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Very High Frequency: Joel Hoekstra Discusses VHF and New Night Ranger Album, ‘High Road’

Joel Hoekstra

It’s no secret that Joel Hoekstra is one the hardest-working musicians you’re ever likely to meet. The Night Ranger guitarist, who just celebrated the release of the band’s new album, High Road, also performs regularly as part of Broadway’s Rock of Ages and tours every fall with Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Hoekstra also has unveiled a brand new project, VHF, which stands for the initials of band mates Todd “Vinny” Vinciguerra (drums), Joel Hoekstra (guitars) and bassist Tony Franklin (the Firm, Kenny Wayne Shepherd).

Co-produced by Joe Floyd and Tommy Kessler (Blondie, Rock of Ages), VHF’s debut release, Very High Frequency, which was released June 20, isn’t a shred record by any means. It’s full of trippy, groove-inspired rock that’s been built from the ground up.

I recently caught up with Hoekstra and got an update on Night Ranger, VHF and the secret to mastering his two-handed technique.

GUITAR WORLD: High Road reminds me a lot of the classic Night Ranger sound. Was the intent going into this album to pay homage to those early records?

We just wanted to be ourselves and were able to find a nice balance of sounding like the classic Night Ranger while giving ourselves the leeway to express some our influences. We’re still a rock and roll band who likes to create new music and give our fans something they’ll appreciate. It’s an honor for me to be a part of it.

What else can you tell me about the new album?

There’s really something for everyone on this record, and a lot of it starts with Jack [Blades], Brad [Gillis] and Kelly [Keagy] together. “Knock Knock Never Stop” is really a good example of that. It’s got that signature Brad Gillis riff in it. “Rollin On” is another song that started out with a bluesy-sounding riff. I think you can hear a little bit of Brad’s Hendrix influence on that one. Eric Levy and I are involved as well. Eric came in with the ballad “Only For You Only” and I came up with the riffs for “I’m Coming Home.”

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Joel Hoekstra by Clicking Here!

Zakk Wylde Talks New Black Label Society Album, ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican’

ZakkZakk Wylde has announced the next chapter in the Black Label Society story, Catacombs of the Black Vatican.

The album, the first disc of all new material from the band since 2010’s Order of the Black, will be released April 8.

Wylde also has announced a new tour, “An Evening with Zakk Wylde.” The 13-city Canadian trek will feature Wylde and new Black Label Society guitarist Dario Lorina performing intimate versions of some of BLS’s most popular songs, plus readings from Wylde’s 2012 book, Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Berzerker’s Guide to World Tour Domination. You can check out all the tour dates below.

I recently spoke with Wylde about the new BLS album and upcoming tour and got his thoughts on Black Sabbath’s Grammy nomination.

GUITAR WORLD: What can fans expect from Catacombs of the Black Vatican?

I think everyone can expect a lot of fun and excitement [laughs]! It was like what Chris Farley did in that one skit, where he was selling that hair-care product. Make sure you always use the word “fun” when you describe it [laughs]!

Someone asked me what the difference was between this new record and the other nine. I told them that it’s basically all of the songs we used on the other nine records, except they’ve got different titles now [laughs]. It’s fun and exciting for the whole family!

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Read the rest of my Guitar World Interview with Zakk Wylde by Clicking Here!

Dr. Margaret Paul on Holiday Stress, Loneliness & SelfQuest

It’s been called, “The Psychologist in a Computer Program.” The result of over 42 years of developing the Inner Bonding process by best-selling authors/psychologists Dr. Margaret Paul and Dr. Erika Chopich, SelfQuest is a powerful software package because of its self-healing interactivity.

Dr. Paul has appeared on numerous radio and television shows (including Oprah) offering expert advice, discussing her books and demonstrating the Inner Bonding process. Her book titles include “Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By You”, “Healing Your Aloneness” and “Inner Bonding.” She holds a Ph.D. in psychology, is a relationship expert, public speaker, consultant and artist and has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and businesses.

Many celebrities and visionaries have applauded Inner Bonding and SelfQuest, including actress Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), Jack Canfield (co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul), Neale Donald Walsch (author of Conversations With God)  and singer/songwriter Alanis Morrisette, who channeled the inspiration she found from the program into her latest album, ‘Havoc and Bright Lights’.

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Dr. Paul and get her thoughts on the Inner Bonding Process and SelfQuest, the “therapist in a box”. She also gives good advice for people who may be experiencing loneliness around the holidays.

Tell me about how the Inner Bonding Process began?

I went to school to become a traditional psycho-therapist and did that for 17 years, but I was not at all happy with the results of traditional psychotherapy. Although I had patients coming to see me and was always busy and writing books, I didn’t feel that they (my patients) were learning a process. I also didn’t like the fact that they had to keep coming back over and over again.

At the time, I was also on a spiritual path and started to pray for something that was different than what I was doing. That was when I met Dr. Erika Chopich who became my best friend and together, we created Inner Bonding.

What is the Inner Bonding Process?

Inner Bonding is a six-step psychological and spiritual process that helps people really get tuned in to their feelings and learn to take responsibility for them. Six steps that enables one to learn what’s loving to themselves, how to fill themselves with love, take responsibility, find the best choices and then share that love with others.

We’ve all learned through experiencing a lot of pain while growing up that the way to avoid it was to replace it with addiction. Whether it be food, drugs, gambling, sex; anything to fill up that empty space inside. Inner bonding teaches you how to learn from your feelings; all of which are informational. For example, if you cut your finger, the pain you feel is telling you to stop what you’re doing because it’s hurting you. It’s the same with emotional pain. Our emotional pain is telling us to stop the way we are acting or thinking, because we’re hurting ourselves. We have to learn from all of our feelings and how to manage them; otherwise we become victims and addicted in order to avoid them.

Was the SelfQuest program the next logical step?

I work with people and also have many trained facilitators who work with people, but the problem is, there are only so many people that we can work with at any given time. SelfQuest teaches the entire process. It takes users through the Inner Bonding process in a very deep way. It’s taken twelve years to develop and is a very technologically advanced program, but it’s also a process that anybody can learn.

Many people who’ve used it have said that it’s actually like having me in their living room.

A lot of talented people have sung the praises of your work, including Alanis Morrisette. How did your relationship with her begin?

Alanis is amazing and an absolutely wonderful human being. She was reading the books and then attended one of my workshops. Over time, I was able to spend time with and get to know her.  It’s a very gratifying friendship I have with her. She loves the SelfQuest program.

Why do you think your books and programs are such a big hit?

I think it strikes a chord with people in terms of really understanding how to fill that emptiness. There are a lot of unhappy people who are addicted.

Is there a success story you can share about the program?

Not too long ago, a woman emailed me who I had never met or worked with before. She told me that she had been using drugs heavily for 37 years and been through therapy, recovery centers and other programs, but had not been able to get off drugs until she did SelfQuest. She said by using the program; she now understands why she was on drugs and what she needed to do get off them. She’s now been clean for six months.

What else do you find most gratifying?

Our website, which offers many ways for people to get free help. Although there is a cost with Self Quest, we do have a financial assistance program. Those things are very important to me.

With the holidays coming up, is there any advice you can give to people who may be feeling loneliness?

People struggle a lot over the holidays, especially with relationships. Families can be challenging, especially if there has been some abuse in the background. What I suggest is that people really tune inside and see what it is they want. Do they want to spend the holidays with family or friends? Do they want to do volunteer work?

The holidays are not a good time to be alone, but it is a good time to be “offering” something. There are many ways that people can “offer”. They can collect canned goods for shelters or volunteer to work in a soup kitchen. If that’s not their thing, they can look up retreat centers in their town where they can share a meal with others.

Dr. Paul’s recent workshop at The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lennox, MA.

One of the things we teach with Inner Bonding is how to access a personal source of wisdom.  Whether it’s Spiritual guidance or inner wisdom, we teach people how to channel that. It’s not very hard and it’s based on a concept of intentions. Either your intention is to learn about what is in your highest good, or your intention is to protect against pain with some form of addicting or controlling behavior.

When people move into an intention to learn, it opens them. Even if they have no spiritual belief system, if they ask the question: “What would really be loving to me over Thanksgiving or Christmas?”, ideas will start to pop into their minds. They might not know where the ideas come from (and it doesn’t really matter), but if they sincerely ask about what is loving or in their highest good, they will get ideas. That’s what they need to do.

What has the reaction to the new SelfQuest program been like so far?

The reaction to the program has been fantastic. We really hope many people utilize it. We’re currently developing a version for the iPad and iPhone as well as having it translated into Spanish French and German. We really want to bring the program worldwide to countries that really need it but don’t have access to this kind help.

To learn more about Dr. Margaret Paul and Inner Bonding, or to find an upcoming workshop you can visit the website.

For more information on SelfQuest® go to http://selfquest.com

Article first published as Dr. Margaret Paul on Holiday Stress, Loneliness & SelfQuest on Technorati.

Revolver Magazine Interview: Chris Howorth of In This Moment

Late last year, In This Moment guitarist Chris Howorth and vocalist Maria Brink received news that original members Blake Bunzel and Jeff Fabb were leaving the group in order to join American Idol alum James Durbin’s touring band.

As a one-two punch, the duo also was informed that the band was being dropped by their manager. The news came as somewhat of a shock, but rather than wallow in the negative, the band instead armed themselves with a new-found sense of direction and channeled that energy into their latest release, Blood, an album that has become their most successful to date.

Check out the rest of my interview with guitarist Chris Howorth of the band, In This Moment on Revolver Magazine’s Website.

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Guitar World Interview

Check out my Guitar World interview with John Parr, the man who wrote the #1 song Man in Motion from the St. Elmo’s Fire soundtrack. John has a new album out now called “The Mission”.

Trivia: His video for the song “Naughty Naughty” featured a young actress in her very first acting role. Check it out and see if you can figure out who it is.

Click Here To Read Article:

Guitar World Interview With Michael Sweet From Stryper

Please read and share! My interview with Michael as he discusses his new solo album, autobiography and the future of Stryper! Rock On!

HUFF Blows into Texas: An Interview with Elina Madison

Elina Madison & Johnny D’Agostino in HUFF

Some guys have all the luck. In this case, it’s the people of Dallas, Texas.

Fans of the horror film genre descending upon “The Texas Frightmare Weekend” will be treated to a screening of the Paul Morrell directed film, “HUFF“: a dark, allegorical adaptation of  the story of “The Three Little Pigs”.

“HUFF” stars Charlie O’Connell (“The Bachelor”, “Crossing Jordan”) as Virgil ‘Huff’ Huffington, an abusive stepfather to three teenage girls living in poverty in California.

Huff is on the verge of making a lucrative drug deal that will finally give him the money he needs to escape his miserable life and retire to Mexico in style with his sexy mistress, Laci (Natasha Alam).

But Huff’s plans begin to unravel when his battered wife, Lorelei (Elina Madison), secretly gives the money intended for the drug deal to her daughters and tells them to run away and seek better lives. This series of events triggers a chain of rage-induced asthma attacks, complete with the ‘huffs and puffs’ as Huff attempts to locate the three runaways and recover his money.

HUFF” is a movie that has something for everyone. There’s action, thrills, suspense, horror, beautiful women and even a “bachelor” for good measure.

“HUFF” also features the talents of Marie Bollinger, Mayra Leal, Clint Howard, Jenna Stone , Elly Stefanko and Johnny D’Agostino.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Elina Madison, a multi-talented actress, producer and writer whose resume includes films like “Mulholland Drive”, “That Thing You Do”, ” The Corporate Cutthroat Massacre” and the award winning “Barracuda”.

In this interview, Elina discusses her role as Lorelei in “HUFF”. She also talks about what it was like working with such a great ensemble and what she has planned for the future as well.

goJimmygo (gJg): Elina! It’s so great to speak with you!  I’m hearing that this trip to Texas will be the first time you’ll see the completed movie is that right?

Elina Madison (EM): Yes it is and I’m very excited. I can’t wait to see everyone again and to watch it for the first time.

goJimmygo: When will HUFF officially be released?

EM: The actual premiere will be in September. I have to tell you though that I’m really happy with what I’ve seen of it so far. Just from being on the set filming I know that it’s going to be something special.

gJg: What is it that draws you to the horror/suspenseful type of movies?

EM: This might sound a little crazy and completely the opposite of what horror films are all about but they’re actually fun to work on! <laughs>

One of the first films I ever worked on was called “Curse of the Forty-Niner”. It was directed by John Carl Buechler and starred Karen Black, John Phillip Lawn and Vernon Wells. Doing that movie was an amazing experience for me and lit the fire. From then on, I was hooked.

gJg: What’s your favorite horror movie of all time?

EM: If I have to choose the one that scares me the most every single time I watch it I’d have to say “The Exorcist”.  Even when I hear the music I literally get scared. “The Amityville Horror” and “Carrie” are two other films that are really scary as well.

Elina Madison

gJg: How did the role of Lorelei come about for you in “HUFF?

EM: I went in for the initial audition and they sent me the script. And as crazy and intense as some of the things that are happening in the story, it was just such an easy read. I literally could not put it down.

I immediately knew that I wanted to do this film. I could just tell by reading the script. It was that good.

gJg: Did you have to do anything special to prepare yourself for the role of Lorelei?

EM: Lorelei is just so caught up in her own little world. She’s an alcoholic in denial about her daughters and Huff. Getting into that kind of mindset took some work. I’ve done some crazy characters before but never one this complex.

gJg: What’s the premise of HUFF?

EM: HUFF is actually a twisted version of the story of “The Three Little Pigs” with Huff being the wolf and the daughters being the three little pigs. Huff also has asthma which goes along with the lines of the story of “huffing and puffing”.

Huff is up to no good making a deal with this drug money that’s not his. My character finally has had enough and realizes that she has to get her children out of there. So she steals the money, gives it to them and tells them to leave. It’s because of that there’s some unbelievable “consequences”.

gJg: As you can tell just from watching the trailer.

EM: Exactly!

gJg: What was it like working with such a cast?

EM: It was a lot of fun. Everyone was great. I remember being at the table read and just thinking to myself,”WOW, this is really going to be good!”

gJg: Did you know Charlie (O’Connell) was from “The Bachelor”?

EM: I actually didn’t. I think it was because when I first met him at the callback he was already in character. Obviously he’s completely opposite of Huff in person but I had no idea he was on that show. <laughs>

gJg: Were there any funny situations or stories you can remember while you were filming?

EM: There were so many of them but the one that comes to mind was after I found out that Charlie was on “The Bachelor”. We had this one really intense scene where I’m laying on my back and he’s up over me. There’s blood everywhere and we were so serious in the scene but I had this crazy thought running through my mind:

“Oh my God, this is my moment with The Bachelor!” <Laughs>

gJg: What was the thing that sparked you getting into acting.

EM: I remember exactly where I was the moment that it happened. I was in my grandmother’s house watching TV with her. I don’t remember exactly what was on but I just remember being so enthralled with it that I turned to her and said: “Grandma, I want to be an actress!” From that moment on I’ve never lost sight of that.

I grew up in Wyoming and there weren’t a lot of opportunities to act there. So I eventually made my way to Los Angeles and just went for it.

gJg: A true success story!

EM: I like to think so.

gJg: What other projects do you have coming up?

EM: I’m shooting a TV show called “Blood Relatives” that will be on the Discovery channel and then I’m signed on to play Dracula’s wife in Dracula that we’re going to be shooting in June. That’s with Creep Creepersin, who I worked with on “The Corporate Cutthroat Massacre”.  That’s going to be fun.

I also have a film coming out this October called “Halloween Party”. It’s a comedy and is really hilarious.

gJg: It was really great to talk with you Elina. I’m really looking forward to “HUFF“!

EM: Thanks. It was great talking to you too!

Article first published as HUFF Blows into Texas: An Interview with Actress Elina Madison on Technorati.

Musical Procrastination

It’s been a sad couple of weeks for music lovers in the Blues, R&B, Pop and Rock categories. We’ve lost people whose music influenced entire generations of fans.

Etta James, Whitney Houston, Davy Jones and just this morning Ronnie Montrose, all passed away long before we were ready for them to.

And while it saddens me that such great talent has moved on, some of us that remain have said things that have me scratching my head a bit.

One of the first things I always see lighting up the Facebook and Twitter feeds when our musical heroes die are posts from people who, perhaps unbeknownst, indirectly beg people to go out and buy their music posthumously. It’s as if when these musical greats leave those of us left behind feel compelled to give them one last big send off.

Maybe its a way to make ourselves feel better and somehow make these musical pioneers relevant again on the big stage. To show this generation of robotic, auto-tuned, vanilla music lovers what “real” music is all about. To say to them: “Do you see what you missed out on by being inside your bubble all this time? Natural talent that changed the game. And now it’s too late.”

But it’s not too late. Why must we wait until they are gone to try and get others to appreciate their contributions? We really need to stop putting off all of the great music that exists in this world. Let’s open our ears, maybe just a little?

Don’t you think Etta, Whitney, Davy, Ronnie or the thousands of other great artists would appreciate it more by seeing fans shouting from the rooftops while they’re still alive? The music never dies. It’s always been there. When are people going to get out of their box, test the musical waters and try new things?

Chances are, what they’re listening to now was influenced by the ones who’ve gone and they don’t even know it.

The choir that I’m a part of did a piece by John Rutter last year called “The Music’s Always There For You“. It’s a beautiful piece and one whose words seem to echo my thoughts. See if you agree:

But the magic you share when you make music
Won’t leave you when the time has come to part;
And it feels like you never have to say goodbye,
Because the music’s always there in your heart.

Lightning Bugs

It was early in the evening of June 5th. I’m going to have mark it on my calendar so I don’t forget. I had just spent the day working in the yard and doing everything possible to make it presentable for another week. The truth is, no matter how much you mow or how many weeds you pull you inevitably have seven days at most before the process will need to be repeated.

As I slowly pushed the lawn mower back into the garage residual grass clippings began to fall from the chassis but by that point I was too lazy to even think about sweeping them up. I was much too tired and they would have to wait til morning. And yet the smell of sweat and gas that permeated my senses gave me a great feeling of accomplishment.

I grabbed a beer out of the fridge and walked out on to the patio for some much-needed rest and to chill out as twilight settled in. I sat down at the table to enjoy the warm breeze and to admire my landscaping work. That’s when I saw them for the first time this year.

Lightning bugs.

I think the correct term for them is Photuris lucicrescens. Some others may use the word firefly in their vernacular. But we here in the Northeast portion of the country refer to them as lightning bugs. A bug that even the person with the most severe form of insectophobia will usually find attractive. Sure, the butterfly is beautiful and the lady bug is cool but as far as I’m concerned, nothing compares to the majesty of the lightning bug and I’ll be happy to tell you why.

There are certain things in life that remind you of different seasons of the year. We all know that when leaves begin to fall autumn is here. And when flowers begin to spring up from their deep sleep we know that spring has indeed sprung. But when we see the first lightning bug of the year it’s magical. It’s like welcoming home an old friend. One who’s been gone for months and now suddenly comes back with word that summer is finally here.

Long before I became experienced in the art of the lawn mow, my early summer evenings were spent catching these wonderful illuminating creatures. Nothing could compare to a day of swimming with friends in the pool and then seeing how many we could catch as the day drew to a close.

Running barefoot through dark back yards wearing shorts and a tank top without a single care in the world except for the task at hand was pure freedom. And there was always a feeling of wonder as you caught one of these little critters and then watched it slowly climb to the highest part of your finger, spread it’s wings and fly away.

Sometimes I’d capture them and put them in an old mayonnaise jar with holes poked in the lid. I’d fill the jar with long blades of grass to contain my treasures. I liked to think this was God’s intended way of making a lantern. Of course, it wouldn’t be long before the lights in the jar would go out as the lightning bugs would begin to succumb to the lack of air and I’d have to release them on my Mother’s demands.

The most fun of all though was during what I always called the “final hour”. This was usually around 9PM and right before my parents would call me in for the evening.

You’d still notice the firestorm of lights in the yard but now there was one that always seemed to burn bigger and brighter. It was the grand daddy of lightning bugs making an appearance.  At least, Grand Daddy is what I called him.

Grand Daddy was the baddest bug of all and of course, he was also the one that was almost impossible to catch. Every time you’d get close enough he’d fly just out of reach of your grasp. It was as if he knew the measurement of his assailant. I’m sure he was always thinking to himself: “Ok, this kid is four feet eight inches tall – I’ll hover six feet five inches off the ground”. But if you were lucky enough to capture a Grand Daddy when he let down his guard, you were always the winner of the evening’s festivities. It was childhood summer at it’s finest.

I think I had just finished my beer when the firestorm of lights began. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Grand Daddy flying nearby and I tried to make a pass to get him. Still smart as ever, he calculated the precise distance for my five feet eight inch frame and was just out of my reach.

I sat back down in my chair and smiled as I thought about how care free and fun those nights were and how my own daughter loves chasing the lightning bugs now.  I still try to never miss an opportunity to chase them with her.

I often wonder how there could possibly be any interest in watching television at night during this time of year.

Especially when there literally is so much entertainment right in our own backyards.

Analysis of a Dream

I need your help faithful readers on a matter of utter importance. Every so often I have this recurring theme in a dream at night and I need someone to tell me what it’s all about. I’m not going to bore you with long diatribes of what I ate or watched on television the night before because that can change.

Obviously I’m not going to tell you the one about Jenny McCarthy but here was another one of my dreams from last night:

It’s a slightly overcast day and I seem to be driving in the city somewhere. The setting looks familiar to me. As if I’ve been here before. In my dream I am the owner of a brand new red Ford Mustang and park it in a parking lot outside of a hotel I appear to be staying at. Why I am alone at a hotel is beyond me. Maybe I’m on vacation or something. In any case, I get out of the car and go about my business walking around and checking out the surroundings which appear familiar to me. I make chit-chat with some of the people I encounter. What the topic is I can’t remember.

Everything is going great but at some point I start to realize that I should probably head out because I have to be somewhere in a few hours and don’t want to be late. And here’s where the problem sets in.

The beautiful red Mustang I drove in and parked all of a sudden is nowhere to be seen. I’m confident I am in the area where I parked it but it’s not there. I almost immediately start to second guess where I parked the car but reassure myself that this was indeed where I left it. There are miles of cars everywhere in the parking lot but my car is not there.

I start strolling the lot looking for my car and soon panic starts to set in because I suddenly realize I need to be somewhere and now I’m going to be late. I’m not even sure exactly what it is I need to get to. Home? Work? An airline flight? What ever it is, I just know I need to get there and time is running out.

In my dream I’m sophisticated enough to attempt to use my key fob to try to locate the car but without success. No beeping and flashing lights…the pretty red Mustang is gone. And I never once think the car was stolen or towed away. Nope, I place the blame for its disappearance squarely on myself. My feeling is that the car is there. I just do not know where it is. And the search goes on. And on. And on.

Needless to say I wake up from the dream with my head pounding and completely exhausted. I never found the car and have missed whatever it was I needed to get to.

So can any of you psychologists, mediums and dream readers please interpret this dream for me?

Here are two pieces of information that may help with your analysis:

1. The Ford Mustang is my favorite car. Although if given the option I’d much prefer blue over the red but I did own a red convertible at one point.

2. I have no vacation planned at this time and no hotel reservations have been made. There is no sense of urgency on my part.

What’s strange is that the theme of me having something and then misplacing it seems to recur quite a bit in my evening slumber. It literally feels like I spend hours searching for something that deep down I know I’ll never find.

Looking forward to hearing your comments. Until then, it’s two Advil and more coffee. It’s going to be a long day.

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