‘Significant Mother’: Actor Josh Zuckerman discusses new CW comedy series

JoshZuckerman“Significant Mother” is the new comedy series on The CW that tells the story of what happens after young restaurateur Nate Harlowe (Josh Zuckerman) returns home from a trip only to discover that his newly single mother (Krista Allen) has started a relationship with his best friend/roommate.

Originally intended to be developed as a web series, the show was so infectiously good that a nine-episode run was immediately ordered by the network in time for the summer season.

In addition to Zuckerman and Allen, “Significant Mother” features other amazingly talented actors like Emma Fitzpatrick and Nathaniel Buzolic. The series also stars actor/director Jonathan Silverman (“Weekend at Bernie’s) in the role of Nate’s father, Harrison.

With a unique premise, talented cast and a plethora of special guests set to make appearances, “Significant Mother” is the must see show of the summer.

AXS/Examiner recently spoke with Josh Zuckerman about the “Significant Mother”, his career and other upcoming projects.

AXS/Examiner: How did this series come about for you?

Josh Zuckerman: I had just finished a film called “Mind Puppets” and on the last day of the shoot I remember calling my manager and saying, “Ok. What’s next?” That’s when she told me about this offer for a new web series. I had already worked with Alloy Entertainment on a film called “Sex Drive” and they were pitching a show to the CW and wanted me to be a part of it. Once I read the script I just fell in love with it and knew it was something that I wanted to do. The CW was interested in the show but first wanted to test the waters by putting it on this incubation, web-type series. They had originally only commissioned three episodes but after they saw the first cuts they were so over the moon about it that they gave us a nine-episode order!

What was it about the script that attracted you to the role?

The storyline was already appealing but for me the huge selling point was the writing. Erin Cardillo and Rich Keith, who co-created the show, have done a tremendous job. Not just with the story but also in terms of the characters and dialog. It’s always surprising and laugh out loud funny. When something comes to life for you as you’re reading it, you just get excited about playing the scene. That’s what happened with this show.

How would you describe the premise of “Significant Mother”?

A young restaurateur returns home from a trip to discover that his best friend and roommate has developed a relationship with his mom. It’s about their revolving relationship and my character, who is caught in the middle trying to live his life.

What can you tell me about your character, Nate Marlowe?

Nate’s very business driven in terms of his career. He loves his restaurant and wants to be successful. He’s also a little on the straight and narrow. So when this unexpected new dynamic happens with the two people who are closest to him, it really throws him for a loop.

What was the chemistry like on set?

It was amazing. Everyone is just perfectly suited for their role. They’re always prepared and come to the table with ideas and that charm really comes off on-screen. As an actor, you always want to work with other actors who are talented, kind and generous and they fulfill all of the criteria!

What was it like working with Jonathan Silverman?

Jonny is incredible. He’s so funny and such a warm and kind person. He even directed one of our episodes so it was fun to have the chance to see him in that role as well. There’s even an episode where we pay homage to “Weekend at Bernie’s”.

Did you always know that you wanted a career in entertainment?

I went through a lot of phases when I was growing up. I really didn’t know I wanted to be an actor until I started getting involved in theater. Eventually, there came a point where it was all I wanted to do and I’ve been doing it ever since. It was a gradual progression.

Is there a bit of advice you can give to aspiring actors?

The biggest thing is to enjoy what you do. Remember that in the end, you’re not doing it to get the job or the money or the award. You’re doing it because you enjoy it. It really is about the enjoyment of the process. That’s the biggest thing.

You mentioned your upcoming film project, “Mind Puppets”. What can you tell me about it?

It’s a story about a hypnotist in New Orleans who’s doing a show in a park and invites volunteers up to the podium. He then hypnotizes them into being someone else – like an eight-year-old girl or the Messiah who’s here to save the world. But before he can take them out of the trance the hypnotist suffers a heart attack and is hospitalized. So the people who’ve been hypnotized are running amok around New Orleans under this comedic spell. My character is the ambulance guy whose job is to round up the hypnotized people and bring them back to him at the hospital. We really had a lot of fun with it!

What are you most looking forward to about the series release of “Significant Mother”?

Everyone did such a tremendous job and really delivered day in and day out and I’m excited to see how great everyone involved on the show is. We had a really great crew who accomplished everything on a very tight schedule. But the thing I’m most looking forward to is seeing people fall in love with these characters as much as we did. Adventure is something that I always look for in movies and adventure is what people are going to find in “Significant Mother”.

Significant Mother premieres Monday, August 3 on The CW.

Ricky Phillips of Styx Talks Def Leppard Tour and Ronnie Montrose’s Final Recordings

styxTo fans of classic rock and arena rock, it just wouldn’t be summer without the music of Styx.

For more than 40 years the band, whose hits include “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights),” “Renegade,” “Too Much Time on My Hands” and “Come Sail Away,” has been delivering the goods the only way it knows how: through infectious live performances.

This summer, Styx—Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars), James “JY” Young (vocals, guitars), Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Ricky Phillips (bass)—are teaming up with Def Leppard and Tesla on what promises to be one of the season’s hottest tour packages.

I recently caught up with Phillips to ask him about the new tour as well as his time with Styx, the Babys and Bad English. He also gave me an inside look into his new album project, the final recordings of Ronnie Montrose.

GUITAR WORLD: What can fans expect from the new tour with Def Leppard and Tesla?

We’ve been wanting to work with Def Leppard again for quite some time. We did some dates with them around 2007 and it was a really good fit. If you’re familiar with Tesla’s catalog you already know that they’re a very aggressive, cool, no-frills band. They just come balls out and do it! Then we go everywhere from a little bit of prog to the guitar duo of Tommy Shaw and James Young to having three lead singers. Then Def Leppard come out with their big arena rock show. It’s a special package where fans will really have a great time.

You’ve been with Styx for more than a dozen years. What’s it like being part of such an iconic band?

The cool thing about this band is that everybody recognizes that what we have is really special. It’s rare to get a group of guys that gel as good as this band does. We all have a lot of strengths to lean on personally and musically. There’s a lot of fun and joking around to keep things entertaining, but once we get on stage it’s all business, which is a good time as well.

Has there been any talk of new Styx music in the future?

I can’t talk about it too much, but there’s certainly some stuff in the works. It’s going to happen. We’re just not sure when.

Let’s discuss a few of the other bands you were involved with. What was the story behind you joining the Babys?

I had always been a big fan of Tony Brock and John Waite and thought “Isn’t It Time” was just a masterpiece of cool rock. Shortly after I got to LA, a sound man for the band saw me play and tracked me down. It was around the same time that John had decided he wanted to front the band and not be weighed down by playing an instrument [Waite had also played bass in the Babys].

I was working in the music store across the street from where they were auditioning when the sound man came in and told me that I needed to go across the street and play. I remember pulling a bass off of the wall and (with the price tag still swinging from the headstock), went over and jammed with the guys for about 15 minutes. We played “Run to Mexico” and “Head First” and then Jonathan Cain and I harmonized with John on “Isn’t It Time.” After that, they all left the room and came back in with their manager and asked me to join the band. That’s how it all started.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Ricky Phillips by Clicking Here!

‘Kicker’: Singer/Songwriter Zella Day Talks New Album, Music and Inspiration

ZellaDay_KickerFrom her days performing her hypnotic blend of hook-laden music in Arizona coffee shops, it was only a matter of time before twenty-year old singer/songwriter Zella Day made the move to the larger pastures of the California music scene – and with impressive results!

Day’s debut album, Kicker is an introduction to Day both as an artist and person. Her hauntingly infectious songs personify the young singer as a cosmic force to be reckoned with.

Songs like “Hypnotic” and “Compass” lend themselves well to the self-conscious while tracks like “Jerome” offer up a revelation to the solace of home.

I recently spoke with Zella Day about Kicker, her music and where she finds her inspiration.

How would you describe Kicker?

This was such a big project for me and encapsulates so many elements of who I am and what I’ve been through. You really get a strong idea of who I am as a person by listening to this record. It’s very eclectic. There are elements of pop, ballads, outlaw country and even some desert gypsy rock.

What was the writing process like for you?

I have so many different voice memos on my phone and song titles in my notes. Sometimes I’ll have a chord progression that will be sitting around for a long time when the lyrics will suddenly hit me. Other times it may start out with just a title. It’s always different but I try to write a little something everyday. It’s important to keep your creative muscle strong and working. My most inspiring method though is just sitting down with an acoustic guitar and coming up with melodies. It’s what I’ve been doing nice I was nine years old.

Let’s discuss a few tracks from Kicker. What can you tell me about the song, “Hypnotic”?

That song was actually written on acoustic guitar. I had my producer bring up a beat that I was really inspired by, wrote a progression and then did a little rap melody over it. That’s how it was born. The song sounds great acoustically, which is something that’s very important to me. Part of my roots are playing my acoustic guitar in coffee shops. So it’s important that these songs can be broken down to the basics.

“High”.

“High” was written after I saw The National play a show in California. I was so inspired by that experience. I remember it was outside the Santa Barbara amphitheater and it was raining and the whole crowd was immersed in a blue light that they were shooting out from the stage. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. That’s where the line ‘blue line in the sky tonight’ comes from. I came home that night and wrote the song. 

“Compass”.

That song was written from a stream of consciousness. I like it when that happens. I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say while I’m in the moment but later find out that I’ve either taught myself a lesson or got something off of my chest that I needed to. In this case, I had just moved from Arizona to California and the more I listened to it the more I realized that it was a love song for my hometown. “Compass” was my revelation song.

“Jerome”.

That song was placed #1 on the album because the song is about the woman I was named after. She was the wife of a coal miner in 1842 in Jerome; the town where my parents got married.  I didn’t know much about her but I’ve always had this idea of who she was and what the ghost of Zella is and our connection to each other. I wrote the song about her and am essentially introducing myself by name. 

What was the recording process like and working with collaborators like Wally Gagel and Xandy Barry?

I’ve worked with them for a few years now and we have a great chemistry. We really know each others strengths and know how to write together. By being able to push through the hard moments we’ve been rewarded with good songs. We’ve written a lot of tracks together and I’m so lucky to be able to work with such talented people.

Did always know that music would be your calling?

I’ve always played music because it just feels right and have been grateful for everything I have and the shows that I play. Even when I was playing coffee shops; it’s how its always been. Every day feels really good right now. 

What excites you the most about Kicker?

I’m really proud of every song on this record. I’m not moving forward feeling doubtful or self-conscious about the creative decisions I’ve made. I’m fully behind what I’ve created and put out into the world. Whatever happens, I have that foundation and am really excited to tour the new record and connect with people. There are no secrets and as a new artist I think that’s a pretty good place to start.

Official Website: http://www.zelladay.com/

‘Wolf Den’: Trampled Under Foot Bassist Danielle Nicole Talks Debut Solo Album

DanielleNicoleFrom her early days working with her brothers in the power trio Trampled Under Foot, bassist/vocalist Danielle Nicole has always found an outlet for her creative, blues-infused songs.

Collectively, Trampled Under Foot recorded five albums, with its most recent, Badlands, reaching Number 1 on Billboard’s Blues Albums chart in 2013.

But as the band wound down after 13 years, Nicole decided it was a good time to branch out on her own. Her debut solo album, Wolf Den, which will be released August 21, represents the fruits of her labor and is a treasure trove of blues, funk and groove.

Produced by Grammy-winning producer and guitarist Anders Osborne—whose songs have been covered by the likes of Brad Paisley and Jonny Lang, Wolf Den is a collaborative, New Orleans-themed album buried deep in tasty, blues-based rock.

I recently spoke with Nicole about Wolf Den, working with Osborne, her gear and more.

GUITAR WORLD: To someone who might not be familiar with your sound, how would you describe Wolf Den?

It’s an extension of the songwriting from my days playing with my brothers in Trampled Under Foot as well as some songs I’ve never had a chance to record. A few of the other tunes were ideas Anders helped collaborate on and develop with me. The album as a whole is a collaboration rather than all of the songs stringing together.

How does the songwriting process start for you?

Most of the time it starts with a bass line groove or melody, and then I’ll start writing lyrics to it. If it’s a specific instance or taken from experience, it usually starts with lyrics.

What can you tell me about the track “You Only Need Me When You’re Down?”

That was a tune Anders and I had written together. At the time, I was in a bad place in a relationship and had the line, “You only want me when you need me. You only come to me when you’re in trouble.” Anders came up with the groove and we started expanding it from that situation. That’s how it came about.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoWith Danielle Nicole by Clicking Here!

‘Dirt Road’s End': Sugarcane Jane’s Anthony Crawford Talks New Album, Touring with Neil Young and More

DirtRoadsEndSugarcane Jane have amassed an extremely loyal following by performing what they like to call, “organic music at its finest.”

Anthony Crawford and his wife, Savana Lee, are both virtuosos. Crawford is a songwriter who plays guitar and mandolin while Lee alternates between rhythm guitar, tambourine and snare drum.

Sugarcane Jane’s new album, Dirt Road’s End, provides a rich, homegrown brand of Americana that draws deep from a well of influences, including country, jazz, rock and gospel. The album was conceived and co-produced by legendary Americana/roots singer-songwriter Buzz Cason.

Dirt Road’s End, which was recorded on a classic Otari MTR-90 tape recorder, traverses a spectrum of moods and stories, including the autobiographical “Ballad of Sugarcane Jane” which features Anthony’s driving guitar work, and “Heartbreak Road,” which steams with rock energy and bluegrass spirit.

I recently spoke with Crawford about Dirt Road’s End, recording “old school” and what it was like touring as a member of Steve Winwood and Neil Young’s bands.

GUITAR WORLD: To someone who might not be familiar with Sugarcane Jane, how would you describe your sound?

“Saving the planet one good vibe at a time” is our slogan. Savana and I are energy pushers and write songs that make people feel good. Although we have songs in our repertoire that have deeper meaning, the lyrical content for Dirt Road’s End is more light hearted. Savana and I are in love with each other, and that shows in our music. Ultimately, it’s energetic Americana that’s positive and light hearted.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Anthony Crawford by Clicking Here!

Guitarist Jim Peterik Discusses Ides of March’s 50th Anniversary Box Set, New Music and More

PeterikTo many Eighties music fans, Jim Peterik will always be the maestro behind classic songs like “Eye of the Tiger,” “I Can’t Hold Back” and “Burning Heart.”

But prior to launching Survivor in 1978, Peterik was the front man for another successful group—the Ides of March—whose signature 1970 song, “Vehicle,” is still played regularly on the radio and in TV shows and films.

This year, the Ides of March are celebrating their 50th anniversary. In honor of the occasion, Peterik and company have released a new five-disc set, Last Band Standing: The Definitive 50-Year Anniversary Collection.

The box set includes four Ides albums: Vehicle, Common Bond, World Woven and Midnight Oil. Also included are early singles like “You Wouldn’t Listen” and “Like It or Lump It,” plus random tracks the group recorded after reforming in the Nineties, not to mention three brand-new songs.

The fifth disc is a DVD that features a 2014 Ides show from the House of Blues in the band’s native Chicago. It features songs that span the band’s career, plus re-arranged versions of Survivor songs and hits Peterik wrote with 38 Special and Sammy Hagar.

I recently spoke with Peterik about the Ides of March’s 50th anniversary box set, his new project with Marc Scherer and more.

GUITAR WORLD: When it dawns on you that this is the 50th anniversary of the Ides of March, what comes to mind?

There are so many thoughts. We always used to think we had an identity crisis. I remember we started out as a British invasion wannabe band, emulating bands like the Kinks, Zombies and Beatles. Then we got enamored with brass and started a Memphis/soul thing.

Then the big moment came when we had the whole brass section and went in and cut “Vehicle” and toured the country with groups like Cold Blood and Janis Joplin. We threw out all of these different incarnations. When I listen to it now as a whole, it all hangs together. There’s a group personality and a positivity that really shines through the music.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Jim Peterik by Clicking Here!

The Aperature

Aperatureap·er·ture  (noun):
1. an opening, hole, or gap.
2. a space through which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument, especially the variable opening by which light enters a camera.

***

It was underneath the smell of cut grass and gasoline that I first noticed the hole. A medium-sized perforation about the size of a tennis ball that was sticking out like a pockmark on the face of my freshly manicured lawn.

On first glance I estimated its size to be approximately three-inches wide by four-inches deep. A perfectly shaped cylinder unlike any of the typical oblong-shaped chasms that are dug by man. On the contrary, I was certain this particular hole was delivered by one of the masters of dirt and dig – a varmint. The enemy of perfectionist yard enthusiasts everywhere.

Now, I’ve always prided myself in keeping a tidy yard and have been mowing my one-third of an acre plot religiously every Saturday morning during the mowing season. Always making a point to follow-up the proper mow with a good trimming around the base perimeter of the fence line as well as going the extra mile to get every rogue dandelion that curiously survives the spraying by the professional weed service I pay top dollar to in order to make my lawn the envy of the neighborhood.

And now — there’s a freaking hole in it.

For the last twenty years mowing the grass has been the only thing that has really given me any sort of happiness. During that same span of time the long, blondish lawn on my own head has disappeared and the chiseled abs I once had have succumbed to the inevitable phenomenon I like to call age mass. I’ve been in and out of jobs over the years, habitually single and even survived a bout with colon cancer at the tender age of thirty-six. For the most part you could say that my life has been pretty much status quo.

But I wasn’t always the lawn-loving, bald, thick in the middle-man you see here before you. At one point in my life I actually had dreams. Dreams of becoming the next Edward Van Halen as guitarist for the hair metal band, Silent Rage.

You’ve heard of us, right?

Don’t worry. I won’t shed a tear if you haven’t. But I will say that Silent Rage was one of the 80s most well-known hard rock groups. I mean, we played gigs everywhere from Maine to South Florida; opening for bands like Winger, KIX and Heaven’s Edge. We even had a showcase for the Adverse City Records honchos in New York City, who promised us a two-album recording deal in early 1991.

Yep, the world was going to be our oyster. That is until Kurt Cobain, Alice in Chains and the rest of those Seattle grunge lunatics shot that dream to hell. Forcing the band to dissolve and me to have to sell off most of my gear and take on the first of countless jobs just to make ends meet. Eventually leading to the middle-aged conundrum I now find myself in.

In a world where age, health and hair have forsaken me, mowing the lawn is the only thing I have any sort of control over. So you’ll have to excuse me if I get a little upset when a rabbit or groundhog comes into my inner sanctum and decides to dig a hole.

How did I not notice this obtrusive hole while I was mowing, you ask? Good question. I pondered the same thing myself. Surely I would have seen a tennis ball sized hole as I was making passes over it with the lawn mower, yet I must have somehow overlooked it.

But what made the whole thing even stranger was the fact that there was no dug-up loose dirt in the area surrounding the hole. In fact, the earth near the hole was hard packed and completely dry. Giving every indication that the hole had actually been there for a long, long time.

Now, I may be forty-five years old and been diagnosed with presbyopia at my last eye doctor visit, but even I would have noticed a blatant hole sticking out like a sore thumb several weeks into the mowing season. I decided to kneel down to get a closer look at the intruder’s work, hoping to find a clue as to what brand of rodent had been infiltrating my land.

As I started moving loose grass clippings out of the way a drop of sweat slipped off of my brow and fell into the hole. There, beneath the warm June sky something began shining out of its depth. At first I thought it might be a quarter or some small piece of glass or stone reflecting off the hot summer sun. Instead, it turned out to be nothing material at all.

It was a beam of light. A light shining out from somewhere within the hole. It was almost as if someone was on the other side of the hole shining a flashlight outward and into my eyes.

A lump began to develop in my throat and I actually felt my heart skip a beat. I’ll be honest with you here. I seriously gave consideration to making a run for it. Something about this whole thing just didn’t seem right. But instead of running, I decided to do what only a fool would do. I laid down flat on my stomach and peered my eye right inside that cantankerous hole.

Screw you, Alice in Wonderland.

What I felt when I first looked into the hole was reminiscent of a pirate who had been lost at sea for months. A pirate who would spend most of the day peeping through his spyglass in a vain search to find land but only finding endless sea. Until one day, just as he’s about to run out of food and water, he discovers the thing he had been searching for. The only thing that mattered.

As I looked down into the hole I could see a white-colored, cloudy canvas. Like I was flying through a sea of cumulus clouds, with edges clean and soft. A canvas whose brightness covered the entire spectrum of my senses and then; as if on cue, having already known of my intentions to see what lied beyond, the canvas of clouds quickly parted into some dream-state dimension

From a third-person perspective I saw myself in this surreal state just as clear as day. Only it wasn’t the forty-five year old me I saw. Instead, it was a much younger version of me, no more than twenty-one.

Nearly forty pounds from my midsection had all but disappeared and every last one of my long blond hairs had miraculously returned. The real me had a sense of confidence he hadn’t felt in a long time.

For all intents and purposes, it felt like the year 1990. Like watching some old home movie, but in the highest of definition. One where every nuance of every movement was noticeable – the sights, the sounds, the feeling. From that moment, I realized I no longer wanted to just look into the light inside of the hole. Instead, I wanted to become a part of it.

I watched from above as this younger version of me stood somberly next to his idling, green, 1976 Chevrolet Vega wagon. A dark brown suitcase sat next to the car as it sputtered in and out of stalling. I was certain that it wouldn’t be long into my trip before the car would leave me sitting on the side of the road.

Vega1

It was 1990.

The familiar sounds of Westminster Chimes began to play from the St. Agnes Church a few blocks away. I had enough time to count each chime as it signaled the hour of day.

One…two…three….four….

By the time it reached the ninth chime I had already determined that it was early morning based on the positioning of the sun in the eastern sky and by the faint sounds of another lawn mower leveling the landscape some distance away. It was also at that moment that I realized I was at West Chester University again and even more importantly, I was fully aware of what was about to happen next.

A young, attractive woman slowly approaches the vehicle. She had fair skin, a creamy complexion and the familiar long brown hair that ran down beneath her shoulders. With deep blue eyes that breathed a life in me that I’ve never felt before nor ever will again. She wore the blue denim jacket her parents had bought for her in high school, with matching jeans and scuffed up Chuck Taylor’s that have seen a lot of miles from the long walks we had taken together over the last two years. The smile she had that could light up a room was now replaced with sadness. I knew going in this was not going to be easy.

Christine is was my everything.

“Have everything you need?” Christine asked in her casual, nonchalant fashion. The faux me was already quick to answer.

“Yes. Enough to get me through to Scranton.” I said. Of course, I was lying. As Christine already knew from our many journeys in the beat-up old wagon, the Vega constantly burned oil and overheated. I figured I might only make it as far as Allentown before I’d have to stop.

“Did you get all of your paperwork complete?” she said, hoping that somehow I might have overlooked something. Something that would have delayed the inevitable.

“Uh-huh. Got the final papers from the bursar’s office yesterday. It’s all done. Turned in my keys to the resident advisor this morning, gassed up the car and here we are.”

“You know, you don’t have to do this.” Christine said solemnly. “Can’t you at least stay until the end of the semester and see what happens?”

Tears began to fill her eyes.

“ I can’t.” I said. “You know I’ve waited a long time for my music to take off. This gig up north promises shows for the next three months. Good pay too. Mike our drummer even says that it may lead us to a showcase in New York City if we’re good enough.”

There was an odd silence and then she said those same five words I still ask myself in my darkest nights.

“Are you good enough, Jim?”

Am I?

Even though I already knew the answer, at that moment someone greater than me had pressed “pause” on this supernatural VCR.

“Choose.” a voice said.

“Choose?” I asked looking at the now frozen in time Christine. I could not take my eyes off of her.

“You can change the outcome. I’ve given you the choice.” the voice responded.

“But I already know what happens” I thought to myself, now knowing that whatever voice was speaking to me could also read my mind.

“Twenty-five years ago you decided to leave college for music.” the voice responded. “You now have the chance to change it.”

“Change it?” my conscience said. Could I really sacrifice these last twenty-five years? Is it possible to get a second chance in this life?

It’s true. I did turn my back on college and Christine [who was already halfway through her second year of pre-med] in exchange for a chance to become the guitarist for Silent Rage – the next great hair metal band. But instead of staying in school to get my teaching degree, marrying Christine and living happily every after, I took my beat-up Fender Strat on the road for two years performing to semi-packed crowds before the advent of grunge destroyed me and nearly every other 80’s hard rock band that existed and ended my musical dream.

During those ensuing years Christine and I fell out of touch. I don’t know if she ever did become that doctor but I am sure that her end result was better than mine. I did try looking her up on Facebook and LinkedIn after my battle with cancer [being face to face with death has a tendency to make you want to tie up loose ends] but came up empty-handed.

“Are you good enough, Jim?” the voice asked me again.

“This isn’t that movie, ‘Groundhog Day’.” my conscience told me. “No one can really go back. You only get one life and the trick is to make the most of it.”

Sure, grunge was a setback. And I know that if I had been made that decision back in 1987 instead of 1990 things might have been completely different. But age, health, relationships, job-hopping and even that little drinking episode I had that led to a night in the drunk tank were all setbacks. But none of those things really destroyed me. They only made me who I am

“Are you good enough, Jim?”

I looked at the frozen Christine. I looked at the frozen twenty-one year old me. I looked at the idling Vega that would wind up stalling out halfway to Pottstown, leaving me stranded on the side of Route 100 for two hours. Until a friendly trucker came by and offered me a lift into town where we talked about music and The Gulf War over a six-pack of Coors Light.

What happened next I can’t explain. It was as if the dream sequence I had become immersed in had suddenly become a puddle and a huge omnipotent hand had disturbed the still water. I saw Christine and the Vega and the young me ripple away into darkness while the real me drifted off into another stream of consciousness. I woke up lying face down next to the hole on a warm bed of freshly cut grass.

As I was pulling myself up off the ground I noticed that the sun had already begun its soft descent into the deep western sky. I smiled. The light and hole that once seemed so painfully intrusive to me was now gone and in its place was a breach that no longer seemed like it was the end of the world.

 

Guitarist Joel Hoekstra Talks ‘Purple,’ Whitesnake’s New Deep Purple Tribute Album

Shortly after Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord died in 2012, Whitesnake vocalist—and former Deep Purple frontman—David Coverdale reached out to guitarist Ritchie Blackmore about the possibility of working on a project together in Lord’s honor.

WhitesnakeGroup

Although both musicians were on different pages creatively at the time and couldn’t come to an agreement, the two former Deep Purple members were able to find closure, bury the hatchet on past grievances and move on.

Then Coverdale’s wife, Cindy, suggested that David pay tribute to Lord with Whitesnake. Now Whitesnake is about to unveil Purple, a new studio album that puts insanely good spins on Mark 3 and 4 Deep Purple classics and tastefully pays tribute to one of the pioneers of progressive rock.

Purple, which will be released May 19, also marks the debut of Whitesnake’s new guitarist, Joel Hoekstra, who recently replaced Doug Aldrich. Hoekstra’s resume includes Night Ranger, Trans Siberian Orchestra and Broadway’s Rock of Ages.

These days, Whitesnake includes Coverdale (lead vocals), Reb Beach (guitar), Hoekstra (guitar), Michael Devin (bass) and Tommy Aldridge (drums).

I recently spoke to Hoekstra about Purple and what it’s like being a part of Whitesnake.

What’s it been like to work with David Coverdale?

Working with David has been great! He’s rock royalty with all of these great stories about working with Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore. He really understands music and was very gracious in the studio in allowing us to play what we wanted to play. Now, we’re gearing up for the other aspect—playing these songs live. You talk about songs that lend themselves well to live performance? These songs were written in live performance. It’s going to be exciting.

How did the Purple project begin?

The project actually began before I was even in Whitesnake. Shortly after Jon Lord passed away in 2012, David reached out to Ritchie. He just wanted to touch base with Ritchie and thank him for helping to jump-start his career. The two of them then went into discussions about doing something together in memory of Jon, but [as I hear it] they were on different pages. It was David’s wife, Cindy who then suggested that David do it with Whitesnake. It was a great concept and a total honor for me to be a part of.

Let’s discuss a few tracks from Purple, starting with “Lady Double Dealer.”

That was actually my audition for Whitesnake. I remember when I went out to Reno to meet the guys, that was the song they pulled up. They asked me what I would do for a solo. So I laid down a solo and then in the next section they started taking about a harmony solo and asked me to come up with something. So I wrote the solo that actually ended up making the record. Afterwards, they pretty much said, “Well, dude, come jam with us! Let’s do this!”

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview With Joel Hoekstra By Clicking Here!

‘The Drownsman’: Actor Ry Barrett Discusses Aquatic, Supernatural Thriller

TheDrownsmanAfter nearly drowning in a tragic lake accident, a young Madison (Michelle Mylett) finds herself bound to an uncontrollable fear of water. Unable to rid herself of her hydrophobia, four of Madison’s friends stage a desperate intervention. But in doing so, they unknowingly release a supernatural serial killer that’s determined to drag them one by one into a dark, horrifying place from which they may never return.

The premise for “The Drownsman” contains all of the goodness from many of the classic horror films of the 80’s but with its own unique twist. That being, an all female lead cast. Something that even by today’s standards is unheard of for films of the horror genre.

Directed by Chad Archibald, The Drownsman also stars Caroline Palmer, Gemma Bird Matheson, Sydney Kondruss and Clare Bastable.

Actor Ry Barrett has a history of playing nefarious villains in horror but his role of Sebastian Donner (aka The Drownsman) may be his best yet! Barrett gives life to a monster that has every evil intention of Freddy Kreuger or Pinhead, yet possesses his own twisted, demonic purpose.

I recently spoke with Barrett about his work on The Drownsman and more in this exclusive interview!

How did this project come about for you?

Chad Archibald and I go back a long way as friends and he was telling me about the idea. He asked me if I would read the script just to give him some feedback. I really liked the character so I asked if I could read for it. Originally, they were looking for an older man who was a bit more lanky and skinny. But I went in and read for the character and even wrote a separate monologue, just to see if I could creep them out. They liked what I did and changed their minds about what the character was going to be.

What was it about the script that attracted you to the role?

It all goes back to my love for these kind of characters. I loved the Hellraiser and Nightmare On Elm Street franchises. The whole idea of these tortured individuals who come back for revenge though some sort of supernatural outlet really appealed to me. I already knew it was a movie I’d love to see, so I definitely wanted to play a role in it.

How would you describe your character, Sebastian Donner?

He’s a tortured, mysterious individual who has this shoddy past. Early on, you see that he’s a serial killer who drowns women in various ways in order to receive comfort. The reason he does it is touched upon in the film but something happens through one of his victims that turns him into this supernatural entity that’s stronger, more powerful and evil.

What was the filming process like?

It was a lot of fun. There was intense make-up work and the aspect of water and shooting in winter in northern Canada posed some challenges, but it was very rewarding and great experience.

What was the chemistry like on set?

It was great. I had worked with Michelle on a film called “Antisocial” that had some pretty intense scenes. So we had already built up a level of comfort and rapport together. The girls had a great chemistry even before I stepped foot on set. It was cool to jump into this family where everyone was pulling for each other. We all worked well together. 

You mentioned your relationship with Chad. Can you speak a little about how that worked in “The Drownsman”?

Chad and I go way back and have done many projects together. We know each other so well that we’ve developed this form of short hand communication. He’s able to get exactly what he wants with very few words because he knows me so well. It’s nice to work with someone who knows you in that way.

What do you love most about horror?

I love all the different things about the genre. It draws on the fears that we don’t really understand and is something everyone can relate to. There are fun horror films and ones that just want to shake you. Then there are others that just want to talk you on a ride. “The Drownsman” is one of those movies that entertains you in a scary, fun way and also takes you on that ride.

Ryan Barrett HS2Did you always know that you wanted a career in acting?

I was more focused on playing in rock bands when I was younger but have always been a movie lover.

Shortly after a few of my friends had come out of film school, they asked me to be a part of one of their projects because they knew I had also taken drama in school. That experience changed my whole outlook. From then on, I was hooked!

Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?

The Demolisher; which is a film I produced and acted in will be premiering at FanTasia this year. It’s directed by Gabriel Carrer. I also have another film called “Save Yourself” that will also be hitting festivals soon. 

What excites you the most about the release of “The Drownsman”?

I’m hoping that people really enjoy it. It’s a fun, throwback horror film that takes you back to the films of the 80’s. A time when a lot of people grew up and fell in love with the genre. This is a love letter to those kinds of films.

The Drownsman is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment

Richie Kotzen Talks Tech 21 Signature RK5 Fly Rig, ‘Cannibals’ and Dog Camp 2015

Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen

We always love talking to Richie Kotzen. This time, we decided to talk tone.

Kotzen played a huge part in developing the Tech 21 Signature RK5 Fly Rig, which happens to play a major role in how he gets his signature sound.

While Kotzen primarily uses his RK5 live in conjunction with his standard amp rig, this compact unit embodies an entire rig on its own. At its heart is the all-analog SansAmp, which makes it possible to go direct to a PA or mixer. For effects, you have the essentials: a reverb, a delay with tap tempo, a powerful boost and Kotzen’s Signature OMG overdrive.

Below, we discuss the RK5, the Winery Dogs his new solo album and more.

GUITAR WORLD: How did your relationship with Tech 21 begin?

They had sent me a few of their delays and other pedals to try out. I took a liking to the delay and started using it as my primary one. During tours with my band, I found myself doing these fly gigs where I would fly in, do a show or two and then fly out. I really wanted something compact and easy to deal with.

What I wound up doing was combining their delay pedal with the overdrive I was using at the time and then added a foot-switch mechanism for my amp and put it all into one little box. It was crude and wasn’t always super reliable, but I showed it to Andrew Barta at Tech 21 when he was in LA and he agreed it was a great idea. It took a good six months in developing until it was exactly right.

Was there a lot of trial and error involved in the process?

The delay was simple because I already knew what I wanted. The overdrive was a little trickier. I learned a lot about circuits by comparing things but relied a lot on my ears. It went through several variations until Andrew came up with a design that’s just right. I can put that pedal in front of any amp and still get a good sound.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Richie Kotzen by Clicking Here!

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