Category Archives: Music

Three Days Grace Guitarist Barry Stock Discusses Gear and New Album, ‘Human’

ThreeDaysGrace-HumanHuman, the new album by Three Days Grace, is the first to feature new vocalist Matt Walst, who happens to be the brother of TDG bassist Brad Walst.

Besides bringing a familiar face to the band, Matt’s arrival heralds a new-found dynamic; Human introduces heavier, darker shades to the band’s songwriting and sound. New tracks like “I Am Machine” offer inspired, hook-laden riffs while “Painkiller” tackles more personal topics from a unique point of view.

Human, which will be released March 31, reunites Three Days Grace with producer Gavin Brown, who was at the helm for the band’s platinum-selling self-titled debut in 2003.

Three Days Grace also includes guitarist Barry Stock and drummer Neil Sanderson. We recently tracked down Stock to discuss the new album, his gear and more.

GUITAR WORLD: What was it like reuniting with Gavin Brown?

Gavin is awesome because he brought us back to the past. When he’s with us, it’s almost like having a fifth member of the band. He really has an ability to see inside of us and pull out these really deep feelings. He’s also great at making it not just about the lyrics but more like a conversation. He really gets involved in the music and creating sounds, and it was a blast working with him.

How would you describe Human?

Human is the perfect title for this record because there’s been a lot of inner-struggle and loss in the last few years. We’ve had a few people close to us pass on and some addiction and personal issues. This record is really about the last few years of our lives.

What was the writing process like?

We did a lot of writing for this album while we were on the road. It was all about gathering riffs, melodies and vocal ideas. Then we would all get together in a room and start throwing all of the ideas around. It started from there. Songs can come from anywhere. Whether it’s a cool riff, a chorus idea or even just an emotion.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Barry Stock by Clicking Here!

Spirits of the Western Sky: Justin Hayward Talks PBS Package, Solo Albums and The Moody Blues

JustinHaywardJustin Hayward—whose career has spanned a staggering 50 years—has played a huge role in modern music history.

Whether it’s his tasteful guitar playing with the Moody Blues or as a solo artist, or his endless catalog of classic songs—including “Nights in White Satin” and “Question”—Hayward is a true living legend.

Hayward recently assembled a five-DVD package, The Ultimate Collection, which can be yours when you make a pledge to PBS. Included is Spirits…Live, a DVD taken from a recent tour in support of Hayward’s 2013 solo album, Spirits of the Western Sky.

Also included are Justin Hayward Live at San Juan Capistrano and Justin Hayward Live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, both of which have been long out of print. Hayward rounds out the collection with two more DVDs, Watching and Waiting and The Story Behind Nights in White Satin, both of which are exclusive to PBS.

I recently caught up with Hayward to discuss the PBS project, his music, guitars and, of course, the Moody Blues.

GUITAR WORLD: How did this PBS project begin?

It really started with Red Rocks in 1992 when a promoter, who assumed [the Moody Blues] had always played with orchestra—when actually, we had not—pitched the idea to PBS about having us perform with the Colorado Symphony. We had never played with an orchestra before, so we decided to give it a go. Then during my recent shows with Mike Dawes and Julie Ragins, a few people from a big PBS station in Minneapolis came down to see it and loved it. They put together this idea, and I really liked it. It’s been a lovely relationship.

In addition to your Spirit’s…Live show, there’s a DVD in the package called Watching and Waiting. What can you tell me about that?

Watching and Waiting came out last November. I did quite a lot of songs on that tour that I had never done before. Even things the Moodies had never done that I had written. They worked well in this acoustic format and were really lovely.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Justin Hayward by Clicking Here!

‘Wolflight’: Guitarist Steve Hackett Discusses His New Solo Album and Genesis

WolflightYou could call Steve Hackett’s new album, Wolflight, a rock record, but it’s so much more than that.

Besides its healthy doses of rock, R&B and jazz, the album, which will be released April 7, reveals the Influence of 19th-century composers and features some unusual instrumentation, not to mention a healthy dose of Hackett’s inspired guitar work.

“Love Story to a Vampire” uses tension to describe an unresolved domestic drama, while “The Wheel’s Turning” finds Hackett recalling nostalgic childhood memories.

Musicians on Wolflight include Hackett’s longtime collaborators Roger King (keyboards), Gary O’Toole (drums) and Nick Beggs (bass), along with Yes bassist (and Squackett bandmate) Chris Squire on “Love Song to a Vampire” and drummer Hugo Dagenhardt on “Dust and Dreams.”

I recently spoke with Hackett about Wolflight and Genesis, as well as his plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his first solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte.

GUITAR WORLD: It’s been nearly four years since your last solo album, Beyond the Shrouded Horizon. Why such a long wait?

For the past few years, I’ve been actively involved in bringing back to the viewing public the Genesis dream that was. It’s taken up so much of my time that I had to put new stuff on hold for quite a while. The effect of that allowed me to concentrate my mind on what it was I’d like to do outside the confines of Genesis. I think that helped create a more broad based album than before.

What can you tell me about Wolflight?

Although the influence of world music is very strong, it’s essentially a rock album. Having said that, there are many guest appearances of things that go well beyond just the guitar, bass and drums. There’s a fair amount of orchestra; instruments such as the tar [from Azerbaijan], in this case played by Malik Mansurov, who kicks off the title track.

We’ve also got some duduk played by Rob Townsend, who normally plays sax with me as well as whistles and flutes. Along with Malik, we’ve twinned the tar with a digeridoo, which is played by Sara Kovacs. All of this is in addition to electric and acoustic guitars. I really wanted to mix things up and felt the genres that normally don’t get mentioned would be rich seas to plunder. There are even moments where there are hints of flamenco and French chanson as well as rock, pop, blues and jazz.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Steve Hackett by Clicking Here!

‘Cannibals’: Richie Kotzen Talks New Album, The Winery Dogs and Gear

CannibalsIn a career that has spanned more than 25 years, guitarist extraordinaire Richie Kotzen has built an impressive resume of albums that showcase his unique shredding prowess, vocals, songwriting and vast musical knowledge.

On Kotzen’s recently released 20th solo album, 2015’s Cannibals, we find the guitarist exploring some interesting new territory.

“In an Instant” and “Come on Free” offer a tasty, Seventies-AOR sound, while “The Enemy” showcase Kotzen’s slide guitar skills. Kotzen also makes the new album a multi-generational affair by including his daughter’s piano-driven song, “You.”

I recently spoke with Kotzen about Cannibals, his songwriting and his current gear setup. He also provides an update on the next Winery Dogs projects and more.

GUITAR WORLD: Lately, you’ve been busy with the Winery Dogs and releasing a compilation package called The Essential Richie Kotzen. What made you decide to release a new solo album?

I felt like it was time. I really had not released a new solo record since 2011. I remember saying to myself around that time that I’d like to take a break from myself and do a collaborative project. The Winery Dogs came at a very good time because the songs I was working on at the time, “Elevate,” “Damaged,” “I’m No Angel” and “Regret,” all ended up on that record.

They were things that we either finished or ideas that were started that ended up on the record. Plus we all wrote new material. After spending the last year and a half doing the band, I really wanted to get back to what it was I’ve been doing for the last 20 years. So I went back into the archives and found some songs I started writing many years ago. There also are brand-new songs, like “Cannibals,” on there too.

This is one of those records where I did what I felt and one that creatively and artistically was true and accurate. I don’t like having to meet a deadline or live up to someone else’s expectations. I’m at my best when I’m left to my own devices.

What’s your songwriting process like these days?

I don’t believe in consciously setting aside a time to write. For me, writing is an emotional, creative thing that requires a lot of variables to line up. To write a real song, there are a lot of things that have to go on emotionally. In my experience, the most truthful material I’ve written comes from unexpected moments. Ideas will come at you many different times and in many different ways. You just have to be prepared to recognize that inspiration and roll with it.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Richie Kotzen by Clicking Here!

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal Discusses His Eclectic New Album, ‘Little Brother Is Watching’

BUMBLEFOOT1 - Photo by Catherine AsanovFor the better part of 20 years, guitar virtuoso Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal has performed at sold-out shows and festivals around the world.

Thal, whose unique guitar work is an undisputed highlight of Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy album (2008), also headlines as a solo act and helps raise awareness for several constructive causes, including the Red Cross, Operation Smile and the Earthquake Relief Fund.

Although it’s been nearly seven years since he’s released a solo album, Bumblefoot is back with Little Brother Is Watching, his 10th full-length solo release.

It’s an inspired collection of eclectic, modern rock that’s packed with tasty guitar work and lyrics about life in the digital age and beyond. The songs, including the album’s title track, reflect a change in perception of who’s watching who, while “Don’t Know Who to Pray to Anymore” and “Livin’ the Dream” focus on self-reflection and the need to question everything.

Although he’s unable to discuss his current Guns N’ Roses status, you can tell in speaking with Thal that he’s at a good place in his life right now, and it’s even more obvious when listening to Little Brother Is Watching.

I recently spoke with Bumblefoot about the new album, his songwriting, gear and another new project, Art of Anarchy.

GUITAR WORLD: What spawned or inspired this new album?

It’s been too long since I’ve done an album. Although I did some one-off singles in 2011, it’s been a while since I did a full collection of music. Due to touring, there was never enough time to dedicate and keep momentum in a studio. Now that I’ve got that time, it was time to make that happen.

How would you describe Little Brother Is Watching in terms of how it relates to some of your previous work?

The foundation for everything I’ve done has been punk and classic rock. That’s what I grew up on. Everything else is icing on that cake. As I got older and with all of the time that’s passed and life experiences, there were more stories to tell. I just got more direct about telling them.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Bumblefoot by Clicking Here!

‘Aerosmith Rocks Donington’: Bassist Tom Hamilton Talks New Film/DVD, Gear and Memorable Moments

When Fathom Events, Cinema 1 and Eagle Rock Entertainment decided to partner up to present a monthly classic music series, they figured what better way to kick things off than by bringing in one of the most beloved rock bands of all time: Aerosmith.

Aerosmith band lineup

Taken from the band’s headlining appearance at last year’s Download Fest at Donington Park in Leicestershire, England, Aerosmith Rocks Donington is a one-night-only concert event that will screen on 300 theaters nationwide 7 p.m. today, Thursday, February 26.

The Donington show once again finds the band at the top of their game. It features a 19-song set that features many of band’s iconic hits, including “Sweet Emotion,” “Walk This Way,” “Dream On,” “Love in a Elevator,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” and “Dude Looks Like a Lady.”

Aerosmith is one of the biggest rock bands of all time. Together, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer have sold more than 150 million albums worldwide in addition to receiving four Grammys and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In addition to releasing a DVD of the live show this spring, Aerosmith also has announced they will hit the road this summer.

I spoke with bassist Tom Hamilton about Aerosmith Rocks Donington, music, gear and some of his most memorable moments.

GUITAR WORLD: How did this live project begin?

It’s something that’s been building for a long time. This isn’t the first time we’ve filmed a show and presented it, but the ability to capture it and have it sound great and have the visuals for it be really strong has gotten better and better over the years.

Our feelings about playing at Donington is what really inspired us. We’ve played there several times in the past. It’s a festival that’s been going on for years and is very historic. So we got together with Dick Carruthers, who’s one of the best rock filmmakers around, and said, “Ok, let’s see how good we can make it!”

As a performer, do you feel a sense of added pressure knowing that this is live and there’s no going back?

Of course. Knowing it’s live always makes your brain concentrate a little more on making it work. We knew going in that we were filming and that we had a great director and great cameras. But we always try to out do ourselves every night, whether we’re recording or not. For us, it was more of an opportunity to make something exciting!

You can read the rest of my gw_logoInterview with Tom Hamilton by Clicking Here!

Micky Dolenz Talks Music, Monkees, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles

MickyDolenz1Fifty years ago, Micky Dolenz’s agent called him about an audition for a new pilot about music and comedy.

It was the beginning of a journey that would take Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork to the world of super-stardom.

Although the show would last only two seasons, the impact the Monkees had on music cannot be ignored. Their first four albums went to Number 1 and included such hits as “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”

The Monkees have sold more than 65 million units worldwide, easily putting them on par with the biggest artists of all time and making a case for their placement in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dolenz has seen a lot of musical history up close, including touring with Jimi Hendrix and sitting in while the Beatles were working on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band album. Dolenz’s 2012 album, Remember, contains an acoustic-driven version of a Beatles song he heard in those sessions.

I recently spoke with Dolenz about the Monkees, his career and a some of his side projects.

GUITAR WORLD: When you first got word about The Monkees, as in the show itself, did you have any idea how huge it would become?

The Monkees was actually the second TV series I had. I had done a show called “Circus Boy” in the Fifties and had gone to school for architectural drafting. My plan was to become an architect when the Monkees audition came along. But when I read the pilot script and went in for the first interview, I remember thinking it might be something special. There were other shows about music at the time and a few other pilots I had been up for, but I remember telling everyone I knew that I really hoped I get this one.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Micky Dolenz by Clicking Here!

Revolution Saints: Jack Blades Talks New Album with Doug Aldrich and Deen Castronova

RevolutionSaintsConsidering their resumes, which read like a who’s who of hard rock and metal, calling Revolution Saints a supergroup is something of an understatement.

The creative trifecta of Deen Castronovo (Journey, Bad English), Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Burning Rain) has put together an inspired collection of songs packed with monster vocals, driving rhythms and (of course) a blistering guitar attack.

Their debut self-titled album, which will be released February 24, also features appearances by Castronovo’s fellow Journey bandmates, Neal Schon and Arnel Pineda.

I recently caught up with bassist Jack Blade to talk about Revolution Saints, Night Ranger and more.

GUITAR WORLD: How did the Revolution Saints project come together?

It was actually the brainchild of the head of Frontiers Records. He really wanted to give Deen a platform where he could be the lead singer. He talked to Deen about it, and then Deen called me up and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. I was immediately on board. Then someone mentioned Doug Aldrich. I’ve always been a big fan of Doug’s. He’s such a great guitar player. Boom! There it was!

The new album has elements from all of your other bands, yet has its own unique freshness. How would describe the new album?

It’s pretty hard rocking. Good, classic hard rock with balls is basically what the whole thing is about. I think when you have individuals like us, you can’t help but be who you are. It is who we are in all of those bands we’ve been a part of. But Deen’s voice is so pure and clean on this album. It’s just wonderful.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Jack Blades by Clicking Here!

Guitarist The Commander-In-Chief Discusses ‘2 Guitars: The Classical Crossover Album’

Commander-Photo by Jeff Xander

Guitar fans might remember seven-string guitarist the Commander-In-Chief from her Zigeunerweisen Op. 20 guitar-duel video, which she made with classically trained guitarist Thomas Valeur.

That video, which was premiered on GuitarWorld.com, was one of the site’s 10 most-watched videos of 2013.

Late last year, the Commander teamed up with another classical guitarist, Craig Ogden, for a new album of guitar-driven goodness—2 Guitars: The Classical Crossover Album—that takes metal virtuosity back to its classical roots.

Ogden, the principal lecturer on guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, was recently featured as one of the top classical guitarists of all time by ClassicFM.

In addition to inspired versions of Caprice No. 24 by Niccolo Paganini (the Italian composer whose music has influenced scores of guitarists, including Yngwie Malmsteen) and an instrumental version of Carlos Gardel and Alfredo LePera’s tango, “Por una Cabeza,” 2 Guitars also showcases the Commander’s vocal skills on an original song, “Let It Go.”

We also should add that the Commander’s Caprice No. 24 video was one of GuitarWorld.com’s 10 most-watched videos of 2014.

I recently caught up with the Commander and asked her about her new album with Ogden, her gear and more.

GUITAR WORLD: What made you decide to do a project like this?

After the guitar duel, I noticed a lot of comments from people asking about the next one. I had only planned on doing one, but everyone kept saying how they couldn’t wait for more. So I thought it’d be cool to do another one.

The piece I found was the massive “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” [by Camille Saint-Saëns]. Once I checked it out, I knew it was going to take me a while to learn. So rather than just doing one piece and video at a time, we decided to instead make an entire album.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with The Commander in Chief
By Clicking Here!

 

‘Work': Bon Jovi Tour Photographer David Bergman Discusses New Coffee Table Book

The first concert I ever attended was a Scorpions show in 1984. I remember this event because, at the time, I was excited about checking out the openers, a young, up-and-coming band called Bon Jovi.

Little did I know I’d also be bearing witness to what would become one of rock’s biggest juggernauts.

Photo: David Bergman

Photo: David Bergman

Tour photographer David Bergman has spent the last three and a half years working as Bon Jovi’s official tour photographer. With carte blanche access, Bergman has been able to travel the world with the band and document their activities—as well as their shows—with his camera.

Bergman has combined a collection of his photographs into one masterful coffee table book that’s appropriately titled Work. The book, an over-sized, 5-pound, 210-page hardcover tome, offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s top touring bands.

In addition to being an in-demand touring and sports photographer, Bergman also runs tourphotographer.com, which lets fans go online and buy high-quality image prints shot at the shows they’ve attended.

I recently spoke with Bergman to find out more about Work and his time spent on tour with Bon Jovi.

GUITAR WORLD: How did this book project come about?

Since the beginning of 2011, I’ve photographed every single Bon Jovi live show, which is quite a lot when you think about it. Last year alone, they did 102 shows on six continents. After every show, I would do an edit and narrow it down to the best of the best from each performance.

Over time, I started to develop this massive archive, somewhere in the range of 800,000 images, many of which no one had ever seen. So I brought it to the band. The idea of doing a book was something we had been talking about for quite a while. They’ve done book projects over the years but nothing quite like this. By the end of this last tour, we decided the time was finally right and started putting it together.

Photo: David Bergman

Photo: David Bergman

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with David Bergman by Clicking Here!

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