Tag: Music

Interview: Styx Bassist Ricky Phillips Talks Touring, Music And Career Highlights

Classic rock pioneers Styx has gone through waves of change over their legendary forty-seven-year career. But perhaps at no time in the band’s history has it shown more diversity, musicianship or the ability to adapt and fire on all cylinders than in 2019. In addition to showcasing its arsenal of radio hits on its current tour, Styx is able to draw material from deep in its catalog, much to delight of diehard fanbase.

Tracks from the band’s most recent release, The Mission, also find their way into the band’s set list. The concept album, an adventurous forty-three-minute thrill ride chronicling the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the first manned mission to Mars, conjures images of the band’s mid-70s sound with with 21st-century appeal.

On Tuesday, May 21, Styx — Tommy Shaw (guitars/vocals), Lawrence Gowan (keyboards/vocals), James “JY” Young (guitar/vocals), Todd Sucherman (drums), Ricky Phillips (bass) and Chuck Panozzo (bass), will bring its well-oiled machine to The Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA for what’s sure to be a night to remember.

I recently spoke with bassist Ricky Phillips about the band’s upcoming performance in and more in this exclusive new interview.

What can fans expect from Styx’s appearance at The Sands Event Center?

Every show is different but what I can guarantee is that Styx is running like a well-oiled machine. We still do close to 100 shows a year and are on the road most of the time. We’ll play the hits everyone expects, like “Renegade,” “Come Sail Away” and “Blue Collar Man,” but we also try to go deep into the catalog and find little nuggets like “Snowblind,” “Suite Madame Blue” and “Castle Walls.” We also have a new record out called The Mission and we’ve been having fun playing some of the new songs as well.

Speaking of The Mission, didn’t the band recently do a show in Las Vegas where you performed the album in its entirety?

We did. It was only one night but it was a blast. We had people fly in from all over Europe and Japan just to see it. The Mission is a concept album about NASA preparing its first manned flight to Mars. The music and storyline is right in Tommy’s wheelhouse. He created characters and a storyline that runs throughout the album. It has a sound like the Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight period of the band, with vintage instruments and analog recording. It was a great feeling to create something that sounds like was recorded in the 1970s.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Ricky Phillips by Clicking Here!

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‘Bullet Train’: Christian Burns Discusses A Reunited BBMAK And Infectious New Single

Photo: Allister Ann

Although BBMAK hadn’t released anything collectively since 2002’s Into Your Head, the members of the multi-platinum English-pop group known for hits like “Back Here,” “Still On Your Side,” and “Out Of My Heart,” have remained friends and occasionally found themselves meeting up at various social events.

It was during one of these soirees that an impromptu jam session occurred. A resulting video clip of the performance was posted on social media and instantly went viral, sparking talks of a full-on reunion.

Now, after a fifteen-year hiatus, the reunited members of BBMAK — Mark Barry, Christian Burns and Stephen McNally, are back with an infectious new single, “Bullet Train.” Releasing on Friday, May 3, the track is a small taste of what to expect from the group’s highly-anticipated new album due later this summer.

“Bullet Train” is the logical next step in the band’s evolution. A groove-ridden locomotive of musical maturity, guitar-driven hooks and, of course, the ubiquitous BBMAK signature three-part harmony.

To coincide with the release of the new single, BBMAK will embark on the first leg of the group’s North American “Back Here Tour” which begins May 6 in Boston, MA. Other dates include stops in cities like New York, Detroit, Nashville, Dallas and Chicago.

I recently spoke with BBMak’s Christian Burns about the reunion, “Bullet Train” and more in this exclusive new interview.

How did the BBMAK reunion come about?

Even though we hadn’t done a show or anything together since 2003 we’ve stayed in touch and remained friends and gotten together at various events. We had an event a few years ago where we got out the guitars and had a jam. I posted a video of us singing “Back Here” on Facebook and it went crazy. It had about two million views. We really enjoyed singing together again and it morphed into where we’re at now — our first new album in fifteen years and about to hit the road and go back on tour. It naturally felt like the right time to do it.

What was it like getting back in the recording studio again as BBMAK?

It was like riding a bike. You never forget. We hadn’t written in the same room for many years so we just got the guitars out and had a jam. I remember the first day we came out with four really strong ideas. Two of which are on the new album.

Let’s discuss the new single, “Bullet Train.”

That was one of the ones we wrote on the first day we got together. We liked the feel and drive of it. It’s the glue and transition from the last album to where we are now. We’re excited to get it out there.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Christopher Burns by Clicking Here!

‘Winds of Change’: Legendary Singer/Songwriter Jim Peterik Discusses New World Stage Album

Nearly twenty years after the release of “Jim Peterik’s World Stage,” the legendary singer/songwriter and Ides of March frontman is back with one of the biggest and most grandiose albums of the year, ‘Winds of Change.’

Set for release on April 26 ‘Winds of Change’ features Peterik collaborating with an arsenal of melodic rock’s greatest superstars, including Dennis DeYoung (ex-Styx), Kevin Chalfant (ex-The Storm), Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger), Toby Hitchcock (Pride Of Lions), Mike Reno (Loverboy) and Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon). As an added bonus, ‘Winds of Change’ also features the previously unreleased track, “Love You All Over The World,” sung by the late Jimi Jamison.

Jim Peterik and World Stage arose from the idea that the musical and spiritual collaboration of great artists and friends could make something magical. ‘Winds of Change’ continues that trend by not only displaying the versatility and talents of Peterik but also the musical embellishment by a seasoned (and legendary) cast of singers, musicians and friends.

I recently spoke with Jim Peterik about ‘Winds of Change’ and more in this exclusive new interview.

What inspired the new World Stage album?

Jim Peterik: It was a phone call put me in motion. I’m a non-stop writer. Every day I’m writing concepts and pieces of songs and looking for a reason to rally the troops and put out something meaningful. One day I got a call from Serafino Perugino,who’s a great friend and mentor. He was a big fan of the first World Stage album and told me that it was time for a new album. I got to work and started making calls to the people I wanted to be involved, including Don Barnes [38 Special], Kevin Chalfant, Toby Hitchcock [Pride of Lions], Kevin Cronin [REO Speedwagon], The Nelsons and Kelly Keagy [Night Ranger].

Let’s talk about a few songs from the new album, starting with the title track. What can you tell me about “Winds of Change?”

About a year ago I was writing songs with Don Barnes and Danny Chauncey for a new 38 Special album. One of the songs was called “Winds of Change.” It was my favorite of the new songs we’d written. When I was asked about doing a new World Stage album I asked Don about finishing up a song to use. That’s when he said, “Well, how about ‘Winds of Change’?” I was like, “Oh, hell yeah! [laughs]”. I was blown away. So, I got a final vocal from Don, took it back to Chicago and built the track around it. It was a blessing that he let me use a track that was earmarked for a 38 Special album.

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

Interview: Dan Rather Discusses The New Season of AXS TV’s ‘The Big Interview’

Photo: Stewart Volland AXS-TV

AXS TV’s acclaimed series, “The Big Interview With Dan Rather” shines a spotlight on some of the world’s most beloved and influential artists and performers. Each week legendary newsman Dan Rather is joined by members of entertainment royalty discussing each artist’s lives, legacies and careers.

The series returns for an exciting seventh season on Tuesday, April 16 at 8 p.m. ET with an exclusive sit-down interview with one of rock’s all-time greatest vocalists, Steve Perry. Future episodes include candid conversations with KISS frontman Paul Stanley; pop pioneer Cyndi Lauper; Foreigner members Mick Jones and Lou Gramm; REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin, Neal Doughty, Bruce Hall, Dave Amato and Bryan Hitt; Oscar-Winning actor, writer, director and musician Billy Bob Thornton; comedy legend Carl Reiner and his son, acclaimed filmmaker Rob Reiner; iconic Country star Travis Tritt; celebrated singer/songwriter and guitarist Boz Scaggs and multi-talented musician and radio host Paul Shaffer.

In this exclusive interview, Dan Rather speaks with members of the press, including Go Jimmy Go, Guitar International, KXEL in Iowa, Best Classic Bands and Focus On The 615, about the new season of “The Big Interview” and much more.

How did “The Big Interview” get started?

“The Big Interview” was Mark Cuban’s idea when he re-purposed what used to be known as HD-NET. When I started with Mark we were doing a news program on HD-NET, and when he renamed the channel to be a go-to place for pop culture, he proposed I do these kinds of interviews. I had some reservations about how they’d be but decided to try a few. The rest, as they say, is history.

You’ve interviewed a lot of top musicians over the course of your career. When did you become a fan of music?

I grew up in Texas in the 1930’s and 1940’s and in the early part of my life, if Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb or Roy Acuff didn’t sing it then I didn’t know it. I’ve never been musically inclined to play an instrument but as life went on I developed a liking for all kinds of music. My knowledge wasn’t broad or deep but in doing “The Big Interview” it’s increased. It’s been a real education for me.

Of all the shows you’ve done, what have been some of the biggest surprises?

I’ve had a lot of surprises. Steve Perry had a justified reputation of being a recluse and someone who didn’t welcome interviews. I was a little worried going in but discovered that just the opposite was true. He came to play and was really in the moment. Paul Stanley was another. Most know that he was born with a deformed ear. He was thoughtful and introspective about discussing it and talked about how it affected his life as a child and later, his life as an adult. When he was discussing that I felt we were really discussing one of our goals, which is to get to the interior of the person.

Are there any other country artists you’d like to have on “The Big Interview”?

I’d like to sit down with Alan Jackson. He doesn’t do a lot of interviews but he’s on my list. Then there’s Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown and Garth Brooks. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to get them all somewhere in the near future.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve learned about interviewing that you can pass along?

There are two big things, whether you’re just starting out as an interviewer or have been at it for years. The fundamentals begin with preparation, preparation and preparation. Right behind that is being able to listen carefully. It’s one thing to hear. It’s another to listen carefully. Pick up on things your subject says as a way of forming questions. Don’t be chained to a list of questions you’ve written down or memorized. I’ve spent my life interviewing rock stars, celebrities, kings and dictators but the basics never change – prepare and listen carefully. The more preparation you do the better the interview is going to be.

REO Speedwagon with Dan Rather – Photo: Ian Vecchiotti The BMP Film Co

Sometimes an interview can become a conversation and can roll on and on. Have you found some that you wish kept going?

One that immediately comes to mind was with Sammy Hagar. He’s funny, has a great sense of humor and endless anecdotes and stories. Some of which may even be true [laughs]. Another was one of the early interviews with Jack White. I wasn’t familiar with Jack and didn’t know his music, but he was so intelligent and I could’ve talked to him for hours. Travis Tritt is another terrific guy and good person who has such a reverence for the traditions of country music, which I could relate to. Carl and Rob Reiner were also entertaining. I wish that interview could’ve gone on all afternoon. 

Are there any thoughts you’d like to share on the current state of our country and world?

Like most people, I’m concerned about what we’ve become as a country. I worry about the world in the sense of things like nuclear annihilation and climate change. But my overall thought is that if we stay steady and concentrate on the things that unite us instead of divide us we’ll be all right. I’m an optimist by nature. It may be a long valley but we’ll come out and be better on the other end. 

What do you find most gratifying about doing “The Big Interview”?

I never was or ever intended to be the smartest guy in the room, but I’ve always loved to learn. In doing these shows I’ve learned a lot about people. It’s like going to graduate school about humans. Having this program at my age and doing work that I really enjoy; my gratitude runs deep.

The Big Interview With Dan Rather” premieres Tuesday, April 16th at 8 p.m. ET on AXS-TV.

Season 7 Line-up:

April 16 – Steve Perry
April 23 – Paul Stanley
April 30 – Cyndi Lauper
May 7 – Foreigner (Mick Jones & Lou Gramm)
May 14 – REO Speedwagon (Kevin Cronin, Neal Doughty, Bruce Hall, Dave Amato & Bryan Hitt)
May 21 – Billy Bob Thornton
May 28 – Carl and Rob Reiner
June 4 – Travis Tritt
June 11 – Boz Scaggs
June 18 – Paul Shaffer

AXS TV’s Original Series, ‘The Big Interview’ Kicks Off 7th Season with Former Journey Front Man Steve Perry

AXS TV’s acclaimed series, “The Big Interview With Dan Rather” shines a spotlight on some of the most beloved and influential artists and performers. Each week, legendary newsman Dan Rather is joined by members of entertainment royalty discussing each artist’s lives, legacies and careers.

The series returns for a seventh season on Tuesday, April 16 with an exclusive sit-down interview with one of rock’s all-time greatest vocalists, Steve Perry. The hour-long episode features the former Journey frontman candidly discussing his life growing up and his decison to leave the band at the height of their success. A decision brought on by an overwhelming feeling that the passion for music had left him. Perry also reflects on his life growing up a child of divorce, the highs and lows of fame, and about finding the love of his life.

Sneak Peek: Steve Perry recalling the origin of the band’s monster hit, “Don’t Stop Believin” and sharing an amazing story of how the song almost didn’t make it into the season finale of “The Sopranos”.

Sneek Peek: Perry discussing his amazing new album, Traces. Later, he’ll take Rather into the studio for some behind the scenes secrets.

If you are a fan of Steve’s music or Journey, you won’t want to miss this episode.

The new season of “The Big Interview” also includes convesations with KISS frontman Paul Stanley; pop pioneer Cyndi Lauper; Foreigner members Mick Jones and Lou Gramm; REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin, Neal Doughty, Bruce Hall, Dave Amato and Bryan Hitt; Oscar Winning actor, writer, director and musician Billy Bob Thornton; comedy legend Carl Reiner and his son, acclaimed filmmaker Rob Reiner; iconic Country star Travis Tritt; celebrated singer/songwriter and guitarist Boz Scaggs and multi-talented musician and radio host Paul Shaffer, among others…

AXS TV’S The Big Interview With Dan Rather line-up  (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET):

April 16 – Steve Perry
April 23 – Paul Stanley
April 30 – Cyndi Lauper
May 7 – Foreigner (Mick Jones & Lou Gramm)
May 14 – REO Speedwagon (Kevin Cronin, Neal Doughty, Bruce Hall, Dave Amato & Bryan Hitt)
May 21 – Billy Bob Thornton
May 28 – Carl and Rob Reiner
June 4 – Travis Tritt
June 11 – Boz Scaggs
June 18 – Paul Shaffer

Interview: Kiefer Sutherland Discusses His New Album, ‘Reckless & Me’

Actor and guitarist Kiefer Sutherland, who has more than 300 shows under his belt and a lifetime of love for music and storytelling, will release his sophomore album, Reckless & Me,” on April 26. The 10-track opus follows on the heels of Sutherland’s acclaimed debut, Down in a Hole, which showcased his infectious brand of Americana/country-rock and his whiskey-soaked growl.

Produced by Jude Cole, Reckless & Me also highlights Sutherland’s master storytelling ability, particularly on songs like “Something You Love,” “Open Road” and the locomotive-like “This Is How It’s Done.” All of which lend themselves equally well to both the record and live performance.

Guitar World recently spoke with Sutherland about guitars, songwriting, Reckless & Me and more in this exclusive interview.

What originally inspired you to record your own music?

I never intended to make a record. I had a bunch of songs I liked and took them to my best friend and incredible producer, Jude Cole, with the possibility of sending them off to see if another artist would record them. After the first few songs Jude said, “I think these are great and you should make a record.” Being incredibly aware of the stigma of an actor doing music I was a bit hesitant, but we decided to record a few more songs to see where we were at. I think it was somewhere around the sixth song that I realized how much I loved the songs and the way Jude was making them sound. We decided to move forward and made the record Down in a Hole and it was one of the best times of my life.

What was the musical direction for the new album, Reckless & Me?

Even though a few of the songs on the new album were inspired by things that happened in my life, a lot of them are songs I wanted for our live set. I thought, Wouldn’t it be great if we had a kick-ass honkytonk song with a driving beat to get the audience moving? That’s when I wrote “This Is How It’s Done.” Then Jude and Brian MacLeod (drummer) sped it up with a relentless locomotive-doing-100-mph backbeat. That song went on the record because I knew it would be great for our set. Then there’s “Something You Love,” which is another driving song that Jude and I wrote together. Instead of sitting in the studio thinking about what sounds would work or what was the most emotionally moving, the choice and direction of the songs for the album were ones that would make for a better show. I’m thrilled with how the record came out and am so excited to be able to go out and play it.

What’s your songwriting process like?

I usually have a guitar with me so typically what I’ll do is noodle around until I find a few chords I like that sound good together. Then it becomes a matter of finding out where they go. The thing I love about acting and songwriting is being able to tell an interesting story. So, if I can get a lyrical idea down, I’ll usually come up with a melody as well. Sometimes Jude will even alter the melody, which is why we always write together. He has a great melodic sense.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Kiefer Sutherland by Clicking Here!

Interview: ZFG’s Trev Lukather and Josh Devine discuss new music, debut tour

Prior to their creatively joining forces, guitarist Trev Lukather (son of guitarist Steve Lukather) and drummer Josh Devine (One Direction) were already friends, but each was working on separate, pop-oriented projects. It wasn’t until the duo decided to get together in the studio with the idea of crafting music with no rules or boundaries that ZFG (“Zero F#cks Given”) was born.

Rounded out by vocalist Jules Galli and bassist Sam Porcaro, ZFG combines anthemic hooks with a heavy, Earth Wind & Fire vibe to create a sound that not only captures the band’s vast musical influences and repertoire but also ushers in a refreshing landscape of insatiable tone and texture. A feat that’s evidenced with the release of their new single, “Special” — a funk-rock groove fest which features guest percussion by the legendary Lenny Castro. The new song could not come at a better time, as ZFG prepares to embark on its first tours this spring with Adelitas Way and The Winery Dogs.

AXS recently spoke with Trev Lukather and Josh Devine about ZFG, songwriting, music and more in this new interview.

AXS: How did ZFG come together?

Trev Lukather: Josh and I met through mutual friends. I’d heard a lot about him and knew that his playing was badass but at the time, he was in a project and I was doing my own pop-oriented thing. When we finally met the two of us hit it off right away.

Josh Devine: One day we decided to book a studio session and write a few songs without any rules. Something that would showcase us as players and songwriters but also the fundamentals of what we enjoy – rock-oriented music with great groove and melody. We got in and the flavor was right. At the end, we decided to name the session ZFG (Zero F#ks Given) because that was genuinely what the project was about. No one was telling us what to do or play. We did whatever we wanted. Then Sam and Jules came in and added their own unique flavor to the mix. ZFG was born.

AXS: What’s the band’s songwriting process like?

TL: It usually starts with me picking up a guitar and jamming some riffs. Then the rest of the guys join in and we all start jamming together, picking out parts and bringing them all together. In every session we’ve done as a band there hasn’t been one song that we haven’t gotten giddy about. It’s the perfect bottle of deliciousness.

JD: It’s rare to be with a bunch of people where everything you write is special. I think it’s because it’s authentic and we love what we do.

Read the rest of my
Interview with ZFG by Clicking Here!