Category: Album Reviews

Guest Post: Jimi Jamison’s “Never Too Late” Review

Today we do a little something different on goJimmygo. Jim and I, Kat from Kat’s Theory of Music, thought it would be a kick to both review the same album, but guest post on each other’s blog. We have been anticipating the release and have been pushing each other to do the review. In the end we decided to both do it. The CD to be reviewed is “Never Too Late” by Jimi Jamison.

Jimi Jamison, is best known as the frontman of Survivor, Cobra and Target, as well as a veteran solo artist. This latest album, released through Frontiers Records, was written expressly for him by Swedish wunderkind Erik Martensson. As a member of the European groups Eclipse and W.E.T., Martensson has gained a reputation as the go-to guy when you want your record to be well written, well produced and basically, well done.

Full disclosure: Jim and I are both fans of Jamison and we’ve had the pleasure of meeting him on more than one occasion. If this album was really bad…well I don’t think either of us would be writing the review. But it’s good, real good. I haven’t read a bad review of it. With that being said, it’s still fun to break it down track by track. Since Jim is a musician, his take on it will be different from what I absorb as a writer/music lover only. So read my review, then jump over to my blog and read Jim’s.

Here we go:

Everybody’s Got A Broken Heart: Bang…right out of the gate. Great tempo. Martensson has created a huge wall of sound. After listening to the album a few times, the one word I feel defines his producing technique is precision. Clean, clearly defined producing…it seems every note, every riff is thought through. This opening track is well put together, the vocal suits Jamison to a tee. It would be hard to find a reason not to like this song or why it’s not in the running to be released as a single down the road.

The Great Unknown: The opening notes of this song remind me a bit of Survivor’s “Can’t Give It Up.” But then Jamison voice explodes into all grit and fire…time to catch a ride. I’ve always enjoyed listening to how he interprets a vocal…this is a really nice example. The song itself has a great hook, from start to the real fun ending, it’s all good.

Never Too Late: Ultimate uplifting song. Caution: you will have the chorus in your head all day. Along with a great video, it has a great vocal, great hook, it’s just an overall spot-on balance of vocal and music production. Good choice as a first release, as it’s easily the most commercially viable song on the album. Has everything a hit should have…getting airplay is another thing.

Can’t Turn Back: If this was the 80’s, this song would be blaring out of radio stations non-stop. In this, Martensson has written a song for Jamison that plays to his strong suit…a ballad where he bounces between power vocal and marked restraint. Great haunting fadeout to the song.

Street Survivor: An electronic start into a rock anthem. It’s an interesting insertion to the CD. The rest of the album focuses mainly on the love found/love lost theme, with a few inspirational tracks thrown in, and I guess this might fit into the inspiration group, but it gives me the feel of one of Survivor’s finer songs, “Rebel Son.” The feeling of doing what you need to take on the world. A gutsy and strong rocker.

The Air That I Breathe: More of a traditional ballad, it starts with a easy feel and clear vocal before letting Jimi’s vocal chops shine through. Former Survivor bandmate Jim Peterik once commented about Jamison’s range when he’s really zoned in. He called it the Jamison yodel. As he hits some of the notes in “The Air I Breathe”, you can hear the yodel in full force. A real nice ballad.

Not Tonight: “Someday I might miss you, but not tonight.” Yeah, so who wasn’t felt that way. An underlying infusion of pop, but you can’t beat the chorus. The only issue I have on the album’s production is the backing vocals on this track. And honestly, that’s a little picky. The second half of the song sees the backing vocals become a little heavy handed. That being said, it’s still one of my favorite songs on the album.

Calling the Game: Although I’m sure it was his intent, but the writer in me hears a few too many clichés in Martensson’s lyrics. Musically, the song works. It’s well paced, catchy and Jamison’s vocal brings it all together.

Bullet in the Gun: Beginning with a beautiful piano intro, it quickly jump starts into full rocker mode. Interesting reverb ending creates and eerie fadeout….really well done.

Heaven Call Your Name: Haunting is the only word I can use to describe this. Jamison fully interprets the pain of loss. The stripped down organ intro only fuels the desperation of the lyrics. The kind of song where after you hear it you think…whoa. The use of Jamison’s younger daughter on background vocals adds to the ethereal quality; adding a female voice really provides the perfect sensitivity.

Walk On (Wildest Dreams): No doubt right from the start, this one is gonna punch it out. It finishes off the album repeating the theme of reaching for more in your life. A strong end to what is one fine album. As a whole, there isn’t a bad track on the album. Everything that was promised by having Erik Martensson command the project, was delivered. There is a reason he works non-stop on successful projects, one after another…he’s that good. To write an entire album where the material so acutely matches the singers’ ability is not an easy thing to do. To further produce and play most of the instruments, and not lose sight of the big picture is brilliant.

But aside from having good material and an intuitive producer, you still need the guy to deliver the goods. After all these years, Jimi Jamison is still at the top of his game. The voice has naturally morphed into a richer tone. And while he can still hit the high notes, as a singer he has learned that phrasing and reserve creates a much more solid and interesting vocal. In other words, he still rocks and rocks hard. If melodic rock is your passion, give in to the desire and buy the album. It’s exciting as all hell.

For Jim’s review, go to Kat’s Theory of Music

Women Who Rock – Loni Rose of King’s Bullet

Loni Rose and Trey Bruce (King’s Bullet)

“It’s fun to tell the story, because it’s one of those things that just happened”, Loni Rose says when asked about how King’s Bullet (her partnership with hit songwriter and producer, Trey Bruce) came to be.

“Some of the best things in life happen when you least expect it. All of a sudden, you turn a corner, and there’s a gift just waiting for you.”

Loni originally met Trey through a mutual friend to do some songwriting together, but the pair quickly realized that what they had was something extra special. The result is the debut EP of King’s Bullet; eight songs shot straight from the heart. From the opening lines of the eccentrically titled “Watermelon Sun” to the rawness and energy of songs like “One Brick Shy”, “Blood On the Floor” and the title track, the power of their partnership is on full display.

I had the chance to speak with Loni about the new album and her partnership with Trey. We also discuss her musical background as well as the day she had an epiphany, and discovered the real secret of songwriting.

goJimmygo (gJg): Tell me about the genesis of King’s Bullet.

Loni Rose (LR): Trey and I met a few years ago in Nashville by a mutual friend (Eli Ball) just to meet and possibly do some writing together. One of the things Eli had told me before I moved to Nashville and started co-writing was, “You’re going to meet and write with a lot of people. There will be situations where you will really click, and then there will be times when you don’t. But every once in a while, and maybe only once, you’re going to meet someone and there’s going to be magical chemistry.” And that’s what happened with us. I’ve been a solo artist for a long time and Trey’s always been a hit writer and producer. So this is a major thing for both of us. It’s cool!

gJg: What were those early writing sessions like?

LR: Trey had hired me to sing the demo for a song he had written called “King’s Bullet” (which we ended up calling the duo). It was such a great demo and we received really great feedback on it. So we started writing material together that felt like that. The songs we found that were special were the ones that had a disregard for the typical format of a song. I mean, who would write a song called “Watermelon Sun”? [laughs]

gJg: That’s one of my favorite songs from the record!

LR: Thank you! Sometimes we’ll start with just an idea or a title. Sometimes we won’t even have a concept; like with “Watermelon Sun”. I said, “That title (Watermelon Sun) is so cool! I don’t even know what that means, but I like it.” [laughs]

gJg: One Brick Shy

LR: I was going through some things when I showed up at the co-write and that was kind of how that song was born. Trey and I discovered as we got to know each other that we both had gone through a lot of things in love and life that were similar. We both channeled that feeling and got really raw about it; which was new for me. I was always more comfortable with writing music that lifts and lights up a room. I wasn’t used to writing songs that had a darker edge or a tragic, sad quality to them. It wasn’t easy for me to get comfortable about talking and writing about it. That has been a huge evolution for me.

gJg: Blood On The Floor

LR: It was Eli Ball who once said, “When you guys write together, you leave your blood on the floor!” I immediately texted Trey and said, “This is our next song title!” [laughs]. We actually wrote “Blood On The Floor” the day before we went in to the studio to cut the EP.

Loni Rose

gJg: Tell me a little about your musical background.

LR: My parents both played guitar and I grew up listening to them play in the house. When I was in third grade, I started taking piano lessons and got really into it. There actually came a point where I really got lost in playing. I would practice my piano in the morning, but then when I came home from school, I’d just play and make things up.

I remember that even before I had actually written a “real” song with lyrics, I had about fifty or so pieces of music that I created and would just play for hours.

When I was 16, my parents gave me my first guitar. By then, my parents both knew that I wanted to be a singer, but my Dad told me something that’s been so powerful to me ever since the day he said it. He challenged me and said:

“Singers are a dime a dozen, you need to write your own songs.”

It wasn’t until I was in a piano room in my high school trying to write a song with words that I finally realized where they come from. Songs come from inside of your heart, inside of you. It was a place to be expressive.

Ever since that clicked in my head and I wrote that first song with lyrics and melody, I was able to write, and I’ve been writing ever since. I’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of my music placed in TV and film. It’s given me nice exposure which helped when I moved to Nashville.

gJg: Now that the album has been released, what’s next for King’s Bullet?

LR: We’re definitely interested in going out on tour and supporting the new record. We’re on this amazing ride and have no idea where it’s going to go. It came from such an authentic place, and we’re having so much fun just throwing it at the world and seeing what’s going to happen next.

For more information on Loni and King’s Bullet, check out their official website by Clicking Here

Article first published as Women Who Rock: Loni Rose of King’s Bullet on Technorati.

Guitar World Interview: Guitarist Lee Ritenour Delivers ‘Rhythm Sessions’

In a career that spans five decades and more than forty albums, guitarist Lee Ritenour has developed a unique balance between the wisdom of experience and the enthusiasm of youth. Ritenour’s 2010 album, “6 String Theory” focused primarily on guitar and featured the winners of his 2009 guitar competition alongside guest appearances by guitar greats BB King, Steve Lukather and Slash among others.

For his new album, “Rhythm Sessions” Ritenour has added the winners of his 2012 Rhythm Section Competition which includes aspiring keyboardists, bassists and percussionists as well. The result is an album of sonic euphoria. From catchy songs like “The Village” and “LA By Bike” to the hypnotic vocal of Zamajobe on a remake of Stereophonics “Maybe Tomorrow”, there are elements that will appeal to both guitar and jazz fans alike.

I had the chance to speak with Ritenour about Rhythm Sessions, the competition and a really cool story about his days as a session player.

Check out the rest of my Guitar World interview with Lee Ritneour Here!

NEXT Collective’s Cover Art : An Album Worth Checking Out

Fans of contemporary jazz, r&b, hip hop and alternative rock have reason to celebrate. On February 26, Concord Jazz will release Cover Art, a new recording by NEXT Collective; an ensemble recording by the next generation of jazz greats that features saxophonists Logan Richardson and Walter Smith III, guitarist Matthew Stevens, keyboardists Gerald Clayton and Kris Bowers, bassist Ben Williams, drummer Jamire Williams, and special guest trumpeter, Christian Scott.

The album, produced by Chris Dunn and NEXT Collective, features jazz interpretations of contemporary pop, hip-hop and R&B songs by such artists as Bon Iver, Drake, N.E.R.D, Little Dragon, Pearl Jam and Jay Z and Kanye West.

The range and feel of the music on Cover Art speaks both to the arranging talents of the members and also to the diversity of their collective tastes. Hip-hop and punk-funk, singer-songwriter, guitar-pop, electro-R&B and alt-rock are all integrated and explored by these jazz innovators.

Fans can get a sneak peak of the full album with an iTunes’ 3-track exclusive that exemplifies the diversity and daringness of the musicians involved. Included are covers of Jay Z and Kanye West’s “No Church In the Wild,” D’Angelo’s “Africa,” and Pearl Jam’s “Oceans.” Cover Art is definitely an album worth checking out!

You can listen to samples and purchase the preview release by clicking here

Complete Album Listing:

1. Twice (Little Dragon)

2. No Church In The Wild (Jay Z and Kanye West)

3. Africa (D’Angelo)

4. Fly Or Die (N.E.R.D)

5. Oceans (Pearl Jam)

6. Refractions In The Plastic Pulse (Stereolab)

7. Marvins Room (Drake)

8. Come Smoke My Herb (Meshell Ndegeocello)

9. Perth (Bon Iver)

10. Thank You (Dido)

George Lynch Discusses T&N and Their New Album, ‘Slave to the Empire’

After tracking songs for what was once to become a new Lynch Mob album, drummer Brian Tichy proposed the idea of bringing together George Lynch, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown (the “Big Three” of Dokken) for a project similar to what Heaven & Hell was to Black Sabbath.

The result is T&N, and a new album, Slave to the Empire.

The album is packed with melodic, thought-provoking music that captures the spirit and magic of the classic metal genre. Featuring seven original songs (with Pilson on vocals) as well as five re-recorded Dokken classics with vocal performances by Tim “Ripper” Owens, Doug Pinnick (Kings X), Sebastian Bach and Robert Mason (Warrant), Slave to the Empire also adds to the mix the hard-hitting, multi-talented drumming of Brian Tichy.

A second album of new material and classic Dokken songs is slated for next year that will also coincide with a tour.

I spoke with Lynch to get his thoughts on Slave to the Empire as well as his other passion: the documentary Shadow Train.

goJimmygo (gJg): What’s the genesis of the T&N project?

George Lynch (GL): Initially, Jeff [Pilson] and I were writing for what we thought would be the new Lynch Mob record, but it turned out not to be a “Lynch Mob” kind of album. Instead, we decided to turn lemons into lemonade and do our own record. One of things we wanted to do was make a concerted effort to make the connection between our Dokken legacy and our newer writing efforts by combining classic Dokken songs alongside our newer compositions.

gJg: Was there ever thought given to an all original Dokken reunion?

GL: There’s always been talk of it, but it went nowhere, obviously.

gJg: What was it like revisiting the Dokken material again?

GL: It was a little surreal recording those songs again with the same guys. It was also a lot of fun. We were so comfortable with the material, having all been playing it on and off for years. We felt that we could liven the music up and bring new life to it.

gJg: How do you come up with your riffs?

GL: I can’t really say how it works. I think that after listening to all of the music I grew up with, a creative synthesis occurs and something just flows through me. As long as I’ve got a good sound, I just plug-in and with the magic of the studio, inspiration hits. It’s an adventure. The thing is, you never know what’s going to happen when you plug-in and get together with a group of guys and start creating.

gJg: Does Slave to the Empire have a message?

GL: Absolutely. The whole record’s a message. On the surface, people might say that it’s a political one, but I prefer to call it an exploration into truth and human nature. That’s really the job of the arts and music specifically; to convey a message beyond what the music might imply. Historically, that’s how it was done in the past, especially during the late ’60s and early ’70s. Rock and roll music was a catalyst and vehicle for change and we felt the need to take up that torch and continue to do that as best we can.

gJg: Are there plans to tour with T&N?

GL: We’re not going to tour together as a band most likely until next fall, upon the release of the second record. The next record is about half done. All of the Dokken material has been recorded. We just have to finish writing the new original material.

gJg: What Dokken songs can fans expect on the next album?

GL: Songs like “When Heaven Comes Down,” “Til The Livin’ End” and “Just Got Lucky.” “Just Got Lucky” actually ended up being insane. The latest plan is to have Sass Jordan, a wonderful Canadian female vocalist, singing it. She has a very soulful and gritty voice. It’s just beautiful. A wonderful rendition of the song.

(l to r): Brian Tichy, George Lynch, Jeff Pilson, Mick Brown

gJg: Have you ever considered writing a book about your life and experiences?

GL: I’m not really a big fan of the rock biography. I think they’re more self-indulgent and full of a lot of self-congratulatory stuff. Throwing a bunch of people under the bus and throwing a lot of dirt out there. I’m more consumed with the work at hand and moving on. Affecting change through music. The music actually serves the same purpose as the book. I get to tell stories in the context of the song.

gJg: What other projects are you working on?

GL: Right now, I’m working on a record with the drummer from Korn [Ray Luzier] and the singer from Kings X [Doug Pinnick]. A still-unnamed project, but we’ve started writing and will be working on that through the middle of December.

The other thing that consumes most of my time is my movie project (and band) called Shadow Train. We’re doing a lot of filming, playing and working on a soundtrack/record. The film deals with a lot of political and human nature issues and history. I’m working with a lot of really great people, including Mark McLaughlin (a producer from PBS and The Documentary Channel) and Vincent Nicastro, who made another Native American themed documentary called The Blue-Eyed Indian. There are a lot of guests on it: street poets, political thinkers and speakers. People from the native community including medicine men and shamans. It’s a powerful, nerve hitting film. We’re all driven by passion.

gJg: Is there a tentative release date for the film?

GL: We’re hoping fall 2013, but that might be wishful thinking. Making a film is much more difficult than making a record, which is difficult enough. [laughs]

gJg: This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Dokken hit “Dream Warriors” from Nightmare on Elm Street. How did that song come about?

GL: It’s kind of interesting that you ask me about that because I was actually just over Jeff’s last week doing some T&N photo shoots and interviews for Japan. We were in his studio and he had the original recording machine that we used to track that song. It was an old Akai Beta Recorder; an obsolete machine that’s just a monster. Jeff still has it. It was interesting to see that again because I do remember the process of writing and recording that song and it took me back.

We were commissioned to write the song specifically for the film. Jeff and I were familiar with the first movie and already had an idea of what we were writing. We knew the name of the song and the premise and concept of the movie. We just fed off of that.

It’s a beautiful moment whenever Jeff, Mick and I get together.

Keep up with T&N at Visit the official Shadow Train website at

Article first published as Former Dokken Guitarist George Lynch Discusses T&N and New Album, ‘Slave to the Empire’ on Technorati.

Jack Dolgen Releases New Album: Wandering Times

Jack Dolgen – Wandering Times

Singer-songwriter Jack Dolgen has just released his sophomore album, Wandering Times” on his own Not One Thing Records. The album is the follow-up to his hugely successful Maricopa album; songs from which were featured on such shows as “How I Met Your Mother”, “16 and Pregnant”, “One Tree Hill”, and “Royal Pains”.

Produced by Mike Geier (B.O.B., Cee-Lo Green), Chuck Brody (Ra Ra Riot, Ted Leo) and Jack Dolgen himself, “Wandering Times” is an eleven song opus that’s filled with organic pop, catchy choruses and melodies that are highly addictive.

In addition to releasing the much-anticipated follow-up album, Jack continues to involve himself in a variety of interesting projects, including co-writing and producing comedy songs with Rachel Bloom (Robot Chicken, Allen Gregory); and composing music for film and TV, such as the theme song for season two of  NTSF:SD:SUV:: (Adult Swim)

I had the opportunity to speak with Jack and get the insight about the new album.  In “Wandering Times”, Jack takes the listener on a journey of thought and self-reflection. And in the end, we discover that sometimes you need to wander in order to find home.

goJimmygo (gJg): What’s the inspiration behind “Wandering Times”?

Jack Dolgen (JD): I decided to quit music a few years ago. Even though I was living in New York and had already made an album (Maricopa), I felt that everything was sort of crumbling around me. So, I put all of my instruments away, moved to LA and closed the door. 

I quit and then the TV and film placements began coming in for my first record. Opportunities to record for TV shows kind of drew me back into recording and it was all going so well, I realized that I can’t really get away from music. I started recording songs in chunks, just to test the water and see if I could handle it. Eventually, I was back in completely.

gJg: What’s your songwriting process like?

JD: It’s different every time. Sometimes I’ll just be out walking or driving and a melody will come to me and I’ll record it on my phone. Other times, I just pick up the instrument and see what happens. All of the songs started out on just acoustic guitar or piano and then build from there. I try and take a stay out of the way approach to the early part of the songwriting process, when an idea comes from wherever it comes from. Then after that stage is over, I jump in and work, rework, tweak and refine.

Baby I’m Afraid Tonight:  This song is about vulnerability and honesty in a relationship. The idea that it’s not the times when we’re perfect for each other that bring us closer together; it’s the times when we’re vulnerable. 

In the song, I’m singing to a lover but in a sense, I’m also signing to myself. It’s a hard thing to be vulnerable. In a lot of my songs, I strive to learn from them.

Jack Dolgen

gJg: What’s next for you?

JD: I’ve already begun writing songs for a third album. I’m always writing and working with different songwriters. I have a theme for NTSF:SD:SUV, the second season of which airs this week.

I’m also finishing up an album with Rachel Bloom. It’s her first full-length release. In addition to being an incredible musical talent, she’s also a tremendous comedic talent as well. We’ve worked on quite a few comedy songs and videos together. She’s phenomenal.

For More information on Jack Dolgen check out the links below:

Official Website * Facebook * Twitter

Article first published as Jack Dolgen Releases New Album: Wandering Times on Technorati.

Michael Lynche’s Debut Album A Winner

Let me set the record straight: Michael “Big Mike” Lynche’s journey is about to begin.

After wowing millions of fans with his comforting, yet husky and powerful voice and performing throughout the United States as part of the American Idol LIVE! Tour, the man who finished 4th on Season 9 of American Idol will release his self-titled debut album on August 14th. You can pre-order the album here.

Lynche, whom AI fans recall was famously “saved” by the judges during the competition, has created a sonically rich and lyrically inviting debut album. The first single of which, “Who’s Gonna Love You More” is #27 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Chart and still climbing!

With influences ranging from artists like: 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bonnie Raitt and Jimi Hendrix, Lynche’s debut contains the perfect combination of  R&B, Hip Hop and Jazz.

From “Crazy Gina” to “Unstoppable”, there’s an infectious sonic invasion that will satisfy every palette.

Mike’s heartfelt music has been virtually a lifetime in the making. A seed that was planted at an early age and nurtured by his mother, who shared her love of music with Mike and introduced him to a wide range of artistic sounds and styles.

Even though Mike was enamored with music and the arts throughout his school years, his focus eventually shifted to football. Michael’s work on the gridiron was rewarded when he earned an athletic scholarship to University of Central Florida.

It was following a break from school to take care of his ailing mother, when Mike bought a guitar and a remarkable thing happened.

“For the very first time in my life, I could play and sing at the same time,” Mike recalls. “More clicked for me musically. I was writing music to express what I was going through internally with my mom passing.”

Mike then gave music a second chance. Soon thereafter, a friend asked him to play at his wedding in New York. Though Michael was working at a mortgage company in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, at the time he agreed. Mike played particularly well and while he and his wife were standing on a street corner in Time’s Square, she suggested they move to New York in order to pursue his musical dreams.

A few years later, Mike auditioned for American Idol, which launched his recording career.

None of Michael’s remarkable journey would have been possible without the love of his wife and the second chances he has enjoyed throughout his life. Now, with the new album, Michael Lynche gets to live out his dreams, both as a family man and musically.

“I’ve wanted to say these things for a long time. I feel like I was able to express myself more than ever on this album. I was able to get the things I wanted to say out in song and in melody in a way that I’ve never been able to before.”

For more information on Michael Lynche check out the links below:

Official Website * Facebook  * YouTube

Article first published as Michael Lynche’s Debut Album a Winner on Technorati.

Daniel Powter Turns On The Lights

Daniel Powter – Turn On The Lights

Daniel Powter’s best days are ahead.

The man whose signature song, “Bad Day” became a #1 worldwide smash and was named Billboard song of the year in 2006; took an extended hiatus while dealing with his own personal struggles. With the weight finally lifted off his shoulders Daniel is now back, with a vengeance.

On August 14th, Daniel will unleash “Turn on the Lights”, a refreshing set of radio-ready songs that express universal feelings of life, love and the human emotion.

From the infectious grooves of  “Cupid” and “Crazy All My Life” to the emotional messages in songs like “Come Back Home”, “Except the Blue” and “Tell Them Who You Are“; Turn On The Lights showcases Daniel at his best!

I had the chance to speak with Daniel and get his thoughts on the new album as well as the genesis of his #1 hit, “Bad Day”.  As I quickly discovered, the optimism Daniel expresses when discussing “Turn On The Lights” is as infectious as the melodies themselves.

goJimmygo (gJg): Welcome back Daniel!

Daniel Powter (DP): Thanks so much!  It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’m so glad to be back.

gJg: Why did you take such a long break in between albums?

DP: After 2 1/2 years of touring the “Bad Day” record, I was really starting to get burnt out. Around the same time, I was also dealing with a divorce, substance abuse and a few other issues as well. I was becoming a bit discouraged. It wasn’t until a year or so ago that something changed for me.

I was sitting with my 9 year old daughter at the piano working out some melodies when she told me that she really wanted me to come back.  So, with her inspiration and some others encouraging me, I started writing a new record and am really glad that I did. I’m also extremely grateful to all of the fans, both here and internationally, who have welcomed me back. I’m looking forward to getting back on the road.

gJg: Why the title, “Turn On The Lights”?

DP: I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was in a pretty dark place. I got addicted to substances and alcohol when I got off the road; which really threw me into a spiral. I also became a bit secluded and the divorce was hard on me as well.

Then, one morning I woke up and said: “I’ve got to change my lifestyle!”  It was almost as if someone had just turned the lights on for me and I realized that my life didn’t have to look like this. So I got sober, went through the divorce and wrote this new album.

gJg: The songs on this album seem to reflect universal feelings.

DP:  I’ve always been about making sure that the songs I write aren’t just about me. With the time I had off, I was able to experience so many different things; things that carried through into my songwriting. I really wanted to write songs that other people can relate to. This record is for everyone.


DP: Cupid was the first song I wrote for the album and a song that I wrote to cheer myself up. Everyone wants to find someone to have fun and spend time with and after everything I had been through, I wanted to experience those feelings again too.

Come Back Home:

I wrote that song after I came back from a ten-hour training mission with the Navy on the USS Ashcroft; a nuclear submarine stationed in San Diego. I was amazed with just the attitude these young men have who were going away to be at sea for such a long time. It inspired me, and really put things into perspective. The song was written for them, and for them to come home safely. 

gJg: You know, I have to ask you about  “Bad Day”; a song I really love.

DP: Thank you! Some people might think that I get tired of performing that song, but the truth is, I still love it. Whenever I play it live, there’s a new audience participating in it with me and keeping it fresh!

gJg: How did you write it?

DP: I had written the melody for the song and was getting ready to drive to the studio to record. As I was walking downtown towards my car, I noticed a sign hanging outside of a travel agency. There was a picture of a huge cruise liner ship on it and a caption that read: “Having a Bad Day?” with the emphasis being on taking a cruise. I thought that was cool and that’s actually where the idea came from.

So, I wasn’t having a bad day or anything like that. I was just walking along, fit what I saw into the chorus, and the rest is history! <laughs>

gJg: Congrats again on the record and hope to catch you on the road.

DP: Thanks for your time!

Article first published as Daniel Powter Turns On The Lights on Technorati.

Metal Band Virgin Steele Remasters Life Among The Ruins

Virgin Steele – Life Among The Ruins

Originally released in 1993, “Life Among the Ruins” was the fifth full-length studio album by US heavy metal band
Virgin Steele. But, as any fan of the genre will tell you, sometimes its good to revisit a great album.

Virgin Steele’s “Life Among The Ruins” album has been digitally remastered and is part of a newly released compilation that is a fan’s ultimate dream. This 2012 version, released by SPV / Steamhammer contains not one…but TWO discs including a large amount of extras.

The first disc contains the original album along with five rare & unvarnished acoustic recordings, plus a full band bonus track. Disc #2 contains twenty newly recorded songs as well as alternate mixes of some of the album’s original tracks.

All of the material has been digitally re-mastered, and the CD package also features copious liner notes along with rare photos.

The music from “Life Among The Ruins” is bluesy, hard rock and melodic metal; more similar to early Whitesnake recordings than the epic power metal of albums like “Noble Savage” and “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” releases the band is known for.

Line-Up on “Life Among The Ruins”: David DeFeis (vocals) , Edward Pursino (guitars), Rob DeMartino (bass) and  Joey Ayvazian  (drums).

Current Virgin Steele Lineup: David DeFeis – (vocals), Edward Pursino – (guitars), Josh Block – (bass, guitars) and Frank Gilchriest (drums).

For more information on Virgin Steele:

Article first published as Metal Band Virgin Steele Remasters Life Among The Ruins on Technorati.

Lita Ford: Living Like A Runaway

There’s something to be said about royalty. Especially when it comes to music.

Elvis Presley is known as “The King of Rock And Roll”, Michael Jackson is the “King of Pop” and Ozzy Osbourne is considered to be the “Prince of Darkness” in musical circles.

But for metal-heads like me there is only one Queen that we pay homage to:

Lita Ford

Picture this: It’s a hot summer day in June of 1985 and I’m walking downtown to guitar lesson with a black electric guitar strapped over my shoulder.

My guitar case had broken the night before and my parents had no means of getting me to lesson but I wouldn’t let anything stand in my way. So I footed it the two miles to guitar lesson in the searing heat with literally a six string on my back.

With sweat dripping down my face and obnoxious truck drivers honking their horns and poking fun at me all I remember thinking was: “It doesn’t get more rock and roll than this!!” I was a metal head in the making.

For more than the heat, the cat calls or the long walk to lesson the thing that sticks out more than anything else for me that day was listening to the song that blared from my Sony Walkman cassette player. The song that I had spent countless hours listening to over and over and loved. The song that I was now finally about to start learning how to play at lesson that day: “Gotta Let Go” by Lita Ford!

To me, Lita was (and still is) more than just a beautiful woman. She is one of the best rock guitarists ever! So for me to be able to learn some of her guitar licks was a dream come true.

I know Lita must have faced plenty of adversity for being a female guitarist but it never bothered me one bit that she was of the opposite sex. All I knew was, she ROCKED! It was the thick of the metal years and her music was universal. We stood together and I felt a kinship with her.

Back when I was learning how to play guitar I faced my own adversity. There were plenty of times where I was berated by siblings and friends for making them endure the sounds of me practicing the same riff, scale or song countless times until I got it right. Or maybe it was my parents bitching up a storm because I brought the guitar to the dinner table. I imagine Lita went through similar situations while trying to make her mark in what was always considered a “male dominated” instrument.

But Lita persevered and continued to tear down walls with her phenomenal playing and songwriting skills. She became my beacon of light. So much so that a few years later I really brought the metal to school. One of my high school music theory projects was to transpose any song of my choosing into an orchestral piece for jazz band.

I recall the assignment was to rewrite the music from the song and change it into something that could be played for everything from trumpets to saxophones. Guess which song I chose?

“Gotta Let Go” by Lita Ford.

Over the years I’ve been an avid follower of Lita Ford. From the songs “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Close My Eyes Forever” (her duet with Ozzy Osbourne) to the guilty pleasure of “Shot of Poison” her music and guitar work never ceases to amaze. Although that grueling summer of 1985 may be a distant memory to many I’ll never forget the day Lita became the Queen to me.

And now, the Queen has returned with a vengeance.

On June 19th Lita Ford will release her latest album: “Living Like A Runaway” (SPV/Steamhammer). Produced by Lita Ford and Gary Hoey (another amazing guitarist) “Living Like A Runaway” is quite honestly one of the best rock albums of the 21st century.  To me, it simply is Lita’s BEST record to date.

Whereas most albums usually contain one “hit” song buried within eight or nine other tracks of filler, “Living Like A Runaway” is a true album experience from start to finish.

With contributions by lyricist Michael Dan Ehmig, Nikki Sixx (Mötley Crüe) and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake) Lita has brought out some “big guns” for this project.

There’s even a bonus track containing a killer rendition of the Elton John classic: “The Bitch Is Back” which features The Uptown Horns.

Lita and Gary Hoey’s guitar work on this album is genuine and nothing short of bad ass. The record contains enough killer riffs, solos and guitar harmony to make even an army of male metal-heads bow in reverence.

In addition to the killer grooves from songs like “Branded”“Hate” and “The Devil in My Head” the album also takes you on the musical journey of Lita’s life. From her days carrying her own guitar on her back on the title track to the personal song for her children in “Mother”.

Then there’s my personal favorite, “Relentless”; a song that best sums up the will of Lita to not let anything stand in her way and a message we can all take to heart when the odds are against us.

To support the new record,  Lita will embark on a tour this summer with Def Leppard and Poison as well as doing select headlining shows in between.

I had the honor of holding court with the Queen and discussing the genesis of “Living Like A Runaway”.

In this amazing interview, Lita discusses the long distance songwriting process she and Gary took creating this new music. We’ll also talk about her early years playing guitar, The Runaways, the origin of her big hit with the Prince of Darkness himself and one of the best “rock and roll” stories ever!

Before I begin, you must understand how much this woman’s music has influenced me. So if this interview comes across to you as a bit biased I make no apologies for it. Lita Ford is one of the greatest guitarists (male or female) of all time.

Interestingly, while I was waiting on hold for Lita I had to listen to some really interesting “elevator music” playing in the backgroundwhich started the conversation off nicely:

goJimmygo (gJg): Lita! It’s Jim. How are you?

Lita Ford (LF): Hi! I’m doing great! How are you?

gJg: I’m great too. It’s so awesome to be able to speak with you! WOW!

LF: Same here!

gJg: I was listening to some funky on-hold music while I was waiting for you and all I kept thinking was: “Man, this is the TOTAL opposite of your new record!” <laughs>

LF: I know, isn’t that funny? I don’t know why they put that music on there. <laughs>

gJg: “Living Like A Runaway” is the BEST record I’ve heard in years!

LF: Awesome! Thank you!

gJg: It’s one of those rare records where every track on it is killer. You listen to the first song and it’s great. Then the next song is just as good and so on. The entire album is an experience!

LF: I am so happy about it!

gJg: For me: It’s like the return of Lita… and a punch in the face thrown in for good measure! <laughs>

LF: You know it! <laughs>

gJg: It’s reliving the metal years again. Everything from the riffs, the lyrics, the way you deliver the vocal. My weakness has always been harmony guitar and this album is filled with it.

LF: So cool. Thank you! I miss those days too and am so glad to bring it back! It’s what I think people want. People miss those times and the heavy guitar riffs. They miss what used to be called “Hair Metal”. Hair has nothing to do with how music sounds. People long for the metal years again and this record gives it to them.

gJg: How is everything going?

LF: It’s going great. I’m just getting prepared for this tour.

gJg; How does it feel to being going out on the road with Def Leppard and Poison this summer?

LF: It’s awesome! The record actually comes out the day before the tour starts so it literally is perfect timing. The whole thing is a Godsend. The new record is just so good and now we have this tour on top of it. So we get to give it a good kick in the ass and hopefully people will respond to it!

gJg: You also have some solo headline dates mixed in with that tour as well right?

LF: Yeah, we’ll be filling in some of the days off in between with shows. It will be busy but that’s rock n roll! <laughs>

gJg: What are you looking forward to the most on this tour?

LF: Well, we’re the opener and it’s a tough slot to have. It’s at a time when people are still stuck in traffic getting there. We have a 30 minute set and don’t get to play much so we really have to make a statement in thirty minutes. It’s a challenge but I’m up for it.

Fortunately, we have the headliner shows in between and at those shows we really get to go nuts! I can’t wait! <laughs>

gJg: What’s it like when you walk out on stage and you see a sea of humanity there to see and support you?

LF: It’s the best. I honestly just want to take everyone in my arms and give them all a big hug. But since that isn’t possible instead what I do is throw my fist in the air and say: “YEAH… RIGHT ON!” and get the response that way. It’s just as good as a hug.

The Genesis of “Living Like A Runaway”

gJg: The guitar work on this new album is phenomenal.

LF: Thank you! Gary Hoey and I do the guitars on this record.

gJg: What’s the genesis of this new album and what was your songwriting process like for it?

LF: It all started when Gary called and invited me up to his studio in New Hampshire to record. I thought about it for a while and decided to take him up on the offer.

So I got on a plane, flew up and the very first song we wrote together was “Love 2 Hate U” which was a duet!

I know love’s a sacrifice – no doubt
It’s something we can’t live without
Yeah, I think I’ve worked it out
Why “I Love 2 Hate U”

We came out of that session and on the way home I was thinking: “Wow, this is a really GREAT song! We need to do another one!” So I booked another flight, flew back to Gary’s and we wrote “Branded”.

From that point on we just kept writing together. We didn’t have a record deal at the time so what we did was put together four tracks plus our version of “The Bitch is Back”. Through that we got the deal with SPV; who have been so supportive and wonderful with this project.

So every two weeks or so I’d hop on a plane to Gary’s and we’d hang out, jam and write. If we ever got stuck we would call up our third songwriting partner, Michael Dan Ehmig. His specialty is lyrics. Michael had a broken back at the time and was in some serious pain. So he was laid up writing all of these really deep, deep lyrics. At the time I had just gone through a divorce so I was in a dark place myself. So tie all of that in with Gary’s arrangements and ideas and we were able to come with this brilliant record.

gJg: I noticed that Doug Aldrich contributes to this record as well.

LF: Yes, “Bad Neighborhood” is a song I wrote with Doug Aldrich.

gJg: Doug is amazing. His playing is like a freak of nature!

LF: Doug is awesome! “Bad Neighborhood” was the very last song we wrote for the album and I remember at the time we were in need of some guitar riffs. So I called up Doug and asked him if he had any riffs up his sleeve. Something that was really “ass-kicking” and “up-tempo”.

Next thing you know he comes back with the riff for “Bad Neighborhood”. It has a “Drop-D” tuning and is the most “attitudinal” (if that’s a word) song off of the album. It’s real cocky.

gJg: Where did the idea for the song come from?

LF: It’s a saying that came from a friend of mine who used to run Narcotics Anonymous. He used to always say: “Get Out Of Your Head, It’s A Bad Neighborhood”… <laughs>

gJg: My favorite song from the album is “Relentless”. I love the guitar work and the message of tearing down walls.

LF: That’s Gary Hoey. He’s playing the solo. I love the solo on that song.

gJg: The song “Asylum” is really deep. Is that about an actual place you stayed at?

LF: Yeah, that’s a pretty heavy-duty song.

We had lived in a house in the Caribbean for ten years and it was like my asylum. When you live on a deserted island for decade you start to go a little bit crazy. I suppose a lot of people have their own “asylum”. Maybe a day at the office is your asylum or maybe going to school. Everyone has their own “asylum” to deal with. At one point in time we all run into something like that we have to deal with.

gJg: Then the album ends with “A Song to Slit Your Wrist By” a Nikki Sixx contribution.

LF: Yeah, he actually wrote that song about his ex-wife 15 years ago. <laughs>

It’s definitely not to be taken seriously though. In fact, I actually have the lyrics for all the songs printed on the album and in my own handwriting I put right next to that one:

“Please Do Not Try This At Home – Or Anywhere Else For That Matter!”I put the “Lita Advisory” sticker on it.

Growing Up

gJg: Where did you grow up?

LF: I was born in Britain and moved to the US when I was 4. I worked my way from Boston to Dallas and then to Long Beach, California.

I’ve always considered myself a California girl though. You know, growing up on the streets of Hollywood. Just like the song: “Living Like A Runaway”.

gJg: When I listen to that song I actually feel like I’m right there with you. It’s awesome when a song takes you some place and infects you.

LF: I agree. I listen to it sometimes and cry and think: “Why am I crying?”.. Then I realize it’s because it’s so “real”!

One day I left town with just the shirt on my back
And a guitar on my shoulder yeah I wasn’t comin’ back
I had to break the spell my heart was under
So I rode out-of-town on wheels of thunder
…. “Living Like A Runaway”

gJg: Who were some of your influences when you were growing up playing?

LF: Richie Blackmore was one of my biggest. I think he’s one of the best guitar players I’ve ever heard. Especially the way he would double-pick everything like on “Highway Star”. It was so brilliant. He also used to play the cello. He’s such a brilliant musician.

I was also a big fan of Black Sabbath because their riffs were just so heavy!

gJg: Did you have a hard time growing up being a girl and playing guitar?

LF: I did and I never really understood that. People would see me play and they’d say “But… you’re a GIRL!”.  And I’d say: “Yeah, AND??” Truthfully though, that would just make me want to play more!

I love a door slammed in my face
Told me a girl needs to know her place
I never listened,  I proved ’em all wrong
I rocked their asses from here to Hong Kong

I’m not invited but I’m comin’ anyway…. “Relentless”

gJg: How did you practice?

LF: I would never put the guitar down. I would walk around with it. I’d sit and watch TV and play. If I went out on a date with a guy I’d go over to his house and I’d sit and jam with him. Of course, he wasn’t too happy about that but that’s what I wanted to do. <laughs>

My whole life pretty much revolved around playing guitar.

gJg: Can you tell me one of your best “rock and roll” stories?

LF: I have so many… Hmmm? Here’s a good one. And this one actually involves my Mother:

One year I was invited to an awards show in New York City for all of these huge celebrities like Keith Richards, Tina Turner and David Bowie. You know, all of these huge stars. I decided to take my Mom along with me because she really loved rock and roll. She also knew everyone and was a great person to have around and help me.

I was having my hair and make-up done and it was taking quite some time. After a while, my Mother got bored just standing there so she decided to go off and start talking to people.

So after a few hours I went looking for her and I found her… Sitting on a sofa next to David Bowie!!

I remember walking up to her and excitedly yelling so loudly that my voice cracked. I said: “MOM?!! What are you DOING?? Do you realize who you are sitting next to?”

She says (in this thick Italian accent): “Oh, Lita! I was just talking to Dave!” So I thought: “Oh this is great! My Mom’s hanging out with David Bowie!”

David looks me over from head to toe then looks back at my Mother and says (in his thick British accent): “Is this your daughter?”

And my Mother says: “Yah Dave, that’s Lita!” And David says to my Mom:”Do you always let her dress like that?”

My Mother replies: “Yah Dave, THAT’S rock and roll!” <laughs>

gJg: That IS rock and roll! <laughs>

LF: It sure is! <laughs>

gJg: What is one of the strangest things a fan has ever asked?

LF: A few weekends ago someone actually asked me to sign their neck. So I autographed his neck and within an hour he came back and showed me it had been tattooed.

Then the guy asked me if I would kiss a napkin for him. When I asked him why he said it was because he wanted to use the lip prints and have them tattooed on his neck right next to my name. He did all of this within a couple of hours. It was pretty unbelievable. <laughs>

gJg:Would you ever consider doing a Runaways reunion?

LF: I would love to. The girls know that I want to and I think now would be a good time to do it. I’m all for it and told Cherie (Currie) and Joan (Jett). Unfortunately, we don’t have Sandy with us anymore. We’ll see.

In the meantime though… I’ve got “Living Like A Runaway”! <laughs>

gJg: What’s your relationship with BC Rich guitars now?

LF: It’s great! I’ve actually got a BC Rich Signature Model coming out soon: “The Black Widow Warlock”.  I’m very excited about it!

gJg: I hear you’re also working on a book now. What’s the status of that?

LF: I’m looking for publishers right now. It’s going to take some time because I want this to be a very visual book;  just like the songs are on the new CD. They’re visual. You can actually “see” the picture I’m trying to paint. That’s what I want this book to be.

gJg: I have to ask you: what was the origin of “Close My Eyes Forever”?

LF: That song was kind of an accident really. Ozzy and Sharon came over to the recording studio one night while we were working on the “Lita” record. They had brought me over a house-warming gift for my new home.

So we opened a bottle of wine and were playing pool and after a while Ozzy and I decided to go into a side room where we had a guitar and amp set up. We just started playing and singing and wound up writing “Close My Eyes Forever”.

What’s interesting was at the time I was voted Best Female Rock Vocalist and he was voted Best Male Rock Vocalist.

gJg: How has the reception been for the new album?

LF: It’s been absolutely insane. We’ve actually gotten some really good quotes. One of the best was from a guy in Germany who put it this way:

I fall to my knees and I say: Thank you God for this wonderful album!!


As far as I’m concerned, truer words have never been spoken. Welcome back Lita!!

Article first published as Lita Ford: Living Like A Runaway on Technorati.