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Monsters of Rock Cruise: Artist Lineup Announced For 2019 Voyage!

Monsters of Rock Cruise: Artist Lineup Announced For 2019 Voyage!

Details for the 9th annual MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE — the world’s largest, and premier hard rock/heavy metal music cruise on the seven seas — have been announced.

Departing out of Miami, Fl, this five-day/five-night full ship charter cruise — dubbed Band Overboard — will set sail February 24 – March 1, 2019 aboard Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas and visits two ports: Ocho Rios, Jamaica and the Private Isle of Labadee.

The public on-sale begins today (4/18) at 1:00pm EST, with cabins starting at $1,299 per person (double occupancy). Government fees, taxes, and gratuities are additional and mandatory for all passengers, regardless of age. For more info and booking, visit MonstersOfRockCruise.com and follow @monstersofrockcruise on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The confirmed line-up for the 2019 MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE includes: Tesla, Tom Keifer, Extreme, Queensrÿche, Saxon, Skid Row, UDO, Kix, D*A*D, Danger Danger, Kings X, Pat Travers Band, Nelson, The Quireboys, Pink Cream 69, The Wildhearts, Rose Tattoo, Eclipse, SOTO, Killer Dwarfs, Brighton Rock, Vain, Mike Tramp, John Corabi, Bullet Boys, Black N Blue, Tora Tora, Tuff, Lies, Deceit & Treachery, Jetboy, Michael Grant and the Assassins, and Mitch Malloy, with more performances to be announced.

In addition, the cruise will feature Return of the Shredders, showcasing renowned guitarists Richie Kotzen, Gus G, Tony McAlpine, Joel Hoekstra and Neil Zaza.

Monsters of Rock Cruise 2019 from Fantoons Animation Studios on Vimeo.

Eddie Trunk (SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation”) returns as the official cruise host, broadcasting “live” daily with artist interviews from the ship’s promenade. San Francisco radio host, Nikki Blakk and Luc Carl (SiriusXM’s “Hair Nation”) will moderate Q&A’s and many other specially designed events crafted for this unique hard rock, heavy metal voyage. Finally, stand-up comedians and “That Metal Show” Co-HostsDon Jamieson and Jim Florentine will provide comic relief with their irreverent brand of humor.

In addition to the band performances, the cruise will host interactive events between artists and cruisers, including: MOR Artist Photo Experiences, Artist/Cruiser Q&A sessions, Gong Show Karaoke, “So You Think You Can Shred” challenge, Bonzai Pipeline Surfing Competition, Cooking with Rock Stars hosted by Lisa Tirone of Chef it up!, Name That Monster Song, Celebrity Artist Beer Event,Themed Nights, Painting With Rock Stars, and Private Dinners With The Bands, with more to be announced.

Mariner of the Seas is unlike any ship experienced before on the MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE. The vessel will undergo a stem-to-stern 100-million-dollar makeover prior to MOR’s sailing, adding new dining and bar alternatives, plus an array of new features and attractions for the active crowd. Kick back at The Bamboo Room, a punched-up Polynesian watering hole that will whisk you away with its throwback vibe and kitschy cool cocktails. Bond over delicious Tuscan specialties at the super cool Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver. Plus, it’s always Monster Game Time at Playmakers Bar and Arcade – where you can watch your favorite team or make your own legendary plays.

Spanning the length of Deck 5 and offering quick access to all performance venues, as well as a hot spot for cruisers to connect, the Royal Promenade on this Voyager Class ship, features restaurants, coffee bars and shopping. Other activities aboard the ship include: boogie boarding or surfing the waves at theFlowRider Surf Simulator, challenging yourself on the rock-climbing wall, soaking in one of the many hot tubs and pools, or pampering yourself in the world-class Vitality at Sea Spa.  New attractions to the ship include: Sky Pad (a brand new bungee trampoline experience that launches you sky high for gravity-defying fun combined with virtual reality headsets), The Perfect Storm (plunge down three stories of twisting, turning thrills on these dual high-speed race slides until you hit the bottom), Laser Tag (grab a blaster, choose a side and gear up for a stellar glow-in-the-dark time in this Bots versus Aliens battle for the last planet), and Escape Room (team up with fellow cruisers to find hidden clues and crack secret codes in your quest to rescue a time-traveling scientist in Escape Room: The Observatorium).

The exclusive island of Labadee is the ultimate private destination for MOR cruisers, offering adventure, exploration and relaxation amongst its many bars and pristine waters. Vacationers can amp up the adrenaline on the Dragon’s Tail Coaster, a thrilling 30-mile-per-hour ride with incredible views of the island. For more action, adventurous passengers may choose to strap on a helmet and harness and soar 500-feet down on the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line, the world’s longest zip line over water. In addition, there are plenty of exciting options to choose from, including wave jet rides, parasailing, snorkel safaris, kayak tours, and much more.

Situated on Jamaica’s North coast, Ocho Rios has something for all travelers. MOR cruisers won’t want to miss Dunn’s River Falls, one of the most incredible and natural wonders in the world and a shore excursion unlike any other. This series of lush, tropical waterfalls cascade over terraced natural stairs, as you take the picturesque hike all the way to the Caribbean Sea. Enjoy the journey, taking breaks to swim in the small lagoons and grottos as they ascend the vertical sections of the falls. Cruisers can wrap up with a hike and dip into the Caribbean Sea or enjoy a myriad of activities, such as windsurfing, kayaking, horseback riding, river raft rides or sightseeing.

The Monsters of Rock Cruise is the ultimate hard rock/heavy metal cruise, where music and cruising combine for the ultimate rock ‘n roll vacation. 

Click here to find official cruise merchandise.

About ON THE BLUE:
ON THE BLUE — promoter for the Monsters of Rock Cruise — is a leader in cruise charter innovation, having sailed over 120,000 passengers in that last 20 years. The principals of ON THE BLUE have deep roots in the music industry, having provided world-class cruise ship production management for celebrities and musical artists for over two decades. ON THE BLUE has run dozens of charter and large group programs for organizations, corporations, celebrities and artists throughout North America, and has played major roles in the development of ground-breaking theme cruise concepts. Past charters have included an array of Fortune 500 companies plus theme cruises featuring entertainers such as Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Journey, Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Night Ranger, The Moody Blues, UFO, Queensryche, Tesla, Cinderella, Yes, Little River Band, UK, Steve Hackett, Carl Palmer, Greg Lake, O.A.R. and many others. For more information, visit OTBlue.com.

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BRAND NEW ERA: Matthew Nelson On The Past, Present and Future of Nelson!

BRAND NEW ERA: Matthew Nelson On The Past, Present and Future of Nelson!

With almost 3 decades together as a musical duo, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson, have continued to not only defy the odds but also to expand their musical horizon. In 2018, they are are finally bringing the entire Nelson catalogue – representing every album released by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson in the course of their 28-year-career – to all digital retailers and streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon and Pandora, among others. The announcement follows the re-release of Nelson’s remastered 1990, multi-platinum debut album, ‘After the Rain,’ on 180g vinyl by Universal Music Enterprises. This treasure trove of music features collectors items such as ‘Imaginator,’ the prophetic 1996 release which was originally supposed to be the follow-up to ‘After the Rain;’ ‘Brother Harmony,’ the 1998 country album the brothers recorded in Nashville which is now a coveted collectible, and ‘Ricky Nelson Remembered,’ an album featuring studio recorded versions of Matthew and Gunnar performing their father’s biggest career hits, previously available only at Nelson concerts. While this epic release serves as an incredible opportunity to reflect on their own careers and family’s undeniable legacy, Matthew and Gunnar remained focused on the many productive years ahead of them.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Matthew Nelson to discuss bringing Nelson’s entire digital catalogue to the masses, the challenges they have faced as “analog men in a digital world,” and what the future holds for the duo.

You and your brother put in a lot of hard work through the years, which resulted in Nelson becoming one of the most successful sibling duos of all-time. What are your earliest memories of playing together?

Wow! Thank you for saying that. My musical memories go way back. We started in a hayloft in a barn outside of my parents’ house in Studio City, California, probably because it was a way for getting us away from the house! [laughs] Gunnar and I got our first instruments when we were pretty young. Gunnar was about 6 and I was 7. He got a drum set and I got a little bass. We wanted to be like our dad, of course. I think our parents, when we asked for instruments, thought it was a little hobby but we just didn’t stop. We taught ourselves to play to records and by watching people. By the time we were 12, we had our first recording session as a surprise birthday present from our dad. We thought we were going to get some fillings done and it turned out to be a recording studio. He produced the first song that I ever wrote, and it was pretty awesome! The whole family came over and some really cool chicks sang backup. I didn’t know until after they left that they were The Pointer Sisters! Then we started playing nightclubs around LA from the time we were 12 years old. We played a lot and it was kind of fun to grow up in that world of punk and new wave in Los Angeles, playing at clubs like Madam Wong’s West in Chinatown, Blue Lagoon Saloon, FM Station and things like that! We had a really good time growing up constantly playing music!

You are still out there doing it. What did you bring out in each other creatively?

It’s interesting you are saying that today. Gunnar and I are true brothers. We are very similar, but we have decided differences. There is obviously a little bit of a sweet and sour thing that happens. Gunnar tends to be a little bit more sour than I am, and he would probably say that. It’s the whole good twin, evil twin thing but I think that works! I don’t think there is anybody else in the world who has been through exactly what he has been through and vice versa as far as our career, the highs and lows. I can call him on his crap and vice versa. Today, we had a really, really deep philosophical and musical conversation having to do with everything from song selection to direction to marketing and all that kind of stuff. Frankly, I got more done in one hour long yelling in a “Settle down. Okay, now what are we going to do with this thing” session than I would in a year with another band. I’ve been in other bands, so I know! I think that’s what’s happened. I think we’ve streamlined the process and gotten very comfortable with knowing where our strengths and weaknesses are.

The career and body of work you built through the years is impressive. What are the keys to longevity in the music industry?

There is a good deal of luck that goes into it, but I think it really comes down to this — As long as you love what you are doing and truly know how fortunate you are to be able to do what you love, it’s going to be passionate. I’m not going to say it will be good! [laughs] We genuinely love making music. If you really love what you do, then it’s going to have a piece of you in it and it’s not just going to be some job you show up for and punch a clock. I think that’s what it is. If there is a secret to it, LOVE IT! If you don’t, then don’t do it anymore and make the change that will make you happy. It’s a ripple effect.

You just released a treasure trove of music with the digital release of your entire catalog. What made now the time for the release and what took so long?

[laughs] What took so long? Gunnar and I are analog men in a digital world! We’re kind of like a revolution of two guys and it was time to embrace the facts. I’m not going to say that music is devalued to the point of where it’s so instant that if people can’t get it they move on but there is that factor. You have a couple of generations of kids now that don’t even pay for music. As long as I’ve been doing this, I’ve realized that there’s a commerce element of making music for a living but there is also the fact that you just want your music to be heard and accessible. I found out that there was one of our albums, a country album, that we did a very short run of selling online for $1,100 per copy. I thought, “Well, we should probably make this accessible to people because after a certain amount of time, it just seems like we are the jerks behind it.” We are hearing back that people are very happy that they are going to be able to access some things that were previously too exclusive for people.

I’m sure it wasn’t as easy as flipping a switch to make the music accessible. What are some challenges you faced with bringing your catalog to the masses?

A lot of it really has to do with the technical stuff. From my point of view, I’m the product manager for Gunnar and my stuff. He took on certain roles, as did I. Things like packaging and distribution falls in my court, so I’m the guy who is inputting ISRC codes and things like that, which I had to learn about. For me, there was a little bit of a learning curve, when there is that do-it-yourself element. I’m not saying it was a do-it-yourself thing, we had a team, but in comparison to things like when we were signed in the early days to DGC, they had an entire building staffed with people that did this stuff. I would rather be a hands-on guy and kinda know where my bread is buttered, so I embraced it. With that said, it is tedious and difficult work, especially with the volume of work that we had dealing with things writers, if we did co-writes, and their publishing companies have changed over the course of the years. It was that type of stuff. It was really a labor of love! As I said, I’m really glad the job is done now and finally people can access it!

Is there an album that resonates with you more today than it did upon its release?

Good question on that one. There were a few. We’ve done a lot of different works since our debut with “After The Rain” came out. For me, “After The Rain” is going to have a longer lasting resonance, not only because it was our first big success, but also because we went back and finally found the analog two-track master tapes. They had been missing for almost 30 years, so I could go into the Capitol Tower and remaster the album. It started out as an issue on 180-gram vinyl on the Friday Music label, but it became bigger than that because I not only got a chance to finally EQ the record with 30 years more technology but bring it back to what it was when we were creating it. All of that missing bottom end, as a bass player I had always wondered, “Where did it go?” I heard it in the studio when we made the album but when the actual final product arrived way back when, it wasn’t as satisfying as I knew that it could be. Now, I’m actually really with that! As a matter of fact, the digital of the “After The Rain” album is the remaster and it’s much better, in my opinion, than the original master was.

I imagine looking back on your body of work gives you a unique perspective on your career and how far you have come. How have you evolved along the way?

So many ways! My brother and I have done many different styles of music. I think we’ve worked really hard at making sure we are proficient at different types of things. I always joke and say, “We might have cut our teeth in clubs in Los Angeles, but we really learned how to move an audience, right off the bat, in arenas and big theaters when Nelson broke. As seemingly quick as it shot up to success, the entire grunge and Seattle movement ended it immediately, so we had to reinvent ourselves. We spent a lot of time doing that with different forms of music, whether it be more Americana/Country leaning stuff or the live celebration of our dad’s legacy called “Ricky Nelson Remembered.” We’ve been playing that off and on between our gigs for years. I think what it did was bring us to our center, where we come from, but also really helped us expand our musical vocabulary. Gunnar, for instance, when we started playing guitar with Nelson, he was a great rhythm guitar player but now he is super proficient lead guitar player. Frankly, when you’re playing country-inspired James Burton type lyrics on a Telecaster, you can’t hide behind distortion. It’s naked and people can tell if you can’t throw down. As a singer, frontman and a bass player, I have come a long way. The thing that is great about music is that I still feel like I’m starting! I still have a wonderful love affair with something that I intend to do forever, until I can’t anymore!

In the press release about the digital releases, I noticed a promising quote from Gunnar. He said, “For the first time in a while, we’re talking about making a new Nelson album.” Where are you headed?

That’s another interesting question. Part of my discussion today with my brother was going through material. As you know, we’re songwriters before anything, and we were going through material today. We have an honest four or five albums worth of super-solid, single-level material. We were just kind of discussing the realities of being us in this world. We are very, very fortunate that people recognize us immediately. We have that kind of thing. When you hear “Nelson,” you might think of a lot of things. Most people think of long blonde hair and 1990! That was that time and we looked like hot Swedish chicks! So, we were kinda embedded in people’s minds that way. Our dad went through that too. It’s much the same way as when you say, Hanson, Rick Springfield, Tiffany or the other people who were iconic for the era. It’s kinda hard for people to get past that era, ya know? We are getting a lot of calls to go out and do nostalgia type tours now because we haven’t done those things. What Gunnar and I were just discussing was, “What do you do when you are fortunate enough to occupy that place in people’s minds? Do people really want to hear new music from an old group?” I have to be realistic about that. We were just discussing that. “Do we integrate the new songs with the older songs or do we separate them and call it another project, but everyone will know it’s The Nelson Twins with their new thing.” We were just discussing that. The long answer is that we absolutely have new material that we want to release. We just don’t know if we’re going to make a right turn doing it. That’s it! It’s more of me being realistic and honest with coming to terms with an old success. If we released something new that was incredible, would people give it an unbiased or unslanted listen?

nelson-2015-10

I can see where you are coming from. No matter what route, as a fan, it’s exciting to know you two are hard at work! You both built something unique over the years and people can look to you as an inspiration as there have been ups and downs along the way, yet you persevered. What’s the best lesson we can take from your journey?

Don’t lose your sense of humor. That’s the best advice that my dad ever gave me, and he didn’t give me a whole lot of advice. [laughs] He said, “Believe in what you’re doing and keep doing it.” So, integrity and persistence, even if you are writing pop songs and having fun doing that! Don’t lose your sense of humor because in this world, my dad was right, you’re gonna need it! In today’s music business or whatever is left of it, you have people who have number one records because they are YouTube stars, which is great, whatever. You also have a lot of things that come along with that territory. Internet trolls, for example. Everyone has a voice and all of that kind of stuff. Sometimes that’s not a great thing. Just laugh at it. Move forward. Move past it. You know, obviously, it separates the weak from the chaff. All I can say, looking back on this thing so many years later, is that I always knew I was going to do music first. That made it good for me. Gunnar and I were the same way. It wasn’t a matter of whether or not we would be successful, it’s when we got our shot. Frankly, it’s been a blessing and a curse coming from the legacy that we come from. There are expectations associated with that, but it also motivated us, and we are really proud of that. We are really proud of carrying on that tradition. Who knows, I have a 3-year-old little boy and maybe he will as well. He’s already playing drums, keeping time and singing, so probably! I just have to say that, in this world, one thing that hasn’t changed is that I would personally be a whole lot less happy if I didn’t have music around me all the time. Just keep music as your soundtrack and I think you’ll be groovin’!

Awesome! Thanks for your time today, Matthew. It’s been a pleasure following your career and experiencing the different styles you brought to the table! I wish you and Gunnar continued success.

Thank you, Jason! I really appreciate that! Have a great day and take care!

For all the latest news and information on Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, visit www.matthewandgunnarnelson.com.

Check out the complete list of available Nelson titles, with comments from Matthew and Gunnar:

Imaginator (1996): Originally intended as the follow-up to After the Rain, but turned down by DGC/Geffen, Nelson finally put out the prescient album as the first release on their own Stone Canyon Records label. An edgy, acerbic record which took aim at their unfair media treatment and the threat of the Internet in the days of dial-up, Matthew recalls, “It was not the fun, sunshine pop formula the label thought they were getting.” Adds Gunnar, “It was so cathartic and honest, it’s emotionally painful for me to listen to now. It brings me back to a time when I felt we were misunderstood by the industry.”

Because They Can (1995): After the rejection of Imaginator, Matthew and Gunnar went back into the studio with legendary producer and mentor John Boylan (Boston, Little River Band, Edie Brickell) for an album that epitomized the California country-rock sound, featuring contributions from Eagles’ Don Felder and Timothy B. Schmit, America’s Gerry Beckley and the Cars’ Elliot Easton. It also features the famed William Wegman cover photo of his Man Ray Weimaraner dogs with long, blonde hair, showing the Nelson brothers were in on the joke. “It was like a Crosby, Stills & Nash Laurel Canyon record when nobody was doing that,” says Matthew.

Silence is Broken (1997): Recorded for JVC Victor Japan, the album was intended to be a bridge between Imaginator and Life, according to Matthew.  “We were just learning how to record digitally,” he says of the record, produced in various studios in West L.A. and Valencia. “It really pushed the stylistic envelope in terms of its diversity.”

Brother Harmony (1998): After playing several acoustic shows in Nashville, Matthew and Gunnar signed to Warner-Reprise, and began recording songs for a new, never released album as the Nelsons with some of Nashville’s finest musicians.

Life (1999): Another JVC Victor Japan import, the album was recorded in a Nashville basement, but remains one of Gunnar’s favorites. “I have a particular affection for it,” he says. “We just wanted to make ear candy. It’s a real take-no-prisoners pop/rock album.” Matthew adds: “We recorded everyone in a room playing at the same time, which gave it some real energy.” Life features “Is That How It Is?” co-written with Russ Ballard.  “We went a little bit more Vox than Marshall,” laughs Matthew.

Like Father, Like Sons (2000): The brothers’ initial tribute to their father was recorded live at the Date Festival in Indio, California, site of the Coachella festival, with James Intveld on upright bass, Gunnar on stand-up drums and Matthew on acoustic guitar. The group delved into affectionate, authentic rockabilly takes on some of Ricky’s greatest hits, including “Garden Party,” “Milk Cow Blues,” “Travelin’ Man” and “Hello Mary Lou.”

Lightning Strikes Twice (2010):  After signing a new deal with Frontier Records, this was one of three separate releases to come out during the year. Nelson’s first album of new material in nearly 11 years, it featured guitarist Steve Lukather, and was recorded at Gunnar’s home Nashville studio and mixed in L.A. by top recording engineer Jay Ruston (Metallica, Anthrax).  “The label challenged us to make the follow-up to After the Rain, except with modern technology and their full support,” recalls Gunnar. “It represented a personal victory.” The album went on to become the most critically acclaimed album of their career behind, “After the Rain,” with a rare 7 of 7 diamond rating from Metal Hammer Magazine.

Before the Rain: The Demos 1986-1990 (2010): A collection of the recordings which led up to their debut, After the Rain, this album shows how Nelson’s songwriting evolved, representing the band’s attempt to convince DGC/Geffen A&R legend John David Kalodner they were ready to record. Explained Matthew, “It’s a great way for the fans to hear how the songs from that first album started and eventually came together.”

Perfect Storm – After the Rain World Tour 1991 (2010): Recorded during their whirlwind, 13-month-long tour, which ended with four shows in Japan, the album captures the band as it begins to feel its strength as a live attraction, thanks to the efforts of live engineer Toby Francis. “We were very loud, but he got it to sound clean,” says Matthew. “The band we had for that tour was just ridiculously talented.”

Peace Out (2015) Another favorite of Gunnar’s for its razor-sharp focus and stylistic consistency, the song “Back in the Day” describes Nelson’s populist, crowd-pleasing aim perfectly. “The radio was our saving grace/Our heroes showed the way/Back in the day.”

“Getting these records out has been extremely satisfying because, up until now, they haven’t been available,” says Gunnar. “For the first time in a while, we’re talking about making a new Nelson album.”

Until then, Nelson will continue to inspire their fans live, with a planned summer 2018 tour on the horizon.

“Up to this point, these songs are our legacy,” adds Matthew. “I’m just happy people can find and hear them now.”

These albums are now available via Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon and More! 

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NELSON’s Entire Career-Spanning Catalogue Makes It’s Digital Debut!

NELSON’s Entire Career-Spanning Catalogue Makes It’s Digital Debut!

The entire Nelson catalogue – representing every album released by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson in the course of their 28-year-career – will, for the first time, be available at all digital retailers and streaming services on January 8, including Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon and Pandora, among others, through their distribution partner, Redeye.  The announcement follows the re-release of Nelson’s remastered 1990, multi-platinum debut album, After the Rain, on 180g vinyl by Universal Music Enterprises.

The full digital roll-out will take place today, January 29, when such collector’s items as Imaginator, the prophetic 1996 release which were originally supposed to be the follow-up to After the RainBrother Harmony, the 1998 country album the brothers recorded in Nashville which is now a coveted collector’s item, and Ricky Nelson Remembered, an album featuring studio recorded versions of Matthew and Gunnar performing their father’s biggest career hits, previously available only at Nelson concerts, become available for streaming and download for the first time.

“Each of these songs is like one of our children,” says Gunnar about the process of going back and rehearing their work.

“You start reliving what it took to put all the pieces together,” adds Matthew. “It represents 25-plus years of work.  These songs are, quite literally, the soundtrack to our lives.”

Here’s the complete list of available titles, with comments from Matthew and Gunnar:

Imaginator (1996): Originally intended as the follow-up to After the Rain, but turned down by DGC/Geffen, Nelson finally put out the prescient album as the first release on their own Stone Canyon Records label. An edgy, acerbic record which took aim at their unfair media treatment and the threat of the Internet in the days of dial-up, Matthew recalls, “It was not the fun, sunshine pop formula the label thought they were getting.” Adds Gunnar, “It was so cathartic and honest, it’s emotionally painful for me to listen to now. It brings me back to a time when I felt we were misunderstood by the industry.”

Because They Can (1995): After the rejection of Imaginator, Matthew and Gunnar went back into the studio with legendary producer and mentor John Boylan (Boston, Little River Band, Edie Brickell) for an album that epitomized the California country-rock sound, featuring contributions from Eagles’ Don Felder and Timothy B. Schmit, America’s Gerry Beckley and the Cars’ Elliot Easton. It also features the famed William Wegman cover photo of his Man Ray Weimaraner dogs with long, blonde hair, showing the Nelson brothers were in on the joke. “It was like a Crosby, Stills & Nash Laurel Canyon record when nobody was doing that,” says Matthew.

Silence is Broken (1997): Recorded for JVC Victor Japan, the album was intended to be a bridge between Imaginator and Life, according to Matthew.  “We were just learning how to record digitally,” he says of the record, produced in various studios in West L.A. and Valencia. “It really pushed the stylistic envelope in terms of its diversity.”

Brother Harmony (1998): After playing several acoustic shows in Nashville, Matthew and Gunnar signed to Warner-Reprise, and began recording songs for a new, never released album as the Nelsons with some of Nashville’s finest musicians.

Life (1999): Another JVC Victor Japan import, the album was recorded in a Nashville basement, but remains one of Gunnar’s favorites. “I have a particular affection for it,” he says. “We just wanted to make ear candy. It’s a real take-no-prisoners pop/rock album.” Matthew adds: “We recorded everyone in a room playing at the same time, which gave it some real energy.” Life features “Is That How It Is?” co-written with Russ Ballard.  “We went a little bit more Vox than Marshall,” laughs Matthew.

Like Father, Like Sons (2000): The brothers’ initial tribute to their father was recorded live at the Date Festival in Indio, California, site of the Coachella festival, with James Intveld on upright bass, Gunnar on stand-up drums and Matthew on acoustic guitar. The group delved into affectionate, authentic rockabilly takes on some of Ricky’s greatest hits, including “Garden Party,” “Milk Cow Blues,” “Travelin’ Man” and “Hello Mary Lou.”

Lightning Strikes Twice (2010) After signing a new deal with Frontier Records, this was one of three separate releases to come out during the year. Nelson’s first album of new material in nearly 11 years, it featured guitarist Steve Lukather, and was recorded at Gunnar’s home Nashville studio and mixed in L.A. by top recording engineer Jay Ruston (Metallica, Anthrax).  “The label challenged us to make the follow-up to After the Rain, except with modern technology and their full support,” recalls Gunnar. “It represented a personal victory.” The album went on to become the most critically acclaimed album of their career behind, “After the Rain,” with a rare 7 of 7 diamond rating from Metal Hammer Magazine.

Before the Rain: The Demos 1986-1990 (2010): A collection of the recordings which led up to their debut, After the Rain, this album shows how Nelson’s songwriting evolved, representing the band’s attempt to convince DGC/Geffen A&R legend John David Kalodner they were ready to record. Explained Matthew, “It’s a great way for the fans to hear how the songs from that first album started and eventually came together.”

Perfect Storm – After the Rain World Tour 1991 (2010): Recorded during their whirlwind, 13-month-long tour, which ended with four shows in Japan, the album captures the band as it begins to feel its strength as a live attraction, thanks to the efforts of live engineer Toby Francis. “We were very loud, but he got it to sound clean,” says Matthew. “The band we had for that tour was just ridiculously talented.”

Peace Out (2015):  Another favorite of Gunnar’s for its razor-sharp focus and stylistic consistency, the song “Back in the Day” describes Nelson’s populist, crowd-pleasing aim perfectly. “The radio was our saving grace/Our heroes showed the way/Back in the day.”

“Getting these records out has been extremely satisfying because, up until now, they haven’t been available,” says Gunnar. “For the first time in a while, we’re talking about making a new Nelson album.”

Until then, Nelson will continue to inspire their fans live, with a planned summer 2018 tour on the horizon.

“Up to this point, these songs are our legacy,” adds Matthew. “I’m just happy people can find and hear them now.”

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NELSON’s Iconic ‘After The Rain’ Album To Receive Deluxe Remastering On 180G Vinyl

NELSON’s Iconic ‘After The Rain’ Album To Receive Deluxe Remastering On 180G Vinyl

NELSON’s debut album, After the Rain, was released on Geffen’s DGC label on June 26, 1990, and within three months, its first single, “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love & Affection,” went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 29, 1990. That was one of four separate hit singles to emerge from the record, with the title track hitting #6, “More Than Ever” peaking at #14 and “Only time Will Tell” hitting #28.  The album went on to achieve double-platinum status from the RIAA, selling more than three million copies in the U.S. and another two million overseas.

After the Rain will be released on 180g vinyl and has been remastered by Grammy-winning engineer Evren Goknar (Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers) at Capitol’s famed Hollywood recording studios. The album will be available on September 29 online, at the band’s website (T/K), and at retail stores as a limited-edition collector’s item on veteran promo exec Joe Reagoso’s audiophile vinyl reissue label, Friday Music.  The package will include expanded liner notes and the Nelsons’ comments on each track, and the first 1000 pre-orders will also receive an autographed NELSON photo.

For brothers Gunnar and Matthew, the vinyl release of After the Rain makes up for years of frustration at the sound of the original album.

“It was a real gift when we got that phone call about remastering. For the first time, we got to hear the album the way we first did on those big monitors at Cherokee Studios, where we recorded it,” says Gunnar. “This is how it’s supposed to sound.”

The original After the Rain album was the result of the Nelsons putting in almost two years of work on recording demos. Matthew Nelson explains that, “After years of failed collaborations and rejections by labels in LA and New York we aimed at re-focusing on songwriting and targeting A&R legend John Kalodner and Geffen Records to help. Kalodner put us through two years of writing and demos, but still didn’t sign us. Five years after the untimely death of our father, Ricky Nelson, we were at the end of our rope. Living out of our car and down to our last $16 in a joint savings account.” As Matthew recalls, “Our managers didn’t want us to do it, but we just walked into Kalodner’s office and played him the song [Love and Affection]. Kalodner responded by saying, ‘THAT is what I have been waiting for. That you two have the nerve to do what ever it takes to get the top – even if it means overriding your team, including me, to get there.'”

The album itself found the band going through several producers, before they hooked up with a down-on-his-luck singer/songwriter named Marc Tanner, who proved to be, in Gunnar’s words, “the third Nelson brother.” With Kalodner finally agreeing to let the group use many of their original demos as the basis of the record, the brothers enlisted their exceptional live band to record on the album with them, which included guitarist Brett Garsed, keyboardist Paul Mirkovich, drummer Bobby Rock and multi-instrumentalist Joey Cathcart.

Thanks to a week-long stint hosting the call-in show Dial MTV, NELSON’s video for “Love and Affection” went to #1, the album selling out its 50,000 copy run in the first two hours.  The album’s ultimate success was in no small part due to the brothers’ tireless promotion, busking in the elevators for captive audiences at radio conventions or playing live acoustic sets at local stations when that was frowned upon.

“We never had a blues background,” explained Gunnar. “We came from the school of Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Eagles.”

Indeed, as Gunnar points out, “We didn’t sound like anything else that was out at the time. It was probably the first song since ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ that went to #1 on pop radio featuring a 12-string guitar.”

By the time NELSON got around to releasing its follow-up, Because They Can, in 1995, “Living on a Prayer” had long since been replaced by “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Even poking fun at themselves on the album cover with the William Wegman-photographed Man Ray dogs sporting long blonde tresses couldn’t rescue them from major label purgatory.

“We’ve always been treated like guilty-until-proven innocent,” says Gunnar. “This record didn’t break out just because it sounded great, or just because it was different- it’s so much more than that. This record represented hope, positivity, and personal empowerment to an entire generation of the disenfranchised, and the timeless message has continued to resonate with generations since.”

Now the father of a three-year-old named after his grandfather Ozzie Nelson, Matthew appreciates the rebirth of he and Gunnar’s original baby, After the Rain.

“I can’t wait to sit my kid next to the turntable and have him hear it,” says Matthew. “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of.”

“Everything we had to go through, and what this album has meant to us, has motivated and allowed us to still do what we love to do for a living for 27 years.  It was such a pivotal point in our lives. I feel remarkably blessed and thankful that it’s coming out now. My vision is to do a tour where we perform the entire album start to finish with the original band.

“Don’t be afraid to lose what was never meant to be…” -NELSON, “After The Rain”

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Nelson Brothers Team With Wendy and Carnie Wilson For “This Christmas Too”

Nelson Brothers Team With Wendy and Carnie Wilson For “This Christmas Too”

Photo by Brian Lowe

Photo by Brian Lowe

“This Christmas Too” is a true family affair for Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, who have teamed up with another pair of platinum, second- (and, in the Nelsons’ case, third-) generation performers in their childhood friends Carnie and Wendy Wilson for a holiday single that celebrates not only their legendary rock fathers – Ricky Nelson and Brian Wilson – but their individual hit-making histories. The large-screen video for the single “This Christmas” can be viewed here.

The title track from their new album, This Christmas, the sequel to last year’s Billboard-charting Top 20 Adult Contemporary and Top 5 Holiday release, the song brings together scions of two of pop music’s royal clans to celebrate the season with an original Nelson track and another round of dates on their successful “Christmas with the Nelsons” tour.  The two families grew up together in Southern California, and this collaboration is long overdue. It even includes vocals from Carnie’s daughters Luci (age 7) and Lola (age 11) as seen throughout the video.

Commented Gunnar Nelson: “After knowing, admiring, and loving these girls for a lifetime, I’ll never forget the elation I felt the first time we all actually sang together. It just doesn’t get any better than this for me — personally or professionally.

Added Carnie: “All I can say about the collaboration is that it’s about time!! We are perfect together!!

I believe there is the right time and place for everything,” said Wendy. “Singing with the Nelson brothers is nothing but magical.”

Matthew Nelson said: “We have each in our own right, and over 25 years, sold millions of records and performed thousands of concerts worldwide to millions of people — yet never before in my 30-year career has a collaboration excited me more or made more sense on so many different levels. 2+2= Millions. When we are together it is absolute magic. Why haven’t we done this before, and can we please do much more of it in the future?! This just feels right. We belong together.

Both the Nelson brothers and Wilson sisters experienced chart-topping success from the very start of their careers.  Nelson’s “(I Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection,” from their 1990 multi-platinum debut album, After the Rain, went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, along with the #6 title track and Top 40 hits “More Than Ever” and “Only Time Will Tell.” The Wilson sisters’ Wilson Phillips – with Chynna Phillips, the daughter of the Mamas & the Papas’ John and Michele – scored three #1 singles that same year in “Hold On,” “Release Me” and “You’re in Love,” from their self-titled multi-platinum debut.

Matthew and Gunnar have been combining original songs with performances of “Ricky Nelson Remembered,” their live tribute to the music of their father, and will embark on the acclaimed “Christmas with the Nelsons” tour again, starting November 28 in Modesto, CA. Last year, the duo sold out 22 individual shows of what has been called “a genuine blend of Everly Brothers-styled harmonies and Smothers Brothers-styled comedy,” garnering wide-spread praise from promoters and bookers such as Joe Kane of New Jersey’s Count Basie Theatre, who raved, “This was the greatest Christmas show we’ve ever seen!”

“Christmas with the Nelsons” Tour Dates
November 28 — Gallo Center For The Arts – Modesto, CA
December 4 — Lakeland Center – Lakeland, FL
December 6 — Potawatomi Hotel & Casino – Milwaukee, WI
December 7 — Potawatomi Hotel & Casino – Milwaukee, WI
December 8 — Potawatomi Hotel & Casino – Milwaukee, WI
December 9 — Potawatomi Hotel & Casino – Milwaukee, WI
December 10 — Grand Falls Casino – Larchwood, IA
December 11 — Rhythm City Casino Resort – Davenport, IA
December 12 — Whatley Center for the Performing Arts – Mount Pleasant, TX
December 16 — Renaissance Performing Arts Center – Goodyear, AZ
December 17 — The Ritz Theatre – Tiffin, OH

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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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PEACE OUT: Matthew Nelson On His Past, Present And Bright Future In Music

PEACE OUT: Matthew Nelson On His Past, Present And Bright Future In Music

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In their 25 years as a musical duo, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson, collectively known as Nelson, grew from pop music idols to seasoned songwriters and performers. Music and entertaining was in their blood. From the start the brothers had a challenging road to travel as the third generation in one of America’s most celebrated entertainment families, who came into U.S. households every week from 1952 to 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. Their late father, Ricky, was one of rock ’n’ roll’s earliest superstars, a member of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and generally credited with creating the country-rock format.

When the Nelson twins burst onto the music scene with the Billboard #1 hit “(I Can’t Live Without Your) Love & Affection” in 1990, they set a Guinness World Record by being the only family to have three generations of #1 hits on the charts! Nelson went on to release a half dozen rock albums selling nearly 7 million records, beginning with the multi-platinum “After The Rain.”

Now they return with “Peace Out,” their most ambitious studio album to date. This incredible collection of music 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 “Back in the Day,” “Peace Out” is quintessential Nelson from start to finish. The album also marks a turning point from the brothers as it serves as their last rock driven album and they forge ahead into new musical territories.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Matthew Nelson to discuss his early memories of music, Nelson’s rise to fame, it’s impact on him as an artist, the creation of ‘Peace Out’ and what the future holds for the duo.

Music played a huge role in your life and your family’s history. Going back to your early years, what are some of your first memories of music?

Matthew and Gunnar Nelson

Matthew and Gunnar Nelson

The first memories of music for me are when my dad his band rehearsing down the hallway at the house in the Hollywood Hills. We had a little music room set up in the pool house. I didn’t know anything about music at that point but he always had people over. When he formed The Stone Canyon Band, he would always rehearse in there. I was super, super, super little watching people play live music. I think the first time I ever realized that what he did was special was at one of his concerts. We had gone on a vacation to Hawaii. I think I was around 2-and-a-half years old or 3. I remember we went to this room and there were a lot of people around in these tufted leather booths in a huge hotel ballroom. There was a big stage and I remember looking out and saying, “That looks like Papa!” Everyone was applauding and smiling and I realized it was Papa! [laughs] That kind of impressed on me how cool it was and I have wanted to do that ever since! I just wanted to join dad!

Was it tough for you early on to live in the shadow of your family’s name and come up as an artist?

Yes and no. I think I would be really arrogant and off-base by saying that it didn’t bring with it certain assets. My grandmother Harriet always used to say, “Your name might get you through the door but it’s going to be your talent that keeps you there.” What she didn’t tell me about was when you come from someone as famous as our Pop or grandparents, they reality of it is people treat you like you don’t need the break. That is number one. Number two is people expect you to be better than someone of your age and experience. There are just those expectations. People just don’t feel like you need the break. Gunnar and I started playing clubs in Los Angeles when we were 12 years old. We started really young and had been playing music for years before that. That is all we really wanted to do. It is an interesting challenge coming from any family who has had success in a prior generation. Let’s say you come from a family of athletes like my Uncle Mark (Harmon). His dad won the Heisman Trophy at Michigan in 1940. When he was coming up playing football, everyone would ask, “Are you going to be like your dad?” He would up being first string quarterback at UCLA and he was a fine quarterback for a number of years. However, he also determined that he would do his own thing and went into acting because it was what he wanted to do. Now he is the star of “NCIS” and has been doing it for years! I think having that background of knowing that it is possible to achieve the highest of goals if you set your mind to it and work at it is very important. No one is ever going to hand it to you. That has been my reality. No one hands you anything. You just have to go and make it happen for yourself. Hopefully, if you satisfy your integrity in what you want to do, along the way you will find some people out there who enjoy what you do and you can make a nice living at it.

It’s hard to believe it has been 25 years since you made a big splash with your debut album, “After The Rain.” How did that success impact you and what lessons did you learn along the way?

Nelson's 'After The Rain'

Nelson’s ‘After The Rain’

I honestly think there is a book in there somewhere because it is not something you can prepare for. Even though I came from the legacy I came from, I thought I was prepared for that type of success because like Gunnar and I used to say, “It’s not a matter of if but of when.” You have to have that in your mind otherwise you will never succeed. We always joke and say, “It’s the world’s longest overnight success.” Our success came after years of playing clubs, writing songs, making demos, seeking a deal and having it almost fail. There were so many high and lows with it that when it finally worked it turned the world upside down. I always tell people that, when I lived in the valley, I used to go to get my socks and underwear at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. I remember I went with my brother and it was smooth sailing. Two weeks later, we did a short stint on MTV as guest hosts when our first video debuted and exploded. We find ourselves at the same mall for an autograph signing that the record company set up at the local record store and the cops had to come to close the mall down! They shut the entire mall down because all three levels were zoo’d with very anxious and excited young girls. All I remember thinking was, “This is amazing but two weeks ago nobody gave a crap. Wow!” It was literally like it exploded. My dad’s career kind of did the same thing. Even though he was successful and famous on television, he was always a famous guy, when he sang on the television show for the first time people realized he was really good and there was something there. That took his career to a whole new level. I think that is a family karma.

Nelson: Celebrating 25 Years

Nelson: Celebrating 25 Years

What I learned from that is that you go along for the ride and soak it up but my brother and I worked really hard before that happened and during that whole run of exhaustive record promotion. They don’t tell you that when you have a number one record every radio station in the country wants you at the same time and it is really hard. We wore ourselves out! We went on a world tour and when we came back music had changed with Nirvana breaking on our label. As fast is it came, it went away. I was prepared for that but it was shocking to get nothing but support from the people closest to you and then no one will answer your calls. What it did was really teach me balance. I think that is where I am at 25 years later. We started our own record company called Stone Canyon so we could release our own records when we want to. We license albums to other labels instead of doing deals with them. I think that works. I think we learned one thing that is truly important, which is your ability as an artist and as a man to have the freedom of choice and to be able to do what you want to do when you want to do it. It is worth everything and I think that is what this country is based on and as an artist I have lived it. I am happy to say that now we really do enjoy that type of freedom. I think it makes us much more fulfilled in certain respects than being along for the ride that someone else is dictating.

That brings us to the latest chapter in your story. Nelson released a new album, “Peace Out,” which makes the end of an era in a way. What can you tell us about the album and where you are as a band?

Nelson - 'Peace Out'

Nelson – ‘Peace Out’

I always say that when you are a performer and are lucky to have a lot of songs that people know and hits, you have a certain amount of time to put on a show. If you are opening for somebody, you might get 20 to 30 minutes or maybe 60 minutes if you are doing a double bill. If you are headlining you get 90 minutes. Gunnar and I already have 13 albums to our credit. That is a lot of music! Once you get by the songs from the first album that everybody wants to hear, you are halfway done. We enjoy recording and being in the studio putting together music but we only have a certain amount of time on this planet. I think, with Nelson, we have said some really nice things and have kind of been there and done that. If we play concerts, we definitely have more than enough material to really rock a house with that sound. It’s interesting, I see some artists who go out there and have had long runs. I am not saying it is guaranteed but when any legacy artist says, “OK, here’s something brand new!” That is when you go out to get the T-shirt. As an artist, you hope they are paying attention. If you write something really excellent, it might break through and be as impressive as some big monster hit from the past but generally that isn’t the case. You have to keep growing and Gunnar and I thought the way we could grow the best way was to do something completely different. That is what we plan on doing. This album was more of a surprise to me than anybody. Gunnar had pretty much finished it when he brought it to me. I would say it was about 80% complete when he brought it in and said, “Hey, I’ve got another album finished.” I said, “I thought we weren’t going to do another one.” He said, “I thought we would just sign off with this one before we do other things.” As you said, it is the 25th anniversary of our debut. I had actually been working with Universal Music Group on a re-issue of “After The Rain” with some extra bonus cuts and a remaster, which I think it deserves. So we are actually going to have the first album and the last album come out this year!

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That is awesome! What can you tell us about your songwriting process and how it changed through the years for both Nelson and your other outlets?

Gunnar wrote most of the songs on this particular album alone. We collaborated on three of the songs at the end. I do a lot of songwriting and I have side projects and write for other people. I think it has really grown through the years. It is like flexing a muscle and a matter of going to the gym every day and doing it. I wish I wrote more but I feel, lately, that my songs have gotten better. I think Gunnar’s songs have to. Hopefully, that is what happens as you get older! Speaking for myself, I have written songs in a bunch of different genres ranging from heavy metal to EDM. I prefer living somewhere in between there. I will always have pop sensibilities and I like to tell stories but I am always a sucker for a great melody. I think anybody would be lying if they said they didn’t wish they were Paul McCartney. I do!

I imagine you learn a little bit with each new record you put out. Does that hold true with this album?

Yeah, I think so. Gunnar and I are brothers and even though we have some clear similarities, we are very different men. I think that is what makes it work. I had certain disagreements with certain directions he took on in this album and vice versa. I think the compromise ended up to be something really great. I know that my specialty is really in the polish and mastering. We had to get the right guy. A lot of people right now are just using their computers and plugins and saying, “It’s good enough.” I’m old school and I think there are people who are better at that then we are. You have to know when to bring in the right people. I think that happened with this record. I say this a lot, and I am fine with it, I think a lot of this has more to do with Gunnar musically than it has to do with me.

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The music industry changed drastically from the time Nelson debuted and now. What excites you about music today and what are the obstacles you face as an artist today?

I don’t think there is an industry. I think the record business is done to be honest. I hate to say it but it is true. The reality of it is that songs and albums have become more of a commercial for the live show than anything. Fortunately, for Gunnar and myself, we are live performers. Be it two guys with acoustic guitars or a big arena rock setting, that’s what we do. We are show people and we come from a legacy of people who have done that. I grew up recording things on analog recording tape and cutting tape with a razor blade, doing it really old school. You really had to commit and make choices because you had 24 tracks, if you were lucky. Now, you have unlimited tracks, you can fix it in the mix, you don’t have to make decisions and can cut it together frame by frame or word by word. A lot has changed and I am really fortunate in the sense that I had to learn to do things the hard way.

Matthew and Gunnar Nelson

Matthew and Gunnar Nelson

Now, I will be honest with you, things are a lot easier. I’d be a fool to say it wasn’t easier to make a record these days. It is! Before, an album used to cost $250,000 to make. A video cost a quarter of a million dollars. Now, you can shoot it on an iPhone. One thing that won’t change is that it is all about having a great song. You have quicker and broader reach than you used to have. At one point we had 90,000 active members in a fan club. I remember it cost $35,000 every time we sent a letter to our fans. Now, you press send on your phone and everybody gets it! That is a good thing! Contrarily, just because you can make a record doesn’t necessarily mean you should make a record. There is a glut of stuff out there. I have noticed kids today, my stepson for example, are actually going back to older music because it seems to have been made with more care. Those are his words. People actually cared about the music more and it wasn’t just a loop they yelled at you on. It was a real song. You talk to other kids and ask, “What’s your favorite band?” They say, “I don’t know. I just kinda listen to whatever is there.” I remember, growing up, we all had our favorite bands. We would be excited waiting for an album to come out and for a band to come to town. Today it’s a whole different thing. I think that having access, as quick and broad as we do, is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing that we can get to everybody but it is a curse because there is so much more to filter through.

I think the future is finding a balance between all of that and staying on top of the new technologies from a recording and distribution standpoint. I am a real advocate for legacy music because I really feel that people, especially kids, need to know where all this stuff came from and how it started. I am fortunate to have my dad’s whole thing to go back on for my son to look at. I went to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and they have a display with Beyonce in it. No discredit to Beyonce because she’s amazing. I said, “Is she in the Rock Hall?” They said, “No but we have to get kids to care.” I am looking around and seeing all the forefathers of this amazing art form and thinking “Wow. It is really disappointing that kids don’t care anymore.” They are just feed a whole bunch of stuff. Hopefully, the good stuff will always rise to the top and people will care about this stuff and have reverence for it because it deserves it.

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What can you tell us about where you are headed in the future musically? Is there anything you can tell us there?

Yeah! It’s not a government secret! [laughs] Gunnar and I, if we continue to make music together, we begin and end with two brothers singing with acoustic guitars. That is really our strength. The genesis of Nelson was not unlike the band Heart, get songs, acoustics and singing family harmonies. With us, we are going to be doing the same thing just in a meliora. I think it is going to have more of an Americana touch to it. We have done the arena rock thing and clearly we have a history as rock and rollers but we did that on our own terms as well. It was the antithesis of your blues oriented rock bands like Guns ‘N Roses type of thing. When everybody was black leather, we were color! I think with two brothers singing, the two main instruments being acoustic guitars and building around that is really what we are going for. I think it is something along the lines of, if you can imagine, The Everly’s making records today using today’s technologies, song structure and undeniable sibling harmony and great songs. That is what we plan on doing!

That is awesome to hear, Matthew. As a fan, I can’t wait to see where the next leg of your journey takes you! Keep up the great work!

Thank you! I will and we will be talking again, I assure you! Thank you very much!

‘Peace Out’ is available now! For all the latest news and information on Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, visit www.matthewandgunnarnelson.com.

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Nelson Return With New Melodic Rock Album ‘Peace Out’ In May

Nelson Return With New Melodic Rock Album ‘Peace Out’ In May

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In their 25 years as a musical duo, Gunnar & Matthew Nelson, collectively known simply as Nelson, have grown from Pop music idols to seasoned songwriters and performers. Now, as the brothers celebrate a quarter century at the forefront of the international music scene, they return with Peace Out, their most ambitious studio album to date.

Nelson - 'Peace Out'

Nelson – ‘Peace Out’

Released in Europe on May 15th and North America on May 19th 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 soon-to-be pop classic “Back in the Day,”  Peace Out is quintessential Nelson from start to finish.

“We set a pretty high standard with our previous release with Frontiers – Lightning Strikes Twice. That record received by far the most critical acclaim of any Nelson record to date… Peace Out was expected to be even BETTER, The so the goal was to push ourselves to the very limit- past what we believed we could do,” says Gunnar Nelson. “We wanted to write and record the most exciting, authentic, uplifting, and rockin’ Nelson record ever made! The mission: to make a classic.”

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, Ricky, 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.

When the Nelson twins burst onto the music scene with the Billboard #1 hit “(I Can’t Live Without Your) Love & Affection,” in 1990, they set a Guinness World Record by being the only family to have three generations of #1 hits on the charts! Nelson went on to release a half dozen Rock albums selling nearly 7 million records, beginning with the multi-platinum After The Rain.

Peace Out marks their fourth release on Frontiers since 2010.  Look for Nelson to embark on a world tour upon the album’s release. “We’re putting the live show together as we speak… And it will incorporate the very best live songs from our career… Focusing heavily on the PEACE OUT album,” tells Gunnar.

The Nelsons have worked in a number of musical styles including pop, hard rock and even country.  Now, Peace Out   takes them to the musical home they have known the best: harmony-driven pop Rock whose melodies are as infectious as they are lasting.

Peace Out tracklisting:

1.   Hello Everybody

2.   Back In The Day

3.   Invincible

4.   Let It Ride

5.   I Wanna Stay Home

6.   On The Bright Side

7.   Rockstar

8.   Autograph

9.   What’s Not To Love?

10. You And Me

11. Bad For You

12. Leave The Light On For Me

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

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

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M3 Rock Festival Returns To Rock Baltimore Once Again In 2010!

M3 Rock Festival Returns To Rock Baltimore Once Again In 2010!

The M3 Rock Festival made its triumphant return to Columbia, MD on June 19th and once again featured a great lineup of eighties rock bands. The skies were clear and the temperatures would climb into the nineties by mid-afternoon but the heat could not stop rock n’ roll! For many, the party started as soon as they touched down in the parking lot of Meriweather Post Pavilion. The parking area featured a killer atmosphere reminiscent of something out of the cult favorite rock documentary, ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’. A seasoned veteran of the rock n’ roll lifestyle, I have been to many of shows in my time. I can tell you that the atmosphere in the lots across this great land is not what it once was, however, that was not the case with M3. Just like last year, the parking lot was full of life and vast amounts of beer, loud music, classic rock tees and some of the most fantastic hairdos known to man. The impact that the M3 Rock Festival had on music fans in 2009 was evident by the stories being traded back and forth and the anticipation was clearly building even hours before the gates were to open. Shortly after arriving, the car in front of me had Warrant blaring out of a set of partially blown speakers and if I turned in the opposite direction, I could hear Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood belting out of a much higher quality sound system. It was like I had gotten transported back to 1989 and I was definitely enjoying it! Of course I had to join in the party, so I cracked a few ice cold Budweiser’s myself.

By 10:30 am there was a large line to enter the venue. Gates for the show opened at 11:00 am, the same time as last year’s event. The layout of the festival was exactly the same as it was in 2009 and proved very navigable. The main stage/pavilion was separated from the second stage and the “freaks” stage by a line of tents that were filled with businesses trying to sell their goods to whoever was interested. There was no lack of vendors selling cold drinks or something to eat, as there was a concession stand every ten feet. This would prove invaluable by mid-afternoon as the need to replenish fluids became a must for many battle worn fans. One noticeable omission from last year was that the Hammerjacks VIP area was not in use. The only reference to the once great rock club was a small booth that was selling shirts and stickers. I was really disappointed that they did away with that, as it added to the show’s nostalgia.

The festival did not open up with a notable band this year. Last year the audience was treated to Gilby Clarke and this year we got Dingleberry Dynasty. Needless to say, they were high on my priority list for the day. One of the returning bands from last years festival, Jetboy, would follow to jumpstart things the main stage. While I hadn’t been a huge fan of Jetboy in the past, they made me a fan of me this time around. They brought a high energy performance that turned a lot of heads. I definitely dig their song “Feel The Shake.” Speaking of which, give me a second to fire up iTunes and pick that one up! Jetboy was followed on the second stage by another band I was not all that familiar with by the name of Z02. While I didn’t catch all of their set, I did like what I heard and they were putting everything they had into it. Next up on the main stage was the forgettable Trixter, followed by the equally forgettable Black Mambooza on the second stage.

Phil Lewis of L.A. Guns

By 2:15 pm, myself and many of my rock n’ roll brethren were jonesing for a band to hit the stage that could quench our thirst for rock (and who managed to have more than one hit in their heyday). That thirst was quenched by none other than the epic L.A. Guns. The Phil Lewis fronted version of the band took to the main stage and did not disappoint. Stacey Blades and company ripped through their hits including “Sleazy Come,” “Over the Edge,” and “Rip and Tear.” The band sounded tight and were easily one of my favorite performances of the day. L.A. Guns are is one of the few bands of the hair metal era that still puts it on the line each and every night, playing each show as if it was the last time they would play to a capacity crowd. Next up on the second stage was Mass. I did not get to check out those guys, as I was preparing to shoot pictures of Kip Winger and company on the main stage. Speaking of Winger, his band took to the main stage at 3:30 pm and delivered an absolutely rocking performance. I could not believe what I was hearing. Winger sounded fantastic and treated the fans to a set that included “Seventeen” and “Headed for a Heartbreak.” I am still in amazement that Winger could deliver such a top notch outing. After wrapping that up, I took a trip to check out Bang Tango. This band has been growing on me the past couple of years and their funk driven rock was taken in by a surprising amount of festival goers. Frontman Joe Lesté proved that he still has vocal chops and that he loves his fans as he spent a lot of time wandering the crowd meeting and greeting the fans on the lawn. Next up was Kix to take the main stage at 4:40 pm, so I made my way through the still growing crowd to the pavilion.

Kix took to the main stage right on time and played to a full pavilion. If you grew up, lived in or experienced the late eighties rock scene in Baltimore, Maryland — Kix is in your blood. The love for these hometown hair metal heroes was evidenced by the plethora of vintage Kix tees in the crowd. Kix managed to turn the heads of many concertgoers who were just arriving during their white hot set. I had missed the band’s performance last year and was informed by a reader that by doing so I had missed one of the best performances that the inaugural M3 event had to offer. I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice, so I hunkered down to soak in the set. I have to admit that I was very impressed and will likely jump at the opportunity to see them again in the future. Kix proved to be one of the more fun bands of the day, mostly due to their charismatic lead singer Steve Whiteman who seem to effortlessly energize the crowd. Highlights of their set included “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “Cold Shower,” and “Girl Money.” After taking in the spectacle that was Kix, I wanted to head over to the second stage to check out what Guns ‘N Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed had going on. Unfortunately I had to prepare to go photograph Vince Neil, so I never got a chance. That was the most disappointing part of my day. Well, if you don’t take heat stroke into consideration.

At 6:15 I found a spot directly in front of the stage to take pictures of Vince Neil. Jammed into a small area with a bunch of other photographers is bad enough when it is ninety degrees, but adding a thick layer of artificial fog takes it up a notch. I have never seen so much fog used on stage. I could barely see Vince and I was about three feet from him. I can only imagine what it looked like from the seats. After the customary three songs I got the hell out of there an enjoyed the rest of his set from the lawn. I am a huge fan of Motley Crue and was looking forward to this performance all day. Vince was absolutely amazing and sounded surprisingly good for someone who has delivered less than spectacular performances in the past. Vince’s set featured material from his covers album, ‘Tattoos and Tequila’ that is due in stores this week. The set also included a string of Crue hits including “Live Wire” and “Dr. Feelgood.” Towards the end of Vince’s set I decided to take a trip over to the second stage to check out Nelson.

Nelson Kicked Off 20th Anniversary Tour at the M3 Rock Festival

I have to admit that I was curious about what these two guys would bring to a festival that was full of testosterone driven bands. What I saw shocked me to my core, Nelson wasn’t that bad and they had Mark Slaughter on lead guitar. What was even more shocking was that the band had a large audience and most of them were guys. It was a strange site to behold. Matt and Gunnar Nelson were very gracious performers and sounded fantastic. Mark Slaughter, who has worked with Nelson before in Scrap Metal, is a fine addition to the band and shreds on guitar. Their energetic set included the hits “After the Rain” and “Love and Affection,” but also featured some of their unreleased new material. The twin brothers told the crowd that the material would be featured on their soon to be released album, ‘The Blonde Leading The Blonde’ on Frontier Records. But enough with Nelson, let’s get to the best performance of the night!

The biggest question in my mind going into Cinderella’s set was how Tom Keifer would sound considering he has had problems with his vocal chords in the past. Any doubt I had of Tom Keifer’s ability to front the band vanished when they hit the stage at 7:40 pm. Tom sounded amazing and although the band started off a bit on the sluggish side, they eventually got it together and the crowd ate it up. Their set featured their hits “Don’t Know What You Got (‘Till It’s Gone),” “Push, Push,” Nobody’s Fool,” and “Shake Me.” Cinderella was hands down the best performance of the day and I would highly recommend that you check them out if they are in your neck of the woods. After the spectacle that was Cinderella, I have to admit that I was winding down for the day — a better description may be that my body was shutting down due to heat exhaustion but I soldiered on. I had no interest in seeing Warrant without lead singer Jani Lane, so I skipped their performance in favor of some water. By now, the lawn had completely filled in with fans and everyone in attendance seemed to be looking forward to the upcoming Scorpions set despite a very long day in the heat.

'Tattoos & Tequila' M3 Rock Festival Style!

It was worth sticking it out as this we would all be treated to the last look at the band as they plan on calling it a career after their current world tour. Scorpions have never been a band that disappoints in a live setting and their appearance at the M3 Rock Festival would be no exception to that rule. The Scorpions took to the stage about thirty-five minutes late and it was noticeable almost immediately that lead singer Klaus Meine was under the weather. This became more widely known when Klaus took out a bit of frustration on some fans in the front row complaining that he wasn’t loud enough. At this point, the frustrated yet gracious frontman explained he had come down with the flu and that rather than disappoint the masses, the band would push on. The majority of fans that surrounded me let out a huge cheer as the legendary band continued. Even with his vocals not at 100%, Klaus Meine and company still managed to put together a set that would rival any of the bands that had performed earlier in the day. Highlights of their set included “Another Piece of Meat” with Vince Neil, “Wind of Change,” “Big City Nights,” and their encore “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”

Another very cool addition to this years M3 Rock Festival was that availability of a VIP ticket. This gave select concertgoers an opportunity to get special seating and to participate in special meet-and-greets with many of the bands. Obviously this was a great opportunity for fans, but what struck me was how excited the bands were to meet their adoring public. As photos were taken, autographs signed and stories exchanged, I could see this was truly a win-win for both artist and fan. In my opinion, it is providing the public with great experiences both on stage and off, and is one of the major factors that has helped M3 Rock Festival grow exponentially in 2010.

The fans are what is fueling the success of what is becoming one of the premiere concerts on the East Coast. The most noticeable change in the festival was that it was far more structured than last year’s event. Fans were able to check out more bands this year because the set times for the main stage and the second stage didn’t overlap as greatly as they had in 2009. The event organizers would be well served to continue with their current formula going forward. The majority of bands delivered phenomenal performances and I feel you would be hard pressed to find a concertgoer that didn’t feel like they got their fill of the bands they love. The M3 Rock Festival has once again brought awareness to a genre of music that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Here’s hoping we get a third round of eighties excess and debauchery. Til’ then… Thank you and good night! — Steve Johnson

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No Rust On This Scrap Metal: An Interview with Mark Slaughter

scrapmetalWhat do you get when you put together a group of multi-platinum frontmen from the ’80s and ’90s that collectively sold 50 million records worldwide and have more hits than you can count? The answer is “Scrap Metal!” This powerhouse project is made up of such familiar faces and voices as Gunnar and Matthew Nelson (Nelson), Mark Slaughter (Slaughter), Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger) and Eric Martin (Mr. Big). Jason Price of Live-Metal.Net recently caught up with Mark Slaughter, one of the bands founding members, to discuss the project’s origin and its promising future, as well as what is on the horizon for Mark’s original band, Slaughter.

Live-Metal: How did the Scrap Metal project come about?

Mark Slaughter: Well, I did a benefit along with Gunnar Nelson and Kelly Keagy for the Nashville Songwriters Association International (www.nashvillesongwriters.com) out here in Nashville. What they do is basically make sure that songwriters get their share of the royalties and et cetera. We went out and played and had some great guests, as well. We got a really, really incredible reaction out of it. I think it was a little better then we thought it would be. Subsequently, Gunnar turned to me during the show and said “Hey, we should call this Scrap Metal!” and that is where it all started.

How did you get hooked up with the Nelsons originally?

Gunnar lives out here in Nashville. I met Gunnar and Matthew when I was in the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, years ago, even before they even had their project done. So we have been running into each other for years.

What can we look forward to when Scrap Metal takes the stage?

Well, it will definitely be the hits. There is definitely a point where if there are ever artists around from other bands, they usually they come up and we will end up playing the hits with them. You never know who you are going to see at the show. It’s a lot of fun.

What members comprise the core of Scrap Metal right now?


It is Gunnar, Matthew, Kelly Keagy, Eric Martin and myself, all lead singers.

Scrap Metal is unique in that way. How big of an adjustment is it to have a group composed of all frontmen?

I think that everyone gets a chance to jump in and play their instruments. I used to be a guitar teacher years ago, so I get a chance to really play guitar instead of just being a frontman, so it is a lot of fun for me, too!

You mentioned that members of other bands may join you. Is there anyone that we can look forward to seeing with Scrap Metal soon?

Well, let’s put it this way, we have had Artimus Pyle from Lynyrd Skynyrd. We have had Jim Peterik from Survivor. He wrote the song for “Hold on Loosely” for .38 Special. Mark Farner from Grand Funk Railroad is going to come out and do a few shows with us. It is an environment of just great artists. So we have that and a lot of the metal guys who are waiting in the wings that we will pull in as well.

Did you know everyone in the band before it formed, Eric Martin for example?

Not really. I had met Eric a couple of times at different shows, but I definitely didn’t know him as well as I do now.

In working with these artists, has anyone surprised you?

I think that it is really cool on how it all works. As far as surprising me, I think that everybody plays a lot better than one would perceive, even that I would perceive. It is really cool when you are playing with a group of guys that really do this.

Can we look for a national tour anytime in the near future?

Well, we have a lot of shows that are coming up. Our agent is actually looking to find what is out there and what we can do in the following and we will just see where it maps out. Obviously I am still doing Slaughter as well, so I will still being doing shows for that, as well. I will be jumping back and forth between the two. We are all still doing our prospective bands, but that would certainly be a blast to do.

Have you been working on any original material for Scrap Metal?

Yeah, we have been writing some stuff. We might be making a record for Japan. It looks like we are going there. We will go over and do some shows in Japan, and we are just looking to get out, play some hits, have some fun and make some smiles!

With a wave of pop culture nostalgia and reality TV around every corner (Rock of Love, for example), has anyone ever approached you or the band about doing a reality show?

Yeah, it has been discussed in several channels, and there is a couple of places we are looking to possibly do something, but nothing is engraved in stone yet. But yes, we are looking to do that.

I saw on your web site (www.markslaughter.net) that you have been working on a score to a film entitled Thunder Over Reno. How did you get involved with that project?

Actually, the director contacted me, and it is something that I truly love doing, film and television. I do a lot of voiceover work, as well.

As you mentioned Slaughter is alive and well, what is happening in regards to Slaughter?

We have written some songs, as well. Obviously, we are still out there doing shows. I just back from doing three shows with Slaughter along with Vince Neil. Dana (Strum) has been playing with Vince Neil, as well. So we are just out there making music and tearing it up! It’s been great.

Slaughter has had a much longer life span than a lot of bands of that era who were your peers. What do you attribute the band’s longevity to?

Well, I think that there is no substance abuse problems. There is not an ego problem. I think that everybody understands that we make music, just like Scrap Metal. There are no egos here. Maybe one of the reasons is that Slaughter is the only band from our genre that wrote and produced our own music. So, I think that there is a confidence there that always to really feel what we are doing.

Are you working on any material for a future release?

Yeah, we have about three or four songs written already. We are just looking to see what makes sense for Slaughter. I don’t really have an outlet or a label that really makes sense to me right now. We’ve got several songs, and we have been trying them out live and they have gone over really well. I don’t really have the answer as to where we are going to be or what label it will be, but we are looking at that.

In closing, is there anything you’d like to say to all of the Mark Slaughter and Scrap Metal fans out there?

I’d just like to say thanks for all the years. It has been 17 for Slaughter, and since the Vinnie Vincent days, it has been 21, so there you have it. I have been very blessed that I have been able to do this and want to thank everybody for giving me the opportunity to do so!

Thanks for your time, Mark!

Thank you!

 

Related links:
www.myspace.com/scrapmetalband
www.markslaughter.net
www.slaughterweb.com
www.thenelsonbrothers.com
www.thunderoverreno.com

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