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THE END MACHINE: Jeff Pilson On Breathing Life Into A Rock ’n’ Roll Powerhouse!

THE END MACHINE: Jeff Pilson On Breathing Life Into A Rock ’n’ Roll Powerhouse!

Every so often the stars align, schedules open up and the universe kicks open a few doors to reveal a plethora of new opportunities. Such is the case with the newly forged rock ‘n’ roll supergroup, The End Machine. This exciting new endeavor features a who’s who of hard rock titans still at the top of their game. Harnessing the unbridled power of classic era Dokken members George Lynch (guitars), Jeff Pilson (bass), and Mick Brown (drums) as well as current Warrant vocalist Robert Mason, it’s a true passion project for everyone involved. The strength of the band lies within their unique chemistry and decades in the game as absolute masters of creating ear-catching, memorable, hard rock music.

When it comes to The End Machine, there are no rules, no boundaries, and no limitations. It’s not about ego or a payday. It’s about a group of seasoned pros who jumped at a chance to create beautiful music together once more. The band’s eponymous debut album, releasing March 22nd via Frontiers Records, sets the stage for what could be one of the most productive and creatively satisfying chapters of their collective careers. There is no question that this blistering new material stays true to their melodic roots and good old-fashioned guitar rock, yet it isn’t afraid to venture into uncharted territory. It’s this ambitious approach that made us fall in love with these artists back in the day, and serves as living-proof that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well in 2019.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with the project’s legendary bassist, Jeff Pilson, to get an inside look at his journey as an artist, artistic evolution, and breathing life into The End Machine!

You’ve made one hell of a career for yourself in music. How did the journey get started?

I was always into music because my mom was a singer in big bands in the 1930s. She sang to me as a little kid. Some of my fondest memories of my mother are about her singing. The Beatles on “Ed Sullivan” definitely hooked me. I was like, “Wow! That’s a good job.” [laughs] I think I just had a love of music after that and once I started playing, which was in sixth grade when I was 12 years old, it sped up and took off from there!

What went into finding your creative voice as a young artist?

As a player, I kind of dabbled around. The first guy that I really loved was Jack Bruce, although I wasn’t capable of playing a lot of what he did but it got me going! When I heard Chris Squire from YES, I was probably about 15 years old when I first heard that, it changed my life. Hearing Chris Squire, the first thing I heard was “Roundabout,” was game changer. A dear friend of mine played it for me and the minute I heard that I just jumped out of my seat and everything changed immediately! I knew that’s what I wanted to sound like, so I started listening to everything Chris did, and I knew every note of every YES album, up to a certain point. Then I started getting into the other prog guys like ELP, Genesis, Gentle Giant and all that stuff. That helped my playing so immensely because it was involved playing. I mean, you really had to learn how to play to do that. Those were the first things that really helped propel me and established my early voice on the instrument.

At what point did you know music was your calling?

By the time I was 15 years old, I knew that I was going to be a musician. I knew it and there was no question about it in my mind. That was my passion and I wasn’t going to give up until I could do it. I have been fortunate in a lot of ways, but I was also very, very determined very early on.

The legendary Jeff Pilson – Photo by Karsten Staiger

You’re one of the hardest working guys in the music business. Where does that work ethic come from?

Well, I’m a Mid-Western kid, so I think that work ethic is bred into all of us in the Midwest. I do have a good work ethic, I honestly do, but it’s generally around things I’m passionate about. When you’re passionate about something, it’s not strictly work. For me, being on the road, the work is the travel. The shows, the interviews and all the other stuff isn’t work, it’s something I love. The only real work is the travel. It’s been the same thing all along; the music has always been a joy and a passion. Of course, you’re going to have frustrating moments. For example, in the studio, sometimes you work much harder on something than you wish you had but that’s OK. Basically, it’s absolutely no problem to work when you love it!

When did you come into your own as a player?

By the time I was a late teenager, I felt pretty confident about what I was doing. It’s different than where I ended up professionally, but I really did follow that whole prog thing through very, very thoroughly! I was very into it and very familiar with that whole world. I was also in bands that were pretty solid progressive bands. I listen back now and some of the music sounds a little goofy but there were some amazing moments to what we were doing. I was lucky to play with some amazing musicians. There was a lot of great formation happening in my late teens that established me in many ways. Like I said, it changed over time but, I’ve always been a closet rocker! [laughs] Zeppelin and Deep Purple were huge bands for me as well. I always had the rocker thing back there and I was into that before I was even into the prog thing. I have gone down a long, long pathway but, to answer your question, I would say that my late teens I was pretty established as a player.

What are the biggest challenges you faced over the course of your career?

The biggest challenge nowadays is the fact that records don’t sell. These days, you record because you love it. That’s a bit of a challenge because it means that there aren’t the budgets that there once were and that can be a challenge. Fortunately, I have an amazing studio connected to my house and I have the ability and means to make great records. Frankly, an even bigger challenge is time. There is only so much time and because records don’t sell, I’m on the road a lot. Because I’m on the road a lot, I don’t have the time to do the things I want to do. I just try to do the best job that I can at making that time and carving that time out.

When it comes to the business side of the music industry, I’m sure you have seen it all. Were there lessons you learned early on that had a big impact?

Umm, no! [laughs] I will say that my lessons in the business came later. By the time I joined Dokken, that’s when I really started learning about the business. Before that, I was pretty green. Joining Dokken was a big, big part of learning about the music business. I was learning a lot throughout that whole period. Before that, I had a fairly naive view of the music industry.

We talked about what had a big impact on you as a young man. Where do you look for creative inspiration these days?

When you’re younger, with every release or record that comes out, you are waiting with bated breath. It’s a very exciting thing. I wish that were the case today because I loved that feeling. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite feel the same anymore, but I still look for great new bands. Rivals Sons, for example, are great. When I find something I really like it’s fun. I try to listen to as much new music as I can, even a lot of the pop music that’s out there. Unfortunately, there is obviously a very formulaic thing that has happened with commercial recording now that really, really bothers me. I feel that it could be the downfall of the music industry, if they aren’t very, very careful. To answer your question, I find inspiration in anything that’s good. I will look around until I find something that is good, but I wish there was more of it!

We connected today to discuss your latest project — The End Machine. Tell us about how the ball got rolling?

Sure! It all got started because Frontiers Records hired George [Lynch] to be involved with a Jack Russell solo record; Jack Russell being the original singer of Great White. So, George called me. George and I will take any opportunity that we can to work together! It takes no effort at all to get us to work together! [laughs] He also happens to live not that far from me, which is cool. Anyway, George called and said, “Would you like to help me out on this thing?” I said, “Of course! I would love to!” We started working but, quickly into the process, the whole Jack Russell aspect fell away. I don’t even know why because I wasn’t involved in the business on that but whatever happened, happened. Then, Frontiers said, “Hey! Why don’t you see if Mick Brown wants to do something with you guys.” We said, “Great.” Then, Robert Mason’s name came up and we said, “Great!” Robert had been in the Lynch Mob with George years ago, so we both have known him for a long time. So, George had worked with him and I had just done a Warrant record a couple of years before and worked pretty closely with Robert. I knew how great he was and knew it was going to be great! The minute his name came up we knew we had the personnel solidly together. George and I wrote about four songs together in the initial batch. We sent them to Robert and then he came out. From there, him and I pounded out the lyrics and melodies. We knew right away that we had something really solid!

As you said, you had ties with these guys for many years. What do they bring out in you creatively?

That’s a good question. There are some things about George that are so amazing. One of those things is his honesty. When he likes something, he will tell you. When he hates something, he will tell you. He’s just so authentically who he is at all times. I think working with him forces you to be in that zone of being very honest. It’s got to move us to be good. With Robert, the thing is, he has such a limitless voice. He can literally do anything. To have that is being an artist with the greatest easel and set of paints in the world, ya know? [laughs] He brought in some great ideas, both lyrically and melodically. His great ideas would make me think of things. It comes down to working off each other in a collaboration that happens in as organic a way as you could imagine. It was really fun and really productive.

As the project started to take shape, did you have a vision for what this might become?

The vision was as simple as: “Let’s make a great rock record. Let’s not be afraid. If we sound a little bit like Dokken in spots, fine. That’s part of our past and who we were. If we sound a little bit like Lynch Mob at certain points, no problem. That’s part of the past as well but let’s not be afraid to explore new areas.” I think we kind of achieved that. The sound is close enough to our past that, I think, people who have been fans of ours won’t be turned off by it but it’s also fresh enough and new enough that it’s real and inspired. That was really the only goal. We just wanted it to be great, something we could be proud of, something we loved and have it be a rock record we knew our fans would love.

Tell us about what goes into capturing your ideas when it comes to the early phases of songwriting these days.

I’m a guy who is always writing. I have a little recording app on my phone, so I’m ready when an idea hits me. I have a zillion ideas on my phone and even on my Kindle. I’ve been known to wake up in the middle of the night, grab my kindle and be whispering into it. Meanwhile, my wife is going, “Oh God, he’s at it again!” [laughs] Fortunately, when I’m on the road, I have a pretty cool mobile studio with me now. Technology these days allows you to have something pretty damn cool that is capable of traveling with ya, so I do that as well. I’m kind of set!

How has your songwriting process evolved through the years?

Well, I hope I’m getting better! [laughs] It’s kind of tricky because sometimes you have things, a project to write for, and other times you just write because you feel like writing. In those moments, when I have an idea for a song, sometimes I don’t know where to put it. Believe it or not, that is kind of a challenge because if you can’t envision where it’s going to go, it’s a little bit rudderless. I let myself do that because as a writer and an artist, I think it’s important to follow those things when they happen. You just never know where they might lead. I’ve had situations where something I thought was totally unrelated where something will come up in a situation where I’m working with other people and I will be able to use it there. I try to never turn off the spigot, if I can. I think I’ve gotten better over the years at really knowing how to focus in and finish. I also think I’ve gotten a lot better lyrically over the years. Again, it’s just a craft I’m always trying to improve.

What were the biggest challenges you faced with The End Machine? I imagine scheduling was your number one obstacle.

You’re right, scheduling is definitely the trickiest part. After that, to be perfectly honest, it kind of all fell into place. The time that we had, we knew it was limited, but we made the best of it. There was very little unused or unproductive time. Everybody is really focused and that’s what makes it a joy. Being in a situation where someone is not focused, and drifting is very tiring if you are focused. Everyone was extremely focused on this project. It was everything we wanted it to be. So, aside from the challenge of scheduling, there weren’t to many other challenges.

This project produced some great tracks. Which of the songs resonate with you the most?

Thank you. Yeah, there is the song “Burn The Truth,” which is one I think all the band members feel really strongly about as a song. I just love the song and I think it came out amazing lyrically, melodically, structurally and production-wise. It has a lot of elements that I think are just really fun and exciting. The recording came out amazing. There is also a song called “Sleeping Voices” that I’m very proud of. It’s pretty involved but it’s another one where it just happened. It just kind of fell together organically. When stuff like that happens, you really appreciate it. Like I said, it’s a fairly involved song and there is really some stuff to it. I’m really proud of it. I also love “Leap of Faith,” which is the opener to the record and it’s going to be the next video. I love that song as well because it’s just really, really cool. The whole record fits together very nicely and that is another thing I’m very proud of.

As you said, this is a project you are very passionate about, as are the other guys. Where do you see The End Machine headed in the future?

We have three shows coming up in April, which is very exciting. We have a show in Los Angeles on April 4, a show in Vegas on April 5 and a show in Tucson on April 7. Shows are tricky because you have to rehearse and since we’ve never played live we have to do all that. That’s a big commitment. However, we are doing that because we want to prove to people that this is more than some fly-by-night recording project. This is serious! I do have a long-term vision for this. I would love to do another record and I’d love to play more live shows, if we can. I’d love to approach this like a real band because, even though I have a very wonderful day job that I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon, I love to play music! So, any chance I can get to play more music I will take! So, there you go!

There are a lot of bands, who are your peers, making some of the best music of their careers these days. Do you think these releases are getting the attention they deserve?

Of course I’m going to say no to that! [laughs] How could I possibly think they get enough?! But, I’m also very understanding of the situation right now. I know what the music scene is like and what the landscape is, so I understand. Listen, I’m grateful. I think a label like Frontiers does a really great job and they do such a great job because they’re passionate about this music. Certainly, the things I do for Frontiers like The End Machine or the album I produced for Warrant or Last In Line, we’re all lucky to have someone like them to help push these things as far as they can be pushed in this day and age. There are dedicated journalists that really want to do the best by this music, so that is all great. I just think it’s a shame. I mean, I know there is an audience for this but unfortunately, it’s a little bit older audience, meaning that it’s not teenyboppers. I wish there was a way that this music could be on more platforms, like terrestrial radio for example. I tend to feel that there is a possibility that there is an audience that could be exposed to this that can’t get it because there is no mainstream media that covers it. So, yes, I wish there was more of that. Will there be? I doubt it. Maybe in the future and I will never give up hope. It’s people like yourself who help make that happen.

What’s the best way to support a band like The End Machine and keep the art moving forward?

Buy the physical CD, of course, or download it if you have to. Buying the product is a big part of it. The day that people stop buying CDs, which is perhaps not that far in the future, is the day that the music business is going to really suffer. If you want to really support these bands, you have to buy the CDs. You also have to go to the shows. Number one is to spread the word! That’s really a big, big part of it. Word of mouth, social media word of mouth, has become very important because that’s the means of communication that is most effective at this point. So, spread the word! Get out there on the different sites and talk about the music you love. That’s the best you can do at this point, but it starts with buying the CD.

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

Do what you love! Stay passionate and love what you do. If you are passionate about what you do and work hard at it, the universe will take care of you. Do what you love, do it 150% and you’ll be fine!

Thanks so much for your time today, Jeff. You’re an inspiration. Keep the good stuff coming and we will be out here spreading the word!

My pleasure! Thank you! We have more stuff coming, so you’ll hear from me! We’ll definitely talk again! Thanks so much, Jason!

The End Machine’s self-titled debut album will be released on March 22 via Frontiers Music srl. Follow the latest adventures of the legendary Jeff Pilson via his official site at www.jeffpilson.com.

Catch The End Machine live on the band West Coast this April!

04/04: Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
04/05: Las Vegas, NV @ Vamp’d
04/07: Tucson, AZ @ Club XS

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The End: Machine, featuring George Lynch, Jeff Pilson, Mick Brown & Robert Mason, To Release Debut Album on March 22nd

The End: Machine, featuring George Lynch, Jeff Pilson, Mick Brown & Robert Mason, To Release Debut Album on March 22nd

Hard rock titans collide for The End: Machine, a brand-new project that features classic-era DOKKEN members George LynchJeff Pilson, and Mick Brown as well as current WARRANT singer Robert Mason. The band will be releasing their self-titled debut on March 22nd via Frontiers Music SRL.

THE END machine have premiered their first single, “Alive Today,” along with an accompanying music video via Ultimate Classic Rock.

Pre-order THE END machine’s self-titled album on CD/LP/Digital here:

A limited amount of signed CDs & LPs, merch bundles, VIP Packages & more are available here:

Surely, some fans may be wondering to themselves, isn’t this just Dokken without Don Dokken? “Musically, of course there’s bound to be moments that will be reminiscent of Dokken. That’s only logical,” says bassist Jeff Pilson. “But, my guess is there will be less of that than people would expect. Some people who’ve heard it say they think it’s closer to Lynch Mob than Dokken, but really it is pretty much its own thing. We allowed ourselves to get a little deeper than either of those projects really have, while still staying extremely melodic and not being afraid of good old-fashioned guitar rock. Maybe Lynch Mob, a bit of Dokken, but then some 70’s guitar rock added in. George [Lynch] is playing fantastic on this…very inspired. Everyone is really, but George covers some new territory here and it’s very cool. Plus, the songs as compositions took on their own life, especially adding Robert [Mason] to the writing. That’s what I’m most proud of, is the way this stands on its own. It doesn’t step on our legacy together one bit, but it has it’s own personality and I think that’s important.”

“This is decidedly not me ‘stapled’ onto a DOKKEN record,” adds Mason. “I wouldn’t have been involved if that was the intent. Fans will hear bits of our styles in this collection of songs, and while reminiscent signatures are undeniable, THE END machine was purposely built to stand apart and on its own merit.”

1.Leap Of Faith
2. Hold Me Down
3. No Game
4. Bulletproof
5. Ride It
6. Burn the Truth
7. Hard Road
8. Alive Today
9. Line of Division
10. Sleeping Voices
11. Life Is Love Is Music

Catch THE END machine on tour on the U.S. West Coast this April. The itinerary is as follows:

4/04: Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
04/05: Las Vegas, NV @ Vamp’d
04/06: Tucson, AZ @ Club XS

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Legendary Rockers Dokken To Release “Return To The East Live 2016” April 20th via Frontiers Music Srl

Legendary Rockers Dokken To Release “Return To The East Live 2016” April 20th via Frontiers Music Srl

In 2016, the classic original line-up Dokken featuring: Don Dokken, George Lynch, Jeff Pilson, and Mick Brown reunited to play the world famous Loud Park Festival in Japan. Fortunately for fans outside of Japan, cameras were there to capture the performance and now Frontiers is set to issue “Return To The East Live 2016” on April 20th!  In addition to the Japanese performance, this set also features footage from the classic lineup’s only US show in Sioux Falls, SD at Badlands.

A trailer for the release can be viewed HERE.

Pre-order and stream singles from the album here: http://radi.al/ReturnToTheEastLive

Pledge Music/Frontiers US Store: http://pmusic.co/3EN6wP

Frontiers EU Store: http://radi.al/ReturnToTheEastLive

“Return to the East Live 2016” will be available in the following formats:
* CD/DVD* Blu-Ray

* Collector’s Box (CD/DVD + T-Shirt) [Comes with XL tee in the U.S., L tee in EU]* 2xLP Standard 180g Black Vinyl
* 2xLP Limited Edition 180g Green Vinyl (Exclusive to Frontiers’ U.S. Store – Limited to 150 WORLDWIDE)

* 2xLP Limited Edition 180g Red Vinyl (Exclusive to Frontiers’ EU Store – Limited to 150 WORLDWIDE)
* MP3 (audio only)

If the release wasn’t amazing enough, the package includes a brand-new studio track, “It’s Just Another Day” and two acoustic re-workings of classic tracks, from the original members!

“After 25 years, it was great to reunite with George and Jeff and Mick and do a couple shows for the fans. We hope you like this album and video. There’s a lot of great bonus footage of us having fun, so enjoy it,” says Don Dokken.

Bassist Jeff Pilson adds, “I’m so thrilled this piece of the Dokken story is hitting the streets! What a magical experience it has been and this CD/DVD captures a lot of that wonderful manic energy that has always made Dokken so vital! I remain extremely grateful to have been a part of such a vibrant voice in the world of heavy rock. Thanx to the fans and to George, Don and Mick for being the musicians, writers and friends that you are!”

01.It’s Another Day (New Studio Track)
02.Kiss Of Death
03.The Hunter
04.Unchain The Night
05.When Heaven Comes Down
06.Breakin’ The Chains
07.Into The Fire
08.Dream Warriors
09.Tooth And Nail
10.Alone Again (Intro)
11.Alone Again
12.It’s Not Love
13.In My Dreams
14.Heaven Sent (Acoustic Studio Bonus Track)
15.Will The Sun Rise (Acoustic Studio Bonus Track)

01.Tooth And Nail
02.Unchain The Night
03.When Heaven Comes Down
04.Breakin’ The Chains
05.Into The Fire
06.Alone Again
07.It’s Not Love
08.Paris Is Burning
09.Kiss Of Death
10.The Hunter
11.Dream Warriors
12.In My Dreams
13.Behind the Scenes

Don Dokken – Vocals
George Lynch – Guitars
Jeff Pilson – Bass
Mick Brown – Drums

More About Dokken
Dokken simply needs no introduction. The band cemented their status as one of the legendary hard rock/heavy metal archetypes of the ’80s rock scene with numerous successful albums and tours, evergreen songs and music videos and a lore that will live on forever.

For More Info Visit:

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Slave To The Empire: George Lynch Discusses T&N’s Powerful Debut Album!

Slave To The Empire: George Lynch Discusses T&N’s Powerful Debut Album!


George Lynch’s captivating playing style and rock ‘n’ roll attitude have established himself as one of the music electrifying guitar players in the music business. This guitar legend rose to prominence back in the 80s as lead shredder for Dokken. His story did end there as Lynch remained determined to continue to mold his blossoming career by working outside the box. His latest musical project is no exception to that rule. T&N reunites George Lynch, Jeff Pilson and “Wild” Mick Brown – aka “The Big Three” from Dokken – for this brand new 12 song disk that is sure to please fans and critics alike! Returning to their roots, “Slave to the Empire” offers seven new original songs and five re-recorded classic Dokken songs that feature sensational vocal performances by Tim “Ripper” Owens, Doug Pinnick (King’s X), Sebastian Bach, and Robert Mason (Warrant). Add to the mix the hard hitting, multi-talented drumming of Brian Tichy and you’ve got yourself a major dose of awesome! This 12 song release is progressive, it’s heavy, it’s dark, it’s bluesy, and each player’s performance is absolutely stellar. “Slave to the Empire” captures the spirit and magic from the classic metal genre, and is truly a work of art that will not disappoint! Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with George Lynch to discuss his formative years, the heavy metal powerhouse that is T&N, his upcoming film titled “Shadow Train” and much more!

You have been an inspiration for so many young musicians and have impacted their formative years. What are the first musical memories and influences that influenced you?

I imagine my first music memories are from the womb, but I don’t think that is what you are alluding to! [laughs] Very early on, I would say it was, classical flamenco music, jazz, blues and R&B. That is what my father, who was sort of an audiophile, was listening to on reel-to-reel tapes. We also had neighbors, who were older guys, that had 78s, which I would listen to. There was all kinds of strange music including Django Reinhardt, who was one of my early guitar influences. The next step in the evolution of listening was The Beatles. Beatlemania occurred and it was truly a profound phenomenon and hard to explain. Nothing has happened like that since. It was a little overwhelming! After that, there was the whole late 60s British Invasion era and Zeppelin, [Jimmy] Page, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. When they had records, I had the very first ones! I was there when they first came on the scene. They completely reinvented rock ‘n’ roll and changed the world. Of course, those are huge guitar icons for young George to be exposed to at an early age. That was my initial exposure to it all.

That being said, you have been at it for a long time now and are very successful in doing so. To what do you attribute your longevity in the ever-changing music industry?

I not giving up, for one. Two, having a point in what I am doing. I mean, if you are just staying in it because it is your job to do, then you are just like a monkey with a blindfold in the dark, shooting a handful of darts at a dartboard and hoping something hits the bullseye! If you have a running soundtrack in your head and you are chasing that dragon, you have a vision and you are trying to obtain that ideal. That is what I have always done.

Your latest project is T&N. We are pretty excited about it as I am sure you are as well. What inspired you guys to come together and take on this project now? What can you tell us about the timing and how it came together?

'Slave To The Empire'

‘Slave To The Empire’

It was sort of a triangulation of events, a perfect storm and all the planets lined up! Jeff [Pilson], Mick [Brown] and myself have always wanted to play together and now we do play together in a more meaningful way than back in the day. We just needed an excuse and a reason. What had been happening over the past few years was talk of a Dokken reunion, which never materialized, obviously. Out of that came an opportunity and it brought us together. We started to think about it and in thinking about it and being in the same room together was the catalyst for us to find a way to do it. When we realized the Dokken thing wasn’t going to pan out, we said “Well, let’s do it anyway!” Which we did! More specifically, Jeff and I were writing. We live close to each other and love writing and playing together, we thought “How about we write for Lynch Mob? Let’s write a few songs and maybe they will end up on that record.” That was the first idea and it didn’t pan out. We wrote the songs anyway and we had them. Then Brian Kitschy, who was drumming for Lynch Mob at the time, came up with Tooth and Nail, which later became T&N. It was his concept and we rolled with that.At that point, we knew we had a vehicle, some songs and concept. We said “Ok! Let’s do it!”

The title of the record is “Slave To The Empire”. How did you arrive at that title and what does it mean to you personally?

Jeff and I are politically aligned in that we are both extreme progressives, which I don’t even like characterizing these political views as extreme or progressive but that is what people know them as. Really how we like to think of ourselves is as humanistic free-thinkers! [laughs] We felt we had an obligation to use our music as a sounding board and a vehicle to express our ideas.

What were your expectations going into this project? I am presuming you have exceeded those expectations along the way.

It is interesting doing these kind of records and projects coming from a world, in the 80s, where you have a record deal with a major record company with a band. Back then, everything was categorized and compartmentalized. You had a certain amount of time for preproduction, a budget, a producer, a manager, an agent and all of that. You would release the record, go on tour, open up for a bigger band, sell your t-shirts ad records. You would just keep doing it and doing it. That system is broken now and it is a brave new world. Essentially, what it is project is about is creating and we focused on that. We will find a place to put it and a reason to do it later! [laughs] What it ends up being is an adventure. You are putting the cart before the horse and writing the music first and everything will fall into place later, you hope. We have never been good at business and I probably never will be. I am not good at marketing, self promotion, lying to people or playing the Hollywood game. I just do what I do, which is putting my heart and soul into the work. Hopefully, I get out of my own way with all the things to follow. I think the thing that concerns me when we do work like this is that people might not know about it. It isn’t that they wouldn’t like it but they just might not know about it and that is the obstacle. It is something that I am not sure how to remedy, other than by talking to people like you.


We are happy to be able to spread the word. What can you tell us about the writing process of this album?

It wasn’t done in band context. We didn’t sit in a room like in the old days or like Lynch Mob does or Dokken did, it was really just Jeff and I. Jeff and I work best when get in the studio and create in that environment. Back in the Dokken days, it was a primitive drum machine and a four track cassette recorder. Of course, today we have studios and the technology has really advanced but it is essentially the same thing! It is just Jeff and I getting together to talk, think, play and build intellectually.

How much material did you come up with during the writing process and do you still have some stuff in the vault from those sessions? The big question from a fans standpoint is “Will there be more T&N in the future?”

We already have half of the second record recorded and we have all of the Dokken songs recorded. There are also a couple of new songs that we had left on the back burner when we were working on “Slave To The Empire’. We are just trying to finish the second record at the moment, which is the fun part!

You guys are best enjoyed in a live setting as you aren’t afraid to rock! What are you guys looking at in regard to touring?

We are making plans to tour in the Fall of 2013, Japan, Europe and limited United States touring. Further out we are thinking about doing a more meaningful ground tour in the U.S. spring into the summer or 2014 in support of both records. We have Michael Sweet from Stryper on vocals for the live shows. He also plays guitar, so we will be able do a little bit of a different arrangement live than I am traditionally used to, being the only guitar player. He won’t be playing all of the time but there is a lot of guitar on this record, so I can’t play it all! [laughs] Truthfully, we want this project to continue, it is a long term project, not just one or two records. As long as people are willing to listen and come out, we want a reason to do this!

What can you tell us about the film project you have had in the works and what we can expect from “Shadow Train” in the near future?

Shadow Train

Shadow Train

I have always been disappointed in myself that I haven’t used the music I have been involved with to express a larger message of things that I care about such as the environment, human nature, philosophy, spirituality, the way people treat each other, a better way forward or anything else. I am sort of ashamed of that. I felt compelled, very deeply, that this is what I should be doing. Jeff feels the same way. We both arrived at the same place in our lives at the same time. That is really what T&N is really all about, as is “Shadow Train”. This was me thinking “How can I do this in a larger context to reach people’s ears but to also open their eyes as well?” I was on a mission to do that and it has been incredibly rewarding from a personally standpoint. The film is about all of the things I just mentioned and it also has a huge music component. I have a band called Shadow Train, which runs throughout the movie. In the film, you will see us performing and we wrote the soundtrack as well. We are dealing with all the issues on Indian reservations, talking to politicians and musicians that are politically active like Tom Morello, Serj Tankian and Ted Nugent, talking to the American Indian Movement leaders who were at the Wounded Knee uprising in the 70s. We are talking to philosophers, progressives, talking heads, for instance — Noam Chomsky of MIT. We are discussing very important, meaningful things and what it does for me musically, is flesh out everything musically by giving it so much more gravity and weight, as a lot of music did when I was growing up in the late 60s and early 70s. At that time there were bands and artists like Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills and Nash and countless others that spoke to social and economic injustice, war, civil rights and other important issues. I am a child and student of that. I am very passionate about all of those things. As I said, I have a small megaphone, so I should be using it as a vehicle for issues that impact us all.

From what I have read, you are co-directing this project. Is that correct?

Whatever that means! [laughs] It’s funny, I am not sure if we will put this in the outtakes, but I had a chair made with a fictitious name that sounds like an aristocratic director from back in the 30s. I have a monocle, an ascot and a megaphone to shout out direction on the set! [laughs] The film is very low budget and we had a shoestring budget. We were out there in the desert on an Indian reservation, camping out and families feed us because we don’t really have a lot of funding but we did it out of love and passion. We were finding adventures everywhere we went. Being a director, hummm, I am not sure what that means. It is partly my vision and I am involved but there are other people equally involved, so that title doesn’t have a lot of weight.

I think it is that passion that intrigued me the most. It seems like a really cool project and you have turned up some interesting content along the way. When might the film debut?

We are shooting for hitting the film festivals like SXSW and many others in the Fall of 2013. We will be shooting throughout the year and will be in soft editing up until the end of Summer. Then we will have two months of hard editing and then take on the sweetening, foley, soundtrack, the credit roles and opening sequence. These things always take longer than you think they will! We really need to get this out by then because we have been working on it for two years. I would like to see it completed at some point! [laughs] I don’t want it to become one of those projects that I have seen many other people do which never end.


Where can people learn more about the film?

The website is www.shadowtrainmovie.com. We do accept donations. Films are very expensive to make and we have gifts for people who do contribute. That is what is keeping us moving forward. We do appreciate it!

Do you have any interest in taking on some other type of film project in the future?

Ya know, we have talked about that a bit and we really need to see how this one goes. This was a HUGE experiment for me! It takes a lot out of you. Albums are hard enough and they can be difficult but rewarding. This is that magnified ten times! This project has been an unbelievable amount of work. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that I have no idea what I am doing. I am learning the hard way by making lots of mistakes that would make you cringe! They make me cringe at night when I think about them! I think “Oh my God, I am so stupid!” [laughs] The innocence of it is something I find beautiful. One of the things I would make a parallel to is some of the bands that we are involved with out on the Indian reservation which are young kids in metal bands. There are two kinds of music on most of the reservations, country and metal. The younger kids are drawn toward metal, of course. A lot of these bands, I have to be honest with you, aren’t great but what gets me and touches my heart is the passion! They live within six miles of each other, have no equipment, it’s fifteen degrees outside and they will hitchhike to practice together in a chicken coup and play their music. They are so passionate! It really reminds me of myself when I was 15 or 16 years old and sucked! It was still the greatest thing in the world and it was what you lived for! That is what I love about it, it’s not about being Dream Theater! It is the angst of existence coming through, which we can all relate to!

How do you feel you have evolved as an artist since you started out all those years ago? Do you ever take time out to reflect?

No. I think it is pointless and it is not how I am built. I don’t sit there and reflect or try to triangulate where I should go from here, ponder how I can remain current or what my next move will be. I don’t really work that way. I react to my environment and people I am playing with and I try to make somewhat smart decisions. To me, music is such a mystery. “The Wilderness of The Mind” is what I like to call it. Without that mystery in life, life becomes very mundane. I feel truly sorry for people, not in a gloating way at all, that don’t have a passion like that in their life, no matter what the passion might be. I fortunately have that and it is something I am very thankful for and it is a gift. For instance, I am doing a project right now with Ray Luzier from Korn and Doug Pinnick from King’s X. It is called KXM. We just finished up the basic tracks with that. We went up in the studio in the mountains where we lived for a couple of weeks. We had no songs. We went up there and played together as a band for a couple of weeks. We created music from scratch, wrote it on the spot and recorded one song a day. We have the album done. It is just a beautiful project that was done in a very unorthodox way and was very gratifying. We don’t know where it is going to go but that is the beauty of it. It’s just like this film. I don’t know where it is going to go! [laughs] That is the adventure part of it all!

You project with Ray and Doug sounds very promising. When can we expect to hear more on that endeavor?

The website for KXM will be up soon. We may possibly be releasing a song a month for an entire year, versus the traditional record deal. T&N will also have a new record coming out in the Fall of 2013 and a tour to follow. There will also be a soundtrack record available for “Shadow Train”. That is what is happening musically at the moment.

It has been pleasure talking to you today, George. Thank you for your time!

I appreciate you having an interest in it! Thank you! Thank you for letting me talk about myself endlessly! [laughs]

Anytime! You have the number!

Great! Anytime I feel like talking about myself, I will give you a call! [laughs]

Sounds like a plan!

Thank you so much, man! I will talk to you soon!

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