 1993.
A great element to the album was that it was produced by Bob Rock who produced the Dr. feelgood record. Bob Rock is my favorite music producer I know the band took a little bit longer on the record I remember in 1993 they said the album would be titled til death do us part. They changed the title of the album to just Motley Crue and I think that was a great idea. Motley Crue is one best rock albums that came out 20 years ago it was to me a lot better than grunge music.
John Corabi has a heavy voice the first time I ever heard his voice was with Motley Crue and I just love how heavy his voice is. I think it’s a great record that Motley Crue can be proud of and I hope that the band today are still proud of the record that they made the band likes to sing about girls girls girls and getting laid and all that stuff. Every music artist has to make that album that lets them grow.
The same way Def Leppard did the album slang which allowed them to grow the same way Bon Jovi did the Lost Highway album I think every band needs to make that record. Some bands are allowed to grow and Motley Crue they were not allowed to grow.
It is the heaviest album they have done. The album on the Motley Crue catalog ranks up there in the top 3 Motley Crue albums. Vince Neil is the Motley Crue singer nobody will ever argue that. On this album we can make the best arguement that in 1994 Motley Crue was a great band with John Corabi. I still love listening to the album. I tell every rock band that I work with make an album that you still want to play and listen to 10 years from now. John Corabi still plays songs off the Motley Crue album as he should because those songs they hold up to anything that is released today. It doesn’t matter that the album didn’t sell 2 million albums like the other albums did. It matters that they made an album that still stands.
One of my favorite teachers at Cramer School was the Vice-Principal Mr. Horsley. He was a great Vice-Prinicpal whose heart was at Cramer School making sure that we were always doing the right thing. He was a great disciplinarian as well. He didn’t let anyone get away with anything. If you did something wrong you got detention no ands or ifs about it. I remember the last day of school in 4th grade he had a talk with all of the safety patrol members. He always had something good or inspirational to say. On this day he had his heart on his sleeve because he knew he was meeting with us for the very last time. He said it himself this is the last time I meet with you. If there is one thing I want you to remember is to remember the word RESPONSIBILITY from this day forward you are responsible for getting your homework done on time. You are responsible for yourself. As you move on to middle school and high school you are responsible for making sure that you graduate. It is up to you. I never saw Mr. Horsley again that speech that he made June, 1990 has stayed with me to this day. You have a lot of teachers in Camden schools who are like Mr. Horsley. They are passionate about teaching.
It is amazing that I never forgot what he told me. It was a moment I will always remember for the fact that he made sure that we all remembered the word responsibility. The word of wisdom has stayed on my mind. He was 100% correct about the word responsibilty
Editors note: I got the opportunity to interview one of the most underrated and hardest working singers in the music business Strukk World Entertainment artist Manny Blue. He is always writing music, he is pursuing his education, while acting and also doing a reality show. He is one of the stars of the reality show Angel Alamo’s The Making of an empire. He is a bilingual artist and for his spanish speaking fans I will be posting a spanish interview with Manny Blue. For more information on Manny Blue check out the following links:
ANGEL ALAMO: How long have you been singing?
Manny Blue: I’ve been singing all my life just it wasn’t always in front of people I was very shy at first.
ANGEL ALAMO: Growing up what where your influences?
Manny Blue: Musically I used to listen to a lot of oldies. But my favorite band as a kid was the Beach Boys. But it wasn’t until the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync that I decided to start a boy band.
ANGEL ALAMO: If you could tour with anyone anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Manny Blue: Wow tough question because there are so many artist I’d love to tour with. But I will go with Britney Spears and Would love to tour Japan. Britney is a show rocker and Japan loves and supports Music. I think it would be a great combination
ANGEL ALAMO: What’s your favorite song to perform live and why?
Manny Blue: Again another tough question lol but I would go with Dreamer. Dreamer has such a positive message being sent out. I also like the fact that is a pop/rock song which is one of my favorite genre.
ANGEL ALAMO: How is your new album coming along?
Manny Blue: Right now I’ve been focusing on writing a bunch of new songs I’m not sure if we will be releasing a full album or just another EP or several singles.
ANGEL ALAMO: What can Manny Blue fans expect on your next album?
Manny Blue: Due to all the writing that is taking place if it was up to me they can expect a sound track lol I say that because of all the different songs, concepts and sounds that I’d like to incorporate but I guess we will have to wait and see.
ANGEL ALAMO: Will you be playing any shows?
Manny Blue: Definitely. I plan to do many shows and hope to tour as well.
ANGEL ALAMO: What are your plans for 2014?
Manny Blue: I have so many goals for 2014 not just musically but in my personal life such as starting my courses towards my Bachelors Degree.
ANGEL ALAMO: Are you doing any movies?
Manny Blue: I have been looking into audition for roles. I definitely would like to get a few acting classes and get new head shots done. I will also be looking into getting the funding and a team to bring a movie I have In mind to life. It will be a movie that I can see play on the Disney Channel or MTV.
ANGEL ALAMO: Tell us something about Manny Blue that no one knows?
Manny Blue: I find it awkward or a bit embarrassing when I’m randomly recognized and asked to take a photo or sign something. I guess because I’m not a Celebrity with my face on magazines or on billboards. Is that weird? Lol
I remember a few years back after the MTV Music Awards my cousin and I ran into the singer Mya so as I was taking the photo of her with my cousin and there was a group of girls wanting to take a photo with her and they recognized me from the boy band I was in and they ran to me asking get to take a photo with me that even the paparazzi were asking who was I. I just didn’t know what to do with myself lol
In 1993 I was a volunteer at Cooper hospital. I would at times stare out the window from the 7th floor looking out to the Camden waterfront. I knew something was being built because from the window I can see the construction on the BB&T Pavilion going on. I did not know what was going on. I remember asking one of the doctors what are they building at the Camden waterfront. I was told it was an amphitheater where we could see concerts. For us it was a great thing that we can see major artists in Camden and not have to cross the bridge to go to the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia. Every month I would see the progress I would see the construction I would see how the Amphitheatre was coming along and I loved seeing it I really wish I would have taken pictures every month on the progress of the amphitheatre being built. It was something special to see. I was a teenager at the time I was 15 years old and seeing the progress going on at the Camden waterfront to me was wow it’s about time. It became personal to me. Even today it’s personal. I have seen it go through two name changes. It’s a very special place in my heart. At the time the New Jersey State Aquarium (now Adventure Aquarium) had only been open for a year. Now as chairman of the Camden Parking Authority I get to be involved in what is happening at the Camden waterfront.
You have sadly journalists and bloggers that like to write negative things about the Camden waterfront and the BB&T Pavilion. That is fine which is why I love having my blog. I said in a radio interview this past week that what goes on before the concert also goes on in South Philadelphia when people go to a concert when I want to go see Metallica in 1997 people were drinking partying in the parking lot play music loud and proud but if you are doing it in Camden they want to write something negative about it.
This blog is coming from my heart this blog is coming from a man who was born, raised, and lives in Camden. I am still at times reminded of the 15 year old kid I was when the first concert was being played in June 1995 and thinking wow Bon Jovi is coming to Camden, NJ. That’s when I knew that I would be able to see my favorite artists in Camden, NJ. It saves time compared to going to South Philadelphia.
We get the negative press just based off of one or two concerts but hardly anybody maybe one journalist wanted to write about what happened last year. It is easy to read the negative things that people want to say and think it is bad to come to the Camden Waterfront and enjoy a concert. Last year the one concert that we always get bad press for was successful. We all worked together the BB&T Pavilion, Camden Parking Authority, Camden County Metro Police and Cooper grant neighbors we all work together to ensure we didn’t have the same issues as in the past. This year we will continue to have the same success we had last year. This year I am more determined more passionate to make sure that we have a successful year to make sure that we don’t get some of the negative press. The negative press at times is a slap in the face at times at those who give 100% to make a successful season happen. Everyone from cashiers to head of the departments gives 100% at each and every event. I see it. I am out there at times to see for myself. I am proud of the work that is done. We are not going to make everybody happy. I would love to but it is not going to happen.
I have had the chance to speak to a lot of the concert goers for them coming to see Dave Matthews or Jimmy Buffett that’s a highlight of their summer what they do is come down enjoy a concert and just have a good time when you have 25,000 people coming you’re going to have a few bad apples but the rest of them are just going to come have a great time they’re going to tell people the next day when they go back to school they are going to say what a great time they had. To some of the concert goers it is a tradition and a way for them to have fun with their friends and families. To the people who are coming to the Camden Waterfront to see a concert this summer we welcome you and we thank you.
I will always think back to the 15 year old kid looking out the window at the Camden waterfront seeing the Camden Waterfront moving forward. It’s a 19 year journey with BB&T Pavilion. That is the point of view where I am coming from. That is the point of view that some people will get and others don’t.
One of my favorite memories of growing up in Camden was a man who lived on my block. He was in his late 50s. He lived with his mother. Back then in 1989 I was an 11 year old kid who was into boxing. Me and my friends would go to Jeff’s GYM on Federal Street. Karate classes were too expensive. The guy who ran the gym would charge only $2 a week. Which was a price we could afford. Every few months or so the gym would host boxing matches. We didn’t know who we were going to fight. Everyone wanted to fight the boxer from Atlantic City nicknamed Pretty Boy. We laughed at his nickname but the guy could fight. My friend took the nickname hands of stone. I took the nickname Bad Boy. He was mad at me for a second for not giving him the nickname I chose. Bad Boy was a cool nickname for me. From 4pm-6pm we would practice. The man would always take the time to help me with me with boxing. I got one on one lessons with him. He always took the time teach me the basics about Boxing. I had the worst jab he would help me improve on it. He did not have to help me. I remember one day he told me the story about growing up in Puerto Rico he told me that he had to fight to eat. They would set up fights. The winner would win a meal. He had a rough life. He was not able to finish school. He didn’t have the same opportunities we take for granted. What stays with me is the kindness of his heart he mentored me. He was a kind trainer. He was also tough he made sure I was learning and not wasting time.
Mayor Dana Redd was sworn in for her 2nd term as Mayor. City Council Vice-President Curtis Jenkins was sworn in for her his 3rd term as City Councilman, Marilyn Torres for her 2nd term as Councilwoman and Aurthur Barclay to his first term as City Councilman.
The mayor ended her speech with a question. “Camden are you with me”. In any situation you need to work with your leader and be united. Everyone plays a role in helping make their community better. At times it takes putting aside everyones personal egos and agendas to work together. On a football team you have one quarterback you could never have two quarterbacks or in a band two frontman. Being a leader myself I have all of the respect in the world for all of the Mayors in every city. Most of whom are really trying their best to make their cities better. Mayor Dana Redd is in the same situation. I want to see Mayor Redd succeed and move Camden forward. It’s going to take a team to get the job done. In the next four years its going to happen. I prefer to be have a positive optimistic outlook and do my part.
I recently read an article by Rolling Stone Magazine Matt Taibbi about my hometown Camden, NJ. The article was very one sided and very dumb to say the least. The article shows a new low by Matt Taibbi desperate attempt for attention. T The editor Matt Taibbi it is hard to take a journalist seriously who acts more like a 1st grader than a man. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Taibbi#Controversy_and_confrontation to see how immature this guy really is. This is the same guy who got his editor at NY Press fired.
This guy felt the need to recycle an idea for writing a negative about Camden, NJ. Camden, NJ has its issues. As someone who was born, raised, & lives in Camden, NJ there are people and organizations who care about Camden, NJ. No mention was ever made of the positive things that are happening in Camden, NJ. I read this story I think what a child would think about their city. Growing up in Camden, we always heard about the negative things that went on. We were even told that only 50% of us would finish high school. The one thing that we were taught is to have pride in your city and make your city proud. Camden has always had people like the Late Coach Clarence Turner, Coach Martin Booker, and the many teachers, parents, and mentors who work tirelessly for the city of Camden.
The problems in Camden, NJ are plenty lack of jobs then again this is the case in every town in America. The gangs who pollute our neighborhoods and destroy families and people by selling drugs, robbing and killing people. Men who are making babies and not taking care of them or spending time with them. If you are not man enough to care of a child you should not make any children. We could spend all day talking about them or work to fix them.
I am more than optimistic that in 2014 and beyond Camden, NJ will turn around for the better. It won’t because of someone writing bad things about Camden. It will be because people in the city want to work together to turn it around.