VANDENBERG returns with a new line-up and studio album titled 2020, which will be released on May 29 via Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group. Led by master guitarist Adrian Vandenberg, the Dutch foursome released three quality albums during the early to mid-’80s; namely, the self-titled 1982 debut (spawning the U.S. hit single ‘Burning Heart’), Heading For A Storm (’83) and Alibi (’85). They achieved commercial success and earned much acclaim. The band toured the U.S., Japan, and Europe playing with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Rush, Scorpions, Michael Schenker, and more.
Subsequently, the guitarist has had an impressive career. He was a member of Whitesnake for 13 years at the height of their fame, contributing the solo on their #1 hit “Here I Go Again.” He spent many years dueling with Steve Vai on guitar and has returned for many reunions. He was part of supergroup Manic Eden and more recently released several albums with Vandenberg’s Moonkings.
The guitarist pulled a masterstroke by bringing in Chilean born Ronnie Romero on vocals, a singer who forged a formidable reputation over past years with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. “I needed an incredible singer to make the use of the Vandenberg name make sense, and Ronnie more than fits the bill. We got chatting through Facebook, and I asked him if he’d be interested in being in the band. It turns out he is a big fan, as I am of him, so we met in Madrid, where he lives, to see if we could get along, and we connected.”
“As soon as I knew Ronnie was on board, I wrote the songs to suit Ronnie’s amazing vocal capabilities. We then met up again in Madrid to demo songs using my iPad, which is the way I do things.” Romero himself recalls the importance of Adrian Vandenberg in his career. “The reason why I started singing when I was in my teens is when I heard the live acoustic album’ Starkers In Tokyo’ by David Coverdale and Adrian Vandenberg. So, you can imagine that I am very excited and honored to be the vocalist for the band Vandenberg.”
The rhythm section for the new line-up features bassist Randy van der Elsen (of NWOBHM heroes Tank) and drummer Koen Herfst (Bobby Kimball, Epica, and Doro). Vandenberg says, “Koen has been voted Holland’s best hard-rock drummer now for several years. He has the sort of fire in his belly that would make any greats such as John Bonham and Ian Paice smile. Randy was highly recommended to me and had a lot of experience. Like Koen he is a brilliant musician.” There are also two celebrated guests on the album, namely bassist Rudy Sarzo (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Dio, Queensryche) and drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Foreigner, Billy Idol).
The album was produced by Bob Marlette (Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie). Vandenberg explains the choice. “I went to Los Angeles to meet a few potential producers. Bob was one of these, and his melodic yet hard rocking approach fitted in well with what I was after, and we had a great connection right away. We spent three weeks working at Bob’s studio in L.A., and then I spent a little more time finishing things at my home studio.”
The complete track listing includes, “Shadows of the Night,” “Freight Train,” “Hell and High Water,” “Let It Rain,” “Ride Like The Wind,” “Shout,” “Shitstorm,” “Light Up The Sky,” “Burning Heart – 2020,” and “Skyfall.” The album will be available as a Limited CD Box Set, on L.P., and via digital alongside all streaming services.
While nine of the songs here were freshly written by Vandenberg himself, there’s one track that will be familiar to all fans. This is a new rendering of ‘Burning Heart,’ perhaps the band’s most famous anthem what Vandenberg offers throughout the album is melody, drive, power, and class. “Fasten your seat belts, just when you thought all was safe, Vandenberg is back!'” the guitarist explains. “I can’t wait to take our band to the stages everywhere!” says Romero excitedly.
“I believe the vibe we have with this turbocharged line-up is wonderful,” concludes Vandenberg. “We are not at all a nostalgia act, trying to recreate what happened all those years back. This is a brand-new dynamic band with a name that has a legacy, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s turned out.”