Interview: The Outfield’s Tony Lewis releases ‘Into The Light’ – first single from debut solo album ‘Out of The Darkness’

Out of The Darkness is the debut solo album from The Outfield’s vocalist/bassist, Tony Lewis, and the first since the passing of his friend and longtime collaborator, John Spinks, in 2014. The Outfield took the ’80s by storm with their 1985 debut, Play Deep, and songs like “Your Love,” “All The Love” and “Say It Isn’t So”. More than thirty years later, “Your Love” is still featured prominently in compilation albums and commercials as well as streamed nearly a million times a week.

Lewis’ new album is rich with the spirit of The Outfield, particularly on songs like the catchy first single, “Into The Light” and the colorful “Here And Now”, but that’s to be expected. The Outfield’s signature sound is ingrained in Lewis’ DNA. But there’s a new magic in Out Of The Darknessthat’s undeniable. Perhaps its because Lewis showcases other strings in his musical bow as songwriter, producer, guitarist and drummer. A process Lewis himself says felt very natural. Regardless, Out of The Darkness is not only a nod to the past, it’s also welcoming wish to the future.

Out Of The Darkness will be released on Friday, June 29.

In addition to the new album, Lewis will also be part of this summer’s Retro Futura tour, which kicks off in Atlanta, GA on July 11.

AXS recently spoke with Tony Lewis about Out Of The Darkness, The Outfield, touring and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How did the Out Of The Darkness album originate?

Tony Lewis: Basically, I had a four year hiatus following the passing of John. It threw me sideways. I couldn’t even pick up a guitar for a few years. Gradually, I started recording again and put some backing tracks together. I was struggling with lyrics when my wife, Carol, offered to help. She’s a great storyteller and most of her lyrics fit well. Everything just fell into place. But I didn’t set out to make an album. I just wanted it to be a body of work. They were songs I really believed in.

AXS: Let’s discuss a few tracks from the album, beginning with the first single, “Into The Light.” What can you tell me about it?

TL: The line “out of the darkness” means my venture back into the music industry after a four year hiatus. It’s about coming out of that dark period after losing John and getting back into the industry. After being known primarily as a singer in The Outfield, I wanted to re-emerge as a solo artist and show that have more than one string to my bow. It’s taken a long time but its something I really enjoy doing.

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Interview with Tony Lewis by Clicking Here.

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Interview: Poison’s Rikki Rockett discusses band’s Nothin’ But A Good Time summer tour with Cheap Trick

Photo: Mark Weiss

In one of the most highly-anticipated tours of the summer, Poison, along with Cheap Trick and Pop Evil will embark on a string of dates across the U.S. that’s appropriately called “Nothin’ But A Good Time 2018”.

For Poison – which consists of all-original members Bret Michaels (lead vocals/guitar), Bobby Dall (bass), Rikki Rockett (drums) and CC Deville (guitars) the new tour promises to bring the hits, high energy as well as a few surprises. The band will also be celebrating the 30th anniversary of its sophomore release, Open Up and Say… Ahh.  An album that featured not only the hit “Nothin’ But A Good Time” but also the #1 song, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”.

AXS recently spoke with Rikki Rockett about Poison’s new tour and more in this exclusive interview.

AXS: What can fans expect from Poison’s upcoming tour with Cheap Trick?

Rikki Rockett: In the past, we’ve always gone old school with pyro and no video screens. This year, we’ve updated and are doing a bunch of video stuff and it really looks great. We also have a new front of house engineer. I’ve heard some recordings and it sounds awesome. We’ve also got a few other surprises in store as well. We’re on fire and ready to go.

AXS: What do you think makes the music of Poison and Cheap Trick so timeless and special? What keeps fans coming back?

RR: When people go to a Poison show, or any other “classic rock” show, they can expect to hear several hours of hit songs that they know. For the money, people don’t want to go to a show and hear just one or two songs they’re familiar with. They want to hear twenty. And that’s what you get with Poison and Cheap Trick. They’re songs that people grew up with and songs that have sustained.

AXS: Poison is one of few bands that continues to tour with its original lineup. To what do you attribute the band’s sustained longevity?

RR: We’ve managed to keep it together by learning how to be team players. To trust the other guy to pick up the slack and for them to expect the same from you. At the end of the day, when we get on stage and play, we understand what it’s all about and why we’re there. Bret and I started our first band when we were eighteen and we’re still doing to today. I’ve literally grown up as an adult with this band.

AXS: This year marks the 30th anniversary of the band’s second album, Open Up and Say… Ahh. What do you remember most about that time?

RR: They always say that it takes your whole life to write your first album, and three months to write your second, but that wasn’t true with us. We were just starting to get a feel for how to write and had all of these ideas that we wanted to get out. We never ran out of ideas. I think that was key.

AXS: Was there any pressure of having to repeat the success of the first album and to avoid the so-called “sophomore jinx”?

RR: Absolutely. People were actually ready to put a gravestone on us right after “Talk Dirty To Me”.  But we just kept putting out a song and then another one. Then we did Open Up and Say… Ahh and started headlining right after the second single. We just kept the pressure on.

You can read the rest of my
Interview with Rikki Rockett by Clicking Here.

Malina Moye Discusses Her New Album, ‘Bad As I Wanna Be’

Photo: Josh Schultz

Bad As I Wanna Be is the third album from acclaimed singer/songwriter and southpaw guitarist, Malina Moye. An album of genre-defying sounds that fuse elements of funk, rock, blues and soul and draws from Moye’s wide variety of influences.

A celebration of self, Moye draws from personal experience in songs like “Betta Than U” and “Enough,” the latter of which also appears in the upcoming film, The Samuel Project. Bad As I Wanna Be also marks Moye’s first #1 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart.

Guitar World recently spoke with Moye about Bad As I Wanna Be and more in this new interview.

You mentioned that Jimi Hendrix and Prince are huge influences on you and your playing. What was it about their artistry that appealed to you?

It was the freedom they evoked as artists in how they played; what they looked like, the clothes that they wore and the expressions they had when they played. With them, there was always one common denominator, and that was that it’s okay to be different. That’s what makes you you. I think that when it comes to the artists you love, in a crazy way, you see a piece of yourself in them.

How would you describe Bad As I Wanna Be in terms of its sounds and how it relates to some of your previous work?

It’s a continuation of my last album, Rock & Roll Baby, but with a more produced sound. I wanted to make it as close radio-friendly as we could, but not to miss the essential elements of the guitar. With Rock & Roll Baby, we made a guitar-driven record that showcased what I wanted to project. With this new record, I wanted to focus more on the songwriting and the melodic [and] draw on my influences from growing up in Minnesota. That sound is in my DNA. I wanted to explore that lane but at the same time continue to evolve and make it a little more contemporary. This album came from a very special place.

What inspires you when you write and create?

It could be many things. With the song, “Betta Than U,” that started when I was just tuning up. Other times, someone will say something or throw on a track and I’ll hear a melody and start to write. When someone touches a nerve, it’s amazing how your body and energy and the process of what you’re feeling reacts. It flows like a faucet.

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Interfview with Malina Moye by Clicking Here.

Interview: Lindsay Ell discusses ‘The Continuum Project,’ her version of John Mayer’s classic album

Prior to beginning work on Lindsay Ell’s critically acclaimed album, The Project, producer Kristian Bush (Sugarland) gave the rising star a homework assignment. Her mission? To single-handedly record a version of her all-time favorite album completely on her own, and to do it within two weeks.

The result is Ell’s “new” release, a version of John Mayer’s 2006 monster album, Continuum. It’s an album which showcases her strength and maturity as a consummate artist. Beautiful in both its vulnerability and symmetry in songs like “Waiting on The World To Change” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold As Love,” Ell has achieved a new level with The Continuum Project. Her sensual vocals and eclectic guitar prowess not only does justice to Mayer’s classic, but it also serves notice that Ell cannot simply be defined by genre.

With her latest single, “Criminal,” already a Top 20 at U.S. Country radio hit, Ell is also gearing up to be a part of Sugarland’s Still The Same Summer Tour this summer.

AXS recently spoke with Lindsay Ell about The Continuum Project and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: What made you decide to do your own version of John Mayer’s album, Continuum?

Lindsay Ell: We were about ready to go into the studio to record my album, The Project, when my producer, Kristian Bush, asked me what my favorite record of all time was. I told him it was Continuum. It’s the record I listened to front and back more than anything else. That’s when he said, “Ok, perfect. Before we do anything else, I want you to go record the whole thing.” He then gave me three rules: I had to play all the instruments; record it by myself in the studio; and only had two weeks to do it. So, I spent the next two weeks working on it. It’s only twelve songs, but when you really start to pick apart the little intricacies of the album, it’s a whole other world.

AXS: What made that particular album so special to you?

LE: There is something about the vulnerability and songwriting that feels so real. John [Mayer] got to a place few artists get to. The writing really connected with me. Then there’s John’s guitar parts. He’s so good at blending the world of blues and contemporary pop. Just how he’s able to play melodic guitar parts with so much space and feel.

AXS How did you approach recording your version of Continuum?

LE: My thought process was to simply record each track, but to not give myself any rules. I just wanted to dig down and really learn what was going on. When I’d normally go into the studio, I’d always put down lots of guitars, organs, bass and drum parts. But what I realized with Continuum was that you don’t need a lot of instruments. There’s a simplicity and delicacy about having five instead of twenty. You can really hear the lyrics and how powerful the guitar parts are. I remember when I’d finished the album, Kristian said, “Ok, let’s mute the drums.” When he did, it suddenly went to a completely different place. The vulnerability in the lyrics and vocals really came out.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Lindsay Ell by Clicking Here.

Interview: Michael Sweet discusses Stryper’s new tour and recent performance

With a trend that began five years ago with No More Hell To Pay, Stryper’s tenth studio album, God Damn Evil, is perhaps the band’s heaviest to date. The title track alone is destined to become another anthemic Stryper classic. Other songs like “Lost” and “Take It To the Cross” offer similar status. Showcasing vocalist/guitarist Michael Sweet’s soaring vocals, with the latter song tastefully bordering on the verge of thrash metal.

With a double-entendre title hearkening back to the band’s monster To Hell With The Devil album from 1986, the new release was once again met with concern by fans and retail outlets. Walmart even refused to even carry God Damn Evil in its stores entirely, but ironically still has it available online. Regardless, the band’s formula for writing catchy, hook-laden songs with positive messages and a signature sound remains alive and well.

Stryper, which consists of Michael Sweet, Oz Fox (guitars/vocals), Robert Sweet (drums) and Perry Richardson (bass/vocals), recently kicked off the U.S. leg of the band’s God Damn Evil Tour at the M3 Festival in Maryland. AXS spoke with Michael Sweet about the new tour, which includes an upcoming acoustic performance with Sweet and Fox at The Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, PA in this new interview.

AXS: Stryper recently kicked off the U.S. dates of the God Damn Evil Tour at the M3 Festival. What is it about M3 and these multi-band shows that makes them so special?

Michael Sweet: I think it’s because it brings everyone together; not only the bands but the fans as well. It’s an opportunity for us all to reminisce, enjoy the music and have a great time. For me, the best times musically came during the seventies and eighties. I’m sure there are people who might argue, but for me, those were the best and most fun times. The thing that also made that particular show so great was that it gave us the chance to show how talented our new bassist, Perry, is and what a perfect fit he is for us. He’s been such a Godsend to the band.

AXS: How has the reaction been to the new Stryper album, God Damn Evil?

MS: It’s been great. A lot of people had said that the album would bury us, or that our careers were over. So, it’s been interesting to see that the charts, reaction and reviews are all contrary to that. We gained a lot of new fans on this album. We did what we needed to do and felt right doing it. We stand behind and love the album, and really think it’s our best album ever.

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Interview with Michael Sweet by Clicking Here!

A Discussion with Fender’s Newest Master Builders, Kyle McMillian and Ron Thorn

Fender recently announced the addition of Kyle McMillian and Ron Thorn to the esteemed list of Master Builders in its prestigious Fender Custom Shop.

The appointments come at an opportune time for Fender, which is poised for continued growth. Sales remain strong for fretted instruments, and the ever-increasing demand for Fender Custom Shop guitars could only be satisfied by bringing on some of the greatest luthiers to the company’s Master Builder team.

Thorn brings decades of expertise in guitar luthiery; namely inlay work, to the Fender Custom Shop. His relationship with Fender stems from his wildly successful inlay business, Thorn Inlay, which has been the sole inlay provider for the Fender Custom Shop since the mid-90s.

McMillian brings fifteen years of musical instrument experience to the Custom Shop. A Fender employee for 15 years, McMillian also recently finished a five-year apprenticeship under Principal Master Builder, Yuriy Shishkov, where he worked on nearly 1,000 guitars with the esteemed builder.

Guitar World recently spoke with Master Builders Kyle McMillian and Ron Thorn about their new roles at Fender and more in this new interview.

Congrats on your new positions. I guess the first question to ask would be, what’s it like working for Fender?

Kyle McMillian: Working for Fender is an absolute honor. They have the greatest reputation and the finest instruments, for both players and collectors. I’m still beside myself that I have the honor of being a Master Builder.

Ron Thorn: The same goes for me. I’ve only been doing this a short while, but the amount of pride flowing through me is unbelievable. I’ve loved the product for decades, and to be part of the team is really a dream come true.

What do you think makes Fender guitars so special?

Thorn: They have a beautiful design, and what people might not realize is just how much they’ve impacted rock and roll and almost every other genre of music. What’s been done with them over the last 50 years is a testament to that.

McMillian: In my opinion, they’re the best designed, most copied and the most practical. They’re my favorite guitars, hands down.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Kyle McMillin & Ron Thorn By Clicking Here!

Interview: Autograph’s Steve Lynch discusses new single, ‘Every Generation,’ career highlights

Since their formation nearly thirty-five years ago, Autograph has not only given the world one of rock’s most influential guitar heroes in Steve Lynch, but has also contributed one of the most anthemic songs of the eighties with “Turn Up The Radio”. A song which still finds itself in film and video game soundtracks to this day.

Autograph, which now features founding members Lynch and bassist, Randy Rand, along with vocalist/guitarist Simon Daniels and drummer, Marc Wieland, released their first album of new material in years last October. The hard-driving, Get Off Your Ass. The new single and video from the album, “Every Generation”, continues the band’s trend of writing songs that pay homage to its roots while tastefully bringing the Autograph sound into the 21st century.

AXS recently spoke with guitarist Steve Lynch about the new single and more in this new interview.

AXS: What do you think makes the music of Autograph and bands like it so timeless and special?

SL: It’s the people who grew up with this kind of music. It was a fun era and they want to relive it. Most of the people who grew up listening to our music during that era eventually got jobs; got married; had kids, and were kind of separated from it for a while. Now that they’re kids are grown, they’re reliving it again by bringing them and their grandkids to the show. They’re something nostalgic about it and I think that’s why it’s held up.

AXS: How had the reaction been to the band’s new album, Get Off Your Ass?

Steve Lynch: It’s been really good. The album went to #21 on the Classic Rock charts on Billboard and we had a top-ten single with “Get Off Your Ass”. Our new song, “Every Generation” is also getting a lot of attention and we’re very excited about it.

AXS: What’s the band’s songwriting process like these days?

SL: It usually starts with a riff, or it can even a song title. I remember calling up Simon one day with a name for a motivational song called “Get Off Your Ass”. The video says it all. It shows kids playing video games, staring at their cell phones and watching TV. Then this huge guy comes over and straightens them out.

Our new video, “Every Generation” is basically about how everyone thinks their own generation is the best. Everyone loves the era they grew up in, but every generation has something positive in it and good messages.

Click here to watch the video for “Every Generation”.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Steve Lynch By Clicking Here!