Tag: Music

‘World Goes Round’: Frank Musker and Jeff Hull Discuss Rediscovered 80’s Musical Time Capsule

Back in 1989 a behind the scenes group of renowned songwriters and studio musicians, Frank Musker (Queen, The Babys, Air Supply), Elizabeth Lamers (John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Christopher Cross), Jeff Hull (Brenda Russell, Heart, Chaka Kahn) and Marty Walsh (Donna Summer, Eddie Money, Sheena Easton), decided to get together to record an album. The result was World Goes Round, a powerful collection of pop, inspiration and creativity.

As artists who, at the time, were also heavily involved on other projects, the album was eventually shelved and would reamin unheard for more than thirty years. It wasn’t until guitarist, Marty Walsh, found a cassette tape of the tracks in his basement that the music of World Goes Round is finally seeing the light of day.

The ten-track album, produced by Tommy Vicari (Prince, Billy Idol) and fueled by the infectious lead single, “Big House,” was digitally transferred using 21st century technology. A product of its era conceived in a pressure free setting, World Goes Round sounds as fresh and relevant now as it did more than three decades ago.

I recently spoke with Frank Musker and Jeff Hull about uncovering the World Goes Round time capsule and more in this exclusive new interview.

How did the music of World Goes Round finally see the light of day after all this time?

Jeff Hull: It was when our guitar player, Marty, found the cassette in his basement, listened to some of the tracks and then sent them to everyone. It’d been thirty years since any of us has heard it. What’s interesting is that we weren’t able to find the original multi-track of the recordings. So, we went in and remastered from cassette. We were amazed at how good it sounded.

How did World Goes Round originally come together?

Frank Rusker: I had a house and studio in Laurel Canyon where we would have sessions and worked with A-list players. I was in a relationship with Elizabeth at the time and we were always making music. Elizabeth had been working with Marty Walsh and we were always letting other people use the studio as well. One day, I heard Jeff playing and knew right away I wanted to put him in my orbit. We were all having a lot of success individually but not really making the records we wanted to make. We didn’t have an impetus of creating a working band. We just wanted to make an album that would satisfy our need of depth and personality. When I listen to these songs now, all these years later, they still sound amazing.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Frank Musker & Jeff Hull Here.

Nita Strauss: “No matter your skill level, you can always improve on your own style and personality as a guitar player”

Photo credit: Katja Ogrin/Redferns

In addition to wowing fans around the world as Alice Cooper’s touring guitarist and gracing the cover of Guitar World as one of the guitarists of the decade, Nita Strauss is the first female to have her own signature model Ibanez (the JIVA), including two new models that were unveiled earlier this year.

Her monstrous 2018 debut solo album, Controlled Chaos debuted at #1 on Billboards Top New Artists chart and her guitar clinics are sought out by fans and seasoned players alike.

Now the LA-based guitarist is taking her love of teaching to the next level by launching Rock Guitar Fundamentals, a three-module, online teaching program that’s suitable for guitarists of all levels.

Module One is designed for the novice player and goes over the anatomy of the guitar, including all the basics, including how to correctly hold the pick, fret notes, tuning and more.

Module Two is highly focused on technique and modal theory, approached from a rock player’s perspective to be easily understandable for the modern musician.

Module Three is where you’ll uncover Strauss’ secrets of sweep picking, legato, whammy bar tricks, and more.

Whether you’re picking up the guitar for the very first time of you’re an advanced player who wants to learn some shred tips and tricks, aspiring learners can jump in wherever their skill level is. Better still, purchasing the course gives users lifetime access to all future course updates.

In addition to the new course, Strauss is also hard at work on the follow-up to Controlled Chaos. In this new interview, Guitar World got the lowdown on Rock Guitar Fundamentals and much more.

What was the genesis behind Rock Guitar Fundamentals?

“I love doing my clinics and have had so many requests for lessons via Skype and in person. There was no way to fit it all into my schedule but I thought how cool it would be to put something together that took all or the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years playing guitar and putting it into the same lesson format I learned from.”

What’s do you find most rewarding about teaching?

“For me, the most rewarding thing is being able to pass along the knowledge and skills that I’ve learned. If you’re someone who has a skill or something you can pass along, I feel it’s incumbent on you to pass it to the next generation so those skills and that knowledge can live on.”

Read the rest of my
Interview with Nita Strauss by Clicking Here.

’26 East’: Dennis DeYoung Discusses Inspired New Solo Album and Why He Didn’t Try To Reinvent The Wheel

Dennis DeYoung – Photo: Rebecca Wolf Photography

The title of former Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung’s new album, “26 East: Volume 1,” is an homage to the Chicago address where he, along with Panozzo twins, John and Chuck, formed the nucleus of what would become one of classic rock’s most revered and enduring bands back in 1962. The music contained on the compilation, much like the locomotive imagery blazed on the cover, takes the listener on a journey of self-reflection and timeless gratitude.

A project that began with the nudging and encouragement of fellow Chicagoan and neighbor, Jim Peterik, DeYoung gives fans what they yearn for in 26 East by delivering songs that hearken back to the mid-70s sound that made his former band staples of classic rock radio. Case in point is the infectious “East of Midnight,” a song which immediately conjures up imagery from Styx’s Grand Illusion period.

Although DeYoung successfully captures the essence of his early years with Styx there’s also more current messages contained on the new album. On “With All Due Respect,” DeYoung rails against the danger of sensationalism in our media-driven society. While “Run For The Roses,” offers a voice of hope in an uncertain world.

One of the special and personal moments on 26 East has got to be DeYoung’s tribute to his musical idols, The Beatles, with “To The Good Old Days,” a duet with John Lennon’s son, Julian. On it, DeYoung comes full circle; from his youthful days in his Rockland, Illinois basement to the biggest stages in the world.

In many ways, 26 East is DeYoung’s personal journal. A time capsule and tip of the hat to a career defined by his songwriting and keyboard prowess. More importantly, it shows that in these troubled times DeYoung is more relevant than ever.

26 East Volume 1 will be released on Friday, May 22. I recently spoke with Dennis DeYoung about the new album and more in this exclusive new interview.

What was the inspiration behind the new album, 26 East?

Dennis DeYoung: The president of Frontiers Records had been emailing me every few months about a deal and, quite frankly, I really didn’t want to do it. The whole music business is upside down and I just felt like it was a needless exercise at this point in my life. It wasn’t about money or proving myself as a songwriter. I think I’ve already accomplished that. It was actually my buddy, Jim Peterik, who talked me into doing it. Jim sent me a demo of a song he was working on called “Run For the Roses.” I knew it was a terrific song so the two of us got together to finish it and to see where it would take us. I discovered that we were both on the same page and the creative process couldn’t have been better. When we finally came up for air we had eight songs. Then I wrote a bunch of other songs by myself to get to the end zone.

What’s your songwriting process like?

DDY: The obvious answer would be to say that it starts with a phrase, or maybe just sitting at the piano banging out chords. But here’s the process I’ve done my whole life: I come up with some notes that fit on two chords. Then I take words and stick them on the notes. I try to give the audience a perspective of what I see in the world around me, hoping that they”ll find themselves in my story. I can always write a song that’s true about myself. The trick is that you, the listener, will think that it’s about you. You find yourself in my story thinking that it’s yours.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Dennis DeYoung by Clicking Here.

Bryan Adams: “I realized I had made it when I could pay my rent for more than a month without relying on anyone”

Photo Credi: Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns

Bryan Adams has sold more than 65-million albums and performed to sold-out arenas all over the world. With classic hits such as Cuts Like A Knife, Summer of ’69 and the Grammy-winning (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, his music has been heard by most people in one way or another, and his influence on younger musicians is long-lasting.

Guitar World recently caught up with Adams to ask him about his guitars and a few stories behind the albums in this exclusive new interview.

“I use a 1960s Vox AC30, a new-ish Marshall, my 1950s Gibson ES-295, a 1940s Martin D-18 and a ’60s Stratocaster.”

What can you tell me about your ES-295?

“I have a couple of early-1950s ES-295s but the first one was bought from my guitar tech in the early ’90s. I use them all the time, particularly on the road. I love the look, as it’s really a jazz guitar, but the P-90s cranked up are explosive. I sometimes think it sounds like Malcolm Young when I’m playing it, even though I know he played a Gretsch Jet.”

What do you like most about vintage gear?

“Each guitar and old amp seem to have their own particular characteristics. Except on my first recordings, I’ve always used vintage gear, and I know I’m not alone. Take, for example, the U2 song, One, that Edge played a Gretsch Green Country Club on, or Brian Setzer playing any of his songs on his 6120 for that matter. Fucking unreal sound. It just wouldn’t be the same on another guitar.”

You’ve been working with guitarist Keith Scott for more than four decades. How did the two of you meet?

“Keith is a guitar God, even way back when we first met in 1976 in Toronto. Any band that had Keith in it was guaranteed to have someone at the front of the stage (mostly girls). I suggested we go for a coffee from a chance meeting when I was 16. We became instant friends and stayed in touch.

“A few years later, when I was my about to do my first proper solo tour, I came over to his apartment, played him my songs, and asked him to be in the band. I’d been rehearsing with Ric Parnell on drums from Atomic Rooster, and I think that might have sealed the deal.”

Read the rest of my
Interview with Bryan Adams by Clicking Here.

Interview: Katie Daryl Previews Third Season of AXS TV’s ‘The Top Ten Revealed’

Katie Daryl — Photo by Renee Silverman

AXS TV’s popular music countdown series, “The Top Ten Revealed,” returns for an amazing 12-episode third season, which premieres on Sunday, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

The new season, executive produced and hosted by Katie Daryl, begins with the best “Rockin’ ROCK Songs” and is highlighted by tracks from Def Leppard, Scorpions, Twisted Sister and more. Returning musical experts for season three include Sebastian Bach, Lita Ford, Dee Snider and Kevin Cronin, as well as newcomers Mark McGrath, Carnie Wilson and Puddle of Mudd frontman, Wes Scantlin.

Even better is that The Top Ten Revealed is expanding its musical pallete with a treasure trove of goodness filled with new genres along with more honest opinion, fun facts and behind the scenes stories that have made the series a fan favorite.

The Top Ten Revealed Season 3 Schedule:

April 19: Rockin’ ROCK Titles
April 26: Epic Songs of ‘74
May 3: Rockin’ Siblings
May 10: 80s Break Up Songs
May 17: Epic Songs of ‘69
May 31: Songs Stuck at #2
June 7: Soul Songs of the 60s
June 14: Yacht Rock
June 21: MORE Hits That Were Covers
June 28: 70s Folk Songs
July 12: Epic Songs of ‘84
July 19: Going Crazy Songs

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

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

Katie Daryl: This season is great because we’re introducing new experts like Mark McGrath, Carnie Wilson and Wes Scantlin from Puddle of Mudd and mixing them in with our classic rock favorites — Dee Snider, Sebastian Bach, Lita Ford and Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon. The new topics are also neat. We still have our traditional 70’s and classic rock, but we’re also dabbling into new topics that are genre specific. We’ve even got a Yacht Rock list. It’s very exciting.

What categorizes a song as “Yacht Rock?”

KD: It’s funny because a lot of our experts came into the room asking that same question. One of them said it best. It’s a bouncy song that feels like the rhythm of the ocean. Also, if the song is literally talking about sailing and yachts (ala Christopher Cross’ “Sailing”) then it probably made the cut.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Katie Daryl by Clicking Here.

‘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.