Doug Aldrich Discusses Burning Rain’s New Album “Face The Music”

By Andrew Catania
BURNING RAIN was established in 1998 by guitarist Doug Aldrich and vocalist Keith St. John. After meeting through mutual friends, Aldrich and St. John commenced work on what would eventually become their self-titled debut album. The 1999 record established BURNING RAIN as a hungry yet seasoned group of musicians. Although the album was limited in its release, it did receive rave reviews from fans and critics alike for their take on heavy, bluesy hard rock. The following year, BURNING RAIN released the follow-up, “Pleasure To Burn” which showed a matured Aldrich-St John collaboration that gained even higher praise than the first album.
In 2001, Aldrich joined DIO and later departed in 2003 as he was approached by David Coverdale to join a newly reformed Whitesnake, while St. John joined forces with guitar legend Ronnie Montrose. While still in WhitesnakeAldrich started working on new BURNING RAIN music, which saw the light of day in 2013 as the album “Epic Obsession”. Their third release was again met with enthusiasm from fans and critics alike. Aldrich would later leave Whitesnake and join The Dead Daisies and Revolution Saints, which left BURNING RAIN on an extended hiatus.
Now, finally, a new album is ready for release! Face the Music is a blues driven hard rock record which is truly a tour-de-force. With a renewed lineup featuring the amazing Blas Elias (SLAUGHTER) on drums and bassist Brad Lang (Y&T), the album evokes the sound of the classic 70’s hard rock scene, but also stays true to the Burning Rain sound.
We spoke to Doug to discuss Face The Music

Does it ever bother you that this Burning Rain record may possibly not be accepted by the fans?

DA: No, I’m not worried about it.  Even if someone says something, you just got to
go with the fact that you did your best. If you like it, that’s good. I picked stuff that I like. I think it’s a
record that you won’t get tired of it. I think it’s stuff that is a little simpler, a little more easy to share it
without getting hammered over the head with crazy guitar parts. It is straight ahead of Burning Rain.

How would you describe the sound of the new record?

DA:  There are flavors of Aerosmith, Def Leppard, and I’ve heard other bands.  I try to make it my own, and I never try to do it on purpose, but honestly, you hit a couple of chords and you think it kind of has a flavor like…well, Midnight Train, for example, someone says it sounds like grunge, but when I was playing it, it took on the flair of like the Immigrant Song. Musically, that’s where it came for me.  A heavier version of the Immigrant Song kind of riff.  When it came to the chorus, it went totally in a different direction.  I hope it will be a record that people can listen to and enjoy for a while.

The opening riff of Midnight Train reminds me of the riffs from Whitesnake’s Love Will Set You Free.

DA: Now that you mention it, it kind of has a little bit of that 16th note, groove riff. It’s a weird man, I never would have thought of that, but now that you mention it, I agree with you.

Once in a while, you end up doing something and even if it’s on the same record, you
realize, wait a minute, we’ve done that. On this other song, we’ve already done that. And you’re
thinking that you’ve just come up with something that is really cool but you’ve already come up with it
and used it in another song. Then, when you go back and listen to it and you’re thinking, okay, one of
these songs has got to go because they’re very similar musically.

The song Revolution kind of has a little bit of a political vibe to it. Lorelei, is a story of old, about the Siren on the side of the rock, that lures the sailors on the ship to crash.  it’s really cool the way Keith put it together, the way he did.  A song like Midnight Train, I didn’t even know what it was about until he told me it’s a sex song,  I was thinking, that’s just a nasty song. (Laughing)

Are you going to tour with Burning Rain? Or, is this going to be a studio project like Revolution Saints has become? 

DA: (laughing) Revolution Saints, man, we are going to do it, man. We are going to tour, we already have a record release party, we’re going to play at Vegas, and we’ve got the acoustic dates that Keith and I are going to do, the only reason why its acoustic, is because Frontiers, they insisted that we don’t play in and around the time we’re doing the Frontiers festival. We’re doing the Frontiers Festival on April 28th. We need to promote the record, so we’re just going to do some promotional gigs, and those gigs turned into a month long, on weekends. We could tour for three months, honestly, with the offers we’ve been getting.  We’re going to do one month, do the Frontiers Fest, and then we’ll come back to the US and do some weekend warrior stuff. Then we would love to go to Japan for a week. I’m really going to push for that.

The Dead Daisies is my day gig, it’s such a great band and I love them. I am happy that we’re taking a
little break now so that everybody and regroup. And for the first time, I can promote my record properly.

Doug Aldrich Discusses Burning Rain's New Album "Face The Music"

You mentioned Revolution Saints and it sticks in my side a little bit,  the problem with having a group of guys, where everybody has a day gig, Dean and I have the Daisies, Jack’s got Night Ranger, and now Dean has Journey Through Time, so it makes it really difficult for Revolution Saints to do anything. I told them on the second record, I said, Guys, I’m not doing a second record because we never toured on the first one. So why do another record? the record company said, Well, we really would like you to do it because people really like the music. We don’t care that you didn’t tour. At first, they cared, but now they don’t care. They just want to hear more music. I was like okay, that’s fair enough. So we made the second record and I thought, well, that’s it, and then they said we want to make a third record. So we’re probably going to do that with the understanding that we aren’t going to tour.

I don’t understand why Frontiers feels the need to try and sell a Live CD/DVD of every band that performs at this Frontiers Festival.  It seems that Frontiers just amasses these groups together to do studio projects that will never tour plus the fact they have a lot of bands on their label that they don’t properly promote or support.  I’ve heard this from many people through private conversations.  Frontiers houses a lot of the bands that were displaced when grunge came around and the CMC International Records was the go-to label for those bands to weather out the grunge movement and still release records.  Rock isn’t dead at all.  But, do you think Frontiers is doing a disservice to the bands they’ve amassed and act more like a record distributor than a true label?

DA:  Rock is far from dead, there’s good stuff coming out. I do think there aren’t too many bands that do projects. I’ll be honest with you, I think Frontiers tries to stick too many bands together, you know people from different bands to do these projects and there’s no way they can tour. It’s kind of like…it’s not necessarily a good thing. That’s why I want Burning Rain separated from that stuff somehow. Even though we’re on Frontiers, and don’t get me wrong, Frontiers has been really good to us. And they’re flying the flag the best way they know how. But I want Burning Rain to not be considered a project like that. It’s like our baby band, and we want to have it grow up. Even though we’re 20 years old, we’ve been working together for 20 years. But it’s time that we give this thing a proper shot.

Do you think its because you guys have to be in so many different projects is because there just isn’t any money to be made anymore? Falling record sales, because everyone wants something for nothing?
DA: Yeah, there’s definitely that, but in my case, it’s due to the Dead Daisies, we toured a lot.  It’s not necessary that I have to do something, it’s just that sometimes I have other offers that I want to
do.  Situations like Burning Rain that I really want to do, it’s not about the money.

Take Joe Bonamassa, he’s got different things going because he just doesn’t want to get bored. He’ll do a little of this and a little of that.  Then he’ll do a solo thing or a country thing and he keeps it fresh, the same thing with Jack(Blades), Jack is always busy and has a couple of things going. But it’s not that he has to do it, it’s that he wants to do it. That’s kind of where I’m at.

Have you thought about doing a solo record? 

DA: I don’t have time at this point. Maybe in the future, I will.  Right now the focus is Burning Rain.  When we last spoke, the focus was Dead Daisies. That’s really my two bands. DD is my full-time
band and getting Burning Rain up and running the second half of the year. But that’s it right now. I do
have an idea for a solo project, ironically, but I haven’t started working on any material. It wouldn’t come out this year.  it probably wouldn’t sell a whole lot.

Have your endorsements changed? Are you still working with Suhr Guitars?

DA: We have a signature pickup, the Aldrich pickup. It’s just insane. I use it with all of my guitars. Wherever I use a humbucker.  They sound great with Les Paul. Gibson makes killer stuff of course, but this has more flair I believe. That’s what I like, so I use that.  I use their amps and we’re discussing doing an amp together.  I work with Gibson and ESP a little. Everything else is the same.

Any side projects you have coming up you can discuss?

DA: Well, I don’t have any surprise projects, I just want to keep it simple this year. I appreciate your
support. Please give Burning Rain a listen and I hope you dig it. If you like it, tell somebody, okay?

Face The Music will be released on March 22nd Via Frontiers Records.

Doug Aldrich – Guitar
Keith St. John – Vocals
Brad Lang – Bass
Blas Elias – Drums
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