Tag Archives: jimi bell

Tony MacAlpine Discusses His New Record Death Of Roses

By Andrew Catania

The existence of the soul within often reflects on the accomplishments on the outside. Tony MacAlpine unearthed the alchemy of soulfulness in the mirth of music from when his fingers played with the keys of the piano at the age of 5.

Strumming through the cords as a solo, rock instrumentalist, pianist, and guitarist, Tony MacAlpine has artfully succeeded in coalescing the elements of jazz, hard rock, metal and classic beats on both, guitar and keyboard – crafting melodies as sinful as they are virtuous.

The dominating dazzle of neoclassical rock, the Hartford graduate, released his debut masterpieces – Edge of Insanity and Maximum Security in the late 80’s. But Tony’s teeming talents stretch beyond abysmal. In mid-1986 his thuds as a heavy metal guitarist in M.A.R.S drove flocks of frats wild, uncloaking an all new side of this innovative rock star.

A more commercially inclined endeavor in the hard rock led to the manifestation of Eyes of The World in the 90’s, but with the strike of realization, Tony resumed his passion for instruments and consecutively crafted magnum opuses as renowned as Madness, Premonition, Evolution and Violent Machine. Truly outshining his work, Tony sealed the decade of success with a blockbuster album Master of Paradise where he contributed with his authentic vocals as well.

The sweep trapping trickster was compelled to join aboard a hiatus when he revealed a health scare in the last couple of years.  After the release of Concrete Gardens, MacAlpine was pummeled with the revelation of a colon cancer, marking a pause to his musical accomplishments.

But like an unstoppable tornado, the legend has stormed back into the realm of harmonies with his album, Death of Roses.

Is this EP part of a set?

TM: it’s the start of we have another. It’s an ep we have a set of songs coming out shortly to complete the whole process of this writing of 14 songs.

What made you split the EP’s up?

TM:  I’m composing some material that I would say is descriptive exposure to a particular style that I’m unveiling now. I mean the next songs are something from a different era. They’re all part of the same suite, but they’re flavor and a different type a whole different approach. So I didn’t want to put the two on the same record because you said that your records are connected, so that’s why I chose to separate them.

Where did you find Nasser Abdalla?

TM:  Nass played in a band that opened for me a couple of tours ago.  He caught my attention back then and when it came time to find players I gave him a call.  He was all ready for it.

You have tour dates for September and October.  Do you have any plans to tour Europe?

TM: I delayed the European tour when I was sick, and the instability of situations going on in Europe happened at once.  I’m doing fine now.  Trying to book this tour came about we just realized that it’s just not a safe environment right now.  So we’re going to wait and see what happens.

Are you 100% healthy now?

TM:  Yeah, everything is fine. I’m doing great, and I’m happy to be out there and healthy just working again.

How did you creatively coming up with the music for Death of Roses?

TM:  Each record that I do is an exposee of where I’m at. And so at least five months or a year before when the record comes out, I’ve moved on to some other things that I find musically interesting, but I play lots of music. I play lots of piano music. I play music from many different genres, and so my influences are very far and wide. But the problem is with music that you become known for if you’re a solo artist you know you can’t just keep changing you don’t know the direction as soon as you feel like you know you need to you have to kind of bring things along at a slower pace because you know people build up a certain listening to your memory. And for them to be able to play when he records they want to hear something that they think reminds them of your style. Even so, your style might be evolving. It’s important for an artist to do things slowly. So I mean there’s so much stuff that I do, but just having the right combinations of musicians is one of the things that makes it whether or not it’s you know plausible or not. And that mix of musicians is here now. Obviously piano was my first instrument, so I’m employing lots of keyboards live now on this thing, and then we have not spent a lot of different guitar parts. We do a lot of guitar parts to be together. So it’s this music this whole thing is more of a freedom of sounds, and when the listeners get down, they get to more of your adventure instead of a songwriter that from one direction. So that’s really what it is. It’s just a combination.

Has your rig changed?

TM:  It’s always evolving.  Live now I’m using Hughes and Kettner Core Blades which are all tube heads with all of the processing built inside of the head. So it’s a real simple setup but very consistent. I also I also use the Hughes and Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40 which is the same idea of that it’s a better amp and a much smaller package about the size of a lunchbox.  Everything’s evolving,  the guitars are.  I’m using an extended range seven string. Even as guitars with various EMG setups you know the guitars are active and have one passive guitar.

Did you recover your gear that was stolen in Texas?

We got all the guitars back except one.  I didn’t get the TV back or the floorboard.  That’s easily replaceable.  All of the Ibanez guitars are back.  I had some friends in Mexico that went to a guitar swap and they some them there.  They brought them back for me.

Do you have a signature guitar coming out?

We’re working on something.  I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. So unless I come up with something that I think is a must for all players to have I don’t know if I’m going to do it, but we’ll see what happens regarding a future.

Any advice for aspiring guitarists?

Music is its art, and an artist is fostered by practicing and confidence. And one of the things that you really must come to the realization is whether you love you know the sacrifices you have to make because it’s a huge one. You know the time that it takes to write practice songs and cause the other bands and do that type of thing is it’s the rewards are not as great as many we think. You know they come along in time and so just really make sure that this is something you want to do and work extremely hard at it and love it.

http://www.tonymacalpine.com/

What Would’ve Ozzy Osbourne’s Solo Band Sounded Like If He Picked Jimi Bell Over Zakk Wylde

By Andrew Catania 

Jimi Bell is a household name within the entire music industry, having worked with legendary bands such as Joined Forces.   Ozzy has been judged and criticized for making Bell the second choice to Zakk Wylde.  Bell’s eligibility is manifested in the form of endorsement from the Kramer Guitars, a group that understood his talent and in retrospect, forwarded his name as the only endorsee to benefit from the top-notch exposure.

Image result for jimi bell

The guitarist has worked with the best artists in the music industry as a result of his considerable abilities. His venture into the House of Lords, for instance, has given the guitarist a lot of audience in the European region. Part of House of Lords is a smaller version called Maxx Explosion’, which has played well in the United States with this guitarist’s backing.

The kind of contracts to which Bell has been called is indicative of his talent as a guitarist. Shortly after coming second to Zakk, he was called in by Geezer Butler, a bassist from the band called Black Sabbath’. He recorded some music and at least one video, but the contract was soon terminated because the man in charge of Geezer Butler in the recording process was alleged to have misused a lot of funds, although the video still circulates in the industry.

Jimi Bell and Ed Roman of Roman Guitars Las Vegas

Billy Sheehan was the next person to offer Jimi Bell an opportunity, another legendary bassist from the group Steve Vai and David Lee Roth Fame’. However, the group had a favorite guitarist that was yet to accept the offer and Bell were therefore expected to play second fiddle. The frequency of contracts and quick transition expressed by this guitarist indicates that he was a better choice compared to Zakk Wylde.

Image result for jimi bell

Bell has experienced a lot of turbulence in the industry, but this is one hard-lined individual that is prepared for the job. After battling cancer, the guitarist is still recording with ‘House of Lords,’ a band that he joined in 2005. Earlier this year, the band released its new album, one that has received rave reviews within the progressive rock and heavy metal music genres.

Besides being a guitarist, Jimi is the whole package.  Jimi has inspired many guitarists.  Given the opportunity, he could have made a better candidate for Ozzy because he is a multi-talented individual, endowed with tremendous collaboration abilities. No offense to Zakk as he’s a great player and a very nice person, but one must wonder what would’ve Ozzy sounded like with Bell on the strings?

Madam X Featuring Roxy and Maxine Petrucci, Sign With EMP Records Monstrocity Due Out 10/31

Legendary Detroit Hard Rockers MADAM X has signed a deal with EMP LABEL GROUP, who will release their long-awaited sophomore release MONSTROCITY on October 31st, (October 27th in EUROPE) on CD and Digital, with a limited edition vinyl release planned for November. Produced by Madam X at Metro 37 Studios in Rochester Hills, MI, and Mixed by Michael Wagener (MEGADETH, METALLICA, SKID ROW, OZZY OSBOURNE), with additional mixing by Mark Slaughter, Monstrocity is a hard-hitting classic Metal/Rock record sure to serve as a proper return to form for Madam X, and a kick in the ass for fans old and new.

 

Formed in 1981 by sisters Roxy and Maxine Petrucci, Madam X recruited bassist Chris “Godzilla” Doliber and vocalist Bret Kaiser, who released their classic, Rick Derringer produced, Jet Records debut WE RESERVE THE RIGHT in 1984, spawning the hit Rock single “High in High School”. 4 years later, after Roxy departed to join future Arena Rock superstars VIXEN, and original vocalist Kaiser was briefly replaced by an unknown Canadian singer named Sebastian Bach, Madam X disbanded, and would remain mostly inactive until 2014, when the original lineup reunited at the Sweden Rock Festival.

Fast forward to 2017, when the Petrucci sisters collaborated with vocalist Mark Slaughter on a Lemmy Kilmister tribute track for their VIP AFTERSHOW project, Slaughter who introduced Roxy to EMP LABEL GROUP head of A&R Thom Hazaert, who released a 12” “KILMISTER” single for AFTERSHOW, and the conversation soon shifted to the upcoming MADAM X release.

Says Hazaert, “When I connected with Roxy, and we were working on The Aftershow stuff, and she told me they were working on a new MADAM X record, I was extremely excited at the prospect of releasing it. After a brief courtship, we decided to put it out together, and I can honestly say I’m still excited. Madam X is such a kickass Rock band, I was always a huge fan of their first record, and to be able to release its follow up over 30 years later is just insane.

Adds drummer Roxy Petrucci, “Hell may not be pretty, but good things will find their way out.!! It takes an enormous pair of metal balls to sign a band like Madam X, David Ellefson and Thom Hazaert at EMP put their love of metal first, and crushed it by signing Madam X! Raw and flawed, Monstrosity will be unleashed onto the world in fall 2017! Long live Rock n Roll but immortalized in Metal!

The album features 12 hard-hitting slabs of Rock, including the pummeling title track “Monstrocity,” “Resurrection,” “Nitrous,” and an updated version of their 1984 hit “High In High School.”

Anthony Bambino: From Shredder To A Brian Setzer Tribute Band

By Andrew Catania

Anthоnу’ѕ muѕісаl jоurnеу bеgаn аt a ріаnо. Hе ѕtudіеd сlаѕѕісаl ріаnо іn thе mоѕt trаdіtіоnаl ѕеnѕе. Hе wаѕ rесоgnіzеd аѕ a muѕісаl prodigy. And, hіѕ раth wаѕ аbundаntlу сlеаr untіl hе hеаrd Eddіе Vаn Hаlеn’ѕEruрtіоn.” At thе age оf 15, Anthоnу rесеіvеd hіѕ first guіtаr. A fеw уеаrѕ lаtеr, hіѕ еxеmрlаrу trаіnіng, іnhеrеnt muѕісаl аbіlіtу, аnd unwаvеrіng ѕtrеngth оf mіnd lеd tо ассерtаnсе аt thе еѕtееmеd Hаrtt Sсhооl оf Music іn Hаrtfоrd, CT.

Hе studied guіtаr ѕіx-еіght hоurѕ реr dау, seven dауѕ реr wееk. Thоugh ѕtіll аttеndіng Hаrtt Sсhооl оf Muѕіс, Anthоnу wаѕ аѕkеd tо jоіn thе rосk grоuр Sроіlеd Rоttеn. Hе immediately bеgаn wrіtіng ѕоngѕ wіth thе grоuр аnd сrаftеd аwе-іnѕріrіng lіvе реrfоrmаnсеѕ. Thе bаnd dеvеlореd a lоуаl fоllоwіng аnd рlауеd tо ѕоld out аudіеnсеѕ thrоughоut thе Nоrthеаѕt. Wіthіn оnlу a уеаr, Sроіlеd Rоttеn wаѕ a mоvе tоwаrd bу lаbеlѕ аnd ultіmаtеlу ѕіgnеd wіth RCA Rесоrdѕ.

Hаvіng bееn ѕtіmulаtеd bу hіѕ tіmе іn thе ѕtudіо аnd wаntіng tо рut his guitar еxреrtіѕе оn tаре, Anthоnу іnvеѕtеd іn hіѕ own ѕtudіо аnd bеgаn wrіtіng іnѕtrumеntаl trасkѕ. Hе tеаmеd up wіth Bаѕѕіѕt/Prоduсеr Fаbrіzіо V.Zее Grоѕѕі (Stеvе Vаі, Slаѕh, Zаkk Wуldе, Stеvе Lukаthеr, Pаul Stаnlеу, tо nаmе a fеw) tо ѕtаrt whаt wоuld bесоmе a lоng аnd ѕuссеѕѕful соllаbоrаtіоn аѕ wеll аѕ bесоmе сlоѕе аѕ brоthеrѕ.

Furthеrmоrе, tо rесоrdіng, mіxіng, mаѕtеrіng аnd рrоduсіng trасkѕ fоr a numbеr оf lосаl аnd European аrtіѕtѕ, Anthоnу аnd Fаbrіzіо bесаmе thе fоundіng mеmbеrѕ оf thе 3-ріесе grоuр knоwn аѕ Cоnѕріrасу. Wіth thіѕ ѕuссеѕѕ, Anthоnу was now bеіng rеfеrеnсеd as оnе оf thе hоttеѕt nеw guіtаr рlауеrѕ оn thе ѕсеnе. Thе аlbum ѕоld wоrldwіdе аnd rеԛuеѕtѕ аrе ѕtіll саllеd іntо thіѕ dау tо іntеrnеt rаdіо ѕtаtіоnѕ fоr аіrрlау. Anthоnу bеgаn rесеіvіng rесоgnіtіоn fоr Grооvе Thіѕ аnd арреаrеd іn thе wоrld fаmоuѕ Mіkе Vаrnеу’ѕ Sроtlіght Cоlumn іn Guіtаr Plауеr Mаgаzіnе оf Sерt 1990.

Anthоnу Bаmbіnо wаѕ аlѕо аррrоасhеd wіth numеrоuѕ tеѕtіmоnіаl dеаlѕ frоm mаjоr mаnufасturеrѕ іnсludіng ESP Guіtаrѕ, Ovаtіоn Guіtаrѕ, Krаmеr Guіtаrѕ, SIT Strіngѕ, Mеѕа Bооgіе Amрlіfісаtіоn, ADA Amрlіfісаtіоn, Kаhlеr Trеmоlоѕ, Mоrlеу Pеdаlѕ аnd Rоbіn Guіtаrѕ. And, hе ѕіgnеd оn аѕ a сlіnісіаn fоr Mеѕа Bооgіе, Rоbіn Guіtаrѕ, аnd ADA Amрlіfісаtіоn specifically, thе lаttеr оf whісh сulmіnаtіng whіlе wоrkіng аlоngѕіdе bаѕѕ vіrtuоѕо’ѕ Vісtоr Wооtеn аnd Steve Bаіlеу аt thе NAMM Shоw. Anthоnу wеnt оn tо dо vаrіоuѕ tоurѕ wіth ѕеvеrаl dіffеrеnt аrtіѕtѕ аѕ a hіrеd guіtаrіѕt, рlауіng tо thоuѕаndѕ оf реорlе аnd hаvіng оvеr 5000 ѕhоwѕ undеr hіѕ bеlt.

Anthоnу hаѕ аlѕо bееn vеrу рrоtrudіng іn wоrkіng with nеw uр аnd соmіng аrtіѕtѕ іn thеіr ѕоngwrіtіng аnd рrоduсtіоn wоrk іn dеvеlоріng thеѕе аrtіѕtѕ. Tоdау, Anthоnу Bаmbіnо rеmаіnѕ аn еxtrаоrdіnаrу guіtаrіѕt, ѕоngwrіtеr, аnd реrfоrmеr. Hе hаѕ аn unсоmmоn аbіlіtу tо соmbіnе ѕоlіd, саtсhу ѕоngwrіtіng wіth a kееn mеlоdіс ѕеnѕе аnd tесhnісаl vіrtuоѕіtу.  Knоwn fоr hіѕ “сhорѕ” аnd hіѕ ѕtаgе рrеѕеnсе hе іѕ ѕоught аftеr аѕ a hіrеd guіtаrіѕt fоr lіvе ѕhоwѕ аnd ѕtudіо ѕеѕѕіоn рlауеr.  Frоm hіѕ ѕhrеddіng аnd mеlоdіс ѕоlоѕ tо rаdіо аdарtеd tо ѕоngwrіtіng, ѕоulful vосаlѕ, wrіtіng аnd рrоduсіng fіlm trасkѕ аnd jіnglеѕ, Anthоnу Bаmbіnо іѕ a wеll-rоundеd muѕісіаn аnd еxсеllеnt ԛuаlіfіеd.

I had the opportunity to speak with Anthony and catch-up with him.

I remember the Spoiled Rotten shows at the Bridges in Windsor, CT. You used to send out postcards and DAT’s of that song “Just Another Crazy Night.” 

AB: We were the little kings of Connecticut for a while. Little Bad Boys of Connecticut we had a good time I wish I had appreciated it more back then you I kind of. Everything such a blur and you’re just worried about getting to the next step, and you don’t appreciate or recognize what you got going on at the time. You know the fans and what we were doing.

Spoiled Rotten had just got signed with RCA.  When the grunge phase came in, they dropped you?

AB:  Yeah we got a spec deal with RCA in 1990. Our management landed that deal for us. At that point, the record label and management relocated us to Long Island, New York.  The Producer was Glen Kolotkin.  At the time the producer was a guy called Glen Kloktin.   He did Joan Jett’s I Love Rock and Roll, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, and a bunch of other artists. We were recording at RCA on the big SSL boards; they’re a bunch of gold Elvis records everywhere. We were in the middle of actually mixing, and that was when Nirvana and Pearl Jam came out, and all the hair bands including ourselves were shut down overnight you know and just got shelved.  The reels got shelved, and RCA didn’t want to pay a producer anymore to continue on our album.

Back then producers and studio time was so expensive at RCA. We broke up, and the wheels stopped turning.  We were wondering, what do we do now?  The industry changed so much we went back home and went our separate ways.  Several months later, I wound up answering an ad in the Village Voice in New York City and hooking up with a bass player named Fаbrіzіо V.Zее Grоѕѕі.

We had a partnership from 1991 until about 1996.We had a recording studio on Long Island where we produced lots of acts and recorded our entire album Groove This. When we got our deal with RCA, that was when I started getting endorsements.  My first endorsement was ESP Guitars.  I remember meeting with the artist rep in Manhatten.  Several weeks later I received six custom guitars.  Shortly after, I started acquiring my other endorsements, SIT strings, Morley pedals Ovation guitars, ADA pre-amps, and then I appeared in Mike Varney’s Spotlight column in Guitar Player Magazine.

I won a Kramer Guitar contests at the time; There was enter your best solo contest in Guitar Player magazine. So I sent in a cassette, and I did three instrumentals.  I won the contest, and I got a tour of the Kramer factory in Neptune NJ,  I was offered an endorsement, but I was already with ESP, so I kindly declined.   At the time, Fabrizio and I were writing the Conspiracy album, and we hooked with John Macaluso, the drummer from TNT.

 With this album, I got outstanding support from my endorsements and started doing clinic across the US. That was when I appeared in an ad campaign for SIT Strings.  They featured me in Guitar Player Magazine and Guitar World Magazine. Back then, so few new artists were featured in advertisements.  To me, it was such an honor to be in the ad.

How did you start doing your Brian Setzer Tribute band?

AB: My drummer Claudio showed me the album the Dirty Boogie from Brian Setzer.  I was blown away by his playing and what he did with his orchestra and arrangements. He’s the first guy ever to do this. He’s so innovative.  He took rockabilly and combined it with big band swing.  Upon hearing this, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.  So I located an arranger and had him chart out orchestrations to all of his songs.  For the last three years, we have put together a big production style show.  I teamed up with Gretsch Guitars and my man Joe has been nothing but spectacular in supporting me. We see this tribute band almost as a Broadway production style show.  We’re being booked across the US in theaters, casinos, outdoor events, music venues, and playing two shows in Canada this year for our Christmas show.  Every show is a production as we go out with all of our stage props, six piece horn section and two female backup singers as seen in our promo video.

Do you miss the days of playing “shred” guitar and idolizing Jimi Bell play? 

AB:   I love Jimi’s playing, he’s like my big brother. I’ve known him since I’m 20.  I think he’s the best shredder out there hands down. His playing is second to none and he is one of the most versatile players I’ve ever heard.  He’s always been one of my biggest inspirations and very thankful for all he showed me.  When I heard the Brian Setzer Orchestra, his guitar tone, and playing took me down a different path of my guitar playing.  His phrasing and guitar tone was all new to me. I had to approach the guitar differently than I’ve ever had to before not relying on distortion and shredding but mainly phrasing and singing.  Brian is such an underrated player; he’s one of the best guitar players out there.  The way he combines rockabilly, bebop, and big band swing is truly innovative.  

The future looks bright for Rock This Town Orchestra as we are BBKing’s in NYC next week, and will be featured at NAMM 2018 in Anaheim, CA.  I truly appreciate you taking the time to interview me.  It’s great to hear from you after 25 years!

Check out Rock This Town Orchestra website @ www.rockthistownusa.com

You can check out Anthony out on his site @  https://anthonybambino.com/home

or Rock This Town Band on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/Rock-This-Town-band-1518982725061196/   

Ozzy Osbourne: If Zakk Departs After The Summer Tour, Who Will Replace Him?

By Andrew Catania

Now that the Black Sabbath band has started wrapping up their music career and the final show has been locked in for February 4th, many of us will mourn not having more from the band. However, this is equally pleasing in tandem, that Ozzy Osbourne, the Madman of Black Sabbath who recently turned 68, hasn’t called it a day yet and says that he’s “currently playing around with some song ideas. I have a few things jotted down, and once Black Sabbath is off the road, I will be heading into the studio with my band to get the songs recorded. Once it’s all in the can, you can be sure to see me back on the road again.”

Sounds cool, right!

So now that the big news is out and has enthralled the crazy global fandom of Ozzy – the ultimate Prince of Darkness, apparently, this has become a topic of hot debate about who will play the guitar on his upcoming solo records.  Ozzy has stated that Zakk Wylde will be performing with him on his scheduled summer dates

Is Zakk going to continue with Ozzy after the summer tour dates?  Or would he be going back to Black Label?  Here are our top picks of potential guitarists likely to pair up with Ozzy if Zakk departs:

Rusty Cooley

Acclaimed for his aesthetic and intricately refined techniques, and rendered as one of the fastest guitarists in the US, Rusty Cooley is a virtuosic name in heavy, progressive and power metal genre. Well-known as the king of shreds, Rusty has been casting a spell through his chords since 1985 and has been associated with the Day of Reckoning, Outworld, Austrian Death Machine, the Rings of Saturn and some solos and individual performances. He has been called as the ‘Leading Light of Post-Malmsteen Shred-volution’ by the Guitar Player magazine.

Jeff Loomis

Famous and applauded for his soulful contribution to ‘Nevermore,’ Jeff Loomis is one of the top-notch names that rule the present-age metal genre. Jeff Loomis has proven his mettle as a lyricist, composer, vocalist, bassist and keyboard, drum and guitar player.

Aside from some fruitful associations with Arch Enemy, Nevermore, Fear Tech, Sanctuary, Conquering Dystopia, Experiment Fear, System, and 7 Eyes, Jeff Loomis has skillfully proved his virtuosity in some solos that make a big emblem of his unique classic arpeggios and gradually flowing nuances.

Marty Friedman

Famous for his former association with the heavy metal band Megadeth that ruled the music world for the entire decade of the mighty 90s, Marty Friedman has now become a mega music sensation in Japan.

His shredding techniques and style still carry that vibrant and signature ‘Megadeth’ essence, however, his personal preferences and music taste have drifted towards contemporary and Japanese pop. This has influenced him to evolve as an ecstatic fusion of eastern and western music, punctuated and infused with thrash metal, progressive rock, and neoclassic genres.

Vinnie Moore

Having emerged on the 80s music horizon with his incredible performances in Alice Cooper’sHey Stoopid,’ Vinnie Moore has managed to attain the stature of the most influential musicians who defined and shaped the dynamics and tending patterns of the music scene of the 80s and 90s.

Vinnie Moore has had an exciting career from 1986 to date, that is punctuated with his associated acts with UFO, Alice Cooper, Red Zone Rider, along with some hit solos records to his name. Vinnie Moore’s style stems from neoclassical metal, heavy metal, hard rock, and instrumental rock genre.

Jimi Bell

Jimi Bell, known as “The Giant On The Guitar,” was  Ozzy’s second choice to Zakk Wylde.  Jimi has had a successful career starting with his band, Joined Forces.  He’s currently the guitarist for House of Lords. Jimi’s style of hard rock, the instrumental rock genre would make him an ideal choice for Ozzy.

The Legacy Of Guitarist Jimi Bell

By Andrew Catania

I’ve known Jimi Bell for over 30 years.  I remember sneaking out of my parent’s house to go to the Agora Ballroom in West Hartford, Connecticut to see Joined Forces.  Jimi is a giant on the guitar; Bell has used his considerable talent and abilities to work with the top artists in the music and entertainment industry.

He was an active guitar phenom player in those bands. In 1986, Jimi Bell worked in Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett’s film “Light of Day.”  I.n this movie, he was both a performer as an actor, and he played on the soundtrack as well.

At the time Bell was endorsed by Kramer Guitars. Kramer was the one who admitted Bell’s talent and mental abilities, and he wanted him to get to the place he deserved. Meanwhile in 1987, across the country, Ozzy Osbourne started an international campaign to search for the best guitar player in the world to replace the departed Jake E. Lee.

When Kramer heard about this audition, They sent Bell’s video to Ozzy’s wife. Bell was just surprised when he received the call for an audition. He went to Los Angeles for the audition. There were around 500 best young guitarists from all over the United States. Bell’s playing made a great impression there, and Ozzy himself decided to play with Bell the next day. He was so much nervous on that day. However he played well on that day too, and after that audition, Jimi Bell was told that it was down to him and Zakk Wylde.

Therefore, he decided to stay in town for another day. After one day, he was sent home on account that the event had come down to 2 guitarists; Jimi Bell and Zakk Wylde. After that, the members of his band left him, and Bell remained alone. After a week, Bell learned that Zakk Wylde was the new guitarist of Ozzy.  It’s this writers opinion that the Osbourne camp shortchanged themselves by not picking Bell.  Jimi Bell is a more of a complete guitarist than Wylde.  Bell was so much disappointed; he was feeling lost, with no band and no career.

After a few months, Bell received a call that Geezer Butler was searching for a new guitarist. He went there to record his music, but he had bad luck there. He was once again left alone. Despite his failure every time, Bell never quit. He began to realize that every time one door closed, another would open. He believed that giving up on his dreams was simply not an option. A few years ago, he had to fight with cancer too.

In 2005, Jimi Bell joined the band House of Lords, and he never looked back. Since 2005, Bell has toured Europe every year with House of Lords. His band Maxx Explosion, an off-shoot of House of Lords, has been playing very well and regularly in the United States. Despite setbacks, Jimi Bell had made music of his life.

Despite his “what if” thinking, Jimi looks back on his experience with Ozzy with a positive feeling and has no regret for that.

Interview: The Many Talents of Madam X and VIP Aftershow’s Maxine Petrucci

By Andrew Catania

Guitarist Maxine Petrucci is best known for her work in Madam X.  Maxine’s sister, Roxy is the drummer from the band Vixen.  Her current project, VIP Aftershow, features Maxine on guitar and Roxy on drums.  VIP Aftershow have released one full song,  titled “Kilmister” which is a tribute to the late Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister.  Mark Slaughter is on lead vocals.

Maxine is a talented guitarist.  Maxine should be glistening the pages of guitar magazines with other current, top talent.  I sat down with Maxine and discussed Madam X, Vixen, VIP Aftershow and her mastering of the fretboard.

How did you become interested in guitar?

MP:  It was my Father’s idea. He had started me on flute in elementary school band. Then for my 12th birthday, he bought me a classical guitar. He was hoping I would pursue more classical and symphonic music. I think it was a shock to him that  I eventually chose the Hard Rock and Metal Arena.

Were you self – taught or did you take lessons?

MP:  I took flute lessons from Hannah Lahti from The Detroit Concert  Band and by the way she is actress Christine Lahti’s Mother. Then later took flute lessons from  Ervin Monroe from The Detroit Symphony.  I took guitar lessons from Eligio DiBerardo who taught me the classical guitar, and he would enter me in The American Guild of Music Competition where we compete against other students from across the nation in our category and win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies. I would come home with 1st and 2nd place awards. My Parents were so proud!!!

What kind of guitar did your Dad as your first one?

MP: It was the guitar my Dad bought me for my birthday,  a Crestwood classical nylon string guitar.

What was the first band you joined? Were you dealing with the typical stereotypes of being Female?

MP:  We started a family wedding band with my brothers and Sisters and did that for a few. Then Roxy and I  started our first all girl band with Denise LaTourelle on bass and her sister Laura  LaTourelle on lead vocal. We were called ‘ Pantagruel.’ We were inspired by the all-girl band’s Bands ‘ Fanny‘ and ‘ Cradle .’  As far as dealing with typical stereotypes because of being female, yes. That was impossible back then. Guys thought Women couldn’t rock like Men. They thought it was physically impossible. Roxy and I play harder than most Men to this day. I believe it was even harder for the Gals in Fanny and Cradle with my conversations with Guitarist Patti Quattro. Roxy and I ignored that mentality and continued.  We refused to be treated as just T&A. What’s amazing is that it’s just instruments. It’s not like lifting a truck or something.  There are a lot of ‘Fem Guys’ in rock anyways that play size eight strings and guys that hit a light on the drums. Look at all the Girls rocking it these days. They are now accepted and shredding and playing hard equal to the guys.

With the music industry the way it is with streaming being the favored thing to do, how difficult is it for you to make music and survive in this climate?

MP:  It’s tough. You can’t survive on it as a job. You have to love music to continue these days. It’s a changing world, and everything we want is available at our fingertips. That’s why big stores like Macy’s,  J.C. Penney are closing. We can go online and order or stream anything we want. My Husband buys music online, and he doesn’t want to deal with physical CDs. He wants no clutter. Others I know feel the same. Not good for me or others trying to sell records but this is the way it is. You have to play live shows nowadays to sell CDs so that the fans purchase at the show.

Let’s talk about your guitar playing. What kind of style would you say is your playing?

MP:  I think I still fall into the 80’s rock style with a classical influence. I have to try not to overplay from what everyone usually says to me, especially when I’m recording. An old review of the Madam XWe Reserve the Right‘ record said “Maxine plays her guitar leads like an erect you know what,” and to you the truth,  I would like to keep it that way.

Are you presently endorsed by anyone? If so who?

MP:  I have a discount type deal with PRS Guitars. They gave me my first one. Then after I get deals on guitars I buy. Most companies don’t do that anymore. It’s a tight market out there now.

What does your rig presently consist of?

MP:  I play PRS Guitars, old Marshall  50 and 100-watt heads and bottoms from the 1960’s and 70’s and Peavey Triple X head for the studio. Live I have a Line 6 POD HD 500X pedal board that my bassist Bryan Paxton from my single band,  set up for me. He and I made that sound perfect for live shows since you can’t take amps with you anymore.

You’re a member of Madam X; now you have a new band called VIP Aftershow with your sister Roxy, how did that come about?

MP:  We were writing songs for our new Madam X album and realized that they were not suitable for MX, so she suggested getting some of her friends in other bands to guest perform on these songs. As we did with Mark Slaughter and Mike Pisculli for two songs’ Full Metal Jacket‘  and ‘ Kilmister.’  Kilmister was the first song Roxy formerly co- wrote with Vixen keyboardist Chris Fayz. Then came Full Metal Jacket that she and I wrote. We have more kick ass songs that we will be releasing shortly. With Madam X, the album is done, and legendary producer Michael Wagener mixed 8 of the tracks ( he also mixed the VIP Aftershow tracks), and Mark Slaughter mixed three tracks. Kevin Sharpe engineered. It’s being mastered now.  It just took long being that we all live pretty far apart.

You’ve  released two songs with Mark Slaughter on vocals, are there any plans to put out a full record together?

MP:  That would be nice! Never can rule anything out. He seems to be kind of busy with his solo band that he just released a new album with and his band Slaughter and mixing and producing bands. We all have several projects each too. So who knows, whatever is meant to be will be.

Who are some of your idols?

MP:  As far as guitar players that would be Randy Rhoads,  Eddie Van Halen, Peter Frampton, Rick Derringer.

Any Guitarists catch your eye today?

MP:  OMG, Jimi Bell from House of Lords and Maxx Explosion. He’s incredible. I can’t believe he’s not all that known. He shreds like no other with a blues-rock lead style licks. I can so appreciate his talent!! Hoping they get booked on the MORC (Monster’s of Rock) cruise. I would love to catch them live.

Have you played any other instruments besides guitar?

MP:  1998 I played bass for VixensTangerine‘ tour. That was a blast. I played bass on most of my solo band Maxine total of 3
albums. I played flute on a track titled ‘ Wicked‘ on my ” Back to the Garden.”

What are your plans for 2017?

Getting the anticipated Madam X album titled ‘ Monstrosity ‘ finally released with all original great talents- Bret Kaiser lead vocal,  Chris “Godzilla” Doliber bass, Roxy Petrucci Drums, and myself Maxine guitars, unleashed to the world. The album is great and something we can feel proud of. Also, we will be on the MORC Cruise Feb 2018. It’s a blast!!!! As far as VIP Aftershow,  we will continue to release new great songs with different special guests. Our two singles ‘Full Metal Jacket‘ and ‘Kilmister‘ are available to buy on all digital outlets. And soon Madam X will be available for sale too. Thank you, Andrew, for this interview and keeping Rock alive!

Follow Madam X @ https://www.facebook.com/Madam-X-1390973624496842/

 

New Music: House of Lords Saint of the Lost Souls

Saint Of The Lost Souls” is House Of Lords’ tenth studio album, following up the highly successful “Indestructible”. House Of Lords continues to get even stronger with each release. Recorded and produced by the band’s singer and mastermind James Christian, this collection of songs has an incredible flow of up-tempo and mid-tempo rockers mixed with power ballads, which lean a bit more toward keyboards this time around, but without compromising the band’s trademark sound which is based around Jimi Bell’s guitar.

Saint Of The Lost Souls” is already one of the year’s most anticipated melodic rock releases and will not disappoint fans of the band or genre. James Christian’s well crafted and smooth vocals bring the band’s craft to new heights. Guitarist Jimi Bell is on fire and the melodic riffs throughout the album will leave you breathless. A new addition on bass is Chris Tristram, who is no stranger to the rock community. His solid performance adds another dimension to the sound and BJ Zampa brings a solid and powerful rhythm foundation to House of Lords.

House of Lords debuted in 1989 with the release of their self-titled album, a record which is still regarded as one of the best arena rock releases of the 80’s. The colossal sound, the soaring vocals of James Christian and instrumental capabilities of the band (which featured ex-Angel and Giuffria keyboardist, Gregg Giuffria, along with luminaries Lanny Cordola, Chuck Wright and Ken Mary), were reminiscent of such frontrunners as Whitesnake, Deep Purple and Van Halen and immediately brought the band to the attention of the music media and fans.

With their sophomore release, “Sahara”, House of Lords had considerable radio and video chart success with their cover of Blind Faith’sCan’t Find My Way Home”. After a tour with Nelson in 1991, the group disbanded, eventually coming back together with a new lineup (featuring original members Giuffria and Christian) in 1992 with “Demon’s Down“. With the change in musical climate at the time, House of Lords went into hibernation until the original lineup came back together in 2000, releasing the controversial “Power and the Myth”, an album which featured a sound leaning more towards progressive hard rock with 70’s rock influences. After a short European tour, singer James Christian decided to go back to the trademark arena rock sound of House Of Lords, putting together a new line-up with the blessing of founding member Gregg Giuffria, who opted out right before the release of “Power and the Myth”. New members Jimi Bell on guitars and B.J. Zampa on drums supplied a true powerhouse sound to the fifth studio album, “World Upside Down”, a record which caused a real stir in the hard rock and melodic rock scenes. That album was followed up by the equally impressive “Come to My Kingdom” in 2008, “Cartesian Dreams” in 2009, “Big Money” in 2011, and “Precious Metal” in 2014.

The band has toured relentlessly in Europe and the States in support of their releases and have now become a true staple of the hard rock scene on both continents. House Of Lords stands for superb hooks and majestic atmospheres that bring back the memories of their stellar debut album, monumental guitar riffs and a production to die for. All these ingredients you will find on “Saint Of The Lost Souls” which shines from the first second to the last!

This is the best House of Lords record they’ve done.  8/10

Interview: House of Lords Guitarist Jimi Bell

By Andrew Catania

If you know the House of Lords, then I am confident that you will also know Jimi Bell.  Jimi is a big name in the music industry. And in the music industry, he has worked with the top-notch artists to showcase his talent and worth. Many people call him “a giant on the guitar,” but he does not mind that, and continues performing for the love of his audience.

His very first appearance was in the film “Light of Day,” which starred Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox in 1986. In this movie Jimi Bell, performed both as an actor and played his soundtrack. Later, along with his band, he toured with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

The year 1987 proved to be an excellent year for Jimi, as he was chosen for the auditions of Ozzy Osbourne. In this audition, there were only two finalists, Jimi and Zakk Wylde. And unfortunately, Jimi wasn’t accepted. Jimi joined the Black Sabbath family tree and became a member of the Geezer Butler’s solo band the Geezer Butler Band. In the BLACK SABBATH’s 1992 “Dehumanizer” album, Jimi wrote a track “Master of Insanity,” but they did not give Jimi Bell credit for that record.

He still follows his passion, worked on Cannata’s CD and performed “Harlequin of LightsTamoro, Myslerium Magnum and Watching the World between 1993 till 2013. He had a strong bond with BJ Zampa, who was a drummer for the German-based Rockers Band Thunderhead. BJ recruited Jimi for their record “Ugly Side.” And this proved to be the foundation stone, for many of their future performances. In collaboration with the METAL CHURCH, THUNDERHEAD toured the whole Europe. For the 2001 album on Nuclear Blast, Jimi Bell and BJ contracted with the David Wayne’s Metal Church project.

For the Rob Rock album “eyes of eternity,” in 2003 Jimi participated as a guest soloist. And in 2003, Jimi and Bj allied with the ex-main vocalist Mike Vascera from Obsession & Loudness Band for the “MVP Project.” The album was released in the following year, 2004 in Japan and Europe.

In his entire career, he does not seem to be working for the same person in the long run, except the House of Lords. And in the mid of 2005, Jimi Bell finally joined House of Lords. After joining this band, Bell does not forget his old friend Bj. He recruited Chris McCarvill as a bassist and recommended BJ the position of a drummer. All of them completed the band of James Christian, who was a vocalist. Then this team toured a lot of countries; they continuously wrote and recorded albums. And some of their famous works are “Big Money,” “Cartesian Dreams”, “Come to My Kingdom”, “World Upside Down” and much more.

Beside this, Jimi also worked for the NASCAR, Impact, Wrestling, WWE, and ESPN: each of them is sports giants. He is the mind behind SHREDNECK, and now a day, Jimi Bell is the member of Roberts Guitar, KickAss Cables, Marshall Amps (Europe), Rocktron, GHS Strings, Ovation Guitars, Dean Guitars and EMG pickups.

I recently caught up with Jimi after the last time I saw him was 28 years ago with Joined Forces.

Jimi are you there?

I’m here buddy? How have you been?

Good!  I haven’t seen you in 28 years!

Has it really been that long?  God, man!  I’m old Andrew!

(laughter)

I’m still out there doing it though man, it’s so funny because I’m doing it more now than I did when I was in my younger days I don’t know, you know.  Sometimes you wish it was reversed because I had all the energy and the youth back then but you know, hey I’ll take it when I can.  I’m still you know, it’s just different, if you keep your life on the straight and narrow you can do this stuff that’s what it’s all about

Yes! I knew you were around I just saw your video on Frontier’s and I was like that’s Jimi Bell.

I’ve been with them since 2005

Time flies
!
Yes! I joined the band in 2005, and I go to Europe every year with them, except last year, I think the singer wanted to take a year off because he had a bunch of family things he was doing, so that’s what we did.  Usually, you know, 2015 I was in Tokyo and played the greatest festival in the world, and I’ve never been to Tokyo in my life, and it’s weird in my late 50’s, and I’m seeing all of the world, from my 50th birthday on, it’s so weird

Are you doing the Wacken Festival in Germany with House Of Lords or no? 

No I don’t think we have.  Wacken Fest is usually a little heavier than House Of Lords I believe than a lot of the bands that play at Wacken.  We would be more likely to be at Sweden Rock than the Wacken Festival.  That hasn’t happened yet but we’re very hopeful.  We’ve done a bunch of festivals, we’ve done a bunch in Sweden, we did Hard Rock Hell that was in Wales and I’ve got a bunch of them at the end of my tongue here I can’t remember.  I’ve got a bunch of posters I need to go through here of the festivals that we’ve already done already.  I know we’re doing Hair Metal Heaven in August in the UK.  I’m really looking forward to that one.  That’s a bunch of great bands

It’s insane all these festivals are over in the Europe.  We don’t get to see it.  We get nothing over here.  All we get is like Carolina Rebellion, Rocklahoma.  All the festivals are the same bands usually.
 

You know what it is?  America is a really tight market you know.  Honestly right now, House Of Lords is doing a big push, this year in fact, to get back into the American market because we haven’t been in it for a long time. When the band first got together and Gene Simmons said sign them. They were out with Cheap Trick and The Scorpions, The Nelsons. I mean they did big festivals, did Colosseum tours and everything back then.  Unfortunately the band came in at the later point of the 80’s like in ‘88 and when the Nirvana scene came the Seattle scene and all the music changed, a lot of the hair metal bands all died out except for the one’s that were really intense that were able to maintain like your Motley Crue and stuff like that.  They already had a legacy even with the change of music they were able to maintain but there were a lot of the bands that couldn’t.  You know the ones that stayed, like Poison and the people that were popular-popular, like Whitesnake.  They all managed to hang in there but a lot of them got crushed.  I’m really honored to be in the band.  I got a call from them in 2005,  the singer, James Christian, said he was putting a whole new group together and the record label, of course Frontiers wanted to go back to the usual House Of Lords sound.  I guess what happened year before, not a year before but a record before called Power And The Myth the band had changed up the sound a little bit.  I guess they tried to go a bit more modern and even though it was an excellent record I guess the fans didn’t accept it as much but there’s a lot of great songs on it but the fans didn’t care for it as much as the earlier record they did and then that kind of put a bad taste in their mouth.  But then we got together we came out with the first record World Upside Down it really took off as we went backwards a little bit and tried to make it more melodic rock again and we’ve been on a good roll ever since 

Are you still doing the Connecticut circuit?  Are you still doing Joined Forces anymore?  Any reunions?

Well, we keep going back and forth.  I have done shows with the second version of Joined Forces with Livio and the guys.  Now we finally actually have located Mark Diamond, who’s been out of circulation for a while, on purpose, he chose not to.  He’s a family guy and a regular working guy and chose to be out of the business, he had it with it.  But now his kids are grown up and he’s been wanting to perform on stage again.  Not full-time at all, he just wanted to do a show.  He wanted his kids to see him play.  He wants his teenager’s to know that he’s something else and not just a working dad.  He wants them to see that part of him that they’ve never seen, which I think is totally great.  My daughter has seen me perform everywhere!  She just pops up out of the blue, ever since she was a baby.  She’s shown up at gigs and stuff, it’s kind of funny.  She gets all proud to see me up there on stage and this is something you know that his kids are even aware that he does.  I mean Mark was an icon with Joined Forces.  So we’re negotiating right now and speaking with Mark Franco and Joey you know just back and forth just hashing out some stuff

Awesome!

So you never know.  I have another original project that I’m involved with Maxx Explosion, which is an all original band which has BJ Zampa who is the drummer in House Of Lords, and with me from the beginning and Chris McCarvill.  Now Chris was the bass player for House Of Lords until last year.  He’s been with us since 2005 as well.  In 2007 he had an opportunity to play with Dokken, and he took it, which is entirely understandable

Jon Levin was my first interview for my website.

Oh really?

Yes!

Jon is still there.  He’s been with Dokken for years now.  Last year they asked Chris to come back and Chris just thought it was a good move for him at the time and it was.  We wished him well.  We’re still buddies and Maxx Explosion is still together even though he is not in House Of Lords anymore.  We took on a new bass player whose name is Chris Tristram, who was Jack Russell’s Great Whites bass player, so he’s with us now

Was that before or after Tony Montana?  Because Tony Montana is his guitarist now and his version of Great White and then we’ve got the original Great White where they’re recording with Tom Wagner, you know the high influential producer from the 80’s, they’re in Tennessee recording with him 

All I know is that as of a year ago, Chris was the bass player for Jack Russell.  So I don’t know what the change was.  As a matter of fact, Chris has some writing credit on some of Jack’s new album that just got released.  So he was in it up to very recently.  He’s been playing bass for them

Ok.  I’m looking at your website.  I see you all over the place.  I see you with Steve Stevens who I just interviewed, I see you with Joel Hockstra, Reb Beach, EVH, Ronnie James Dio.  Are you still playing at Bleachers in Bristol?  Is it still a dump?

What?  The Alley Cat?

(laughter)
Is it Bleachers or the Alley Cat?

It’s Bleachers now, but it’s nice inside.  Years ago it used to be the Alley Cat.  That’s when we used to walk in there, and your feet would stick to the carpet

Yes, it was disgusting!
It was disgusting but it was a great Rock Room.  There were a lot of disgusting rooms back in the 80’s you remember that! I mean none of them were brilliant but it was a place, it was a different time and nobody cared.  But no, it’s been a real nice looking sports bar.  They made it into a sports bar but at least they have bands in there with in-house sound and everything.  The guy is really into music and we do well there.  I even just performed there with House Of Lords.  We usually do a show there right before we have something to do

Awesome

Before going out on tour we’ll play a show there.  The house sound man there happens to be our sound man, Kevin Parkinson,  he comes on the road with us.  He use to be the sound man for The Sting. Remember The Sting back in the day?

Oh my God! That was at the Agora Ballroom.  I just interviewed the guys from Flotsam and Jetsam, and I was going down memory lane with them back in December.  I said do you remember when you opened for them for Megadeth and it was pouring rain in West Hartford, and there was rain coming through and Dave Mustaine came up to their guys there and said you’ve got to move your guitars out of there because there’s rain coming down?

He was like, “Oh my God!” we do remember that!

I said yes.  I was like 12 years old.  I was like pre-pube

(laughter)

Andrew, I miss that, I miss that room man!  I miss that place.  That was a great-great room.  Oh my God so many great memories of playing there.  Unbelievable!

Yes, it was amazing what came over there.  Twisted Sister was there

Yes! Even Aerosmith.  I saw Aerosmith and Ted Nugent there.  They had the big stage in the back.  I had a friend, when Joe Perry and Brad Whitford had left the band.  They had gotten two other guys.  One of the guitarists was Jimmy Crespo I forget the other guys name.  They came out with that song Lightening Strikes and whoever was on that record, it was a good record, that’s when I guess Steve was really having a hard time with the drugs  and everything was during that period.  But that was then and he is incredible still, always has been

I could sit here and talk to you for days.  I know WCCC is no longer.  I know Dick Robinson took them online.  How are they doing?

Who’s that now?  CCC?  iRockRadio?

Yes, iRockRadio.  I know you have a lot to do with them.  Are they doing anything?

Mike Karolyi is doing great with that station

Is he?

Yes! Mike Karolyi is doing great.  I’m telling you man it’s a shame what they did to CCC it really is.  First, they had a few changes.  You know Mike always ran that.  They had a great group there, the whole group of everybody that worked there.  Every DJ that was there, everybody involved, it was a real tight-knit organization and they were all great people, every one of them.  You know they had it down.  They would play what they wanted to play and people loved that station man.  I remember one day, I don’t listen to radio much, I don’t listen to music much anyway period you know because I’m always writing and everything but I happened to turn on the radio and I know I had CCC on and they were playing something weird.  It was like a Steve Miller tune or something and I’m going what the heck’s going on here?  And I kept thinking I was getting a cross-station because I know 105 The River had changed their music format.  I figured it was getting mixed signals or something.  It sounded like something was being crossed over and then I found out that Corporate had come in and made them change the format and so they did.  They kept it turned and then all of a sudden I remember them closing down; it was becoming a Christian rock station

Oh yes

Yes, they took over the building and honestly I don’t even know if that thing is still going.  It was and the building I think is up for sale, the old CCC Building. They took all that down, and yes, they had a lot of changes


I could go down memory lane with you just with CCC.   Mike Karolyi was working overnights, this is when Z Rock out of Texas was a satellite and playing the Hair Metal, and everyone wanted to hear, and I would always argue with Karolyi and say you always wonder why your ratings are in the toilet, I was like why don’t you let John Osterland, do you remember John?

Of course, I do!   

You had Metal Shop, the rock station up in Springfield, 102 played metal stuff on Tuesday nights,  I listened to that. I loved Metal Shop.  You just had different things and there’s no rock station in Hartford that’s on the dial.  I mean you’ve got so much now, you’ve got iTunes, you’ve got Spotify, it’s all different

Yes, everything has changed man, it really has.  Listen, I’ve got to tell you, I’m very grateful to still be doing what I’m doing after all these years and be able to do it you know.  A lot of changes have come about throughout my life and it’s just great to be out there and still doing it and making music and putting out records and stuff.  You know House Of Lords is on a huge label, probably the biggest.  Frontiers is a really big name you know for that genre of music. It really doesn’t get any bigger for that.  They have all the bands from that era you know.

They do!

They are a great machine man.  They are a well-oiled machine!  When they do a release, they do everything.  They know exactly how they’re going to push a band, they know what to do.  I already have a schedule of releases, you see, I know they’re going to release another song, you know they’re going to release something on the 27th  you know, another tune off the record, things like that. It’s cool.  Being a part of it is good.

  You and Chris Impelliteri are friends, aren’t you?

Very well.  I influenced him you know.  I was a big influence in Chris’ life, and he even says it.  Until he heard me play guitar, he never played guitar like that.  He was more of like a Randy Rhoads player, he was into that, and then he saw me play guitar and it flipped him out.  All he wanted to do was become a speed demon, a speed shredder.  I changed the guy’s life.  He’s even said it before in magazine interviews and stuff like that

Wow! I did not know that

Yes, oh yes.  It’s the God’s honest truth, he used to come out and see me play and I literally changed his whole style.  I never gave him lessons but my influence of what I was playing was probably where he always wanted to go but never saw anybody do it yet.  Then he took off with it.  Of course he’s done really well for himself which is great
 

There’s no market here in the USA 

This is what I’m trying to explain to you about House Of Lords.  We want to play the US.  We really do, we’re ready, we’ve been willing.  To get somebody to take us on, to get someone to say alright I’m going to build with you guys in the US, it’s been a really terrible thing.  We just might have hooked up with somebody that’s actually going to do it.  A very reputable agent and I’m waiting to see.  I’m actually going to find out this week if it’s a go but it looks very good.  I’m looking forward to hopefully taking the band and building it in the US at some point.  I’m not expecting it to go to Colosseums or whatever you know what I’m saying but I want to play.  I want to play in the US.

You could play in Orlando at like House of Blues or at Hard Rock.

Absolutely

With a couple of other bands, you know, make it a whole night 

It’s kind of funny because there’s this contest going on for the Monster’s of Rock Cruise down there and our name was put in, and we moved up that contest really far we went up to like the number 8 position out of 100 bands we’re right above Def Leppard right at the moment which was very shocking.  I was surprised.  I mean if you go to my Facebook page you’ll see it.  As a matter of fact, you should vote for us!

(laughter)
What are you trying to extort me to vote for House of Lords?

Yes.  I’m going to extort you like you wouldn’t even believe

Have you worked with Rusty Cooley at all?

Oh, I love Rusty.  I use to talk to him quite a bit. Yes, he’s a friend.  One time somehow we hooked up.  He called me, not personally, not face to face, you know over the internet, and he was telling me he heard about me from a long-long time ago  Much respect for him!  Much respect, a great-great guy too! Real sweetheart of a guy

What do you think of these record labels signing turd bands and leaving the good ones unsigned?

Listen, this is an issue, and I get this now you know, I’m still learning in this business.  I really am, I’m learning.  It doesn’t matter how good you play your instrument it really doesn’t.  It has nothing to do with if you’re the most monster shredder in the world and you’re blowing people’s mind or anything like that.  It all comes down to a catchy song.  You can have a two-note solo in there but these individuals who are signing bands here and they hear a song they don’t give two shits about the guitar solo because honestly the guitar solo as great as it is to us musicians, because we get off on it as guitarists, it doesn’t make a difference to the average person, it really doesn’t and that’s a sad thing.  I still sit and practice my guitar constantly.  I was practicing when you called.  I’ve put years and years and years into my guitar playing but it doesn’t make a difference on what I play on the guitar because it all comes down to the song.  That’s why you’ll find some of the most popular songs have a melody solo that is recognizable something that the average person can sing.  Like the average person that’s just walking along the street that can sing that guitar solo and is not nothing shreddy about it it’s just a memorable piece.  This is what I tried to do believe it or not on the new House Of Lord record on Saint To The Lost Souls that’s coming out, I actually took the time to work out my guitar solo’s which is something I’ve never done ever in my life. I usually record the songs, you know I write them, I work with the drummer BJ and he helps me rearrange the songs and then we send them down to James and then he’ll either start working on them the way they are or he might move a piece, you know put it into the computer into Pro Tools and move a piece around and then I’ll start doing the lyrics for that.  Anyways, we have a system that we do   What I usually do is I go to BJ’s, play the song, and then we go to the solo section and he’d goes OK you ready to do a solo?  And I’d go yes, and we’ll roll it, do a couple of solos and say yes that was OK.  I’ve done every record except for this last one.  This last record I actually took the time and worked out the solos beforehand and it was a big difference and as a matter of fact I am going to have to do it for every record from now on because it’s really great and I remember them, which is better.  I can remember them because I worked them out you know.  Sometimes I go to play a solo when a record comes out and I go “what the hell am I playing?”  I don’t remember this you know

 

What do you think about these YouTube players?  Do you feel in person teaching is better? 

Look, all these guys are really great players.  The ego thing I can do without.  I’ve never had that and I never will because I keep myself in check because I know for a fact that there is an incredible guitar player a lot younger than me just sitting in his basement and playing right now.  In fact, not even in the basement I see them all over YouTube.  I see these young kids on YouTube that utterly destroy me on guitar playing things that I cannot play.  As discouraging as it is, seeing this and knowing that used to be me and I used to be able to play like all that, it also gives me a kick in the ass type of thing again.  It’s at that time I go, you know what, I’m going to push a little harder now regardless.  I can still do this if I play a little harder you know.  It’s good to see these kids and some are so young.  Oh my God these Asian kids just kill me.  I see this young 8-year-old Japanese girl, oh my God, 8 years old! She’s a monster-monster guitar player and I just go oh my God!  There’s a kid in Italy  Michael Manio or something like that, he plays electric guitar with his fingers like a class guitar, he’s a teenager.  He’s probably the most amazing guitarist you’ll ever see in your life.  Then I see this other guy, I mean what are you going to do?  You know back in the day, back in the Joined Forces day when I came out, honestly there wasn’t anybody playing that style.  Yngwie wasn’t even around then when I came back into town when the first Joined Forces started.  He hadn’t even hit the scene yet.  All the stuff I learned how to play guitar from was from Johnny Winter, Al DiMeola things like that.  That’s where I picked up my style.  There was no Yngwie, there was no Eddie Van Halen that didn’t come out until later you know and so it’s a different learning period, there was no internet. I had to learn everything by ear slow slowing down a record.  Putting the record on speed 16 you know to learn a riff.  Not looking at the internet and having somebody show this to you not by note.

 

Yes, I was part of the whole Joined Forces revolution.  Is House Of Lords pretty much your mainstay now?  Are you still doing your side project in between?   

House Of Lords and Maxx Explosion are my two main projects.  Maxx Explosion has 2 records out and like I said we’re writing the third one even though we don’t have a deal right now but we are writing a third one.  But that band is very good, that’s a trio and it’s a real good trio, really powerful.  And House of Lords for me, it’s a cool band.  It’s a great bunch of guys who’s still well known in Europe.  You know I get to go places I’ve never dreamed of.  I’ve been all over the world.  Places I never thought I’d ever get to see, I’ve got to see them with that band and I’m very grateful

What kind of guitar are you playing these days?  It looks like you’re playing Gibsons I see in your picture.  But are you endorsed by a guitar company?   

I have a guy right down in Jacksonville Florida named Dale Roberts, Roberts Guitars.  He’s a one man operation and he used to be from up here in Connecticut.  He makes all my guitars for me.  He builds guitars and of course I do play and have a bunch of Gibson SG’s and I like the SG body so he asked me if I would play guitar.  I told him well you know I’ve got to be honest I love Gibson SG so if you want to make me guitars it has to look like an SG and feel like an SG and all that type of thing and he does.  He does a great job he makes them exactly the way I want them.  I have the bodies made like the old 60’s SG’s with points, with horns on them and now I’ve recently had the power switches moved on to the pic guard changed and one volume

Isn’t that the guitar you’re using in the latest House Of Lords video I saw?

Yes, I’m using two of them.  They are Roberts Guitars.  One of them is half black and half white, and the other is an all white one.  I switch between, you’ll see them in my guitar solo, I use scenes with them both going back and forth.  They are great guitars I’ve got about 7 of them and another one coming up from Florida he’s just finishing it right now

Are you using Randall Amps?


No, unfortunately, I blew them up.  I was using them. I got in touch with the rep, and he wanted me to use them, and I brought them to a gig.  The first night I had them I blew up the amps, And I’ve used my same Marshall’s all of my life.  I’ve had the same Marshall heads since 1999 or 1998.  I’ve never had a problem except for having to replace tubes and stuff like that, so I just said you know what, I’m not going to mess with what I have known.  You get kind of a bad omen when your amp blows up on your very first gig with it 

 Are you endorsed by like a pedal companies, guitar picks, cables?   

Oh yes, I’m a GHS endorse.  Guitar picks no, I change a lot.  I just ended up using as of last year. I started using the little Jazz III picks.  You know the little ones?

 So what are your plans for 2017?  Naturally House of Lords, Maxx Explosion.  Are you going to put out a solo record of sorts? 

Never

You don’t even have one

No.  No desire.  I don’t like instrumentals.  I did do an instrumental on the last Maxx record, a little country type of thing about a minute forty seconds long.  I love country music.  I don’t mean country like ‘hick’ music I’m talking chicken picking like cool guitar country music, that type of stuff.  And I did a solo on the Maxx Explosion Dirty Angels.  It’s the only instrumental I’ve ever written in my life.  I don’t have the desire to ever sit down and do a whole record of an instrumental.  I listen to a favorite guitar player of mine, I can’t even sit through a whole song of an instrumental.  I lose it.  You know any Yngwie instrumentals or anything that gets too long.  I just won’t listen to it.   I’d rather hear a song with singing and then a great short guitar solo. You can understand.  I grew up listening to AC/DC you know with the exception of Deep Purple, you know Deep Purple was my band but I became a huge AC/DC fan and I know a mound of AC/DC songs and my dream band would be like AC/DC with a little more shredding guitar.  You know a guy that sings like Bon Scott or Brian Johnson and then shred the part a bit more and those type of songs I would be the happiest man in the world because I love those big GDH chords you know in the back.  I don’t care if AC/DC uses the same chords over and over again.  I love every one of their songs.  I don’t care, it doesn’t make a shit of difference to me.

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