Category: Music

‘Simple Truth’: Megadeth Bassist Dave Ellefson Talks New Solo Single To Raise Funds to Fight Covid-19

Grammy-winning artist David Ellefson has unveiled “Simple Truth,” a new single from the Megadeth bassist’s eponymous solo-band, Ellefson,and a preview of the group’s forthcoming album being released on his Combat Records label.

The track, available now via Ellefson’s Bandcamp and will be released across all digital platforms on April 17, was co-written by Ellefson and vocalist Thom Hazaert, along with Italian guitarist Andy Martongelli and drummer Paolo Caridi. Even better is that all profits from the single will be donated to the Croce Rossa Italiana [Italian Red Cross], who are currently on the front lines of the war against Covid-19.

I recently spoke with David Ellefson about “Simple Truth” and more in this exclusive new interview:

When did you first start hearing about Covid-19?

David Ellefson: We all started hearing about it late last year. I think that, just like Ebola and a lot of other diseases, we’re often more inclined to think it’s “over there” and isn’t something that would affect us. This past January, while we were doing a tour across Europe, we started hearing about it coming there. That’s when we started to pay serious attention to it. Then by early February, as we were going through France and Italy, we started hearing more about an outbreak. We were about two weeks ahead of the virus when we hit Europe. We got back home and so far none of us [band, crew or staff] have been affected in any way. The best precaution now is to just stay inside and try to limit your exposure.

How did the new single, “Simple Truth” come about and what inspired you to use it to raise funds for Covid-19 relief?

DE: We wrote the song on a day of rehearsal for my Ellefson solo tour we were doing last November. My singer, Thom [Hazaert] who is also my business partner, was the one who suggested we try to write a song. So I just went in, plugged in my bass and started going for a riff, which became the opening riff. Then we all jumped in and started jamming. Thom put melodies together and Andy [Martongelli] contributed a breakdown riff. In an hour we had a song written and ready to go.

Read the rest of my
Interview with David Ellefson by Clicking Here.

‘Shake The World’: Robin McAuley Discusses Monster New Project, Black Swan

Photo by: Enzo Mazzeo

Tracked at bassist/producer Jeff Pilson’s home studio in Los Angeles, “Shake The World” is the debut album by Black Swan. A sonic slice of melodic hard rock/metal that showcases some of the most iconic names in the business.

In addition to Pilson (Foreigner, The End Machine, ex-Dokken), the band also features vocalist Robin McAuley (McAuley Schenker Group), guitarist Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake) and drummer Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr. Big).

From the anthemic growl of the epic title track and “Immortal Souls” to more more meaningful and personal songs like “Johnny Came Marching,” Shake The World is an impressive debut of world class musicians, and a band that yearns to be heard live.

I recently spoke with vocalist Robin McAuley about the new Black Swan album and more in this exclusive new interview.

How did this project come about?

Robin McAuley: Jeff was the one who originally had the idea. He called me up and asked if I’d be interested and then introduced me to Reb. Originally, Jeff didn’t want to play bass and only wanted to produce but Reb and I talked him into it. We all knew that we wanted to steer away from doing another “classic rock” type of record. I had known Matt from having done some events with him and called him up. He came in and just tore it up. The whole album sounds organic and fresh.

What was the songwriting process like for Shake The World?

RM: Sometimes it would start with just a riff. Reb would come up with a riff and then Pilson would start playing low. They’d put a format together and the sent it to me. They often suggested styles they were looking for but everything I came up with was something they never expected.

A good example is when they sent me this great riff thatI instantly fell in love with. When I listened to it I could feel this guitar overtone that almost sounded like a wolf howling. I wound up writing the song, “Immortal Souls,” about vampires and how they are ultra-fast. When I came back to Pilson and told him that I loved the way he had the howling wolf over the intro and he says, “What howling wolf?” [laughs]. But that’s really what the process was like. They’d send me some stuff and I’d come back with a lyric and melody. Before you knew it we had amassed a bunch of songs that all tied in together.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Robin McAuley by Clicking Here.

Interview: Singer-Songwriter Drea Jeann Discusses Her Latest Singles and The Power of Music

Vulnerable, honest and transparent are three of the adjectives that best describe newcomer artist, Drea Jeann. The beautiful songstress, who writes through the lens of personal experience, has an emotionally deep level of maturity and etherealness in her sound that’s well beyond her years. It’s a sound defined from her years of musical theater as well as a hybrid cross between the styles of jazz, pop and r&b.

Whether it’s the haunting groove in the track, “Come Back To Me,” or the somberness of long-dinstance relationships in the song, “Faithfully,” Jeann not only gives listeners a glimpse into her life but empahtically shares her passion the best way that she can — through her music.

I recently spoke with Jeann about her music and more in this exclusive new interview.

To someone who might not be familiar, how would you describe your sound?

Drea Jeann: It’s a little hard to define. I started seriously writing last year with a producer and am still exploring the avenues that define my sound. I only like to write about things that I’ve experienced, so my songs are very authentic and personal. Vocally, I’ve had a lot of jazz training as well as r&b and pop.

What inspires you when you write and create?

DJ: The way that it usually works is that my producer will send me instrumental tracks. After I listen to them, I’ll figure out what I’m feeling and thinking about and willl come up with a melody or hook. Then I’ll start building lyrics around it and how it relates to my feelings or the experiences I’ve gone through. Other times I’ll already know what I want to write about. The it’s just a matter finding the right instrumental to portray it.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Drea Jeann by Clicking Here.

Interview: Katrina Stone Discusses Overcoming Intellectual Property Theft, New Music

During her more than ten year tenure as a professional independent music artist, Katrina Stone’s tireless work ethic and inspirationally-driven songs have earned her legions of loyal fans and international acclaim. Her performances on stages like The Warped Tour and CityWalk Hollywood have wowed audiences and her songs have recieved placement and endorsements in both television and film. But it wasn’t until one of those loyal fans tipped her off about her music being illegally posted online that the beautiful songstress took matters into her own hands.

Stone quickly discovered that twenty-six of her early tracks were actively being promoted on streaming services by fraudulent accounts using slight name changes and different covers to fool audiences. After the streaming companies offered no help, Stone learned the tracks were being offered through DistroKid and, upon inquiry, the company did the right thing by quickly shutting down the fraudulent accounts.

Now, Stone is using the experience to warn other indie artists about the importance of keeping tabs on their music. She’s also hard at work on a brand-new album that’s scheduled for release in May.

I recently spoke with Katrina Stone about the incident, her music and more in this exclusive new interview.

How did this whole situation come about?

Katrina Stone: I was aware that there had been some fake accounts on Spotify where people would upload tracks but didn’t think much of it beyond that. Then one day, a fan reached out to me on Instagram to let me know that she found some of my earlier tracks in her Discover Weekly that were listed under a different name and with different covers. I started digging a little and realized that they not only compromised my material but there were more than thirty-six other indie artists who weren’t coming up as the artist that was listed. When you put your heart and soul into creating music it’s scary that people see it as a commodity and just steal it.

How does something like this happen?

KS: My music was pulled off Noise Trade, but it’s also possible to steal it by ripping mp3’s from YouTube or directly from CDs. These fake accounts then give the tracks a slightly different title and cover and upload it. The track’s usually live in about twenty-four hours.

How receptive were some of the streaming services when you told them about it?

KS: They weren’t very receptive at all. They wanted me to fill out a copyright complaint form for each purpose and song. That would have meant filing hundreds of copyright complaints. To make things worse, the person we believe was doing this lived out of the country. So there was really no way to track them down. As an indie artist, I’d prefer to create music than to be putting out so many fires. So, what I did was find the tracks on YouTube, where it listed the labels they were under. When I saw it was Distro Kit I reached out to them directly and they were so helpful. Within forty-eight hours they let me know that it was going to be pulled down.

Having gone through this experience, what advice would you give to other artists?

KS: Since the streaming companies really won’t help you, I encourage people to periodically go on sites and search for their songs. Listen to them and make sure they’re really yours. Another thing is to only share direct links to your Spotify and have them everywhere.

What can you tell me about your upcoming album?

KS: It’s inspirational pop and something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while. It’ll be the first time I’ll be writing, producing, engineering and playing everything. It’s real, vulnerable and honest and a chance for me to show exactly what I’ve got. I’m very excited about it.

What’s your songwriting process like?

KS: If I’m writing by myself, it’s lyrics first. I love the marriage between lyric and melody but when I’m writing ideas down I like to have something to sing first and then work on finding the right hook. It’s all about great craftsmanship, a lack of clichés and creating something that’s new and fresh.

Who are some of your musical influences?

KS: I don’t sing country but I’m a huge Garth Brooks fan. I love him as a performer and how he isn’t afraid to take someone else’s song and put his own take on it. I also love how classic Adele’s music is. It’s something you can listen to years later and still hear different things.

Was a career in music something you always envisioned?

KS: Yes. From the time I was around twelve years old the idea started to form in my head. It’s a tough industry but I’ve been fortunate to have been able to make a living at it. At this point, it’s all I know.

What excites you the most about this next phase of your career?

KS: I’m excited about this new album and tour and to start homing in on what is that I want. Everything is coming full circle, and I’m in a really good place.

Interview: Guitarist Steve Brown Discusses New Wizards of Winter Tour

Formed in the winter of 2009 as a way to support their hometown community, The Wizards of Winterhas quickly become one of the holiday seasons more highly-anticipated traditions. The project, founded by the husband and wife team of Scott Kelly (composer/keyboardist) and Sharon Kelly (flute/vocals), crosses the nation every year with their unique brand of classically-influenced hard rock with Broadway tinge, as well as a world-class arsenal of musicians with a resume from groups like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Def Leppard, The Irish Tenors, Blue Oyster Cult, Rainbow and Alice Cooper Band.

In celebration of their 10th anniversary, The Wizards of Winter is in the midst of a thirty-city tour in support of their infectious new album, The Christmas Dream. It’s a tour that includes a stop in the beautiful Pocono Mountains at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe, PA on Friday, December 20.

The 2019 touring line-up of Wizards of Winter includes the aforementioned Scott and Sharon Kelly, along with Greg Smith (bass), John O’Reilly (drums), Fred Gorhau (lead guitar), Steve Brown (lead guitar), Kornelia Rad (violin/vocals), Karl Scully (lead vocals), Vinny Jiovino (vocals), Tony Gaynor (narrator) and Shawna Marie (vocals/saxophone).

I recently spoke with guitarist Steve Brown about the upcoming Wizards of Winter show at Penn’s Peak and more in this exclusive new interview.

What can fans expect from The Wizards of Winter performance at Penn’s Peak?

Steve Brown: The show is an audio / visual onslaught with a Broadway overtone, and a musical journey through all the different sides of Christmas. People mostly associate Christmas with family, good times and celebrating, but the story we take you on shows all the sides; including the hardship and tough journeys some people go through. It all ends on a very positive note. Tony Gaynor, who was with TSO for fifteen years, is the narrator who leads us through this journey. This is my first time doing something like this and I’m having a blast.

In your opinion, what makes these shows so special?

SB: You’ve first got to look at the success and influence of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This is in that vein. Some people might consider this a tribute band but that’s not the case. Wizards of Winter has more original music. Scott and Sharon Kelly are the band founders, Fred Gorhau [guitar] wrote the music for the new album, The Christmas Dream, and Karl Scully, one of the Irish Tenors, sings. It’s classically influenced hard rock with a tinge of Broadway.There’s something for everyone with this show.The band is tremendous and it’s an honor to be out playing with them.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Steve Brown by Clicking Here.

Interview: Echosmith’s Sydney Sierota Discusses The Band’s Inspired New Album, ‘Lonely Generation’

Photo by: Ariana Velazquez

“The next chapter in the evolution of multi-platinum trio Echosmith begins on January 10th with the release of their hook-laden new album, Lonely Generation. Fueled by its alt-pop, anthemic title track, it’s the band’s most honest and personal album to date, and the first on its own label, Echosmith Music.

While the title, “Lonely Generation” is an ominous reminder of the dangers of social media over indulgence, other tracks from the album, notably songs like “Shut Up and Kiss Me,” “Diamonds,” and “Follow You” continue Echosmith’s formula of cultivating songs that deliver a summery, infectiously-cool feel with messages of hope, love, relationship and inspiration.

Highlighted by frontwoman Sydney Sierota’s ethereal vocals and a power-rhythm section consisting of Noah Sierota (bass) and Graham Sierota (drums), Lonely Generationnot only showcases well-crafted material but also a deeper level of life experience and musical maturity.

In addition to the new album, Echosmith will embark on a multi-city North American tourbeginning in February.

I recently spoke with vocalist Sydney Sierota about the new Echosmith album and more in this exclusive new interview.

How does this relate to some of the band’s previous work?

Sydney Sierota: This album feels so personal; not just musically but also lyrically. We took our time making it but it was essential for us to get every message or story out to the world. We think of this album as a whole and not just a collection of songs. There are songs that are fun and others that are more somber and intimate. It’s the most honest we’ve ever been.

How would you describe the Echosmith sound?

SS: It’s hard to come up with a single answer because we don’t fit into one genre. We’ve heard people say that we’re pop and others say we have more of an indie influence. Then there are moments where it feels haunting and intimate. Unique might be the best way to describe it.

What your songwriting process like?

SS: It depends on the day. There are some days when I’ll wake up so inspired that I’ll have both a melody and lyric idea. Then there will be days where I’m not as inspired but luckily, Noah is and he’ll come up with an idea or we’ll bring in other songwriters. We’ve always made it a point that there are no rules in the writing room. We all have our own stories to tell and you can draw inspiration from anywhere. Sometimes the best things happen when you just sit in a room together and let whatever happens happen.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Sydney Sierota by Clicking Here!

‘The Best Thing’: Singer-Songwriter Phoebe Silva Discusses Her Infectious Debut Single

Phoebe Silva

For Phoebe Silva, there’s no time like the present. That’s why the beautiful singer-songwriter, who’s been harnessing her musical prowess for years as an in-demand session player in L.A.’s indie music scene, decided to branch out into the world as a solo artist. Showcasing her charisma and sultry vocal with the release of an infectious debut single, “The Best Thing.”

The song is a timeless, big band throwback with a summery feel and nineties vibe. A track that features Silva’s big vocal soaring with confidence and self-expression. Crooning about female empowerment while ushering in a ubiquitous combination of retro-pop, blues and soul.

Silva will officially unveil her debut single to the world with a single release party on Monday, December 2 at The Hi-Hat in Los Angeles. I recently spoke with her about “The Best Thing” and more in this exclusive new interview.

How did your single, “The Best Thing” come about?

Phoebe Silva: I was working as a post-production assistant a few years ago and was seeing this guy who was well known around the L.A. music scene. He was so confusing because he was the kind of guy who made you feel special one minute and the next minute he’d be blowing you off and talking to other girls. One night, I was at work and the chorus just popped into my head. The lyrics just flowed out of me. It’s a song about female empowerment and became the catalyst for me to start writing and making music as a solo artist. The seed had been planted and was starting to grow.

What is your songwriting process?

PS: I almost always start with lyrics. Ideas will usually pop into my head every day and I’ll always jot them down. Sometimes the inspiration will be lyrics for an entire song and other times it might just be a phrase or two. If it’s a phrase, I’ll let it gestate for a while and then go back through my notes and stitch things together. It’s lyrics first with melodies usually attached to them.

How would you describe your sound?

PS: The theme I’ve settled on is retro-pop, but there’s a lot more to it. Some things are more folk and blues and others are more pop with a heavy jazz influence. I grew up in musical theater; listening to oldies, sixties rock, Motown, girl groups and early twentieth century songwriting. I also grew up in the nineties, so I was a huge fan of artists like Fiona Apple, Sarah McLaughlin and Jewel.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Phoebe Silva by Clicking Here!

‘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!