Category: Medium

‘Play On’: Jim Peterik Discusses New Ides of March Album, Career Highlights

It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than fifty-five years since Jim Peterik and The Ides of March first started rehearsing in the basement of guitarist Larry Millas’ home in Berwyn, Illinois. The band, which today still features original members Peterik (vocals, guitar) and Millas, along with Bob Bergland (bass, saxophone, and vocals) and Mike Borch (drums and vocals), now boasts as the longest-existing Top-10 charting band. The Ides of March, which are as timeless as their music, also includes Scott May (Hammond organ and vocals), Steve Eisen (woodwinds and percussion), Tim Bales (trumpet and Flugelhorn), and Henry Salgado (trombone).

Although the band’s sound has matured and evolved over the last half-century one thing remains constant. The friendship and family of this band of brothers is equal only to the joy their music continues to bring.

In celebration of their huge milestone, The Ides of March recently released a new album, Play On. A compilation of fourteen brand new songs as well as a re-release of their monster hit, “Vehicle.” To make things even more exciting, The Ides are joined on the album by other notable music heavyweights, including David Pack (formerly of Ambrosia) on “Song About Mary,” saxophone queen Mindi Abair on “Friends Like You,” Mark Farner (a founding member of Grand Funk Railroad) on “Swagger,” guitar icon Joe Bonamassa on “The Cover Up,” and legendary band leader, producer Paul Shaffer on the track, “Rule of Three.”

I recently spoke with Jim Peterik about Play On and more in this exclusive new interview.

When you look back at these last 55 years of The Ides of March, what goes through your mind?

Jim Peterik: Sometimes it seems impossible that it’s been fifty-five years and other times it seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. I still remember our very first show in 1964. It was at a VFW a block away from Larry’s house, where we used to rehearse. We were doing covers like “I’ve Had It” by The Bell Notes and “Money” by Barrett Strong. We got paid $20 and immediately drove over to an ice cream place and blew it all on hot fudge sundaes. Fast forward fifty-five years and I can still remember how that sundae tasted. It was the best in the world. When I look back I think about all the ups and downs, the jobs, trying to make it, and everything that came in between.

After that first gig did you have any idea of what was to come for the group?

JP: It wasn’t like a destiny moment because we were just trying to remember the chords to the songs [laughs]. At that time, we weren’t thinking about anything except whether the girls in the front row were digging us and whether the greasers in the audience liked it.

How would you describe the new album, Play On, and how it relates to some of The Ides’ previous work?

JP: The Ides went through so many musical phases and, for this album, what we tried to do is combine the best elements of everything we’ve ever done. Brass is really featured strongly but there’s also a few songs like “Too Far To Turn Around” and “Song About Mary” where we hearken back to the “L.A. Goodbye” sound.

Can you tell me more about how the band’s sound has evolved over the years?

JP: Before changing our name to The Ides of March, we started out as a British invasion-wannabe band called The Shondells. Back then, we wanted to be something that was like The Kinks meet the Beatles meet The Zombies. We were all kids at the time; playing on the road in Florida with the Allman Brothers (then called The Allman Joys). At that time, Duane and Gregg were already super musicians and we learned a lot from them. Their influence is what helped us get a little more bluesy and soulful. That’s when we decided to get some brass into the group. Then after we heard the first album by Blood Sweat & Tears we decided to add a whole section. Later, we became more Crosby, Stills and Nash influenced and even more countrified.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Jim Peterik by Clicking Here!

Interview: Michael Lington Discusses His Beautiful Holiday-Themed Album, ‘A Foreign Affair Christmas’

In his more than two-decade career as saxophonist, songwriter and producer, Michael Lington has released more than ten solo albums, toured extensively and even manages his own wine and cigar companies. But the one thing the multi-talented, Copenhagen-born artist had never done is record a Christmas-themed album. That is until now.

On A Foreign Affair Christmas, Lington serves up a plethora of holiday favorites and is joined by an arsenal of contemporary music heavyweights, including Vince Gill, Dave Koz, Rick Braun and Russ Freeman.

Christmas classics like “Silent Night,” “Silver Bells,” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” take on new life with fresh and unique arrangements. Other treasures include a tasty medley of “Winter Wonderland” and “Let it Snow,” with Koz, a silky and sultry take on George Michael’s “Last Christmas,” with Phillipe Saisse on vibraphone, and an inspired version of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas,” featuring the legendary Vince Gill.

There is much to love about A Foreign Affair Christmas, making it the perfect soundtrack for a festive holiday season.

I recently spoke with Michael Lington about A Foreign Affair Christmas, his upcoming tour with Dave Koz and more in this exclusive new interview.

What made you decide to do a Christmas album at this point in your career?

Michael Lington: I’ve been thinking about doing one for a very long time. At first, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take, but then one year I was invited to Barbados to perform a show with a band that had worked up some really interesting, island-flavored, jazz Christmas songs. That got me to thinking: what if I based an album on the same concept. Taking familiar Christmas songs and flipping them around to do something unique with interesting arrangements. Then I took it a step further and incorporated musical friends from around the world and decided to call it A Foreign Affair Christmas. Once I had the vision, it all came together.

What was your criteria for choosing songs for A Foreign Affair Christmas?

ML: I knew I wanted to have a variety as well as do some of the classic ballads. I started out by writing down all the songs I could think of and then going down the list, narrowing it down to what was the cream of the crop for the arrangements I wanted to achieve. It quickly became clear which ones rose to the top.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Michael Lington by Clicking Here!

Firehouse guitarist Bill Leverty Talks Penn’s Peak Performance, Music and Career Highlights

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly thirty years since hard rock giants Firehouse released their monstrous debut album. A self-titled opus, fueled by hits like “Don’t Treat Me Bad,” “All She Wrote,” and the ubiquitous “Love Of A Lifetime” (a song that’s still a wedding staple), which ushered in legions of fans worldwide and gave Firehouse the coveted Favorite Hard Rock New Artist award at the 1992 American Music Awards.

These days, the band continues to tour and celebrate its legacy. Often joining forces with fellow rock legends like Warrant, Winger and Bret Michaels for sold out shows where they not only perform their arsenal of hits, but also salute our military and first responders.

On Saturday, November 23, Firehouse will once again return to Northeast Pennsylvania for a show with Warrant at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe, PA. Longtime fans of both bands will be able to enjoy an evening of hard rock as well as reminiscence about both bands early days and the glory of 1991’s “Blood, Sweat and Beers” tour.

Firehouse is: C.J. Snare (lead vocals/keyboards), Bill Leverty (guitars), Michael Foster (drums) and Allen McKenzie (bass).

I recently spoke with Leverty about the band’s upcoming performance at Penn’s Peak and more in this exclusive new interview.

What do you enjoy most about Penn’s Peak?

Bill Leverty: Penn’s Peak is such a great venue. It sounds amazing in there because of the acoustics, big stage, killer light show and the world-class PA system. The vibe is so full of energy, which comes straight from the fans. There’s something about Jim Thorpe, PA that makes people want to rock!

What can fans expect from the band’s upcoming performance?

BL: We’ve changed the set up a little bit this year and are playing songs we haven’t played in a while. It’s made everything fresh. We’ll also throw in a few surprises as well. Getting to play with Warrant again is always a great time. For anyone who saw us on the “Blood, Sweat and Beers Tour” with them back in 1991, this is your chance to come relieve those great, youthful days.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Bill Leverty by Clicking Here!

Interview: Music Director/Drummer Todd Waetzig Discusses His Role In Blue Man Group Las Vegas

Photo: Lindsey Best

Since its inception in 1987, more than thirty-five million people have witnessed the imaginary, multi-sensory world of Blue Man Group, and it’s no surprise. The worldwide phenomenon combines an explosive arsenal of music, comedy and color that captivates audiences of all ages, languages and cultures.

Perhaps no venue offers more intimacy and spectacle than the specially designed Blue Man Theater at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV, which features exclusive performance content that can’t be seen in any other Blue Man show.

Although the sight and sound is spectacular the heart of the show is the Blue Man character, which creates an immediate connection with the audience and a unique experience at each performance. The Blue Men do not speak but their band is considered their “tribe.” Contributing to the energetic and immersive sounds that BMG creates.

The Luxor band includes music director and drummer Todd Waetzig, who’s been with BMG for more than twenty years. I recently spoke with him about his role in Blue Man Group and more in this exclusive new interview.

How did you become involved in Blue Man Group?

Todd Waetzig: I was in Boston going to school at The Berklee College of Music and was in a rock band that played around town and wrote music. The guitarist in the band was also friends with one of the drummers from the Blue Man show in Boston and one night, he came to see us play at a local bar. He really liked the way I played. At the time, they were looking for a substitute drummer to fill in some shows and he invited me down for an audition. I went down and met some of the guys from the band and they asked me to do some crazy things on the drums to see if I could do it. Shortly after that they invited me to play drums with Blue Man.

Had you heard about Blue Man Group prior to being invited to audition?

TW: I knew a little about Blue Man but never knew exactly what it was. When I saw the show for the first time, I remember sitting there in the middle of the theater watching what was going on. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was overwhelming in a really cool way and I was completely blown away.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Todd Waetzig by Clicking Here.

Interview: Emma Taylor Discusses Her Ethereal New Single, ‘For Forever’

Following the release of her infectious single, “My Dear,” and having taking some time off to finish her education, singer-songwriter Emma Taylor is back with a powerful new track. The ubiquitously-charged, “For Forever.”

The single, inspired from stories the songstress heard from friends about unhappy relationships, is both poignant and poetic. Moreover, it’s a track that, when stripped to its barest of essentials, resonates deep with emotion and energy — both a key to Taylor’s signature sound. At its core, “For Forever” is a song that not only yearns for repeated listenings but also showcases the depth of maturity in Taylor’s vocal and artistic prowess.

I recently spoke with Taylor about the new single, her songwriting and much more in this exclusive new interview.

How did the new single, ‘For Forever’ come about?

Emma Taylor: All my songs have an underlying theme of love, loss and relationships. I love telling stories or taking a small emotion and creating an entire song out of it. I’m at the age where my friends have been dating guys or trying to date guys. Some of them are unhappy but will tell me they’re scared of being alone. I took that idea. It’s a song about being in a toxic relationship with someone but not willing to take the risk of being alone because you’re so used to being comfortable. It’s uncomfortable to have change in your life, and it’s something everyone can relate to. Not just with love but in taking risks in their careers. I drew all those emotions and put it into the song.

What else can you tell me about the writing and recording process?

ET: The basis of the song and the skeleton happened so naturally. Originally, “For Forever” was just a placeholder title. I tried to find different words but I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I remember when I first had the chorus and melody and posted the idea on Instagram. It sounds the same now as it did then. You know a song is going to be digestible if it sounds good with just guitar and vocals. If you can break it down and it still has depth you know it’s going to be special. This is such a deep song and I want people to just listen to the words and story.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Emma Taylor by Clicking Here.

Interview: Lita Ford Discusses Upcoming Quakertown, PA Performance, Gives Update on New Album

Photo: Gary Brown — Shovel Head Studios

Whether it’s her early years as a member of the all-female, proto-punk rock group, The Runaways, her sultry vocal prowess and guitar sexiness on monster hits like “Kiss Me Deadly,” “Close My Eyes Forever,” and “Playin’ With Fire,” or the tenacity on tracks from her emotionally-charged album, “Living Like A Runaway,” there’s no denying that Lita Ford has earned the title of legend.

Never one to rest on her laurels, the reigning Queen of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal has been hard at work on her next project. A concept album being produced by long time friend, and famed guitarist Gary Hoey. Ford is also currently embarked on another round of summer touring, with a killer band that includes bassist Marty O’Brien, drummer Bobby Rock and guitar wizard, Patrick Kennison.

On Wednesday, August 28, Ford will bring her high-energy show to Quakertown’s Univest Performance Center, where she’ll be supporting another of the genre’s most legendary artists, Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe. The event is part of Quakertown’s annual “Sounds of Summer” concert series.

I recently spoke with Ford about her upcoming performance in Quakertown, new music and more in this exclusive new interview.

What can fans expect from your upcoming performance with Vince Neil in Quakertown?

Lita Ford: It’s a high-energy show with great songs and a smoking hot band. The good thing about it is that I’ve been blessed with great musicians and we all feed off each other. It’s a fun show from beginning to end.

What can you tell me about your musical relationship with Vince Neil?

LF: Vince is family. I’ve known him since the early Runaways days and the two of us grew up together in the music industry. He’s had a lot of great and devastating things happen in his life but he’s such a great guy. I just love him.

What do you think makes your music so timeless and special after all these years?

LF: I think it’s because it was real. That’s not to say that today’s music isn’t real, but it’s so sterile these days. Back in the 70s and 80s the music was just so raw. You could have as much hair as you wanted or wear really colorful clothes. It was a really cool vibe. It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of real rock stars anymore. It’s almost like once the 80’s ended they all started disappearing.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Lita Ford by Clicking Here!

Interview: Cherie Currie And Brie Darling Discuss New Collaboration, ‘The Motivator’

Photo: Corey Parks‬

While The Runaways front-woman/solo artist Cherie Currie and Fanny drummer/vocalist Brie Darling had always been members of a mutual admiration society, the pair had never crossed paths until 2017, when Darling invited Currie and several other female powerhouses to contribute to the Fanny reunion album, Fanny Walked The Earth. The duo enjoyed each other’s musical company so much that they’ve forged what’s become one of summer’s most anticipated collaborative releases, The Motivator.

The 12-song album, produced by Grammy-nominated Dave Darling (Brie’s husband), features nine classic covers that not only shed light on Currie and Darling’s vast repetoire of influences but also showcases the duo’s infectious musical prowess. One of the biggest being their emotive take on The Rolling Stones classic, “Gimme Shelter.” Currie and Darling’s take on other hits by Buffalo Springfield, Stevie Wonder, John Lennon and The Kinks hold up equally as well.

The powerful collection is rounded out with three original songs, including the poignant rocker, “Too Bruised” and the groove-ridden and apropos “This Is Our Time.”

The Motivator will be released on Friday, August 2.

I recently spoke with Cherie Currie and Brie Darling about The Motivatorand more in this exclusive new interview.

How did the two of you come together for this project?

Brie Darling: I had done a record a few years ago called Fanny Walks The Earth. It was the first time that June [Millington], Jean [Millington] and I had recorded in forty-five years. During the recording we had the idea of having as many girl-band artists come out and join us as possible. So we had Patti Quatro, Cheri and a few of The Bangles and Go Gos. When Cheri walked through the door I noticed an immediate and undeniable energy. She was just awesome.

Cherie Currie: Even though I had been a fan for years I’d never met any of the gals from Fanny. So when I was asked to come in and do a backup, along with some of the other rocker chicks who’ve broken the ice over the past several decades, I was thrilled, and I was absolutely floored by Brie’s voice.

BD: What happened next was that Cherie had invited me out to do a benefit for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I played drums with her on a performance of “Cherry Bomb”. The idea of working together was always simmering, and it finally came to be.

How did you determine which covers to include on The Motivator?

CC: Brie and I grew up with 60s and 70s music and have a natural gravitation to it. It was great to pay homage to the music we grew up with.

BD: I think we started off with somewhere around forty songs. It was really had to narrow them down because they’re were so many great ones.

What made you decide to include a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter?”

BD: I’ve always wanted to do that song, and Merry Clayton’s soulful high part. We had to really play with that arrangement to make it happen in a whole different way. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I remember when Cherie came out to put on her vocal she was dealing with some kind of cold. We kept that first take because it was so raspy and cool.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Cheri Currie & Brie Darling by Clicking Here!

Interview: Palmyra Delran Discusses New Female-Powered Super-Group, The Coolies

The Coolies

Read the rest of my
Interview with Palmyra Delran by Clicking Here!

Interview: The Alarm’s Mike Peters Discusses New Album, ‘Sigma’, Touring and Living Life to the Fullest

Photo by: Andy LaBrow

Originally intended to be part of double-compilation called Blood Red Viral Black, The Alarm’s infectious new album, Sigma acts as the sequel to 2018’s critically-acclaimed Equals and features contributions from such musical giants as original Alarm guitarist Dave Sharp and Billy Duffy from The Cult.

Sigma, as well as its predecessor, mark a creative change for Peters, who crafted most of the songs from lyrics he’d written while he and his wife, Jules, were going through cancer treatment. The result is a second volume of material fueled by heartfelt emotion, angst, and revelation.

In addition to the new album The Alarm will soon embark on one of summer’s most highly-anticipated tours, where the alternative British rockers will join post-punk auteurs Modern English and the charismatic Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel on what’s being hailed as The Sigma LXXXV Tour.

Peters’ Love Hope Strength charity will also host bone marrow drives at each concert aimed at finding finding donors for people suffering from blood cancers. To date, the charity has registered in excess of 200,000 people, with more than 4,000 potentially lifesaving matches.

Sigma will be released on Friday, June 28.

I recently spoke with Mike Peters about the new Alarm album, touring and more in this exclusive new interview.

How does the new album compare with some of The Alarm’s previous work?

Mike Peters: It’s very much a sequel from our last record, Equals, which came out last year. The music of both albums was conceived at the same time. Originally, it was going to be a double-album called Blood Red Viral Black, but on the eve of release we decided to switch focus and release a single album, Equals, with the knowledge that a sequel would be released twelve months later. There’s a lot of connection between the two records.

The material for these two albums came about a little bit differently than what you’ve done in the past. Can you talk a little about the songwriting process?

In times gone by I’d usually start at the top of the mountain. Where you’d have that initial expression, phrase or chorus, and then you’d work your way down to find the bridge, verse and finally, the lyrics. With this set of music I started at the bottom of the mountain with lyrics first. A lot of songs came out of the turmoil of the situation when I found myself relapsed from the leukemia I’ve carried most of my adult life. At the same time my wife, Jules, was diagnosed with breast cancer, so it was a double whammy. I put everything on hold while we faced this challenge together. There were lot of places where I found myself threatened, emotionally, and I’d write down my feelings. It was only after we came through the worst of these times that I showed my wife all the things I’d written down. That’s when she said to me “This is the start of a new Alarm record. Then I printed all the lyrics out and laid them on the floor around me and started looking for the music in the lyrics to go back up the hill. These albums are very different from how I’ve worked in the past. It’s been quite liberating.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Mike Peters by Clicking Here.

Interview: Gabrielle Stone Discusses Her Inspiring New Book, ‘Eat, Pray, #FML’

Although Gabrielle Stone has never considered herself an author, the accomplished actress and director has always been an avid storyteller. But it wasn’t until a series of failed relationships — one which included a nightmarish divorce and another that ended with her traveling to Europe alone — that she decided to put pen to paper. The story of the events of her trip, the inspiration and thought processes are chronicled in her amazing new book, “Eat, Pray, #FML

Told from the perspective of a woman seeking to find inner strength and resolve, Stone has documented a journey unlike anything she’s ever experienced. One that was not only personally cathartic for the author, but a story that’s sure to give others the inspiration they need to perservere.

In its truest form, “Eat, Pray, #FML” is an inside, pull-no-punches look at Stone’s personal diary, but it’s also a book that reads like a mystery novel and flows like a female-empowered Lifetime drama. Pulling you in from the start with its honest writing and heartfelt emotion. Better still, it leaves readers with the tools they can use to overcome any personal obstacle.

“Eat, Pray, #FML” is available in paperback and e-book exclusively through Amazon. Click here to order!

I recently spoke with Gabrielle Stone about “Eat, Pray, #FML” and more in this exclusive new interview.

What was the writing process like?

Everything was written in real time as it was happening. It just happened to be a crazy trip where some interesting things took place. This book will connect with any female who’s ever been in love, felt betrayed, or isn’t sure how to live with herself. I don’t embellish anything that happened on the trip and I wrote the book as if you were having a conversation with me. Yes, I slept with some people; I drank, and I smoked in Amsterdam. But I tell these things so that when I get to the golden nuggets of what I learned and how I found ways to heal, it will resonate that much more.

A lot of what happened in your relationship with your ex-husband and your discovery of his infidelity almost doesn’t seem real. Did you notice any warning signs?

I want everyone to know that I have no hate, resentment or anger toward my ex-husband. Having said that, I’m so happy to be out of that situation and being where I am now. The warning signs were there, but I always turned a blind eye and thought that we’d eventually fix things down the road. The truth is, he’d never been ok with my career, and whenever I’d go off to shoot a film with a kissing scene, or just be with male co-stars, there was a lot of jealousy. I went through a lot of hurt during that time because I was getting roles that were exciting professionally but then had to combat it with the berating and heartache from someone who was supposed to be one of my biggest supporters. It wasn’t as if I was working some other job and then decided to be in movies. He met me as a working actress. This is who I’ve always been. From an outside perspective, it’s hard to believe how he could’ve been so sloppy, but once I started finding things it all unfolded like it would in a movie.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Gabrielle Stone by Clicking Here!