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QUIET RIOT: Frankie Banali Discusses The Past, Present and Future of The Band!

QUIET RIOT: Frankie Banali Discusses The Past, Present and Future of The Band!

Quiet Riot is an undeniable rock ‘n’ roll phenomenon. Famously known as the first heavy metal band to top the pop charts, the Los Angeles quartet became a global sensation thanks to their album, 1983’s ”Metal Health.” That album topped the Billboard album charts for several months and the follow up album, ”Condition Critical,” went double platinum. The band continued to record and tour throughout the decades following. As the driving force behind the band, Frankie Banali’s history with Quiet Riot spans more than 34 years. He is the only member of Quiet Riot to record on every Quiet Riot release since ”Metal Health.” After nearly 10 years since the loss of his friend and bandmate Kevin DuBrow, and with careful consideration, soul searching and the blessings and support of DuBrow’s family, Frankie moved forward with the band to bring the fans an exciting new chapter!

In 2017, Quiet Riot continues their historic journey with their new album, ”Road Rage.” Led by Banali, who is joined by veteran bassist Chuck Wright (who has been in and out of the band since 1982), guitarist Alex Grossi (who has been in the band since 2004) and new vocalist James Durbin, the band continues to be an unstoppable force in the rock ’n’ roll world. ”Road Rage” was originally scheduled for release in the spring of 2017, but with the injection of new found energy for the band! With the addition of American Idol alumni James Durbin in the vocalist slot, the band scrapped the original sessions and recorded a new version of the album with the new and improved line-up. Musically, ”Road Rage” offers what you would expect from Quiet Riot — arena ready hard rock with strong hooks and infectious riffs, along with a maturity in the songwriting only a band with such a history and pedigree can offer. “Road Rage” proves that Quiet Riot is stronger than ever and won’t be fading off into the sunset any time soon!

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Frankie Banali to discuss his life in music, his evolution as an artist and bringing Quiet Riot’s high-intestity new album, “Road Rage,” to life!

Thanks for talking with us today, Frankie.

My pleasure! Thank you for taking the time and interest in Quiet Riot.

Thanks for keeping this thing on the rails for so many years. You’re doing a kick ass job!

That’s what makes it worth doing! Comments like that is what I appreciate more than anything in the world!

Before we get to the latest chapter in the band’s rich history, let’s go back to your early years because, believe it or not, there are still people discovering your music and Quiet Riot for the first time. How did you get into music and what went into finding your creative voice as a young man?

For my generation, everything started with The Beatles. When I saw The Beatles on “Ed Sullivan,” I was sitting on the floor of my parent’s living room in Queens, New York. That’s what started it for me. From there, I segued to The Rolling Stones and Dave Clark, which led to Jimi Hendrix and Cream. When Led Zeppelin’s first album came out, that was a game changer for me and I haven’t looked back ever since!

You’re known as one of the most notable drummers in rock. When did you come into your own as a player?

Ya know, I’m a really dedicated person when it comes to music because not only am I a musician but I’m still a fan. I was always a fan, so I was always interested in music and it consumed my entire life. From the point I picked up a pair of drumsticks, I dropped the baseball bat and the hockey stick! It became my entire life and I can honestly stay, with no reservations, that one of the biggest parts of my life is music and playing. I was always in bands. The first time I earned any money, and it was all of $13, when I was 13 years old playing for a church social. I’ve been doing this a long time! When my parents moved from New York to Fort Lauderdale, to try to get me away from some of the trouble I was getting into in the city, I just kept working at it. I kept joining bands, putting bands together and rearranging bands until I got a reputation for being the guy to work with. Once I did that there, I became a big fish in a small pond, so I had two choices. I could either go back to New York or go to Los Angeles, which were the two big music centers at the time. The weather was a whole lot better than it was in New York, so I came out to California!

You brushed elbows and worked with amazing people in the industry. Who had the biggest impact on you creatively?

Of the people I have worked with, it would have to be Kevin DuBrow. He was the most dynamic personality I have ever met. He was all over the place! He had so much energy and charisma but he really, really loved music, singing and all the English bands from the ‘60s and ‘70s. We had that great connection. I think he made the most impact on me because without Kevin, Quiet Riot wouldn’t have been the Quiet Riot that we became at the time. He was a huge part of it and he was also a huge part of my personal life. So, of the people I have worked with, the person who had the biggest impact on me would have to be Kevin DuBrow.

Your road to success didn’t happen overnight. How did your leaner years as a musician shape the man we see today?

The thing that was different for me than a lot of players in California when I came out, and one of the reasons I was so prepared and poised to act, was that when you were a musician back on the East Coast, you were used to playing four, five or six 45-minute sets a night. Not only did doing that build up your endurance but it also built up the catalog you had to know how to play and the variety of styles. You weren’t just playing rock – you were playing rock, funk and fusion. It was the great underground university for musicians back east. When I came out to California, bands here were only used to playing 30 minutes, 40 minutes or maybe 60 minutes and they were coming off stage like they had just run a marathon! For me, I was just getting warmed up! When I came out to LA, I have always been a very work oriented person and I was in five bands almost all of the time because it took five bands just to be broke! [laughs] I would get a little money from one band from rehearsing, a little money from another from doing a show, maybe some drum sticks from one band and maybe some drum heads from another, just to get through it but that’s what you had to do! You had to have that kind of dedication. You couldn’t be thin skinned and you had to receive rejection really, really well because once you get rejected you have to brush it off and go to the next thing!

That dedication served you well! What are the keys to longevity in the music business?

I think you have to be realistic. I also think you have to be flexible and be able to change when change happens. Change happens all the time in life but especially in this business! You have to have a goal and you have to have plans and be able to shift gears at a moment’s notice. Sometimes the music business is like the weather, it can be gorgeous outside but you better have an umbrella with you because you never know when the storm is going to hit you! You just have to be prepared. At the same time, you have to put the time into it and dedicate yourself. You can’t put things on the back burner that need to be addressed immediately and that’s what I do. If there is a problem, I assess it, I address it, I deal with it and I move on!

What does rock ‘n’ roll mean to you?

In a word — freedom!

Quiet Riot has a new album, “Road Rage,” that has been in the making for a little while. I know you encountered speed bumps along the way. What got the ball rolling and made this the time for a new Quiet Riot record?

I received a communication from Frontiers Records in Italy and they wanted to know if I would be interested in doing a Quiet Riot record. They had pursued me in the past and, at the time, I really wasn’t motivated to make a record for a variety of reasons. When this one came around, I thought the time was right but it also coincided with the time we had Jizzy Pearl singing with us and he gave notice. Ya know, we had three really good years with Jizzy but he wanted to concentrate on his solo career and wanted to write music for that, so he wasn’t going to write any music for a new Quiet Riot record. That left me in the situation where I had to find a new singer and I had time to do it because he gave ample notice. He wanted to finish out the year. I needed somebody to fill the void live and to do the record. The first person I reached out to was James Durbin. I was aware of James not only because of the “American Idol” status that he had but also because my guitarist, Alex Grossi, already knew James. I had gotten in touch with James but, at the time, he had just signed on to do a project in Las Vegas and he had no idea how long that was going to run, so that made it impossible. The second choice I had was a singer by the name of Jacob Bunton, who was with Adler’s Appetite. He’s a really, really good singer and songwriter. As it turns out, he wanted to do the record but he decided to stay off the road for awhile, so that didn’t work out. People say everything happens for a reason and ultimately the reason came about and James was available when we needed him the most. He came into the fold and it’s been a really, really great experience to work with him. I just think it’s the right time to do a Quiet Riot record! We haven’t released an official Quiet Riot record since 2006, when we released “Rehab,” which was the last record we did with Kevin DuBrow. I think 11 years was a good enough rest from the record business!

I’ve been a fan of James for quite awhile now and talked with him several times throughout his career. He’s got a great energy. What did he bring into the mix when it was time to record? Anything you weren’t expecting?

You hit a key point, which is energy. First of all, let me just state that I have never tried to replace Kevin DuBrow because you cannot replace Kevin DuBrow. It’s an impossibility! Kevin was one of the most amazing people I have known in my entire life and he was one of the greatest singers in rock, as far as I’m concerned, and an unbelievable performer with such energy. So, the thing about James that’s interesting is that he has an energy similar to Kevin’s which is something I had been missing since Kevin was alive and in the band. For me, that was a key thing. He’s also a really funny guy, which Kevin was hysterical, so all of a sudden I’m feeling more comfortable and more at home with James. Obviously, he has an unbelievable vocal range, which is something that Kevin also had and is something you are going to need if you’re going to sing the older Quiet Riot material. All of those things came into play but one of the key things for me was the fact that I didn’t want to go down the karaoke route. I had tried that and it worked to varying degrees but it was never really quite the right fit. I needed somebody who could sing the songs in the keys and registers they were meant to be sung and I also needed someone who brought something to the table on their own that didn’t take away but added to the Quiet Riot sound. James has that! There was no auditioning process for James. I never considered, “Oh, we’ll have to bring him in and see if he can do it.” I knew he could do it! Originally, I sent him the live material so he could familiarize himself with it. We did two rehearsals and went out on tour! All the music for the “Road Rage” record had already been written by myself, Alex Grossi, Chuck Wright and my songwriting partner, Neil Citron. All that music was originally done in-house and I essentially sent him songs as canvases with landscapes and let him fill the rest of the picture! He’s done a phenomenal job! On the one hand, he surprised me with the things he came up with but, on the other had, I expected him to deliver the goods and deliver he did!

I’m sure you had a vision of what the album might be when you went into process. How did the end product differ from the album you achieved?

I think that James brought to the table what he brought to these songs. He had a very short period of time to work with — 30 days. I was on a strict timeline to re-deliver the record, meaning I had to have James write all new original lyrics and melodies, send me the demos, then we would go over them, he would go into record the vocals and send me those files and then I had to import everything and remix it. All of this happened in a 30-day period. We had the music for these songs and it needed to be elevated to the level that the songs deserved to be. I think that is what he brought to the table. His lyric content, a lot of it comes from humor and personal experience, which I think are two great wells to pull from creatively. His vocal melodies are very unique and very different. I think it married really well with the music that we had created and brought it up to a much greater level than I could have ever hoped for!

What can you tell us about your songwriting process with you and your team these days?

It’s different now because not everybody lives in the same place. Some of my fondest memories are rehearsing with different versions of Quiet Riot but particularly with the so-called classic lineup where we would go into a rehearsal studio and work on songs. That doesn’t happen that much anymore because, geographically, not everyone lives in the same place. When you can do a lot of the things through the Internet, you are forced to do that. What happened on this record is that I let everyone know to start writing! I had already started writing with my writing partner, Neil, and we had quite a number of things that I wanted to submit. Ultimately, most of the music was written by Neil and myself. Alex [Grossi] wrote the music to an incredible ballad called “The Road” and James just knocked it out of the park! Chuck had brought in this one riff that Neil and I got our teeth into and from that came “Still Wild.” It was a creative process but it was a process that happens because of technology and people having their lives in different places. It’s difficult to get together and hash it all out at a rehearsal studio everyday.

You have a great team in Quiet Riot. Where is the band headed in the future?

You know, I’m so lucky to have the people I am working with and it is a team. Chuck Wright has been part of the Quiet Riot family, on and off, since 1981-1982. Playing with him is wonderful and he is ridiculously talented! He can play anything! No matter what I throw at him, he will come up with some great bass playing on it. He’s also a big part of the live background vocal sounds and recordings in the past, although he didn’t do any background vocals on the “Road Rage” record. The background vocals on “Road Rage” I had James do. Chuck is an integral part of this thing called Quiet Riot. Alex, who has been in the band for over 10 years, used to be the new guy even at 10 years! [laughs] He’s a really, really talented guitar player but he’s also a really nice person and he wants everything to be right. He wants everything to sound right. I really throw a lot of things at him that were out of his comfort zone on this album and he came to the plate and was knocking things out. The guitar playing he has done on this record makes me really, really proud of him. There is amazing guitar work on this record. Then you bring someone like James into the fold! Listen, I could not be happier! I think everything is great and I would love to have James be a part of the Quiet Riot family as long as he would like and as long as he is happy doing this!

Looking back at what you created, how have you evolved?

I always tell people that I play songs first and I play drums second. My focus has always been to be supportive of the players I am playing with but, at the same time, not just be cookie cutter either because I have to make myself happy. There is a lot of rhythmic things that are going on with the “Road Rage” record, which are things that I really enjoy playing and are dear to the style of playing and influenced by so many of the drummers that I’m still a fan of. I’m just really happy! I just want to be part of the overall situation! I understand that to some degree I’m more of a focus now because I’m the so-called last original member of the band but, at the same time, I’m just a part of the fabric of the whole situation. I’m just a real big motivator and I want to keep it moving forward and keep it moving in a positive manner. Ya know, you hit a speed bump, well, you burn some rubber on it and you keep going!

There are peers of Quiet Riot putting out some of the most inspired music of their careers on new albums. Are these albums getting the attention they deserve?

It’s interesting because “Road Rage” is getting a lot of attention, although some of the things we had done in the past didn’t receive as much attention. The music industry has changed so much that in many ways it barely exists. The days of radio being supportive of either a new act or an established act where you could send them your new product or walk in with it to do an interview and the DJs were free to play it, well, that doesn’t happen anymore. Everything is corporate. A lot of things are pre-programmed and there isn’t a lot they can do. It has changed from that dynamic. I’m just really pleased that the attention that “Road Rage” is getting is phenomenal. The early reviews that have come in have been really great. What’s gratifying for me is that different people have reviewed the record and, while some of the people like some of the same songs, what they like really runs the gamut. Some people like some of the deeper or less obvious tracks on the record. You don’t want people to just like one or two songs that are the most user-friendly for a lack of a better term. Any time you can create a body of work on a single record where so many people like so many different songs, that’s the most gratifying experience you can have!

Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot

What keeps a band like Quiet Riot going?

Perseverance, dedication, a work ethic and being able to look at every situation from a lot of different angles and not make knee-jerk reactions to it. You have to take it all in. It’s good to listen to criticism but it’s also good to understand the source of the criticism. If the source of criticism is not valid then the criticism isn’t valid. You can’t be thin-skinned in this business because this business is built on a foundation of rejection. You really have to be able to put everything in place. You also have to believe in yourself, fight for what is yours, never look back and keep moving forward!

The music industry changed exponentially through the years. How do you view those changes?

For bands in general, it’s a tough one. Ya know, one of the things I really loved about music early on and still love today is …?I remember waiting for a record to come out. When I heard the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” was coming out, I couldn’t wait for it! I would be calling the record store every single day and pestering them! [laughs] When it finally came in, I would run down with my little money, buy the record and sit there on the floor while I was listening to the record and looking at all the pictures, reading the liner notes and trying to see if there was a picture of the drumset. It was an experience. It was a complete and total experience because it was something you were listening to and looking at, in addition to imagining what it must have been like recording that particular record or writing that particular song. That really doesn’t happen anymore because records became CDs, which were much smaller, and then CDs became digital downloads. In short, it’s become very disposable. I mean, when you have at your fingertips, conservatively speaking, 30,000 pieces of music you can listen to and you are looking at the album artwork on a computer screen, it’s not the same thing. It’s become disposable and a lot of people just take for granted that experience of buying a record and becoming part of that record. That, by in large, is something that doesn’t exist for most people anymore. That’s sad. It’s become music as digital downloads and people stealing your tracks. It’s become the phone I’m using today.

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

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do what you know is right and what you know is what you have to do, even if it’s difficult. Usually, the most difficult things to do are the most rewarding when you accomplish the task. When it’s easy, it’s also easy to forget!

Very well said, Frankie! I want to thank you for your time today and for an exciting new album from Quiet Riot. We will be spreading the word and flying the flag for you!

Wave that freak flag high, my friend!

Quiet Riot’s ‘Road Rage’ is now available from Frontiers Records. Download it instantly via iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. For the latest info and tour dates for the band visit, www.quietriot.band. Connect with the band on social media through Facebook.

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Critically Acclaimed ‘QUIET RIOT: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back’ Documentary To Hit DVD On November 19th

Critically Acclaimed ‘QUIET RIOT: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back’ Documentary To Hit DVD On November 19th

A must-see documentary!

A must-see documentary!

Following its screening at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, “QUIET RIOT: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back”, the year’s funniest heartbreaking rock documentary about the seminal heavy-metal band Quiet Riot, releases on DVD on Thursday, November 19 and contains over an hour of bonus features. The first 500 pre-orders of the award-winning documentary will receive an autographed copy signed by Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali and director Regina Russell. The film is also available via streaming, video-on-demand with an hour of bonus features, deleted scenes and extended interviews. For more information, and to see the trailer, visit www.QuietRiotMovie.com.

The funny, inspiring and surprisingly relatable documentary chronicles the rise, fall and resurrection of ‘80s metal band Quiet Riot. The film covers the entire 35 year history of the band but the true heart of the film is the surprisingly personal account of coping with the loss of  friend. At times both utterly tragic and downright hilarious, like an outtake from “Spinal Tap”, the film follows Frankie’s journey through the emotional feat of trying to fill the void left by his singer and best friend. He faces a crossroads in his life and finds himself talking to former Quiet Riot bassist Rudy Sarzo who said, “If you don’t carry on the legacy of your friend, nobody else will.”

The 104-minute character-driven documentary looks beyond the guts and glory of the common getting-the-band-back-together tale. “QUIET RIOT: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back” reveals an unforgettable man who uses ambition, relentless determination and principle to navigate through the obstacles that attempt to control his fate.

Quiet Riot made history when they topped the Billboard Album Chart in 1983 with the first #1 heavy-metal album, “Metal Health”, that sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. This paved the way for bands from Motley Crue to Poison and turned the 80s into the decade of heavy-metal rock.

Watch for cameos from Matt Sorum and Stephen Adler (Guns N’ Roses), Glen Hughes (Deep Purple), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet RiotOzzy Osbourne), Dana Strum (Slaughter), John 5 (Marilyn MansonRob Zombie) and Martha Quinn (Original MTV VJ).

“When Frankie told me he was planning to meet with Kevin DuBrow’s mother to get her blessing to go on with the band and find a new singer, I thought this would be an extraordinary story for a documentary,” explains director and producer Regina Russell. Regina gained access to the private video and photo archives of the band. She followed Frankie for four years and interviewed many of the integral characters in the band’s history.

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Alex Grossi Talks Adler’s Appetite & Paul Reed Smith Road Show

Alex Grossi Talks Adler’s Appetite & Paul Reed Smith Road Show

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Hailing from a musical family in Connecticut, Alex Grossi picked up a guitar at the age of thirteen and never looked back. Almost two decades later, all of his hard work and determination have paid off in spades. At 32 years old, the rock guitarist has accomplished more in his career than many guitarists will accomplish in a lifetime. His musical prowess launched him into the limelight, and along the way he would take the stage with some of the hard rock genre’s biggest names and his boyhood idols. Grossi has kept his musical momentum building through the years by working with Quiet Riot’s Kevin DuBrow, Guns N’ Roses’ Dizzy Reed and most recently, served as a driving force in Adler’s Appetite as he travels the land alongside legendary Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler. Alex Grossi shows no signs of slowing down as he makes his mark on the music scene. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently had a chance to sit down with Alex Grossi to discuss his current tour with Adler’s Appetite, his upcoming summer trek with the Paul Reed Smith Road Show and all of his upcoming projects.

How did music first come into your life?

I was born into a musical family. My dad was a musician for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra where he was a conductor and my mom owns a dance studio in Connecticut, which is still open for business. It is called the Grossi Dance Academy. Through those things, I was kinda born into it and I started out playing french horn when I was in second grade. It started from there and then I started seeing Motley Crue videos and that seemed like a lot more fun than playing in the Symphony, so I got a guitar and here we are! [laughs]

alexgrossi4What drove you to make music your career?

My Mom dances for a living. She is 60 years old and in better shape than anyone in the band! It keeps her young and she really loves dancing. A wise man once said that “If you love what you do, then you never have to go to work.” I really love playing guitar and I really don’t like going to work. [laughs] I figured that if I could find a way to make a living doing it, move to the right city, meet the right people and be a pro about it, then it would happen. There is a lot of risk involved and there are a lot of people who want to do it professionally. I just thought, “How cool would it be to get paid for doing something that you love?” Thankfully, I have been able to do something that I love as a career!

You mentioned Motley Crue. Who were some of the influences that have helped shape you, the musician, that we know today?

Growing up, it was Guns N’ Roses. ‘Appetite for Destruction’ was my first record. I am a big fan of KISS, Aerosmith and all the bands of that genre. I never really got into the whole guitar virtuoso, shredder thing. I liked bands that had attitude, image and were a little bit dangerous. I also liked the fact that a lot of bands had their own sound. For example, Slash (of Guns N’ Roses). You can hear a solo on a Guns N’ Roses song or him guesting somebody else’s song and you can tell that it is him. Anyone like that has been a big influence on me. I have literally gotten a chance to play with a lot of the guys that I grew up listening to so far in my short professional career. Well, actually I guess it is not so short as I am 32 now, I am starting to get up there! [laughs] It has really been great!

I know you have done some songwriting in the past. Is there a typical songwriting process that you employ or does it vary depending on who you are working with?

Ya know, it is really contingent on what type of band that you are in. If you are hired just to come in and play lead guitar or chord guitar or whatever. In that case you just come in, they hand you the song and you just play over it. For example, I just recently worked on Dizzy Reed’s (Guns N’ Roses) solo album. I went in there and he pretty much had all of the guitar parts mapped out and I would just put my own sorta thing on it, contributing a little bit here and there. With a band like Beautiful Creatures, where I came in as the guitar player, replacing DJ Ashba the main songwriter, I literally had to write from scratch with four other guys, what became ‘Deuce,’ our second record. It really depends on the situation, Adler’s Appetite is planning on going into the studio in late July and we have already started working on some stuff. Chip Z’Nuff, Steven Adler, Michael Thomas and myself will get in a room and just start banging out ideas and roll tape. Hopefully by the end of the year, you will have a new record from us.

Great news! For those how might not know, how did you get involved with Steven Adler and Adler’s Appetite?

I have been working with Steven on and off for about five years now. I initially got contacted by Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot, to do some solo show before Quiet Riot reformed in 2004, that turned into the ‘Bad Boys of Metal’ tour. It was a summer package that featured Joe Lesté of Bang Tango, Jani Lane of Warrant, Steven Adler of Guns N’ Roses and Kevin DuBrow, with me playing guitar for all four bands. I was literally on stage for four hours a night. During that time, Steven and I became really good friends and after the tour we kept in touch. I did some solo shows with him and after his stint on ‘Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew’, he decided to reform the band and called me. The rest is history!

alexgrossi1Adler’s Appetite parted ways with one singer and now you have brought Rick Stitch in to handle the vocals. What does Rick bring to the table?

It is really, really difficult when you are trying to emulate something that people are so familiar with. ‘Appetite for Destruction’ sold well over 30 million copies worldwide and people know every note from that album. We just played over in Argentina. They don’t speak English but they can even sing the guitar solos! So, we needed someone who can be true to the music but we also don’t want to be a tribute band. The drummer in this band, Steven, wrote a fifth of the music playing on that album. When we made the singer change, a lot of people would contact me or Steven through Myspace. They were wearing the bandanna and one even went so far as to have the fake Axl Rose tattoos put on. That wasn’t what we wanted. We wanted a guy who can hit the notes and do the stuff but at the same time is not a clone. We’re not Steel Dragon, ya know! [laughs] Rick has been great. It is nice to have a guy who is on the same page off stage as he is on stage. What people don’t realize about a touring band that works as hard as we do is that you have to live with these people twenty four hours a day. You may have two straight days off in the middle of God knows where or Iowa and you have to be friends. Certain people get along, certain people don’t but that is the nature of the beast. Instead of being married to one person, try being married to five or six! That’s basically what it is like.

This summer you will be taking part in the Paul Reed Smith Road Show, how did you first join up with Paul Reed Smith and what has that experience been like for you?

I got my first Paul Reed Smith when I was fifteen years old. I started playing when I was thirteen and I progressed pretty quickly to the point where I got a job at a music store that sold Paul Reed Smith, and as soon as I had fifteen hundred dollars in my pocket, I bought one! I have been playing them since then. When I was nineteen years old, I joined a band called Angry Sal while I was attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. We got a record deal and the first thing that I though was “Well shit, I want to get an endorsement.” So, I wrote a letter to Paul Reed Smith and said “Can I play your guitar exclusively?” and they invited me out to the factory. I went down there and I have been with them ever since. Every band that I have been in, they have always hooked me up with the right guitar for it and Paul has been great. The thing about Paul is that he is probably the only guitar manufacturer that puts out a really good product that you can get anywhere, that is consistent. I could have all my gear stolen, walk into a Guitar Center wherever I may be in the world and have it sound like the one that I have been playing on stage. I really mean that. As a company, they have always taken care of me at the NAMM shows. They are not like Gibson or Fender that are these huge corporate conglomerations, they are still very much a family run business. I am really looking forward to doing the clinics with him. I believe that it is July 14th in Manchester, Connecticut at their Guitar Center location. It’s funny because Paul will be taking about all these different types of exotic woods and my job is to show up and tell stories about playing with all of these crazy rock stars! It should be really cool! I am really happy to have been with them through the years and I really don’t ever see myself playing another guitar.

You mentioned recording guitars for Dizzy Reed’s solo debut and I know Del James is serving as producer on that release. What can you tell us about this project and any idea on when it may hit stores?

alexgrossi2 I have no idea about it’s release date. I know that they are mixing it right now. Once ‘Chinese Democracy’ came out, I am sure it took a little bit of a back burner. Working with Del was great. For a guy who doesn’t really play an instrument he has a really great ear. He will walk into the room and say “No, no! Do it more like…” and then throw out some crazy analogy that ends up making perfect sense at the end of the day! It was really great working with those guys. As a Guns N’ Roses fan, and I am sure not too many people will be a fan of me saying this, but it is cool to work on every end of the spectrum. By that I mean, I am working with a guy who was there at the very beginning, Steven Adler, all the way up to the guys who are in the band now. Whether that ties the two things together, I can tell you 100% that it does not, but it is really cool to hear the stories and the history of the band. If you think about it, as far as I am concerned, they are the band of my generation. You had The Who, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles for previous generations. As far as rock bands and anyone that is in their early thirties to forties, our band is Guns N’ Roses or Nirvana but definitely one of the two.

You have worked with so many icons from the industry in your career. What is the best piece of advice someone has given you along the way?

The best piece of advice was given to me by Kevin DuBrow, and it was to always go out and play your show as if it were your last. He didn’t say it in exactly in those words but I have seen Kevin play in front of forty thousand people and I have seen him play in front of forty people. He would go out there because he genuinely enjoyed doing it. The day it stops being fun for you is the same day that it stops being fun for the audience. When you are up there, no matter how big the crowd is, no matter how good the sound is, no matter how bad the sound is, if you are having fun it is infectious. It goes back to the audience and right back to you and everyone has a good time. People pay their hard earned money to get in to see you. I won’t mention any names but there are guys in that particular genre that just show up and are only doing it for a paycheck, not because they love playing. You can tell when people care and when they don’t. That was the thing about Kevin, he always cared. I will never forget that. Even right up until our last show. It was November 4th, 2007 at a small club and he still played it as if he would have been playing Madison Square Garden. He still brought it every night! A lot of guys from that genre don’t do that anymore.

alexgrossi3Have you had a ‘Spinal Tap Moment’ on stage?

[laughs] This entire tour has been a ‘Spinal Tap Moment’! [laughs] The most recent one was about a week and a half ago. We played a show called ‘Cornstock’. It was held in a huge corn field. Big, big show! Tons of people, great show! However, when we got there the promoter came onto the bus and said “Fellas we have a little bit of a problem here. See that there inflatable beer can?” because it was sponsored by Budweiser and they had one of those giant fifty foot beer cans. They had to tear down the entire stage and move it around this beer can. All I could think about was Stonehenge! It was what Stonehenge should have been if it were a can of beer! We had to wait four hours in the sun due to a giant inflatable beer can, so that was very Spinal Tap. Whoever wrote that movie must have been in a band or followed a band around because they were dead on. They actually predicted the future in a lot of ways. They always say watch ‘Spinal Tap’ and then go on tour for ten years and then watch it again, you will be laughing so hard your ribs hurt! [laughs]

What should we be on the lookout for from you in the coming months?

Definitely the new Adler’s Appetite record! Right now, I have a song out in the new Sandra Bullock movie ‘The Proposal’, so if you feel like hearing a song by Beautiful Creatures in a Walt Disney picture, a family movie, that was written by a very un-family band, check that out! [laughs] It is pretty cool! Also look out for possibly some more Paul Reed Smith Road Show dates and a ton more of Adler’s Appetite dates, that’s for sure!

We will be on the lookout for you!

Thanks!

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Want more of Alex Grossi and Adler’s Appetite?

Check out all the latest happenings with Alex Grossi by visiting his official site at www.alexgrossi.com or on Myspace at www.myspace.com/alexgrossi.

Check out the official Myspace page for Adler’s Appetite at www.myspace.com/stevenadlersite.

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