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LIGHT IN THE DARK: Doug Aldrich On His Epic Career, Revolution Saints and More!

LIGHT IN THE DARK: Doug Aldrich On His Epic Career, Revolution Saints and More!

Revolution Saints – Photo by Johnny Pixel

Through the years, Doug Aldrich has established himself as one of the most ferocious guitar players in rock. With career highlights ranging from working with and playing alongside rock icons like Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale to rocking audiences around the globe with The Dead Daises, his resume is as eclectic as the music he plays. One of his most exciting musical collaborations in the past few years has been Revolution Saints. The band was born from the vision of Frontiers’ President, Serafino Perugino, who for years had hoped to work on a project highlighting Deen Castronovo’s amazing vocal abilities. Having previously worked with all three artists on different projects on Frontiers, having Castronovo (ex-Journey, Bad English), Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) and Aldrich on board together was a dream come true for Perugino. The band exploded onto the scene in 2015 with their powerful debut album. It didn’t take long for music fans to take notice and start clamoring for more. 

With their self-titled debut album already under their belt, Revolution Saints entered the studio to record the new album more familiar with one another and a clear understanding of where they wanted this to go. Once again, the band teamed up with producer/songwriter Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, JORN), who was also behind the boards for the band’s debut album. ‘Light In The Dark,’ due out on October 13th via Frontiers Records, builds off the classic melodic rock style of the debut, however, it also shows the band isn’t afraid to venture into uncharted territory. Inspiring, uplifting, emotionally powerful, and thoughtful, this album WILL be the soundtrack to many a moment in your life. 

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with guitarist Doug Aldrich to discuss his journey as an artist, the keys to successful collaboration, the making of Revolution Saints’ ‘Light In The Dark’ and more!

When did music come into your life and begin to take hold?

It was early on. I loved the music on the radio when I was a kid and around 9 or 10 years old, I started really getting into that. It was pop music and whatever else my mom decided to have on in the car. Eventually, one summer when I was around 11 years old, all of my friends went away on summer vacation and I was stuck with nothing to do. My little sister had a classical guitar and a book of chords. I picked it up and really loved it! I was just getting through chords and playing through songs. I was just plunking around. I was always trying to earn a little money by doing yard work and trying to earn an allowance. Eventually, I had saved up a little bit of money. I asked my mom and dad if I could get a Sears & Roebuck guitar. It was basically a copy of Jimmy Page’s Les Paul. By that point, I had heard of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Jimi Hendrix and stuff like that was on the radio. They got me that guitar and a little amp. It was very archaic! It had the kind of frets that cut your fingers and a bolt on neck, but I liked it, it made sound and it was cool! [laughs] I started taking some lessons around 11 years old, so it was then when I really started to get into electric guitar.

What went into finding your creative voice as you moved forward?

My older sister had a boyfriend who was into Southern rock and he was always talking about Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, not so much the Skynyrd guys which I found later, but The Allman Brothers, The Charlie Daniels Band, and The Eagles. Those were all big with him – guys like Don Felder and Bernie Leadon. He had a Goldtop Les Paul, a real one. I was probably 13 or 14 at the time when I saved up a little more money and convinced him to sell that guitar to me. My parents owned me a little extra money and I ended up getting it for $300 bucks. It was a ’73 Goldtop. I had never seen a Goldtop before and I though a Goldtop was what I had, which was a Sunburst. Like I said, I had a copy of Jimmy Page’s and I thought that was what they called a Goldtop because it had the big, gold center in it. I remember looking at the headstock and it was a Gibson. I was like, “Cool, it’s a real Les Paul!” I said, “Wow! What color is that?” He said, “Oh, it’s a Goldtop. You still want it?” I said, “Yeah, yeah! I want it!” To jump to the end part of that story, Goldtop’s are my favorite color of Les Paul’s. It’s my absolute favorite! As far as early influences go, Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” was a cool song on the radio at the time, along with “Smoke On The Water.” That was the first rock riff I learned but I learned it in the wrong key. It was the wrong positioning but it was the right kind of sound! [laughs] I couldn’t really play anything from Zeppelin until later but I really loved listening to it. Led Zeppelin “II” was the first Zeppelin record that I got, a bit later. Every time I would see a guitar player at a school dance, I would just be fascinated with the sounds that were coming out of that thing, so I kept practicing. People would show me a lick here, a riff there or how to do a bar chord. It was groundbreaking! [laughs] If you learned a bar chord, oh my gosh! Now, you had unlocked the secret and now you could play anything in any key! Every day there were things like that. Someone would say, “Hey, have you ever heard a wah wah?” I be like, “No. What is it?” They’d say, “Check this out!” I would see it and was like, “Woooow!” Every day was about discovery and it’s still like that! It really is, man.

At what point did you decide to start pursuing your passion for music professionally?

I never actually decided. I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to do it for real or not! [laughs] I just keep my head down and I’m always trying to get my sound better and write a better song. Honestly, to answer your question more properly, I was in school and loved guitar so much that it was the one thing that my parents had leverage over. If I did something wrong or wasn’t doing well in school, they could say, “We are going to take away your guitar.” They never actually did it until one time when I got in trouble when they found a marijuana pipe in my jean jacket. I was in high school and I was probably around 15 years old. They took my guitar and stuck it in the trunk of my Dad’s car so that I couldn’t get it. I just stopped talking. I quit responding. I wasn’t responding to or acknowledging anybody until I got my guitar back. They were really worried about me! They were like, “Can you please tell us what’s going on? We’re really concerned.” I was like, “You just can’t take my guitar away. You can punish me however you want to, but you can’t take my guitar away.” They never did again! They wanted me to go to a boarding school in 10th grade, which was a good idea because it was supposed to make me focus on school and sports and get really into it. However, I took my guitar with me and that’s all I did was play guitar. The school said, “We really like Doug. He’s a good kid but his grades are awful.” So, I went back to regular high school. My senior year, I had gotten a car. I would take my car to school, walk in the front door and walk out the back. We would go over to my friend’s house and we would jam all day long! I did that all through the end of high school. It wasn’t long before I moved to California and decided I wanted to be in a band. I didn’t think about the money part of it. I didn’t think about anything other than just wanting to play. Little by little, I realized I needed to make some money because my parents weren’t going to give me money to just be on my own. I’m skipping some chapters but I eventually got a job teaching guitar. Not only did that help me financially but it helped me with my playing because I had to learn theory to prepare for various kids who were more advanced than me. One thing lead to another, and finally I was in a recording band and that had lead me to talking to you all these years later! [laughs] I’ve never really thought about when I decided to do it. It’s something that never really occurred to me.

Doug Aldrich relentlessly rocks the crowd.

Through the years, you have taken advantage of some amazing opportunities that have come your way. You’ve worked with scores of incredible musicians. Who are the people who have had the biggest impact on your creatively?

In terms of live performance, playing with Dio was a big step for me. I had already played live at that point and people knew my playing a little bit but he brought the best out of me. By watching him, I learned to be confident on stage and not let little things distract you. I learned to get into the music and to play it like I really meant it — play it hard, loud and own it! It’s the same thing with David Coverdale. He’s also that kind of a singer. He commands the stage. Dio and Coverdale command large audiences like it’s nothing! It’s amazing; the things that they say to the audience to make them respond and the way they sing. In terms of songwriting, I would say I learned the most from David because I’ve have written the most with him directly, just him and I, together with acoustic guitars. I was a fan of his from Deep Purple when I was a kid and I loved Whitesnake. I got into the “Slide It In” record first, found the older records a little later and then the ’87 record came out and blew everybody away! Getting that call from David to do a two-month tour and having it turn into 11 1/2 years, where him and I co-wrote 30 songs together, was an amazing experience and gave me a lot of hours to learn, which is great!

You have accomplished a lot over the course of your career in an industry which is constantly changing and evolving. What are the keys to longevity in today’s music business and the secret to your success?

You said, “… in today’s music business…” and that is a key issue because it is very different than it used to be. There aren’t as many clubs these days. If you are in a young band, like I was in the mid-80s in Los Angeles, you could actually make a little bit of money playing in your home town, every week or every couple of weeks. There were a lot of bands doing it. As you would get a following, record companies had money and would grab the bands that they liked. That was one way you could get signed, have a little bit of income and hopefully your record would break. A great example of that was Guns ‘N Roses. Their record broke and it was massive. It wasn’t long before they were opening for the Rolling Stones, headlining and then they broke up! Whatever! But they did really, really well. Now, it’s different. Now, you have the opportunity to record an album in one day and have it reach 1 million people that evening! That’s pretty awesome! We didn’t have that capability before and through that you can get paid. As far as success in the music industry, it’s not so much about many as it is about personal growth, playing with people you like and respect and who like you.

There are two things — the first key is to keep writing songs. You have to keep experimenting, trying to find your own sound and allowing yourself to be influenced by people without copying it. You want to try to make it widespread so you can grab a little influence from this guy and a little something from that guy and it will kind of meld itself into your own style. Writing songs is key. I started a little bit late. I would say that the best songwriters have been doing it since they started the instrument. Of course, you have to play well, that’s a no brainer. The second thing is that you have to be a good person. You need to have confidence, but you can’t be cocky and you have to be aggressive but you have to be patient. It’s a balance! You need to be a cool person to hang with socially. You are going to meet a lot of people, so you have to be a good hang. I found myself working with people, like we were just talking about with Dio, who were very intense. He really wore his heart on his sleeve. You had no problem knowing where you stood with Ronnie because he didn’t bullshit you! He would tell you straight up what he thought and he did that with everybody. It was good because there was no question of where you stood. Working with David was a little different because he was more quiet. He didn’t like confrontation or ever want to have any negative conversation at all. You never really knew what he wanted, so you had to be patient in that situation and let it reveal itself. Eventually, what he is looking for or if there is something bothering him, he will eventually talk to you about it. It might not even be about music, it might be about something personal that is bothering him. You have to be a good hang! It’s important, especially when you are on a tour bus or traveling with people in a Sprinter van, that you get along.

I haven’t had the opportunity to tour with Revolution Saints but we have spent enough time together where we really like each other, we like playing together, and we have a great sound together. We are all different personalities but we have spent enough time together to know each other’s personalities. With that said, I know what would make Deen [Castronovo] comfortable is for me to be calm. Deen is a high-energy guy! He’s similar to Steven Tyler or Tommy Lee where he has a lot of energy. He will throw an idea out there like, “Should we do this? What do you think?” I’ll calmly say, “Okay, let’s think about it. Let’s talk about it.” We’ll calmly talk about it and that’s what calms him down. Jack [Blades] is like the general and he’s been around the block more times than most people! He’s a great voice of reason but sometimes you have to take that youthful energy that Deen has and give it to Jack and say, “Okay, let’s just have fun and kick ass!” For example, we did a show in Italy in April. It was our first show. We were recording the “Light In The Dark” record and we took three days out to rehearse and do this one festival in Italy. It was truly shifting gears in the middle of the creative process to go into the performance process. It was a little nerve-racking but we said, “Let’s just have fun with it! Let’s get our feet on the edge of the stage and do what we do!” I’ve gotta say, most of the time it takes a band a good month before the band starts really gelling, at least in my experience, but we did pretty well for our first gig! There weren’t any major catastrophes or anything! It had a good vibe and overall it was a success, I think. It’s the same thing playing with The Dead Daisies. Playing and traveling with those guys is great. They’re my bros and I’ve known all those guys for years and we’ve played in various bands together. When they were looking for a guitar player, of course, there is a million different people they can call but they called me because we’re friends. Back to Revolution Saints, that’s why Deen called me in the first place. Initially, 3 or 4 years ago, it was his solo record that he was doing. The guy at the record company said, “Who do you want to play with?” He said, “I’d like to have Doug on guitar and Jack on bass because we are friends.” I toured a lot with Journey as part of Whitesnake, so Deen and I became friends on the road. Aside from having respect for each other musically, we got along well just hanging out. One day he had a tattoo party in his room. We all went over there and got tattoos. It was cool, ya know! It was a good hang and that’s important! It’s important for younger guys to be to be encouraging, to be aggressive but patient and to be confident but not cocky.

Revolution Saints – Photo by Johnny Pixel

Let’s talk about the new album from Revolution Saints, “Light In The Dark.” What got the ball rolling this time around and what was different this time around?

I’ll start with the last part first. It was different this time around because since it was a band project now from the get-go, that we would all write. I brought in 5 or 6 ideas. Alessandro [Del Vecchio] had 4 or 5 ideas. Richard Page from Mister, Mister wrote a really awesome ballad. There were a lot more songwriters involved this time around, especially us! Deen co-wrote a bunch of the lyrics and melodies. It’s funny, the song “Freedom,” came about in a unique way. We had been talking about putting songs together and Deen sent me a tape. It was an MP3 of him playing guitar for 30 minutes. It was just jamming without stopping. He would go from one thing to another without stopping, just jamming! He had spent a lot of time at home and, as you know, he had gone through a difficult period personally. He came through it with flying colors! He had some difficulties in his relationship but now him and his fiancé are back together and stronger than ever. Everything is good! So, he has been just riffing at home, having fun, not touring, taking care of himself and getting healthy. He sent me this thing and I was like, “Deen, there are like nine songs in there!” [laughs] I said, “I’m going to take this one riff and develop it a little bit.” That’s how “Freedom” came about. There was another song, “The Storm Inside,” where I listened to what he had done and it inspired me to come up with a chord progression. That inspired the song and he wrote the lyrics and melodies on it. All of that was different than our first time around and a great experience.

The timing came from the record company saying, “Hey, maybe we will think about doing another Revolution Saints album. What do you guys think?” That was conversation that went on for about a year because Deen was getting healthy and Jack is always touring and busy with Night Ranger. I had been working with The Dead Daisies. It was so hard for us to find time together off the first record. We got some really good offers for tours but schedule-wise we just couldn’t get it together. I said, “I’m into it but let’s see if we can all get together.” We all agreed to do it in April. We said, “We’ll do this and then we’ll do the festival for Frontiers. It’s just one show. We’ll go over there together and track it together.” We all blocked out that 2 or 3-week period during which we fine-tuned the songs, cut the basics and did the show. I didn’t know what the exact release date was at that point. I was on the road and had done basic guitars but still needed to fine tune them, when the record company called and said, “Look, Doug, we need this stuff yesterday!” I was like, “Nobody told me!” [laughs] I didn’t know what the schedule was and I had no idea! They said, “We need those guitar parts, man! You’ve gotta finish up!” I was all over the world with this stuff. I would be on the bullet train in Japan, on the tour bus at the end of the night, trying to figure out how I wanted the guitar parts to go. I would basically record direct guitars and re-amp it at home so that I had the same amp set up as I did in Italy. FInally, I got it done and it comes out on October 13th!

Was there anything you wanted to try on this album that you might not have been able to in the past?

The previous thing, like I said, was a project from the start and original was intended to be Deen’s solo record. The songs were written for Deen in a very Journey-esque way. My goal at that point was to try and put my stamp on those guitar parts and kind of rewrite them. I basically hit every song fresh and took the basic idea of the song and put my stamp on it as much as I could without rewriting the song. With “Light In The Dark,” I really wanted to have that same kind of sound but the songs needed to be written. The first record had been pretty successful so I wanted to make sure that we not only had a strong record but to also have some twists and turns. I was thinking, “What should we do? We need some songs that sound like Revolution Saints like “Light In The Dark” or “Ride On” but we also needed some different stuff like “Freedom,” “Storm Inside” or stuff that goes a little deeper. We had some great songs like “In The Name of The Father,” which was a great song on the first record. There were a few ballads that were really cool like “You’re Not Alone.” For the new record, we got this ballad from Richard Page and it was a slam dunk! It was just one of those songs, you know? It’s beautiful. “I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” is the name of it. It was pretty cool. It’s a keyboard song and, of course, I could play on acoustic guitar but I was happier to go, “Let the keyboards breathe. Let it be keyboards and the band comes in…” I started to realize the song had potential for a huge melody on the solo section and that became my focus. Guys like Neal Schon, David Gilmour, and Brian May have written these solos that people can remember forever. They have so much feel, attitude and melody. That was what my goal with that one was. Overall, I just wanted the record to be a little deeper and that was my focus this time around.

You’re a guy who always has a ton of irons in the fire. Where do you see yourself headed musically in the future?

Like I said, I’m always searching for my sound. I’ve been writing with some friends, just to do some experimenting. I love pedals and I love experimenting with all of those. If you look on YouTube, a buddy of mine named Pete Thorn has a YouTube channel where he shows different pedals every day! It’s so cool and you think, “Wow! I want one of those!” I was looking for a delay, so I called him up. I said, “Pete, which delay should I get?” He said, “Dude, there are so many! You have to try them all!” I was like, “Ahhck!” [laughs] So, I was doing this writing session and I brought a little pedal board up with me. It basically got down to the point where I said, “I can get so many sounds out of this particular guitar and amp without any pedals.” I have to say, I’ve really been digging that, man! Your guitar sound gets to the amp so much more purely than going through 5, 6 or 7 pedals! I’m basically in a mode where I’m rethinking my whole thing right now. I’m rethinking everything from songwriting to playing. Of course, I’m going to work on The Dead Daisies new record next month and I have some stuff together already for that but I want to see how I can improve on that project. I really respect people like Joe Bonamassa who is always pushing the envelope with what he is doing. He’s always creating new sounds for himself in his own way, working with different people, keeping his chops up and he is always on the road. I’m on the road a lot but I can’t really be on the road anymore than I am because I have little kids and a family, which I get homesick for. I would just like to keep writing and have bands like Revolution Saints. It would mean a lot to me if we could do some live shows. My goal, right now, is for The Dead Daisies to make the best record they’ve ever made. I’ve got a third band, which I’m involved in at the moment. It’s called Burning Rain, which is a pet project I’ve had with a great singer named Keith St. John. That is more of a guitar oriented, 80s, Whitesnake-y, bluesy kind of thing, so it is really different than The Dead Daisies or Revolution Saints. Revolution Saints is melodic rock and Dead Daisies is more straight up, kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll! Burning Rain is something more bluesy and in between all of that. I really enjoy doing it all right now because for so many years I was 1000% dedicated to Whitesnake and only focused on that. I’m really digging having different flavors of the pie right now! [laughs] I see myself learning is basically what I wanted to say. I’m just trying to continue to learn and get better!

What’s the best lesson we can take away from your journey as an artist?

I think one of the best lessons is not to get frustrated if it doesn’t come to you right away. I’m definitely a late bloomer. I’m not an Yngwie Malmsteen or a Reb Beach. Reb Beach is just one of these guys who just picks up his guitar and does his thing and that’s it! I really have to work at it. If I don’t play guitar everyday, my chops go, man! I really have to work hard. Sometimes you get lucky and something will happen fast but if it doesn’t, don’t give up. Do it because you love it and not because you feel like you have to, you want to make money or feel pressure because you think your girlfriend’s going to like you better if you’re in a band or something! [laughs] You just have to do it because you like it and keep working hard at it. It will pay off eventually. Like I said, I’m a perfect example of a late bloomer. I didn’t get into Dio until my late 30s and now I’m in my 50s. However, I still feel like I’m in my 30s, just starting off and still trying to figure it all out! So, the best advice I can give someone after looking at my career is to don’t stop and keep going! Even if you have a day job, don’t stop playing. I have a lot of buddies who are great musicians who have day gigs and they have the opportunity to play on the weekends at the local bar playing covers and putting their own spin on it. I also have friends who don’t play out but write songs and place those songs in movies and TV shows. They make pretty good money doing it. The sky’s the limit. Just keep going!

Awesome! I appreciate your time today, Doug. I can’t wait to see where the next leg of the journey takes you!

Thanks, Jason! I really appreciate it! Take care and we’ll talk again soon!

Revolution Saints’ highly anticipated new album, ‘Light In The Dark,’ will be released on October 13th, 2017 on Frontiers Music Srl. Connect with the band on social media via Facebook at www.facebook.com/RevolutionSaints.

Pre-order the album now:
• Frontiers: http://www.frontiers.shop
• Amazon: http://radi.al/LightInTheDarkAmazon
• iTunes: http://radi.al/LightInTheDarkiTunes
• Google Play: http://radi.al/LightInTheDarkGooglePl

For all the latest on Doug Alrich, visit his official website at www.dougaldrich.com. Connect with him on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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L.A. Guns Release New Single “Christine” From Upcoming Album ‘The Missing Peace’

L.A. Guns Release New Single “Christine” From Upcoming Album ‘The Missing Peace’

Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis are back together as L.A. Guns with their first studio album in 15 years! “The Missing Peace” is set for release on October 13th via Frontiers Music Srl.Today the band released their new single “Christine,” which Tracii describes to Billboard Magazine as “The Perfect L.A. Guns style ballad.”  Check out the song HERE.

Listen to the track “Sticky Fingers” HERE.

Watch the video for the first single from the album “Speed”. HERE.

Order the album here http://radi.al/MissingPeace or at the links below:

Frontiers: http://www.frontiers.shop
Amazon: http://radi.al/MissingPeaceAmazon
iTunes: http://radi.al/MissingPeaceiTunes
Google Play: http://radi.al/MissingPeaceGooglePlay

Digital pre-orders come with an instant download of “Speed” “Sticky Fingers” and “Christine.”

Follow the band on Spotify: http://radi.al/MissingPeaceSpotify to be alerted when new singles from the album are released and to add “Speed,” “Sticky Fingers” and “Christine” to your favorite playlists.

As the revival of the classic ’80s hard rock and heavy metal scene continues unabated here in the 21st century, one reunion has been at the top of the wishlists of many a fan for a long time: the songwriting combination of Tracii Guns and Philip Lewis under the L.A. Guns banner. What once seemed like a distant memory with no hope of returning has now come around and fans are about to be rewarded for keeping their fingers crossed and their hopes up.

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Revolution Saints To Release ‘Light In The Dark’ On October 18th!

Revolution Saints To Release ‘Light In The Dark’ On October 18th!

After the 2015 release of the self-titled debut album by REVOLUTION SAINTS–Deen Castronovo (ex-Journey, Bad English), Doug Aldrich (The Dead Daisies, ex-Whitesnake, DIO), Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees)—rock fans around the world rejoiced at the inspired musical offering. Those fans will, once again, have cause for celebration as REVOLUTION SAINTS will be releasing their second album later this year. Today, the band has released a video for the title track to the new album, which can be seen below!

LIGHT IN THE DARK is due out October 13th on Frontiers Music Srl. The album will be available on CD, CD/DVD Deluxe Edition (includes live bonus tracks on the CD and on the DVD, footage from the band’s first-ever live performance captured at Frontiers Rock Festival in Milan this past April, a “Making Of” mini-documentary, and music videos for “Light In The Dark” and “I Wouldn’t Change A Thing”), Vinyl, and as a special Limited Edition Box Set (includes the Deluxe Edition CD/DVD, 180g Vinyl, T-shirt (size L), poster, lithograph and sticker). Pre-orders for all formats can be made at the following locations:

You can also listen to Revolution Saints’ newest music on Spotify here: http://radi.al/LightInTheDarkSpotify

For LIGHT IN THE DARK, REVOLUTION SAINTS once again teamed up with producer/songwriter Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, JORN), who was also behind the boards for the band’s debut album. Most of LIGHT IN THE DARK was recorded at Del Vecchio’s studios in Somma Lombardo, Italy, with additional recording taking place at Blades’ studio in Washington, Aldrich’s CasaDala studio in Los Angeles, and other countries all over the world while Aldrich was on tour with The Dead Daisies.

“This is a fun band!” exclaims bassist Jack Blades. “I think the fans are going to pick up on the excitement and the sheer musical enjoyment we are having. It was great going to Italy to get the album started and film the videos, and the music speaks for itself.”

“’Light In The Dark’ is such a great song,” continues singer/drummer Deen Castronovo. “It was the first one we recorded. We ran through it a few times and nailed it in the first couple takes. We’re so excited for everyone to hear this record. We’re very happy with what we came up with and can’t wait to bring it to everyone live.”

As guitarist Doug Aldrich proclaims, “I’m very excited about REVOLUTION SAINTS’ second record! First I want to say that it’s because of huge support from the fans that RS2 happened. Thank you. If you liked #1, I think you’ll love this one even more. It’s stronger, and a bit heavier in some spots. We tried a few new things and we can’t wait for our fans to hear it! There’s a very good chance we’ll finally get to play live and we’re currently exploring the possibilities of a tour. For now, get ready, because the album kicks ass and it’s comin’ at you real soon!”

REVOLUTION SAINTS was born from the vision of Frontiers’ President, Serafino Perugino, who for years had hoped to work on a project highlighting Deen Castronovo’s amazing vocal abilities. Having previously worked with all three artists on different projects on Frontiers, having Castronovo, Blades and Aldrich on board together was a dream come true for Perugino.

This time, with one album already under their belt, REVOLUTION SAINTS entered the studio to record the new album more familiar with one another and a clear understanding of where they wanted this to go. As with the first album, Castronovo’s superb vocal talents are in the spotlight on this release and deservedly so. Pretty impressive for a man who is most widely known for his incredible drumming talents. Jack Blades really needs no introduction at this point, but for those who have been living under a rock, his bass and vocal talents are well documented over the years through his work with Night Ranger, Damn Yankees, Shaw/Blades, and more. And, of course, a major feature is the fiery and intense playing from former Whitesnake and DIO guitarist Doug Aldrich, whose blistering guitar fretwork is on full display here.

LIGHT IN THE DARK builds off the classic melodic rock style of the debut, but fans should prepare for a somehow even more inspired set and a few (pleasant) surprises. Inspiring, uplifting, emotionally powerful, and thoughtful, this album WILL be the soundtrack to many a moment in your life.

The music media had a lot of praise for the band’s self-titled debut album:

“The 2015 eponymous debut album from rock supergroup Revolution Saints showcases the outfit’s swaggering, guitar-based sound..Together, these titans of rock have crafted a soaring, lick-ripping album of classic ’70s- and ’80s-influenced hard rock.” — AllMusic

“REVOLUTION SAINTS is what you should expect: sharply played, always harmonious retro hard rock…a classy, melodious and sentimental walk back to when commercial hard rock was king. An album like this in 1986 would’ve been an automatic chart burner and cheers to Blades, Castronovo and Aldrich for treating this moment like an automatic chart burner is imperative to their inner fabrics.” – Blabbermouth

“…a remarkable album full of winners.” – Rockrevoltmagazine

“The bottom line here is that Revolution Saints are a damn good band…This is just good music, well written, well sung and well played. Nice job guys!” – Classicrockrevisited

“These are uplifting, joyful songs and there is no brooding melancholy here. They are inspiring, positive and full of sunshine. Everyone involved is musically perfect and flawless…A fine addition to any music collection, Revolution Saints is well worth the investment.” – CrypticRock

“Revolution Saints are being dubbed ‘the musicianship to die for’ and one of the most interesting collaborations in the recent history of rock. Guessing by their first effort, there’s neither a pomposity nor an exaggeration to such statements. Revolution Saints is, to put it simply, an instant melodic rock classic standing up to reputation of all parts involved…what is perhaps the album’s strongest point is the material itself, 12 songs distinguished not only by the extraordinary performance, but also by the high quality songwriting. Intertwining soaring power ballads with fiery guitar-laden tunes, all of them embroidered with perfectly crafted melodies, Revolution Saints is not only a must for all Night Ranger/Journey/Whitesnake fans. It actually goes far beyond the musicians’ collective resumes with its catchy-yet-tasteful melodies and classic hard rock flavors.” — Hardrockhaven

To all of the loyal REVOLUTION SAINTS fans, prepare to have your patience rewarded beyond your wildest dreams with this album! Understand this clearly, REVOLUTION SAINTS is HERE TO STAY.

Here’s the complete track listing for LIGHT IN THE DARK:

1. Light In The Dark
2. Freedom
3. Ride On
4. I Wouldn’t Change A Thing
5. Don’s Surrender
6. Take You Down
7. The Storm Inside
8. Can’t Run Away From Love
9. Running On The Edge
10. Another Chance
11. Falling Apart
12. Back On My Trail (live, bonus track on deluxe edition only)
13. Turn Back Time (live, bonus track on deluxe edition only)
14. Here Forever (live, bonus track on deluxe edition only)
15. Locked Out Of Paradise (live, bonus track on deluxe edition only)

Bonus DVD contents:

–REVOLUTION SAINTS live at Frontiers Rock Festival (“Back On My Trail,” “Turn Back Time,” “Here Forever,” “Locked Out Of Paradise”)
–Making of LIGHT IN THE DARK (documentary)
–“Light In The Dark” (song video)
–“I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” (song video)

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L.A. Guns To Unleash “The Missing Peace” On October 13th Via Frontiers Music Srl

L.A. Guns To Unleash “The Missing Peace” On October 13th Via Frontiers Music Srl

As the revival of the classic ’80s hard rock and heavy metal scene continues unabated here in the 21st century, one reunion has been at the top of the wishlists of many a fan for a long time: the songwriting combination of Tracii Guns and Philip Lewis under the L.A. Guns banner. What once seemed like a distant memory with no hope of returning has now come around and fans are about to be rewarded for keeping their fingers crossed and their hopes up.

That’s right Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis are back together as L.A. Guns!Their new album “The Missing Peace” is set for release on October 13th via Frontiers Music Srl.  Today, the first video for the album’s debut single has been released.  Watch the video for “Speed”. which Tracii Guns describes as “A response to the extremely fast paced “I WANT IT NOW!” world we are living in,” HERE.  Hard rock aficionados should keep their ears opened for a nod to the great Deep Purple’s legendary track “Highway Star” in one of the verses.

Order the album here http://radi.al/MissingPeace or at the links below:

Frontiers: http://www.frontiers.shop
Amazon: http://radi.al/MissingPeaceAmazon
iTunes: http://radi.al/MissingPeaceiTunes
Google Play: http://radi.al/MissingPeaceGooglePlay

Digital pre-orders come with an instant download of “Speed”.

Follow the band on Spotify to be alerted when new singles from the album are released and to add “Speed” to your favorite playlists: http://radi.al/MissingPeaceSpotify

‘The Missing Peace’ is truly an album by definition. It’s a collection of music that I have been working on for about 12 years with various styles of rock music. From blues to classical influences, these are all hard-hitting songs. I am very proud of all of the contributions to this album by other members and writers. L.A. Guns fans are in for a treat,” says Tracii Guns.

L.A. Guns never looked like the pretty poster boys that so many of their peers did, but more the band that you would be terrified to bump into an alley as they would likely be carrying switchblades and ready for a fight. But despite having many a song to back up that image, they could also write powerful ballads (see the smash hit, “The Ballad Of Jayne” for Exhibit A of this argument) that showed there was some serious songwriting chops in the band. Said chops are fully on display on “The Missing Peace”, arguably one of the most vital and exciting releases in the band’s storied catalog.

The story of how we got from the band’s powerful early years to here has already been well documented, so no need to rehash it. What’s important to know and understand is that the driving force of all those classic L.A. Gunssongs, Tracii and Phil, are back and in a BIG way. Feeling inspired and excited like they did when they first started out, but with many years of wisdom and experience under their belts, “The Missing Peace” will surely please fans of the band’s classic albums (the self-titled debut, “Cocked And Loaded”, and “Hollywood Vampires”) as well as their widely heralded “comeback” albums (“Man In The Moon” and “Waking The Dead”). In fact, this album feels like the next logical step after the critically heralded “Waking The Dead” album and shows a band invigorated and ready to bash you over the head, as well as “wow” you with some epic, slower songs, proving you don’t always needs a semi-truck to run people over.

“The Missing Peace” Track Listing:
1. It’s All The Same To Me
2. Speed
3. A Drop Of Bleach
4. Sticky Fingers
5. Christine
6. Baby Gotta Fever
7. Kill It Or Die
8. Don’t Bring A Knife To A Gunfight
9. The Flood’s The Fault Of The Rain
10. The Devil Made Me Do It
11. The Missing Peace
12. Gave It All Away

BAND LINEUP:
Phil Lewis – Vocals
Tracii Guns – Guitars
Johnny Martin – Bass
Michael Grant – Guitar
Shane Fitzgibbon – Drums

L.A. GUNS LIVE:
7/21: Los Angeles, CA @ The Whisky
7/23: Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep
7/25: Joliet, IL @ The Forge
7/27: Hartford, CT @ Webster Hall
7/28: Worcester, MA @ The Palladium (Upstairs)
7/29: Garwood, NJ @ Crossroads
8/1: Buffalo, NY @ Buffalo Iron Works
8/2: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
8/4: Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s W/Jack Russell’s Great White and Junkyard
8/5: Warrendale, PA @ Jergel’s
8/6: Battle Creek, MI @ The Music Factory
8/8: Waterloo, IA @ Spicoli’s
8/9: Sioux Falls, SD @ Bigs Bar
8/11: Three Forks, MT @ Rockin The Rivers Music Festival
9/1: Litchfield, MN @ Meeker County Fair
9/2: Sioux City, IA @ Anthem @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
9/23: Lawnton, OK @ Comanche Nation Fair
9/30: Macul, Santiago, Chile @ Santiago Rock Festival
10/6: Salt Lake City, UT @ Liquid Joe’s
10/7: Denver, CO @ Herman’s Hideaway
10/14: Sacramento, CA @ Holy Diver
10/27: Knoxville, TN @ The Open Chord
10/29: Pekin, IL @ Rock N Skull @ Avantis Dome
12/14: Houston, TX @ Proof Bar
12/31: Los Angeles, CA @ The Whisky W/Faster Pussycat

2018:
1/27: Anaheim, CA @ The Parish @ HOB Anaheim (Namm Event)
2/10: San Juan, Puerto Rico, @ Shannan’s W/Loudness
2/11-2/16: Miami, FL @ Monsters of Rock Cruise
2/16: Jacksonville, FL @ 80’s In the Park @ Lexington Hotel
2/17: Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room

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LOUDER FASTER HARDER: Warrant’s Jerry Dixon Talks Career, New Music and More!

LOUDER FASTER HARDER: Warrant’s Jerry Dixon Talks Career, New Music and More!

When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll the members of Warrant are seasoned pros. Formed in the early ‘80s by Erik Turner and Jerry Dixon, the band quickly became one of the most popular and successful rock bands to emerge out of Hollywood in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. In 1989, Warrant released their classic debut “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich,” which immediately entered the charts and launched the hit singles “Down Boys,” “Sometimes She Cries” and “Heaven,” which climbed up to number two on the US charts. In the summer of 1990, their second album “Cherry Pie” was released. The album was an even bigger success, featuring the Top Ten hits “I Saw Red,” “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and the rock anthem “Cherry Pie,” which received massive airplay on MTV and gets millions of plays on streaming services and YouTube to this very day. Clearly, there is no denying the band’s achievements through the years!

In 2017, 6 years after the release of “Rockaholic,” the album that re-launched the band as a force to be reckoned with in the 21st Century, Warrant has returned with another slab of muscular hard rock, aptly titled “Louder Harder Faster.” Featuring original members Erik Turner, Jerry Dixon, Joey Allen and Steven Sweet, along with singer Robert Mason (Lynch Mob, Cry of Love), Warrant is stronger than ever and continues to rock relentlessly. Mason’s vocals remain a breath of fresh air and his swagger on the songs gives new life and a bright future to the band. With production handled by Foreigner and ex-Dokken bass player Jeff Pilson (Last In Line, Starship, Adler’s Appetite, etc.), Warrant sounds tighter and plays better than ever before. “Louder Harder Faster,” true to the band’s roots, is full of rockers with classic ballads thrown in sure to send their faithful fans into a frenzy. Warrant’s signature style of rock is catchy, melodic and remains the band’s calling card. The band is fired up and more inspired than ever musically! They will be out touring in support of “Louder Harder Faster,” so be sure to catch them when they hit your town!

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Warrant’s Jerry Dixon to discuss his life in music, the longevity of his iconic band, the creation of their new album, “Louder Harder Faster,” and what the futures might hold for Warrant!

You made an awesome career in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. How did music first come into your life?

I picked up a bass when I was around 13 years old. From the first day I picked it up, I never put it down! [laughs] I had a friend who played guitar and another who played drums and they said, “OK, you are going to play bass.” I was like, “What is that?” [laughs] They were like, “I don’t know. It has like 4 strings … ” So, my mom took me to Sears and I got a Sears Special Bass. Ya know, I think music chooses you and once I touched it, I was like, “Wow! Uh oh! This is it!” [laughs] I haven’t put it down since! You just fall in love with music. At that age, I listened to a lot of Geezer Butler, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and a lot of the heavier stuff. I always dug the bass playing on those records. From an early age, about 15 years old, I was in a band playing clubs. Once that started, you practice but you are all about doing shows. You just worry about one show at a time and don’t really look at the big picture, about what is going to happen down the road. I met Erik [Turner] when I was 16 years old and we started Warrant. This is my 34th year in Warrant!

When you look back on the leaner years when you struggled, were there moments that had a big impact on you as an artist?

Yeah. I think we learned, very early on, the business side of it. We learned if you want to do this it takes work. We started out with our little flyering campaigns and would make little game plans where two guys would go to the Poison show and pass flyers out and two guys would go to Santa Monica Civic or the Ted Nugent show to put flyers on the cars. We learned very quickly that none of this works without a fan base and that is something that sticks with us to this very day. It’s very grassroots. We realized early on that if you wanted to do this, you have to have fans and you have to promote yourself to sell tickets or all of it goes bye-bye!

What are some of the other keys to longevity as a band?

You have to be half-crazy, I think! You really do! There’re so many great times and so many horrible, horrific, life-changing events that this band has endured. I think it goes back to those early days where you can get sucked into the negative stuff that’s happening or just do one thing at a time. I think we learned that if you’re going to stay in the business, you just have to roll with the punches. We went all the way from clubs to arenas and back to clubs. Did it suck? Yes, it did but we didn’t give up!

Warrant has a new album, ‘“Louder Harder Faster.” What started the ball rolling on this one and made now the time for a new release?

Well, we have actually been working on that poor bastard for three or four years, believe it or not! [laughs] Finally, we got it done! Thank God for Serafino at Frontiers Records! He just kept bugging us like, “C’mon you guys! C’mon!” We all live in different states now, so it made it a little bit difficult to get home from the touring life and then get in the right mindset to leave your house for a month to go work on a record! It was like, “Ahhhh, we’ll do it next year!” [laughs] We finally hiked our balls up, went back to LA, got in the rehearsal room, banged out all the ideas, demo’d everything up and finally got it all done!

What can you tell us about the songwriting process for Warrant these days? What changed and what stayed the same through the years?

On this record, most of it was written by Robert [Mason] and I. On the last record, I wrote a lot of things by myself and Robert did as well. I really concentrated on lyrics and melody. On this record, what was different, I kind of gave him the lyrics and melodies and I focused on the music. I was going to make some badass riffs, lay the songs out and give them an idea. From writing with him, I knew he would come back and say, “Okay! Cool … ” For example, on “Music Man,” I said, “Hey, I have this idea … ” and he took it to a whole new level! It was cool and it was a great process.

Where do you look for inspiration these days?

I get ideas from just walking around in life, ya know. For me, they just come through me and it’s one of those things I don’t really think about but I will see something and get an idea. An idea might come from seeing something and thinking, “Oh, look at that guy sitting over there. He’s playing a guitar. That’s the music man!” It can be that simple! Then you sit down, crank up a guitar and work out the music. Everything you see or do can lead to something, like that song, “Big Sandy.” I was driving to Robert’s house and I saw a sign that said, “Big Sandy Wash.” I just started cracking up! I don’t know why but I thought it would be a hysterical song title! There ya go!

I’m sure some songs come easier and others are harder to nail down on any given record. Was that the case with this album?

Yeah, you’re right. You always have that one song that is difficult. On this album, I would say it was “Let It Go.” I still don’t think we got that one right. It had a whole different guitar part and then we changed it and we were going to put keyboards on it. That one was kind of the bastard child of the bunch! You always have that one song that doesn’t play nice! [laughs]

You mentioned writing with Robert Mason. Where are you headed in the future in regards to writing with him?

Ya know what? I see it getting easier. Once you write with someone a bunch of times, you kind of know what they’re going to bring to the table. That makes it easier to not have to carry the weight of the entire song or to try and write every single word or melody and map it out. I know I can get things to a certain point and Robert or Erik [Turner] will help finish it and then I can move to the next one. It really makes it a little simpler for me, which is great.

What challenges did you face in bringing this album to life?

There are a lot of moving parts to a record and that can get frustrating. There are little guitar parts; like putting a jingly guitar in a chorus or determining what it should be or what the pre-chorus should be. It’s the little things like that you don’t really map out until you get into the studio and you can hear everything really well. It can be time-consuming. You really just have to dissect each song for what it is and build it into a little monster, ya know? [laughs] Sometimes they go quick but sometimes it can be frustrating. I think we got everything on this album that we wanted and I’m pretty happy with the way it came out! Usually, after we do a record, we are a little burnt out from writing and recording. We will probably take a little break and get the juices flowing. About six months after a recording session, we typically start thinking about the next one!

Bands like Warrant and their peers are doing some of the best work of their careers. Do you think these records are getting enough attention?

I think people enjoy it. I think you get a little more respect if you try to stay relevant and try to put out new product. It just helps your overall career. There’s nothing worse than having a band never do anything. They might’ve had four records out in the ‘80s and just play the same songs over and over again. That’s definitely not what we wanted to do. We had a lot to prove. Jani Lane was a very, very good songwriter. It was like, “Shit!” [laughs] We had written with him before but we have the pressure of having to do the whole thing. There was definitely pressure there but that’s what keeps us fresh and keeps us in the press. It’s a good overall thing to do. Now, we really just do it for the love of music. You’re certainly not going to get rich selling records! We do it for us and we do it for the fans! That’s what we do — we make music! If something comes of it, great, but if not, it’s still cool to do! I think you have to get those ideas off of your chest and the music out of your soul every few years!

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?

Yeah, I think there are milestones in the songwriting area. In the early days, I was just never really into that. It was almost like when I first started playing bass; when I started writing, I was instantly hooked. I was like, “Wow! This is it! This is what music is!” That really opened my eyes to becoming more than just a bass player. I wanted to be able to play guitar, play keyboards, sing a little bit and finish an entire song. It’s something that you get better with over time. Some of them suck but some of them are pretty good! [laughs] You just never know! [laughs] That’s one of the things I really, really enjoy now!

You guys wrote some amazing tunes through the years. Of which songs are you the proudest?

We did that record with [Jani] Lane called “Ultraphobic” and there is a song called “Chameleon” that him, Rick and I wrote. I’m really proud of that song. Off “Rockaholic,” I like “Tears In The City.” It’s kind of an emotional train wreck song for me! [laughs] It’s kind of a “Gotta get the hell out of L.A.” song. I don’t really have a favorite yet off this new record. Sometimes it takes a little while. Sometimes you don’t even truly enjoy a record until a few years later. It’s weird, right now I really enjoy “Rockaholic.” I guess you just have to let it go for a bit. You can listen to it and it’s like, “Wow! There is some really good stuff on there!” [laughs]

You make your living in the ever-changing music industry. What are the pros and cons of being a working artist in today’s climate?

Oh boy, well, the cons are that there is no more radio support or video support with MTV and that type of stuff. Those two things were such a help to a career. The pros are that you have all the social media that takes the place of those earlier elements. If you are on top of your game and you know how to work that stuff, there are still ways to have a career and create buzz. You really just have to do it yourself through those mediums.

I’m sure you learned a ton of lessons along the way. What’s the best lesson we can take from your journey as an artist?

I’m still working on this but I tell myself music is what I do and it’s not who I am. You can’t let it define you. You can’t let a bad review, see someone talking shit get you down. There have been comments like, “This song sucks! You guys should die without Jani.” Or “You guys should change your name.” There’re so many hurtful and good things that get thrown at you. I have completely unplugged from all of that. When I get home, I have my wife and my birds, we have parrots, and that’s who I am. I’ve learned that you have to really separate those two worlds. When you get home you still have to pick up shit and carry your weight at your house! You can’t have that rock star mentality on all the time. It just doesn’t work, you will get sucked into that and eventually you will get let down. I think it’s important for everyone to realize that you have to be yourself first!

Well said! Thanks for your time today, Jerry! I’m digging the new album and I can’t wait to see you all again soon!

Thanks so much, Jason! I really appreciate it!

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RIVERDOGS To Return With New Album, ‘California,’ On July 7th!

RIVERDOGS To Return With New Album, ‘California,’ On July 7th!

The Riverdogs have returned! Original members, Rob Lamothe (vocals, guitars), Nick Brophy (bass, vocals) and Vivian Campbell (lead guitar), along with long time drummer Marc Danzeisen, have reunited to record their fifth album, “California”. The album will be released on July 7, 2017 via Frontiers Music Srl. You can watch a behind-the-scenes video about the making of the album below!

Mixing the soulful vocals of Lamothe with the edgy guitarwork of Campbell and solid rhythmic lines from Brophy and Danzeisen, the album marks a definitive return to the sound of their critically acclaimed 1990 self-titled debut album.

On the making of the album, lead guitarist Vivian Campbell says, “[w]hen my friends at Frontiers suggested a Riverdogs album in the spirit of the original debut record, I jumped at the chance to make it. In my opinion, “Riverdogs” was a highlight of my career with some of my best guitar playing and definitely a record that flew under the radar. Having a clear direction of exactly what kind of record to make really helped the four of us create the music and there was an intense collective focus throughout the entire process that never wavered. I really think that we hit the target in creating a record that has all the hallmarks, the integrity and the emotional strength of the original debut. The fact that we’ve all remained such close friends throughout all the years only added to the joyous experience that was the making of this record.”

“Going in to this project, my goal was to enjoy the opportunity of making music with some of my best friends, to share this incredible experience with my family…and to create something that Riverdogs fans will probably think is pretty bloody awesome. Big guitars! Beautiful melodies! Words about crazy, complicated, real stuff! I feel like Nick, Viv, Marc and I all brought our ‘A-Games’ to the writing and recording sessions. That’s way more important than money and awards and fame to me,” adds vocalist and guitarist Rob Lamothe.

Bassist Nick Brophy sums up the writing process for the album: “In summer of 2016, I found myself in Los Angeles, reunited with 3 of my closest friends, about to begin a new Riverdogs album. Marc had arranged a rehearsal environment at a friend’s house, which was to provide the creative atmosphere for writing new material. I stood there with bass in hand thinking “OK, now what?” Little did I know that a few days later we would have six new Riverdogs songs and the album ‘California’ was born. The remaining six songs came, surprisingly, just as easily, a testament to the amazing talents of Vivian, Rob, Marc and the effortless way in which we work as a group. Our clear goal for this album was to remain true to the original Riverdogssound and provide fans with a new set of songs which carry on the legacy of a truly remarkable band.”

Riverdogs formed in Los Angeles at the end of the 80’s, when flashy, glitzy hard rock ruled the day, but they were determined to avoid clichés and adopted an original sounding blues-rock style. Vivian Campbell of Sweet Savage, Dio, and Whitesnake fame at the time (soon to join and become a long-standing member of Def Leppard and later, founding member of Last In Line as well) was initially brought on board to produce the band’s first demo, but was so impressed with the band that he actually became a member and played on the debut album. Soon after the release, Marc Danzeisen joined Rob, Nick and Vivian to complete the line-up.

Though fans and critics gave the album a warm reception and high regard, the unfortunate and age old story of change of personnel at their record label came about and eventually led the band members to go their own ways, with Campbell settling into the Def Leppard lineup and Nick Brophy becoming a respected engineer and producer. Riverdogs, with a reformed line-up, released two more records in 1993, “Bone” and “Absolutely Live”, before going on an extended hiatus. They reconvened, with the original line-up, in 2003 to record new material and play a few reunion shows. Those new songs were recorded as demos, but only completed in the studio in 2011 when their last album, “World Gone Mad” was released.

Now, six years after their last studio album, Riverdogs have crafted “California”, a record that truly recreates the magical sounds of their early days and that will surely be welcomed with open arms by fans both old and new!

Track Listing:
1. American Dream
2. The Revolution Starts Tonight
3. Something Inside
4. Golden Glow
5. You’re Too Rock And Roll
6. The Heart Is A Mindless Bird
7. Searching For A Signal
8. Welcome To The New Disaster
9. Ten Thousand Reasons
10. Catalina
11. I Don’t Know Anything

RIVERDOGS
Nick Brophy: Bass, keys, vocals
Vivian Campbell: Guitars, vocals
Marc Danzeisen: Drums, vocals
Rob Lamothe: Vocals, guitar

For More Info Visit:
http://www.riverdogsmusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/Riverdogs-167501139972389/

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HE SAW IT COMIN’: Jack Russell On His Life In Music and Great White’s New Album!

HE SAW IT COMIN’: Jack Russell On His Life In Music and Great White’s New Album!

Jack Russell has lived one of the most storied lives in rock ’n roll. As the voice of Great White, the band broke out of the Los Angeles scene in 1984 with its self-titled debut followed by seismic platinum-selling outings such as 1987’s “Once Bitten…” and 1989’s “…Twice Shy.” Moving over 8 million copies worldwide, they stood out as tried-and-true rock stalwarts into the 21st century until 2011, when Russell went on to form Jack Russell’s Great White. It’s no secret that over the course of his career, Jack Russell has experienced dizzying highs and tremendous lows. Through it all, his love of music has never faded. Rather than look backwards and relive the multi-platinum hard rock entity’s storied origins, Jack Russell set his sights on the future. In December 2011, Jack Russell’s Great White bared its teeth for the first time and music fans and critics quickly took notice.

Firing on all cylinders, this talented group of musicians hit the studio in 2016 to cut their official full-length debut. Featuring Jack Russell alongside former Great White bassist-turned-guitarist Tony Montana (as a guitar player and keyboardist), Dan McNay (Montrose) on bass, Robby Lochner (Fight) on guitar and Dicki Fliszar (Bruce Dickinson) on drums, the results are nothing less than stellar. “He Saw It Comin,” available via Frontiers Music Srl, instant classic and taps into the bluesy bombast and heavy energy of Russell’s celebrated material, but it’s a distinctly modern metallic monster. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Jack Russell to discuss his early years as an artist, his creative evolution and breathing life into “He Saw It Comin.’

You carved out an incredible career in the music industry. Going back to the beginning, when did music captivate you for the first time?

When I was 5 years old, I wanted to be an archeologist. That was my dream but for my sixth birthday, my parents bought me the Beatles “Help” album. It became one of the most pivotal moments in my life! I put this record on and, I swear to you, it was like the skies opened up! My life started taking a turn from there. We had moved and there was a guitar player living behind my house. I went up to him and told him I could sing. We got together then, I was 11 years old and he was a freshman in high school. We started a band! Eventually, the first band led to another and another. I met Mark [Kendall] in November of 1978 when I was 17 years old and we started what became Great White in 1982. It was that Beatles album that did it for me. I knew my destiny then! It was almost like “Jukebox Hero,” if you know what I mean! [laughs] I just knew it was going to happen! The way my life turned out was like an amazing journey to where I knew I was going to be. It was very strange. I used to listen to “Toys In The Attic” at night. I would sneak out of my bedroom and into the back room where the stereo was. I would put on my headphones, put on the record and listen to it. I would pretend I was friends with Steven Tyler and picturing that in my mind. Then one day, there I was, talking on the phone with Steven Tyler! It was like, “Wow! This guy is my friend! It’s amazing!” Everything I dreamed of came to fruition and it was really, really cool! I have led a very, very charmed life in many respects.

As a young artist, what went into the process of finding your voice?

There were bands like Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and all the great bands from the 1970s. There were so many great bands! With all of the great music, it was almost as if you are what you eat! I was definitely chewing on that stuff and sucking the marrow out of it! Joe Perry had read an interview I had done, where I had cited him as one of my influences. He sent a message to me that said, “You need to look back farther.” It was then when I started listening to old blues like Lightnin’ Hopkins, Willie Dixon and people like that! By doing that, I got a whole new perspective on music and where rock really came from. That became a second wave of influence for me. Finding my voice? That just came over time. It started by my singing covers and eventually moving on to writing my own songs. It was really freaky to write your own songs and sing them for the first time. You think, “What does my real voice sound like when I’m not trying to sound like someone else?” I was very good at emulating people and I could pretty much sound like anybody, especially Robert Plant! That is how it happened. When I started doing my own stuff it was really to discover my voice and it still keeps growing to this day. I find out things about my voice that I didn’t know. I have been doing this for a long time and it seems that every year I discover something new. It’s amazing how versatile my voice is and I am still astounded and grateful. It’s a gift and it’s on loan. It’s not me and there is nothing special about me per se. I’m just an ex-surfer/fisherman who was blessed with this voice.

You have seen it all over the course of your career. To what do you attribute your longevity in the music industry?

I think longevity comes from the ability to reinvent yourself. It’s not easy. You have to keep to the core of who you are but you can’t stay stuck in a rut where you keep recording the same record with different lyrics. You have to change! I think that comes naturally. It’s not like I think about an album and say, “OK, this one is going to be like this … ” or “I’m going to change my style to this.” The reason this new record, “He Saw It Comin,” sounds different from other stuff that I’ve done is because I have a different co-writer. The chemistry between him and I is magic! I really believe in my heart of hearts that this is the best work I have ever done!

Jack Russell’s Great White

I agree! The material is great and your voice is fire! How did the ball get rolling on this album and how long did it take from start to finish?

I went through a bunch of musicians over the last five years because it didn’t feel right. I knew that it wasn’t right and I didn’t want to record an album with a band I felt wasn’t right. When we finally got our bass player settled, a guy named Dan McNay, I knew this was the band I had been waiting for! At that point, I said, “OK, get us a record deal and we will start recording!” That’s what we did! Robby Lochner and I started writing songs when we first got together. We didn’t get too serious about it until I said, “Let’s get ready to do a record.” It took us, actual recording time, about five months. It took that long because we were on the road a lot and we couldn’t dedicate a month to sit there and do a record. It took what it took and we took our time! We weren’t in any hurry. I just wanted to make sure it was right and I didn’t want to be under the clock. As a matter of fact, we were 30 days late delivering the album because I wanted it to be right. It had to be right and it came out the way I wanted it to come out! I think it’s magical! I hate to sound un-humble but that is my truth! I think it’s a beautiful record with a great collection of songs. Like I said, I think it’s the best thing I have ever done!

Do you face challenges in bringing this album to life?

I think finding the time was a challenge. The vocals were really thick on this record. The harmonies were really, really thick and I that’s what took the most time on the schedule. Robby was working 16 hour days at different points. His studio is at his house, so he had access to it all of the time. That was great and he was always putting parts down and doing background vocals. That made it easier. A song like, “Godspeed,” was an undertaking of monumental proportions. I wasn’t involved with that, other than the writing and the melody for the song. He said he wanted to go A cappella with it and I said, “Wow! You are kidding me? On a rock album? What are you thinking? Barber shop quartet with straw hats and striped shirts?” [laughs] He said, “No, like a ‘50s kind of thing. Like doo-wop!” I said, “Alright, man! Have at it! See what you come up with it!” He came back and I just started laughing and laughing when he played it. He had a look on his face like I shot his dog! He said, “What’s wrong?” I said, “Nothing! I’m laughing because of how good this is! The way it weaves in and out of the different parts is amazing!” I was truly amazed by the song! Other than that, there weren’t too many difficult things to go through. It was all really easy!

Looking back on your work, how have you evolved as an artist?

Hopefully my songwriting has gotten better and I became more transparent with my lyrics. I tried to be a little bit more honest with each record. I like to write about my life and my experiences and I generally don’t write about anything I haven’t been through. People can easily relate to my songs because many things that I have gone through they have experienced as well. We’ll experience many of the same things in life no matter who we are or what we do. The only song on this album that would be contrary to that is “Spy Vs. Spy,” which is a series from MAD Magazine about a pair of black and white spies who are always trying to kill each other in these Rube Goldberg-esque ways. It was always really funny to me. I also saw a movie called “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy and it was hysterical. It was really well done and I thought to myself, “I’m going to write a spy song just because.” I ended up coming up with the music and lyrics. I showed it to Robby and said, “I’m not sure what to think about this one.” He got done with it and said, “This is great!” I said, “Well, I told ya to trust me!” [laughs]

Jack Russell’s Great White

Where are you headed in the future when it comes to music?

Ya know, every album pretty much takes on a life of its own. When you start out, you come up with some ideas and it is basically a snapshot of where I am emotionally at the time. The same goes for Robby as well. Robby and I are always working on stuff. Sometimes I might come up with a musical idea and, since I don’t play, I have to hum it to him. He will take what I have hummed to him and figure out a chord for it. We are never afraid to pull our pants down, as an expression, and we are very honest with each other. If we don’t like something, we’ll just say so. We aren’t here to placate each other. We’re here to write good songs! Where I go musically in the future is really going to depend on where I am at the time we record. It’s going to take on whatever characteristics of the life I’m living at the time. What I’ve found to be true is that every record writes itself. Every song or musical idea starts with a melody and the lyrics will come out of that. Generally, the sound of the song will inspire me for the lyrics. For example, “My Addiction, is a song I knew what it was about the first time I heard it. My ex-bass player has the original idea which was a really dark bass line. I literally wrote lyrics and melody in 20 minutes. It was like one long streaming thought. It was very intense! It was almost as if the songs were already written and I just had to put it on paper!

You guys self-produced this album. What was that experience like and is it something you plan on doing more of in the future?

Yeah, it was produced by Robby and myself. I think we know the music better anybody and I know how I want it to sound. Robby is quite capable in the studio. We handed the mix off to someone else only because we didn’t want to get too close to it. If you get too close to it, sometimes you can see the forest for the trees so to speak. As songwriters and composers, I think we know what we’re doing, at least I hope! [laughs] I don’t know if working with the producer would be something that would help us or hamper us. If someone came along I was really into and I thought he could add something to it, I would certainly give them a shot. With that said, I’m not actively searching out the producer. My feeling is that if it ain’t broke, then don’t try to fix it! In my eyes and ears, I think this record sounds really incredible and the songwriting is great. There’re things on here that I’ve never done before with the bands I have been in. There are background harmonies, vocal breaks and so on. The title track is almost like a Queen song almost! It has so many elements in it and it’s really an epic tune as far as where it takes you! This record is definitely a roller-coaster, not a merry-go-round!

The changes you have seen in the music industry over the past decades have been immense. What is the best part of being a working artist in today’s climate?

Doing the shows is always great! Technology to me has really been a hindrance, unfortunately. There are no more record stores. I never thought I would see the day where I couldn’t go down to the store and look through the racks to find the latest album from my favorite bands. I remember it used to be like an event! We used to camp out in front of the record store when we knew a new Led Zeppelin record was coming out. We would make sure we were the first ones in the door and would run to the back of the store where the display was! We would grab the record, come back home and gently take it out of the shrink wrap! It was like handling a really fragile piece of artwork! You were treated with the utmost care! You would pull out the record, look at the liner notes, look at the cover and read every single thing on the album itself! You would put it on the turntable with such a reverence. It was almost like taking communion at church! [laughs] It was a big ceremony! I remember I used to have this little shelf on my wall where I would put the album cover when the album was playing. There was a little sign above it that said Now Playing. I did that so I could look at the cover while I was listening to the record. It was a total ceremony! All that has just been taken away and people don’t have that experience anymore. It’s sad. Fortunately, this record is being done in vinyl as well as digitally. There are people like myself who love to have something physical when it comes to music. I have CDs and I like the fact that there is something tangible as opposed to just lurking on an iPod with 1 million other songs on it. I would rather have the actual CD even if it takes up more space. I have space and if not, I’ll make space! I want to have the record and I want to pay the artist. I want to help them keep going because if people don’t buy the records, the artists aren’t going to be able to make a living anymore!

Jack Russell’s Great White – ‘He Saw It Comin’

Speaking of album artwork, you have a cool cover image for this record. What is the story behind it?

Thank you! The idea I had goes along with the title track and the story I told you about when I was 6 years old, just changed a bit. Robby had recorded this skit in front of the song. There are two kids in the room and they’re waiting for their big brother to leave so that they can sneak into his room and play his guitar and drums. When they open the door, they find themselves standing on stage in front of thousands of people. They freak out and close the door! The one kid says, “Come on! Do you want to go back in?” The other kid says, “No!” So, the first kid says, “Come on, you wimp!” They go back in and, once again, they’re on stage in front of thousands of people and they shut the door behind them. It’s then when the song starts! The lyrics go, “You say to me time is over. You look at me and shake your head. You say I’ve had my day and can’t believe that I’m not dead … ” The lyrics are about my life when I came back after all of the things I went through. It’s about manifest destiny and never giving up! On the front cover you have these two kids representing Robby and myself, along with a pirate skeleton or a sage as I call him. He is showing them this crystal ball with their future in it. Inside that crystal ball you can see Robby and myself, at the age we are now, on stage in front of thousands of people. That’s a story behind the cover!

That is very cool, Jack! Building on what you said, we can learn from your story. What is the best lesson we can take from your journey?

Stay sober, man! [laughs] If you have a problem with drugs and alcohol, definitely seek help. I’ve damaged myself so much from what I used to call partying. What it really was was just feeding my addiction. That’s what the song “My Addiction” is about on this record. It’s not about how fun it is to go out and party, because certainly it is, but when it becomes an addiction and you find yourself sitting alone in your house by yourself drinking or using, that’s just not normal. It may seem normal to you at the time but it’s really not. It’s not the way social drinkers act. So if you have a problem, please get help before you end up in the hospital like I did. I came out of a five-day coma with the doctor telling me that my liver almost shut down and that if I drank again I was going to die. He didn’t say I might die, he said I was going to die! That was my biggest epiphany and what got me sober for the last time! I’ve been clean and sober for about a year-and-a-half-now! Now, we have this new record and we are really looking to getting out there on tour and kicking some major ass!

Congratulations Jack! When are we going to get your story in book form?

I’ve been working on that actually. It’s been an amazing adventure! I feel like I should call the book “You’re Not Going to Believe Any Of This But It’ll Be A Great Read!” [laughs] My life has been enchanted and things have happened to me that are totally unbelievable. I can’t believe some things that happened and I’m me! The book will eventually come out; I’m not sure when but hopefully sometime this year!

We wish you continued success and can’t wait to spread the word on this album!

Thank you, Jason! It’s been a pleasure talking to you, man!

For all the latest news and tour dates for Jack Russell’s ‘Great White,’ visit the official website at www.jackrussellsgreatwhite.com. ‘He Saw It Coming’ is available now via Frontiers Music Srl. Get it on iTunes!

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BEYOND THE FADE: Ted Poley On Breathing Life Into His Inspired New Album!

BEYOND THE FADE: Ted Poley On Breathing Life Into His Inspired New Album!

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Ted Poley has spent the better part of his life in the the limelight. He exploded onto the scene in the 80s and made a name for himself with the top notch vocals he brought to the table as the lead vocalist for the legendary melodic rock masters Danger Danger. As time passed, musical tastes changed and there was less of a focus on the genre where he and so many others cut their teeth. However, it didn’t slow Ted Poley down one bit. In fact, it made his creative fire burn brighter than ever before. He soon found himself carving out a career as a solo artist, which lead to the release of his two critically acclaimed albums, “Collateral Damage” (2006) and “Smile” (2007). In 2016, Ted Poley returns once again with a powerful new album, “Beyond The Fade,” which features some of his most impressive work to date.

The story of “Beyond The Fade” starts after Danger Danger’s acclaimed performance at Frontiers Rock Festival in Milano in 2014, when he and the label developed the idea to work together on new music. The next step was to speak to producer Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Edge of Forever) and with a band that he put together, they performed at the second edition of the Frontiers Rock Festival. A few months later, Ted came back to Italy to finish the vocals on the album. With songs penned by brothers Tom and James Martin (Vega), the sound of the record is nothing else but Ted Poley at his best, with immediately recognizable hooklines, amazing guitar work, immaculate production and total ‘80s attitude! The album serves as not only a brilliant showcase of his talents but as an exciting new chapter in his amazing history as an artist.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Ted Poley to discuss his amazing career, breathing life into “Beyond The Fade,” the challenges he has faced along the way and what fans can expect for his beautifully crafted album.

Ted Poley: A Force of Nature

Ted Poley: A Force of Nature

You have been making music for the better part of your life. How did it first come into your world?

I was force-fed classical music on piano when I was a little kid. My first instrument was classical piano and I was raised that way because my aunt was a very famous musician in the 1930s. She was married to Jerry Arlen, who was Harold Arlen’s brother and together they wrote the music for “The Wizard of Oz.” She was very famous back in the day at The Cotton Club and wrote a lot of hit songs. Half of my family was a musical family, so that half got me early! I had this horrible classical piano teacher, who I hated, so I hated music. I gave it up but then, years later, I fell in love with the drums. I loved “The Partridge Family” on TV and the first record I ever bought was by Elton John. From there, KISS was my first concert and that was a big influence on me. Then I got into more progressive music, like Rush, Yes and Journey. I was a drummer the whole time and I sang along the way. So that is the early history!

What went into finding your creative voice early on as an artist?

I’m still looking! [laughs] You never know where you are at in your life! When you are younger, you always think you know everything but then you look back and say, “Yeesh! I knew nothing!” I like to think I am still developing as both a person and as an artist. Hopefully, you will hear that growth in the new album!

What does rock ‘n’ roll mean to you at this point in your life?

I know it sounds cliche but rock ‘n’ roll and music in general is my life and always has been my life. Music has been there for me ever since I was a little kid. I have lost everything several times because I stayed on my path, be it friends or girlfriends, because music was the most important thing to me. It has always been my life. I have always looked the way I do! I have always had long hair and loved my music when it wasn’t trendy and then when it was and then when it wasn’t all over again! I still look like a standout now because I still have my hair and still do my music, which is not the most popular thing. [laughs] It is a tough thing to do but you have to stay true to yourself and hopefully things go well.

Where do you look for inspiration these days? What keeps that creative fire burning strong?

That is a good question. Every time I think I am burnt out, like when I just finish a record, I think, “OK, I am done with the studio … ,” but then I hear another song from another writer or I come up with something that I just have to sing. I am even working on something top secret for the future! I guess I am an enthusiast in a way where it has always been my life and I don’t know what I would do without releasing new stuff or playing gigs. It is such a big part of my life it is like breathing to me!

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Ted Poley’s new album, “Beyond The Fade,” is available now!

What’s the secret to your longevity as an artist?

Yeah, stay away from the painkillers! [laughs] That is a good one! It is a very physical thing. You have to live a healthy lifestyle and stay in shape. Your instrument is your body, so you really have to watch it. I guess good genes help and you have to train. That is the main thing. Since I play a lot, that keeps me in shape as much as possible for being 54 years old! [laughs] It is a tough thing to do but I have been really working hard on it. Actually, I am a better singer now than I ever was. It is tougher and tougher now, so I have to become a better singer to do the same job I did as a much younger man.

Let’s talk about this incredible new record. Tell us about “Beyond The Fade” and how the ball got rolling?

Frontiers Records is the greatest last record label standing basically! I have had a relationship with them since the beginning. They came to me and everyone is always looking for the next Danger Danger record and if they can’t get that, they come to the guys in the band and say, “Give me something!” They said it was time for a new solo record and I said, “OK! I happen to be collecting songs that I have loved.” I always have a bunch of songs in my back pocket for the future. I was ready! I had those and I couldn’t wait to have someone put me in the studio and record them! I was very happy about that and they made me a nice offer and we got the job done! I think they are very happy with the results and I am certainly very happy! It worked out great!

What goals or aspirations did you have for this album? Was there anything you wanted to achieve this time around?

I didn’t have too many expectations and so far it has exceeded all of my expectations. The reviews have been wonderful! Usually, you work really hard on something, get all emotionally involved, you put it out and some asshole says they hate it! That is just because they hate you or you banged their girlfriend or mom at some point! [laughs] They have a hidden agenda, ya know? The Beatles could put out the greatest Beatles record of all-time and they would hate it just because it is you. [laughs] I am just so surprised because the response has been so positive! I have never really had anything come out where everyone has been so cool and really enjoyed it. It has been selling really well and it’s a success, so in a way it’s a new feeling! [laughs] I mean, I had the feeling back in the ‘80s. This isn’t on that level but it certainly beats the alternative, I will tell you that! It beats the shit out of doing the same thing, putting it out, thinking it’s great and having everybody just piss all over it! [laughs]

How does this album compare to what we heard from you in the past?

I don’t always think that my latest thing is the best thing that I have ever done but I do really think this is one of my best things! I am thrilled with it! If you have ever liked anything I have ever done, it is a sure bet you are going to like this one. If you haven’t, maybe this is a good time to come back and have a second taste! [laughs]

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I love the title of the record and the meaning behind it. What can you tell us about it?

Our genre of music has come and gone, so it’s natural death is over but beyond the fade, here I am still doing my thing, sort of oblivious to the rest of what is going on! I certainly can’t turn myself into a 16-year-old dance chick, so I have to stick with what I am! I feel, beyond the fade, it is interesting what you can come up with now with no pressure. The genre is over but we still live on beyond that. The literal translation comes from something I did when I was a little kid. There was always a cool guitar lead at the end of the song and you knew there was always more because they fade it out. I always wanted to hear what was beyond the fade. I thought that was really cool, so I used to put on my headphones and as they were fading it down, I would fade it up! I would try to hear every last sound of the goodness of the guitar solo. Of course, that would always backfire as soon as the next track would start at full volume and my ears would blow up! [laughs]

Tell us a little about the songs you collected for “Beyond The Fade.”

I have been collecting a lot of these songs for years. Of course, I write a lot of songs as well. I do a lot of songs for video games and other projects, so I can write songs. In this case, it was so important that I had the best songs possible. We sorted through about 60 songs and, although I sure liked my songs, I loved some of these other songs better. I was unemotional about who wrote it. The Martin Brothers have been some of my favorite writers for years. I have had some of these songs, not as leftovers, but as songs I never got to rearrange from previous projects. We finally got to sit down and change them the way I always change them. Together, there is a certain chemistry that always comes out. I love their songs and then when I add my things, somehow it works! They are my main songwriters and I love using their stuff for my solo albums. They are never really solo albums because I have a great band of players. It isn’t just a vocal album and there are great leads, bass playing and cool keyboards. It doesn’t sound like what you would expect from just a singer. It wasn’t all about me! I let everybody do their thing and when they did it well, I had them do it even longer because I loved it!

You co-produced this album with Alessandro Del Vecchio. What does he bring to the table and what does he bring out of you creatively?

He is awesome and he is a world-class producer. He can do everything all by himself! He doesn’t need me! [laughs] In many cases, he walks singers who couldn’t care less about anything else through the process and writes through a whole record! He can do the whole thing! In my case, the thing I loved about him the most was that he said that I knew what I was talking about and he let me suggest and change things with no attitude at all. Here is this guy who has made 100 albums and when I suggested something, that is the way it went. He was really cool! If the album sucked, I would have had to take a lot of crap but in this case it sounds different than a lot of his 100 other albums because he let me have a major hand in every single part of the way it sounds. Together we had a really cool chemistry. I think part of his genius is that not only does he know what to do but he can also recognize a good idea from someone else. That can be tough because a lot of people have an ego and don’t let you touch a thing!

Looking back on bringing “Beyond The Fade” to life, what stands out as some of the challenges?

Not getting fat because I was in Italy and the food was absolutely insane! [laughs] I loved it so much! The challenge on this album was that we had 10 days to do the whole record. It was a challenge were both physical, not getting sick and showing up every day, and mental when it came to doing the song. It is always the same challenge!

I wanted to talk about the album artwork for “Beyond The Fade.” How did the imagery come about?

Thanks! That is something I hand sketched from an idea I had. With the title being “Beyond The Fade,” I wanted the album cover to be cool because when I was a kid I loved cool titles and I used to buy albums just because of the cover! There was stuff like Star Castle and Yes and stuff like that! To me, an album cover should be very cool and shouldn’t be a generic thing with a pyramid on it of something. If I see one more Egyptian cover I’m gonna puke! [laughs] I had a specific vision for the album art. Nowadays, everything is all flat-screens and iPhones and everything but when I was growing up it was radios and tube televisions. Where did all that stuff go? I wanted to create something that looked like a big junk pile on the moon of all these outdated electronics. The astronaut, having landed on the moon, is looking out onto this massive pile of discarded stuff but, for some reason, a couple of the TVs are still working. They have different images from different eras of my own career. It is just a cool concept for an album cover. To get it right, like I said, I hand sketched it. Then we had an awesome artist who rendered the entire thing. It is all original artwork and there isn’t a piece that is cut from anywhere else. It came out really cool, man! I think it is really classy looking!

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“Beyond The Fade” is a great representation of both what you are doing now and have done in the past. How have you evolved as an artist along the way?

I am pretty happy with where I am. I am just me! I don’t see the evolution like other people do because it is just me. I wake up everyday and I am thankful to be alive for one and two, it’s just me! [laughs] It is tough. I think other people are your best critics. For me, I am happy with where I am at and I have the best fans in the world! I am lucky to have new music out and I am thrilled! It is a really good time for me. As far as evolution, I think you can hear it on this CD. It is what I have always been about with catchy choruses and so on. I am sort of the happy rocker — until I get pissed off! [laughs] In general, I am the happy rocker! Another thing I want to mention is that I support no-kill animal shelters, so I like to give a percentage of what I earn to those facilities. Whether you buy the CD or if you rip it for free, that is fine, the important thing is that you hear it. I know there are a lot of good people out there, so give 5 bucks to a local no-kill animal shelter. That is my thing. So, if I have evolved into a person who can make you smile, give you some good music and do something good for animals, I guess I am happy where I am at!

You have seen the music industry change dramatically over the years. To keep it positive, what is the best part of being an artist in today’s climate?

It is so cool because you can discover new music in so many ways. I can even discover stuff on YouTube. It is good for everybody. It’s not that it’s free and you aren’t getting paid, it’s about discovering cool new stuff at any hour. If you like it, you do what I do and you go out and buy it. You can discover things that you would have never been able to hear in the past. It is very exciting! Between all the free music and all the free pornography, I will tell ya, if it was like this when I was a kid, I would have never left my room! It is a little scary when I think about it because I would have never developed into anything! [laughs] I would have discovered the Holy Trinity with being able to order pizza online and sit in my room with that magical combination and never left! [laughs] It does scare me a little for the future of kids these days because everything is available at the click of a button, it’s free and it’s not always a great influence. I guess, I turned out semi-OK with all the stuff we had access to as kids!

It seems to be working out for you just fine so far, Ted!

Well, yeah! And now I can benefit from all the free music, free pornography and Domino’s delivery! I’m an adult! I have a credit card! That’s awesome!

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I definitely want to take a look at what you have in the works for the future. You teased us with talk of a secret project but where do you see yourself headed musically?

I have a couple things in the works that I can’t really talk about right now. With everybody dropping dead at pretty much my age, I am just thankful for today! I don’t plan too far into the future. I don’t know, man. I think it is not so lucky to start planning too far ahead! [laughs]

What about potential new music from Danger Danger. When do you think we might see some movement there, if at all?

I don’t know. I hope for a new record and I would love to do it. Some of the guys in the band are into it and one isn’t but that is only because they care a lot and it is a lot of work and the money isn’t there so much for them. Hopefully, we will do a little lobbying and change somebody’s mind. For now, there is no for sure plans for a new studio CD but we tour all the time, we have a lot of live shows played and we look forward to seeing everybody out there. As far as new music, I am with the fans — I sure hope so! Never say never but, at the moment, I don’t have any studio time planned in that regard. [laughs] But hey, I’m available if they want! [laughs]

What can we expect from you when it comes to hitting the road with “Beyond The Fade?”

Yeah, I am always on the road. I have added one or two new songs to the set. You don’t want to bore people with too much new stuff. I have enough in there that it certainly gives you enough time to go get a beer or take a piss break during the concert! [laughs] I have added the new songs and it has been a lot of fun! It’s not too much but just enough new stuff, as I like to say!

One last question for you before I take off. You are definitely an inspiration when it comes to all you created and your passion for continuing to do the work you love.

Oh man! Thank you!

What is the best lesson we can take from your journey as an artist?

Just stay true to yourself and if you have a dream believe in it and don’t let anyone take it away from you. I would also suggest that you study hard so you have something to fall back on just in case! But just shoot for the stars, man! If you fall short you can still walk the moon and that is pretty fuckin’ cool!

That is an awesome way to look at it, Ted! Thanks so much for your time and I wish you continued success!

Thank you, Jason!

Ted Poley’s “Beyond The Fade” is available now from Frontiers Music Srl. Also, be sure to follow the continuing adventures of Ted Poley on Facebook and Twitter!

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HEAVY CROWN: Vivian Campbell On Crafting Last In Line’s Ferocious New Album

HEAVY CROWN: Vivian Campbell On Crafting Last In Line’s Ferocious New Album

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Legendary guitarist Vivian Campbell has spent the better part of four decades pouring his heart and soul into some of rock music’s most memorable projects. From Dio to Whitesnake to Def Leppard, his impact as a rock guitarist is undeniable. As an artist, he continues to forge ahead creatively, while continuing to inspire generations of fans, both young and old. His latest endeavor is quite literally a blast from the past. As part of Dio, Vivian Campbell, Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain had cut their teeth as Ronnie James Dio’s co-conspirators and co-writers. The would work hand-in-hand on “Holy Diver,” “Last In Line” and “Sacred Heart” albums – the records that defined the classic early Dio sound and have gone on to become part of Rock History. In 2012, these three old friends would reunite in a Los Angeles rehearsal room for a casual reunion jam in a Los Angeles. During that first, highly-spirited jam, it was apparent the chemistry of the original band was intact – even after a 27-year hiatus.

The excitement generated by that rediscovery led to a second session, this time they called in vocalist Andrew Freeman (a friend of Vinny’s) whose credits include singing in the Raiding The Rock Vault production in Las Vegas and background vocals for The Offspring. Hearing Andrew’s interpretations of the songs was a revelation for Vivian, who immediately suggested they book local shows for fun. In Vivian’s mind, the fact Andrew could put a different spin on the songs made it an interesting prospect, and one that would justify taking things to the next stage outside of the rehearsal room. Over the ensuing years, a handful of local LA shows led to a handful of overseas shows in the UK and Japan, and eventually to an offer from Frontiers Records to record a new album of original material.

During 2014, the band wrote and recorded 12 new songs under the guidance of longtime friend and producer Jeff Pilson. It proved to be a symbiotic relationship with Jeff that captured the organic crunch of the band and brought out the very best in Andrew’s voice and delivery. After long last, Last In Line’s debut album, “Heavy Crown” was released in February of 2016. However, for the members of this band, the release was bittersweet for the band as Jimmy Bain passed away just weeks before the album’s release. serves as another tremendous example of the rock ’n’ roll spirit he brought to every project of which he was a part.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Vivian Campbell to discuss his journey as a musician, the making of Last In Line’s ferocious debut album to life, the impact Jimmy Bain had on him personally and professionally and much more!

I like to start at the beginning. What are some of your first memories of music?

Well, my folks listened to a lot of stuff in the car like Simon and Garfunkel and all of that. The first epiphany I had was when I saw and heard Marc Bolan and T. Rex on TV in the early 1970s on “Top of The Pops.” That was what did it for me! I was watching this guy and I loved the sound of the electric guitar. Basically, anything with electric guitar caught my attention but Bolan was the first one who made me want to buy a guitar, grow my hair long and wear my sister’s clothes!

You got started in music at such a young age. What impact has that had on you through the years?

It was definitely a blessing! I think I have been really, really fortunate that I have been able to have such a career. It is all I have ever wanted to do since that night in 1971, when I was probably 8 or 9 years old, when I had that epiphany, that was the dream that I followed. I have been extremely fortunate to have had such an extremely colorful career playing in so many bands and playing with so many great musicians. I so grateful to be able to do it! The only time in my life I ever had a real job was when I was a teenager trying to earn money to buy my Les Paul, so I have been very fortunate!

Your latest musical endeavor is Last In Line. What got the ball rolling when it came to bringing this amazing project to life?

Last In Line's debut album, "Heavy Crown'

Last In Line’s debut album, “Heavy Crown’

This all started by accident. In mid-2010 and early 2011, Def Leppard were on hiatus. I got a call from Scott Gorham from Thin Lizzy asking if he could borrow me to go on tour for a few months in Europe as a second guitar player. I lept at the chance because Thin Lizzy were such an influential band for me in my formative years. When I was a teen and really honing my craft as a guitar player, they were my go to band. Being out on tour and playing the songs of my youth with the original guitarist Scott Gorham and drummer Brian Downey was just like a school boy fantasy. I really reconnected to my instrument and I found myself really wanting to play aggressive rock guitar again. I have been in Def Leppard for 24 years and it is a great, great band. I get to play a bit of guitar in Leppard but certainly not to the extent that I did in my early career with Dio. I just kind of wanted to get back to that and wanted to get angry with my Les Paul again. This was around mid-2011, when I came back from the Thin Lizzy tour. I called up Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain and asked them if they would like to go into the rehearsal room just to jam for some fun. That is what we did!

It grew from that but none of us were approaching it thinking, “Hey, let’s form a band and go out and do gigs.” It just happened very organically. Even when it did start to happen, our ambition was entirely limited to just playing local LA area shows and doing songs from the first three Dio albums. We had no intention to write and record a new album. After a couple years of doing things very sporadically, we got offered some shows in the UK and a festival in Japan in late 2013. Immediately after that, we got a call from Frontiers Records asking if we would be interested in writing and recording a new album. Up to that point, we honestly hadn’t thought about it but the fact that we were being offered a record deal and a chance to do this allowed us to take that step.

Did you have reservations about going down that path and creating new music?

No, no. None at all. You know, it has been a strange journey. Up until that point in 2011, I didn’t even listen to Dio records. It just wasn’t on my radar for various reasons. When Ronnie [James Dio] fired me, it had left such a bad taste in my mouth the way that it had happened and the reasons it had happened for, I just didn’t want anything to do with that. I really uprooted myself from that part of my career. For many, many decades I literally didn’t even think about it as my music and my career. Now, I look back at it in a very, very different light. I embrace it and realize that those records were as much my legacy as they were Ronnie’s. They were as much Jimmy Bain’s and Vinny Appice’s. We we wrote those early records with Ronnie. We didn’t get paid for them [laughs] but we created them! A big part of this project was to reclaim our ownership of our early history, ya know. It kind of had been taken away from us for years and years. All of us had been fired along the way for various reasons. I was the first one to go. It is nice to get back to that and look at it in an entirely different light and embrace it.

What can you tell us about the songwriting process for Last In Line? How has it changed and how has it stayed the same?

Well, it hasn’t! We went in to write this record in the exact same way we approached writing the “Holy Diver” album back in 1982. That is part of the reason Claude Schnell is no longer with us. When the original Dio band was formed and when we were writing and recording “Holy Diver” in late 1982, there were only four of us. It was guitar, bass, drum and vocals. Keyboards didn’t come in until after the record was done. I discussed this with Jimmy, Vinny and Andrew [Freeman] and we all felt stronger that we should go back to the original genesis of the original Dio band and just have guitar, bass, drums and vocals. When we were writing the “Holy Diver” record and the early DIo records, Jimmy, Vinny and I would go into a rehearsal room and would kick around ideas. We would start with something and, even if we didn’t have an idea to get the ball rolling, we would just jam. Within a little while, we would have something interesting. We would kick around an idea for a few hours in the afternoon. In the evening, Dio would come in and we would play him what we had. Sometimes, Ronnie would make suggestions like, “Change this part. Make this longer. Make this shorter.” Other times, he would sit there and look at his lyric books and eventually step up to the mic and start singing. It was a very quick way of writing and we did it the exactly the same way with this.

At the time we started making this Last In Line record, Andrew had moved from LA to Las Vegas, so he wasn’t always available to be in the rehearsal room with us, so usually it was just Vinny, Jimmy and I and we did things the same way. I’d have a riff or Vinny would have an idea or Jimmy would have an idea. We would just start playing and cobble together what we felt was an arrangement. We would record it as an MP3 and send it to Andrew that night. Andrew would email us back and would say, “This is great. I can write a melody and lyric to this.” Or he would make suggestions as to how to change it. Other times, Andrew would fly or drive to LA and be in the room with us. That was interesting because when he was with us it added a different dynamic that we wouldn’t have normally had, so we had the best of both worlds with that! The record happened very easily and very organically, just as those early Dio records did. There wasn’t any forethought to what we were going to write. We just started playing and shit comes out! [laughs]

You make it sound so easy, Vivian!

It is easy! It has always been very easy for Jimmy, Vinny and I to create something together and that is what made the early Dio records so great. We were quite literally creating them out of nothing. Like I said, even if we didn’t have an idea to start with, Vinny would lay down a monster groove! I get so inspired by playing with Vinny that I just come up with stuff and vice versa. We’ve always inspired each other!

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I want to talk about Jeff Pilson. What was it like working with him as a producer and what did he bring to this project?

Jeff was golden! I can’t praise Jeff Pilson on this record enough! He is such a talented engineer and producer. He totally got what we were trying to do. We cut the tracks live and did minimal overdubs, just like we did on the early Dio records. He totally got that! The technical way we recorded the record with very little compression at the tracking, mastering and mixing stages is something he totally got too. We wanted it to be a crisp sounding record that is sonically reminiscent of records of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s and we think we delivered that with this album. Jeff really, really got it and where he totally excelled is how he worked with Andrew on this. Not many people know just how good a singer Jeff is, as well as a musician. He has such a great voice and so many years of experience singing. He really got inside Andrew’s head and I think he really helped bring out the best performance out of him.

We can’t talk about this album without mentioning the impact of Jimmy Bain, who passed away shortly before its release. I know he was a big part of your life and music. What impact did he have on you personally and professionally?

Yeah, Jimmy was a very, very talented man and very much the unsung hero. I owe my career to Jimmy, probably more so than anyone else. It was Jimmy who actually heard me play in Sweet Savage back in Ireland in the late ‘70s and it was Jimmy who recommended me to Ronnie [James Dio], which got me the audition. I have known Jimmy for that long and he was a very, very good friend of mine. Jimmy is one of those people who, when I look back at records he was involved in and when I think back to the records I made with him, I know he was never credited to the full extent that he should have been. He wrote a lot more music than his name appears on. Jimmy is one who always had an idea. It is very, very important in the creative process that you don’t get hung up, stop and start spinning your wheels. Jimmy was always the best one among us for keeping things going. He would constantly be sparking with different ideas. Some of them were great and some of them not so, but at least he was fearless in the way he created. There is a great quote by someone about the creative process saying, “Write without fear, edit without mercy.” That was Jimmy! He was fearless in throwing out suggestions. He played guitar, bass and keyboards and would come up with melodies and lyrics. He was an all around talent. Unfortunately, just being the bass player in a band, people generally tend to overlook you. I have played with so, so many great musicians in my career, I have been very fortunate that way, and Jimmy Bain is right up there in the top five. He was an uber-talent!

Vivian Campbell and Jimmy Bain in the early years of their careers.

Vivian Campbell and Jimmy Bain in the early years of their careers.

What does the future hold for Last In Line in light of Jimmy Bain’s passing?

We are at somewhat of a crossroads and we really don’t know what we will do in the long term. We had a tour planned, which was supposed to start about a week or so after the record came out, at the end of February but with Jimmy passing, we cancelled the tour. We didn’t feel it would be appropriate. However, we are going to play some of the more high profile shows we were booked to play. We will be playing the Frontiers Festival in Milan, Italy on April 23rd. We are also going to play at the Rocklahoma festival at the end of May. We have a couple of warmup shows in advance of those, a couple of club shows. Beyond those handful of shows, we have no long-term plans. I am not saying that we won’t but it is kind of a moot point anyway because immediately after that, I go back with Def Leppard. I will be busy until the middle of October. If anything does happen in terms of further Last In Line shows, it wouldn’t be before the end of this year. We may just decide to not do anything but, at the same time, we kind of do feel we owe it to ourselves, Jimmy’s memory and this record because this record did come out so, so well. It meant a lot to Jimmy. It is just a question of finding the right balance and being respectful to his memory or giving up. Somewhere in between there is the right path but, like I said, it’s not a bridge we have to cross yet.

For the handful of shows Last In Line will be playing, what can we expect from the band?

Obviously, now that the record is out, we are going to feature that as much as we feel is appropriate. It is a good feeling for us to be taking this step and not to just be playing early Dio songs, even though those are our songs as much as they were Ronnie’s. Especially for Andrew, I think it is a great relief to be focusing on new music and it is exciting to play that! We are going to start rehearsals the week after next and we will be playing a bunch of new songs. Our show will be an hour-and-a-half or an hour-and-three-quarters, so we will also heavily feature the early Dio records. Most of our set has been mostly comprised of “Holy Diver” and “Last In Line,” not so much “Sacred Heart,” although we have played some of those songs.

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Last In Line: An undeniable force in rock.

You mentioned Def Leppard. We know Joe Elliott had some vocal issues recently. How is everything going there?

Yeah, Joe saw a couple of doctors when we were doing shows in February. The second doctor he saw put a scope down his throat and told him he needed to stop singing immediately or he was going to do permanent damage. That is why we had to unfortunately postpone a few weeks of shows that we will be making up in May. The good news is that it doesn’t require surgery and just requires rest, so he will be fine! He will be grand!

Looking back on your career, how have you most evolved as an artist?

I started solely as a guitar player. Early on, my entire focus was just putting my head down and playing guitar, which is why I think I got be reasonably good at it. [laughs] Right from the time I first joined Dio, I was starting to become more aware of what goes on in the industry and wanting to expand my talents beyond just playing guitar. I wanted to be a better writer. When I was writing with Ronnie, I wouldn’t think of it as writing in terms of a whole song, I was just concerned with the guitar parts and riffs. I would let him, or Vinny or Jimmy shape it into a song and a melody. Since then, in my early 20s, I really started studying singers. I really wanted to sing and that is when I first started taking voice lessons. I started listening to other genres of music. More importantly, up until that point, I had only focused on guitar music. If it didn’t have guitar, I wasn’t interested. In my early 20s, I had this ravenous appetite for all sorts of music from pop to country to soul and Motown. I amassed a huge collection of cassette tapes in the process. I feel so blessed to have worked with so many great musicians in bands and producers over the years. I have learned a lot about how to make records, how to sing, how to play, how different instrumentation works. Along the way, my focus wasn’t always so much on my lead guitar abilities. It has been a very, very joyous rediscovery for me over the past several years of playing with Last In Line and really making that my primary focus. It is the one thing that I do best! I like to think I am a reasonable singer and a half reasonable songwriter but the one thing I undeniably do is torture the fuck out of a Les Paul, ya know! I do it in my sleep! That is my first love and it is great to get back to that, reconnect to it and have it be so important in my life again.

You always seem to have plenty of irons in the fire musically. What does the future hold for you?

Ya know, I do like to have a lot going on! Def Leppard, we worked a lot last year. We have a fairly busy year this year, as well. We probably won’t play too many live shows with Leppard, if any, in 2017. However, we almost certainly will go back into the studio and make another album. That is certainly going to keep me busy! As I said, I don’t know what is going to happen with Last In Line to be honest. I am enjoying it but I was enjoying it a lot more until Jimmy passed away. It has put us at this peculiar kind of crossroads. There is another band that I used to be in many, many years ago that I am getting together with next week to start writing for a new record. I can’t mention who it is yet but it is one of my past projects and we are kind of getting back together and we have been offered a record deal. I like to stay active as a musician, even if it just means going to the local club and playing. I have a little bar band that plays very, very occasionally. It is entirely covers from Thin Lizzy to early ZZ Top and early Fleetwood Mac from the Peter Green era and other stuff like that. It is kind of a quasi-blues rock band. Even if it was something like that, I really believe you are what you do. I have always been a musician, so I always try to stay busy!

What is the best lesson we can take from your journey as a musician?

Vivian Campbell

Vivian Campbell

Musicians always ask me if I have any good career advice and stuff like that. I always come back to the same thing. It is always more important to be true to yourself than to try and emulate someone else. I know that is a difficult lesson to absorb when you are young. I know when I was young, I was spinning my wheels constantly. I was frustrated, even when I was making the Dio records, I was very frustrated that I couldn’t play the guitar like Yngwie Malmsteen or Paul Gilbert. I didn’t have the technical chops that they had and the control that they have. Looking back at it now, through the years of experience, I am glad. That is what makes me unique, my lack of certain abilities that helped to shape my sound and style. I think that is more important. It’s more important to be unique than to be proficient, regardless of what your instrument is. I think that is what the world wants. That is what people hear in great art is that human connection. I think too often as musicians we spend a lot of time trying to perfect it. I also think, without getting too far reaching, it kind of speaks to a lot of modern music. Technology has made it too easy to correct everything nowadays. As a result, modern music is very homogenized and sterile because the human tone is being lost in the technology. If you listen back to great Motown records, those records were played live by real musicians in real time. That is what makes them still sound so great in this day and age. They are by no means perfect from a technical point of view but they have so much soul, so much heart and so much humanity that so many modern records are lacking because it is far too easy to correct the drummer or auto-tune the singer. Technology is doing the job for us. It is just important to be authentic is what it all boils down to. If you want to put it into one word — authenticity!

I think you hit the nail on the head, Vivian! Thank you so much for your time today, my friend. It has been a true pleasure! I wish you continued success!

Thank you, Jason! It has been a pleasure to talk to you! Take care!

For all the latest news on Last In Line, visit the band’s official website at www.LastInLineOfficial.com. Connect with them on social media via Facebook and Twitter.

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Nelson Release Video For “Back In The Day” In Support of ‘Peace Out’

Nelson Release Video For “Back In The Day” In Support of ‘Peace Out’

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Gunnar & Matthew Nelson, collectively known simply as Nelson, have released the second video from their acclaimed Peace Out album, entitled

“Back In The Day.”  An ode to the glory days of rock’n’roll from the late 50s through the 80s when the songs on the radio ruled a kingdom of music fans, the video features rare archival footage of their father Rick Nelson (one of America’s biggest pop stars of all time) as well as classic footage of the Nelson brothers “back in the day.”

“Matthew and I had an absolute blast making the video for Back In The Day. We’d always wondered what it would be like to play the entire ‘band’ in a video ever since we were kids and Paul McCartney did it with his band Wings,” says Gunnar, in reference to the 1980 MTV video for the McCartney hit, “Coming Up.”

Nelson - 'Peace Out'

Nelson – ‘Peace Out’

“As fantastic as it seems, it’s actually more true to life to the way we actually record our Nelson records (Matt and I play every instrument and sing every vocal on our records with very few notable exceptions). This is the kind of video where you’ll catch something new hidden every time you watch it. We’re very proud of the work itself- even more so of the statement the song makes… which is that everything newer isn’t necessarily better; especially on the radio.”

“On this song we sing about the fact that our music is so much more than merely the soundtrack to our lives; it is so often reduced to background noise- its the friend that’s never let us down. It’s the confidant that has always been there for us, and always will be. It shapes who we are and how we feel about ourselves and our lives. It deserves our acknowledgment, appreciation, and respect.

“To quote a lyric from the song: ‘The radio was our saving grace… Our heroes showed us the way- back in the day.’ ”

Released in May by Frontiers Music Srl., Peace Out marks a return to the well crafted pop songs that put the band at the top of the Billboard charts in the 1990s. From the anthemic “Invincible” to the rollicking “Rock Star,”  Peace Out is quintessential Nelson from start to finish.

The brothers have always had their work cut out for themselves, being the third generation in one of America’s most celebrated entertainment families, who came into US households every week from 1952 through 1966 on the ABC sitcom, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. Their grandfather, Ozzie Nelson, was a celebrated big band leader, whose orchestra featured their grandmother, Harriet; and their late father, Rick, was one of rock’n’roll’s earliest superstars, a member of The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, and generally credited with creating the country-rock format. Ozzie, Rick, and the Nelson twins are the only family in the history of the world to have 3 generations of musicians that scored a #1 Billboard hit each on their own.

The Nelson twins burst onto the music scene with the Billboard #1 hit “(I Can’t Live Without Your) Love & Affection,” in 1990. They went on to release a half dozen rock albums selling nearly 7 million records, beginning with the multi-platinum After The Rain.

The brothers have grown from pop music idols to seasoned songwriters and performers. They have worked in a number of musical styles including pop, hard rock and even country.  Critics and fans alike agree:  Peace Out,  is unquestionably their most ambitious studio album to date. The album takes them to the musical home they have known the best: harmony-driven pop-rock whose melodies are as infectious as they are lasting.

ORDER NELSON’s PEACE, OUT
Amazon:  http://geni.us/PeaceOutAmazon

For all things NELSON, please visit: 
http://www.matthewandgunnarnelson.com

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