Interview with Matthew Nelson

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.

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Interview with Winery Dogs bassist Billy Sheehan

Winery Dogs bassist Billy Sheehan is a legendary musician who continues to record and perform with no plans of slowing down anytime soon. He is best known for his work with David Lee Roth band having played on David Lee Roth’s first two albums Eat Em’ and smile and Skyscraper , Mr. Big, and The Winery Dogs. Billy has won numerous awards as a bass player.

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.

Angel Alamo: How is the tour with Winery Dogs going?
Billy Sheehan: Absolutely fantastic! Having a wonderful time.

Angel Alamo: How is it for you playing with a new musicians. You played with Richie Kotzen in Mr. Big. Mike Portnoy you have never played with in a band?
Billy Sheehan: I’ve played and toured with Mike & Richie in other situations many times in the past. The three of us are having a blast with the onstage chemistry that happens within the band. It makes every night something to look forward to.
Angel Alamo: What are plans for the winery dogs after the tour is over?
Billy Sheehan: We don’t plan out much of anything ever. As soon as we can, I’m sure we’ll write and record more, then tour more, then repeat—however, we will only do it when we feel we can do the best, and most inspired work together. We don’t want to force it.
Angel Alamo: Would winery dogs or you as as a musician ever do an acoustic show or album?
Billy Sheehan: Not sure. Maybe me, do not know about TWD. I love playing live at full energy. It’s exciting to me. An acoustic show is a little toned down.
Angel Alamo:  It’s been 25 years since Mr. Big released Lean Into It album. Was there any pressure for the band to produce a hit record?
Billy Sheehan: None at all. The next album, yes, but not on “Lean Into It”. The record label fought that record from the start. We had a hit in spite of their best efforts to stop us. Nice.
Angel Alamo: Was Mr. Big surprised by the success of the album Lean Into It?
Billy Sheehan: Certainly. We believed in the record wholeheartedly. But the label did not, so it was a surprise to do so well with it.
Angel Alamo: Is there any album from your career that you consider a favorite album?
Billy Sheehan: Eat ‘Em & Smile, Lean Into It, The Winery Dogs
Angel Alamo: Is the eat em and smile reunion show happening at some point?
Billy Sheehan: I sure hope so. I would love to.
Angel Alamo: What are your favorite places to play live?
Billy Sheehan: Anywhere and everywhere. As long as the audience is pumped up, it doesn’t matter. The audience makes the show.
Angel Alamo: Is there still a city, country, or venue that you would like to perform in that you haven’t already?
Billy Sheehan: Actually, no—surprisingly. But I LOVE to play live, and I LIVE to play live. So I’ll play anywhere that will have me.
Angel Alamo: At this point where you have been able to do it all in your career. What keeps you going in your career?
Billy Sheehan: I’m a musician first and foremost. There are always new challenges and new mountains to climb. It never ends. There’s always more to know, more to learn, more to experience. It’s still exciting to me—even more exciting than when I first began.
Angel Alamo: Is there anyone you still hope to work with?
Billy Sheehan: Probably—can’t think of anyone at the moment. Sorry.
Angel Alamo: Are there any new bass players out there that you enjoy listening to?
Billy Sheehan: Tons! But I mostly listen to bands and songs, rather than just a bass player.
Angel Alamo: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pick up a bass guitar and play?
Billy Sheehan: Bass is the easiest “entrance point” instrument. I could have you up and running, playing most popular rock songs in very little time. That’s very good because you can quickly get on stage and be in a band. However, become really good at bass is as hard as any instrument there is. Maybe harder. So, it’s a challenge to keep going. It ain’t easy! It hurts too. No pain, no gain. And there will be blood. But if you can see it through, the satisfaction is beyond description. Anyone can do it, but few can see it through to the end. There’s nothing I do that anyone else can’t do—it just may take some time. Maybe 50 years or so. ; )
For more information on The winery Dogs go to:
http://www.thewinerydogs.com/
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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

Trixter’s Steve Brown talks about new album Human Era

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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?

Steve Brown: Beats me up which is a classic Trixter ballad. Pete Loran does tremendous vocals on it. He is incredible on it. Beautiful song right up there with every rose has its thorn and never say goodbye.
Angel Alamo: What songs on the record came easy for you?
Steve Brown: They all came out relatively easy. For you took more work a lot of changes. We have such a good system of making records. There is no pressure we do it in my basement in my studio we work and make work fun. P.J. and Gus come come over. We work and have a good time and that translate into the CD.
Angel Alamo: What is the song Human Era about?
Steve Brown: It was the last song written for the record it has very profound lyrics. P.J. came up with the idea and with the concept. He had a song and a chorus for it. Is it any wonder we’re still together. Very profound lyrics for a band all original band  that has been together for 30 years. Still doing it and getting better and as I said before we still love each other. We still have a great time we are family.
Angel Alamo: What are the touring plans for Trixter?
Steve Brown: We are getting a lot of offers it just has to make sense. We have families so its not that easy. We are getting a lot of offers we have 15 dates on the table we are doing our first California shows in over 20 years at the famous whiskey go go in October which is going to be tremendous that was our first ever Hollywood performance back in 1990 it’s going to be extra special. We are just enjoying every moment it feels like a resurgence.
Angel Alamo: Has your songwriting style changed over the years?
Steve Brown:  No not really its different now I have a recording studio in my house that I have had for the last 20 years. I don’t a demo anytime I go into the studio it’s always to make a finished song because the quality is so good. Back in the old days all we had was mini cassette recorders. I use my iPhone a lot to record ideas if I get something good it is digital and it sounds great.
Angel Alamo: Everyone seems to be writing a book. P.J. had mentioned wanting to write a book about the music is that still happening?
Steve Brown: You have to ask him. Yes at some point. I have been blessed I say this line all the time it is one of my catch phrases every dream I have had come true 100 times over. I did it all I met all of my idols I have been top the top of the mountain. I have no regrets. Yes I have a lot of incredible stories. Playing with Def Leppard was one of the greatest experiences of my life I thank them from the bottom of my heart for being so great to me. Phil Collen one of my best friends in the world he is like a Godfather to me. Each and every guy Joe, Sav, Vivian, Rick Allen. They treated me like I was a part of the band lived with them flew on jets, limousine everything you can image. It was a wonderful experience I would never forget.
Angel Alamo:  I wanted to ask you these questions for the younger fans who have recently discovered TRIXTER. The song Surrender from your debut album still sounds as good today as it did 25 years ago. What is the song about and why did the song go through many re-writes and so on?
Steve Brown: It used to be called in your arms which was the original concept. Our producer back in the day Bill Wray and his brother Jim Wray who turned us into the band we are today. They had some different ideas we were about that. Experimenting and trying different things Bill Wray came in with this great melody.
I couldn’t even tell you about the video. The guy who directed was a cool guy who had directed a Madonna video it was an expensive video. We were on Scorpions tour got done playing spectrum in front of 10,000 people. We had to get on a bus drive to Brooklyn, NY didn’t get to shower for it. I wasn’t sure what the concept was still don’t know what the concept was but it was #1 on MTV for 3 weeks. I had cool double neck guitar. It was shot at a studio where they shoot TV shows.
For more information on tour dates and Trixter check out trixterrocks.com
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Trixter Human Era album release party at Stanhope House Stanhope, NJ

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.

http://www.amazon.com/Human-Era-Trixter/dp/B00VX22AG6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429920364&sr=8-1&keywords=Trixter+human+era

James Kottak: Rocking & Rolling Forever

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SCORPIONS drummer James Kottak has had the career that most drummers would dream. Playing arenas, playing on records with other great musicians. Playing in bands Kingdom Come, Wild Horses, Warrant where he played and co-wrote a few songs on the band’s 1995 album Ultraphobic. He also plays in his own band KOTTAK. For the past 18 years has been the drummer in the SCORPIONS.
Angel Alamo: How was it working with WARRANT on the Ultraphobic album?

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?

JK: I am always writing songs but KOTTAK is on a break at the moment so I can focus on family, life, and other projects

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?

JK:  AUSTRALIA!!!

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?

JK: Rick & I talk everyday & live 1/2 a mile from each other…we hang. We are also starting a new project and opening a studio…More on that soon!
For the latest on all things about James Kottak please check out the following sites:
www.jameskottak.com
twitter  @jkottak
FB      jameskottak