Category: AXS Interview

Interview: Janet Gardner discusses departure from Vixen, solo career and new music

When vocalist/guitarist Janet Gardner announced that her departure from Vixen this past January, it came as a bit of a surprise. After all the band, known for hits like “Edge of A Broken Heart,” “Cryin’” and “Rev It Up,” had just completed another successful year of touring as well as releasing a new live album – the aptly titled, ‘Live Fire.’

For Gardner, the decision to leave didn’t come easy. Following her marriage to guitarist Justin James and the release of her acclaimed self-titled solo album, the blonde songstress spent the beginning of 2018 being rushed into emergency surgery to relieve a subdural hematoma. Her recovery was quickly followed by a string of solo U.K. shows before rejoining Vixen for even more live dates. This coupled with the process of juggling a regular job at home and raising her son had made scheduling too difficult. Something had to give.

There were no hard feelings with the split and Vixen, which consists of Share Ross (bass), Roxy Petrucci (drums) and Britt Lightning (guitars), will continue to carry on with Lorraine Lewis (Femme Fatale) joining the ranks on lead vocals.

n the meantime, Gardner is concentrating on her solo career and has nearly completed a follow-up album with James she hopes to release in the spring. Expect to see her out on the road in support of the new music as well as continuing to perform the hits she helped make famous.

AXS recently spoke with Janet Gardner about her decision to leave Vixen, new music and more in this exclusive interview.

AXS: What prompted your decision to leave Vixen and concentrate on your solo career?

Janet Gardner: Last year was insane for me. It started off in January when we were on a solo run out West and I had to have emergency brain surgery. I made up all of the missed shows and then did a U.K. run. Then Vixen started and we did even more great stuff. When I finally came up for air I was back home to my regular job, taking care of my son and all the other things that I do, and realized I was missing out on a lot because of scheduling. I had to make a decision.

AXS: Was this something that had been weighing on you for some time?

JG: Absolutely. I definitely wanted to make it work. They [Vixen] had made concessions for me when I needed to do things and I would feel bad about holding them back. I remember one time being stuck in a Detroit airport for eight hours and missing my son’s middle-school graduation. It’s hard to leave my family but I don’t want to keep Vixen from doing what they want to do. It was a tough call.

AXS: What are some of your best memories with the band?

JG: There’s been quite a few. Opening for Scorpions was our first arena tour and the first night of that tour was surreal. When I heard “Edge of A Broken Heart” on the radio for the very first time and our record went gold was another dream come true. They’re all good memories.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Janet Gardner by Clicking Here!

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Interview: Josh Malerman discusses The High Strung’s New Album, ‘Quiet Riots’ and writing ‘Bird Box’

Photo by Doug Coombe

Josh Malerman and the rest of adventure rockers The High Strung have unveiled the band’s eighth full-length release, Quiet Riots. The fourteen-track album is the group’s most harmony-laden to date, as it sees them reuniting with guitarist/vocalist Mark Owen, who’d been on hiatus for more than twelve years. Songs like the guitar-driven “Legion” and the effervescent “If You Wanna Roll” conjure up images of free-spirit and cross country drives, while tracks like “Riots Of The Mind” are a reminder that this world is still a very unsettled place.

The High Strung is: Josh Malerman (guitar/vocals), Mark Owen (guitar/vocals), Stephen Palmer (guitar), Chad Stocker (bass) and Derek Berk (drums).

Josh Malerman’s artistry not only lies within the craft of music but also as an acclaimed novelist. His post-apocalyptic thriller, “Bird Box,” a New York Times Bestseller, was recently adapted into a Netflix original feature. Since its release last December the film, which stars Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich, has become Netflix’s biggest hit to date.

AXS recently spoke with Malerman about The High Strung’s new album, Quiet Riots, “Bird Box” and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How does the new album, Quiet Riots, relate to some of the band’s previous work?

Josh Malerman: This is the most harmony-laden album so far and a lot of it has to do with Stephen, our lead guitarist, who was more involved in this singing. Then there’s Mark Owen, one of our two singer-songwriters, who had left the band for twelve years and returned. For me, this will always be the album that was kickstarted by Mark’s return and our first real attempt at a harmony album.

AXS: What’s your songwriting process like?

JM: Usually either Mark or I will come in with a little hook of an idea. Whether it’s a chord change or a lyric one of us will bring it to the table and we’ll finish the song together. [Mark] Owen is also great at lyrics, and when you have a songwriting partner who cares so much about them as he does you can’t help but step up your game.

JM: Let’s talk about a few tracks from the new album beginning with “Riots Of The Mind.” What can you tell me about it?

JM: Mark brought that one to the table. It’s a wonderful way of saying things are crazy without being too hazy or political. There’s something pocket poetic about it. There’s a lot of crazy sh#t going on in the world right now and it would be wrong to not even wink in that direction.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Josh Malerman by Clicking Here!

Interview: Thompson Square’s Keifer Thompson discusses the duo’s new children’s book, ‘Time To Get Dressed’

Photo by Garrett Merchant

As new parents, the multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated duo Thompson Square (Keifer and Shawna Thompson) have discovered a new layer of creativity with the release of their first children’s book –the appropriately titled “Time To Get Dressed.” The book, written by Thompson Square, illustrated by Ana Patankar and inspired by the duo’s two-year-old son, Cooper, features a sing-song storyline with whimsical pictures designed to teach children how to get ready for their day.

In addition to “Time To Get Dressed” Keifer and Shawna Thompson continue to ride the wave of success and acclaim from their latest album, Masterpiece. An eleven-track opus that features more of the duo’s infectious vocal blend while sonically exploring landscapes of R&B, reggae and rock.

AXS recently spoke with Keifer Thompson about “Time To Get Dressed,” music and more in this new interview.

AXS: What inspired you to write “Time To Get Dressed?”

Keifer Thompson: Our son, Cooper, was a few weeks old and I was putting him in his crib one morning. I started putting his socks on and just started singing, “Socks, socks, one by one… Puttin’ on socks can be so fun.” Shawna was there at time and asked me if that was something my mom used to sing to me as a kid. I told her it was something I had just made up and she told me I really needed to finish it. I’d never written anything like that before so I went downstairs and a few hours later went up and showed her. Then we played it for management and everyone agreed that we needed to make it into a book. We got an amazing illustrator, sent a few photos and suggestions of how we wanted it to look and she knocked it out of the park. What’s interesting is that it’s not just a song. It’s a learning tool and application that helps with the whole process of getting dressed. It’s been neat to see people gravitate toward the book. We’re very excited at how it’s taken off.

AXS: What’s the biggest thing you and Shawna have learned as new parents?

KT: There’s a level of love that’s unparalleled and something that can only be experienced by a parent. You often hear people say they can relate, but you really can’t until you know that you’re responsible for the life of someone every day. Before Cooper came along my mornings usually started early in the house thinking about songs or writing. As a creator, you’re always looking for that next emotional roller-coaster. This is a built-in inspirational vault and has given life a purpose.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Keifer Thompson by Clicking Here!

Interview: Theresa Caputo discusses ‘Live! The Experience’ event coming to Bethlehem, PA

Photo: Alex Chaput

Theresa Caputo’s “Live! The Experience” is a one-of-a-kind event that connects the Long Island Medium with legions of loyal fans and skeptics from across the country. Each show is uniquely different in that it brings people from all walks of life together for an evening that’s spontaneously spiritual and, at times, beyond belief.

The New York Times Best-Selling Author and star of her acclaimed series, “Long Island Medium,”is about embarking on a whole new round of dates that will take her across the U.S. to deliver messages of hope while challenging cynics to believe that anything is possible. One of those stops will be a two-night stay at The Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1 and 2.

Caputo’s been sensing Spirit since she was a small child, but it wasn’t until she was in her twenties that she began to hone her intuitive, sixth-sense ability to put pieces of the puzzle together and help others to heal. Her “Live! The Experience” is certain to be an unforgettable evening.

AXS recently spoke with Theresa Caputo about her Live! The Experience event and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: What can fans expect from your upcoming “LIve! The Experience” events at The Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA?

Theresa Caputo: With the live show, I always tell people it’s just like watching “Long Island Medium,” but without the shopping [laughs]. I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to create and bring to the live show. Whether there are five people in the room or five-thousand, it’s all spontaneous. I start off the night like any other reading by coming out and giving a quick speech about what people can expect over the next two hours. Then Spirit starts communicating. I’ll leave the stage and whether it’s in the front row, back, or balcony, I’ll stop and deliver the message right in front of the person. We have big screens set up and cameras that follow me around so everyone feels a part of it. No matter where you’re seated you’ll be able to see the messages being delivered up close and personal. Every message provides so much healing. Spirit allows us to continue to go on with life no matter what we’ve been through. It lets us know that there’s more to life than just here in the physical world.

AXS: What do you think attracts people to your live events?

TC: One of the main things is that when a tragedy happens or when we lose someone we sometimes don’t understand why and lose our faith. This show restores that faith and gives hope. Another thing I’ve learned is that people come to the show because they’re skeptical or intrigued. But it doesn’t matter if people believe in what I do or not. I want them to believe in themselves and have their own connection. I want you to believe that all of the things you are feeling are real.

AXS: Was there ever a “wow” moment for you during these live events?

TC: It may sound cliché but with every reading, there are those moments. There are always things that happen where you’ll say, “There’s no way. How could this happen?” But what I do is so much more than just communicate with someone who has died. It reunites families and gives people a sense of peace they can’t get through anything else.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Theresa Caputo by Clicking Here!

Interview: Madame Mayhem Discusses New Single, ‘Broken’, Memorable Moments

Co-written with Breaking Benjamin’s Keith Wallen, Manhattan-born singer/songwriter Madame Mayhem is back with her infectious new single, “Broken.”

The new track, which features the powerful rhythm section of Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs) and Ray Luzier (Korn, KXM) continues the dynamically gifted artist’s trend of delivering infectious melodies, hard-hitting rhythms and soaring vocals.

AXS recently spoke with Madame Mayhem about “Broken” and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How did your new single, “Broken,” come about?

Madame Mayhem: It’s always cool when you can collaborate with people who hold you accountable and can bring something of their own to the table as well. I’ve written a bunch of songs with Keith Wallen and “Broken” is one that came out of those sessions. I always like it when listeners can relate to a song in their own way. For me, “Broken” is a song about the feeling you get when you’re in a relationship with someone and both of you know it’s over, but both of you are afraid to admit it.

AXS: What was the writing process like?

MM: I always say this but it’s true: there’s really no one set way to write. I could go in with a bunch of lyrics and Keith may have a bunch of riffs. Sometimes we may use them and other times we may just scratch it all together and talk about what we’re feeling right now. We’ll both come prepared but sometimes it can all go out the window and we’ll start with something new. It’s very organic.

AXS: Where do you draw inspiration for your lyrics?

MM: The lyrics usually come from the struggles and frustrations I’ve been through. It’s therapeutic to get the song out, and when I hear people say that they feel the same way it makes me feel that I’m not alone. It’s writing from truth.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Madame Mayhem by Clicking here!

Katie Daryl Previews New Season of AXS TV’s ‘The Top Ten Revealed’

Photo: Stewart-Volland AXS TV

AXS TV’s popular music countdown series, The Top Ten Revealedreturns for a second season with its premiere on Sunday, January 13 at 8:30pE/5:30pP with “Top Ten Roller Rink Tunes.” Hosted and executive produced by Katie Daryl, the eleven-episode winter season promises more laughs, surprises, and insightful anecdotes from a plethora of musical heavyweights.

Other episodes this season include a salute to some of music’s finest showmen in “Top Ten Crooners”; Double Studio albums and Drug Songs countdowns, as well as a tribute to the final year of the 1970s with “Epic Songs of 1979”.

Returning to join Daryl and lend their voice and rock expertise are icons Lita Ford, Dee Snider, Eddie Money and Steven Adler as well as legends like Mickey Thomas (Starship) Sebastian Bach, Steve Porcaro (Toto) and Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon).

In addition to the new season, Daryl is also hosting a FREE Reunion Party for The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands at the legendary Whisky A Go Go on Sunday, January 6th! Although this is not a televised event the evening promises to be a fun celebration of Daryl’s acclaimed show that aired for eight seasons on AXS TV.

I recently spoke with Katie Daryl about the new season of Top Ten Revealed and more in this exclusive new interview.

What can fans expect from the new season of “The Top Ten Revealed” in January?

I think fans are going to be pleasantly surprised at all of the new faces they’re going to see. Not only do we have returning favorites like Lita Ford, Dee Snider, Eddie Money, Steven Adler and Rikki Rockett, but we also have a lot of new faces as well, including artists like Sebastian Bach, Leif Garrett, John Five from Rob Zombie, Mickey Thomas from Starship and Steve Porcaro from Toto. It’s exciting to have this new insight and keep everyone interested not only in what the topic is about, but also in who’s going to talk about it.

Let’s discuss a few of the topics that will be covered this season. Where did the idea to compile a list of the Top Ten Crooners come from?

This is definitely one of my favorite episodes of the new season. I had overheard someone talking about Tom Jones at the office and I was like, “Tom Jones? Wait a minute. How fun would it be to do something that involves Tom Jones?” Then we started going down the list of crooners—Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frankie Sinatra. I knew right away it was going to be fun, so we put the question out on social media. The funny thing is, as much as people love Frank Sinatra, he isn’t always someone’s go to favorite. There are a lot of lesser known, obscure, or one-step away from the Rat Pack guys as well. We focused on having a lot of singers talk about this episode because a lot of these guys have admitted to being influenced by these crooners. They have great stories about why they love them and how they influenced their careers.

Another interesting topic of conversation has to be Double Studio Albums.

That one became another big office debate. Originally, it going to be all double albums, but then someone mentioned Frampton Comes Alive and other live albums and it became too hard to narrow them all down. So, we decided to do studio double albums this time and maybe in an upcoming season we’ll do the live double albums.

What was the criteria for choosing a list of Top Ten Drug Songs?

We wanted to be very respectful of our viewers and make sure people didn’t think we were making an episode that celebrated drugs. It’s interesting conversation, not a celebration. The criteria was that the song had to either be about drugs and drug use, or interpreted by others as being a drug song. For instance, “Mr. Brownstone” is clearly a drug song, and we even have Steven Adler talking about how it was written and how terrible heroin was. But then there are other songs that are more debatable, like “Purple Haze.” Even though Jimi Hendrix himself had said it’s not about drugs but about a dream he had a lot of people still interpret it as Hendrix having the dream after being on drugs. It was looser criteria than some of the other lists, but it made sense in the long run.

What’s your favorite part of the process of creating an episode? 

My favorite part is booking the guests because at the end of the day I’m a rock star fan. When these people walk in the room, they’re musicians who’ve played on some of the best songs ever written and toured with some of my favorite bands. They always have interesting backstories and amazing personalities. I will say that my least favorite part is tallying the ranking. Because sometimes you just sit there and scratch your head and go “How is this possible? How is this #1?” [Laughs].

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about the musical tastes of AXS-TV viewers from doing these shows?

Our salt and pepper demographic really loves classic rock, but what’s also surprising is that they also tend to lean toward metal. The same person who says they love The Who and Rolling Stones is also voicing their opinion on a Megadeth song. It just goes to show that just because you like classic rock it doesn’t mean you’re old or not progressive with your musical tastes. It just means you have a core that you love but can still learn to appreciate other music as well.

Click here to watch the trailer for the new season of The Top Ten Revealed.

Although it won’t be televised you’re also having a reunion party for The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands at The Whisky a Go Go in January. What can you tell me about it?

This is going to be fun. The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands had eight fantastic seasons with so many bands to pay tribute to. In talking with the fans of the show I realized how much fun we had getting together every week at The Whiskey and doing the show. It was a fun, bonding experience and we missed each other. So, we decided to get the band back together and have a party. We’ll start by having an alumni/crew private VIP and then open the doors to the public. We’ve invited all past ticket holders to get a free ticket and we have K-Tel performing as our “house band.” They play a lot of the best and one-hit wonder songs of the 70s, so it will be easy to bring tribute guest stars like our Elton John and our Stevie Nicks up on stage with them. It’s a natural fit to have this backing band performing with some of the frontmen we’ve loved over the years with The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands.

The allure of tribute bands has never been stronger. To what do you credit to their success?

When I first started doing research for The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands I spoke to a very influential booking agent. He pointed out that the interest in booking these types of bands started shortly after the financial markets crashed in 2008. A lot of it was due in part to venues like casinos and the 2-3,000 seat venues who could no longer afford the expensive “real talent”.  People just weren’t spending their disposable income on a ticket. So, they turned to tribute bands to fill the void. It allowed people to not only save money but also see a high-quality performance. Of course, “The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands” and AXS TV helped knock it out of the park just as they were gaining their footing. It gave them a national platform to perform on.

Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?

We’ll actually be doing nineteen episode, split-season of The Top Ten Revealed in 2019. We have eleven episodes in January and then another batch of eight in the summer. The show has been so successful that Mark Cuban has specifically requested a spin off. Right now, I’m in the middle of pre-production on a new show launching in the spring that will complement this show very nicely on the network. If you like Top Ten Revealed you’re going to love this.

The new season of The Top Ten Revealed premieres Sunday, January 13 at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT on AXS TV.

Interview: Brooke Josephson discusses working with DJ Rocky G on infectious Re-mix of ‘Mr. Fix It’

Following the release of her acclaimed pop-rock EP, Sexy N’ Domesticated, singer-songwriter Brooke Josephson teamed up with international house producer Rocky G for an infectious remix of her single, “Mr. Fix It.” The electro-house version, complete with a progressive beat and dreamy synths, taunts female domestication by encouraging women to find someone who can cater to her needs.

The accompanying music video for “Mr. Fix It” showcases psychedelic visuals of the artist intermingled with scenes of a Rocky G live performance as well as Josephson’s adorable nine-year-old daughter, Shira.

AXS recently spoke with Brooke Josephson about the remix of “Mr. Fix It” and much more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How did the idea to do a remake of “Mr. Fix It” come about?

Brooke Josephson: Over the summer I was reading stories about other women who were pursuing being independent artists (and other careers) while at the same time juggling being a full-time mom. I came across Rocky G’s video where she shared her story about being an international DJ and a mom of six. I thought that was amazing. So I reached out to thank her for her work and inspiration as well as to let her know what I had going on. She responded and the two of us started talking about collaborating. I sent her my music and we started dialoguing about the song and bouncing ideas for a video. She told me that she would be performing at an event in Amsterdam, so I flew over and that’s where we shot the video. We even incorporated some of the events into the video as well.

AXS: What was the process like for re-mixing your original song?

BJ: I sent Rocky G all the stems from the original recording. She laid down a beat, took the original vocals and then added filters and a few other effects to give it an electronic vibe. Then she added an original melody at the intro.

AXS: What was it like working with Rocky G?

BJ: It was so much fun. I quickly discovered that she’s the same version of me, only she was doing EDM music. Her normal routine includes doing shows from ten at night until five in the morning. Then she gets home and instead of going to bed, she stays up and gets the kids ready for school. Then she comes back home and naps and does her work until she has to pick them up again. The same juggle I do in L.A. is what she’s doing in Amsterdam. Even though our styles of music are different our lives are very similar and the drive for what we do is very much the same.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Brooke Josephson by Clicking Here!