Tag Archives: Ritchie Blackmore

Joe Stump Discusses His New Band Tower Of Babel

By Andrew Catania

Without music, humanity is far much doomed. Music is our channel to express how we feel without having to hit someone or things. We allow music through the words and beats to hit so hard without feeling the pain but by opening up our true selves.  Joe William Stump had a surprise for the world. Music was his cup of tea as he grew up listening to Yngwie Malmsteen. This would significantly affect him as he plucked his first guitar at the age of 10. With the inspiration of Jimi Hendrix, he continued practicing on the guitar and soon joined Berklee College of Music.

Berklee College of Music exposed Joe stump to classical music which in turn made him a composer and influenced his style of play. He fell in love with the bass guitar and guitar. He finally made it to the big screen in 1988 and as we all say the rest is history. He has managed to release major solo projects such as Guitar Dominance, Night of the Living Shred and Supersonic Shred Machine. With these successful projects, Stump has managed to change the perception of a guitar as an instrument. He has been able to make it possible for us to relate with each beat he makes with the guitar. The emotions conveyed are made aware and definite to the audience every time he plays.

Image result for joe stump

Joe has made significant strides in his career as he has appeared in music magazines and publications. Some of the publications he has appeared in include; Guitar Shop, Guitar School, Young Guitar, Guitar World among others. It is every dream for an artist to appear in such publications as they grow their fan base. He has also made performances with rock legends like his childhood music icon Yngwie Malmsteen, Bon Jovi and Tony MacAlpine among others. We can say that he has achieved all that a guitarist and composer can ask for. But yet he keeps on taking it to the next level.

He currently plays for the Raven Lord, Hollyhell, and Exorcism as the first lead guitarist. He has also managed to be signed by more than one music label. The labels are Lion Music and Magic Circle Music.  With this kind of success on your shoulders, I wonder what you would do to give back to those who made you great. As for Joe Stump, he gives back by spotting talent in the young and making sure that they don’t get consumed by the hunger of worldly pressures. This is what a great icon does. To help, teach more and at the same time introduce fresh style into the music world.

Joe Stump has made it big not by sitting and saying that he can do that or that. He worked for it tirelessly for the past 57 years to only remain relevant but also to be the star he is today. His journey through music is a clear example of how hard work, determination, and focus can lead you to a path of success and push away destruction out of your way. Joe Stump career should serve as a teaching to the young and old that dreams and passion should not be abandoned but watered till they mature.  I spoke to Joe about his new band, Tower of Babel.

 

How would you describe the new album both musically and lyrically? 

JS: The music walks the line between old school hard rock and classic European power metal with healthy doses of each heard throughout the record.   As with everything I do it`s a product of the combination of all my influences, in this case, the primary and most obvious one being Ritchie Blackmore and his work with Rainbow and Deep Purple. Anybody familiar with my stuff knows`s both Blackmore, and Yngwie Malmsteen are my two biggest influences and you can, of course, Yngwie `s influence in there as well,  as there`s some tracks on the record reminiscent of the early Rising Force stuff.  I`m also a huge fan of the old Michael Schenker group stuff as well as the first batch of Scorpions records with Uli Jon Roth so that can hear in there as well. I also love Rata Blanca from Argentina and Walter Giardino`s songwriting and guitar work, we come from the same school of playing and share a lot of the same influences.

What was your goal with making this album?

JS: After my last solo /all instrumental record I wanted to make a more band/song oriented record with vocals, don`t get me wrong it`s still very guitar driven. But overall a nice mix of killer guitar work showcased inside the melodic classic hard rock and metal tunes. Also with this record, I was leaning more so in the traditional hard rock direction and less in the metal vein.

Any particular influences towards lyrics or music subject?

JS: Myself and vocalist Csaba Zvekan work and write well together and we`re both massive fans of the classic Dio era Rainbow period. So kind of our modern take on that and the type of partnership that both Dio and Blackmore had about their approach to composing together.  It’s not too deep conceptually going just channeling my influences and combining my guitar work inside very musical and listenable classic hard rock and metal tunes. I wanted it to appeal to my core fanbase who of course buy my records to hear me play guitar but also to fans of classic hard rock and European power metal as well.

How does this differ from previous releases?

JS:  Well my last several records were solo all instrumental versions so as I mentioned previously I felt it was time to do a more band oriented type of thing and I wanted to do something brand new not just a rehash of my previous band Joe Stump`s Reign Of Terror.

What have the new members brought to the band?

 

All excellent players and they all did a killer job on the record. Their approach to the music and execution of their parts on the tracks was spot on. Drummer Mark Cross is a powerhouse and drives the band; Maestro Mistheria added a great old school touch with his playing and keyboard orchestrations and textures that enhance the tracks. Nicola Angileri is a monster bass player, and he does some very cool unison lines with me throughout the record he also has an excellent sense of time and provides a strong foundation. Csaba Zvekan brought to tunes up to another level both melodically and lyrically. His voice is compelling and suits the music perfectly.
Tower of Babel is:

Joe Stump– all guitars

Csaba Zvekan– all lead and backing vocals

Mark Cross – Drums

Maestro Mistheria -keyboards

Nicola Angileri– bass

Official website and social network site:

https://www.facebook.com/JoeShredlordStump

https://www.facebook.com/tobbandt/

http://joestump.com/

 

Graham Bonnet Discusses New Live DVD, Rainbow, Alkatrazz, Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie, Steve Vai, Impellitteri And Future Plans

By Andrew Catania

Grаhаm Bоnnеt is аn Englіѕh rосk ѕіngеr аnd ѕоngwrіtеr. Bоnnеt іѕ known fоr his роwеrful vоісе аnd wіdе vосаl rаngе. Hіѕ ѕіngіng hаѕ bееn nоtеd аѕ ‘vеrу lоud’ bу bоth hіѕ соntеmроrаrіеѕ аnd hіmѕеlf, аnd hе сlаіmѕ tо bе a ѕеlf-tаught ѕіngеr wіth ‘no dіѕсірlіnе fоr lеѕѕоnѕ.’

Bоnnеt wаѕ bоrn іn Skegness, Englаnd іn 1947. Hе hаd hіѕ fіrѕt hit ѕіnglе wіth thе duо, Thе Mаrblеѕ іn 1968, wіth thе ѕіnglе “Onlу Onе Wоmаn,” whісh rеасhеd Numbеr 5 іn thе UK Sіnglеѕ Chаrt. Thіѕ аnd іtѕ fоllоw-uр wеrе bоth wrіttеn bу Bаrrу Gіbb, Rоbіn Gіbb аnd Mаurісе Gіbb оf thе Bее Gееѕ whо hаd rесоrdеd іn Auѕtrаlіа wіth Bоnnеt’ѕ bаndmаtе frоm Thе Mаrblеѕ, Trеvоr Gоrdоn. Bоnnеt thеn ԛuіt dоіng аdvеrt jіnglеѕ.

Hе арреаrеd іn thе 1974 Brіtіѕh соmеdу fіlm; Thrее Fоr All аѕ the lеаd ѕіngеr оf ‘Bіllу Bееthоvеn,’ a fісtіоnаl bаnd, аlоng wіth ѕеvеrаl nоtаblе UK соmеdу реrѕоnаlіtіеѕ аnd hіѕ thеn раrtnеr Adrіеnnе Pоѕtа, although hіѕ сhаrасtеr’ѕ lіnеѕ wеrе lіmіtеd tо оnlу twо words. In 1977 hе rеlеаѕеd аn ероnуmоuѕ аlbum, whісh wаѕ сеrtіfіеd gоld іn Auѕtrаlіа. Thе ѕіnglе, “It’ѕ All Ovеr Nоw, Bаbу Bluе,” a соvеr vеrѕіоn оf thе Bоb Dуlаn ѕоng. Alѕо rеасhеd thе tор fіvе іn Auѕtrаlіа іn 1977, аnd thе fоllоwіng уеаr thе ѕіnglе “Wаrm Rіdе,” wrіttеn bу the Bее Gееѕ, a lеftоvеr frоm thе Sаturdау Nіght Fеvеr sessions, rеасhеd numbеr оnе thеrе. In 1979, Bоnnеt was аррrоасhеd tо jоіn UK glаm-rосk bаnd Swееt tо rерlасе Brіаn Cоnnоllу.

Hоwеvеr, hе wаѕ сhоѕеn bу Rіtсhіе Blасkmоrе tо rерlасе Ronnie Jаmеѕ Dіо аѕ thе vосаlіѕt оf hаrd rосk bаnd Rаіnbоw. Hе ѕаng оn thе Dоwn tо Eаrth LP, whісh wоuld bесоmе hіѕ mоѕt ѕuссеѕѕful аlbum. It ѕраwnеd twо hіt ѕіnglеѕ іn 1979 аnd 1980: “Sіnсе Yоu Bееn Gоnе” аnd “All Nіght Lоng.” Durіng Bоnnеt’ѕ tіmе іn thе bаnd, Rаіnbоw аlѕо hеаdlіnеd thе іnаugurаl Mоnѕtеrѕ оf Rосk fеѕtіvаl аt Dоnіngtоn Pаrk, Cаѕtlе Dоnіngtоn. Bоnnеt’ѕ tіmе wіth Rаіnbоw wаѕ ѕhоrt, аnd hе lеft tо rеѕumе hіѕ ѕоlо саrееr, rеlеаѕіng thе Lіnе-Uр аlbum in 1981, hаndlеd bу рrоduсеr Jоhn Edеn.

Fоr thе rесоrdіng оf thе Lіnе uр, Bоnnеt еnlіѕtеd ѕеvеrаl wеll-knоwn rосk muѕісіаnѕ іnсludіng Whіtеѕnаkе guіtаrіѕt Mісk Mооdу, Whіtеѕnаkе аnd Rainbow drummеr Cоzу Pоwеll, Dеер Purрlе аnd Whіtеѕnаkе keyboard рlауеr Jоn Lоrd, аnd Stаtuѕ Quо guіtаrіѕtѕ Frаnсіѕ Rоѕѕі аnd Rісk Pаrfіtt. Fеnwісk аnd Aіrеу аlѕо fеаturеd hеаvіlу оn Bоnnеt’ѕ 1991 ѕоlо album Hеrе Cоmеѕ Thе Nіght whісh іnсludеѕ ѕеvеrаl соvеrѕ аѕ wеll аѕ ѕоngѕ сrеdіtеd tо bу hіѕ thеn wіfе Jо Eіmе, аnd аnоthеr rеmаkе оf thе Mаrblеѕ’, “Onlу Onе Wоmаn.”

In 1997 hе rеlеаѕеd Undеrgrоund, an nеw ѕоlо аlbum, whісh hеlреd rе-еѕtаblіѕh hіm with hіѕ fаn bаѕе іn Jараn. 1999’s Thе Day I Wеnt Mаd fеаturеd guіtаrіѕt Slаѕh, Def Lерраrd guіtаrіѕt Vіvіаn Cаmрbеll, Bruсе Kulісk рluѕ a guіtаrіѕt, Mаrіо Parga. Bоnnеt соntrіbutеd lеаd vосаlѕ tо thе Jараnеѕе hеаvу mеtаl bаnd Anthеm’ѕ 2000 rеlеаѕе Hеаvу Mеtаl Anthеm, whісh hаd rеwоrkѕ оf сlаѕѕіс Anthеm trасkѕ. Bоnnеt rеjоіnеd Imреllіttеrі іn 2000 fоr their Sуѕtеm X аlbum. Mеаnwhіlе, hіѕ 1999 Jараnеѕе solo аlbum gоt thе UK rеlеаѕе іn Sерtеmbеr 2001. At thе Bасk End оf 2001, Bоnnеt wеnt оn a ѕоlо UK tоur.

Hіѕ bаnd іnсludеd kеуbоаrd рlауеr Dоn Aіrеу, bаѕѕіѕt Chrіѕ Chіldѕ аnd drummеr Hаrrу Jаmеѕ оf Thundеr аnd guіtаrіѕt Dаrіо Mоllо. In еаrlу 2004 Bоnnеt jоіnеd Itаlіаn guіtаrіѕt Dаrіо Mоllо’ѕ nеw рrоjесt Elеktrіс Zoo, tоurіng Eurоре durіng Aрrіl. Mаіntаіnіng thе Itаlіаn соnnесtіоn, thе ѕіngеr аlѕо раrtісіраtеd іn Matteo Fіlірріnі’ѕ рrоjесt, Mооnѕtоnе, fеаturіng on thе trасk “Nоt Dеаd Yеt.” In 2006 Bоnnеt соntrіbutеd vосаlѕ tо thе Wеlсоmе tо Amеrіса album bу Tаz Tауlоr Bаnd. Thе bаnd tоurеd thе UK іn 2007 аnd Eurоре іn 2008. Hе аlѕо арреаrеd іn thе Cоuntdоwn Sресtасulаr соnсеrt ѕеrіеѕ іn Auѕtrаlіа bеtwееn Auguѕt аnd Sерtеmbеr 2007.

Hе ѕаng twо ѕоngѕ, “Wаrm Rіdе” аnd “It’ѕ All Over Nоw, Bаbу Bluе.” A press rеlеаѕе dаtеd 6 Nоvеmbеr 2008 rероrtеd thаt Bоnnеt wоuld bе соntrіbutіng vосаlѕ fоr a hіghlіghtѕ CD wіth thе mеtаl ореrа рrоjесt, Lyraka. Thе аlbum Lуrаkа Vоlumе 1 wаѕ rеlеаѕеd in Nоvеmbеr 2010. It wаѕ аnnоunсеd in Nоvеmbеr 2010, thаt Bоnnеt wоuld аlѕо fеаturе оn Lуrаkа Vоlumе 2. Bonnet сurrеntlу rеѕіdеѕ іn Lоѕ Angеlеѕ, Cаlіfоrnіа, with his wife Beth-Ami, frоm whеrе hе соntіnuеѕ tо rесоrd аnd tоur еxtеnѕіvеlу. Bоnnеt tоurеd thе UK wіth Rаіnbоw trіbutе bаnd Cаtсh thе Rаіnbоw ѕtаrtіng in Mаrсh 2014. Hе соllаbоrаtеѕ іn thе Stаrduѕt Rеvеrіе Prоjесt, a ѕuреrgrоuр fеаturіng Zаk Stеvеnѕ аnd Lуnn Mеrеdіth аmоng оthеrѕ. Thеіr fіrѕt аlbum Anсіеnt Rіtеѕ оf thе Mооn released іn Aрrіl 2014. Hе іѕ сurrеntlу wоrkіng оn thе nеw Stаrduѕt Rеvеrіе аlbum ѕсhеdulеd fоr 2015.

In 2015, Bоnnеt fоrmеd Thе Grаhаm Bоnnеt Bаnd аnd tоurеd thе UK, Eurоре, аnd Auѕtrаlіа рlауіng ѕоngѕ frоm thrоughоut hіѕ саrееr іnсludіng Alсаtrаzz аnd Rаіnbоw. Thе bаnd rеlеаѕеd a twо-ѕоng E.P. tіtlеd “Mу Kіngdоm Cоmе” wrіttеn bу Ruѕѕ Ballard аnd аnnоunсеd wоrk оn a new ѕtudіо аlbum tо bе rесоrdеd fеаturіng nеw соmроѕіtіоnѕ аnd a bоnuѕ dіѕс соnѕіѕtіng оf rе-rесоrdіngѕ оf ѕоmе ѕоngѕ frоm Bоnnеt’ѕ саrееr.

Thе fіnаl lіnе-uр оf Thе Grаhаm Bоnnеt Bаnd іѕ Grаhаm Bоnnеt, Vосаlѕ; Joey Tafolla, Guіtаrѕ; Bеth-Amі Hеаvеnѕtоnе, Bаѕѕ; Mаrk Zоndеr (Ex-Fаtеѕ Wаrnіng), Drumѕ. Thе bаnd wіll rеѕumе tоurіng tоwаrdѕ thе еnd оf 2016. On thе 4th оf Nоvеmbеr, 2016, Thе Grаhаm Bonnet Bаnd rеlеаѕеd thеіr dеbut аlbum, ‘Thе Bооk.’ GRAHAM BONNET BAND’ѕ реrfоrmаnсе аt thе Frоntіеrѕ Rосk Fеѕtіvаl оn Aрrіl 24 аt Lіvе Club іn Trеzzо (Mіlаnо), Itаlу is out on CD and DVD through Frontiers Records.  I caught up with Graham to talk about the new live CD before he was to fly off to Europe.

Congratulations on your DVD. I was listening to it, and it’s like listening to you all over again through Alcatrazz.

GB: Yeah, we are doing quite a lot of Alcatrazz and Rainbow stuff, yeah. One day, we will have some different songs to sing, I hope, but we do have an album that came out a year ago, and we got great reviews. I’m trying to work in those new songs you know slowly, but we have to do what we have to do you know, few of just, they want a sing-along, so what can I say?

You have worked with superb guitarists; you worked with Yngwie, Stev, Vai and Chris Impellitteri  Did you have any particular one that you liked working with better? 

GB: They were all excited to work with because they were so different, you know. I was fortunate to be asked to join Rainbow a million years ago, and I’d never done that kind of music before, I’d never played in the so-called ‘Heavy Metal’ or whatever, underground band as they were called at the time. I knew it was something new for me to experience and from then on I’m just lucky to find or play with people who were so different. Probably Yngwie Malmsteen was nearest to Ritchie Blackmore I’ve ever heard. Because when I put my band together on Alcatrazz here in 1980 something, he was the perfect fit for the band. He looked like Ritchie and dressed like Ritchie anyway, and he played like him because he was a Richie fan. But he took it a little bit further you know, he had his style and went about it.

Then after Yngwie was gone, then Steve Vai comes into the band, who was an entirely different player. Oh, my God, I wish I had loved him, he wasn’t the usual kind of noodling the fretboard. It was pretty cool to listen to that stuff, but he was a different player. More adventurous, with chords, progression, etc., and he was around for a while, and then he was stolen by David Lee Roth. That kind of thing keeps happening to me you know but why not? The players that I’ve had and played with, the guitarists, they are the soloist on the run, and I always expect them to go out and do their own thing eventually anyway. But probably Ritchie Blackmore was a different kettle of fish because he’ kind of wanted to be in a band always. Then Danny Johnson came along and Chris Impellitteri. Danny is a very ‘Blueszy’ player, again, entirely different from all the other guys, but a great Blues player and of course Chris Impellitteri is like one of the best guitar players ever. He’s also one of the fastest I’ve ever seen.   I’ve been lucky to play with different players, and they’ve always given me inspiration for writing songs, and I appreciate EVERY one of them, and I’m fortunate to have been chosen by them or me choosing them, just a coincidence or luck, I don’t know.

How have you kept your voice so high after all these years? 

GB: We rehearse at home and my God, like out in the outback here, we’ve got a shed outside, we’re a garage band basically, and my God it’s so damn hot. As far as, I don’t know. I’ve just been fortunate, I’ve got a loud voice, speaking voice as well as singing voice. I can still do what I used to do, but sometimes it fails me if I get so tired or whatever, you know. But it’s there most of the time. I remember when we did that show in Milan, we were all so damn tired; I can’t tell you. I said to my guy, ‘that was the worse job I’ve ever done’ and we had been traveling for like 24 hours. We had hadn’t had any sleep, we did the show, and we pulled it off somehow, but I wasn’t moving around very much, I remember, it worked ok. I have to say, I don’t know how I’ve kept it, but I always said my voice has changed, all the time before I go on tour. I went to the doctor probably about two months ago to see what was happening regarding my vocal chords, and he said ‘well, the left side, my left side vocal chords is like a piece of lemon,’ basically.’ It’s very scarred from years of singing. And he said ‘sometimes your vocal chords don’t quite meet, kind of hiccup in your voice.’ And that’s been happening recently, like a little soul beat in the voice. It’s a natural reluctance you know, that’s through age, and that’s what it is. But those notes can still come out I just have sometimes to hold back or use my head voice as opposed to using the diaphragm so much.  But I try to get as much volume as I can because that’s where I get the tone of my voice from, somewhat immediately, the volume. But as I said, it doesn’t work all the time, some days iit’skind of like rough and I have to shut up, but it comes back after a few hours you know.

Do you have any preparation before you go on stage, regarding vocal preparation?

GB: Just nerves and hoping for the best. I’ve never prepared to go on stage ever. I remember Ronnie James Dio used to say ‘it’s a waste of notes if you start warming up in the dressing room’ and I agree with him completely. Because you start warming up and you’re singing, and it’s like ‘wait a minute, I have an hour of whatever it is the shown to do, an hour or hour and a half, whatever it may be. And that time warming up so to speak, for me, is wear and tear on the lungs and the chords. So, it’s ok for a guitar player to do that because they can just turn up and impress everybody anyway. But with the vocals you can’t just turn it off and on to the limit, there’s no switch, so it doesn’t work that way. So I’ve never warmed up and I just hope for the best. Some days it’s ok and sometimes it’s not. It’s ok, but it’s a little creaky sometimes, but it hasn’t been too bad over the last couple of years, I must say.

Let me ask you about your wardrobe.  Do you want to be different?

GB: Before Rainbow, that’s the way I looked. I mean, I lived in London at that time, and I was kind of punking, and everybody was kind of dressing Punkish or in the kind of Rock ‘a’ Billy style sort of thing back then. Some 1950s thing and I were very much into 1950s music you know, Gil Wappen and the Platters and whatever, Little Richie and all that kind of stuff, and Chuck Berry, I love that music, that’s my era, that’s what I grew up as a kid on, you know. And my friend who is a tailor in London said ‘well why don’t you adopt that style, which 1950s style?’ He said ‘I’ll make you some shirts with the cuffs exactly as they used to make them back then. The body and shape of the shirt were the same as it was in the 1950s and we’ll cut you a suit or two that was the 1950s style’. And so that’s what happened. I was doing a solo thing as I said before Rainbow, doing solo albums and that’s just how I looked, because I liked that look and that was a bit of a shock to Ritchie Blackmore when he first met me, he said ‘what the hell is this?’ cool that he called me the bank manager (unclear), so it was a bit straight forward. I hadn’t used the Hawaiian shirt yet, that came later, which I didn’t realize that much anyway. It was just something that, that was the way I was, and I wasn’t going to change it to be in a particular band you know.

Whose idea was it for the live DVD? Was it yours or Frontiers?

GB: Yeah it was Frontiers. They told us what to play and also, not what to wear, but what to play. We came over on a freaking ferry to do that. We were straight on this ferry into a car and onto the stage. So that’s what I was saying that we were all exhausted and so we went on stage in our street clothes on. I wasn’t very dressy that night, I remember. But they told us what to play for the audience, and they knew what the audience wanted to hear. So it was their idea to do this and mainly to promote the new band.

With the new band, you made a switch in guitarist, is that something you felt was necessary or just the right timing?

GB: Well it was something that we thought about for a while because I think Conrad was probably losing a little interest in the band because he plays with another band here. And he’s a young man, he’s only in his 30s and he’s got a long way to go yet, and I think he was getting a little uncomfortable, probably tired of what we were doing. We just decided that ‘if you wanna go, go’ Basically, the feeling was mutual. We knew that something wasn’t quite right. He was getting uncomfortable with doing what we were doing. He’s been doing it for three years with us now, and I understand, as I said he’s a young guy. We all have our hopes and dreams when we’re 30 years old and want to get out there and do our thing. Like when I left Rainbow, I was 33 and so if you feel you can do something different then give it a shot and if it doesn’t work then you go back to square one. But it was something we knew we had to change because of him. He wasn’t comfortable, and so, it was a mutual agreement that he should do something else.

How did you get your new guitarist?

I think Jimmy Waldo was a guy that knew Joey.  So Joey came along, and I probably played with Joey in a show somewhere, I can’t remember where we played it now. He sat in for Conrad because Conrad was away, working in South America I think somewhere. So kind of what happened, Conrad was working South America, we didn’t have a guitar player because he’d be away somewhere and we didn’t know what to do. So Joey came in and sat in with us, and I was impressed. He was a friend of Jimmy’s, I’m not quite sure, it was either our manager or Jimmy’s, but anyway, everybody knew who he was, and he fits quite perfectly with the band now. And we’ve been rehearsing, as I said, all week and he’s got a lot of steps to learn, but he’s catching up well. He’s an outstanding player.

Are you touring mostly in Europe? Is there a reason behind that? Everybody I’ve talked to, it seems like they’re touring Europe and just not doing anything in the States because the States just doesn’t have the dedication that the European audience has.

GB:  so to starve them 1980, roughly 1980s kind of music and we played Russia and The Antarctic, anywhere that a Rock band hasn’t been. It used to be like that years ago in Japan when Rock bands from here started to go over to Japan. It was a big deal like it is in Russia now, or Finland, anywhere in Europe. It’s just incredible and also it’s kind of a good following in England, which is great and it’s a new audience now. The people that bought all that music are now in their 60s or 70s, but their kids have listened to what their mom and dad are playing on the whatever. And young kids are catching up with the stuff and they’re saying ‘what is this? It’s not like the stuff we hear on the radio’ because it’s real Rock & Roll, which I love. When I was a kid I used to listen to Little Richard sing, that was true Rock & Roll now. That guy just blows me away; he’s just the greatest Rock & Roll singer ever. He was an influence on me, but I was probably 10 years old when I listened to him. I think that’s what’s happening with kids now. They hear this so-called Heavy Metal or whatever it is music we do, and they’re impressed by it, because they see the sweat, they see the veins sticking out, they see that guy playing guitar like a fucking maniac, the drummer going crazy and the whole band actually working and not covered up by 100 dancers and people lip-syncing. This is the real thing, and that is what young guys are impressed by and young girls too. I signed an autograph for a kid who was eight years old, and I was blown away by that; that was in Finland I think or somewhere.

It seems like some of the bands are doing big packages as a necessity like that’s the only way that people or a group is making a dollar or two.

GB: Yeah it is. I mean, that’s what we’re doing now. We’re going to be doing festivals later, but we have tour dates coming up in the States. I’m not sure of the actual dates right now but I know I have some gigs and Michael Schenker as well. I’m doing a guest thingy with him next year which is going to be in the States with the other singers from the Michael Schenker band, so we’ll all come in and do a couple of songs each. That will be good for this group because it will show people I’m still alive, apart from the other guys who used to sing with him. So that will be a good sort of intro, a foot in the door, to start playing more in the States, I think we have some dates coming up in Texas in a while, I’m not quite sure when.

Going back to your album, which was released last year, are you going to be supporting that throughout your tour? I assume that you are going to be in Europe, that’s what you’re rehearsing for?

GB:  Yeah, we’re going to be doing a few songs from that album, obviously. And as I said, I’d like to incorporate some of the new stuff because it sold so well. We’re very very lucky, it did so well, and people appreciated it, they liked it. Because I was a bit worried about it being a bit too dated or something, but it sounded pretty modern. But anyway, that’s what I aim to do and eventually it would be nice to squeeze out some of the older songs than sticking up to the new ones, so to speak. So if you promote the new album and that’s what I want to do, unfortunately, we have to the sing-along songs; the ‘Since She’s Been Gone’ and the ‘All Night Long’ and whatever else. So we will be paying more of those songs and writing more.

Do you have any music written down so far for a future album?

GB: Yeah, in fact, today I’ve got Jimmy Waldo coming over just for the demo; I’ve got songs. I’m just going to play them on my acoustic or something and just put down for the band because we’re leaving tomorrow, Bethany and me, and then the other guys join up a little later. They are going to rehearse while we’re gone for a couple of days. So that’s what I’m doing today, I have probably 10 or 11 new ideas, and then, of course, they have their stuff, I think, which I’ll find out eventually. But I have ideas already; I just need to play it to them so that they can turn them into band songs and that’s how I always do things. Acoustically, and then say ok now, what can you do with this? Drums, guitar bass, keyboards, what do you think? But it’s up to them to help me get it into an electronic sound.  it’s so groovy.

How do you handle songwriting? Are you the principal songwriter or do you split it amongst the band members?

GB: It depends on the play on the idea. If they’ve got a ripple or two or some kind of arrangement they have in their head, yeah I can roll with them. I usually work out an agreement before I play it to the band so I have all the ideas in my head, the base part, the keyboard part sometimes and the way the song should feel, you know. If they ‘nah I don’t think you should do it that way’, then I would say ‘ok show me how you think it should be’, and then we change it if necessary. But when I played with Yngwie, I would play it with him or he would come up to my house and I would play it with him and I’d say ‘well I’ve got this, what do think? Can you make this more your own kind of thing guitar ‘playing wise’?’. And that’s how I’ve always done it. It usually starts with the guitar player and the other guitar player with the lead guitar player, so to speak or keyboard player, and then we’d develop it from then on. Then the drummer will add his two cents and the base two cents or maybe ten cents, whatever, then it develops. Usually, I have the idea in my head, I hear it and I say ‘it should sound like this’, then they agree or disagree. Which is ok with me, I like input from everyone, but it basically starts with me, so I can take the blame for everything.

Are you going to be touring mostly with your band for the rest of 2017?

GB: Yeah, with my band and till the end of the year as far as I know. Then next year I do a guest thing with Michael, but the rest of the time I don’t want to do all these guest things much more because it’s becoming a bit of whole freaking band are you in? It’s ok, but after a while it’s tiresome. I want to do what I’m doing right now and concentrate on this band. This is the most important thing to me, and it’s important to the rest of the guys too. I don’t want them saying ‘well are you going to be here? Are you going to play with Michael Schenker?’ Oh, you’re kidding. It’s ok, it promotes the band a little, but after a while, people wonder ‘am I joining? Is Robin McAuley joining the Michael Shanker band?  it’s got to stop at some point. And I’ll be glad to say well ‘that’s the last time I’ll going to do that’ but work we’re saying is very hard to find over in America and to do that thing with Michael in America next year, it’s great because I don’t have to go anywhere, well not long journeys anyway. It’s a thing I’ve got to knock on the head eventually because this is important to me that we develop this band and not kind of ‘oh remember this song from the yesteryear with the Michael Schenker Band. But I appreciate the work, I really do, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so damn hard to get work for this band here, that’s what I’m saying.

You can purchase the Graham Bonnet Band’s live DVD from Milan at your online retailers.

Check the Graham Bonnet Band at:

http://grahambonnetband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/grahambonnetmusic/

The Passionate Playing of Symphony X’s Michael Romeo

By Andrew Catania

Michael Romeo is an American guitarist, who was born in New York City on the 6th of March, 1968. He is a musician and songwriter who is known as one of the founding members of the progressive metal group Symphony X. He has been composing and writing music ever since 1994 until now. His music genres include power metal, progressive metal, neoclassical metal and symphonic metal. He was ranked as the 91st out of 100 best heavy metal guitarists of all time.

Michael Romeo fell in love with music as a child. This is why he was encouraged to take piano lessons at the age of 10. He began to play the clarinet as well. It was when he listened to a music album by the band “Kiss” that he decided to take matters into a different turn. He decided to buy a guitar and ended up buying a cheap guitar at a garage sale.

As a young aspiring musician, Michael Romeo was heavily influenced by the musical style of bands like Kiss and Rush. He liked their style and they had a great effect on the music he made later on. He also got influenced by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and progressive rock groups like Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

His love for the guitar became a real passion for listening to  Ozzy Osbourne’s Diary of a Madman and Blizzard of Ozz. He was also deeply touched by the unique and neoclassical style of Ritchie Blackmore, Randy Rhoads, and Uli Jon Roth.

His work was also influenced by many famous classical composers including Ludwig Van Beethoven, Igor Stravinsky, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach. Their music style and technique is quite obvious in the progressive music he composed later on.

In 1992 Michael Romeo recorded a demo tape that he sent around to various production companies but he didn’t face any luck until a Japanese record label expressed their interest in the tape and asked for further material. Zero, the Japanese label decided to produce Romeo’s album in 1994. Romeo teamed up with a keyboardist called Michael Pinnella to work on the album and together they decided to form the band Symphony X. This album was called the “The Dark Chapter”, an entirely instrumental album. The track titles referred to works by the American poet Edgar Allan Poe, like the “The Masque of The Red Death” and “The Premature Burial”. The album cover even featured a raven in reference to a poem by the famous poet of the same title. 9 of the 10 tracks included were composed by Michael Romeo himself.

The band was originally founded by Michael Romeo and Michael Pinnella in 1994. Today it includes drummer Jason Rullo, bassist Michael Lepond, and lead vocalist Russell Allen. After “The Dark Chapter” became quite popular especially in Japan, Romeo recruited bassist Thomas Miller and vocalist Rod Tyler along with drummer Jason Rullo. They recorded an album to bear the name of the band which was again produced by the Japanese label “Zero”. It was released at the end of the same year. After that album, the lead vocalist left the band and was replaced by the current vocalist Allen. The band produced their third album “The Damnation Game” 6 months later.

Symphony X became popular in metal circles after producing their album “The Divine Wings of Tragedy”. The album took some extra time in preparation with recording beginning in 1996 until it was finally produced in 1997. This album allowed Symphony X to become a success in Europe and at the same time their popularity in Japan kept on growing.

The band recorded “Twilight in the Olympus” in 1998 with a replacement drummer when Rullo had to step away for a while and this gave the band the opportunity to have their first live show in the same year which took place in Japan. It was soon followed by a world tour and the bassist left to be replaced by Michael Lepond.

The band released its fifth album in 2000 with the major progressive music label InsideOut Music, which was their first concept album dealing with the myth of Atlantis. The band then recorded their first live album after a tour in Europe and South America. 2 years later the band released an album called “The Odyssey” and was followed by “Paradise Lost”. The last album had darker musical themes and included a special DVD footage of the band throughout their history. In 2007 the band also released their first music video. Paradise lost was followed by another album called “Iconoclast” that describes the way machines are taking over everything in our lives. It was produced in 2011.

Michael Romeo appeared as a guest guitarist for other bands like Ayreon and Flaud Logic. He still managed to work on a new album with Symphony X in 2014. The album was titled “Underworld” and was finally released in 2015. The first single was released in May 2015 while the second followed in June 2015 and was made available for digital download.

The Professor Joe Satriani

By Andrew Catania

For most musicians, just being nominated for a Grammy is a dream come true in itself. However, being nominated for the Grammy Award a total of fifteen times and selling over 10 million albums makes Joe Satriani incomparable to most musicians.

The Midas of all instrumentalists, it would be nothing but fair to say that Satriani truly turns everything he touches to audio gold. Joseph “Joe” Satriani is an American born and bred multi-instrumentalist best known for his career as a rock guitarist.

Influenced by the death of the legendary Jimi Hendrix, Satriani was drawn to the world of guitars at the age of 14. How he started to play the guitar is a narrative made for the history books. He heard of Hendrix’s death on the football field during football practice, walked off to his coach and informed his coach of his decision to quit in order to become a guitarist. He fell in love with the legend Hendrix was and today, he is nothing short of extraordinary himself.

In 1978, Satriani moved to California to pursue a career in music. He started teaching the guitar during this period. His skills on the guitar and fluid communication methods as an instructor led to numerous of his former students achieving unparalleled levels of success. Some of his former students include Steve Vai, Rick Hunolt, Larry LaLonde, Kirk Hammett and Charlie Hunter.

In 1986, Satriani released his first studio album titled Not of This Earth. It drove in successful critical acclaim and led to Satriani recording his second solo album, Surfing with the Alien, the very next year in 1987. It was the first all-instrumental solo album to perform as well as it had and to have become a radio hit since a significant number of years.

The news of his talent spread like wildfire through people who had witnessed his firsthand success. In 1988, a decade after he became a teacher, Satriani was recruited by Mick Jagger as lead guitarist for Jagger’s first solo tour. In 1989, Satriani released his third album Flying in a Blue Dream, inspired by the death of his father who had passed away during the making of the album. In 1992, Satriani released The Extremist, which has proven to become the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful album of his till date.

With one successful solo album release after the next, Satriani soon rose to worldwide fame. In 1993, he was invited to join the incredible Deep Purple as a temporary replacement for Ritchie Blackmore who had just left the band.

With 15 albums released since 1986 and with 15 Grammy Nominations, Joe Satriani is a name recognized across the world, from every corner of the United States to developing nations across Asia. He is considered to have mastered extremely difficult performance techniques on the electric guitar. Influenced by blues – rock guitar icons such as Hendrix and Clapton, he is skilled alternate picking, legato, harmonics and extreme whammy bar effects amongst numerous skills.

The fact that a significant number of his students have achieved critical commercial success is only a reflection of the master’s trade. It’s a pleasure following Satriani’s success and we’re just around the corner – waiting for his first Grammy win because it’s about damn time.

Top Neoclassical Guitarists

By Andrew Catania

Neoclassical metal is influenced by classical music and heavily dependent upon mastering complex techniques and forms. Over the past few decades, there are a limited number of neoclassical guitarists that have influenced the music industry. Here is a list of the ten best neoclassical guitarists of the modern era.

Yngwie J. Malmsteen

Yngwie J. Malmsteen gained popularity as a neoclassical metal guitarist in 1980. A new force in heavy metal, he released his first solo album called Rising Force in 1984. This was the catalyst to his success as musicians because despite being only the first song published by Malmsteen, Rising Force went on to win the best rock album for Guitar Player Magazine and was nominated for a Grammy. The success was not short – lived but only the beginning of an incredible career. In 2009, Time Magazine rated Yngwie Malmsteen as amongst the ten greatest electric guitar players of all time.

Uli Jon Roth 

Uli Jon Roth is a German musician who was one of the early adopters of the neoclassical style of music in the metal genre. He gained momentum and influence as the lead guitarist for the iconic band Scorpions. He also had a stint at a solo career before joining the Scorpions during which he composed four symphonies and two concertos. This creative time in his career is said to be the defining moment of his legacy as a neoclassical metal guitarist since his work was heavily inspired by advanced compositional elements from European classical music.

Joe Stump 

Joe Stump is an American musician and composer. Apart from having a solo career, he also plays with Exorcism, Raven Lord and the world-famous metal band HolyHell. His musical style is predominantly inspired by Yngwie J. Malmsteen. 

Chris Impellitteri 

Chris Impellitteri is the founder and lead guitarist of his namesake band – Impellitteri. Although his music is not commercially popular, he has a large following amongst innate metal lovers. His neoclassical style of music takes the form of fast shredding guitar techniques, traditional metal screaming vocals and speedy rhythm. This affinity towards shredding has led Guitar World Magazine to name Chris Impellitteri as one of the fastest guitarists of all times, one rank ahead of Yngwie Malmsteen. 

Michael Romeo
Michael Romeo started the progressive metal band Symphony X. His music as a guitarist is neoclassical in style because as a child, he began formal music lessons at the tender age of 10. Guitar World ranked Michael Romeo #91 in their ‘100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of all Time’ list.

 George Lynch

George Lynch has a series of successful platinum albums featuring his excellent skills as a lead guitarist. The albums by the band Dokken resulted in Lynch gaining a reputation for being the closest thing as a guitar hero. He was named the ‘Top 10 Metal Guitarists of all Time’ by Gibson.

Marty Friedman

The band Megadeth requires no introduction to the heavy metal fan. The fact that Marty Friedman was the lead guitarist for Megadeth for almost a full decade is nothing short of a reflection of his extraordinary abilities. Marty came from humble beginnings where he was mostly self-taught, and as news of his music spread through his small town, people would come in flocks to hear him play from neighboring villages. Western and eastern music influences his neoclassical style of music.

Ritchie Blackmore

Ritchie Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter who was also a founding member of the iconic band Deep Purple. The legendary track ‘Smoke on the Water’ is till date considered being a classic and a reflection of Blackmore’s fondness for illuminating classical elements of music into modern rock and metal. His work with Deep Purple led to Blackmore being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2016.


Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads had a wildly successful, yet short-lived career due to his untimely death in a plane crash that also resulted in the passing of the legendary Ozzy Osbourne. During his short time as a heavy metal guitarist, Randy was a significant influence on the neoclassical scene of music and was placed on numerous “Greatest Guitarist” list. His skills were valued so highly that Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot brought him on board to play with them. Today, one can’t help but invoke a sense of “what- if’s” while referring to Randy Rhoads due to the tragic end to his unbelievably talented career. 

 

Tony MacAlpine 

Tony MacAlpine began playing the guitar at the age of 12 and studied classical music as a child. Years of classical influence as a child led to him being recognized as a role model in the neoclassical guitar scene due to his highly advanced shred techniques. He has been described to have the outstanding technical ability when Jason Ankeny from All Music asserted MacAlpine to be a ‘virtuoso.’

Interview: The Legacy of Lita Ford

By Andrew Catania

There’s not many guitarists that have had the career and legacy that Lita Ford has had.  Litа wаѕ bоrn оn Sерtеmbеr 19, 1958 in Lоndоn, Englаnd, and grew up in Lоѕ Angеlеѕ. She became the lead guitаriѕt in thе аll-girl hard rосk band Thе Runaways, whose dеbut аlbum wаѕ rеlеаѕеd in 1976. With thеir рunkiѕh ѕоund, рrоvосаtivе ѕtаgе outfits аnd rеbеlliоuѕ lуriсѕ, thе band ѕhосkеd mаnу in thе rосk wоrld, аnd асhiеvеd mild рорulаritу until they brоkе up in 1979. Fоrd then enjoyed a ѕuссеѕѕful ѕоlо саrееr in heavy mеtаl, with ѕuсh hitѕ аѕ “Kiѕѕ Me Dеаdlу” аnd “Close Mу Eуеѕ Fоrеvеr.”

Ford was bоrn Cаrmеlitа Rоѕѕаnnа Fоrd tо a Britiѕh fаthеr, and аn Itаliаn mother in Lоndоn, Englаnd. Shе mоvеd with hеr fаmilу to the Unitеd Stаtеѕ аt аgе 4. Shе bеgаn рlауing thе guitаr at аgе 11. Hеr vосаl rаngе iѕ thаt of a mеzzо-ѕорrаnо.

Aftеr the grоuр ѕрlit in 1979, ѕhе bеgаn a solo career. Hеr firѕt album, Out fоr Blood inсluding thе titlе ѕinglе wаѕ released in 1983 аnd hаd nо luсk оn thе сhаrtѕ. The next effort, Dancin’ оn thе Edgе оf 1984 асhiеvеd mоdеrаtе success. It inсludеd the single “Fire In Mу Hеаrt” whiсh reached thе Tор 10 in ѕеvеrаl соuntriеѕ. The nеxt ѕinglе “Gotta Lеt Gо” wаѕ оnе of Fоrd’ѕ biggеѕt hitѕ. It reached Numbеr One on thе Mainstream Rосk сhаrtѕ.

Fоrd tоurеd еxtеnѕivеlу аnd mаdе ѕеvеrаl guеѕt арреаrаnсеѕ оn TV shows for the next four years, but had nо rеlеаѕеѕ; a fоllоw-uр tо Dаnсin’ On Thе Edgе, titled Thе Bridе Wоrе Blасk, wаѕ abandoned аnd never rеlеаѕеd because Ford did not likе thе production оf thе аlbum аnd this upset the hеаd оf hеr record label, lеаding to Fоrd ѕwitсhing from Mеrсurу RecordsRCA Rесоrdѕ. Thе аrtiѕt hаѕ dеѕсribеd thе аlbum as bеing in “Lаbеl hell! Whо knоwѕ what ѕhеlf thаt iѕ ѕitting оn!”

Bу thе timе Fоrd rеturnеd again, thе lighter рор-mеtаl ѕhе had lоng fаvоrеd hаd brоkеn thrоugh tо mаinѕtrеаm аudiеnсеѕ, which set the ѕtаgе fоr hеr most соmmеrсiаllу successful album, 1988’ѕ Lita. With Shаrоn Oѕbоurnе аѕ her mаnаgеr, аnd again рrоduсеd bу herself, the album fеаturеd fоur commercial hitѕ, including “Kiss Me Dеаdlу“, “Bасk Tо Thе Cаvе“, “Close My Eyes Fоrеvеr“, and “Falling In And Out Of Love” (co-written with Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüе). The bаllаd “Close Mу Eуеѕ Fоrеvеr“, a duet with Ozzу Osbourne, wаѕ hеr оnlу Tор 10 Billbоаrd Hоt 100 hit, rеасhing #8.

Hеr nеxt release was called Stilеttо. It fеаturеd the ѕinglеѕ “Hungry” and “Liѕа” (the ѕесоnd wаѕ dedicated to hеr mоthеr). Hоwеvеr thiѕ album was nоt as ѕuссеѕѕful аѕ Dаnсin’ On The Edge аnd Litа.

Fоrd’ѕ next rеlеаѕе was Dаngеrоuѕ Curvеѕ, which fеаturеd her lаѕt сhаrting ѕinglе “Shоt Of Pоiѕоn.” Ford’s lаѕt release would be with ZYX Rесоrdѕ and wоuld bе titled Blасk. It failed tо repeat thе ѕuссеѕѕ оf 1991’ѕ Dangerous Curves.

During hеr ѕоlо уеаrѕ, ѕhе wаѕ аn еndоrѕеr оf B.C. Riсh guitаrѕ аnd used Warlock, Eаglе, Mockingbird аnd Biсh ѕinglе аnd dоublе-nесk models. Fоrd арреаrѕ in the 1992 film Highway tо Hell as ‘The Hitchhiker‘. Ford wаѕ аlѕо аѕkеd by VH-1 tо be in thе cast оf The Surrеаl Life fоr itѕ 7th season, in 2007. She dесlinеd.

In Junе 2008, Fоrd аnd hеr nеw ѕоlо bаnd рlауеd ѕеvеrаl warm-up gigs рriоr to Rосklаhоmа undеr thе name Kiѕѕ Me Deadly in thе Nеw Yоrk City аrеа.

In Junе 2009, Litа bеgаn touring the US аnd Eurоре, with a new line-up consisting of Rоn ‘Bumblеfооt’ Thal (Ex Guns N’ Roses) on Guitаr, Dеnniѕ Lееflаng (Bumblеfооt drummer) аnd PJ Fаrlеу оn bаѕѕ (Trixtеr, Ra) аnd Miсhаеl T. Rоѕѕ (Angеl/XYZ).

Fоrd rеlеаѕеd a new аlbum Wicked Wonderland on Oсtоbеr 6, 2009 viа JLRG Entеrtаinmеnt

Thе album wаѕ writtеn аnd produced by Fоrd, ex-huѕbаnd Jim Gillеttе, and Greg Hampton. Litа would tour the US in the Fаll аnd Wintеr оf 2009, inсluding dаtеѕ оn Quееnѕrусhе’ѕ Amеriсаn Soldier Tоur.

Lita would then release a 2012 record titled Living Like a Runaway, a live record in 2014, and her present release called Time Capsule.  Time Capsule is old recordings that Lita had for over 20 years.  She brought them to LA from the Islands where she was living and remastered them.  Time Capsule has several guests on it including Gene Simmons from Kiss.  Regardless of how old these recordings are on Time Capsule, this is some of Lita’s best work of her career.

Lita’s crtically acclaimed 2016 memoir, Living Like a Runaway, details the hardships and sacrifices she had to endure in a mostly male environment coming up the ranks as a musician and guitarist.

If Lita has an attitude, she has every right to have one.  She’s paved the way for female guitarists/musicians that wouldn’t have to be exposed to what she was 30 years ago.  A talented guitarist and musician, I had the pleasure of speaking with Lita on her career.

lita-graveyard_8x10

Hi Lita!  It is a pleasure to have you here at All That Shreds!

Lita, you have used BC Rich Guitars since the start of your career.  Is there something specific about them you have liked over the years?

Oh yes, the original BC Rich guitars are so different than the 2016 guitars. There is no comparison. They are strong and beefy sounding. Mine are iconic, and have pre-amps built into them, the double neck has a chorus and a flanger switch. They are balls to the walls guitars. LOL…

 

I interviewed Gary Hoey back in June.  Gary said he’s going to be working with you on your new record.  You and Gary have worked together previously.  What should we expect from the new record?

Gary and I have a chemistry together like no other.  For me, it takes chemistry to make your music what you expect it to be. Powerful.

 

Do you write the song first or the lyrics?

I have a lyricist named Michael Dan Ehmig. He is the best I have ever worked with. Together the 3 of us wrote LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY.  It really doesn’t matter which comes first, the lyric or the music. So long as the finished product is awesome and you are happy with it.

In terms of gear, what are you using at present?  

I use my Marshall DSL 100 amps, they are beefy as all Hell. And I still use my original BC Richs, Double neck Rich Bich, my Warlocks, Mockingbird, my black Hamer Standard which I used in The Runaways days.  It keeps my sound true and very LITA.

Do you change gear every tour?

No.

Who’s inspired you for your lead guitar skills?

I was inspired by many greats; Richie Blackmore was my #1 idol. Sabbath.  Jeff Beck.  Jimmy Page. Johnny WinterGilmore. Hendrix.

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With the recent discussion of how YouTube compensates, or lack thereof, artists do you have an opinion on the matter?

I didn’t come from a YouTube world. I think it’s something you need to grow up with to appreciate.

 

With the number of female guitarists on the rise, and some of them saying you inspired them, is there any one you feel you could “pass the torch on” to?

As far as guitar playing goes, and singing together at the same time, not really anyone can do it right now except Lizzy Hale.  She’s an amazing vocalist and she is a good player. A great talent.   So, if any one of the young woman who are out and about on the music scene today, I’d have to say Lizzy Hale.

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Is there one artist that you’d love to work with, but, haven’t?

I don’t know. We’ll have to see what 2017 brings.

 

I’ve been noticing that bands from the 80’s are prospering more in Europe than the US.  Would you agree?

I have not noticed. It does seem that Europe is more embracing of metal.

 

Do you have any plans of producing? 

I have produced a Canadian band called SAVAGE PLAYGROUND.  A bunch of teenaged, young men, a great band with a lot of potential. I also produced a lot of my own recordings.  I’d love to get into the studio with the right line up. Yes.  I have the experience and would do a great job, I love being in the studio!

 

Your appearance on That Metal Show was great!  Do you think anything more needs to be done to highlight female guitarists? 

Yes,  I suppose it’s a start though. But it’s sad that females must have their own category.  At least woman have their foot in the door now, which is great and all that really matters.  I’d like to think I had a helping hand with that.

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I loved your book, Living Like a Runaway.  It was a powerful portrayal of the highs and lows of your career.  Is there one thing you’d want a reader to take away from reading your book?

One thing?   There are a lot of things, growing up a female guitarist where females were not recognized as musicians, a teen in a man’s world, it was bad ass. The hurdles I had to jump and BS I had to put up with to survive in this world as a musician. But I guess if I had to pick one thing out of my book, it would be how corrupt our family legal system is and how they destroy families and children for money. They are an evil bunch of despicable people who hopefully will be caught at this crime one day.

 

Lastly, do you have any advice for up and coming female guitarists?

That’s hard to say, because everyone is different. But I’d say follow your heart and dreams, don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing something wrong. In Rock N Roll, there are ‘’no rules’’!

 

Be sure to check Lita out at her official site @ http://litafordonline.com/

 

Interview with the Legendary Glenn Hughes

By Andrew Catania

With his signature singing and playing style, the way he intensifies the frequency and fluctuates through extreme ascents and descents, hovering from soothing pitches to earsplitting uproars – Glenn Hughes is the funk rock sensation with an immense capability to mesmerize and enthrall the listeners through his voice and instruments alike.

Born on 21st August 1951 and raised in Staffordshire County, England, Glenn Hughes is a renowned English name in the global music sphere. He is highly acclaimed for his triple-dimensional mastery; having proven his mettle as a bassist, vocalist, and lyricist. Glenn had it in him and that is what convinced him in his younger years; that he was made for the world of music.

It was a firm belief in oneself, coupled with the naturally gifted talent he had, that he took a risky start by bidding farewell to his academics, even before joining high school. He first landed in for The Hooker Lees and The News in 1966-67 to incubate and nurture his in-born talents. However, a better opportunity didn’t take much time to arrive and he joined Finders Keepers, a better band, in 1967. By then, he had become well-versed with the intricacies of hard, funk and progressive rock, pop, blues, and heavy metal.

Not looking back since, he paved ahead to excel at his game. The very next year, he teamed up with Dave Holland on Drums and Mel Galley on guitars to co-found his very own franchise. Impressed by Glenn’s innate talents and convinced that he was definitely going places, Birmingham’s famous music duo, ‘The Moody Blues’, expressed their interest in joining hands with Glenn’s Franchise.

The collaboration had, by then, become a group of 5 ‘stars in the making’ who named themselves as Trapeze. Trapeze released their record hit labels called “Trapeze” (debut label), “Medusa” and “You Are the Music… We’re Just the Band”.

By then, Trapeze had established credibility in the UK and USA. In one of the concert shows promoting their 3rd label, Glen Hughes caught the eye of Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Pace, who offered him to join the reformatted Deep Purple in 1973.

The association turned more promising than anticipated and he managed to influence the Deep Purple legacy through his infusion of funk and accelerated momentum. However, producing Burn, The Starship, Stormbringer, and ‘Come Taste the Band’, the relationship started to turn sour and eventually, in 1976, Glenn parted ways with them. The split came as a shock to many, but Glenn had other plans ready at hand. He reverted to the Trapeze and also worked on his solos on parallel, releasing ‘Play Me Out’ in 1977.

His next big was collaboration was teaming up with Pat Thrall to release their self-titled album ‘Hughes-thrall’ in 1982. The 80s and 90s are marred with numerous guest appearances that polished his forte as a bassist, lyricist, and vocalist. Aside from that, he also partnered with Gary Moore and later, with Black Sabbath, to produce joint records and stage concerts.

Having been in multiple temporary partnerships, he mustered up the courage and formed a brand new band called the California Breed with Andrew Watt and Jason Bonham. Together, they headed on a touring spree to the UK, USA, Russia, and other European countries.

In 2015, Deep Purple was added into the US Rock and Roll’s Hall of Fame, making another cynosure on Glenn Hughes profile.

Since 2015, Glenn Hughes has directed his focus towards making more stints in his solo profile through solo releases, house-full shows, and time-packed rosters of his upcoming concerts. His recently released  solo album is one which is highly anticipated in the music sphere.

Glenn sat in the shred lounge and spoke about his new record Deep Purple, and the HOF.

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I listened to your album.  Wow!  Chad Smith on the drums for two songs. That is really a heavier album than what I’ve heard from you.

Yeah, I think what’s going on Andrew, you know if you know anything about my heritage you know that I was raised in rock.  I am absolutely a big fan of well what was coming out of Detroit as a teenager a lot of people were listening to blues, the Beatles you know from my generation a few people listen to soul music and of course you know I became friends with Stevie Wonder he was kind of like my dream although I am a very much an established rock artist I understand the template that he’s created with the mo-town and soul music.  So, what I did on this album was it’s a rock album absolutely for sure but it has that swagger and soulfulness of who I am.  But this album was written in general the rock fan base of Glenn Hughes.  It’s a return to that home that a lot of people have been waiting for.

I think if I was going to describe it I would describe it as heavy album but it’s got your touch on it.
I think so.  I had to be very focused when I was doing this not to slip back to too much funk.  Look man if I’m making records for a label for Frontiers and their out of Italy and their focused on classic rock and they are serving their worth to magazines that are metal or rock or classic it would be foolish of me not to as a business model to incorporate what I do into that.  Am I upset that I couldn’t make a real funk rock album?  Not at all.  It was time for me to come back.  I say come back home to where it all started

And rightfully you did it sounds very good. You produced this album with your guitarist?  

I did.  I was at his studio and I wrote all the songs and I needed help getting over the line, over the punch line we didn’t have a lot of time and I needed his help to make that happen for me so I chose Soren simply because he’s my right-hand man.  It would be good for him to have his name on this album for him because it’s business for him.  He did a great job he worked hard.  But I knew these songs I wrote them and I knew what needed to be done.  So, all and all it was a great effort from everybody.

Did you do anything differently with this album that you have done with the others?

You know, for the first time on this album Andrew I wanted it to be, because I was writing this album and I was under duress of my double knee replacement.  I was in my home studio for 2 or 3 months in the spring and I was alone because my band were in Europe I said I’m going to write some music here.  After about twelve songs I’m going wait a minute I think I’ve got enough for an album.  So, finished them.  I went to in to Copenhagen and the band had not heard anything. One song at a time I played them everything I had wrote and finished each track until we had twelve tracks and then I said we’re good to go

How did you get Chad Smith on there?  Did he ask you or did you ask him?  Did it just sort of come about?  

Chad’s been on every album I’ve made since 2003.  He’s my best mate and dearest friend and it just so happens Chad was available that weekend and you know he’s been on every record and he loves playing my music and we love having him on my album.  You know all about Chad he’s not only a great drummer he’s a great man funny as all hell

Yes he is a great drummer.

He’s a great drummer but he’s a good kind considerate man in a world where someone has that much profile.  It can get a little bit weird but Chad doesn’t have the traits of someone that has garnished all this material and stuff he’s very much a home bodied father; good husband, you know.  A good guy and I love having him on my work

So considering going back you’ve worked with some of the biggest names you’ve worked with Tony Iommi, Gary Moore, is there anything different working with them working years past than working here producing an album for Frontiers?  

No, I mean it was easy for me because it was what I wanted.  When I’d wrote the songs, I knew what I wanted to do with them.  What I was going to put on each track.  I knew what kind of backing vocals.  I knew it was going to be an organ or a meletron, a paino or a piano, or a cabinet. I knew it was going be a Fender Strat or it was going to be some sort of guitar.  I knew where we were going with this.  As I was writing the songs I could hear the acoustics they were begging for me to do these things.  As a producer for the first time, and I produced many of my albums I had a definitive idea of how it should sound. Obviously, there’s more bass on this album than you heard before, I wanted to ride the level of the bass on the runs.  I wanted those runs to be very prolific.  You know my friendyou could always hear his runs because it’s a challenge sometimes to play those thick cords. With all due respect he’s wasn’t a virtuoso lead guitar player he’s talented and he’s a chunky incredible rhythm Star Wars guitar player and that leaves the bass player to become extrovert and that’s what this album was for me to be able to stretch

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The band that you were in back in 2012 with Joe Bonomassa and Jason Bonham, did you guys disband over creative differences? 

In Black Country?  No what happened was Joe has, I’m not sure if you know much about Joe? Joe has a career that took exactly one year in advance so you know it’s like he’s out there.  So, on the first record we didn’t have enough songs so we tour on the back of the second album and then on the third album this is when it went kind of strange.  On the third album Afterglow, which was going to be a Glenn solo album, there was no shows booked.  There was only one in my hometown Roehampton in the back country in England and I said to myself and my manager very graciously I said I can’t be at a career that is just CD or all music related recording.  As you know Andrew, an artist I don’t care if you’re young or old you can’t have a career unless you play live.

I understand.

Joe understood this so I said I’m going to back away from this car and go back to something else that’s when Jason and I formed California Breed.  Which leads me to now Resonate was recorded behind the duress of me having these double knee replacements having the ability to write all this music in the spring to go into the studio and record this album.  It was never a falling out with Joe and I it was just people thinking that was the case.  We got together over the years had lunches and dinners and had many laughs and after we got together after the Hall of Fame in April we said wow maybe it’s time for another one and we were done.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame with Deep Purple where you asked to stay away for the Hall of Fame induction?  How did that all happen? 

We were inducted as you saw but let’s be clear and I’m going to open a can of worms here with all due respect to Gillan, Glover and Paice with all due respect to them they did not invite David Coverdale and I to sing with them on anything.  It could have been a cover song and I knew going into it that we weren’t going to be asked.  I don’t have a relationship with Ian Gillan.  I don’t know him or talk to him.  He runs that show whatever Deep Purple is called these days Mark 10 or whatever it is.  I said to David let’s go out arm and arm accept our awards and we’ll get to do something with Cheap Trick because Robin’s one of my best friends.  At the end of the show, which they asked us to come on, Cheryl Crow and Chicago and my friend Grace Potter so we closed the show.  It was a bit uncomfortable to be honest with you. We weren’t invited but I didn’t give a shit.  You know I was up there, my father had died four hours before I took the stage

I’m sorry to hear that.
It was very , very, very sad.  I didn’t know which end was up.  I was solemn as I walked on the stage.  You could see that I was a little troubled but I was not going to talk about it on the microphone or I was not going to talk about it behind stage.  Only my wife knew about it.  I told David the day after.  It was a difficult – difficult induction but the good news for me I guess is that I struck up a friendship with Shelby Morrison and Greg Harrison the CEO of the Hall of Fame and they asked me to become an ambassador for The Hall of Fame.

Oh, wow!

Yes, I’m the only one that’s been asked to be an ambassador.  I don’t know how that came about but it’s been a nice thing to do you know.

Yes, because I knew you and David Coverdale and they told Joe Lynn Turner to stay away too, I do believe that 

I know it’s like honestly Andrew, I don’t know what Gillan’s thing was.  I doubt he even wanted to show up.  All I can say to you is this it is common knowledge and I don’t say this to be disrespectful because people are going to read this.  I don’t know who Gillan, Glover and Paice are because we’re not friends. I haven’t spent any time with any of those guys except Paice and it’s been 40 something years ago when we were children.  And now I’ve been sober so long my whole life has changed dramatically that I knew going into this, even before my dad was diagnosed he was going to die, it was going to be a difficult evening and everybody knew it going into it.  I’m sure Lars Ulrich would have like to have seen all the members playing.  It was never meant to be.  I have no resentment.  I have no remorse.  I have no nothing but love for the fact David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes were inducted and it was a nice gesture from the committee, it was.  Now you know the Hall of Fame could upset a lot of people.  This guy was inducted; this guy doesn’t play.  You know my friend Matt Sorum, he didn’t get to play when Guns played everybody gets upset but the band members themselves don’t get to call the shots and that’s probably what pisses some people off but it didn’t affect me and David.

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Your autobiography came out in 2011.  Were you asked to do it, or did you want to do it yourself?  

I did some of it myself.  That’s funny enough, I did the intro, the first chapter and I did the last chapter and the other part was co-written with Joel McIver who’s done books for Metallica and a lot of people that you know of.  He’s a great guy to have on board.  So, he was with me travelling with me.  I wrote the first edition.  We got talking about my relapses and my father was dying on his death bed and said you must tell people about your relapses which I did.  So, that took about another year to do.  They were so devastatingly awful. You know the hearts attacks and blah blah.  So, I got down to the nitty gritty and I think that saved my life.  Telling people, the real deal about Glenn Hughes about how I wasn’t going to glamorize the grandiosity of cocaine addiction.  There’s no such thing as a winner.    “And the winner of the cocaine award is.”  No! There’s no such thing as winner.  What I don’t want to do is I want to take my foot off the gas of promoting that has anything to do with hard narcotics.   That’s what I did

Right.  Now going back, the Trapeze song, Seafull, was that written for someone specifically?
 
Oh my God Andrew! How smart are you?   

(laughter)

Oh my God!!  Yes, it was.  It was for a girlfriend back in the day you know.  A girl I was dating so but you’re the first person in 46 years to ever ask that question

Well I’ve been listening to you for a long time. 

It’s like yes it’s a love song.  Yes, it’s for a girl and my heart was broken prior this gal.  I was 17 for God’s sake and it’s like nobody ever asked me that.  You know people wrote a love song and it’s drenched in dramatic there’s so much night and shade in that.  It’s so dense and dark and beautiful but it’s a love song

It is! 

I’ll be damned!

Go back in time with you on that one.

I’m kind of blown away by that  

(laughter)

If you had a chance to say something to Tommy Bolan tomorrow face to face what would you tell him?

God it’s quite simple,” Why didn’t you call me that night?  Why didn’t you or somebody call me?”  You know what happened Andrew? Seven people stood around watched him go down and they put him in the fucking tub, they put him in the bed and they left him.  Now as much as back in 1976 I was out of my mind I believe in my heart of heart I don’t think I could have let him walk out of that room.  I would have called 911.  I’m not saying I’m better than anybody else but I can’t believe.  I had words with some people at the funeral about that.  It’s very difficult for me to understand.  They all knew that he’d OD’d and the guy that shot him up he was there too so.  Tommy Bolan, I would say wasn’t deliberately murdered but he was being shot up by some guy from Denver.  That’s the story behind that

Wow!
Do you still get stage freight before you make any appearances or go on stage after all this time?

Yes, only occasionally.  It will come at any given moment whether it’s a small venue or large.  It’s like OK it’s happening again, it sometimes happens that way.

I can’t lie to you and go oh no, I would never get stage freight.  You can’t say that.  Especially when I tell you this everybody I know gets stage freight whether I want to tell you about it, I’m not sure
Your new bass line you’ve got coming out, the new GH basses when are they coming out?

Yes, Yes! It’s all done.  I’ve got a few you can call them prototypes I guess.  I have three Yamaha Glenn Hughes signature it’s like a new shaped VB.  It’s 8 pounds, super thin neck, two knobs instead of three it’s got like a vintage P base and J sound and bass sound so it’s the beauty of between what a J & P sound like.  We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure this bass is the bass and it should be out  when we announce it.

Why did you decide after so long to have a signature bass released? Did Yamaha approach you or did you approach them?

No.  Yamaha approached me 10 years ago.  They made me two basses and they were good.  They were good, they were really good and then I was approached by Bill Nash who was an old friend of mine from the 80’s.  I don’t know if you know anything about Nash guitars and bass but my God the guy can make some serious basses and he made me a half dozen basses and I just fell in love with the feeling of not actually they are Fender basses you know but he puts his spin on it and I just fell in love with the J & P of the Nash you know.  And then Yamaha came back to me and it was another idea of creating a new shape VB body and I could choose whatever was appropriate for me for my own bass.  So, that’s what we did and that’s what we got. We’re still kinking out some of it, it’s almost ready to go

Great! I can’t wait to look forward to it
What does your rig consist of these days when you’re out touring?

It’s Orange amps. It’s been orange for 4 years. AD 200 Bass MKIII, AD200B MK Head 4x10x15 cabs 1X810.  I’ve got an amazing pedal board it’s got a pretty insane overdrive pedal.  Man, I don’t know if you’ve heard my sound or seen it on YouTube
it’s a pretty insane sound.  It’s just insane.  You know and I’ve been looking for that sound since I had that huge fucking rig in deep purple, the rig was 10 feet tall it drags.  This rig is exactly where I should be in this frame of mind playing this kind of music so I’m kind of back where I started.  I wanted to go back to that organicness.  You know when I first started with my friends back in the day when oh God, whatever that is, I’m having some of that and that’s when I went with Aiwa.  Yes, Yamaha is for me right now.

Alright! Sounds good.  Any of the up and coming music these days, what kind of advice would you give to anybody that is up and coming to this music scene

Stay by your instruments.  Live it, breathe it, sleep with your instruments, don’t believe what anybody else tells you.  It’s a gift! Stay where you’re supposed to be. Believe in your art!

You can check Glenn Hughes out on his website, www.glennhughes.com

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