Rusty Cooley and Day of Reckoning: Overlooked and Utterly Brilliant

By Andrew Catania

To truly become an expert in a field, it is said that one must practice 10,000 hours of their skill or art. With his early start in life and dedicated approach to playing guitar, it is no surprise that Rusty has been recognized as one of the most skilled guitarists in the contemporary world.

Cooley first picked up a guitar at the age of 15 and fell in love with it. Although he took a few lessons from local guitar instructors and practiced more than four hours a day, he soon realized that the instructors were a waste of time. He focused on a self-learning approach and is today known to be one of the fastest guitarists in the United States and an in icon in the shredding technique of guitar playing.

Since his third year of playing, Rusty himself went into teaching to overcome the mediocre standard of teachers available for learners. In 2003, he released a self-titled album called “Rusty Cooley”. He overlooked the production and collaborated with extraordinary talents to create the music.

Recently, Cooley is working with a new band – Day of Reckoning, which was formed in 2010.

On November 21st,2015, the band released hard copies of their album “Into the Fire,” in two parts and each featured 5 groundbreaking tracks. While the band and Cooley are not mainstream or commercially popular, his technical skill and ability have earned him the title of being “the leading light of the post-Malmsteen shred-volution,” by Guitar Player Magazine. He has released 4 albums, has appeared as a guest guitarist in 7 albums released by incredible bands such as All Shall Perish, Austrian Death Machine, and Rings of Satum.

A true-blue musician, Cooley exemplifies the real meaning of music and is an icon for guitar learners. His free online tutorials inspire millions to follow his instructions and he is inspiring a whole generation of guitarists to learn from his techniques – creating nothing short of a legendary cult following for Rusty Cooley.

Underrated and left sidetracked, Day of Reckoning is that one rare golden bird hidden away under the debris of dust in a forgotten, overcrowded thrift store. It is Cooley’s incredible technique that has led to the metal and rock world raving about Rusty and his new band. It is also Cooley’s technique that has led to Mark Tremonti from the iconic band Creed to state that Day of Reckoning’s new single is “brutal without losing its solid melodic core.”

Day of Reckoning is a legend in the making – if only people were more aware of its existence. I urge everyone to look under that dusty shelf to find yourself a golden bird you’d never wish for to fly away.

http://dayofreckoning.bandcamp.com

www.reverbnation.com/dayofreckoning

www.twitter.com/DoRrustycooley

www.youtube.com/MrRustyCooley

www.psychonautstudios.com

www.rustycooley.com

Orange Amplification Company

By Andrew Catania

Aside from the unique name, a vibrant logo, sound market repute and a thriving business profile, Orange Amplification Company enjoys an unrivaled supremacy in the music industry through its upbeat gadgets, avante-garde gears, value-adding effects and state-of-the-art instruments. The company produces high-grade and splendid generic as well as personalized music instruments that have become the ultimate heartbeat for musicians around the world.

When the founder, Cliff Cooper, set up the first outlet of the company 47 years ago in September 1968, little did he expect that the small venture, one that only started with a single customized guitar, would become the lifeline for hundreds of musicians in the coming decades. The shop was started with a single Vox PA that Cooper had personally modified. The only piece was sold the same day, and it turned out to be a good omen for Cliff Copper who made the product profile undergoes a gradual expansion over time.

While the company initially resorted to designing modified variants of guitars and selling pre-loved pieces as well, the master luthier was consumed in his virtuosic artisanship by designing customized cabs, effect pedals and gears for the guitar. The expansion was warmly greeted by the musical community.

It was not just about the tone though; the guitars, cabs, and amps designed by Cliff Cooper were a real treat for the eye as well. Featuring a scintillating vinyl exterior, hieroglyphic amp gears and doused to hold a royal and elegant appeal, the Orange Amplification Company has redefined the stature and standards for contemporary luthiers through its masterpieces ever since its launch.

Seeking feedback and incorporating tips from major dignitaries such as Paul Kussof and Peter Green in the fundamental circuitry of his designs, Cliff Cooper’s signature instruments were no match to their contemporaries in terms of the quality of tones. Enchanted by the unique spell of the tones, the Orange Amplification Shop started gaining the interest of eminent musicians of the era. The shop gradually turned into a hangout spot and was frequented by music luminaries such as Eric Clapton, Marc Bolan, Paul Kussoff, and Peter Green. In 2 years’ time, the company had already expanded its clientele, including more legendary names such as Jimmy Page, John Mayall, Stevie Wonder, and James Brown into the list.

The 1970s started with a booming sale of Orange amps, and the improvisations turned out to be just the right charm to impress the blues-influenced rock maestros such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Free. Within a short time, the 80 and 120-watt classic amps outclassed Marshall’s amp sale figures. While the Orange Amplification Company was basking in the full glory of fame and business, the abrupt influx of the electronic revolution in the 1980s brought about a partial setback to rock music, bringing about a decline in the orange amp sales figures.

As the electronic revolution went into hibernation by the end of the 1980s, the 1990s instilled a fresh breath into the presumed corpse of rock and brought it back to life. Several rock bands which were waiting for the tides to turn in favor of rock music immediately landed on Orange Company’s floor to fuel the booming genre with authentic, British tones. Not looking back since, the company regained its top sales spot in 1998 with the launch of its premium AD series.

The company still rules the music world and has been designing premium and customized amps, gears and instruments for a variety of genres. The company has also undergone a massive expansion over time and has ventured into designing special apparels for musicians, even a smart PC tailored especially for the young, tech-savvy musicians of today.

Remembering Dimebag

By Andrew Catania

Darrel Lance Abbott, more familiarly known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell was born on August 20th, 1960 in Texas. Although it was his virtuosic guitar playing and fine lyrics composition that brought him fame, this might come as a surprise to many of his fans that Dimebag started playing as a drummer, while his brother Vinnie Paul practiced his fingers on the whammy bars.

Later, as Vinnie’s aptitude veered off from the chords to skins, Dimebag Darrell took hold of the guitar. The chords suited perfectly complemented the musical flair that his fingers possessed and there was no turning back for him. Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul formed their first band called Pantera’s Metal Magic, which gradually evolved, gained prominence and became Pantera of today.

Since the very start, Dimebag Darrell’s playing techniques exhibited a clear non-conformity to the conventional playing styles in various genres. He attempted to improvise his metal forte through strong doses of groove. Combining the essence of heavy metal with groove, Dimebag Darrell is one of the pioneers who evolved, nurtured and promoted the groove metal genre.

Dimebag Darrell was an inspiration for many budding musicians for his virtuosic groovy techniques. Yet he himself was a diehard fan of American rock band Kiss and was particularly inspired by Kiss’ lead guitarist Ace Frehley. He often mentioned that his primary influences were drawn from the likes of Tony Iommi, Pete Willis, and Eddie Van Halen. 

His professional music career, spanning over a good 25 years from 1979 to 2004, is an era that is punctuated with multiple associations, experimentations, and his contribution towards progressing groove metal, and numerous solos and joint feats.  Aside from his cofounded brainchild Pantera, Dimebag Darrell had partnered and performed with Damageplan, Anthrax, Pumpjack, King Diamond, Gasoline, and Rebel Meets Rebel.

Darrel started playing on a Hondo’s version of Les Paul and later switched over to playing on a variety of other guitars, including cherry sunburst, ML, his personalized ‘Dean from Hell’, Dean ML, Jackson Rhoads, and a blue Hamer ML. Dean Guitars and Washburn Guitars have also released signature Dimebag models for his fans and inspired musicians.

In recognition of his immense contribution to metal instrumentals and his signature grooves, Guitar Player magazine listed Dimebag Darrell as one of the bearers of ‘The 50 Greatest Tones of All Times’. Rolling Stone Magazine placed him at 92nd rank in the list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Times. UK’s Metal Hammer Magazine ranked him as the best guitarist of all times. Aside from the media appraise and popular opinion, Dimebag Darrel was declared as one of the most influential stylists driving the progression of modern metal.

Dimebag Darrell had delivered fiery performance on his tours and concerts, completely stealing the shows through his blazing and enthralling tones. During one such performance, with the crew of Damageplan in Ohio, an armed man opened fired at Dimebag Darrell live at the stage. Darrell was severely wounded by multiple straight head shots and could not survive this murderous assault. Darrell was buried in full honor, along with his favorite Bumblebee Charvel Hybrid VH2 that was presented to him by the maestro Eddie Van Halen.

John 5: Underrated and Very Talented

By Andrew Catania

John William Lowery, aka John 5, is an American metal guitarist best known for his versatility that has evolved from a gradual transition from one genre to another. Having tested his mettle with a number of instruments and in different genres, John 5 celebrates the uniqueness of his style that makes him stand out and outshine, successfully making it through multiple eras since 1987.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, it was a kid’s TV show that sparked his passion for music. Having gained the support and encouragement from his family, little John started playing at a local bar at the young age of 7. This focus helped him polish his natural strengths and acquire an elementary knowledge that later provided a sound ground for him to experiment and improvise on. While his initial aptitude was heavily inclined towards the country and bluegrass genres, his style was also influenced by the likes of Eddie Van Halen, The Monkeys, Jimi Hendrix, and Yngwie Malmsteen.

By the time he turned 17, John 5 formally started his music career by joining Alligator Soup, an underground band in Los Angeles. Although the band was still in its incubation phase and did not have a significant feat on its part aside from a couple of performances, the style and technique of John 5 were bold enough to catch the interest of Rudy Sarzo. After a small series of consultations and meetings with him, he officially offered John 5 to join Sun King.

The association brought him into the limelight and opened up doors for many future associations, the most promising of which turned out to be the one he had with producer Bob Marlette. After a couple of meetings, he assigned him a couple of his projects, including movie scores and television commercials. Meanwhile, he also expanded his domain of collaboration and partnered with Lita Ford, Paul Stanley, Randy Castillo and other members of Kiss.

In the later part of 1996, John 5 became a part of a temporary band setting formed by Rob Halford, Ray Riendeau, James Wooley, and Sid Riggs which was called 2wo. Although their first release titled ‘Voyeurs’ did not fare well, it did not revoke or decelerate the pace of prominence John 5 had started achieving due to his unique techniques. His next milestone made him meet his childhood dream in the face of David Lee Roth. After contributing a couple of lyrics for his songs, Lowery moved on to partner with Marilyn Manson and was later recalled by David Lee Roth to write lyrics for his upcoming album ‘Diamond Dave’.

John 5’s career is entailed with many notable associations with numerous bands and music virtuosos. Aside from David Lee Roth and Marilyn Manson, John 5 has teamed up with an impressive array of bands and groups such as Rob Zombie, Loser, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Red Square Black and Meat Loaf. He has also focused on establishing his solo profile since 2004 and has added a significant number of studio albums, single tracks, and DVDs to his profile.

John 5 continues to rule his forte and has been raising the bar through his smooth and fluid tones that transition from the country and bluegrass to the metal and industrial genres. Fusing the essence of a variety of genres, John 5 still has a long way to go to amaze and enthrall the music enthusiasts through his innovative and groundbreaking techniques.

Is Rusty Cooley the Modern Day Randy Rhoads? Or Better?

By Andrew Catania

Declared as a ‘Master Shredder’ and one of the ‘Fastest Guitarists in the World’, Rusty Cooley, aged 46, has managed to lift himself to legendary status in a short span of time. Rusty is praised widely for his highly refined guitar techniques, and has made significant contributions to his genre; he has embarked on a journey to impart the treasure trove of knowledge he has gained over time to the budding music generations of today.

Rusty’s entire career and all notable achievements on his profile revolve have stemmed from his non-conformity for the conventional techniques and his penchant to push the boundaries of his forte and refine his skills in the sphere of improvisation. Having set his fingers on the chords at the tender age of 15, Rusty initially landed under the supervision of some guitar instructors. Disgruntled by their typical, and current patterns of tones and techniques, Rusty decided to take a solo flight and embarked on a journey to strengthen his knowledge and nurture his natural skill sets through a self-taught methodology. His learning style was based on the main parameters such as trial, error, improvisation, and perfection. This, coupled with his dedication and commitment towards his passion, has brought out the bets in him. It is no wonder that he is acclaimed as a truly virtuosic master musician today.

Rusty’s playing technique is neat, and a sure tell of his expertise at fine, harmonized and well-grounded articulation of tones. The graduation, density, and versatility of his sound have evolved through consistent refinements. Rusty possesses a sound knowledge base about a variety of playing styles and genres. This great command over the playing intricacies of multiple genres has enabled him to imply improvisations in heavy, progressive and power metal genre which is his prime forte.

Rusty was primarily influenced and inspired by legendary music virtuosos, including eminent names such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Vinnie Moore, Paul Gilbert, Randy Rhoads and Tony MacAlpine. However, his technique is majorly compared with the likes of Randy Rhoads. Rusty is famous for jamming on a variety of instruments, of which, his personalized six, seven and eight stringed guitars are most noteworthy.

Rusty’s signature style of sweep picking has stemmed from the original sweep picks of Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen. He set on to master the art of sweep picking at a time where the technique was only being practiced by Randy Rhoads and EVH and had yet to gain popularity in the rock and metal world. Rusty plunged into this relatively untapped domain and eventually aced the sweep picking skill.

Aside from that, Rusty also possesses immense expertise over hammer on, alternate picking, pull-offs, and one finger tap.  Rusty is personally fond of incorporating a lot of pinkie-tapping in his tones, a tricky technique that has become his signature. Rusty’s shredding is fast, fluid and dense and each shred is well-established and perfectly designed. Rusty’s tones are smooth and audacious and carved over graduating nuances that give it a fluid flow and an enchanting dexterity.

Rusty’s style makes him an eligible descendant of Randy Rhoads regarding his approach towards music. His tones often reflect the essence of Randy’s picking and those music enthusiasts who have seen the era of Randy Rhoads and the likes, will get it better that Rusty Cooley’s style is a unique and worthy tribute to the legacy of Randy Rhoads.

Interview: Stephen Pearcy – His New Solo Album and Ratt plans

By Andrew Catania

An axeman composer, a master musician, a skilled producer, an excellent lyricist, and an experienced record label owner, Stephen Eric Pearcy is a complete music institution on his own. The prominent music figure rose to a stature of global prominence in the decade of 1980s at the platform of his brainchild RATT, a heavy metal band that he co-founded in 1983, with lead guitarist Robbin Crosby. This joint venture turned out to be a rocking feat and eventually became his original identity. Not looking back since the launch in 1983, RATT ruled the following decades through multiple gold, platinum, and multi-platinum record selling releases.

Unlike his contemporaries, Pearcy had no significant interest in music from his childhood, instead favoring automobiles and car racing. He might have become a race driver, but destiny had other things planned for him. Having met a severe car accident, Stephen fought for his life for six whole months lying on the ICU bed. It was then that someone presented him with a basic acoustic guitar, and Pearcy started fiddling with the chords. The magic of the strings did not take much time to bewitch the sporty Pearcy with its melodious charisma, and after recovering from the accident, Pearcy decided to test his mettle in the metal music domain. After a lot of learning, jamming and a couple of side performances, Stephen Pearcy eventually co-founded Mickey Ratt, which was later named as RATT.

The band established a healthy regional following through frequent performances in eminent local clubs. Then, the release of their first EP brought the band into the limelight. This was just the start for the band. The EP’s success fueled Pearcy’s motivations, and the combined efforts of the lineup resulted in the release of their first album titled ‘Out of the Cellar’ in 1984. The multi platinum album broke all previous records, uplifting the music competition of the decade to a whole new level. However, this too was just a start, and Pearcy was determined to bag more success and fame.

At a time when RATT was ruling the music charts with its fiery performances and had already had three gold-selling albums and four multiplatinum-selling albums, Pearcy’s restless nature compelled him to take the high road, and he eventually bid farewell to the band in 1992.

Despite his other associations with Arcade, Vertex, Vicious Delite and special guest appearances, it is still RATT that accounts for his original identity in the domain of music. He has tested his skills in some genres such as rock, industrial and heavy, glam and alternative metal, on a variety of instruments. He has also established a sound solo portfolio and launched his record label in 1995. Stephen Pearcy has also pursued a career in acting and holds some significant appearances in Camp Utopia and Wicked City to his name. Stephen Pearcy is now entirely focused on extending his solo profile. He ran his label called ‘Top Fuel Records’ and published his biography titled “Sex, Drugs and Ratt ‘n’ Roll” in 2014.

We recently had a formal chit chat with the versatile maestro about his past, influences, techniques, his upcoming solo record and personal viewpoint about his association with RATT. Here is the interview, presented with all the intricate details for his fans and music enthusiasts. Read on.

I listened to your album it sounds excellent.  It brings me back to the Sweet Cheater days of RATT.  

Ah, I’m glad you said that!  Thank you.  That was a conscious thing to do.

Ok.  This album, I am reading what you said, the creativity was different from your previous bands.  How was that?

You mean with Ratt?

Yes.  Ratt or Arcade

Yes.  My solo stuff,  especially with my co-writer Erik, my lead guitar player is the stuff we do it could cover something like very Zeppelin like ‘73 to the boldest thing on the planet.  That’s what I like about how we write; it gives me room to move in other directions.  What was a conscious decision with Smash was to make sure this record had a lot of diversity and all songs got the same attention?  It was a beginning and end and some stuff in there you know, Kix is for kids, that kind of thing. It was way different.  It took a while to record this album to write it and everything.  We wrote so much music, and every time we thought we were onto something he would show me something else, and I would go nope that’s number one now.  So this was constantly happening, and the songs just kept getting better and better, and I’m able to do a lot more with my solo music, talk about things.  You know a little more mind expanding per say or just stretch you know the light and the dark and the colors to change to ebb and flow everything. We wanted this record to have everything. It was just like the EP, and that’s where we made sure we were conscious that there was a lot of breathing room in most of this material.  That it just wasn’t cluttered and there was room to breathe like the EP you know or at least other songs that I wrote back in the day.

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This has got Ratt written all over it. I mean I know you’re trying to solo, but you’ve got Beau Hill out there mixing it

Yes, I’ve got to clarify something.  Beau Hill mixed and mastered one song.  We couldn’t get him to the full project, so we pretty much took that schematic from I Can’t Take It, and we just went from there but I still have a song in the can that he mixed and mastered.  We tried everything with this record there was no stone left unturned when it came to this, ideas and just being diverse.  Like Physical Graffiti or something.  I wasn’t trying to accomplish Physical Graffiti. Otherwise,  there would have been 20 songs.  I had the 20 songs.  I get to stretch more with my solo stuff, and a song like Ten Miles Wide is going to be the video single before the record is released.  We start shooting in about a week.  That is Erik my guitar player channeling Robbin Crosby without a doubt.  It is something Robbin would have come up with without a doubt, you know. Right out of the box you know, smack, Ratt! You know what, what can I say, my voice, it doesn’t matter if it’s me doing an industrial record without the Charlie Vortex it’s still my voice and that’s cool but I don’t try to change my voice to suit anything I just try different things and see where it takes me.  It’s like a road trip, and you don’t know where you’re going until you get there. We’re happy with it though we accomplished it.  I’ve only released the lyrics on two records.  One was Detonator which I was reluctant to do and Smash.  On Smash I was thrilled I put the lyrics on there because a lot is going on in that record lyrically that people will open their eye’s to instead of having their eye’s bleeding.  You know a lot is going on in that record inside a distinct tune like Lollipop or something.  I have to have something entertaining in there.  This stuff is interesting,  to say the least you know

Absolutely!  Working with Erik how is that different from working with Warren with songwriting and guitars? 

With Ratt music whether it was Warren or myself or Warren it’s a little more complicated because we know what we have to do and we’re actually kind of demoing stuff now for something later on in the year I hope but with Erik that guy is a writing machine and so am I so if he give’s me something and it hit’s me somewhere I mean it’s done in one day. But with Smash even though we had song’s like that I made sure that the lyrics were as perfect as they could be, said what they had to say and I changed the lyrics so many times on these song’s I mean literally I had lyric’s for song’s and scrapped them and started over but he’s just a writing machine.  He might just come up with a title and say here’s an idea that I have and the next thing you know I’ve got Lyric’s written for this thing already.  It’s crazy! It’s a unique writing situation I have with him I’ve been working with the guy for 15 years now.  He’s been in my solo band so we have this different kind of chemistry to where Warren and the other guy’s in Ratt whether it was Robbin or Juan or collectively all of us or one of us or two of us it’s a little more ‘we’re thinking’ Ratt music you know what I mean?

Right

With the solo stuff,  we’re not thinking anything we just go for it and make sure it’s the best we can do

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Your voice sounds a lot better on this album.  Have you re-done anything or is it just activity-wise you’re just stretching yourself out?

Well you know, it’s a slower record it’s a whole different environment number one, number two there’s not a lot of triple tracks, double tracks per say there’s more melody stuff over the lead tracks than anything you know like early Zeppelin or Judas Priest or something it’s just one guy, me, you know. I think there is only one song where Erik sing’s a bridge part, and that is way uncommon.  I took a different approach you know I didn’t want it to be like the Ratt schematic.  It’s unique in itself with Beau, and that’s how we get our sounds.  I sing a central a low and a high and then we throw the melodies over that.  With this record we took the approach like OK we’re just going to do the lead vocal track and then we’re going to put the melodies or whatever below or above it, so we took a different approach, and it’s evident you know what I mean there’s not a lot of poop going on there’s no auto tuning there’s not a lot of crazy stuff going on

Like I said Sweet Cheater sound, there’s just nothing, there’s just you.

Yes and you know it was a conscious thing, so we did accomplish what we wanted.  We started, we made sure we stayed true to what we were doing and just went for it, and if it weren’t right we’d put it aside and get back to it later, and if we didn’t like it, we’d start on something else.  That’s the way it works when I do solo stuff now, so it worked out for good. We spent a lot of time it was probably three month’s in the studio off and on, but it was more like a year of writing

OK.  You still have your label correct?

Yes! That I started in ‘95 yes. I licensed a record to Frontiers

That was my next question. How did you get involved with Frontiers?  Because I know you have so much going on you’re a producer you’re a label, you’re a director, drag racing you’ve got your hands in all kinds of stuff

Yes,  the last thing I did is I’m trying to get into music with tv and stuff and still do that.  What I had planned was a four song EP release and then when Frontiers got wind of I Can’t Take It and stuff they showed interest in Shulman who’s an old Atlantic relation so I was like OK well sure let me instigate this I usually do my stuff so I pretty much went for it and jumped tracks as I said and the next thing you know it was like alright you’re doing a full record now so let’s get busy, and we did.  We just went at it and gave him the best thing we could give him.

Regarding licensing with Frontiers are you just doing a one album deal or do you have commitments after that with them depending on how this does?

No,  I believe there is an option yes.  I’m sure we’ll do another solo record with them yes.  First I’ve got to get a Ratt record out

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Is all of the legal stuff done between all parties involved with Ratt?

Yes the dust has settled pretty much, and it’s getting cemented, and yes the thing with Ratt is to look,  we have the ability to say look we don’t want to do anything for a year or two or three it’s just pen’s right, so that’s what happens. As we were doing that Warren didn’t want to go out there without all of us ‘the original’ and someone just decided well I’m going out there and I’m going to do my own thing and I’m going to call it this.  Well,  unfortunately, that was a bad move not only for our fans but business and the real integrity of the entity.  So hence this person created all these things going down.  I don’t want to mention names or bad rap or nothing because justice is peace and things are done and taken care of and like I say the dust has pretty much settled and we’re going out and doing our thing.  Ratt’s first show is February 11th, and then we headline M3 you know a lot is going on there, but it’s got to be done right.  There’s a lot of this mess created but one thing you can’t do especially a person who didn’t write music or anything is trying to change a course of history and its four member’s you know, and that was the worst thing I thought possible you know we’re not ones to get out there and chit chat for the sake of doing it.  It’s not like the Hitler approach where you tell the people the same thing enough they’ll believe it.  Our audience isn’t that stupid.  They’re brilliant they’ve been around for thirty years you know.  You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of them hence things took care of themselves pretty much and so we’re moving ahead.  A lot more to go down and like I said Warren, and I have already started dabbling and writing, and we’ll see what happens.  We’d like to get something out sometime this year, but we’ve still got a lot to accomplish and take it slow and easy and make sure it’s done right time and make sure there’s no if and’s or buts and hopefully,  we can have another few years out there for everybody.

Absolutely without a shadow of a doubt! Do you think there is any reconciliation between you and Bobby Blotzer?

No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK. No all I know is there are Warren and myself, and Juan and Carlos are back in the game, and we’ll figure out who’s on the fifth when we get there.

Carlos was a great addition to the last album

Yes.  The first two songs Carlos and I wrote for Infestation.  It was crazy. I sunk my teeth into those songs so fast.  Some things just happen the same with writing with Erik or Warren sometimes.  The last thing I just did with Warren him and I he showed me this riff and the next thing you know I’m in there singing and writing lyrics, and we’re looking at each other going this is cool, and this was what, a few weeks ago?  I just like writing.  I don’t stop, but I do have an obligation with Smash, and it’s an excellent record, and it needs to be heard it needs to be out there. We’ll be out there playing a lot of songs from it live.  Some Arcade.  I’ve got Frank back on guitar from Arcade, my solo band

No way did you?

Yes! He’s back in the mix and-and, so we’re ready to go.  We’re going to have a good time and like I say Ratt’s gearing up to do some good things nothing to be able to talk about now really, but it will be a beautiful, fulfilling year, to say the least.

When you look at Arcade, the first one A/2 that came out if the grunge thing did not take that would have been a platinum-selling album.  I still play Arcade in the car to this day.

I love that record

Nothing To Lose your vocals you were spot on. I thought that was one of your best albums vocally
Thank you

I still play it and these kids today say who’s this?  Is it Ratt?  I said no Stephen Pearcy is from Ratt, but this is Arcade you’ve got Fred Coury on drums you guys were just in tune.

You know I’ve got to tell you that was Johnny Angel co-wrote all those songs with Fred and myself and it’s one of those records that just happened you know.  Every song it was just almost handed to us lyrics came easy it just came easy it was a great deal.  We had Epic/Sony behind us, and I didn’t skip a beat you know we were just off and ran.  I wrote again got diversity with Mother Blue Sons And Daughters and then Nothing To Lose I wrote with Jim Vallance.  Never Going Home, Jim Vallance I mean that was an excellent record.  The second was a little more aggressive.  I had Holford solo producer in there, and so that was a bit more aggressive.  I still like that record too but the first one, it’s one of my favorite records.

You have a busy year ahead of you I know you host M3 you guy’s are headlining M3

Yes

Are you going to have your single band with any of the same dates as Ratt or is that going to be a no-no?  

No, they are two different entities.  We plan on doing other stuff with Ratt because we want to get out and start hitting other parts of the planet. We’ll see I mean I’ve been told about some great things that could be happening and tours, and so we’ll see.  Nothing I can say now like I say the dust is still settling and still a lot of things to take care of and once that’s done there’s some good stuff that could be on the horizon there.  You know packaging and getting this out there so.  A year is a long time.  Band’s don’t tour like they used to anymore and I don’t want to you know. I’ll be happy doing two to four solo show’s a month if possible, and with Ratt you never know.  We’re taking it easy, starting carefully you know one step at a time and take it from there

You know the promoters are going to be coming after you guy’s to put you on some festival’s with some big names I am sure because you’ve got pretty much the whole kit and kaboodle of Ratt out there

Yes! It’s going down as we speak, yes!

Your voice sounds great in the past but you seem stronger than ever on this album and I can envision you singing with Ratt and Warren DiMartini I’ve always had him in my articles as one of the top ten greatest guitarist’s of all time and Juan is phenomenal with his bass flipping upside down and everything else we’re going to hear some fantastic song’s that’s why I can imagine we’re going to see you guy’s doing something with some big band’s. 

Yes,  there’s some good stuff in the works.  That’s about all I can say.  We’re very excited first with Smash, and the dust has settled or is settling here with Ratt, and we can put things back into perspective, and the real entity is the people who come out and like what we do.  It’s already 33 years old this month, 33 or 34.  As long as we’re around, I think making the right moves is the only way to go about doing it.  I don’t want to go out year after year after year for the sake of doing it.  It should be special you know, and that’s what it’s going to be
Excellent! Well,  Stephen,  I wish you good luck on your solo album.  It sounds great.  Your voice sounds better than ever.  You sound like I’m 11 years old again popping my Sweet Cheater in and telling my big brother about you guys.  

 

I appreciate that man.  I’ve done so many interviews today, and that’s the first one that hit the nail on the head! That was the approach I wanted to take with these songs to go back to that basic breathing.  You don’t have to think much.  It’s right there in your face, so I’m happy to hear that! Thank you!

Just out of curiosity do you think Detonator was a good album for you guys?

You know you believe in every record you do and you know there’s some record’s like the Yellow record we did it after the fact, and it’s not one of my favorites although there are some moment’s and that’s all you can do. It’s all timing you know.  It’s all everything has to be lined up to get that.  With Detonator we weren’t in a good place you know.  We had been on the road non-stop doing these arena tours for years, record after record and we were pretty crispy, pretty abused and pretty addicted.

(Laughter)

We were a fucking mess and so going into Detonator Robbin wasn’t all there with us so that was the beginning of you know I see the end right there but we had a new start after that probably blessed by him and people who still want to hear us but Detonator to me it was a good record.  You can only do with what you’ve got when you’re given only four colored pencils, and you’re told to create the universe.  You’re given a black pencil, and that’s all you’ve got well you’ve got to make do with it.  That’s about it,  you know. So we did what we could.  I like the record.  There are some great songs on there.  I think Way Cool is on there correct?

 

Way Cool Jr was on Reach For The Sky.  Oh OK, Shame, there are some good songs on there and Child Beyond scratch my head

Yes, Dirty Job

 

Thank you very much for keeping that flame alive with Ratt & Roll and your solo projects.  You’re out there it sounds like you’re on the ball.  That first song that Beau Hall did I said we’re right back to the Sweet Cheater days!

Right on brother, I appreciate it!  Yes, we’re pleased with the record

Alright! Congratulations and I’m sure we’ll be talking soon!

Thank you very much, I appreciate it!!

Interview: Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi

By Andrew Catania

An ace lyricist, a virtuosic composer, and a master producer – Tony Iommi is one of those few legendary names in the rock and the heavy metal world that have contributed their optimum effort to innovate the genre and elevate it to a stature where it stands today.

Born on 19th February 1948 in Birmingham, Tony Iommi was bitten by the music bug early in his life. His primary influences were Hank Marin and the Shadows who inspired him to test his mettle in the music sphere. Iommi picked up the guitar in his early teens. By the time he turned 18, he had established meaningful partnerships with some bands, the most notable of which was with Polka Tulk, a band which was later renamed as Earth.

Polka Tulk’s lineup comprised of Bill Ward (drum), Terry ‘Geezer’ Butler (bass), Ozzy Osbourne (singer), and Tony Iommi (guitar). The band was still going through its incubation phase when Tony had to face a major setback that temporarily snatched the guitar from his hands. The tips of the two fingers on his right hand were chopped in a machine at the factory where he used to work.

The accident had a profound impact on his morale. He was on the verge of permanently giving up on his career when he came across Django Reinhardt, who too had lost two fingers in an accident yet still pursued guitar playing. This instilled a new ray of hope in Tony and compelled him to test his musical fate. Slowly resuming his techniques with plastic tips attached to his damaged hand, Tony embarked on his passion.

As he regained momentum, Tony Iommi was invited to join Jethro Tull in 1968. Since he had already bid farewell to Black Sabbath’s precursor Earth, he hesitantly joined Jethro Tull. The association helped him regain his lost confidence and just after a year, he rejoined Earth’s lineup and the group renamed themselves as Black Sabbath, which they are still known as till date.

The band released its debut album titled ‘Black Sabbath’ in 1970. The feat kick-started Tony’s career not only at Black Sabbath’s platform, but also brought along more opportunities, partnerships, and achievements to his claim. Tony also focused on building his solo debut album titled ‘Iommi’ in 2000.

The notable highlights of Tony’s career include cofounding Black Sabbath, his great solo profile featuring Fused and ‘The 1996 DEP Sessions’, and his major associations with Jethro Tull, Heaven and Hell, Velvet Frog and Mythology. Tony Iommi continues to play for Black Sabbath, and the combined efforts of Tony and his associates have bagged immense success for the band. Tony Iommi’s signature style has evolved to gain a branded stature over time. His deep riffs, fine detuning, improvised parameters and unrivaled mastery over chords has made a name that rhymes along and is synonymous with the rock and heavy metal genre of today.

Tony Iommi has been ranked 25th among the ‘Top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Times’. Celebrating his undisputed axemanship over the genre, Tony Iommi has cast a major influence on the proceeding generations of guitarists worldwide.

Tony, It’s a pleasure speaking with you!  You’ve been an inspiration to many guitarists with your playing.  I’ve always wanted to ask you, how did you get your particular tone at the early beginning of Sabbath?

We played bluesy and jazzy stuff when we first got together with this line-up, and I’d played that stuff with Bill (Ward) before in a band before we got together as Sabbath, and it was one day we just turned it up loud really, and we liked the sound we had. We developed this sound with Geezer and the way he played and the way I played, and it just created that sound with the two guitars. We just worked on the sound that we heard in our heads. I knew I wanted to hear this really big sound in my head and I wanted to make it work from the amplifier, but of course, in them days, the speakers were essential. There was no preamps or anything.

How many guitars do you have on this tour?

I take about 8 – 10 because I have the main ones I use onstage and then I have a backup for each of those you know in case I break a string. But each night there are three main guitars that I use, each with different tunings.

I wanted to ask you about the Epiphone P94 Iommi model, and the humbucker sized P-90 single coil pickups. I’m curious as to why you chose the P-90’s over humbuckers?

You mean my latest Epiphone? Yes, they are the Iommi pickups that I have on the Gibsons, and I came up with those pickups many years ago when I went over to Gibson in Nashville, and we worked for a few weeks on designing these pickups. They’d wire one I’d try it, they’d wire another one, and I’d try it until they found one that I liked, and I’d test them onstage, and you know, I still use them to this day.

Your signature model Tony – the Epiphone Tony Iommi G-400 – with the USA Gibson humbuckers, is that your key guitar and the main one used on stage now?

Well, my main tour guitars are from a company that I’ve used for many years, Jaydee, which until recently came on the road with me. I enjoy the Gibsons and the Epiphones too.  I want to incorporate the Epiphones into the show more, but I only received the new model just before I left England, so I haven’t had the time to work on it, to get it just right.

iommi

Who are your favorite artists these days? Metal or other styles of music?

I listen to a lot of different stuff, and I go through different phases, for example, I might play as silly as it sounds, a Doris Day album for a couple of weeks or Frank Sinatra I play a lot. I like a different amount of things it’s not just all rock or metal stuff. It’s something more relaxing. When you play Sabbath on stage it’s important to have that difference, it’s the spice of life you know.

It’s important to listen to all kinds of music.  With my website, I try and keep “shredding” alive and well.  A lot of the new music tends to forget this sort of music.

You know Andy, I haven’t had much time to listen to current guitarists. I looked at your site, and I like what you’re doing for the instrument. You need that torch to carry on to the next generation.  I mean there’s plenty of great players, but there’s nothing better to me than to hear someone play with great feel. And I think with some of the newer guitar players that are where they’ve missed it a bit, they’ve gone for all this fancy stuff. It comes out more emotionally in the music if you play what you feel. It’s good to have various forms of guitarists showcasing their talent for all to see.

The End tour is not just a goodbye to the fans but also in support of the latest album 13.  Are there any surprises to the setlist that might have Sabbath fans in shock?

Well the setlist is going to be classic Sabbath songs, we’ve brought in a couple of songs that we hadn’t played for many years but it’s mainly the songs that people want to hear, and if you don’t play them people say “well you never played this, you never played that” so you know, the show we put together I think is working really well. I mean we have tried some different things out, but people want to hear the real classics because we can play some tracks off the new album which people like but because it’s the final tour they want the classics that they know, the nostalgia of it all.

Tony thank you for your time!  Thank you for 40 plus years of great music, and I wish you the best for the rest of the Sabbath tour and afterward!

 

Check Tony out @ http://www.iommi.com/

Vito Bratta – White Lion’s Ultimate Roaring Sensation

By Andrew Catania

He emerged on the music sphere, he aced his forte, he redefined the heavy metal genre with his own identity, rocked the music scene of the 1980s and while the music world was still anticipating a lot coming from his camp, left the music world at a time when his work was ruling the music charts. Vito Bratta, the man whose fiery tones fueled the roar of ‘White Lion’ and whose bold style and playing technique had a daring flair about it, silently crept his way out of the music sphere after his prime association disbanded in 1992.

Vito was born on July 1st, 1961 in New York and possessed a natural affinity for music, particularly towards the rock and metal genre. Having plunged into the musical sphere in his teens, the initial years of his career were marred by underground performances, jamming sessions and a temporary association with ‘The Dreamer’. This was his incubation phase that prepared him for the groundbreaking feat destiny was pushing his way.

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Having strengthened his basic skill set and with a firm hand over his forte, Vito Bratta eventually co-founded White Lion with Mike Tramp, an American/Danish metal rock band that rocked the music scene from 1983 until the initial years of the 1990s through their gold and platinum selling records. While Mike Tramp contributed his vocals, Vito composed the lyrics and also played the chords. Vito was primarily influenced by the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, and Neal Schon.

His initial feats do carry a frequent tinge and essence of his influences. He evolved and mastered his own signature style that is unarguably characterized as swift, smooth, vivacious as well as technically dense and detailed. The upbeat music as well as his lively personality made him one of the most eminent faces of the heavy metal domain of the 1980s.

Vito’s association with his brainchild spans over 9 years. Although White Lion did make a revival in the closing years of the 20th century, Vito refused to be a part of it. During his association, Vito made his vital contributions in the form of major feats including the debut album ‘Fight and Survive’, ‘Pride’, ‘Big Game’ and the final release, titled ‘Mane Attraction’, after which the band was disbanded with mutual consent.

Vito Bratta is a name that is still remembered and echoes through the corridors of hard rock and glam metal. His playing style is heavily doused with intricate nuances and rhythmic ascents and descents,  punctuated with plenty of riffs and shreds in between. Often compared to the likes of Eddie Van Halen for his virtuosic playing expertise, it would not be an exaggeration if we say that Vito Bratta’s style and technique was the core ingredient of White Lion’s signature music recipe.

Vito Bratta’s style was a unique fusion of double-handed taps, smooth sweeps, and dense riffing that hovers through the entire melody and leaves the audience spellbound by its audacity. Although he has completely shunned himself from the glitz and glam of the music world since the early 1990s, his technique is still recognized as fresh and unique. He is still praised as a master player who still has a lot in him to strike awe and inspire his loyal fandom.