Tag: Music

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!

Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber: “Inspiration comes at weird times and you always have to be ready for it”

Photo: Raj Naik

Jeff Lorber first heard guitarist Mike Stern in the early 1980s when his Jeff Lorber Fusion project toured the same festival circuit as Stern, who at the time was performing with Miles Davis. But it wasn’t until bassist Jimmy Haslip, who’d worked with both Stern and Lorber over the years, suggested these two seemingly disparate musical forces come together that their new collaboration, Eleven, was born.

The resulting album is an extremely copacetic compilation filled with harmonic meat and aggressive soloing. From the melodic and catchy opener, Righteous, to Stern’s lyrical, African-flavored Nu Som and blues-drenched jams like Jones Street and Slow Change, Eleven is an inspired collection combining tasty elements from many different styles of music.

We recently spoke with Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber about Eleven and more.

How did this collaboration come about?

Jeff Lorber: It’s a small music community, especially when you get into guys who play fusion and jazz. And although we’d never met I’ve known about Mike for a long time. An early version of my Jeff Lorber Fusion Band had even opened up for Miles Davis back in the Eighties when Mike was in the group. I’ve been working with Jimmy Haslip for more than ten years, and when Jimmy was with the Yellowjackets he did a collaboration with Mike. Jimmy was the one who suggested it’d be something interesting for us to do.

Mike Stern: It was fresh because me and Jeff were in different orbits and had never played together. So when Jimmy presented the idea to me I thought it would just be to play a few gigs, but then he suggested that Jeff and I record together. One thing led to another and now here we are.

Jeff, what was it about working with Mike that appealed to you?

Lorber: The Jeff Lorber Fusion has always been saxophone-focused, so working with a guitarist as the main sound was really appealing to me. Of course, Mike is a virtuoso player who has terrific command of bebop vocabulary as well as rock and blues. He also has a free and fluid approach in the way he improvises and plays melodies. I thought it would be a great challenge because he’s such a high-level musician and I was excited to see what would come out of it.

What was the writing process like for Eleven?

Lorber: Each of us basically wrote half the album. Mike had a chance to re-cut a few songs he wanted to take a new look at and I wrote a bunch of new music as well. We got together and cut all of Mike’s stuff live with Jimmy on bass and Dennis Chambers on drums. For me, I’ll usually start with a chord sequence or groove and try to get melodies involved early on. The song Righteous is a good example. It’s a four-chord pattern with a Motown groove. After I write something I usually let it marinate for a while to see where it needs to go. The element of time is something that really helps.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber 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.