Author Archives: James Wood

Bangles Guitarist Vicki Peterson Discusses the 30th Anniversary of ‘Different Light’

BanglesWhen the Bangles released their sophomore album, Different Light, in 1986, it represented something of a departure from the guitar-driven, Sixties-oriented sound the band had been known for.

With its eclectic mix of radio-friendly pop, dance and Motown groove, Different Light would go on to become one of the year’s biggest albums, yielding the hits “Walking Down Your Street” and “If She Knew What She Wants,” plus the Prince-penned “Manic Monday.”

The album also gave the Bangles their first Number 1 song, the quirky yet strangely infectious “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

Below, Bangles guitarist Vicki Peterson recalls the making of Different Light and the tidal wave of success that followed. We also discuss her current work with the Bangles, the Psycho Sisters and Continental Drifters, gear and more.

When you look back at Different Light with 30 years of perspective, what comes to mind?

Different Light was a really important record for us and transitional in some ways. We had started out as a very raw garage band, and the first full record that we did with Columbia had more of that Sixties, guitar-rock sound. Different Light has some songs that kind of veered away from that. In some ways, it was a little uncomfortable, but new things always are.

What prompted that change in direction?

We were trying to feel our way through growing up as a band, and that started happening with that record. It was a band decision. Instead of staying in one spot musically and working directly from that Sixties, guitar-based platform, we launched into other things. David Kahne (producer) did a lot to take any ideas we had and was musically creative as an arranger. He was actually the one who brought us “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Vicki Peterson by Clicking Here!

Rival Sons Guitarist Scott Holiday Talks New Music and Black Sabbath Tour

RivalSons-ScottHolidayLegendary rockers Black Sabbath kicked off their final tour earlier this month. And the band that was handpicked by Ozzy to join Sabbath on the road for this momentous trek? Long Beach, California, rockers Rival Sons.

Rival Sons–Jay Buchanan (vocals), Scott Holiday (guitar), Michael Miley (drums) and Dave Beste (bass)—are part of Sabbath’s North American, Australian and European dates; they’re also headlining a few shows of their own along the way.

The band is still riding high on its latest release, Great Western Valkyrie: Tour Edition, which includes an extra disc of bonus tracks and rarities. Rival Sons also plan to release a new album later this spring.

I recently spoke with guitarist Scott Holiday about Rival Sons’ upcoming tour with Sabbath and more.

GUITAR WORLD: What goes through your mind when you think about opening for Black Sabbath on their last-ever tour? 

We’ve been touring for years now and have had a chance to tour with many of our heroes and other great acts, and it’s been an honor. But a tour like this is something you really hope comes around if you’re a band. ANY band. It’s surreal. And the way we got it was probably the best thing.

How did it all come about?

Usually, tours like this happen in the back office between agents and managers. But Ozzy, Sharon [Osbourne] and the Sabbath establishment didn’t do it that way. We had been nominated for Album of the Year by Classic Rock magazine and were asked if we’d like to perform at the awards show. We’ve done it a few times before and it’s such a great gig. The room is filled with your heroes and fans, and we jumped at the opportunity. So we played a few songs and had a really great response. Then as we were leaving the stage, I could hear Sammy Hagar, who was hosting and is a good friend of the band, say, “I hope Sharon and Ozzy saw that!”

Turns out, they did see it. They had been in the front row and ended up coming back and meeting us a little bit later. It was an amazing feeling. They gave us huge accolades and were very excitingly telling us how much they had enjoyed the show and pretty much proposed the tour to us on the spot. Our manager was there and people began talking immediately. That’s really how it happened.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Scott Holiday by Clicking Here!

3 Doors Down Guitarist Chris Henderson Talks Gear and New Album, ‘Us and the Night’

3DDIt’s hard to believe it’s been nearly five years since Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum rockers 3 Doors Down released their last album, Time of My Life.

But fans who’ve been clamoring for new music from the Mississippi rockers are about to get their wish granted—in true guitar-driven fashion.

3 Doors Down recently announced their sixth album, Us and the Night, which will be unleashed March 11. The album’s first single, “In the Dark,” was released January 15, and you can hear it below.

Us and the Night, which was produced by Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Train, Faith No More), showcases the robust riffs and hooks that’ve helped make 3 Doors Down one of rock’s most instantly recognizable bands. That said, it also emphasizes a new groove and swagger.

3 Doors Down—Brad Arnold (vocals), Chris Henderson (lead guitar), Greg Upchurch (drums), Chet Roberts (guitar) and Justin Biltonen (bass)—are planning a huge summer tour in support of the album.

We recently caught up with Henderson to ask him about the new music, his gear and more.

Did the band try to go in any particular direction when recording Us and the Night?

Every time we’ve recorded a record as a band we’ve always made some sort of conscious decision of where we wanted to go or not wanted it to go. Instead of doing that, this time the strategy we took in the pre-production phase of writing the songs was to push left really far until it started to become a little bit uncomfortable.

Then once we got to that point, we’d let it organically fall back into a rock song. Although it’s not the same, this record is more like Seventeen Days and The Better Life than any of the records we’ve made after those two, in my opinion. It’s got modern elements along with some of those rock elements, and I think we kind of molded both of those together. At the end of the day, it’s got all of the elements of a 3 Doors Down record.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Chris Henderson by Clicking Here!

There’s One Born Every Minute

BugsBunnyWhen I was young, I used to watch a lot of Bugs Bunny cartoons. I enjoyed sitting by the television on Saturday mornings gorging on Cap’n Crunch and indulging in the antics of that waskaly wabbit and his friends.

One of the shorts that always stood out to me was the one where Bugs cons an unsuspecting old man into buying The Brooklyn Bridge. He does this by telling the man a fictional story of how a New York City bridge-jumper named Steve Brody allegedly leaped off of it. The short ends with the old man believing Bugs’ story and giving him money.

Of course in real-life, even a kid in a Cap’n Crunch coma knows you can’t actually buy The Brooklyn Bridge.

Oddly, I was reminded of this cartoon this Saturday morning as I was perusing my Facebook timeline and saw no less than seven copies of this same picture from people on their own pages:

ScamThe picture (and attached link) goes on to say how two of this week’s Powerball winners were giving away some of their newfound fortune to random people. All you have to do to get in on your chance at a free ten grand was to click on the link provided and share the post with your friends.

Of course, what the link fails to mention is that it is part of a phishing scam. Designed to trick unsuspecting people into giving up personal information (like Facebook and bank passwords and social security numbers) in exchange for…. well, absolutely nothing at all.

You might remember a similar occurrence of this FREE money scam shortly after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg publicly stated on major news outlets that he was giving away much of his fortune to charity. And it wasn’t long before scam artists took to social media and posted a link of Zuckerburg along with a note saying that poor, random souls (like us) could also get in on the action simply by clicking on a link. At that time, I saw no less than a dozen of these posts/links on my timeline from people who apparently had fallen for the scam.

It’s one thing when horrible people prey on the elderly by dressing up like a representative from the gas company and trick them into letting them into their homes only to steal their money and jewelry. Or when representatives from “Microsoft” call non-tech savvy people at home and tell them their computer is corrupt and can only be fixed by providing valid credit card information.

But the fact that so many people quickly fall for these “Get Rich Quick” schemes on social media really scares me.

Think about it: Why would complete and total strangers who’ve just won part of a $1.5 billion dollar jackpot want to give away $1,000,000 to people they’ve never met – even before they’ve collected it? And worse, why would these same people set-up a questionable website and then have it promoted on Facebook? Don’t you think that if this were really true, MAJOR news outlets all over the world would be running the story?

What’s that old saying? — “If it sounds too good to be true….”

But if all that doesn’t raise a red flag then consider this: Saying you don’t need all of the money and then only offering to give away $1,000,000 is pretty cheap. Especially when you consider you’ve just pocketed $300 million in winnings.

So the next time you see any of these posts offering free money from the rich and famous, delete them. Because there’s only one real way to get legitimate money my friends, and that’s by doing it the old-fashioned way.

Earning it.

Interview: Colonel Oliver North Discusses ISIS, Election and Benghazi Committee

Colonel Oliver North and James Wood

Colonel Oliver North and James Wood

A combat decorated U.S. Marine who’s also served on the National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan; LT. Colonel Oliver North certainly knows and cares a lot about military affairs. In fact, in addition to being the founder of Freedom Alliance, which provides scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed in the line of duty, North currently spends much of his time overseas as a Fox News contributor, where he’s been embedded with more than fifty U.S. and allied combat units.

North recently brought his vast knowledge and experience to Bethlehem, PA, where he spoke at a private event organized by The Veterans & Military Action Committee, a part of the 9/12 Project of the Lehigh Valley.

In his nearly hour long speech, North detailed stories of his recent work in the Middle East as well as his support of the U.S. military and time serving President Reagan – at one point, almost coming to tears while watching a video of his former boss delivering an emotionally driven speech about terrorism.

Although his talk dealt with the danger and uncertainty in troubled times as well as his frustration with the current administration’s failure to identify and offer a solid plan for achieving victory over terror groups like ISIS, North’s engagement left the audience of nearly 200 with patriotic enthusiasm and hope for America’s future.

Prior to his speech, I had the pleasure of interviewing Colonel North at length on a variety of topics affecting the United States and the world.

James Wood: We’ve seen a lot of ISIS attacks in recent days, most notably in Paris and Beirut as well as with the Russian Airline disaster. What are your thoughts on the current state of ISIS and President Obama’s reaction that the group has been “contained”?

Col. Oliver North: I’m not sure whether this President is just in denial or if they’re giving him bad information but he is living in a parallel universe. Contained? Are you kidding me? When we first went to war against ISIS they were in one place, and that was on the Syria / Iraq border. At that time, they were just thinking about a caliphate. Now they’ve got a caliphate, they’ve taken ground and they print their own money. They’ve got the city of Mosul, which is the second largest city in all of Mesopotamia and now stretch from Yemen and the base of Saudi Arabia all the way north into the Mediterranean. Every country along the southern coast of the Mediterranean has ISIS elements or people who are loyal to ISIS and say that they’re part of the caliphate. Just in the last few weeks they’ve downed a Russian airplane with 200+ dead along with 129 dead in Paris in six different suicide attacks. Then you’ve got Beirut, which was an attack on Hezbollah of all things. In the midst of all of this, our Commander in Chief said that they are contained. That’s a denial of the reality of what’s going on.

You can read the rest of my AXS/Examiner interview with Colonel North
by Clicking Here.

 

Steve Vai Talks Tony MacAlpine Benefit Show, Upcoming ‘Passion and Warfare’ Remaster and Next Vai Academy

vaiAs recently reported, guitar greats Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde and John 5, along with drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist Billy Sheehan and keyboardist Derek Sherinian, are joining forces to play a benefit concert for guitar and keyboard virtuoso Tony MacAlpine, who was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year.

The show will take place December 12 at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles.

In addition to this extraordinary musical event, Vai, John 5, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Stevens, Paul Gilbert, Steve Lukather and Joe Satriani have all graciously donated a few of the their personal guitars to be auctioned during the event. MacAlpine’s gear manufacturers—Ibanez, Hughes & Kettner, EMG Pickups, Ernie Ball, Source Audio and Voodoo Lab—also have donated equipment to be raffled.

All proceeds will assist MacAlpine and his family.

Tickets for the show are available here.

For fans who are unable to make the show but still want to contribute, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up for MacAlpine. You can contribute to the fund here.

I recently spoke to Vai about the event—dubbed the Benefit Concert for Tony MacAlpine—and a lot more in this exclusive interview.

GUITAR WORLD: Tell me about your relationship with Tony MacAlpine and how you guys met.

Back in the Eighties when there was this emergence of virtuoso-style guitar players, there was this handful of guys that had extraordinary chops and were always raising the bar. Tony was a part of that movement in a big way. He made some excellent records that really showcased his tremendous guitar finesse and virtuosity.

So I had always known of him, but it wasn’t until years later that we actually met. I was putting a band together and needed a guitar player who could also play keyboards, and I had heard that Tony could play some keyboards. I also knew having someone like Tony in the band would bring everything to a whole different level. It worked out great and we had so much fun. Tony’s a lovely guy and it was such a pleasure to tour with him. Some people are just naturally gifted, and Tony’s one of them.

So when Mike Mesker [Tony’s manager] called me about the benefit, I was completely on board. It’s since snowballed into what’s going to be an absolutely incredible event to raise money to help Tony. There’s a tragedy in it, but there’s also the divine shining through from all the love and support he’s getting from everyone he’s worked with and who’s supported him.

Was there anything you didn’t already know about Tony that surprised you?

When we were on tour, we were at a venue where they had a piano set up in the back room, and I remember hearing this piano playing from around the corner. At first, I thought it was a concert pianist that had somehow been left over from the night before. But when I go around the corner there’s Tony playing this Chopin etude absolutely flawlessly. Just like an accomplished concert pianist with tremendous accuracy and emotional investment. It was something I never expected. After he had finished, I said, “What the heck was that?” He told me it was a Chopin etude. I asked him if he could play some more and that’s when he said, “Which one? I know them all.” [laughs].

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Steve Vai by Clicking Here!

Vivian Campbell Discusses New Albums by Def Leppard and Last in Line

VivianCampbellWe recently caught up with Vivian Campbell, who was eager to discuss Def Leppard’s new self-titled album and his more recent project, Last in Line, which reunites the veteran guitarist with his fellow Dio bandmates Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain. Their new album, Heavy Crown, is set for a February 2016 release.

You can check out the complete interview below.

GUITAR WORLD: How did Def Leppard approach recording the new album?

The first thing we did was to write, record and play live in the studio, which was something we hadn’t done since ’96 and the Slang album. The one thing I think really unifies all of the songs is the Def Leppard vocals. It makes us who we are. Although it’s stylistically a very diverse record, it also undeniably sounds like the band. That’s why we ended up calling it Def Leppard.

What’s the writing process like for Def Leppard? Does it begin with a melody, a riff, a hook?

All of the above. Sometimes, someone will come in with a completed song or someone might just have an idea and we’ll all talk about it. A lot of times on this record, we started off with a conceptual idea or an emotion, and a song was written to fulfill that notion.

What can you tell me about the track “Dangerous”?

Phil had a musical idea for that song and worked up a demo for it. It’s flashy and punky with a very immediate chorus. It’s very reminiscent of “Photograph” in a way, and it’s one of the catchiest songs on the album.

How about “We Belong”?

That’s a Joe [Elliott] song and one of my favorite songs on the record. Joe had that written just as we started working on the record. He also had a concept that the song would feature all of us individually taking turns on lead vocals. We’re known for our collective, group vocals and it was nice way to showcase us as individuals. That was a first for the band.

Read the rest of my

gw_logoWith Vivian Campbell by Clicking Here!

‘Get Up!’: Bryan Adams Talks New Album, Guitars and Working with Jeff Lynne

BryanAdamsGet Up!—Bryan Adams’ new album—finds the Canadian rocker reuniting with his longtime songwriting partner, Jim Vallance.

This is the same pair that composed many of the guitar-driven songs that became the soundtrack for the Eighties: “Cuts Like a Knife,” “This Time,” “Run to You,” “It’s Only Love” and “Summer of ‘69” to name but a few.

Although it’s his first album of new material in nearly seven years, Adams’ new Jeff Lynne-produced studio release feels more like a successor to his early catalog. From the late-Fifties-style rockabilly innocence of “You Belong with Me” and the Beatles-flavored “Don’t Even Try” to the upbeat groove of “Brand New Day,” Get Up! is a reminder of what made Adams one of the best-selling artists of our time.

I recently spoke with Adams about Get Up!, guitars and working with Lynne.

GUITAR WORLD: You’ve said Get Up! is an album you wish you had made 25 years ago. Why do you feel that way?

I look at You Want It You Got It, Cuts Like a Knife and Reckless as sort of a trilogy, and this record seems like it would have easily slotted in as the logical successor to Reckless. Only because it’s Jim [Vallance] and I really on top of our game again. There’s something between us that’s completely unique. Of course, working with Jeff Lynne has really brought a nice plot to the record as well.

What inspires you when you write?

Every song is different. For Jim and me, it’s about finding your way down a path you’ve never been down before. Musically, it’s about working out the most interesting way to make the song go forward. With all of the songs there’s definitely a guitar that’s in there somewhere pushing it forward.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Bryan Adams by Clicking Here!

Interview: EJ Roeder Discusses Debut Single, ‘Pleazer’

EJ Roeder

EJ Roeder

18-year-old EJ Roeder is perhaps best known for his dynamic athletic prowess at Bethlehem, PA’s Moravian College. A freshman who’s majoring in management, Roeder has been playing football and basketball his entire life.

But while his work on the gridiron may make him recognizable, it’s Roeder’s musical acumen that’s really starting to make waves. As evidenced by his infectious debut single, “Pleazer”.

Written by Roeder along with songwriting partner, Flashy, “Pleazer” is not only the young musician’s first foray into the music world, but it may also be a foretelling of the creative genius that’s yet to come.

I recently spoke with Roeder about “Pleazer”, his writing process and more in this exclusive interview.

Tell me a little about your background. Was music something you always wanted to pursue?

EJ: I’ve always liked music but never really thought about pursuing it. Making my first song has inspired me to make more music and see what else I can do as an artist. I want to pursue it now more than before.  I want people to hear what I have to say and understand what I think and feel.

How did this track come about? Does it begin with a beat, an idea or a story line? What inspires you?

EJ: The track really came about when I was hearing beats. This was one I kept coming back to because I really liked it.  The way it sounded made sense in my head and I could vibe to it right away.  Coming up with the lyrics was second nature when I heard it. My homie, Flashy, who’s also featured in the song added some great lyrics as well.

What’s your writing process like?

I’ll usually start by writing lyrics. They just seem to pop in my head at random points throughout the day.  

What was it like recording your first song?

EJ: I’ve never recorded before so it was something that I won’t ever forget. I want to record more because of how fun the whole process is. 

Do you plan to eventually release more singles and  have live performances? What’s next for you?

EJ: My plan is to make more songs and go from there.  I have a lot of ideas. Now they just need to be made into songs.

What excites you the most about this new single? 

EJ: Seeing the feedback and then thinking about what I can do better to improve my future work.

Is there a message you’d like people to take away from listening to “Pleazer”?

EJ: There really isn’t a clear message. I just wanted the first song to be catchy and something you can get hype to. Me and Flashy really wanted to make something that people would remember. 

Ozzy Osbourne and Billy Morrison Talk New Single and Black Sabbath’s Final Tour

Billy MorrisonLast week, U.K. musician Billy Morrison—who plays in guitar for Billy Idol—released a solo album, God Shaped Hole, via his own King Mob Music label.

On the disc, Morrison is joined by Idol bandmates Steve Stevens and Erik Eldenius, plus Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro and none other than Ozzy Osbourne, who sings lead vocals on “Gods,” which he co-wrote with Morrison.

In this exclusive interview, I spoke with Morrison and Osbourne about the new track, Morrison’s album and, as you’ll see, a lot more.

GUITAR WORLD: Ozzy, How did you and Billy get together for “Gods”?

OSBOURNE: Billy’s been a longtime friend of mine. He called me up one day and when I asked him what he was doing he said, “I’m making an album.” That’s when I said, “Well, I’d love to sing on your album!” So we got together, worked up a couple of melody lines and it literally took us half an hour to write.

Billy, when someone like Ozzy tells you he wants to sing on one of your tracks, what goes through your mind?

MORRISON: If the Prince of Darkness says he wants to sing on your record, you don’t say “No,” now do you? I remember Ozzy sent me a text that said, “Do you have a ballad?” and I said, “Yeah!” But of course, I didn’t! [laughs]. So I wrote the music and took it down to South America when we both went and we literally wrote it in about 20 minutes. It was amazing watching him write those lyrics.

OSBOURNE: And I’m not just blowing smoke up your ass when I say it came that quick. I even remember saying to Billy, “You know? I don’t think we wrote this song. I think it was given to us by someone.” Because you can literally sit in a rehearsal room for months and not come up with anything. But then there are times when you just strike gold, and it’s a great feeling when you do something like that. It’s like giving birth… but without the pain!

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Ozzy & Billy Morrison Here!

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