Author Archives: James Wood
When most people discuss potential supergroups, the last combination of artists they toss around are Michael Sweet of Stryper and George Lynch of Lynch Mob, Shadow Train and Dokken.
Yet these two masters of shred have joined forces for Only to Rise, the debut album from their new project, Sweet & Lynch, that will be released January 27.
Joining the Sweet & Lynch adventure are bassist James Lomenzo [Megadeth, White Lion] and drummer Brian Tichy [Whitesnake, Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne].
From the opening notes of the “The Wish” to songs like “Dying Rose,” “Love Stays” and “September,” it’s evident the blend of Sweet’s unmistakable voice and Lynch’s signature guitar tone has yielded exceptional results.
I recently caught up with Lynch to find out more about Only to Rise and get an update on the new Lynch Mob record, Sun Red Sun, and his Shadow Nation documentary and Shadow Train band projects. Lynch also puts to rest any rumors of a Dokken reunion.
GUITAR WORLD: How did the collaboration with Michael Sweet begin?
Lynch Mob and Stryper share an agent, and we’ve done a few tours together. During a few of those dates here and there, Michael and I would hang out and casually start talking about the idea of working together. We enjoyed each other’s company and had mutual respect for each other musically and as people. It was a good fit. So when the opportunity from Frontiers Records came along to do this record, it was an easy decision. Just a handshake and off to the races!
Read the rest of my
Interview with George Lynch by Clicking Here!
I don’t know about you, but I never get tired of listening to Ann and Nancy Wilson. As far as I’m concerned, Ann’s voice and stage persona combined with sister Nancy’s infectious guitar work is as powerful now as it was when Heart released their platinum selling debut album forty years ago.
Over the course of their illustrious career Heart has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide and have been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Which makes sharing Christmas with Ann and Nancy all the more special.
For Heart’s new live CD/DVD package “Heart and Friends: Home For The Holidays” Ann and Nancy returned to their hometown of Seattle, Washington to stage a celebration of the season, and brought along a few friends for good measure.
Recorded live at the Benaroya Symphony Concert Hall, the Wilson sisters perform a selection of favorite holiday classics that are sure to put you in the holiday mood. Joining them on stage for this one of a kind special are guests Shawn Colvin, Sammy Hagar, Richard Marx and Pat Monahan (Train).
But it just wouldn’t be a true Heart show without a few surprises, and this collection is no different. Included in the live performance is a reading of an original Christmas poem by Nancy Wilson as well as a killer version of the classic Heart song, “Barracuda”.
Of course, the sisters saved one of the best for last. Remember when Ann and Nancy did a version of “Stairway to Heaven” that brought Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant to tears during the Kennedy Center Honors a few years ago? Yep, the sisters have included another draw dropping performance of that song here, complete with a local Seattle choir.
All being said, “Heart & Friends : Home For The Holidays” is the perfect soundtrack for the season, and an ultimate must have for fans of the reigning Queens of Classic Rock.
CD/DVD track listing:
Seasons Rockin’/Love Came Down at Christmas (feat. Shawn Colvin)
POEM (Nancy Wilson)
All Through The Night (feat. Richard Marx)
All We Need Is An Island / Santa’s Going South (feat. Sammy Hagar)
Please Come Home for Christmas (feat. Pat Monahan)
Stairway to Heaven
Ring Them Bells (feat. Pat Monahan, Richard Marx, Shawn Colvin)
Classic rock fans, what do you get when you combine the talents of Journey, Night Ranger and Whitesnake into one incredible unit? You get, Revolution Saints. The new super group featuring Deen Castronovo, Jack Blades and Doug Aldrich.
Revolution Saints has just released a video for the song, “Turn Back Time”; the first single from their self-titled debut being released in North America on February 24 from Frontiers Records. The video, directed by Devin DeHaven (Rick Ross, Whitesnake, Kiss and R. Kelly) features the band on a sound stage mixed with cool visual landscape images. “Turn Back Time” introduces fans to a powerful new sound. One that recalls the classic rock days of old but still keeps a twenty-first century feel!
Already renowned for his excellent drum work and backing vocals in Journey and Bad English, Castronovo’s vocal prowess is the spotlight in Revolution Saints. On bass and co-lead vocals is Jack Blades; already known for his melodic, hard rock approach in Night Ranger as well as with Damn Yankees . Guitarist Doug Aldrich rounds out the trio; bringing with him a fiery blues guitar attack and lengthy experience with bands like Whitesnake and Dio.
Revolution Saints’ music showcases the passion and enthusiasm of three of the best rock musicians in the game today and a release that should not to be missed!
When Frontiers Records wanted to put together a supergroup to record an album of classic hard rock music, they looked to Joe Lynn Turner.
Turner, the former lead vocalist for Rainbow and Deep Purple, also a successful solo artist, quickly agreed. Before long, bassist Tony Franklin and drummer Carmine Appice were on board.
Following several unsuccessful attempts at filling the guitarist slot, the band found Karl Cochran, who stepped in to provide some tastefully inspired shredding. With infectious songs like “This Is Who I Am” and “Fire And Ice,” Rated X’s self-titled debut sounds like a band that’s worked together for years as a unit.
Unfortunately, Cochran suffered a stroke during the completion of the album and is still on the road to recovery. I recently spoke with Turner and got an update on Cochran’s condition as well as the Rated X album and the possibility of a Rainbow reunion with Ritchie Blackmore.
GUITAR WORLD: How’s Karl doing?
Thanks for asking. He’s improving drastically. His speech is still a bit impaired and he’s paralyzed on his right side, but he’s able to move his arm up to his shoulder and has some feeling in his hand. He’s not walking with a cane, which is incredible for this type of situation. He’s progressing but we know it’s a long, hard road.
If you don’t know much about Karl, he’s a guitar aficionado. His house is filled with vintage guitars, amps and a workshop. His is a complete guitar world. We’re doing benefits to help pay for his medical expenses. We had a very successful one at the Iridium in New York and are doing a few more. We’re doing what we can because the cost of health care is off the hook these days.
How did the you come up with the name Rated X?
It actually started out as just a project we called Project X. We thought that since we were all ex-members of bands, had ex-wives and all had lived “rated X” lives [laughs], that’s what we should name the band.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Joe Lynn Turner by Clicking Here!
I heard the news this morning that John Jankowich, a beloved teacher at Easton Area High School, passed away in Florida earlier this week at the age of 72.
As is typical for me whenever I receive news like this, my memory banks quickly took me back to where it all began. So come along with me for the ride….
When I was a bright-eyed, fresh-faced sophomore at Easton High School in 1984, one of the urban legends going around the hallowed halls was of a teacher who lived on the upper floors of the school and taught senior students the importance of mythological creatures like Zeus, Odin and Pegasus. To make things even more interesting, rumors swirled that this teacher also came to class dressed in full mythological garb. It was from that very moment I knew that “Mythology” had to be one of my 12 grade classes.
That was my first exposure to Mr. Jankowich and for the next two years all I heard about was how cool, how mean and how fun “Janks” was in his Mythology class and how I couldn’t wait to be one of his pupils.
Fast forward two years….
At the time of my arrival to Mr. Jank’s Mythology class in 1986 I was heavily into role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. So in addition to it being a course on literature, Mythology was also kind of like a pep talk for me about a world I one day longed to live in.
Another thing I fondly recall about Jank’s class was that it was also the first time I heard the word “reprobate”. It was a term he gleefully used to often describe his students…
“SIT DOWN YOU REPROBATES!”
…. and a term that I myself would become (unbeknownst to him) that following Spring….
One of the benefits of being a Senior at Easton High School in 1987 was being able to go off campus for 5th period lunch every day. So long as you were doing well in class you were eligible to leave the premises with your homies for a ninety-minute visit to the local McDonalds, Burger King or Richard’s Drive-In. Yes, it was the ultimate perk for being a senior. Unless of course your grades weren’t quite up to par or you didn’t follow the rules of the school.
Mr. Jankowich had the
wonderful opportunity of overseeing that 5th period. A ninety-minute “class” that ran through all three lunch periods and was held daily in the school’s auditorium. This class was intended to be used as a silent place of study but ironically became the final destination for school reprobates under the name, “restricted study hall” or “restricted” for short.
“SIT DOWN YOU REPROBATES!”
Bad grades, tardiness and other devious and malicious intent would always result in the removal of senior privileges and land you a spot in Jank’s “class” where silence was strictly enforced.
But Jimmy Wood (who had refused to dress for swimming in gym class and had thus landed in restricted) had other intentions. Jimmy found himself stuck for a week in Jank’s class while his other classmates were out enjoying spring afternoons over a Big Mac, Whopper or Greasy Dick’s cheeseburger – and Jimmy didn’t like it.
So Jimmy the reprobate came up with a plan.
One day during restricted, Jimmy asked Mr. Jankowich if he could go to the gym. Jimmy told Jank that he wanted to get excuse passes made to allow him to go make-up his swimming requirement during 5th period. Mr. Jankowich – now proud of Jimmy’s desire to do good, agreed and sent Jimmy on his way. But what Jank didn’t know was that Jimmy would have something more sinister in mind.
Jimmy kept his word though and went down to the gym and had Ms. David (the instructor) write him up several slips excusing him from restricted in order to make up gym class.
The next day at 5th period, Jimmy showed Mr. Jankowich the signed pass. Jank happily patted Jimmy on the head and excused him from restricted. But as Jimmy made his way down the hall to gym he realized that there was now nothing to stop him from simply leaving the school and joining his friends for lunch. I mean, he really was excused from restricted, right? So for the next five days, Jimmy showed Jank the pass, received a pat on the head and then enjoyed the freedom from restricted until his full senior privileges were reinstated.
And he lived happily ever after….
Although I’m sure he would have gotten a giggle out of my mischievous deed now, I never saw Mr. Jankowich again after graduation. But I will never forget that spring, how much fun his class was or when he came to school dressed like he was going to a toga party.
John Jankowich’s obituary stated that he taught English, British Literature and Mythology for over 30 years and also taught English as a Second Language to immigrants in night school for 18 years. The four loves of his life were God, family, friends and education and he used those blessings to help others —-
—- including this reprobate.
RIP Mr. Jank.
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!