Marc Anthony Concert Review

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.

Conversation with Warrant’s Robert Mason & Jerry Dixon

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

AA: Wow!

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

JD: Exactly.

RM: Go immediately stage left. 

JD: Joeyallen.com

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.

Laughs & good times with Robert Mason & Jerry Dixon

Mike Tramp Interview

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.

AA: Right.

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.

MT:  Exactly.

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.





Interview with Buckets N Joints

Buckets N Joints_Neu_Okt. 2018

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/

 

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Tyketto Michael Clayton Interview

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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.

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Interview with Cherokee D’ass

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

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Interview with guitarist Yiannis Papadopoulos

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.

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Scott Stapp Interview

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.

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KIX Interview with Steve Whiteman

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

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialkix

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kixtheband

2015-12-20-21-20-23--1929446078  20151219_195858  KIX band pic with Logo new

John Corabi: Unplugged & still screaming

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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: I just want the fans to look at the body of work. I compromised with bands. At times it has cost me. I have taken the long road when I didn’t compromise. The scream album was released 23 years ago and the album still sounds like a great record. I am still proud of that record. The Union stuff that I did sounds great. I want the fans to remember I was a credible and relevant songwriter.
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