Blog Archives

‘Peace Out’: Guitarist Gunnar Nelson Talks New Nelson Album, Guitars and ‘After the Rain’

GunnarNelsonTwenty-five years ago, two long-haired blond twins set the world on fire with their debut album, After the Rain.

At a time when glam metal was giving way to grunge, Nelson touched a nerve with the album’s hook-laden title track and “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection,” a Number 1 single.

Today, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson are still going strong. They perform full-band shows as Nelson, pay tribute to their father with their Ricky Nelson Remembered shows and take part in all-star Scrap Metal performances across the country.

While Nelson’s upcoming album, Peace Out [set to be released May 19] might be considered the rock band’s swan song, it might also be their best album, ever. Peace Out is an infectious collection of songs showcasing the maturity of the songwriting as well as Gunnar’s guitar prowess.

Next year, Gunnar and Matthew will begin a new duo project focusing on guitars and vocals. So if Peace Out truly is the end of the rock version of Nelson, Gunnar and Matthew are certainly going out in style.

I recently spoke with Gunnar about Peace Out and his gear and got his thoughts on the 25th anniversary of After the Rain.

GUITAR WORLD: How does Peace Out compare to some of Nelson’s previous records?

Honestly, if I were to recommend a Nelson record to someone who has never heard the band before, it wouldn’t be our first record [After the Rain]. It would be this one. This one features the best of the songwriting, guitar work and vocals. Most of all, the theme of the record is positive, and that’s what this band is 25 years in. When most everyone else is trying to be tough and rock, we want to make people feel good about listening to music.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Gunnar Nelson by Clicking Here!

Moody Blues Bassist John Lodge Talks New Solo Album, ‘10,000 Light Years Ago’

John Lodge210,000 Light Years Ago is the superb new studio album by legendary Moody Blues bassist John Lodge.

It’s Lodge’s first album of new solo material since 1977’s Natural Avenue.

The album contains some of Lodge’s most personal songs and even features guest performances by former Moody Blues members Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder.

I recently spoke with Lodge about the new album and some highlights from his career with the Moody Blues.

GUITAR WORLD: It’s been quite a while since your last solo album. What spawned this project?

I’ve been thinking about making an album for a few years now. It was based on a thought process I had where the future is always in reach but the past is gone forever. But I didn’t want to make an album that was retrospective. I wanted to make one that was about who I am today.

How would you describe the album as a whole?

I always look at the song “10,000 Light Years Ago.” When I wrote that song, I knew that’s what the album was going to be called. Then when I looked at the lyrics, it really told me what I wanted to write about. Standing there fearlessly and thinking about what’s going on in the world. To me, it’s an eclectic collection of songs that all end up 10,000 light years ago. Everything from the past has made me what I am today.

Let’s discuss a few tracks from the new album, starting with “In My Mind.” How was that song conceived?

I remember I had a flute line going through my head along with chords that kept getting bigger and bigger. I wanted the keyboards to create this audio/visual universe and for the guitars to run through it all. Then I wanted it all to easily come back down into a very easy, close lyric and twelve-string playing away and then building back up. It was a visual image in my mind.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with John Lodge by Clicking Here!

‘A Fool to Care’: Boz Scaggs Discusses His New Album, Working with Duane Allman and More

BozScaggsFor his new album, A Fool to Care, Boz Scaggs once again teams up with producer Steve Jordan and puts his distinctive spin on a host of classic songs—plus a handful of new originals.

The album, the follow-up to 2013’s Memphis, features a guest appearance by Bonnie Raitt, who duets with Scaggs and adds her characteristic slide guitar to “Hell to Pay.” The song, which Scaggs wrote himself, is a knowing indictment of corruption on a personal and political level.

I recently spoke with Scaggs about his new album, recording with Duane Allman several decades ago—and about his 50 years in the music biz.

GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe your new album, A Fool to Care?

That’s an enormous question. It took four days to record and probably 50 years to conceive. When we started talking about doing this album, we considered a theme being the music I was inspired by [when I was] growing up. That led to some discussion about the material. We really wanted to focus on music out of Louisiana and Texas, but then we started talking about other songs we like. Guys like Curtis Mayfield came up. Then the interest broadened and we started picking them out of the air.

There’s a song by the Band on there and others by the Spinners and Al Green. Then there were a few songs that a friend of mine wrote and one I wrote one myself. It’s all styles of music that I love. We had an open ticket to do anything we wanted to do. If it felt good, we took a swing at it.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Boz Scaggs by Clicking Here!

‘Tech N’ Roll’: Seek Irony Guitarist Alex Campbell Talks New Album and Gear

SeekIronyModern rock/electronica band Seek Irony arose out of Tel Aviv, Israel’s burgeoning music scene.

But it wasn’t until founding members—and brothers—Kfir and Rom Gov relocated to Austin, Texas, that things really began to change.

Shortly after their arrival, the brothers welcomed several new band members, including Berklee-trained guitarist Alex Campbell.

As evidenced by the band’s recently released debut album, Tech N’ Roll, Campbell’s arrival takes Seek Irony to a different level altogether. “Devil in Me” and “Skin 2 Skin” reflect dark themes while still tastefully showcasing the band’s ability to combine electronic elements with inspired, hard-rock riffs.

Seek Irony features Kfir Gov (vocals), Rom Gov (drums), Mikael Oganes (synths), Adam Donovan (bass) and Alex Campbell (guitar).

I recently caught up with Campbell to ask him about Tech N’ Roll, gear and more!

GUITAR WORLD: How did you get involved with Seek Irony?

Back In 2013, I was doing a solo band while I was on a break from school. I was unsure if I was going back to Berklee and ultimately decided to audition for the band. I went down and met Rom and Kfir, and we really hit it off. They gave me music to learn; I auditioned, got the gig and have been full time ever since.

How did you approach recording for the band’s new album, Tech N’ Roll?

Rom and I come from a Dream Theater world in our approach to our instruments. My focus was to maintain that understanding on the guitar and translate some of that into the new music. It’s driven and heavy and a good mixture of hard rock and electronica.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Alex Campbell by Clicking Here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How would you describe Human?

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

What was the writing process like?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GUITAR WORLD: How did this PBS project begin?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can you tell me about Wolflight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your songwriting process like these days?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GUITAR WORLD: What spawned or inspired this new album?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aerosmith band lineup

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

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

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

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

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

GUITAR WORLD: How did this live project begin?

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

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

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

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

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

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