It was a turning point when the band Live took a self-imposed hiatus in 2009.
Lead singer Ed Kowalczyk wanted to focus on a solo career while the band wanted to return to a more ensemble-based format. Unable to resolve their impasse, the band and Kowalczyk decided to go their separate ways.
Enter vocalist Chris Shinn, who over the years had developed a strong rapport with members of Live. Now, after a therapeutic three-year soul search, Live are back with a new singer, album and perspective.
The Turn, Live’s first album in eight years, reunites the band with Jerry Harrison, who produced three of the band’s previous albums — Mental Jewelry (1991), Throwing Copper (1994) and The Distance to Here (1999).
The release of The Turn also coincides with the 20th anniversary of the group’s 8 million selling Throwing Copper, a monster album that yielded the band’s biggest single, “Lightning Crashes,” which was Number 1 at Modern Rock radio for 10 consecutive weeks.
With 20 million in worldwide album sales to go along with a dynamic new lead singer and a redefined focus, Live are ready to enter the next phase of their career.
Live consists of Chad Taylor (guitars), Patrick Dahlheimer (bass), Chad Gracey (drums/percussion) and Chris Shinn (lead vocals/guitars).
I recently caught up with Taylor to discuss The Turn, guitars, the 20th anniversary of Throwing Copper and what he’s most looking forward to with this new version of Live.
GUITAR WORLD: It’s been five years since Live took a hiatus/break. Was the expectation always that you’d one day get back together?
The end of Live 1.0 was open-ended. What we knew at the time was that the chemistry that had been so essential to making Live exuberant, exciting and creative had just dissipated. We were a band that could have probably have used a therapist, but like most men, we just decided that separation was the best idea to try to salvage any kind of relationship we had we each other.
During the time of the break/hiatus the clarity that helped solidify everyone’s future was the fact that Ed [Kowalczyk] made it clear he wanted to make solo music, and we made it clear we wanted to make ensemble music. There’s such a difference in the way you do it. You can hear in the transition of Live through our subsequent records how the band became more focused on the singer/songwriter than on ensemble creativity. In my opinion, the thing that always made Live was our ability to play off of each other. When we lost that, the spirit of the band went away.
Read my complete
Interview with Chad Taylor by Clicking Here!
Dennis DeYoung and Guitarists Jimmy Leahey and August Zadra Discuss New ‘Music of Styx’ Live Package
It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since Dennis DeYoung’s acrimonious split from Styx.
But one thing’s for sure: DeYoung’s contributions to the success of that band run much deeper than his role as the band’s keyboardist.
Together with a new band dedicated to preserving the legacy of his old one, DeYoung’s new DVD/Blu-ray package, Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx: Live In Los Angeles, quickly dispels any notion that he wasn’t a “rock guy” in Styx.
Filmed with eight high-definition cameras in front of an enthusiastic audience at the intimate El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, DeYoung performs the catalog of Styx hits that have become staples of classic rock radio, including “Lady,” “Blue Collar Man,” “Show Me The Way,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Babe,” “Best Of Times” and “Come Sail Away.”
Guitarists Jimmy Leahey and August Zadra perform regularly with DeYoung. I recently caught up with DeYoung, Leahey and Zadra to ask them about this new live package and more!
GUITAR WORLD: Dennis, how did this project come about?
DeYoung: Originally, AXS TV came to me last year and asked me if I’d be interested in doing an acoustic “Live from the Grammy Museum” performance. But I was bound and determined to do an electric show with this great band to dispel any notion that I wasn’t a “rock guy” in Styx. So they suggested we go to the El Rey Theatre, because that’s where they did shows with John Fogerty and Ringo Starr. That’s when Frontiers Records got involved and said they wanted to make the performance into a CD/DVD/Blu-ray. That’s how it all began.
Was there any sense of added pressure going in with this being a one-shot, live performance?
DeYoung: When you do a show like this, you have to accept the responsibility that you have to be good, right then and there. There’s always a certain amount of pressure when you know it’s live and going to be recorded. But having said that, I wasn’t really nervous because I had great belief in this band. They did so admirably that all I can say is, “fantastic!”
You can read the rest of my
Interview with DeYoung, Leahey and Zadra by Clicking Here!
There’s a seductive passion and feel in Malina Moye’s guitar playing, as evidenced by her insanely good new EP, Rock & Roll Baby, which was released October 14.
From the infectious, funk-inspired single “K-yotic” (which features Bootsy Collins) to her take on the Jimi Hendrix classic “Foxey Lady,” Rock & Roll Baby is a high-octane experience of blues power.
In addition to being an in demand performer on her own, Moye also has taken part in the Experience Hendrix Tour alongside guitar greats Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. She also had the distinct privilege of honoring the Queen of England’s 60-year reign by performing her own rendition of “God Save the Queen.”
I recently spoke with Moye about her new album, her gear and more.
How would you describe Rock & Roll Baby?
It’s an in-your-face combination of Led Zeppelin meets Sly and the Family Stone, with a little bit of Hendrix thrown in. I love real music and the feeling it gives you. As a guitar player, I love the freedom of being able to express who I am in my solos. This is me, and this album is what I’m about.
What’s your songwriting process like?
It varies. Sometimes I’ll be on an acoustic and be messing around with riffs. Other times I’ll hear melody in my head and sing it into my phone so I can go back to it later. Then I’ll pick up my guitar and start putting the pieces together. Music can literally speak to you. It will tell you what it has to say. You just have to be open to it.
Let’s talk about a few tracks off the album, beginning with “K-yotic.” What was is like working with Boosty Collins?
Bootsy is incredible. What I love the most about him is how he’s able to spontaneously come up with ideas. I was messing around on the track, jamming, when the idea of having him on it came to me. I remember I sent the track over to him and said, “Hey, tell me what you think of this.” A short while later, he sends me a new track back with a note that said, “This is what I think of it!” [laughs]. It was hot!
You can read the rest of my
Interview with Malina Moye by Clicking Here!
The Whisky a Go Go is a legendary Sunset Boulevard club with a deep-rooted musical history.
Everyone from Led Zeppelin to Van Halen has performed on its tiny stage. It also has served as the launching pad for bands like the Doors and Guns N’ Roses, to name just a few. In fact, one can argue that the Los Angeles rock scene began when the Whisky opened its doors in 1964.
The guys in Christian hard rock band Stryper also cut their teeth at the Whisky. The small, intimate setting was the starting point for the band’s musical journey, back when they were called Roxx Regime. So it’s no surprise Stryper’s new live CD/DVD package, Live at the Whisky pays homage to those early days.
Recorded at a sold-out November 2013 show, the 16-track collection documents the band’s first show in support of their latest album, 2013′s No More Hell To Pay. Live at the Whisky features live performances of the some of the band’s classic hits, including “Calling On You,” “Free,” “Always There for You,” “Soldiers Under Command” and “To Hell with the Devil.”
Included with the live album and DVD are music videos for “No More Hell to Pay” and “Sympathy,” plus an interview segment the band — Michael Sweet (vocals/guitar), Oz Fox (guitar), Tim Gaines (bass) and Robert Sweet (drums) — recorded for Nashville All Access.
I recently spoke to Sweet about Live at the Whisky as well as Sweet & Lynch, Sweet’s new side project with George Lynch, James Lomenzo and Brian Tichy.
GUITAR WORLD: Tell me a little about the band’s history at the Whisky.
We go way back with the Whisky. I’ll never forget the first time I played there when I was 16. I was with my brother, Robert, in the band Roxx Regime and we played there with Kevin Dubrow’s Quiet Riot, which was what it was called at the time. We had this small dressing room and I remember Kevin kicking the door open and screaming at us because we were using too much hairspray [laughs].
What do you like most about that venue?
Playing at the Whisky is such a unique experience. There’s a certain vibe there that’s hard to explain. You can actually feel the history when you walk through the doors. It’s a tiny kitty-corner stage with not much room to move around. You’re right in the corner bumping elbows all night long, but that’s part of the cool factor of performing there.
You can read the rest of my
Interview with Michael Sweet by Clicking Here!
Somewhere after the second British invasion and shortly before the advent of disco and punk, five guys from 1325 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston began finding their niche to take over the world.
They bucked the system at every opportunity, while at the same time set a precedent for a generation of bands that would follow them.
Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry’s story has been full of ups and downs. Finally, it’s a story worth telling. Perry’s new memoir, Rocks: My Life In And Out of Aerosmith, is an honest reflection of the life and career of one of rock’s all-time greats.
Throughout its pages, Perry pulls no punches in detailing the rise, fall and second coming of one of the greatest bands of all time. Speaking candidly about his early love of the wilderness, his conflicts with authority (includung his refusal to cut his hair in school), the drug abuse, dealing with controlling managers and his stormy relationship with Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler.
In addition to a plethora of amazing photographs, Rocks also contains a detailed appendix featuring the guitars and gear Perry has used throughout his career. It’s a treasure trove of information for guitar players and gear enthusiasts.
Perry’s life journey is encouraging, inspiring and at times heartbreaking. But where Rocks really shines is in its ability to showcase a different side of human nature and just what it takes to get along.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Perry about his new memoir as well as got an update on Aerosmith and his next solo album.
GUITAR WORLD: What made you decide to write a book at this stage of your career?
Not too long ago, there was a vibe. It was the 40th anniversary of the band and our last Sony record. There were also a lot of other things going on in our personal lives that made it seem like it was the end of one era and the beginning of another. That’s when my wife Billie asked me, “What do you think about writing a book?” There was something inside me that just clicked and it felt like it was the right time.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Joe Perry By Clicking Here!
Today is October 5th, 2014: My 45th birthday.
Wait a minute. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was reminiscing about my life on my 44th birthday?
I swear, time is going by WAY too fast. I am now officially half-way to 90. A staggering accomplishment if I do say so myself.
I’m grateful every day for all of the blessings in my life: a loving family, friends, good health and being able to do something I really love to do – write.
I’m not sure if I’ll make it to be a nonagenarian but what I do know is that for each year that goes by time seems to be going at breakneck speed – and I don’t think I like it.
Case in point: my daughter turned thirteen this year. And although there have certainly been a few teen drama moments that have tried my patience, I still find myself always thinking that in five short years she will begin building a life on her own.
2014 has been a year of firsts for me. This year saw me achieve some monumental interviews. Pipe dreams for the kid who played guitar endlessly throughout high school in his upstairs bedroom. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Slash (Guns N’ Roses), Ted Nugent, Steve Vai and Don Felder (The Eagles) among many others.
I’ve also had the once in a lifetime opportunity of attending Jim Peterik’s book release event in New York City where I got to see him perform an intimate acoustic set for an audience of about thirty people. I sit here now with a smile on my face recalling how the music he made with the band Survivor got me through my own teenage drama in the 1980′s. When times were tough, I knew I could always find solace in songs like “I Can’t Hold Back,” “High On You,” “The Search is Over,” “Is This Love,” “Man Against The World” and “In Good Faith”.
Jim’s music was so influential to me that at my high school graduation party my friend Nathan Brown and I set up an impromptu jam session. Out on my parent’s patio, Nathan and I set up his drum set and I plugged in my guitar. Then for the next two hours — to the delight
chagrin of those in attendance, the two of us jammed along to the entire “Vital Signs” album while it spun on my mother’s worn out turntable.
For me to now sit in a small club and watch Jim Peterik do a few of those same songs in 2014 was nothing short of incredible.
As I think of that post graduation party I am suddenly reminded that 2014 was also a year of loss. Nathan Brown and I had been the best of friends when we roamed the halls of Easton High School. Dreaming about (and often forming) short-lived bands that at the time we thought would take over the world. I still remember all of those conversations we had late in the night talking about everything we were going to do once we “made it”. Nathan was the best man at my wedding in 1995 and someone who always knew how to make you laugh. In short, he was one of a kind.
I always thought that our bond of brotherhood would be inseparable, but life sometimes has a funny way of throwing a wrench into even the best of circumstances. Sadly, towards the end of the 1990′s and the start of the 21st century, the two of us lost touch. Although we would eventually reconnect at a concert three years ago, we never really hung out again like we used to. It was the usual case of “maybe someday”. Yep, there would always be a someday — right?
Ironically, on September 11th of this year, Nathan’s name popped into my head for some reason. Suddenly, “someday” was today! I decided to do a quick Google search on him to see if maybe he had a Facebook or something so that I might reach out to him. But when the first hit came back from the search engine, my heart just sank.
It was his obituary.
Nathan had passed away suddenly in his home on August 9th. He had already been gone for more than a month. His final service was already over and I am still devastated for not being there to at least say goodbye and pay my respects.
As I begin to celebrate my 45th year on this bouncing ball my heart is heavy but I’m feeling optimistic. There’s a big world out there just waiting to be explored. Family and friends to love, books to read, articles (and books) to write, music to create and new dreams to find.
But my real wish on this October 5th is to have the strength to seize each day and then slow down. I still want to enjoy those big moments, but now I want to savor the small ones just as much. I’ve realized there’s only so much time we are given here in this life.
And I plan on making the most of it.
If you follow the career path of frontman extraordinaire Gary Cherone, you can’t avoid bumping into some serious guitar-rock royalty.
Whether it’s his partnership with Nuno Bettencourt in Extreme, fronting the mighty Van Halen or performing with his idols Brian May and Tony Iommi at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert in the early Nineties, Cherone has performed with true living legends.
But perhaps no guitarist knows Cherone better than his brother. That’s why Hurtsmile — which consists of Gary Cherone, his brother Mark Cherone (guitar), Joe Pessia (bass) and Dana Spellman (drums) — is a reflection of Cherone’s personal tastes.
Inspired by the records they grew up on, Hurtsmile’s new album, Retrogrenade, which will be released October 7, is full of swaggering guitars, soaring vocals and Cherone’s trademark eclecticism.
From the fiery opening track, “Rock and Roll Cliché,” to songs like “Hello I Must Be Going” and the politically charged “Big Government,” Hurtsmile finds inspiration through a joint collaborative process. It’s not “retro” in the sense that they’re trying to sound like someone else. It’s a sonic nod to some of their early influences.
I recently spoke with Cherone about Retrogrenade, Extreme and some memorable moments from his career.
GUITAR WORLD: How did the writing process for Retrogrenade differ from the band’s first album?
On the first record, Mark and I wrote a majority of the songs. For this one, everyone contributed to every song. Joe really stepped up and contributed songs rather than just contributions within another song. Songs like “Walk Away,” “I Still Do” and “Sing a Song” were ones that Joe and I wrote. Mark and I also wrote songs together and then there were collaborations between all of us, including Dana. That to me is the real strength of this record.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Gary Cherone by Clicking Here!
In the context of songwriting partnerships, few teams have been as long-lasting — or as successful — as that of Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams.
Since being introduced by a mutual friend in a music store in 1978, Vallance and Adams have written hits that appear on Adams’ albums You Want It, You Got It; Cuts Like a Knife; and the 1984 monster, Reckless, which sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S. alone.
Adams will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Reckless in November with a four-disc, super-deluxe reissue package that includes bonus-track demos recorded in Vallance’s basement studio in 1983 and ’84.
Over the years, Vallance has continued to flex his songwriting muscle, penning hits with Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions and Lita Ford, to name just a few.
I recently spoke to Vallance about the Reckless sessions, his time working with Adams and his upcoming projects.
GUITAR WORLD: When you think back to the Reckless album, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Mostly, I remember how much work we did. Bryan and I got together in my basement studio every day for a year … noon ’til midnight. Some days were more productive than others, but we always put in the time and did the work.
What were those songwriting sessions like?
Bryan and I had a daily routine. He would arrive at noon, we’d have a sandwich and a cup of tea and then we’d go downstairs and get to work. We’d start by deciding if we were going to write a fast song or a slow song and then we’d set up a “drum loop” for inspiration. Usually, Bryan would play guitar and I’d play bass or piano. We’d jam for hours until one of us played or sang something interesting. Then we’d spend time fleshing out the idea or we’d jam some more until another idea materialized. We repeated the routine every day for months. It was always productive. There were very few wasted sessions.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Jim Vallance by Clicking Here!
There once was a time when rock radio was dominated by great riffs, a period when the only thing that mattered was that unmistakable guitar sound that instantly identified a band or song.
Thankfully, the four members of Crobot — Brandon Yeagley (lead vocals), Chris Bishop (guitar), Jake Figueroa (bass) and Paul Figueroa (drums) — have made it their mission to bring back elements of those days.
Crobot’s new album, Something Supernatural, was produced by Machine (Clutch, Lamb of God, Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes) and will be released October 28 on WindUp. It incorporates a lot of riff-heavy groove and funk mixed with a modernized spin.
I recently spoke with Bishop about the new album, his gear and more. As a bonus, we’re also presenting the worldwide premiere of the new video for “Skull of Geronimo,” which was created by Bishop (who also happens to be a visual artist). Check out the interview and “Skull of Geronimo” below!
GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe Something Supernatural?
I like to say it’s like “Clutch meets Funkadelic” with a little bit of doom tossed in there. It’s definitely on the heavier side of things.
What was the writing process like?
We rehearsed and wrote the album in this shed behind Brandon’s house. It was inside this room that was filled with deer heads and things like that [laughs]. It was a super-cool place to jam in.
Most of the songs started out as previous ideas or as riffs and structures I brought to the table. Others would come out of jams where Jake would come up with a riff. That’s the beauty of being a riff-rock band. Sometimes the coolest pentatonic riffs are the ones people connect with the most.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Chris Bishop By Clicking Here!
It’s not often you get to work with one of your heroes, but for Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne, that’s exactly what happened.
Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary joined the Melvins for their new album, Hold It In, which will be released October 14. Also joining Osborne, Leary and drummer Dale Crover for this 12-song Melvins outing is Butthole Surfers’ bassist JD Pinkus.
Osborne says Hold It In is a refreshing piece of fiction in a boring world of “fact and bullshit.” If Leary’s outside-the-box approach to guitar playing and Osborne’s passion for songwriting are anything to go by, it’s definitely best to just let it ride.
The Melvins will kick off a round of U.S. tour dates October 15 in Sacramento, California. Osborne, Crover and Pinkus will be the touring roster for this run of dates.
I recently spoke with Osborne and Leary about the new Melvins record. I also asked Osborne about his Nirvana connection.
GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe Hold It In?
OSBORNE: It’s a good cross-section of a lot of things we’ve done as well as some things we’ve never done. It’s the first Melvins record I played on where I didn’t write a majority of the material. That was a little different than what we normally do. Paul is also one of my favorite guitar players, and I’ve thought about doing something like this with him for a long time.
LEARY: For the most part, it’s a little fresher and an amalgam album. I wrote three songs on there and we’ve also got Jeff Pinkus, which provided another Butthole element.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Osborne & Leary by Clicking Here!