LA Sessions: 14-Year-Old Ray Goren Talks New EP and Working with Jimi Hendrix Producer Eddie Kramer

RayGoren2Fourteen-year-old guitarist Ray Goren describes LA Sessions, his new EP, as a unique mixture of everything from Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Wonder. Considering the fact that Hendrix’s producer, Eddie Kramer, worked on the EP, it’s hard to argue.

Goren’s guitar journey is slightly different from that of most players. He started out on keyboards, playing songs by Thelonious Monk, J.J. Johnson and Miles Davis as early as age 5.

But it wasn’t until a few years later while searching YouTube that he stumbled upon a video clip of B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Albert Collins performing together. That’s when the fuse was lit, and Goren has never looked back.

Kramer, who “discovered” Goren, has a resume that includes such giants as Led Zeppelin and Kiss. The legendary producer/engineer was so impressed with Goren that he produced LA Sessions himself and even enlisted some other musical heavyweights, including drummer Able Laboriel, Jr. (Paul McCartney) and bassist Paul Bushnell (Tim McGraw) to lend a hand.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Ray Goren by Clicking Here!

Mindi Abair: The Power of Reinvention

MindiAbairI’ve been given a beautiful and meaningful gift. One that allows me to make a living as a solo artist. I mean, what could be better than that? I actually get to make records, tour with a band that I’ve hand chosen and play the music I write for audiences all over the world. I’ve been a goal-oriented person my whole life, and seven solo records and countless tours later, I’m still going strong!

But once I turned 40, things started to feel different for me. I started becoming confused and a bit foggy. I was disoriented just “marking time” as they say. Continuing on the same path that I had originally set for myself. It felt as if I had been exposed to a virus that was somehow making me question my place in life. All of the usual things that had inspired me up to this point were gradually fading away and I felt as if I had musically become a caricature of myself. I needed new inspiration, but wasn’t sure where to find it. I needed outside influence, but wasn’t sure how to go after that either. I was just too cozy and safe inside of my own private bubble.

I decided that now was the time to do a little soul searching. But, how does one go about reinventing themselves after living life as a very defined person? I knew that I had to follow my heart. If there was more out there for me, then I was going to go out and find it.

I came to the conclusion that on the off time from my band, I’d go out and do the things that made me happy. I felt the need to become a fan of music again and not just be immersed in playing it. I soon found myself going out to clubs to see bands that I really loved.

After a few months, it occurred to me that I was mostly seeing rock and blues bands. Hmm, OK… note to self. Maybe I was now just tapping into some happy childhood memories. After all, I did spend twelve years growing up hanging with the eight rock bands my dad had put out on the road. And in between those rock tours, I would watch unearthly amounts of MTV. Not exactly what you would consider the usual path to a career in Contemporary Jazz.

One of the shows I was frequenting was my friend, Waddy Watchel’s band. Waddy and I have played together off and on since 1995 – going back to when we both joined Adam Sandler’s band. Waddy’ s band has played The Joint in Hollywood for the past 15 years; with everyone from Keith Richards and Neil Young’s bass player Rick Rosas to Jack Tempchin sitting in.

It became total Rock ‘n’ Roll Zen for me. The loud guitars, the driving force of the drums and the sheer intent of the lead singer! It was a “spa day” for me, as I put it to Waddy. Somehow in the cacophony of rock ‘n’ roll, I had found peace and reveled in the sheer abandon of the music that was being played.

Of course, I couldn’t just watch. Playing was in my blood and those nights of being a fan eventually led to me sitting in with the band and becoming a regular fixture with the group. The music that we were playing really inspired me: Rolling Stones, Mott the Hoople, the Beatles! I was officially “moonlighting” from my chosen career as a Contemporary Jazz saxophonist – and I loved it!

It wasn’t long before I got a call from Don Was asking me if I’d like to play “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” on American Idol with one of the contestants. I knew that I could use my newly found mojo to pull it off. And I did! Steven Tyler even called me out in front of millions on TV saying “Forget about you, who’s your sax player?”

I ended up spending two seasons on American Idol, eventually playing seven episodes with Phillip Phillips who won it all. What an honor!  And on my last day on the set, I received a call from Steven asking if I’d like to be the first saxophonist to join Aerosmith on tour since 1973!

Wow! Now I was REALLY moonlighting! I had decided to just do what made me happy and in the spirit of reinvention was now taking off and spending my summer vacation with Aerosmith!

The band was nice enough to let me keep my own dates that were already booked, so every now and then I would take off and join my own band and play. Interestingly, it was during my own band’s shows that I started feeling a change in the music. I began to notice that I was moving around and playing differently. I was even starting to dress differently. But it wasn’t as if someone else was coming out of my body. It was still me, only a better me! A stronger, more confident and more inspired me!

My next inspiration came to me quite organically. It was the day that I heard of Clarence Clemons passing. I had never met him, but he was a hero of mine as a performer and player. Saddened by his passing, I turned to Facebook as my vehicle for expressing my feelings. As fate would have it, a promoter saw my post and called almost immediately to ask if I’d be up for sitting in with Max Weinberg and paying tribute to Clarence with him. And truly, I could not have been more honored.

A few days later, I played with Max and it was an emotional night. I really tried to dig deep and pay appropriate tribute to this man that I so admired. I ended up joining Max on tour for the next few weeks, even getting to play with him and Bruce Springsteen at the Beacon Theater one lucky night.

Sinking my teeth into this incredible new mojo, I pushed myself into finding greater depths of expression. It was freeing and for the first time in many years I actually wanted to ‘practice’ saxophone. I sat for hours in my room, dusting off old Springsteen records and playing along – forming scales and new melodies in my head. I had found a new love affair with my saxophone and went through a true rebirth as a player. It was work, but I loved every second.

I realized that all of these experiences had helped redefine me. The thoughts that had been haunting me were gone and I was now on to another chapter in my life. One with new goals I was ready to reach for, and with even more abandon than my previous ones! I eagerly took the inspiration that was given me and ran with it — all the way back to my record label, Concord Records. I explained the last few years of my life to them and even played them some of the new music I was writing. I explained why this would make a breakthrough record for me as an artist. They were in, and I soon set out to make a career record for myself.

I was joined by people I never dreamed would play with me on one of my records: Gregg Allman, Joe Perry, Keb’ Mo’, Booker T. Jones, Max Weinberg, Waddy Wachtel and Trombone Shorty. I had played for them all in their world… moonlighting… and now, I understood for the first time how they fit into mine.

“Wild Heart” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Jazz and Contemporary Jazz charts.

I’m not sure how many times one has the power to redefine and/or reinvent oneself. I’ll have to wait and see but right now I’m reveling in my new skin. Change comes when you look for it. And even though I wasn’t sure of where it would lead, I just needed to free my mind and take the journey. I’m a new woman now. A stronger, more capable woman and someone who’s making music that moves me every single day.

*****

Mindi Abair is one of the most dynamic performers on the music scene today. In addition to her acclaimed solo work, she was the featured saxophonist on the two seasons of American Idol, jammed with Paul Shaffer on the Late Show with David Letterman and joined rock legends Aerosmith for their 2012 summer tour. More recently, the powerhouse saxophonist/vocalist received a Grammy nomination in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category for Summer Horns, a #1 recording with her friends Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot. Abair’s new album, “Wild Heart” includes guest and songwriting performances by Gregg Allman, Joe Perry, Booker T. Jones, Keb’ Mo’, Trombone Shorty, Max Weinberg, Waddy Wachtel and others. Find out more at www.mindiabair.com

‘So U’: Neal Schön Talks Music, Journey and New Santana Project

SchonJourney guitarist Neal Schön gives credit for a lot of his improvisational skills to Cream’s 1968 album “Wheels of Fire”. Listening to that along with healthy doses of Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and the Three Kings: BB, Albert and Freddie. Perhaps absorbing that combination of master musicianship is one of the reasons why Schön’s new album, “So U” is so insanely good.

For “So U”, Schön transforms ¾ of his former Soul Sirkus band (including bassist Marco Mendoza and longtime Journey drummer Deen Castronovo) into a late 60’s/ early 70’s psychedelic power trio. Infusing elements of funk, rock, fusion and jazz into a sound that’s very much reminiscent of Schön’s early recordings with Santana and Journey.

Schön is currently out on tour this summer with Journey, The Steve Miller Band and Tower Of Power. I spoke with him about “So U”, Journey and the new project that reunites him with his former bandmate, Carlos Santana.

What made you decide to record this new album?

I had finished up recording my last album [2012’s “The Calling”] at Fantasy Studios and was just having a blast. Since I had some extra time, I thought I’d give Deen and Marco a call to see if they would be available to come in with me. The three of us had worked together on a Soul Sirkus record with Jeff Scott Soto a long time ago. So I had already known Marco for years and obviously Deen has been with me in Journey for a long time.

You did some songwriting with Jack Blades for this album. What’s your relationship with him like?

Jack and I have also known each other for years. We go way back to the beginnings of Night Ranger when we played some dates with them after their first record came out. I like getting together with Jack because there’s always something good that comes out of it. Whenever I go up to his studio to write, I know that we’re going to come out with one or two really great ideas.

Let’s discuss a few tracks from So U:

What You Want

When I first started thinking about doing this project, I had already been up to Jack’s house and the two of us had been throwing around a few ideas. “What You Want” was one of the songs that popped out. That was one we had a basic map and arrangement for and knew what it was going to sound like.

Take A Ride

“Take A Ride” was something that I wrote musically way back when I was working with Paul Rodgers. I wrote it for Paul because it had this funky, bluesy, rock groove with a modern “Free” type of feel to it. Then Paul had to continue touring and I had to go out and tour and for some reason, the two of us lost contact about it. So I already had the song just sitting there in my head. Then I remembered when I saw Marco playing at The Baked Potato in LA with his Latin Fusion group. They basically do these amazing Latin/fusion versions of Stevie Wonder songs. I knew that he could sing his ass off and had this funky, bluesy voice and that’s when I said, “Marco can sing this!” So we laid it down, wrote the lyrics and it was done.

Exotica

Exotica is very Latin/fusion. It’s sort of my “hats off” to Carlos Santana. I dedicated that one to him.

SoUWhat was the recording process like?

A lot of the instrumentals on the album actually started out with just a click track and me playing keyboards. I would put down the chords as I heard the song going without any arrangement at all. Then the guys would come in and play and it all came to life. It was nice to go into the studio with a blank canvas and have a lot of “brushes” and “paints” to throw at it.

 

What kind of “brushes” and “paints” did you use?

I have a lot of guitars but pretty much use the same thing for recording now. A Fractal Axe-FX double rack. That and a Bogner Shiva. It’s a little 2×12 bottom and a hand wired head that they made for me.

Will you be touring with Marco and Deen?

I would love to find the time to do it. Right now with Journey we’re doing so well. Although we’ve never gone away, it’s been an incredible rebirth. Especially with all of the young fans. We’re so fortunate to have this huge resurgence.

What can you tell me about your upcoming project with [Carlos] Santana?

We’ve recorded nine tracks so far and it sounds a lot like where we left off on Santana III. For this one, we went for some funkier grooves and a few other different things. We’re going to be going back in to do some more electric, up-tempo stuff as well. Four or five tunes like that. It’s very electric and organic.

What’s it like for you to be working with Carlos again?

It’s funny. I still remember the first meeting we were going to have about it. Carlos mainly lives in Las Vegas now and has a rehearsal studio there. Journey was playing in Vegas and I had a few days off, so I figured I’d just walk into his office and have a meeting to talk about it. I even brought along one of my new Paul Reed Smith NS-14 guitars as a gift to give to Carlos. I thought we were just going to sit down and talk but when I opened the door, everyone was in there playing. It sounded amazing and just like the old band. So instead of talking, I wound up plugging in the guitar I was going to give to Carlos and jammed with them all day. Then later I took Carlos aside and said “Hey, I thought we were going to have a meeting?” He just laughed and said “Dude, this IS the meeting!” [laughs].

I could ask you a million questions about some of the Journey songs, but I’ll settle for the origins of just two:

Stone In Love

Back in the heyday I was living in California and had a few friends over at a house I had just moved into and we were having a party. I had a guitar set up in a bedroom that didn’t have any furniture in yet and I just started beating out the chords to the track. In those days I used to carry around one of those little Sony recorders and a bunch of cassettes to record ideas into. I’d either be humming into it or sometimes would play a riff. It was shortly after Jonathan Cain came into the band and I’d bring him all of the cassettes with riffs I made and he would help me sort out the ideas.

Any Way You Want It

That was another early one that I wrote with [Steve] Perry. At the time we wrote it we were on tour with Thin Lizzy. I think it was inspired by listening to Phil Lynott and the guys open up for us every night. We just started jamming to it at sound check one day and it just kind of came out. Just three chords and there you go. Sometimes the simple songs make for the best ones!

What other projects are you working on?

I have a follow-up to “The Calling” that’s already complete. It’s an 85 minute double-cd that I did with Steve Smith, Jan Hammer and Igor Len. I’ve been trying to stay ahead of the game and come with new records all the time. I have so much music in me.

It’s been three years since Journey’s last album [Eclipse]. Has the band given thought to working on another album?

We’ve been talking about doing something, possibly at the end of this tour. Sometimes when things are going so well it gives you that much more incentive to want to go in and do some new music. Or maybe revisit older music you wrote long ago which never really saw the light of day. There are some things we did back there; even when Steve Augeri was singing with the band, that I think are really great songs and ones we could easily redo and rearrange with Arnel [Pineda].

Of all the projects you’ve been involved with over the course of your career, is there one thing that stands out as a particular highlight?

Back when we did Santana III we had a song on it called “Everybody’s Everything”. I remember we had a Tower of Power horn section on it and I played lead and Carlos played bass and rhythm guitar. That ended up being a number one album for us and was something that I’ll never forget.

For more on Neal Schön visit: www.schonmusic.com/

Night Ranger Provides Music Therapy at New York City Show

NR -BBSOk, I’ll admit it. The last time I saw a full Night Ranger headlining set was back in 1985 when the band was touring on the success of its third album, “Seven Wishes”  — Does anyone else remember bassist/vocalist Jack Blades rising out of the genie lamp to begin the night’s festivities?

Although I’ve seen Night Ranger many more times over the years, its always been when they were teamed up on a bill with two or three other bands. And for as much as I will always love hearing their biggest hits, I lamented never having the opportunity to hear some of the earlier material that always appealed to me. Album cuts that never quite made it mainstream. But Night Ranger’s performance last night at BB King Blues Club in New York City was a trip through three decades of rock and for me personally, some much needed therapy.

Opening the set was the fitting “Touch of Madness” – a single from the band’s monster album “Midnight Madness”. Next, the band immediately took us thirty years into the future. Performing “St. Bartholomew” (from the band’s brand new album “High Road”) for the very first time live. Blades would go on to joke about “sneaking” that one into the set, but the fans enthusiastic response indicated they knew otherwise.

From there, Night Ranger took us on a whirlwind journey through time and quite a bit of their early catalog. Performing nearly half of the “Dawn Patrol”, “Midnight Madness” and “Seven Wishes” albums as well as tracks from Blade’s days with Damn Yankees.

The band also brought us forward into the new millennium with “Lay It On Me” from 2011’s “Somewhere in California” as well as the title cut of their current album, “High Road”.

There was no doubt that the band would also include their biggest hits in their New York City set and the songs “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”, “Sister Christian” and “When You Close Your Eyes” were met with equal adulation.

Night Ranger (BB Kings New York City)

Night Ranger (BB Kings New York City)

Bassist/Vocalist Jack Blades is the quintessential showman. Whether he’s introducing a new song or asking the audience if they’d like to come out on the road with the band, Blades is in his comfort zone when he’s out front.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better drummer/vocalist combination in music than Kelly Keagy. Seeing him hit the high notes for “Sentimental Street” or “Sing Me Away” while continuing to keep an infectious beat is still mind boggling.

Keyboardist Eric Levy was absolutely brilliant in staying true to the band’s classic sound and has become a staple of Night Ranger.

Guitarists Brad Gillis and Joel Hoekstra (a New York City native) are a force to be reckoned with. The duo trade off guitar leads with ease and perfection. Gillis laying down the most flawless, tasty licks while Hoekstra literally felt right at home. Firing up the crowd with his own guitar prowess and the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. He was glad to be there, and so was I.

Night Ranger

I’ve been a Night Ranger fan since the band’s early days and can still recall the first time I heard “You Can Still (Rock In America) on my neighbor’s cassette recorder. For me, it was a game changing moment.

Much the same as last night’s show at BB King’s.

Night Ranger Set List (BB King Blues Club NYC)

Touch of Madness
St. Bartholomew (Live Debut)
Four in the Morning
Lay It On Me
Coming of Age (Damn Yankees cover)
Sentimental Street
Seven Wishes
Sing Me Away
High Road
Night Ranger
High Enough (Damn Yankees cover)
Goodbye
When You Close Your Eyes
Don’t Tell Me You Love Me

Encore:

Penny
Sister Christian
(You Can Still) Rock in America

 

Guitar World: Ted Nugent Discusses New Album ‘Shut Up & Jam!’ and His Kamp for Kids

Ted Nugent (Photo by Stefan Johansson)

Ted Nugent (Photo by Stefan Johansson)

Cute?

One could certainly find better adjectives to describe Shut Up & Jam!, Ted Nugent’s first studio album in seven years.

But that’s exactly how the Motor City Madman himself would describe this new collection of blues-inspired songs. Say what you will about his choice of words; it’s safe to say Nugent and his insatiable appetite for honky-tonk bastardization has never sounded better.

In addition to the tasty guitar work you’d expect from a Nugent album, highlights from Shut Up & Jam! include guest vocalist Sammy Hagar performing on the track “She’s Gone” and Nugent’s longtime musical cohort, Derek St. Holmes, showcasing his own soulful vocals on “Everything Matters.”

The release of Shut Up & Jam! will coincide with another summer tour, during which Nugent will be — once again — joined by Holmes plus Greg Smith (bass) and Mick Brown (drums).

I recently spoke with Nugent about Shut Up & Jam!, his Gibson Byrdland and his Kamp For Kids, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

GUITAR WORLD: The music industry has changed so much in the last seven years. What made you decide to release a new studio album?

I’m such a lucky guy, having been 100 percent in charge of my life since I was a teenager. My outdoor lifestyle so cleanses, fortifies me and inspires me that whenever I pick up the guitar, fire comes off of the neck and those killer, grinding grooves happen all the time. Because I’m so involved with so many different aspects of my life and tour like an animal every summer, I just didn’t put the logistics together to record these new songs. I finally couldn’t wait any longer. These songs have a fire in them, and I had to capture them.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Ted Nugent by Clicking Here!

‘High Priestess': Vocalist Kobra Paige Talks New Kobra And The Lotus Album

High PriestessHard rock and metal fans around the world will find comfort in Kobra And The Lotus’ new album “High Priestess” – and for good reason. Produced by the Grammy-nominated Johnny K (Megadeth, Disturbed, Three Doors Down), “High Priestess” continues to build on the success of the band’s self-titled last album while showcasing a higher level of musical maturity.

But “High Priestess” is not your typical rock album. It’s the combination of hard rock/heavy metal sound combined with classically-trained Kobra Paige’s wailing vocals and hook-laden melodic riffs that makes it so special. Songs like “Willow” and the haunting track “Soldier” showcase Paige’s lyrical vision. Painting a visual landscape of texture that enhances the mood of each track. The result is an insanely good combination of songs that stand out well on their own, yet fit together nicely with each other in terms of style.

Kobra And The Lotus is currently out on the road supporting the monstrous KISS and Def Leppard summer tour. I spoke with Paige about the new album, touring and how a Judas Priest show changed her life forever.

What’s it like touring with KISS and Def Leppard?

Amazing. It’s such a huge honor and so much fun to be a part of.  Every day I go down to the stage when we’re setting up and can’t believe it’s actually happening. It’s a surreal experience.

What was it like working with Johnny K on “High Priestess”?

Johnny is the most inspiring producer. Every day he was ready to create and work with us. He really challenged us to think of things in a different way. It really helps when you’re around someone who is equally excited about what they do. He’s so passionate about what he’s doing and was very invested both emotionally and mentally.

Let’s discuss a few tracks from the new album. “I Am, I Am”.

I actually wrote that song a few years ago, back when we were working on the last album. I remember I came in with it and Johnny put the verse riff in and switched it around a little bit. It has kind of an old school sound and is about being who you are. Either you’re being the seed of destruction or the birth of creation. It’s your choice.

Soldier

“Soldier” is a tribute to our soldiers and is meant to tug on people’s heart strings a bit – especially with the video. It’s to hopefully bring some perspective that this kind of thing is still going on and there are families out there that are affected by it. It’s to remind people that we’re living a very free life, and we shouldn’t take it for granted.

Where do you find inspiration for your lyrics?

I draw from so many places. I write little notes and ideas down all the time, so there are a lot of different influences on this album. Sometimes when the guys bring me riffs it will actually sound like something physical to me. When I heard the music for “Willow” it actually “sounded” like the story of Bushido to me. Music is not just sonic – it’s something that’s very visual inside of my head. I don’t just hear it, I see it.

When did you know that music was going to be your calling?

I was doing classical training when I was growing up, so I always thought music would be my future. Then I went to a Judas Priest concert and it changed my life. That’s what got me into choosing a “harder” route so to speak.

What excited you the most about the Priest show?

It was a combination of everything. The energy, the eruption of the crowd. The way [Rob] Halford was stomping around and wailing away. I immediately knew there was a place for me – and it didn’t have to be opera. I was taken by all of it and knew right away that it was something I had to be a part of it.

Kobra Paige (Photo: Tessa Quinn)

Kobra Paige (Photo: Tessa Quinn)

How did the band get its start?

When I was 17, I saw an ad in the classifieds from two guys who were looking for a drummer. They had listed their influences which included bands like Metallica, Anthrax and Skid Row. I loved the list that they had so I emailed them saying that even though I didn’t play drums I’d love to come over and sing. They invited me over and we played “Aces High” [Iron Maiden] and that was it. From then on, it was no covers – just writing. We started making music together.

Did you ever find it challenging being a female singer fronting a “metal” band?

It can be challenging at times. In the beginning, I remember having battles with myself trying to figure out if I needed to be more aggressive or classy. In the end, I realized that I just have to be authentic and stay true to myself.

What excites you the most about “High Priestess”?

We had a great time creating it. This album was a little more exotic in some ways and there’s a lot of versatility on it. I’m really enjoying performing it live as well. We’ve been touring a lot these past few years so it’s nice to be able to do a new expression of ourselves.

Shut Up & Jam!: Ted Nugent Talks New Album, Politics

Nugent1Say what you will about his politics, but there’s no denying the fact that Ted Nugent has firmly solidified his place in the annals of music history. Bastardizing the honky tonk from his stints with the Amboy Dukes and Damn Yankees to his hugely successful solo career, the Motor City Madman has performed well more than 6,500 shows over the course of his career – including a recent performance at Sweden Rock Festival in front of 40,000 rock hungry fans.

Whether it’s his music or his politics, Nugent does things on his own terms, and certainly isn’t afraid to tell you how he really feels.

Perhaps it’s one of the reasons why Nugent’s first studio album in seven years, “Shut Up & Jam!” (releasing July 8th) is so powerful. Relishing his spot in the eye of the storm and being on the front lines of the culture war and scourge of political correctness and denial, Nugent once again channels the blues masters that inspired his own guitar prowess while continuing to wave the flag for a love of God and country.

I spoke with Nugent about “Shut Up & Jam!” as well as got his take on the current State of the Union.

It’s been seven years since “Love Grenade”. What was the decision behind releasing a new studio album?

It wasn’t really a decision. The fact is, I’m so involved with so many different aspects of my life and tour like an animal every summer that I just didn’t put the logistics together to record this material. A lot of the songs on “Shut Up & Jam!” are actually a few years old. I’ve been messing around with “Do-Rags and a .45” for at least ten years. “I Still Believe” and “Never Stop Believing” are at least seven years old. “I Love My Bbq” and “Semper Fi” I’ve been working with for a few years. But there are a few new songs on the album. “Fear Itself” is a brand new song and “Everything Matters” is a song that was written at the beginning of this year. These songs all have a fire in them and I finally couldn’t wait any longer. I knew now was the right time to capture them.

What’s the secret to your killer guitar riffs?

It all goes back to the Amboy Dukes and even the Damn Yankees and Ted Nugent band. If you ask any of the guys they’ll tell you. Whenever I pick up my guitar really fun, garage band variations of what Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and the original Boogie-Woogie, Honky Tonk guys did comes out – and this album reeks of that! You really feel that original rhythm and blues structure and pulse in a lot of these songs because those original black artists all inspired me with their work ethic and musical prowess.

Is it ok if we talk a little politics?

Absolutely! But first, let me make something perfectly clear. I am really let down by my fellow Americans who avoid politics or whine “Ah! Stop being so political!” Let me explain what politics are to those who haven’t been educated by our failed education system.

“Politics” in America are the responsibility of “We the People” to remain engaged and a force to reckon with as we direct and demand accountability from our PAID elected officials to adhere to their oath to the U.S. Constitution. “We the People” is not a selective, segregated vision. “We the People” is supposed to be every American who cherishes, values, respects and earns this unique freedom by actually participating in an experiment in self-government. All of us have a moral, intellectual and spiritual obligation to remain in touch with our elected officials.

The fact that Barack Obama, Eric Holder, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi all hold the most powerful positions in the world is insanity. These are strange creatures that are attempting to fundamentally transform America into a SHIT HOLE! But I (as a “We the People” participant) will not let them do it without warrior-like resistance. I am a political animal because an American is supposed to be one. People who avoid politics are avoiding their duty and responsibility as a good American to demand accountability from our employees in elected office.

If you had Obama, Clinton and Holder all in the same room with you, what would be the first thing you would do?

I’d probably pace back and forth and then start off by saying “What in God’s name are you people doing? Why are you lying?” Then I would play them tapes of all of their lies and show them the historical evidence that shows how their fundamental transformation vision has destroyed every society it has touched.

The statistics are irrefutable and inescapable. Whenever liberal democrats run things, it’s a WRECK! It’s like their dream of having a gun-free zone – it already exists! It’s Chicago. And since you and I have gotten on the phone James, twenty people have been shot! Why would you want more of that?

Ted Nugent (Photo by Stefan Johansson)

Ted Nugent (Photo by Stefan Johansson)

What are your thoughts about what’s going on in Iraq right now?

It’s a perfect example of what I’ve just outlined. The insane community organizer rules of engagement. The fact is, the Middle East is a series of training areas for people who want to pull off another 9/11. You don’t reasonably secure the nucleus of terrorist training and then just leave. You don’t abandon them and let them use all of our equipment and have it eventually find its way into the hands of the enemy. Why do you think there are still American forces in Germany and Japan? Because the Japanese empire and the Nazi’s were PURE EVIL! We’re there to keep our eyes on them, and if we ever see any more of that Japanese empire or Nazi bullshit – we will nip it in the bud. But we didn’t do that in Iraq? That’s insanity!

Do you think something like term limits for all members of Congress would help?

In a world with this course of apathy and where people are not paying attention term limits is a good idea. But that’s not going for the real cause. That’s going for one of the effects. The real cause is that “We the People” don’t monitor the activities of our elected officials. My problem with term limits is that if citizens really monitored their congressmen properly, they would know if he’s not doing a good job or less than a good job. And if he’s not doing a good job you don’t need term limits – you vote him OUT!

But what if he’s doing a great job and he’s steam rolling the status quo? What if he IS getting accountability and IS cutting the waste, corruption and fraud? Well then you don’t want to term limit him out – you want to keep him IN! I think term limits are an escape hatch for a nation of wimps. If we can’t monitor them like we’re supposed to, it’s counter-productive.

Do you think there’s hope for America?

Absolutely. I travel and hang out with people everywhere. I don’t just rock and roll and then order room service. I’m on the phone with people and meet with working class people and community leaders and get a pulse of every city I’m in. I meet with these people and hear what they’ve witnessed and what they believe and I know that they’re getting fed up. I think we can take this country back and stop the hemorrhaging debt atrocity and teach people to instead being blood-suckers waiting for a hand out to be productive. I really do believe that.

Shut Up & Jam! will be released July 8th

For more on Ted Nugent: www.tednugent.com

You can also read Nugent’s articles on WND and Newsmax

 

 

 

Future’s Past: Dave Mason Talks Recording with Jimi Hendrix, New Album and More

DaveMasonGuitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason was a founding member of Traffic (along with Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood). He’s also recorded and/or toured with the likes of George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Michael Jackson.

Then there’s also the little matter of his historic performance on Jimi Hendrix’s iconic version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”

Mason’s new album, Future’s Past, pays homage to those early years by featuring new versions of songs from his Traffic days and solo career, including new interpretations of “As Sad and Deep As You” and “World In Changes.” Rounding out the nine-track album is a new song, “That’s Freedom.”

Mason is on the road with the Traffic Jam Tour, which pays tribute to his former band and his solo years. I recently spoke with Mason about Future’s Past, his days with Traffic and his experience with Hendrix.

GUITAR WORLD: How did the Future’s Past project begin?

There wasn’t really a plan. I have a huge collection of material I’ve recorded over the last few years. Some of the songs applied to my Traffic Jam show (“Dear Mr. Fantasy,” “You Can All Join In.”) Then I had “World in Changes,” which was from my Alone Together album but sounds absolutely nothing like the original. My original intent was to use these tracks for an EP of about four songs, but since I also had a few other tracks and everything sounded so good, I decided to just put them all on there. The thing I like is that the album doesn’t sound dated. It all sounds fresh and new.

One of the highlights on the record is the version of “As Sad and Deep As You.”

That’s basically a live cut. It has such a strong emotion and mood. To me, it’s better than the original. That’s why it’s on there.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Dave Mason by Clicking Here!

Roll with the Changes: Dave Amato Talks Guitars and 25 Years with REO Speedwagon

Since REO Speedwagon’s arrival on the scene 40-plus years ago, the band has seen a lot of musical changes. Touring relentlessly through the Midwest in the 1970s, they finally broke through, scoring a pair of No. 1 hits in the 1980s. They also had the bestselling rock album of 1981, Hi Infidelity.

REO Speedwagon (Photo: Lisa Cuvo)

REO Speedwagon (Photo: Lisa Cuvo)

Some might even say they were the originators of the term “power ballad.”

And although the band also has gone through a few personnel changes over the years, they never cease to bring their lineup of hits to eager fans every year.

The band, which includes Kevin Cronin (vocals, rhythm guitar), Dave Amato (guitars), Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards) and Bryan Hitt (drums), performed 96 shows last year and are on pace to do an equal amount in 2014, including a summer co-headlining tour with Chicago.

I caught up with Amato, who recently celebrated 25 years with REO Speedwagon. I asked him to reflect on his career with REO and his affection for guitars and vintage gear. He also told me about an important lesson he learned from his early years working with Ted Nugent.

GUITAR WORLD: Twenty-five years with REO Speedwagon. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about that?

I think brothers. We’ve been together for 25 years, and these guys are my friends and my brothers. It’s great playing with them every night.

Can you tell me the story of how you joined the band?

My friend Jesse Harms was a keyboard player in Sammy Hagar’s band and was also writing songs with Kevin [Cronin]. Gary [Richrath] wasn’t with the band anymore and they were looking for a guitar player. They didn’t want to put out a “cattle call” for people in LA, so Jesse mentioned me to Kevin and they gave me a few songs to see what I could do with them. I remember I went in on a Friday around 1 p.m. We played a few of the songs together and then played a little basketball. Then we went back in and jammed again until around 5. That was when they offered me a spot in the band. It’s a good story and was just meant to be.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Dave Amato by Clicking Here!

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!

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