The Dead Daisies’ Doug Aldrich and David Lowy Talk New Album, Touring with KISS

DeadDaisiesAussie/American rockers the Dead Daisies’ new studio album, Make Some Noise, is a celebration of the ferocious arena sound of the Seventies. The album, which was produced by Marti Frederiksen (Aerosmith, Def Leppard), is set for an August 5 release and boasts an array of intense riffs, huge hooks and tasty melodies.

The current Dead Daisies lineup features an impressive arsenal of notable musicians, including David Lowy (Red Phoenix, Mink), John Corabi (Mötley Crüe, Ratt), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio), Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy) and Brian Tichy (Ozzy, Foreigner).

From the self-confident, rousing statement of the album’s title track to the infectiousness of songs like “Long Way to Go,” “Song and a Prayer” and “How Does It Feel,” Make Some Noise is the perfect soundtrack for summer driving—and pretty much everything else. The disc also features the Daisies’ spin on two classic cover songs—Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” and the Who’s “Join Together.”

And speaking of summer, the Dead Daisies recently announced they’ll be the opening act for Kiss for a month’s worth of dates on this year’s Freedom to Rock Tour.

I recently spoke to guitarists Lowy and Aldrich about Make Some Noise, the band’s upcoming summer tour, gear and more.

The-Dead-Daisies-2016---Groupshot-HiRes

How did The Dead Daisies come together?

David Lowy: I started the band in Australia with Jon Stevens—a great singer/songwriter and performer who took over the lead singer role in INXS after Michael Hutchence died. Jon and I originally decided to get together to write and wound up hammering out 25 song ideas that we later recorded in LA. The nature of the Dead Daisies is that it’s not the only thing the band members do. So when Jon left the band a year ago, John Corabi joined us. John’s been with a few bands, including Mötley Crüe. The lineup’s changed over time due to the nature of the band, but it’s a band for guys who love rock and roll to get together, record, tour and have a good time.

How would describe the sound of Make Some Noise?

Aldrich: For me, it’s straight-ahead, classic, Seventies-influenced riff rock. David and I each took one track (David on the right hand side and me on the left). We did a few overdubs for solos, but a lot of what you hear is taken from the original tracking. We really wanted to capture the initial vibe.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Doug Aldrich & David Lowy Here

Seth Avett Talks Signature Martin Guitar and New Avett Brothers Album, ‘True Sadness’

TheAvettBrothersIt’s going to another big year for the Grammy-nominated, alternative folk collective the Avett Brothers. Not only did they perform for the first time at New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden, but they’re also about to unveil their new album, True Sadness, which will coincide with another summer of touring.

True Sadness, which is set for a June 24 release, was produced by longtime collaborator Rick Rubin. The album represents the next chapter in North Carolina brothers Scott and Seth Avett’s ever-evolving career. In a letter to fans, Seth described True Sadness as “a patchwork quilt of styles” where “a myriad of contrasting fabrics makes perfect sense.”

I recently spoke to Seth about the new album and his signature Martin D-35 guitar.

How does True Sadness relate to some of the Avett Brothers’ previous albums?

I feel this record is probably the most dynamic one we’ve ever made. If you look at our previous records, you’ll find whispers an hints of our influences behind some of the music, but you only hear them in passing or small portions or perhaps. On this record, it’s more pronounced. When you apply that with our love for rhythm and gentle pieces of folk and rock, this record goes a lot of different places.

What was the writing process like?

We always try to be open-ended and without formula as much as possible. Generally, I lean toward musicality and am often led by a melody, where Scott is led more by a story or narrative. Eventually, we always find ourselves back wholly autobiographical viewpoint in a song. We draw just as much from our daily lives as we do from sitting around trying to write. When it comes to writing we stay open to all the sources, because there are an infinite number of them.

Let’s discuss a few tracks from True Sadness. What can you tell me about “Ain’t No Man”?

I jumped in after Scott had already planted the seed years before. I remember we were already in the studio working on demos when Scott came bursting through the door describing the idea. He came in bounding with so much inspiration that he could hardly contain himself. He started to reach for the guitar, but instead I told him not to and just sing the bass line to me and I’d transcribe it. We had never written a song like the before, so it was cool. So Scott sang me the bass line and it sprang out for there. It was a weird gestation of lightning in in a bottle.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Seth Avett by Clicking Here!

REO Speedwagon’s Dave Amato Talks Signature Les Paul, Touring with Def Leppard

DaveAmato2

Reo Speedwagon guitarist Dave Amato with his Signature Les Paul

REO Speedwagon are set for another amazing year. The group, which consists of Kevin Cronin (vocals, rhythm guitar), Dave Amato (guitars), Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards) and Bryan Hitt (drums), has set out on what will be an extensive 55-city North American summer tour with fellow rock legends Def Leppard and Tesla.

For Amato, there’s something else to be excited about: his long-awaited signature Gibson Les Paul guitar, which will be available soon.

I recently caught up with Amato at an REO performance to get the goods on his new Les Paul as well REO’s tour and his time subbing for guitarist Doug Aldrich in the Las Vegas show Raiding the Rock Vault.

How did your relationship with Gibson begin?

I’ve always wanted a Les Paul with a Floyd Rose. I had one that Sammy Sanchez built for me in Los Angeles. I loved the guitar for years, but the contour on the Floyd was way up there. Eventually, Gibson started working on one for an Axcess guitar, and I when I saw it at a NAMM show, I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in. They gave me a few guitars and I started promoting and playing them while I was out on tour. It led to me having my own model. They were originally going to do a Collector’s Series but decided they want to put out a new line. So we came up with a new model for me, based on the Axcess model.

What do you like most about your new signature model?

There’s really only so much you can do to a Les Paul, but I wanted to make it a souped-up hot rod. It’s not a Junior but it’s based on one. I like the fact that it’s really light. I also wanted to incorporate one of my favorite necks into the design. I had a ’58 Reissue I loved that I sent to them. They specked the entire neck and did an incredible job. It’s got a white ebony fretboard and an HD-TV finish. It really rocks.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Dave Amato by Clicking Here!

Rich Robinson Talks Touring with Bad Company and New Album, ‘Flux’

RichRobinson-Credit to Alysse GafkjenRich Robinson’s new album, Flux—which will be available June 24—showcases an eclectic range of tempos, tones and tunings, all delivered with the same swagger Robinson first made famous with his brother, Chris Robinson, in the Black Crowes.

The album, which features the monster skills of Matt Slocum (keys), Marco Benevento (keys), Danny Mitchell (keys), Zak Gabbard (bass) and Joe Magistro (drums), not to mention vocalists John Hogg and Danielia Cotton, is—simply put—a powerful collection of music. From standout tracks “Music That Will Lift Me” and “Eclipse the Night” to the groove-laden “The Upstairs Land,” Flux ebbs and flows through different moods, in the end delivering a solid listener experience.

In addition to his new album, Robinson his the road as Bad Company’s guitarist for their current U.S. tour, which he’ll follow up with a tour of his own in support of Flux.

I recently spoke with Robinson about Flux, Bad Company, gear and more.

How would you describe Flux in terms of its sound—and maybe how it relates to your previous albums?

I think everyone builds their own relationship to music. That’s what’s so cool about it. For me, this is a natural progression and another step in the journey of where I’ve been and what I’ve done since I was 19 and Shake Your Money Maker came out.

Flux was recorded at Applehead Studios in New York. You’ve mentioned that you love recording there. What makes the place so special?

The studio and people up there are just great. I really like being up in Woodstock, and I spent a lot of time going there when I was living in New York. There’s just something about being there that I really can’t describe. Whenever I’m there, I always tap into something special.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Rich Robinson by Clicking Here.

Stryper’s Michael Sweet and Oz Fox Talk 30th Anniversary of ‘To Hell with the Devil’

StryperBandIt’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since Christian rock giants Stryper released To Hell with the Devil. The monster album, which features the dual-guitar attack of Michael Sweet and Oz Fox, spawned several classic tunes, including “Calling on You,” “Free,” “Honestly” and, of course, the title track.

These days, you’ll still find Stryper doing what they do best—delivering their uniquely infectious music and message to a fan base that’s hungry for both. Stryper’s latest release, Fallen, continues that trend and is considered by many to be their heaviest album to date.

Stryper is Michael Sweet (lead vocals/guitars), Oz Fox (guitars/vocals), Timothy Gaines (bass/vocals) and Robert Sweet (drums).

I recently caught up with Sweet and Fox before Stryper’s sold-out show at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood to discuss the 30th anniversary of To Hell with the Devil, new music, gear and more.

Stryper are about to play another sold-out show at the Whisky A Go Go. You guys have played there quite a bit over the years and even recorded a live album here. What do you like most about the venue?

MICHAEL SWEET: The Whisky is a legendary place. I remember the first time I played there; it was with Kevin Dubrow and Dubrow (they weren’t called Quiet Riot at the time). We’ve all been playing there on and off over the years with Stryper and with our solo projects. There’s a lot of history there and something special about it. It’s really small and there’s no place to put your gear. It’s a bit of a zoo—but it’s still the Whisky!

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You’ve called Stryper’s new album, Fallen, as the band’s heaviest album to date. How have the new songs blended in with the classic Stryper hits?

SWEET: Perfectly. Our albums are all a little different, but when we play those new songs live, they all blend well together. It’s the same energy and there’s no trickery with the live production. We open with “Yahweh” and have also added “Fallen” and “King of Kings” to the set.

OZ FOX: “Yahweh” is such an epic song.

SWEET: It’s a larger-than-life song that’s got everything. It’s got a little bit of an [Iron] Maiden, [Judas] Priest and Metallica vibe and is also Stryper-ized. It’s a really cool tune.

Let’s talk a little about the 30th anniversary of To Hell with the Devil. What goes through your mind when you look back on that album with so much perspective?

FOX: I still can’t believe 30 years have passed. It’s a memory that just keeps going. I was actually just looking at the picture of us from Japan in the suits on our way over here today and was blown away.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Michael Sweet and Oz Fox by Clicking Here.

‘I Can Destroy’: Paul Gilbert Talks New Album, Gear and Great Guitar Escape

Paul-GilbertIt’s a question every artist has to grapple with: If you’re not pushing yourself creatively, how can you grow?

That’s exactly what Paul Gilbert tackles—with fervor—on his new solo album, I Can Destroy, which will be released May 27.

On the album, which was produced by Kevin Shirley (whose credits include Mr. Big’s 2011 album, “What If”), Gilbert cuts a wide swath of styles and textures. There’s the full-frontal assault of  “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal,” the jazz-blues lament of “One Woman Too Many” (which also features Gilbert’s patented Makita drill-bit riffery) and the gut/heart punch of “I Am Not the One (Who Wants to Be with You).” Its playful title references the ubiquitous Number 1 hit Gilbert enjoyed as lead guitarist for Mr. Big.

I recently spoke with Gilbert about I Can Destroy, this year’s Great Guitar Escape, his current setup and more.

How would describe I Can Destroy in terms of its sound—and maybe even how it relates to some of your previous solo albums?

The album sounds like an electric brontosaurus, dropped from a 40-story building, landing on a giant sheet of aluminum foil, plugged into a 200-watt Marshall, in the key of F#! [laughs]. Seriously, there are three guitar players on the album—Tony Spinner, Freddie Nelson and myself. So we could do lots of three-part guitar harmonies. It was great to have a big band so I didn’t need to do overdubs. Tony and Freddie are also great singers, so we included lots of vocal harmonies, and whenever the bridge was too high for me, Tony would save the day.

How did you approach writing for this album?

I turn complaining into music! I’m thinking I might have invented a new style. I call it “cantankerous rock.” If you look at songs from my last few albums, you can see how I’ve been building up to this. “Get Out of My Yard” is certainly a cantankerous title. “Atmosphere on the Moon” [from Vibrato] was about being so misanthropic that I ask today’s young scientists to fabricate an atmosphere on the moon so I can escape their dreadful auto-tuned music here on Earth. “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal” from the new album certainly sends a cantankerous message. But these are all lyrics, and guitar players usually care more about the guitar. Actually, I do too, but it’s a lot easier for me to write a meaningful guitar riff if I have a lyric to give the song some structure.

What was it like working with Kevin Shirley on this project?

It was very similar to when I worked with Kevin with Mr. Big. Only with this record, we recorded about twice as fast. We recorded my songs so quickly that I started to run out of them. That gave me the chance to do one cover—Ted Nugent’s “Great White Buffalo.” Overall, when I work with Kevin I know he’s going to steer me in the best direction to make the album sound great and rock.

I’d like to ask you about a few songs from I Can Destroy. Maybe you can tell me what inspired them, how they were written—or whatever comes to mind. Let’s start with “Everybody Use Your Goddam Turn Signal.”

I lived in Los Angeles for around 20 years. I love the place, but the driving can wear thin. I recently moved to Portland, Oregon, where I can walk and ride my bicycle everywhere. I’m hoping my misanthropic tendencies will relax a bit from being a pedestrian. Musically, I like that the riff swings. I love that the word “goddamn” is sung with big, beautiful harmonies. And I like making the turn signal sound with my guitar by picking muted high strings. The solo is a trade-off with me first, then Freddie and then Tony. The original performance had a much longer solo, but I cut it shorter for the album. Live, I’ll probably make it long again.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Paul Gilbert by Clicking Here.

Model Kristy Ann Spillane Discusses Dancing With The Reading Stars, Career

Photo by: Thomas A.

Photo by: Thomas A.

Philadelphia-area model, Kristy Ann Spillane is about to add another entry into her arsenal of talent. Already in demand for her flexible versatility as well as an innate ability to conform to many different genres in the world of modeling, the beautiful Spillane will soon showcase her dance moves and help raise money for a worthy organization at the same time.

This month, Kristy and her husband, Mike will compete in “Dancing With The Reading Stars” – a completion to raise money for The Yocum Institute For Arts Education.

The Yocum is an organization that provides quality programs, scholarships and outreach services throughout Berks County, PA.

Kristy has also started a Go Fund Me campaign where friends and fans can help raise money for the institute.

For the past seven years, Kristy Ann Spillane has been one of the most in-demand models. From being a painted lady at the Playboy Mansion to making the covers of magazines and billboards. She’s also appeared in several movies in addition to her commercial and website work.

I recently spoke with Kristy about Dancing With The Reading Stars, her modeling career and more in this exclusive interview.

How did Dancing With The Reading Stars come about for you?

The Yocum Institute contacted us. A couple that my husband and I know are on the board and had danced in the competition last year. They felt that we would be a good fit to dance in this year’s competition. The competition is a fundraiser to raise money for the institute.

What can you tell me about your Go Fund Me campaign and how the funds be used?

 All of the money is going to the Yocum Institute. Yocum is an art institute in Wyomissing, PA that organizes and runs programs throughout Berks County. The purpose of Dancing with the Reading Stars is to raise the money necessary to support their on-going operations, scholarships, productions and outreach programs.

What can you tell me about the competition itself?

There is only one competition on April 22, 2016 at Stokes Castle in Reading, PA. There are eleven other couples competing and the audience will be judging the night of the event. There will be two sets of winners: the couple that raises the most money and the couple that obtains the most popular votes the night of the event.

Photo:

Photo: Robert Patterson

Let’s talk a little about your modeling career. Was modeling something you always wanted to do?

I think every girl fantasizes about it, but I didn’t think it was in the cards for me. I remember I was bartending in Boston when I was approached about posing for a sexy bartender magazine. The photos turned out great and things just took off from there!  

What inspires you the most about modeling?

I like to become whatever character I’m portraying in the shoot. I love all of the aspects from the wardrobe and hair and make-up to the set, props and final image. My fans motivate me and I really enjoy traveling and feeling beautiful during the shoots. 

What are your long-term goals with modeling?

I would eventually like to get into the fitness aspect of modeling and eventually compete in fitness shows. I’d also love to explore acting.

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

I’m constantly planning shoots and submitting to magazines. I also have trips to Utah and L.A. coming up for some pretty amazing photo-shoots.

Is there a bit of advice you’ve learned along the way that you can pass on to aspiring models?

Always hustle, constantly network and get your name out there and avoid getting caught up in the drama that the industry brings with it.  

Photo: Robert Patterson

Photo: Robert Patterson

What are you most looking forward to about Dancing With The Reading Stars?


It can be nerve racking to be dancing in front of close to 1000 people, but we’re looking forward to showcasing all of our hard work and having fun because all of the money is going to a great cause!

‘Change of Fortune’: David Pirner Talks New Soul Asylum Album, Gear and Grave Dancers Union

SoulAsylumChange of Fortune, the new album by Soul Asylum, is a record that’s nearly four years in the making.

It was recorded at a time when the band had been touring non-stop—not to mention going through lineup changes that included the departure of founding member Dan Murphy.

But the wait was worth it. Soul Asylum loyalists will be happy to know the group’s sound—and Pirner’s knack for storytelling—are front and center on Change of Fortune. Pirner and company have delivered a refreshingly honest album that happens to be a (welcome) sonic punch in the nose.

Soul Asylum is David Pirner (guitar/vocals), Michael Bland (drums), Winston Roye (bass) and Justin Sharbono (guitar).

We recently spoke to Pirner about the new album, his gear and more.

How would you describe the sound of Change of Fortune and how it relates to some of Soul Asylum’s previous albums?

Over the years, you really start to understand how the sound spectrum spreads itself out between the high end and low. I specifically remember sitting in a restaurant in Germany in the mid-Eighties. They put on our record “While You Were Out” and we all just looked at each other and were like, “There’s no fucking bass drum on this record! What the fuck?” [laughs]. There’s more low-end on this record than any other Soul Asylum record. I can really feel the power of Michael Bland and Winston Roye. I’m a low-end junkie and that was a goal worth achieving.

You’ve mentioned that this record is also one of your most honest. How so?

I’ve always liked the idea of having fewer people looking over my shoulder and being left to my own devices. It’s something I’ve always been chasing down. To that effect, the players in this band can play anything and are so open-minded and up for a challenge. I think that was a big part of it. To push the envelope about what the band can do.

How did you approach songwriting for Change of Fortune?

It was pretty much the same way I always do it. A seed usually happens: either a phrase or a melody or a chord progression. I’m looking at a piano and acoustic guitar right now and I also have a Pro Tools studio in the basement. Between those three things is where the seed comes from, and I’ll start recording and see where it goes. But it’s still fun sometimes to just walk into a practice space with an acoustic guitar, start playing something and having everyone else join in.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Dave Pirner by Clicking Here!

Ana Popovic Previews Her New Three-Album Project and the Experience Hendrix Tour

AnaPOn May 20, guitarist Ana Popovic—who, as we know by now, can play the hell out of the blues—will unleash Trilogy, an epic new three-album set.

The new package is unique because it will highlight Popovic’s tasteful shredding and soulful voice in three different elements: blues, jazz and funk.

Growing up in Serbia under the Milosovic regime, Popovic had to fight for her right to be blue. A battle in which she has obviously triumphed. She’s performed at blues and jazz festivals worldwide, sharing the stage with a veritable who’s who of blues legends.

We recently caught up with Popovic to discuss the Trilogy project—which includes guest appearances by Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph and more—plus her role on the Experience Hendrix tour, her gear and more.

How did the idea for Trilogy begin?

I’ve actually had this idea for a few years. There’s always been a little bit of everything on my records: blues, jazz and funk. Fans had always been coming up and telling me how much they loved my sound. They’d tell me they would often make compilation playlists from all of my records. One would say, “I made a set of blues songs for me and another set of jazz songs for my wife.” I thought that was an interesting idea.

Then last year, we had a big incident where our touring van was stolen with all of our gear in it. We were in the middle of a tour and it was through the tremendous support of the fans that we were able to get back on the road. I was so touched by how much they had helped us that I wanted to do something in return. I wanted everyone to have a lot of music but not have to buy three records. I wanted to approach the music from different sides. I’m giving three different sounds of my music to them: three different producers, three different bands and three different recording studios. As a guitar player, that was the biggest goal.

How did you approach writing for this project?

The first official demos for the project began in March of last year. Some of ideas for this album are from a long time ago, because I never give up on the song. I bring ideas to every session, and if it doesn’t match with the band that’s recording it, I’ll leave it. But I’ll never give up on it. I’m always planning and figuring out how they should be done and would always make notes to go with them—Is this jazz? Is it blues? What drummers or producers can I use? Everything was well thought out, and I gave myself a lot of time.

Read my complete
gw_logoInterview with Ana Popovic by Clicking Here!

Lita Ford Talks New Memoir, ‘Living Like a Runaway’

LitaBookLita Ford’s new memoir, Living Like a Runaway, is jam packed with stories of a truly eventful—and impressive—rock and roll life.

In the autobiography, Ford details her years as a teenager with the Runaways, getting caught with a young Eddie Van Halen in a bathroom, her battles with management and trysts with guys like Nikki Sixx, Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore and Glenn Tipton.

She even devotes ample space to her turbulent marriage and how she subsequently lost access to her sons through parental alienation. Simply put, Living Like a Runaway is a story of life and love from the reigning Queen of Metal.

I recently spoke with Ford about the book and her new album, Time Capsule, which is a collection of previouly unreleased material from the Eighties. You can check out our full interview below.

What made you decide to write a book at this stage of your career?

I really wanted to tell my story. As a female in the music industry—a man’s world—trying to become successful, I wanted to document it, and I wanted to be able to leave something behind so people would know what was going on inside of my life. The hurdles I had to jump and the things I had to do to be where I’m at today and to hopefully carve a path for others.

What was the writing process like?

At first, it was difficult trying to get a co-writer who could follow me. Because there’s so much crammed into my life, it was sometimes hard for me to get the point across. But I didn’t want the book to come out in any other shape or form. It had to be true and it had to be real…and we did it.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Lita Ford by Clicking Here!

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