Category Archives: Guitar World Interviews
“It wasn’t like we were at war,” Coney Hatch singer/guitarist Carl Dixon says when asked why there hasn’t been a reunion or new album in almost 30 years.
“We all had just gone off in other directions and were committed to the new projects we had taken on.”
Dixon was the singer for the Guess Who in 2008 when he was involved in a devastating car crash that left him physically unable to perform. It was then that Dixon’s loyal friend (and Coney Hatch bassist) Andy Curran organized a fundraising event in Toronto to help Dixon’s family through that tough time.
Joined by guitarist Steve Shelski and original drummer Dave Ketchum, it would be the first time the four original members of Coney Hatch were in the same room together in years. Although the band didn’t play together that night, the event gave them a new-found sense of purpose.
Over the next few years, the reunited Coney Hatch would perform several shows, including one at Firefest in 2011.
The band’s first trip to the UK would become a career-defining moment and also give them the opportunity to record a new collection of songs. The resulting album, Four, is a good representation of the tough, punchy, rock and roll sound Coney Hatch is known for, combined with an off-the-cuff, more relaxed, natural feel.
I spoke with Dixon (now fully recovered) and Shelski about the new Coney Hatch album as well as their gear and first big-time tour.
Read the rest of my Guitar World interview with Dixon and Shelski by Clicking Here!
Twenty-four-year-old Lindsay Ell is a true triple threat. Not only is she an accomplished guitarist who can go toe to toe with the big boys, but she’s also a unique vocalist and gifted songwriter.
Growing up, Ell honed her craft in bluegrass camps until she was discovered at age 13 by BTO/Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman. Ell soon found herself becoming immersed in the power of the blues and sharing the stage with the likes of Buddy Guy and Keith Urban.
Ell is traveling the globe as the opening act for the Band Perry’s We Are Pioneers World Tour. Her hook-laden single, “Trippin’ On Us,” impacts country radio on December 16 [It's available on iTunes now]. Her debut album is expected early next year.
I spoke with Ell after a recent European show about her music and gear. She also offers good advice for any guitarist, male or female.
Read the rest of my Guitar World interview with Lindsay and watch her performance with Buddy Guy by Clicking Here
For Joel Hoekstra and Tommy Kessler, it might be like being inside of a time warp.
Not only do the guitarists for Broadway’s Rock of Ages musical get to perform in the fictional Eighties band Arsenal night after night, but separately, they play music from that same era, even when not performing on the Broadway stage.
Kessler’s other “day job” includes working alongside Debbie Harry in Blondie, while Hoekstra continues to record and tour with Night Ranger and is about to start his fourth winter tour with Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
I spoke to Hoekstra and Kessler about Rock of Ages and some of their other projects.
GUITAR WORLD: What are some of the differences between performing as part of Night Ranger and Blondie, as compared to Rock of Ages?
JOEL HOEKSTRA: With Night Ranger, it’s all about playing the classic songs/solos and entertaining the audience with an energetic performance. With Rock of Ages, people are there for a humorous, entertainment experience, not a serious rock show. My approach to that is campier because it’s more in the spirit of the show. People are just there to have a good time. In Night Ranger, I use EVH iii amps. With RoA, I play through a Fractal Axe-FX Ultra.
TOMMY KESSLER: The main difference performing-wise is that when Blondie plays a show, it’s six of us doing a rock show and it’s song after song. We’re all featured at any given moment. With Rock of Ages, there’s a story going on in front of the band. We are on stage the entire time because Arsenal is the house band of the Bourbon Room, but the story goes in and out of the Bourbon Room so there is a lot of time we are in the dark and not playing music.
Read the rest of my Guitar World interview with
Joel Hoekstra and Tommy Kessler by Clicking Here
Ronnie Radke and Falling In Reverse Launch Bury the Hatchet Tour with Escape The Fate: “It Was Time”
Ever since Ronnie Radke’s not-so-amicable departure from Escape The Fate, his subsequent incarceration and the formation of his new band, Falling In Reverse, both bands — and to an extent, their fans — have waged a semi-constant battle in the press.
Now, however, Radke has buried the hatchet with his former band.
To prove it, Falling In Reverse and Escape The Fate have joined forces to launch a major-market tour — the Bury the Hatchet Tour — which will make its way across the US beginning January 15, 2014.
Falling In Reverse’s sophomore album,Fashionably Late, which was released in June, introduces hip-hop and electronic elements to the band’s current combination of metal core and radio-friendly choruses, creating its own unique sound. The new album is also the first to feature bassist Ron Ficarro and drummer Ryan Seaman.
We recently caught up with Radke and discussed the album, the tour — and the end of his long, often bitter feud with Escape The Fate.
Read the rest of my Revolver Mag interview with Ronnie Radke
and see Tour Date information by Clicking Here!
For “Sid ‘n Susie Under the Covers, Vol. 3: The ’80s, Susanna Hoffs’ third album of cover songs with power popper Matthew Sweet, the Bangles vocalist/guitarist stuck to a decade that was very kind to her — the 1980s.
Unlike the duo’s two previous albums, which focused on material from the ’60s and ’70s, Under the Covers, Vol. 3 relies less on mainstream hits and focuses more on deeper album tracks.
Along the way, Hoffs and Sweet paint a broad spectrum of sonic art — complete with totally gnarly renditions of tunes by artists including Roxy Music, the Smiths, XTC, Lindsey Buckingham and R.E.M.
I recently spoke to Hoffs about the new album, which will be available November 12. We also discussed a few of her favorite memories from the ’80s.
As an added bonus, here’s my favorite Bangles song from the 80′s.
GUITAR WORLD: How did you and Matthew Sweet decide which songs to cover for this album?
Because we’re both fans of the music, it was so easy to pick songs. The hard part was actually trying to stop [laughs]. Musically it was a challenge, but it was a lot of fun finding ways to reinvent the songs and put our own stamp on them. We also got to think outside of the box because we approached things as a duet. It gave us a chance to really get into the emotion of the songs.
You can the rest of my Guitar World interview with Susanna Hoffs by Clicking Here!
Although it’s been more than 20 years since Starship’s last album of all-new material [1989's Love Among the Cannibals], the band’s latest release, Loveless Fascination, was certainly worth the wait.
Not only has vocalist Mickey Thomas been able to maintain his unique sound and range over the decades, but he’s added more of a thickness and growl to his vocals, allowing him to scream better than ever.
Produced by Jeff Pilson [Foreigner, T&N, Dokken], Loveless Fascination stays true to the band’s signature classic-rock sound, providing a much harder edge while taking Starship into the 21st century. I recently spoke with Thomas about working with Pilson on Loveless Fascination and a lot more.
GUITAR WORLD: It’s been nearly 25 years since your last studio album, Love Among the Cannibals, was released. Why the long wait?
I’ve started several projects during that time period, but for various reasons they never came to fruition. In order to make a really great record, you need to have a great team, and that means great songs, production, management and label. All of those elements never seemed to come together at the same time for us, but when this album came along everything just fell into place. I teamed up with Jeff Pilson, who’s not only a great producer, but also a great musician and songwriter. We instantly had this great chemistry and I realized this was the kind of Starship album we needed to make.
You can read the rest of my Guitar World interview with Mickey Thomas
by Clicking Here!
Forty years is a monumental amount of time for any band to be together, but for Kansas guitarist Richard Williams, the milestone event seems almost normal.
In addition to being an integral part of the success of Kansas — a band with record sales in excess of 15 million — Williams’ legacy includes being one of only two members of the band (drummer Phil Ehart being the other) to play on every Kansas album.
Even after four decades, Kansas shows no signs of slowing down. They plan to release a documentary in 2014 and continue to perform as many as 80 shows per year.
I recently spoke to Williams about the band’s milestone anniversary, their hits and his time working with guitarist Steve Morse.
GUITAR WORLD: What can you attribute to the longevity of Kansas?
I think one of the key elements was being fortunate to have songs that have stood the test of time, like “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind.” We have a catalog of songs that have become the fabric of American life for a lot of people. They’re solidified in history.
Read the rest of my interview with Richard Williams by Clicking Here!
Lucky Numbers, guitarist Dave Stewart’s third solo album in as many years, is a well-crafted collection of songs adorned with key elements of blues, country and rock.
Recorded on a boat in the South Pacific with a core group of seasoned Nashville musicians, Lucky Numbers offers a window into the mind of a true modern-day storyteller.
Songs like “Every Single Night,” the album’s first single and music video, delve deep into the circuslike success Stewart achieved with singer Annie Lennox in Eurythmics. Tracks like “Satellite,” “Drugs Taught Me a Lesson” and “How to Ruin a Romance” provide an interesting perspective into Stewart’s personal pain.
I recently spoke with Stewart about the new album, his guitar work and some memorable moments he’s shared with Lennox.
GUITAR WORLD: What was the recording process like for Lucky Numbers?
In the past, I had recorded with players from Nashville at this great studio called Blackbird. This time, I decided to get them a bit shocked and like a fish out of water. So I pulled them out of Nashville and flew them to the South Pacific, where we went on a trip around Polynesia on a boat and recorded the whole album. We would literally all just be standing there in a circle looking at each other while we were recording. It was a very live experience.
You can read the rest of my Guitar World interview with
Dave Stewart by Clicking Here.
Following the success of her true comeback album, 2012’s Living Like a Runaway, Lita Ford took to the stage at LA’s Canyon Club to record a live performance as a gift to her fans.
The result is The Bitch is Back…Live, the new album from the reigning queen of hard rock and heavy metal.
In addition to live material from her latest studio release, The Bitch is Back also digs deep into Ford’s catalog, showcasing songs from Out for Blood, Dancin’ on the Edge and 1988′s monster album, Lita.
Ford is hard at work on her biography [set for release in 2014] as well as becoming an advocate for Parental Alienation Awareness. I recently spoke with her about the live album, her current setup and an encounter she once had with Led Zeppelin.
GUITAR WORLD: What made you decide to do this live album?
It was kind of spur of the moment. After we did the tour with Def Leppard and Poison [in 2012], I really wanted to give something back. So we jumped into this club in LA, mic’d up the room and recorded it. It’s really a gift to the fans. Everything came together like magic and I’m very happy with it.
Check out the rest of my Guitar World interview with Lita Ford by Clicking Here.
There’s only one way to celebrate 40 years of rock, and that’s with your friends.
Sammy Hagar’s new album, Sammy Hagar & Friends, is a collection of songs that pay tribute to the Red Rocker’s musical success.
With contributions from Joe Satriani, Neal Schon, Nancy Wilson and Michael Anthony (among others), Hagar not only looks back on his solo career, but also his time with Montrose, Van Halen and current bands the Waboritas and Chickenfoot. The new album also gives fans a taste of what the future might hold for Hagar.
I recently spoke with Hagar about the new album and got his thoughts on Van Halen, Chickenfoot and some of his best memories from four decades in rock.
GUITAR WORLD: What sparked this new album project?
John Carter [Hagar's manager who died in 2011] had a dream of getting me to do a “four decades of rock” record and tour. The idea was to do something from the Montrose, early Sammy, Van Halen and Geffen years and write a new song from each of those eras. Write a Montrose-type song, a “cars” song from the Red Rocker era, a Van Halen/Chickenfoot-esque-type song and a lifestyle song.
Read the rest of my Guitar World Interview with Sammy Hagar by Clicking Here!