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Second Coming: Queensrÿche Guitarist Michael Wilton Talks Touring, New Music



Ever since the acrimonious departure of singer Geoff Tate in 2012, Queensrÿche has found itself carved into two separately distinctive camps. It’s a situation that’s led to confusion among fans over which is the “real” Queensrÿche.

Last year, founding Queensrÿche members Michael Wilton (guitars), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums) along with guitarist Parker Lundgren and vocalist Todd La Torre made their case for the name by releasing a hugely successful self-titled album. A disc that stayed true to the classic Queensrÿche sound while simultaneously proclaiming the rebirth of the band.

While a decision has been reached as to which of the two Queensrÿches is allowed to carry on with the name, no official announcement has been made. Until then, Wilton and company will continue to make their case before the fans, including another tour stop at Penns Peak in Jim Thorpe, PA on Friday, April 25th.

I spoke to Wilton as he was en route to a Queensrÿche show in New York and got an update on the band, new music and what inspired him to make music his career.

What do you like most about playing at Penns Peak?

It looks a little ominous from the outside but once you get in there, they move back the tables and they rock! It’s such a cool place to play and we can’t wait to get back there. 

It’s been almost two years now since Todd joined the band. How has his addition changed the dynamic of Queensrÿche?

The internal dynamic has certainly changed in terms of musicianship. Not only does Todd sing and write lyrics, but he also plays drums and guitar. It’s more of a cohesive team. The chemistry between the bonds is now limitless in terms of what we can do creatively and we’re really excited about that.

Do you have an update on when we can expect a resolution on the dual versions of the band?

That’s coming up. What I can say is that both sides have reached an amicable settlement and it’s now just a matter of time. There will be an official press release but for now, you’ll have to wait.

Has the band been working on new music?

Yes, we’ve already begun the process for the next album. We have probably six songs demoed so far. We’re taking it in a direction suited to what we do as Queensrÿche but maybe a little more progressive and heavier. The thing is, you never know what you really have until it’s complete. It’s like carving a piece of clay and seeing how it turns out. You peel off the layers until you get to something really cool.

What’s your writing process like?

It usually starts with an initial idea. From my standpoint, it’s a riff that gets stuck in my head. Once I get the basic arrangement down I’ll start hearing a melody for it. That’s when I’ll explain it to Todd along with a subject of what I’m feeling. Then he’ll run with it and we’ll send it to every guy in the band. We all do the same thing. Eddie Jackson (bass) writes a lot of melodies and lyrics as well. There’s no shortage of dynamic input.

Growing up, were you one of those guitarists who would lock themselves in their room for hours on end practicing?

Yep, I was that guy! [laughs]. There was a time where I would do an hour of scales, then an hour of picking patterns and then another hour where I would listen to classical music and try to transpose it to guitar. It was an hour of this and an hour of that. It was very regimented and at times maniacal! [laughs]. But I come from a family that really appreciated music and had a great library for me to spend my formative years listening to and having all of these great players engrained in me. Those became the building blocks. Then it was just a matter of bringing in the “Bruce Lee” discipline.

When did you decide music was going to be your calling?

When I was in high school I was a pretty good baseball player, and it eventually got to the point to where it was either going to be that or music. But as I was getting ready to go to college to play baseball, I found the whole thing to be really political. So I started rebelling against it. Then I went to a Van-Halen/Black Sabbath concert and that was it. I knew exactly what I wanted to do!

What advice would you give to kids who want to chase their dreams?

I like to tell kids who are living at home without any real big responsibilities yet to get good at something. Find something you’re good at and like to do and then hone in on it. Don’t wait to do it until later on in life. No matter what it is, now is the perfect time.

What excites you about the future of the Queensrÿche?

For me, it’s being able to write together as a band. It’s liberating and makes me want to express myself fully. Writing with such a dynamic group of individuals that cohabitate well together is amazing. I’m really enjoying the process and taking it for a ride.

Queensrÿche and Red Dragon Cartel will perform
at Penns Peak on Friday, April 25th.
For more on Queensrÿche check out their official website by Clicking Here!

David Fanning Talks ‘Drink You Away’, Songwriting

David Fanning (Photo: Robert Chavers)

David Fanning (Photo: Robert Chavers)

While growing up on a 100-acre farm in Ardmore, Alabama David Fanning always dreamed of being a recording artist. Honing his musical skills while listening to his parents sing in a capella groups, he quickly learned the secrets behind harmony and performance.

Today, as part of Nashville’s production team New Voice, Fanning has produced #1 hits for both Thompson Square and Parmalee. But with all of his success Fanning never lost sight of his true calling, and it wasn’t long before a chance phone call by a friend about a pop superstar reignited the fire to return to his roots.

Fanning’s debut single, a unique country version of Justin Timberlake’s “Drink You Away,” has quickly gained buzz from fans and media alike (even receiving praise from Timberlake himself). Fanning’s rendition has enjoyed regular airplay on SiriusXM’s The Highway and will officially launch on country radio April 28th.

I spoke with Fanning about “Drink You Away” and also got an update on his forthcoming album and tour plans.

Where did the idea to record a country version of “Drink You Away” originate?

Justin [Timberlake] was coming to town to perform at an arena and one of my friends from radio, Storme Warren called me up and told me he was going to have him on his show. Then he asked me if I’d be interested in doing a country version of one of Justin’s songs to play for him while he was in the studio. I had three days before he was going to be there so I told him that I’d give it a try.

I hopped in the studio that night and recorded the basic track and the next day put on vocals and mixed it. Then I emailed the song over to Storme and he played it for Justin on the radio. The cool thing about it was that everything happened so fast. Sometimes when you produce, there might be a tendency to over think it. For this song, I had no time and it came out just as it was supposed to.

What are some of the elements that make a song suited to be “country-fied”?

The lyric is usually the first thing that lends itself to being country. People can relate to that. Sometimes in pop, it just goes for the beat or the music. In country music, the lyric and story really has to mean something. Any song that has a cool groove or makes you want to bob you head or pump your fist feels good. 

Can you give me an update on your new album?

We’ve cut about eight sides so far, including “Drink You Away”. The nice thing about producing your own record is that you’re in control of getting the perfect songs. We’re looking at an end of year release date.

What’s your songwriting process like?

I don’t have one set way of doing things. I have a cabin out by the lake where I like to go and post up for a few days to just forget about the grind and write. When I’m working with another artist it can be different. Sometimes, someone might just come in with a title for a song and other times you might just whittle away on an idea and work it into something.

Did you always know you wanted to have a career in music?

I always intended to be an artist and never really thought about doing anything else. My parents were in 50′s/60′s a capella groups singing bebop music and they were always very supportive of what I wanted to do. I got started playing in bands and doing solo work and even bought my own Pro Tools rig when I was 14 to start putting together my own recordings.

How did you wind up in Nashville?

I actually grew up about an hour away from Nashville, but took a 2000 mile trip to get here because I decided to go to LA for a while first. I had grown up thinking that everything was huge out on the west coast. But once I got there, I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. So I moved to Nashville and started sending out emails to connect with people in town.

One of the guys I met was Kevin Neal, who runs Buddy Lee Attractions and books Jason Aldean. Jason was just getting going at the time and Kevin introduced me to Tully Kennedy, Rich Redmond and Kurt Allison who were in Aldean’s band. We all hit off well and started New Voice Entertainment. We began working on my project and discovered that we worked so well together as a production team. That was around the same time we were introduced to Thompson Square and all of the stars started to align. Having the opportunity to produce really gave me a much deeper understanding of creating music. Now it’s time for me to get back to where I started from, and that’s working on my own album.

Do you have plans to tour this summer?

We’re working on an up to date list of shows. June kicks it all off. It’s going to be a rock out year and I can’t wait to get out there and play!

For more on David Fanning be sure to check out
his official website by Clicking Here!

Dog Camp: Richie Kotzen and Mike Portnoy Discuss the Winery Dogs’ Immersive New Camp for Musicians

Photo by: Markus Cuff

The Winery Dogs (Photo by: Markus Cuff)

If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with three of rocks’ most talented musicians, here’s your opportunity.

Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy — better known as the Winery Dogs — have announced Dog Camp, their first-ever immersive program for aspiring musicians of all ages and levels.

The event is set for July 21 to 25, 2014, at Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, New York.

Attendees will be able to take part in instrument specific clinics and will learn about songwriting mechanics and the music industry. They’ll even get to enjoy intimate performances by the Winery Dogs.

If you’re a guitarist, bassist or drummer, there’s a course path for you to follow. But Dog Camp promises to be a deeper experience; the campers will be living, hanging out and jamming together. You’ll also be able to ask the hosts as many questions as as you want — and Kotzen, Sheehan and Portnoy will initiate one-on-one and group sessions to help you realize your goals as a player.

I recently spoke to Kotzen and Portnoy about Dog Camp and what’s next for the band.

GUITAR WORLD: What was the reason behind the inaugural Dog Camp?

Kotzen: It was something that was brought to our attention by our manager. Billy and I have done our fair share of clinics and have also participated in Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. The idea of being in a position where you can actually sit and talk and play with people who are buying your records or are listening to what you do is inspiring.

gw_logoRead the rest of my interview with Kotzen & Portnoy
By Clicking Here!

Inversion: Tim Butler Returns With An Inspired New Album

TimButler-InversionInversion, as defined by Merriam-Webster is a change in the position, order, or relationship of things so that they are the opposite of what they had been. For Tim Butler, it’s a phenomenon and EP project that’s taken three three years to arrive.

Finding himself at a crossroads of his musical career, the Glenside singer/songwriter took a hiatus from regular album releases and shows. Choosing instead to lay low until his musical energy was re-fueled. Thankfully, Butler’s creative juices are once again firing on all cylinders. His new EP is a blend of catchy melodic pop combined with tasty guitar work and inspired topics.

Whether he’s singing about love, moving forward or just being happy, rest assured Butler’s songs speak to the positive side in all of us. And in times like these, it’s something we all need to be reminded of.

I spoke with Butler about Inversion as well as his return to one his favorite venues.

It’s been three years since we heard new music from Tim Butler. What spawned the Inversion project?

As many of my fans know, I took some much needed downtime. For the first time in my music career I was becoming a little burned out from regular gigging. I was in a sort-of creative slump, which was something I was not used to at all. Although I did do some random shows during that period, I decided to lay low for the most part. Eventually, it got to the point to where I really started to miss making music. I had a few songs I had never recorded and decided to sit down and see what would happen. I ended up writing a few new songs too.

Why the title – “Inversion”?

I was really indifferent as to what to name this project. In the past, I’ve always just named projects after a song if I wasn’t inspired otherwise. This one was almost called “Sweet Is”, which isn’t too bad. “Inversion” though is simply another way of describing my return to songwriting and sharing my music.

How did you approach writing for this album?

Although my approach was not all that different from what I’ve done in the past, I just really let these songs go and let whatever happened happen. I wanted the sound to come together a little more organically and didn’t try to over think it. I carried that same process over to the band and then into the studio. I like the outcome, a lot!

Let’s discuss a few tracks from Inversion: “Moving Forward”

It’s a song about how I processed this particular project and about getting out of a creative slump. It’s more of a reflective song for me.

“Sweet Is”

That was a song that I wrote a few years back. It was written about a very special relationship and appreciating the simple, yet huge things that make it special. I performed the song solo for a long time but never recorded it. I loved hearing it come together.

“We’ll Be Happy”

My favorite of the new bunch. It encompasses everything I love about pop tunes and what I have become known for: melodic hooks, great production value, harmonies and a song that just makes you smile. The main jist behind this tune comes from my writing philosophy. It’s about just letting things be the way they are. Express the music as you want to and be happy with it.

Tim Butler (Photo by: Lisa Schaffer)

Tim Butler (Photo by: Lisa Schaffer)

Where do you find the inspiration for your songs and lyrics?

Inspiration usually comes from experiences for me. Sometimes it can be about who I am listening to at the time. I tend to be a “music first” kind of writer and specifically choruses. I’m more attentive to sound and that’s what inspires lyrics.

Who are some of your musical influences?

That’s the single toughest question I get asked. When I first started writing songs I was mainly influenced by three artists/bands: Crowded House, Michael Penn and Matthew Sweet. Michael Penn is just flat out an amazing songwriter on all fronts. He’s respected in many circles but highly underrated. Mathew Sweet brought melodic sound to my head. Catchy rock and roll BUT with a guitar driven push that I’ve always loved! Crowded House and the Finn brothers….say no more. For me, their library of tunes embraces everything I love. I’m also a huge fan of bands like Velvet Crush, The Foo Fighters and Superdrag. Basically, anything that’s melodic pop.

Do you have any shows lined up?

Right now, all of the focus will be on May 3rd at Puck, which will also be a band reunion. I’m really looking forward to getting back on stage and sharing the EP. Following that, I’ll start game planning for more shows. EP support is now the new priority.

What do you like most about that venue?

Puck has always been a favorite of mine and the band as well. I love the stage and the in-house production. It’s a cool room that lends itself well for music listening. I’ve also found Doylestown to be an attractive place for my fan base. It’s all about location.

Tim Butler Will perform at PUCK on Saturday, May 3rd.
For Details and Directions: Click Here

Keep Up With Tim Butler by Clicking Here

Guitarist Lindsay Ell Talks New Music, Touring and The Grand Ole Opry

Lindsay Ell (Photo by: Jessica Wardwell)

Lindsay Ell (Photo by: Jessica Wardwell)

She’s the true triple threat. Not only is guitarist Lindsay Ell able to go toe to toe with the big boys on her instrument, she’s also a unique vocalist and gifted songwriter. Honing her craft in bluegrass music camps before being discovered at age 13 by BTO/Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman, Ell soon found herself becoming immersed in the power of the blues and eventually sharing the stage with the likes of Buddy Guy and Keith Urban. As evidenced by her latest single and video [Trippin’ On Us] and recent tour supporting The Band Perry, Ell is fast becoming a rising star in country music circles.

Ell is currently gearing up for another round of tour dates, one of which includes her Grand Ole Opry debut on April 15th. She’s also back in the studio finishing up work on her debut album that’s expected to be released this fall. An album that can be described as a female Keith Urban meets Sheryl Crow; with a little bit of John Mayer thrown in for good measure. It’s edgy, guitar driven country and all Lindsay Ell.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Ell and getting an update on her music.

When you think about The Grand Ole Opry and performing there for the very first time, what thoughts come to mind?

It’s incredibly humbling. Growing up, my Grandpa would always listen to the Grand Ole Opry and we were raised with it being such a special thing in my family. It’s going to be to be a surreal moment getting to step into that circle on April 15th. My parents are flying in and I’m so thankful that they can be there. My Grandpa has passed away but I know he’ll be there with me and I’ll be thinking of him the whole time.

Can you give me an update on your album?

We’re in the studio this week cutting more songs and will probably go in one more time. We’re hoping to release the album in the fall but will be releasing another new single in the coming weeks. I’m so excited about this new music. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning! [laughs].

What’s the origin of the song, “Trippin’ On Us”?

I wrote it with two friends of mine from Nashville: Vicky McGehee and David Fanning. It started out with a melodic guitar riff and the song just evolved from there. The thing I love about country music is that the lyrics really need to tell a story and I love the challenge of finding something that’s going to hit home with fans.

Tell me a little about the video for the song.

Roman White directed the video. He’s done videos for Carrie [Underwood] and Taylor [Swift] and was a pleasure to work with. It was a quick shoot. We started before 5am and finished it all in one day.

Where do you find inspiration for your songs?

The coolest ideas and concepts for a song can come out of anything. For me, I actually find a lot of it from just people watching. It’s amazing when you can sit back and watch what’s going on around you. Like hearing fragments of conversations from people who just pass by or when you’re getting into your car and you hear the DJ say a few random sentences on air. I’ve become a lot more receptive to my environment and the world around me.

Lindsay Ell (Photo by: Jessica Wardwell)

Lindsay Ell (Photo by: Jessica Wardwell)

Why do you enjoy playing Gibson Les Pauls and Martin guitars so much?

I grew up with all different kinds of guitars because everyone in my family played. I remember picking up a Les Paul for the first time when I was little and just loved the way it sounded. I like how you can have a clean sound but can really dig in and not have to change that much of your set up. It’s an easy guitar to communicate with.

Martin guitars have always been considered the pristine ones in my family, so when I saved up enough money to buy my own, it quickly became my favorite. I had the chance to speak with Martin about a year ago and it made sense that we’d start working together. I love how they’re such a family based and centered company. They’re all about values and tradition.

What are you most looking forward to in 2014?

April 15th will be a big one. I’m also really excited for this record. All of the music I’ve recorded up to this point has built towards this moment. The first few singles and videos give a taste, but the album itself will tell the real story. It’s been a long, exciting journey and I can’t wait to share it with everyone!

For more on Lindsay Ell be sure to check out her Official Website by Clicking Here.

Voices Carry: Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Discuss Their New Band and Album, ‘The Both’

The Both - Aimee Man & Ted Leo (Photo: Christian Lantry)

The Both (Photo: Christian Lantry)

Aimee Mann is an Oscar-nominated singer/songwriter and bassist who has scored hits as a solo artist and with ‘Til Tuesday.

Guitarist Ted Leo is a Midwestern punk rocker who’s established a reputation for musical genius as a solo act and with his band, the Pharmacists.

Now, both artists have joined forces and are calling themselves the Both.

Their self-titled debut album, which will be released April 15, speaks to the friendship and mutual respect Mann and Leo share. From the hook-laden harmonies and Bronze Fonz references of “Milwaukee” to the social messages of songs like “Volunteers of America,” The Both is an album with the DNA of Mann and Leo strongly imprinted on it — and one refreshingly unique and engaging debut.

I recently spoke with Mann and Leo about their new album and collaboration.

GUITAR WORLD: How did The Both begin?

Mann: Ted was opening for me on my last album and tour, and the music he was playing really piqued my interest. I remember while he was playing I’d often start thinking to myself, “You know, I really want to play bass on that song!” and after a while, I asked him if I could sit in. We started playing and having so much fun that it led to the idea of writing some songs together that eventually became this record.

gw_logoRead the rest of my Guitar World interview
With Aimee Mann & Ted Leo by Clicking Here

Chris Robinson Brotherhood Guitarist Neal Casal Talks Gear and New Album, ‘Phosphorescent Harvest’

Neal Casal (Photo by Gary Waldman)

Neal Casal (Photo by Gary Waldman)

Phosphorescent Harvest is the third studio release from the Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

The album — which features Robinson, the former Black Crowes vocalist/guitarist, along with guitarist Neal Casal, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, drummer George Sluppick and bassist Mark Dutton — is a treasure trove of soul that advances the band’s bluesy, kaleidoscopic sound.

Songs like “Shore Power,” “Badlands” and the beautiful “Wanderer’s Lament” contain tasty, inspired guitar arrangements; meanwhile, Robinson’s lyrics are thoughtfully constructed from dreams and casual observation.

Starting in April, CRB will embark on a tour in support of the new album. It’s a tour that will take them through the highways and byways of the U.S. for remainder of the year.

In addition to working with Robinson, Casal has performed alongside other heavyweights, including Ryan Adams and Phil Lesh. He’s also released a reflective book of personal photos that were shot during his years touring with Adams.

I recently caught up with Casal to ask him about the new CRB album (which will be released April 29), his playing, photography and more.

Christ Robinson Brotherhood (Photo by: Alissa Anderson)

Chris Robinson Brotherhood (Photo by: Alissa Anderson)

GUITAR WORLD: How do you approach doing a Chris Robinson Brotherhood album as opposed to some of the other projects you’ve been involved with?

CRB is the most expansive band I’ve ever been in terms of freedom of expression in guitar playing. Chris really encourages us to bring our adventurousness, personality and whimsical character into our playing. I got to really do my thing all over this record. It’s a guitar player’s dream.

gw_logoRead the rest of my Guitar World Interview with Neal Casal
by Clicking Here!

KXM: Guitarist George Lynch Talks New Album, Film Project and Dokken


Born out of the jam sessions of drummer Ray Luzier (Korn), bassist dUg Pinnick (King’s X) and guitarist George Lynch (Lynch Mob), KXM’s self-titled album is an inspired collection of song and musicality that stretches the limits of traditional power trios.

Taking its name from the combination of each member’s ‘day jobs’, KXM delivers a very deep, thought provoking debut. Songs like “Stars”, “Rescue Me” and “I’ll Be Ok” showcase elements from each’s respective bands, but the album is more than worthy to stand on its own. For a project that was neither pre-determined or planned, there’s a lot of unique interaction going on within the confines of KXM. It’s the trio’s strong musicianship and creative personalities that’s produced such an inspired, eclectic album.

In addition to KXM, guitarist George Lynch is working on several other projects, including a second Dokken-esque album with Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown and another super-group project with Michael Sweet (Stryper), James Lomenzo (Megadeth, White Lion) and Brian Tichy (S.U.N, Whitesnake). He’s also in the finishing stages of editing the “Shadow Nation” documentary. A film which illuminates the cost of destruction of the Native American community; to both the indigenous population as well as to their European conquerors.

I spoke with Lynch about KXM and also got an update on some of his other projects.

How did the KXM project come about?

Initially, the three of us were together at Ray’s house for a birthday party and wound up hanging out in the studio. That was when one of us brought up the idea of maybe throwing some stuff down. And it wasn’t like we all just went home the next day and didn’t think about it again. We kept following up and enthusiastically pursued it. The interesting thing is that we didn’t do any pre-production or write any songs going in. We just found this eight-day window of opportunity where we all trucked our gear up to this place in the mountains. We all hung out there and just started writing. It was that simple.

How would you describe the sound of this album?

One of the good things about this record is that it has a unique sound and formula to it, and that’s a product of the chemistry of the three of us. We had no preconceived idea of what we were going to write. Maybe I would come up was a riff that was a little “Lynch Mobby”. Then Ray would come in with a beat that was more syncopated, tribal and complex. Then dUg would come in and do things that were very unique and unexpected, which I loved.

What was the process for writing lyrics?

dUg wrote most of the lyrics. He and I got together for a few days at my studio. We really got to know each other and had a lot of long talks and I really enjoyed that. Some of the subject matter from our conversations late into the night translated into the lyrics. dUg’s lyrics are very personal, but those are the kind that really resonate with people more than anything else. You’re telling the story or describing the emotion. It’s direct, meaningful and cathartic.

What do you enjoy most about these collaborative projects?

I enjoy playing different kinds of music and building something up from nothing and turning it into something tangible. Also, most of the people I play with I love musically and as people. I like to say that my bands are like my second family. They’re people you care about, respect and create with. Even if it’s just a brief relationship on a project or for something that’s more longstanding.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Dokken Tooth and Nail album. What are your thoughts when you think back to those days?

That album was the turning point for Dokken. We had already done one record [Breaking The Chains] and had learned a lot, but were really determined to let people know that we mattered. Tooth and Nail was our real shot to prove that we had what it took to be where we thought we should be. We had a lot of energy and a lot to prove and were also starting to mature in our songwriting and tightening up as a band. All of that really peaked with the Under Lock And Key album, but I think what people love about Tooth and Nail is that it really captured the band when it was very hungry.

What’s the status of the second T&N album?

We’ve got six Dokken re-records finished but are going to change things up a bit. We’ve been talking about it and there are two things that could happen. First, we’ll change the name of the project and instead of using multiple singers, we’ll stick with two dedicated ones: [Jeff] Pilson and possibly Michael Sweet. Michael has such an angelic voice and a great sense of melody and hooks. It’s an obvious, wonderful replacement for the Dokken-esque sound that we’re known for. But then there’s a very slight chance that it could actually become a Dokken record, if a miracle happens and Don decides to play ball and play fair.

What can you tell me about your other collaboration with Michael Sweet, Brian Tichy and James Lomenzo?

It should be out sometime this Summer. Anyone who loves the older Dokken stuff and Michael Sweet is going to love this record. It sounds like the Dokken record we should have done after our last big one (Back For The Attack).

Do you have an update on the Shadow Nation Film and Shadow Train band project?

We’ve been working really hard on finishing up the editing. It’s a complicated process that takes a lot of man hours but we’re very close to finishing and then it will move on to post (production). After that, we’ll have the business of distributing it, getting it out to people and into film festivals. What I’m excited about too (beyond the film) is the record. Initially, we recorded a one CD record a few years ago that has a 70′s vibe to it. Then we went back in the studio a few more times and decided to go in a whole different direction. We went heavier and more in your face. Afterwards, we realized that we had really evolved as a band and with our writing and decided to put it out as a double CD. So, there will be a volume one and two with 19 songs that will be the companion to the film/DVD. It’s a very eclectic soundtrack.

KXM (l to r: Ray Luzier, dUg Pinnick, George Lynch)

KXM (l to r: Ray Luzier, dUg Pinnick, George Lynch)

What other projects are you working on?

Right at the moment, I’m working with Mandy Lion and an engineer and a programmer who came out of the Rob Zombie & Nine Inch Nails camps. We’ve finished seven songs a few weeks ago and have another big session where we’ll finish up the writing and recording of the basics for the rest of the record. I’m also working on another project called The Infidels with Sal and Pancho, the rhythm section from War. They’re monster funk/rock players who are just great. It’s a fun bunch of heavy, jammy funk songs with a Hendrix “Band Of Gypsys” kind of vibe.

Will Lynch Mob be touring this year?

We have some dates coming up in April and then we’ll be going to Europe this summer for some of the big festivals. We also have some plans for the States once we get back.

Has there been one moment over the course of your career that you consider most memorable?

There’s been a lot of beautiful moments and smaller ones that were just as gratifying. There was the Loud Park gig that Lynch Mob did last October in front of 25,000 people where we tore it up. That was beautiful. But then it could just be in a little club packed with 300 people. Where it’s all hot and sweaty and you just come out and blow the doors off. Or it could be as simple as a solo in the studio that you just nail. There are a lot of those kind of moments that stand out. There really isn’t just one.

For more on KXM, check out the band’s official site by Clicking Here

George Lynch’s Official Website  – Click Here * Shadow Nation Film: Click Here


Wild Heart: Saxophonist Mindi Abair Discusses Dynamic New Album

MindiAbair-WildHeartSaxophonist Mindi Abair is one of the most creative artists in music today. Already known for her acclaimed jazz prowess, Abair has been the featured sax player on American Idol for two seasons, toured with the likes of Duran Duran and Aerosmith and even did a stint with the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. But on May 27th, Abair takes reckless abandon to a whole new level with her new album, Wild Heart.

For this project, Abair brings along some musical heavy weights that include Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Jim Peterik (Ides of March/Survivor), Waddy Wachtel, Max Weinberg and even an emotional duet with the legendary Gregg Allman. By capturing the raw emotion, power and synergy Abair delivers an album unlike any she’s ever done. Wild Heart is definitely not your father’s jazz record, nor one that you sit down with over a glass of wine. Rather, it’s an album to rock out to and savor.

As an added treat, Abair has partnered with Pledge Music to give fans the opportunity to interactively experience Wild Heart. The campaign offers exclusive packages ranging from dinner with Abair and her band to shout-outs at concerts, signed CDs and much more.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Abair about her amazing new album and more in this exclusive interview.

What inspired the Wild Heart project?

Over the last few years, I found myself moonlighting; doing a lot of rock and roll, blues and organic music. I remember touring with Aerosmith and seeing the sheer abandon they brought to the stage night after night. Then I went on the road with Max Weinberg and played with [Bruce] Springsteen for a night. I was inspired and didn’t want it to just be something that I experienced. I wanted to bring some of that energy into my own project. This record really captures the mojo I had been playing with for so long, and it was so much fun bringing in people I love and respect to help me create this sound.

Let’s discuss a few of the songs from the album:

I Can’t Lose:

You can’t just write songs about the bad experiences in your life. Sometimes, you’ve got to write about being on a winning streak. That song came about because I changed a few things in my life and things started happening. I started doing American Idol, then Steven Tyler came to me and asked me to go on tour with Aerosmith. They were always a huge influence on me. I was in this life event phase where things were just going my way and I felt like writing a song about it. Whatever it is, right now I can’t lose.

Mindi Abair (Photo: Greg Allen)

Mindi Abair (Photo: Greg Allen)

Amazing Game / Train.  What’s it like to write a song with Jim Peterik?

I first met Jim on a jazz cruise when he was there to promote his Lifeforce CD. We became great friends and have written a lot of songs together. I love writing with him. Words and melodies just flow out of him. He lives, breathes and cares so much about every note, word and chord. With “Train” we wanted to write something that had energy and really conveyed that change of life attitude. You know you want to change, yet you’re stuck in that rut. But there’s a train coming, and you’re going to jump on and leave it all behind. I always tell Jim that he brings the “eye of the tiger” to his writing, and the two songs we wrote for this album (Amazing Game and Train) both have the eye of the tiger in them. That’s the force of nature that Jim Peterik is.

Kick Ass (with Joe Perry of Aerosmith)

I wrote the song with Matthew Hager who produced my first four cds. I always thought it was a great song but I wanted more power from it. Then I remember sitting in the studio one day and suddenly pictured Joe Perry with his shirt half-ripped open, walking down the runway with his guitar in front of 50,000 people and killing it on guitar. Then I said, “Wait! I KNOW Joe Perry! This could actually happen!” [laughs]. So I made a phone call and we were literally in the studio within a week. He brings so much power and testosterone to a track. It was amazing to sit there and play off him. He pushes you to better yourself and that’s exactly what he did on that track.

The Shakedown (with Waddy Wachtel)

I first started playing with Waddy back in 1995 when he was the music director for Adam Sandler’s band. Whenever I’m on stage with him, that whole atmosphere is my zen. When he said that he wanted to be a part of this project it made me so happy. So we went into his studio and wrote that song. Another cool thing about the song is that my dad actually plays B3 on the track as well.

How did Max Weinberg get involved on the track?

I toured with Max shortly after Clarence [Clemons] died. He needed a sax player and I went in and the two of us hit it off and ended up going out on the road for a few weeks. We became really good friends and I asked him to be a part of the project. Working things out with our tour schedules was tough, but we planned it out for when we were both in New York doing separate gigs. I booked a studio, we each came in before our sound checks and made it happen.

Just Say When (with Gregg Allman)

“Just Say When” is not even a song. It’s Gregg. When he plays he always reaches out and touches the depths of your soul. I spent three days at his house and we wrote that song together. It was crazy to be there with him and live his existence for a few days and just be creative. It was a master class in musicality. It’s real and very representative of both of us.

What made you decide to do a Pledge Music campaign for the album?

I really love what I saw people doing with it. You’re capable of giving so much more than just a CD and letting fans become more involved in the project. I’ve got really incredible fans, so offering up a few things is a way for me to be closer to them and also gives a window into the soul of this record.

What first attracted you to the saxophone? 

My dad played sax and I grew up on the road with his band. He always looked like he was having a good time whenever he played. In school band, I remember they had put some instruments out on the floor and said “choose”. So I thought back to him and chose the sax. It was also a point in music history when there were a lot of great players in pop music: Maceo Parker, Clarence Clemons, David Sanborn and others. Sax was a viable instrument even going back to the inception of rock and roll. There was a time when you couldn’t have a band without a guitar and a sax. With this album, I wanted to make a saxophone record that hearkens back to a time when sax was the coolest instrument on the planet.

Over the course of your career has there been one moment that stands out to you as most memorable?

It’s been an awesome journey. Getting to play with Bruce [Springsteen] was pretty amazing. Going out on tour with Aerosmith was another huge highlight. To get to play and sing with them every night was a dream come true. But the real high for me is every night on stage with my band. I never take for granted the fact that I get to go out there and play music that I wrote and share it with people. To have this beautiful conversation from the stage is really special.

Mindi Abair Official Website:
For more on Mindi PledgeMusic Campaign Click Here

Guitarist Dave Meniketti Discusses Y&T’s 40th Anniversary

Y&T (Photo: Jill Meniketti)

Y&T (Photo: Jill Meniketti)

You’d think a band that’s been around for 40 years might just be going through the motions at this point.

But for Dave Meniketti and Y&T, that’s hardly the case.

The band’s current lineup — Dave Meniketti (guitar/vocals), John Nymann (guitar), Brad Lang (bass) and Mike Vanderhule (drums) — continues to bring its own unique blend of hard rock to legions of fans around the world.

Since finalizing their first lineup in 1974, Y&T have performed more than 3,000 shows, released 18 albums and three greatest-hits packages — and they’ve sold more than 4 million units. Many of the biggest acts to come out of the Eighties became popular by opening for Y&T, including Metallica and Mötley Crüe.

Add years near-continuous touring and songs like “Mean Streak” and “Summertime Girls,” and it’s no wonder fans say that Y&T sound better than ever.

With another steady year of touring ahead and talk of more new music, Meniketti and company show no signs of slowing down in 2014. I recently spoke with him about his playing, the band’s anniversary and a few surprises they have in store to celebrate the occasion.

GUITAR WORLD: What are your thoughts when you think about Y&T’s 40th anniversary?

It’s an odd feeling when you say it or stick it on a piece of paper. Throughout our career, we never looked past a year in advance wondering what we were going to do. So it’s a little weird thinking I’ve had this gig for 40 years. But it still feels great to be in this band and play songs for crowds who are always so cool to us. Why would I ever want to stop doing that?

Read the rest of my Guitar World Interview with Dave Meniketti
By Clicking Here!


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