Archive for rock music interviews

Faithsedge – Giancarlo Floridia: A Metal Odyssey Interview!

Posted in classic rock, Hard Rock, hard rock vocalists, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, interviews, melodic metal, melodic rock, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

Giancarlo Floridia of Faithsedge – Back on April 19th, 2011, Giancarlo Floridia took one enormous plunge into the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal limelight with the release of his band’s debut and self-titled album via Scarlet Records. FAITHSEDGE is now a part of Rock history. Will Giancarlo Floridia and Faithsedge add more chapters to their own Rock history? I’m banking on it. This debut album from Faithsedge combines more delicious Melodic Hard Rock moments, within it’s quality songs, than I can actually count.

With a world-class band of musicians surrounding Giancarlo, Faithsedge are not just another supergroup. They are a band that has created what I consider to be one of the best albums of 2011, in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal combined. With the guidance and experience from the world respected producer and bass guitarist Fabrizio Grossi, the path to Heavy Rock success for Giancarlo has been paved. As a songwriter, lyricist, vocalist and guitarist for Faithsedge, Giancarlo has impressively paid his Rockin’ dues for any and all positive response thrown his way.

Giancarlo is both solidly confident and humble, two attributes necessary for a rising talent in the Rock Music world. Forget about any “newcomer” tag… Giancarlo for all Metal intents and purposes… Rocks. Throw in the obvious fact that Giancarlo is one grounded and a hell of a nice guy and the point is clear: I’m rooting for him each and every step of the Metal way. Recently, Giancarlo took the time to talk to Metal Odyssey about the debut Faithsedge album, it’s memorable songs, influences, life and Rock and Roll. Here is what Giancarlo had to say:

Stone: Giancarlo, how did Faithsedge all fall into place as a band?

Giancarlo: The way everything worked out was great. Being a fan of Fabrizio’s (Fabrizio Grossi) and then working with him was awesome. Alex (De Rosso) and Tony (Morra) the same thing, just great people and great musicians. I had a five song ep that I did with Juan Croucier (x – Ratt) and showed it to Fabrizio after leaving California for a little while and it was enough to get my foot in the door to work with him and then we took it from there. Fab (Fabrizio) got Alex and Tony involved and the rest is history! The chemistry just happened.

(Faithsedge debut/self-titled album cover – Scarlet Records)

Stone: Describe what it’s like to work with Fabrizio Grossi.

Giancarlo: Well he’s a hard worker but he still makes it fun. I mean you have to trust your producer (at least I do) and since I was already a fan of his work it was easy. Everything just kinda fell into place in terms of people involved, lyrics, song idea’s, parts etc.. We knew when something was off or if a chorus or a lyric needed to be better. Like for example, “Let It End This Way” was the last vocal to track and the lyrics I had before were good, only we both knew it didn’t fit the record. So, I went back and wrote it at home in like less than an hour with some different ideas I had. Since he wasn’t a jerk about things it was stress free getting eveything done. If something comes up I just let him know, he’s easy going and easy to work with and freakin talented as hell! I mean that sums the guy up! Just don’t piss him off! (Laughs).

Stone: (Laughs) Okay, I would never consider making Fabrizio mad at me! You’ve mentioned in the past, Joe Lynn Turner is an influence on you. Is it fair of me to have written you may very well be the next Joe Lynn Turner of Hard Rock?

Giancarlo: Wow! Ya know, it’s amazing to see people compare me to him or Geoff Tate or Tony Harnell or one of the top guys in the Hard Rock vocal scene. To be put in that league is um, an awesome thing. All I can really say is I want to be one of the new top Metal and Hard Rock singers and I work really really hard at it. I think with hard work and just doing the best I can as a writer and singer, while trying to progress and get better and better, people are getting the point of what I am going for and that makes me happy. At first I wasn’t sure if people were gonna let me into the scene, being somewhat of a newcomer, but they have and I’m thankful! So Thanks everyone and thank you Stone!

Stone: Gee Metal whiz, thank you Giancarlo! How excited are you by the positive response critics have given your debut album?

Giancarlo: It’s been great, there are a few haters but they dont talk smack on us as musicians or me as a singer, they mostly gripe about my lyrics or whatever! (Laughs). I’d rather write about stuff that is personal or real, rather than try to come up with some sort of stupid gimmick to my lyrics. I mean, if it doesn’t come from my heart whats the point? I know I’ll regret it later. Whats important is that people get something from it and I know they have from the emails and other things I’ve read. But as far as all the good reviews go, yeah, it’s been great. I am proud of everyone involved and to have great reviews is just a plus! So thanks for all the great reviews!

Stone: What guitarist or guitarists do you look upon for inspiration?

Giancarlo: Alex De Rosso cause I suck compared to him! (Laughs). Honestly, I am not much of a lead player and I am just more into riffs and the overall drive of a song or direction of a record. I like progressive stuff like old Queensryche and Dream Theater, Metal like Megadeth and Anthrax, and Arena Rock like 80’s KISSOzzy, Scorpions and Bon Jovi. I like 70’s rock too. So I guess it’s an overal mix of sounds that I like that makes Faithsedge. You can hear a mix of all of that on the cd, thats why you may have a tune thats more Metal and another more Arena Rock, so it depends on my mood or what I feel the album needs without going too far right or left of the overall sound.

Stone: As a songwriter and lyricist for your debut album, which two songs mean the most to you and why?

Giancarlo: If I had to pick two? “Somewhere In Your Heart” and “Faith-Anne”, maybe because they are both about my kids. “Somewhere In Your Heart” most likey because I was able to put almost like a “70’s kinda lyrics” into a somewhat Progressive Rock song and make it work with all the key changes. Plus, I like the postive feel to it. “Faith-Anne” because it almost didn’t make the record. I finished the chorus less than an hour of having to record it. I’ll never forget not being able to get the chorus right and sitting in the Valencia Town Center Mall parking lot and hearing it in my head the day I had to track it. I’ll never forget walking into the studio and telling Fabrizio I had finally got it! I mean, when you write a song to your daughter who you haven’t seen in a while and you know there is a chance she’s gonna hear it when she’s been held away from you, it had to be special. I feel I got that across in the song. Funny thing is, our relationship has been restored since the album has come out and the line I wanted her to hear “We had everyday, remember those days?”, well she did. I’m Proud to be a part of her life again.

Stone: Giancarlo, that is a song and story that goes straight to the heart. Awesome. How is the new material coming along for your second album?

Giancarlo: Great! I’m writing the music for the last song now. Eleven tracks I have along the same lines of Metal, Progressive and Melodic. I have the lyrics almost done for four songs. The titles are “Telling the Sky”, “Save the Promise”, Closer to the Truth” and my favorite song I’ve ever written that’s called “When I lost You”. I am gonna be touching more direct issues on the record like my history with my dad, abuse and dark subject matter with a positive outcome. It’s kinda like what I did with tunes like “Another Chance” and “World Keeps Falling Down” on the first record. I will also do some relationship stuff along with a new storyline song I am working on that I don’t have the title for yet, but I have the all the music done and it’s gona be really cool. Music wise though, I’m not going to change the style. People want good, hard, American Rock albums in the Melodic Rock and Metal community. If certain bands that can don’t wanna give it to ’em, it’s ok, I will! (Laughs). Anyways, I’m hoping I’ll have all the lyrics and hooks all done within a year, that way I don’t stress it and the lyrics come out equally as good, just as it did with the first album.

Faithsedge: From L to R: Tony Morra, Giancarlo Floridia, Fabrizio Grossi, Alex De Rosso.

Stone: In your opinion, has Melodic Hard Rock and Melodic Heavy Metal made a comeback these past few years in the U.S.?

Giancarlo: Well it’s awesome bands like KISSMaiden and Priest still doing it. I don’t see too many American new comers doing it, I mean a few are but most of them are from over sea’s or partner with musicians from other countries. Maybe it’s cause they really have a love for this kind of music and don’t care about what people think. Where as in the States you get more of “whats trendy today” is what’s hot! Llllllaaaaaaaaammmme!

Stone: I agree, very lame! On a scale of one through ten, how much of a perfectionist were you while creating the Faithsedge debut album?

Giancarlo: (Laughs) I abused myself, I was one hundred percent happy with every lyric and melody other than one song which I could have done better on the chorus, in my opinion it’s by far the most cliché chorus on the cd. However, I love the verses and the bridge before the solo. Oh well, I’ll make it up on the second album and no, I’m not saying what song it is! (Laughs). I know I’m just wrong huh?

Stone: You’re not wrong, it’s called keeping the fans in suspense! If Faithsedge could tour with two current bands of your choice tomorrow, what bands would they be?

Giancarlo: Anyband that kicks ass that would give us exposure in the market of Hard Rock and Metal. I would love to do some Europe gigs if I could too!

Stone: Great answer! How true is this statement: “music mirrors life”.

Giancarlo: Thanks, I am gonna steal that for the next cd! Just kidding. I mean, in my life music has been the thing that I’ve connected with so often, with many people, wether if thats someone I meet thats a fan or it’s a genre or a rare band that I like that not everyone knows about. It’s how I connect with people thats all I can really say! Did you come up with that saying?

Stone: Um, well, I probably did come up with that saying. I think. (Laughs). Has Giancarlo’s wish come true with your incredible debut album or is this just the beginning?

Giancarlo: It’s nice when I get magazines from Germany, Italy, France and the States and I see myself in them. I do hope it takes off more and more of course, to where it becomes huge and we can play out live a lot and I can make more of a career of it. And I do want to say this, it’s not over till you decide it’s over and listening to negative and destructive people is a big mistake! I don’t care how close they were to me or how they were supposed to be my family or whatever. For once in my life, other than my kids, I’ve found something where as I put in all my efforts that the result has shown. The proof is in the album and shows that the doubters were wrong. When you believe in yourself and work hard you can do great things. Thats not just in music thats just in any goal in life!

Stone: Well said Giancarlo, well said. I wish nothing but the very best of success for your band and career! You Rock my Metal brutha!

Giancarlo: No problem and thank you Stone!

* For more info on FAITHSEDGE, just click on the links below:

FAITHSEDGE – Official Website

FAITHSEDGE – facebook

LONG LIVE GIANCARLO FLORIDIA.

LONG LIVE FAITHSEDGE.

Stone.

Earth – A Metal Odyssey Interview With Adrienne Davies

Posted in avant-garde music, doom metal, drone metal, experimental music, experimental rock, interviews, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

ADRIENNE DAVIES OF EARTH – When a band can stop you in your tracks by making you slow down and think about their music, that respective band is standing out amongst the crowd. Step in… Earth. This is not a Doom Metal band that is going to thunder stump their songs through live sets, nor are they about churning out songs for wide-spread commercial consumption. Instead, Earth is a band that is representative of their music and shows respect for song, putting forth awareness to the brilliance of experimental, drone and Doom Rock. With an existence that encompasses over twenty years and six albums, founding member, songwriter and guitarist Dylan Carlson has crafted Earth into a non-conforming band of widely respected musicians.

One of these skilled musicians is Adrienne Davies, the drummer and percussionist that has been a focal point of Earth for ten years and counting. With the current release of their newest studio album, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I (Southern Lord Records) on February 22, 2011, Earth has only strengthened their respect among the Rock Music community for their unique style and sound. The repetitive beats and drone tempo, combined with the atmospheric tones of Earth can lead the listener to wherever place they can imagine or want to be. That’s what I embrace most strongly about the music of Earth… and this band takes you on a slow ride, cause sometimes I like to take it easy.

Adrienne Davies took the time recently to talk about Earth’s new album, how their songs come together, drumming, Earth’s diversity album to album, her fellow band members and even Slayer. Soft spoken, polite and as friendly as a favorite cousin, Adrienne was a true delight to interview. The love she has for music, Earth and Dylan Carlson flowed from her answers with ease… and Adrienne presented herself with a trueness that I can absolutely respect. Here is what Adrienne had to say:

Stone: Organic, atmospheric, experimental, drone and Doom Metal are styles used to describe the music of Earth. What is your interpretation of Earth’s sound?

Adrienne: It’s more intricate than it seems. Earth has been around for over twenty years, I’ve been in the band for ten years. You have to look at this band’s history, album to album. The first few were specifically Heavy Doom or had Metal bass lines to everything. “Hex” (from 2005) was a very strategic departure from heavy for heavy sakes. The trombone (played by Steve Moore) gave a western soundtrack feel of “Hex”. I’ve learned, melodies that are least contrived can be the most dark than most of them. Our new album is organic with an English Folk vibe to it. This album centers around drone and repetition, it has a soothing quality.

Stone: In your own view, who really are the “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light”?

Adrienne: Dylan (Carlson) has credit to that title! Conceptually, this album title can represent crazy, old Medieval magic from years past. Musically, we’re simplifying and letting open spaces fill. We (Dylan and I) have no computers or cell phones, we’re stepping away from technology and going back to times when things were simpler. It’s like being the park in the middle of the city.

Stone: In the event Earth’s new album was to have been named after a country, which one would it be and why?

Adrienne: Album wise, “Hex” was very much Native American, with an Idaho, Montana and West Coast Indian vibe. I’m gonna take it literally and go with Old England, somewhere towards Wales, with grassy knolls and cottages. I like old throwback English Folk bands, the fairy tales and magic of all that.

Stone: You would certainly like living in Northern New England then. Vermont, New Hampshire, rural Massachusetts and Maine pretty much are this country’s representation of Old England.

Adrienne: You know, I never thought about that and you are right! New England can resemble Old England in ways.

Stone: Can you describe what it’s like during a brainstorm session with your band mates?

Adrienne: Generally, the last two albums, especially this one, we brainstormed. We come up with riffs and song structures. We want to leave some parts as improv. The drums and guitars are the anchor of our songs of where we want to go. We’ll pull in the cello, along with counter lead melody instruments that are essential to our lineup, the Wurlitzer, trombone and pedal steel.

Stone: How far has Earth come to creating their ultimate signature album with “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I”?

Adrienne: Well, let’s see, it’s never what you think it is. It’s in the ear of the beholder. We try to leave it up to other people to decide. What I’m comfy about with this new album, is it’s a new direction for us in many ways. The studio has always been about obsessive perfection and moments of release. This time we were carefree, very creative and able to improvise. Creating this new album was obstruction free and the best time ever for us in the studio. Our songs get a little slower live, so most of these songs represent what Earth is about live. We seemed to capture what we do with our live shows on this new album.

Stone: It’s interesting that your songs get played slower live.

Adrienne: Our songs change dramatically live!

Stone: Is the band collectively on the same page when it comes to other musical influences and musical interests?

Adrienne: When your stuck on tour with the same band and don’t kill each other, you have commonalities! We have a kaleidoscope to draw from with influences. Lori (Goldston) can play cello with an avant-garde and experimental style, making it sound like an electrical instrument, it’s like having a second guitar in the band. Karl (Blau) has a Rhythm and Blues feel with his bass. We take all these influences, put them together and hopefully get the result we are looking for.

Stone: How would you describe contemporary music to a visitor from another world?

Adrienne: (laughs) Contemporary good or bad music?

Stone: I’m glad you said that!

Adrienne: I’m not a fan of current contemporary music. VH1 and MTV are beyond un-listenable and it’s poisoning the ears of people who listen to this music. I would compare it to alphabet soup, with too many letters that are all broken.

Stone: If you could listen to just one Metal band while being stranded on an island, what band would it be?

Adrienne: Deep Purple is okay. If it’s only one Metal band, can I have all their albums?

Stone: Well, alright.

Adrienne: It would be Slayer! Slayer for certain. They are and always have been my Metal band! I like my share of Metal, it’s always in my heart.

Stone: When were you first exposed to playing drums or any instrument for that matter?

Adrienne: I came from a music oriented family. My mom had a band and came from a German family of musicians. I grew up the only girl with four brothers, one brother and three step-brothers. I first started playing drums in my fifth grade school band. At this same time of year, I was given a sixties Ludwig set of drums, a blue oyster color that was not in the best of shape. I fought my brothers off of it! I was happy that I didn’t play the flute, just because I’m a female. I did play guitar for awhile. I’ve become more serious in terms of drums, percussion and rhythm in the last eight years.

Stone: Well, you have certainly represented yourself quite well with drumming for Earth.

Adrienne: Thank you. To this day, there are not a lot of female drummers. Only recently there has been a burst  of females playing drums. There’s no real role models for female drummers to look up to and we don’t get the respect of our male peers in the drum world.

Stone: That’s a shame, really.

Adrienne: It’s a notion that the best drummers out there play two hundred beats per minute and twenty minute solo’s. It’s really the musicianship that’s essential to being a good drummer. On the other hand, with guitar and Metal, speed is equated to technical proficiency with artistry. It’s what I don’t play and knowing what not to fill a song with, having a less is always more approach for drums and percussion that represents my style. I like to make it dramatic, rather than pummel a song to death. I want to play the technical side of drums, while always serving the music.

Stone: What does the touring schedule look like for Earth in 2011?

Adrienne: We’re looking at six weeks in Europe, then having a month off. Then it’s off to Mexico City, we’ll then hit the U.S. West Coast, down to the Southeast and head up to the Northeast U.S. in the Fall and end of year. The dates and venues are to be determined. We’ll be playing clubs. Who can fill arena’s anymore?

Stone: It’s an entirely different climate now for bands to play arena’s.

Adrienne: It sure is. Even with Ireland’s bad economy, touring Ireland didn’t affect our ticket sales. The big bands are really hurting for record and concert sales.

Stone: Will there ever be a female President of the United States in your lifetime? If so, who would you want it to be?

Adrienne: I’m at a loss on that one, yikes! Can I nominate a non-politician?

Stone: Of course!

Adrienne: Chrissie Hynde.

Stone: Cool choice.

Adrienne: (laughs) Very darn close to Hillary Clinton huh? Not that she (Chrissie Hynde) would want this to happen. She comes from a working class background. She could stand up to the big boys. Chrissie would do a real good job in The White House.

Stone: What are the events that take place or need to happen, for npr (National Public Radio) to stream “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I” in it’s entirety for fans to hear free, like they did?

Adrienne: It’s almost a mystery to me! We’re incredibly grateful, npr goes back to “Hex”, they were really behind us with our music and pushing that album as well. It’s great, it’s awesome! I can’t comprehend how big it all really is. On “Bees” (The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull) we had a guest musician, a Jazz guitarist named Bill Frisell who had an audience bigger than we’re used to having. I think maybe through his connection npr picked us up. iTunes are going to be doing a sale two weeks before our new album is released, they’re putting it on their Rock page! We’re honored by that.

Stone: That is just fantastic and well deserved, with all of the attention your new album is receiving.

Adrienne: Thank you. There’s so many bands and so many choices out there. Many are here today and gone tomorrow. We’ve been lucky. I’ve known Dylan (Carlson) for half of my life, he’s got crazy bizarre talent! Dylan has been around and making music for over twenty years and I thank my lucky stars everyday that he’s my man.

* For more info on EARTH, just click the link below:

Thrones And Dominions.com – EARTH

LONG LIVE EARTH.

Stone.

ANA KEFR – A Metal Odyssey Interview!

Posted in Extreme Metal, Heavy Metal, interviews, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, progressive metal, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

Upon my first complete listen through of Ana Kefr’s The Burial Tree (II), I realized many things. Firstly, there can’t possibly be any ego’s happening within a band such as this? Musical parts cannot “connect together” in such an uncommon way of effectiveness for there to be any indecisiveness amongst Ana Kefr. Secondly, this bands music changes like the seasons throughout The Burial Tree (II), while never lessening their firm grip on an all-embracing Metal sound, while threading in an Extreme Metal style. Thirdly, it is not advisable to pigeonhole Ana Kefr into any one exclusive Metal genre. From Progressive instrumentation with woodwinds to Black and Death Metal vocals, Ana Kefr provides the listener with a vast landscape of Metal and musical styles.

Lastly, this is a smart band. Why? Ana Kefr obviously does not hang out with status quo and their philosophical lyrics are written to not just make you ponder, their lyrics make you think. Yes, there are many up and coming Metal bands of all genres being heard around the globe, only Ana Kefr isn’t cookie cutting their way to the top. When an interview opportunity with Ana Kefr arose for Stone, the obvious choice was to accept it.

Ana Kefr is a band that avoids what I find annoying in Progressive Metal. This band does not play with bothersome excessiveness, nor is there ever a chance they will ever cater to the plastic side of the music industry. Ana Kefr is a band that plays together and a band that does interviews together. Let me introduce you to their names, then indulge in what Ana Kefr had to say:

ANA KEFR:

Rhiis D. Lopez – lead vocals, keyboards & clarinet

Kyle Coughran – rhythm guitar & vocals

Brendan Moore – lead guitar, saxophone & vocals

Alphonso Jiminez – bass

Shane Dawson – drums & percussion

* Ana Kefr originate from Riverside, California. A May 3rd, 2011 release date is scheduled for The Burial Tree (II), on Ana Kefr’s own imprint label: Muse Sick.

Stone: Which took longer to write, the lyrics or the music for “The Burial Tree (II)”?

Rhiis: The Burial Tree’s writing and rehearsals began around the beginning of November 2009, shortly after the departure of our former lead guitarist and drummer. Kyle and I basically laid to rest about 13 songs that had been written then, what we had originally thought was going to be the material for Volume 2. Instead of holding onto these songs, we basically started from scratch. “In the House of Distorted Mirrors” was the first song we wrote when the band had been stripped down to just the two of us, “Ash-Shahid,” “Paedophilanthrope” and “Monody” were written around then, but they were a bit different – the material we write tends to undergo multiple revisions. The only song that is on The Burial Tree that was an idea already written is “Thaumatrope,” but that song also underwent some changes when we secured new musicians who were able to do more with their instruments. When Brendan, Alphonso and Shane became a part of the band, we brought the material we’d written to them and they added their own touch to the songs, and then as a full writing team we cranked out the rest of the material over the span of about one year. It probably would have taken a shorter amount of time, but Kyle and I had to first catch up the new guys on how to perform our older material before we could focus on writing for a new album. Once they were caught up, we also needed to get back into a routine of playing shows, and that also takes time, energy and resources away from concentrating on writing an album of new material. The last song written was “Bathos and the Iconoclast,” which was completed probably a month or two before we entered the studio. I have a feeling the writing process will move faster next time, mostly because everyone is caught up now and we’ve gotten used to the way we all operate.

ANA KEFR – The Burial Tree (II) album cover, which was created by the Dutch artist Bianca Van Der Werf and is aptly titled: The Watcher.

Rhiis: Lyrically, it all began with a ton of notes, and it remained as pages and pages of notes and ideas until about 2 months before we entered the studio. I wanted the music to be complete before I invested time and thought into what the vocals would do, so I just kept organizing and adding to this pile of notes. I went through a lot of ideas, many of which never made it onto the album, the whole writing process took probably 6 months. I knew that I wanted this album to be ridiculously layered with ideas and meaning, so that you could keep going back and re-discovering new things if you really paid attention. I’m really happy with the album, I feel like all the hard work put into every note and word has really paid off.

Stone: When you sit down to write the skeleton of a song, which instrument is it initially played on?

Kyle: Well, there are many ways we go about writing a song. I usually start by using the instrument of the mind to create an idea or feeling in particular, then from there I transfer it to my guitar. There have been many incidents where this process accrued on The Burial Tree. I also just like sitting down with another band member to create a song, either way it never falls short of Ana Kefr.

Stone: Which is that “one song” on “The Burial Tree (II)” that you feel the strongest emotional attachment to?

Alphonso: If I had to pick one song, it would have to be “In the House of Distorted Mirrors.” It was the first challenging song I had to go through. I remember going home and being worried about my skills. I had just joined the band and I didn’t want to make them feel like they made a wrong choice. So I had to practice more than usual. After having that song on lock…I knew it was going to get a little easier. I was wrong.

Stone: What non-Metal music influences and/or inspirations do you have to share? Be it bands, musicians, albums or songs? What band or musician is your greatest Metal influence?

Shane: Well, I have many influences. but if I had to pick one it would be Mike Portnoy. His drumming style is what got me into metal. Without his style of playing, I dont know what kind of music I would be playing.

Shane: The main musical influence that is not metal would be Frank Zappa. In my opinion he is one of the greatest musicians ever. “Joe’s Garage” and “Apostrophe” are two of my favorite albums of all time, along with “Dark side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd and “Colors” by Between the Buried and Me. But if you asked me to refer one artist for you to check out, it would be Zappa. Anything from his work is a musical adventure.

Stone: Woodwinds add another element of sound to “The Burial Tree (II)”, which only enhances an already progressive style your band exhibits. Are there other non-conventional Metal Music instruments you are considering to use, on future Ana Kefr albums?

Brendan: I was thinking about adding a slide whistle, kazoo, and a triangle in the next album. Actually that’s not true, I’ll probably stick to what I know how to play since triangle and kazoo lessons are so expensive. However I’m sure there will be some other obscure instrumentation on the next album, as well as a little more saxophone and clarinet than what’s on The Burial Tree (II). But, for now, I am simply focused on promoting this album in the meantime. When it comes to writing, the guitar parts and arrangements will be in place before anything else is brought into the mix.

Stone: If you could travel through time, what band or musician would you go to see performing live and why?

Kyle: I would travel back in time and examine the work and performance of Johann Sebastian Bach because of the wonderful music he has created. He is one of my big I’s.

Stone: What does the future hold for Ana Kefr touring?

Alphonso: We can not wait to get out there and tour for months, but we must start slow and build our tour in time. We will do the weekend shows, move up to a small northern California week tour, then travel a little farther from home. We will do our best to get out as much as we can. If we do this right, we could land a spot on a bigger tour.

Stone: How do you take care of your voice? Do you have any superstitions when it comes to vocal preparation?

Rhiis: I actually don’t take care of my voice by doing anything out of the ordinary. I’ve been making weird noises since I was a little kid, so I think my throat is used to the abuse. If I do get hoarse, I’ll stop talking for a day to let my vocal chords heal, but I usually don’t have any problems. I’ve had some ginger root, coffee and tea in the vocal booth when I’m screaming my brains out, but nothing seems to make a difference. I don’t have any superstitions regarding vocal preparation, but screaming along to Bloodbath on the way to a show or the studio seems to get me warmed up.

Stone: With so much chaos happening in the world around us, what would a soundtrack for mankind sound like in 2011, as performed by Ana Kefr?

Brendan: Honestly, that’s what I believe The Burial Tree sounds like. People often ask me to describe our sound, in which case I will reply with “if a brutal metal band wrote an epic movie soundtrack to humanity as we know it.” Our album encompasses our world and humanity as a whole in terms of the absolute feeling you get. It is organized chaos that stretches from the darkest tragedy and aggression to some of the most beautiful moments you can imagine; I feel it is similar to real life. Mankind is capable of absolute evil but also absolute good and plenty of gray. It is not often that there is a sharp contrast between the two. Tragic events, as well as noble ones, often contain a series of scenarios that lead to them. But that is not always the case. Sometimes it can take an unexpected turn for the best or for the worst. The music of The Burial Tree is similar in terms of how it leads into some of these starkly different moments. Often there is a flow from our heaviest and darkest moments that build into a beautiful moment. But just when you think you have it figured out, you are hit with the unexpected. The album (much like real life) can seem very chaotic and unpredictable yet, when it is all said and done, you are left reflecting on what you just experienced. It’s hard to imagine anything else that makes as much sense.

Stone: Thank you Ana Kefr for sharing your thoughts and insights collectively, as a band.

To read my complete album review of Ana Kefr’s The Burial Tree (II), (posted on February 9, 2011), just click the large header link below:

ANA KEFR – “The Burial Tree (II)” Progressively Extreme and Resists Metal Boundaries

LONG LIVE ANA KEFR.

Stone.

Greg Hampton Of The New Czars – A Metal Odyssey Interview And Overview!

Posted in Guitar, guitarists, Hard Rock, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, progressive rock, rock and roll, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

GREG HAMPTON – What makes “the complete package” when it comes to being a musician? Everyone and their second cousin’s extended family would have a different answer for that. My answer is to look at Greg Hampton, the founder, lead vocalist, songwriter and guitarist for The New Czars. Trust me, I’ve probably left out many more Rockin’ hats that Greg wears in directing The New Czars to their Hard Rock heights… he is all about “hands on” with an old school work ethic, approach and mindset.

To incorporate relevance into a modern Hard Rock sound, while weaving a bit of experimentation into his music, Greg Hampton has seemed to tap into a realm of Heavy Music that has for too long been “the best kept secret” in the Rock Music world. Where the likes of King Crimson, RUSHNine Inch Nails and Tool (to name a few) have led the way and reaped the rewards for exemplary dives into Progressive, Industrial, Alternative and Experimental Heaviness, there are those “other” musicians and bands that have followed with the same attention to detail towards the Avant-garde. Greg Hampton and his band, The New Czars, are carrying that exploratory tradition onward, to shatter the normalcy that seems to blanket the Rock Music that has invaded our mainstream and subconscious.

The New Czars debut album, Doomsday Revolution, (Samson Records), was released on September 14, 2010… to an enthusiastic response amongst critics from the mainstream to the underground. I certainly applauded the diverse approach to what Greg Hampton set out to accomplish on Doomsday Revolution, the combination of music influences from Industrial to Funk are evident and transforms into what I would convey as… Hard Rock Cool and Hard Rock new… 2010 style.

Doomsday Revolution is sold just about anywhere… from itunes to Amazon. After The New Czars introduced the world to Doomsday Revolution, Greg Hampton wasn’t about to sit idle… it’s just not his style or character. I even question if Greg could spell the word idle… he’s that loyal and enthusiastic about the music he loves. Greg was soon busy on compiling and writing songs for the forthcoming EP from The New Czars, titled: Mining The Ruins. This EP is scheduled for a November 30, 2010 release.

On September 22, 2010, I received a very special surprise in my email inbox… an mp3 sent by Greg Hampton, it was his cover song of the ultra classic – Hey Joe. Now, you can either “cover” a song or you can cover a song while adding that “extra special” Rock ‘N’ Roll dust to it. Greg Hampton obviously had a jar full of special Rock ‘N’ Roll dust, just waiting for his cover of Hey Joe. I can remember vividly, the first time I listened to this mp3, on my computer that night. Honestly, I was stunned. Greg’s vocals were unreal… no, his guitar licks were unreal… no, it was both.

Greg was never trying to sound like or remotely copy the late and legendary Jimi Hendrix… Greg was only paying tribute to a Rock Star who started it all for the Hard Rock and arguably, the Heavy Metal movement, as we all know and love it today. As Greg expressed to me, “I have been a lifelong fan of Jimi Hendrix. With the fortieth anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s passing approaching, I’ve been listening to a lot of his music. I wanted to do something to commemorate Jimi Hendrix on this important anniversary, through song. This cover of Hey Joe I’ve been working on for quite some time and I am very proud of it. I hope the fans will appreciate this cover of Hey Joe and like it as much as I do.”

Greg decided to give the “world premiere” of his cover of Hey Joe to Metal Odyssey… and on September 26, 2010, this amazing song was available for the world to hear. Metal Odyssey will forever cherish this moment… I can’t state just how honored I felt to have Greg put his cover of Hey Joe in my hands first. (Metal ostrich bumps moment, whoa). Greg played all instruments on Hey Joe, with the exception of drums. Chris Collier, (The New Czars alumni and multi-instrumentalist), was the drummer.

For those of you who may have missed out on hearing this ultra-terrific cover of Hey Joe, please feel free to click on the very large header below. I have a suspicion you might dig it:

World EXCLUSIVE Premiere – The Jimi Hendrix Experience “HEY JOE” Is Covered By THE NEW CZARS! LISTEN HERE FIRST!

Another exciting and historic Rock Music project that Greg Hampton has been working on, is his upcoming Tommy Bolin “Tribute” album he’s co-producing with Warren Haynes, along with associate producer/mixer Fabrizio Grossi. Once again, it is the genuine excitement and infectious urgency, in the voice of Greg, that let’s me know just how much he loves Rock ‘N’ Roll… and his allegiance to the late and great Tommy Bolin. If you’re to measure a man’s character, based on the number of his friends, well, the list below tells all about Greg Hampton.

Here is a rundown, of the beyond fabulous Rock musicians that have already completed sessions or are committed to this Tommy Bolin “Tribute” album: Steve Lukather, Warren Haynes, Brad Whitford, Nels Cline, Glenn Hughes, Oz Noy, John Scofield, Prairie Prince, Slash, Billy Gibbons, Ben Harper, Tom Morello, Derek Trucks, Steve Morse, John Scofield and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. I do apologize, if I missed any names here… this is as up to the minute as I have available.

By now, you should agree that Greg Hampton is a veteran of the Rock Music industry. Working alongside the likes of Alice Cooper, he wrote songs and played lead guitar for 2008’s Along Came A Spider. To say that Greg Hampton holds the deepest respect and admiration for the legendary Alice Cooper is factual. Just the tone in Greg’s voice alone, when he speaks of Alice Cooper, tells the whole story. Greg speaks of not just writing songs for Alice Cooper. As I’ve interpreted it, from our conversations, he speaks of creating works of art for him. One listen to Along Came A Spider and you probably will agree. I know I sure do.

In October of 2009, Lita Ford returned, only this time there was some wickedness involved… Lita’s Wicked Wonderland album that is. Lita Ford had not released a studio album since 1995’s Black, regardless if you loved or hated Wicked Wonderland, the real Queen of American Hard Rock and Heavy Metal was back. Greg Hampton co-produced, mixed and played a variety of instruments for Wicked Wonderland.

As Greg has reflected on his working on the Wicked Wonderland album, he has done so with the upmost pride in it’s music that he helped create. Certainly, there have been some critics that have put down this album since it’s release, thus pushing Greg Hampton’s buttons. It is understandable, this album Greg Hampton worked tirelessly on, any album that has his signature on it he rightfully should defend. I’ve told Greg, it’s all a matter of personal interpretation, that music is art and open to critiques. I just hope Greg can forgive me, for my not liking Wicked Wonderland.

In 2007, Greg Hampton put together an “All-Star” band if you will, of musicians who seem to carry the same open mindedness to music exploration as he. Enter… Science Faxtion. Greg Hampton provides guitar and vocals, with Buckethead, Brian “Brain” Mantia, Tobe “Tobotius” Donohue and of course, Bootsy Collins. In October of 2008, they released Living On Another Frequency.

Of course, there are many other projects (both past and present) that Greg Hampton has been involved with as both a musician and producer. I’ve attempted to cover some of Greg’s works above, to give you a better insight and understanding of this tremendously skilled musician. In the past couple of months, I am very appreciative to have spoken with Greg Hampton, on many occasions. Greg’s candor and friendly approach to conversation does not get taken for granted by me… I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated speaking to him. Here is what Greg had to say, with some questions I asked of him:

Stone: Doomsday Revolution, your debut album with The New Czars, describe how excited and proud you are of this album… as you rightfully should be.

Greg: Very pleased! I went in with no set of rules. Be it good, bad or indifferent, people can perceive this album the way they want. I’m happy with it. I do hope people dig it still! Going in there were no pre-conceptions or guidelines. I’ve already had a little criticism about this album having uninspired lyrics.

Stone: What? Uninspired lyrics? Are you kidding me?

Greg: You know what, I have to please me first. At the end of the day, I’ve learned not to get too caught up in the reviews. I used to want to search out the guy and kick his ass but I’ve matured and I’m not like that anymore.

Stone: Is there a significant meaning in your band being named The New Czars?

Greg: No, not really. I was stuck in traffic, on Sunset Boulevard, on a Friday night and this band name just popped into my head! This album is a changing of the guard, musically, I guess. It has Metal and Progressive elements… and we’re all pretty good players doing it!

Stone: The more I listen to your vocals, which I admire, the more I hear some Ian Gillan influence. Am I off track, right on or kind of close in my opinion?

Greg: I’m more influenced by Glenn Hughes. Glenn is a great friend of mine. He came in to sing on a Tommy Bolin tribute album we’re doing. I’ve known Glenn for years. I had Trapeze albums when I was like, twelve or fifteen years old! One of my most favorite Glenn Hughes album is “Soul Mover”, Dave Navarro and Chad Smith played on it. It’s too bad more people don’t know about this record, it’s probably over their heads or something.

Stone: What is your idea or prediction of a Doomsday Revolution?

Greg: Well, I mean, the irony is my birthday is on December twenty first, it lands on the end of the world. As I blow out the candles, we’ll wait and see if we all implode! (laughs)

Stone: (laughs)

Greg: There’s a lot of conceptual things coming out. I’ve been researching and reading about more things, all of the elements I take in have opened my mind. “Doomsday Revolution” is no conceptual album though.

Stone: What motivated you to write “Why Do U Have 2 Lie”?

Greg: My good friend Billy Bob Thornton, he made a movie called “Daddy and Them”. It was an autobiographical situation about his life, a story that Billy told me about, it was about recollections of Billy’s life. That’s all I have to say about it really, I can’t elaborate any further.

Stone: “Brush With The Devil” takes me on an old school ride which I don’t mind taking. Was there an old school intent here, on your part?

Greg: I don’t know, in the early ’80’s, it was Pop stuff for me. My influence lies in the ’70’s, with the Beatles, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. This song has an interesting meter and chord progression, I had to deliberate as how to sing it, with the melody over it and the chorus over it. It was a challenge.

Stone: “Time Stops” has many cool elements going on and is my favorite song on Doomsday Revolution. Which song is your personal favorite?

Greg: I like so many of them, “Crotch Critters”, “Don’t Watch Me”, “Time Stops” and “Why Do U Have 2 Lie”. The bridge on this song I could never get a handle on. I had the basic chords down. Paul came in and seemed to gel it all together. The initial verse came together on the piano, then I worked with the electric sitar for the basic elemental music. It’s hard to know! I wrote 25 songs, recorded nine or ten instrumentals, with another two or three vocal songs and two instrumentals on the digital bundle. Plus there are remixes on the digital bundle too. There are so many songs I like.

Stone: It’s understandable, Greg.

Greg: I can’t approach my music like when I write for Alice Cooper or Lita Ford, it just doesn’t make sense. They are different types of music. The instrumental things I really enjoy, it brings me thinking about Rush, I’m a big fan of Rush. I love the counter melodies Rush played. You know, I listen to the songs and re-learn my vocal bits. It’s a challenge singing on some of these songs! It’s the heat of the moment on recording them. I really do like neurodelica, it’s a crimsonesque (King Crimson like) instrumental. It’s not even on the record, it’s on the digital bundle.

Stone: Between Paul (Ill), David (Moreno) and yourself, there is a cornucopia of music styles you all are very well versed at playing. Can “Doomsday Revolution” be considered the consensus favorite style of music you guys really want to play?

Greg: There are so many different and eclectic musical variables in this new album. There are influences from Nine Inch Nails, the Beatles, some Jeff Beck fusion, Rush, King Crimson, Reggae and Funk. The song “Doomsday Revolution” has a funky Rock thing going on. I’m into too many types of music to be narrowing it down to what I play. When I’m driving the car, it could be Jimi Hendrix and Rammstein that I’m listening to! “Time Stops” has a Steely Dan-ish vibe happening with the verses and sitar parts. After “Time Stops” the songs get a little heavier though.

Stone: Having been influenced by King Crimson, describe how you felt having Adrian Belew contribute to “Doomsday Revolution”?

Greg: I always wanted to work with Adrian. Yet, I’m a huge fan of Rush too! I always liked Adrian’s solo stuff, I dug it all my life. I’ve always had a Beatles influence too. It’s more of a broad based influence with Adrian, he is a multi-instrumentalist like me. Adrian and King Crimson have held a depth of broad based musicianship over the years and that’s incredible. Adrian made me feel good that he compared our stuff to Nine Inch Nails and heavier King Crimson. Adrian is a great human being and an amazing singer too.

Stone: Being a multi-music talent, what is your favorite instrument to play and why?

Greg: Probably guitar. Right now, there are four sitting around me. It’s an immediate thing, I turn on my little amp on my desk and start writing and jamming.

Metal Odyssey Note: (Greg now picks up one of his guitars and breaks out into the opening riff from Alice Cooper’s – “Vengeance Is Mine”… and it kicks ass too).

Greg: “Vengeance Is Mine”… I wrote this song for Alice Cooper’s Along “Came A Spider” album. I never played that riff in my life, then one morning, with no coffee and barely awake, that riff just popped in my head as I was halfway down the stairs. This riff was of the instant gratification variety, I had three cups of coffee and finished the whole thing! All the main music was written and done before I recorded with Alice Cooper for “Along Came A Spider”. Most of the guitar parts I never changed a note. That album is all basically from the original first take. Don’t screw with it if it’s already good, why reinvent it?

Stone: That makes sense to me.

Greg: When Alice asked me what I had for “Along Came A Spider”, I had “Vengeance Is Mine” first. Eric Singer came over to my house and I played it for him, he said, “that’s the song man”! Eric played the drum fills, we did two takes on drums and then Eric walked out the door to tour Australia with KISS. Things went so well with it because I’ve known Eric since ’88, so I can communicate with him. I spent fifteen or sixteen hours of tracking this entire song, (“Vengeance Is Mine”), Alice’s vocals, mixing and everything else.

Stone: Wow, Greg. Most people would never know just how much time is spent in making a song, let alone an entire album.

Greg: I know.

Stone: What was it like to record with Alice Cooper on “Along Came A Spider”?

Greg: I’ve been a huge fan of his since I was a kid. Alice is the greatest guy and his stories are great! After so many years and probably thirty albums or so, there are so many stories. It was a gratifying and defining sort of experience for me. I wanted to deliver and I did. Rick Derringer and Pat Travers were big influences on me, so working with these guys over the years along with Alice… it’s check it off my bucket list so to speak! Alice would produce me! Danny Saber, Alice and I wrote all the songs for “Along Came A Spider”. Alice is a true professional and a legend. His memory retention of what he just sang is astounding! He’s a brilliant guy and a wonderful human being.

Stone: Does Alice Cooper belong in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

Greg: That’s a criminal thing, really. There wouldn’t be a lot of these people in the industry without Alice Cooper. It’s just stupid and ridiculous that he’s not in there. Obviously, somebody in that committee over there has it out for him. It’s embarrassing to all of us in this business and it’s pathetic. You would think that someone on that committee would have the balls to do the right thing. It’s such a political mess going on with that place.

* For more info on The New Czars, just click on the link below:

THE NEW CZARS – myspace music

The New Czars

From left to right: Paul Ill (bass), Greg Hampton (guitar), David “Chilli” Moreno (drums)

LONG LIVE GREG HAMPTON & THE NEW CZARS.

Thank You, Greg.

Stone.

KEV MOORE – A METAL ODYSSEY INTERVIEW!

Posted in classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, punk rock music, rock 'n' roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

(Photo courtesy of Kev Moore archives)

The roots of Rock ‘N’ Roll. That’s what has shaped and molded the Rock, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal we all listen to today, including their respective sub-genres. Here at Metal Odyssey, I always try to acknowledge the bands and musicians who have been a part of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s evolution. Many bands and musicians that have carved out their own place in Rock ‘N’ Roll history may not be cracking the Billboard charts or walking the Hollywood red carpets. Still, these bands and musicians hold the same weight of importance for me, especially when their contributions to the history of Rock ‘N’ Roll are of quality, sincerity and time tested credibility. These are the bands and musicians who don’t create music because they feel they have to, they create based on their genuine love they have for Rock ‘N’ Roll. Step right up… Kev Moore.

From Punk Rock to Pub Rock with Rock, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in between, Kev Moore has played it and lived it. Kev Moore is currently recording his new album, Blue Odyssey and was very considerate to take the time to answer questions for Metal Odyssey. Kev talks about his upcoming album, where his Rock ‘N’ Roll career started, being a one time member of The Gonads, his biggest Rock influence and of course… being the current vocalist and bass guitarist for the legendary BC Sweet. There is also Kev’s membership with Christie and his past membership with Graham Olivers Saxon and so much more… I’ll just let Kev tell you all about it in his words!

* Definitely check out the links at the end of this interview… so you can learn more about the terrific bands that Kev Moore has been a part of throughout his Rock ‘N’ Roll life.

Stone: Kev, you are currently in the studio recording a new album called “Blue Odyssey”, can you elaborate and give fans a sneak peak at what to expect?

Kev: Well, at the beginning of the year, I took a 2 month tour around the major music cities of the American South, Nashville, Memphis, Helena, Clarksdale, New Orleans, Austin, etc, and the album is basically a ‘road diary’ – that is to say, each song charts my journey and experiences and changes musical style accordingly, so it’s a fairly eclectic mix!  I’ve been lucky enough to have contributions from some American blues musicians, plus a legendary DJ, “Sunshine” Sonny Payne from King Biscuit Time. I don’t claim that it’s bona fide blues, but rather, the result of how my music has been influenced by being immersed in that environment. It’s nearing completion, and should be out in a couple of months. For now, you can hear a small taster by clicking here: Kevin Andrew Moore – myspace music

Stone: Is Tubeless Hearts where it all began for Kev Moore?

Kev: Tubeless Hearts is the band where I began seriously gigging around the UK (having spent two years in a touring band in Scandinavia) – but the two bands from my teens, Midnight Express ( a new wave pub band) and Crosstown Traffic (complicated rock band!)  were where I first started developing my songwriting and stage craft.  In fact, Stef Cybichowski, the drummer from Crosstown Traffic, has put down some drums for my new album, over 30 years after we last worked together! Tubeless Hearts however, became a mainstay for me, the nucleus stayed together many years and we recorded a single (in 1982) and an album (1994) that have become highly collectible. The album, “Three”, featured Graham Oliver from Saxon, and was retro-reviewed in the 100th issue of Powerplay magazine, as it’s begun to command silly money on the internet nowadays! Being in Tubeless Hearts proved to be a springboard to many other areas of my career.

Stone: As noted in your introduction, you have been a part of many bands during, your music career, as well, being a solo artist. What is Kev Moore’s most proud music achievement thus far?

Kev: It’s difficult to pick one. From a live perspective, I would probably have to say playing at Moscow Dynamo stadium with Christie on our tour of Russia. It was an amazing gig, and we were so well looked after, being granted admittance to Lenin’s tomb in Red Square – quite something!
Recording wise, I was always very proud of the Tubeless Hearts album, and whilst it didn’t pull up any trees on release, history seems to have been kind to it. Though I have to say, my first solo album, which I made available as a free download, was a big achievement for me, writing, playing and producing everything on it.

(Photo courtesy of Kev Moore archives)

Stone: Being the lead vocalist and bassist of BC Sweet, are there moments when you stop to reflect on the significant Rock roots of this band?

Kev: Very much so. In fact, the roots and history of this band are so strong, and feekings have run high over the years, mostly before my time with the band. Andy Scott runs his version of The Sweet, as does Steve Priest, who recently came out of retirement in L.A. As you know, this band was started by the late Brian Connolly who I had done some shows with as a part of Christie, and met him several times. After Brian died, the band decided to continue with various line up changes and evolved and continued with the blessing of former members into what you see today. For my part, I feel privileged to be able to play such a great canon of pop rock material, and I like to think we pay homage to the hard rock side of the Sweet. We feature some of the rockier stuff such as “Turn it Down” and one of the great ‘b’ sides “Burn on the Flame”.  From my perspective as a bassist, I’m very lucky indeed to be part of a rhythm section with Pete Phipps (Glitterband, Eurthymics, Mike Rutherford, XTC) I like to think we stay true to the rock roots – even the bubblegum songs are played a little more forcefully, shall we say!

Stone: Do you regularly stay in touch with Graham Oliver and/or Steve Dawson?

Kev: Graham and I have always stayed in touch and often discuss working together again, but it’s always a case of trying to find time that suits us both, which is easier said than done, particularly with me living in Spain! I regard him as one of my closest friends, a great guitarist and a real gentleman. Steve’s also a great bloke, but I haven’t seen him in a while.

Metal Odyssey Note: Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson are founding/former members of Saxon, a pioneering band of the NWOBHM.

(Photo courtesy of Kev Moore archives)

(Pictured above: Graham Oliver/left, Kev Moore/right)

Stone: Which Saxon song was your favorite to perform live?

Kev: There are two that spring to mind. Firstly, “Dallas 1pm”. I’ve actually been to the spot where JFK was assassinated, and I think the song is so theatrical, you don’t need a video, it tells the story beautifully, as all the best songs do. The second is “Strong Arm of the Law” – another story in a song, but what I love about it is the sheer unstoppable boogie of it, it’s real fun to hammer that one out live!

Metal Odyssey Note: Currently known as Oliver/Dawson Saxon, Kev Moore was lead vocalist and played bass on the first tour with Son Of A Bitch… which later was renamed – Oliver/Dawson Saxon, after Steve Dawson joined up with Graham Oliver. Kev Moore was lead vocalist while on tour as a member of the first incarnation of Oliver/Dawson Saxon, while Steve Dawson played bass. Kev Moore never recorded for either Son Of A Bitch or Oliver/Dawson Saxon. However, Kev Moore did sing and play bass on Graham Oliver’s solo album – “End of an Era”.

Stone: What is your current and/or future status as a member of Christie?

Kev: I’m a fully paid up member of Christie – though we took something of a sabbatical from around 2004-2008. In 2009 we took things up a gear to coincide with Jeff releasing a double CD “Floored Masters” and did a Summer European tour, which was a blast, resurrecting a few Christie songs that had never been played live before. This year, we have a couple of shows in Germany, and I’ve invited Jeff to come over to work on some material in my studio.

Stone: How did you get introduced to The Gonads, resulting in your being a past member of their band?

Kev: The Gonads is a long story. I formed a duo back in the 90’s with a guitarist called Dave Sargent for a covers album project that someone had put the money up for. I approached “Gang of Four ” producer Bob Miller (he’d done some work with us on one of the Tubeless Hearts album tracks) and he suggested a guy called Clyde Ward who had a studio down in Southampton. Well, the sessions with Clyde were great, we became great friends, which we still are to this day. Clyde became very succesful working with European dance acts such as U96,  and also as a co-writer and producer for Right Said Fred, but in his heart he’s a rocker, sharing a love of Philo and Thin Lizzy with me!  He’s also a close friend of Garry Bushell, and they had developed a side project resurrecting The Gonads for a one off single. It created such a stir in the U.S. that Dave and I were recruited into a newly-reformed Gonads, and we toured the East and West coasts of America in 1998, eventually releasing three albums, the last of which I filmed a couple of videos for which ended up on Garry’s dvd. Once again commitments have prevented me from doing anything since then, though when I spoke to Garry a few months ago, he said how he’d love to do something with Clyde and I again some day. One of the highlights of my time with The Gonads was playing the legendary (and now sadly gone) CBGB’s in New York.

Stone: Your 2009 single “Derby Pride” is a fine Rockin’ salute to the Derby County Football Club! Will a series of songs for the Derby Football Club materialize to CD?

Kev: Following Derby Pride, I did in fact record an entire album in homage to my team!  It’s done very well, mainly because Derby County have a huge and loyal fanbase. I sell it from my website mooremusic.biz and the club shop at Derby’s stadium, Pride park, also stock it.

Stone: Another single from 2009, “The Co-Op Cow” is a Pub Rocker that tells of a love that seemed to go astray. Is this song based on a real experience?

Kev: The Co-op Cow is also featured on the Derby album, this is because it refers to many landmarks around the Derby area, the Co-op cow of the title being the chief among them. It is a huge red neon cow, which advertises Co-op milk, and has many times been threatened with destruction, but I believe is now the subject of a preservation order. As a child, my abiding memory is of coming back into Derby on a cold night either by train or bus, and seeing the red neon glow in the night sky, and knowing you were nearly home. The story of lost love….not based on actual events, but it’s so generic, it could be any of us, couldn’t it? I was never stood up beneath the cow, but I’ve certainly been stood up!

(Photo courtesy of Kev Moore archives)

(Pictured above: Kev Moore live with Christie, Jeff Christie in center)

Stone: “The Turre Stomp” is a song that fuses together a mix of sounds, from Rock and Funk vibes with Middle Eastern strings, making for quite the fun listen. What influences tapped you on the shoulder for this song?

Kev: The Turre stomp is a song I’ve had kicking around for a while, and infact will be the last track on my Blue Odyssey album, completing the circle of the journey, if you will. Turre is the village in Southern Spain where I live. For those who don’t know, this area is the only classified ‘desert’ in Europe, and although irrigation and climate change over the last 25 years have changed it a lot, when I go up on the roof in midsummer, it really has that feel to it. It’s the area where Clint Eastwood made his famous western trilogy, and at the other end of our village, Indiana Jones was dragged down the ravine underneath the Nazi truck. I wanted to create a song that captured the heat, the dryness, and to some extent, the mystery. I tried a lot of sounds before I settled on the sitar, but once I had, it came together nicely.

Stone: What is the one thing you wish you could change about the Rock Music industry?

Kev: I think a lot of things need changing! But if I were to pick one……There’s been such a seismic shift in the way the industry works now, but I mourn the passing of the days when bands were signed with the understanding that they could be developed over a period of time. Let me take as an example Budgie, a great welsh power trio who were a big influence on me becoming a pro musician, and who I had the pleasure to meet a few years back. They were signed to A&M. They released a string of albums, probably 7 in as many years, touring regularly, never had a hit single!  Can you imagine a label sticking behind a band like that nowadays? It’s no surprise acts like Yes, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Fleetwood Mac etc, continue to sell, they were designed, and encouraged, for longevity.  Now, you’re lucky to even get your album out if a lead-in single flops. I know of artists who have to sit and watch their tapes gather dust on shelves, never to see a release. I’d like to see a return to The Music business instead of The music Business, if you know what I mean!

Stone: Who or what band has been the greatest influence on Kev Moore’s music career?

Kev: I think I’d have to say Trapeze. I’m not sure it necessarily comes out in my music, but from the moment I heard that band I thought “this is absolute perfection – funk and rock beautifully combined, wonderful understated incisive guitar, and that voice!”  I’ve met Glenn Hughes on several occasions and told him he was the single biggest influence on my becoming a professional musician. I kind of “back-dated” to Trapeze via Deep Purple. I was around 15, I’d been playing the drums for about 7 years, and then I bought “Burn”.  I just homed in on Glenn’s vocals and bass playing. I just remember thinking “that is what I want to do”.

Stone: Does Kev Moore make music or does music make Kev Moore?

Kev: It’s a vicious circle, Stone! I think it’s something like an energy exchange. Perhaps, at one time, I’d have been tempted to say the former, but having had a longer than usual period away from the stage, I’d have to say that on balance, it is music that defines me. Simply, I’ve never really known, nor wanted to do, anything else.

(Photo courtesy of Kev Moore archives)

(Pictured above: Graham Oliver/left, Kev Moore/right)

* For more info on Kev Moore, just click here: mooremusic.biz

* Listen to Kev Moor’s music, browse around and purchase the digital downloads of “Derby Pride”, “The Co-op Cow” and “The Turre Stomp” by clicking here: KEV MOORE: THE MUSIC BOX

* For more info on Oliver/Dawson Saxon, just click the link below:

OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON – myspace music

* For more info on The Gonads… click here: THE GONADS

* For more info on Jeff Christie and his band Christie, click on the link below:

JEFF CHRISTIE – Official Website

LONG LIVE KEV MOORE & HIS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL!

Stone.

SERGEANT STEEL: A METAL ODYSSEY INTERVIEW

Posted in hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, heavy metal news, interviews, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

SERGEANT STEEL – Calling all open minded record companies around the world… there is a Hard Rock Band that has released an album of melodic driven, heavy hittin’, memorable and fun songs. They call themselves Sergeant Steel and call home Austria. Sergeant Steel’s debut album – Lover’s & Maniacs, (released March 6, 2010), is a decisive upper-cut to the mid-section of the Hard Rock world. Sergeant Steel’s debut release reminds us all once again what Hard Rock songs sound like when a band puts skills and writing first and doesn’t try to “fit in” with any trendy “sound of the month” club.

So, RoadRunner Records, Century Media Records and a score of other record companies out there, who without question, have their ears on “the pulse” of what bands are hot… Sergeant Steel has arrived with Lovers & Maniacs and they are making no excuses and not looking back. This is a band that is looking to the future with hunger in their Hard Rock souls, something that many up and coming bands out there today are in dire need of.

I reviewed this Sergeant Steel debut album – Lovers & Maniacs on July 1, 2010. You can click on the link at the bottom of this interview, to read all about it.

The following interview is with Sergeant Steel’s charismatic lead vocalist, Phil Vanderkill. Recently, Phil took the time to answer some questions for Metal Odyssey and proved to be as candid and cool as they come. Phil’s answers are just as the songs you hear on Lovers & Maniacs… genuine. Here is what Phil had to say:

STONE: Hey Phil, How are you doing? It’s wicked HOT here in Pennsylvania. We have been under a “severe heat warning” for many days now. My lawn I no longer have to mow… it’s fried! Hope the air over in Austria is more tolerable.

PHIL: It’s about 35 degrees Celsius. That’s also pretty hot but the humidity is quite low at present. Austrians get out of their shell at this time of the year. If you know “Sound Of Music” you have an imagination about our wonderful Lakeland areas and vintage cities like Salzburg and Vienna.

STONE: Creating a studio album for world wide release is for certain hard work. Still, what and how much fun was it to create and record “Lovers & Maniacs”?

PHIL: It is still hard work to promote the record, too. We have been donating a lot of our leisure on this record. But it’s still fun. Now that the album is released, we enjoy it when people sing along at our live shows!

STONE: Who or what bands are an influence to Sergeant Steel?

PHIL: Our major influence are bands from the 70’s like pomp/classic rockers Queen, Rainbow and Aerosmith. We appreciate glamsters like Slade and The Sweet, too. Of course we also love 80’s hair bands like Ratt, Cinderella, Europe and Extreme. We also adore the guitar driven yet melodic heavy metal sound of Judas Priest.

STONE: Describe the reaction your getting from your fans when playing live in Austria.

PHIL: There are only a very few hard rock acts on the map. Most people in the crowd experience arena rock live for their first time at a SERGEANT STEEL show. We always play in front of a grateful public. It doesn’t seem to be difficult to carry the Austrian audience. Rather the challenge is to convince bookers and organizers. Classic hard rock tunes are everything else than common in the public awareness over here.

STONE: Are you setting sights on touring North America one day?

PHIL: Well, Jack and me, (guitarist & producer Jack Power), are going to travel overseas in the fall 2011. We are ready and willing to expand our contacts in the USA.

STONE: If you could choose a guest musician to be on the next Sergeant Steel album, who would it be?

PHIL: We’d have some honorable gentlemen on the bill, e.g. Alice Cooper, Lemmy Kilmister, Stephen Pearcy (Ratt) and John Sykes (ex- Whitesnake). I think they are all unique performers and accomplished songwriters.

STONE:  Having “Lovers & Maniacs” mastered by Beau Hill is impressive. How was this working relationship born between Beau Hill and Sergeant Steel?

PHIL: Beau can be characterized by a maximum of politeness and reliability. We came in contact with Beau via Myspace, then sent him some demo tunes by mail and he became a real fan of our music (To quote Beau: “This record really kicks ass!”). Of course, we are extremely proud about that. It is highly probable to work with him on further material this year.

STONE:  Which famous phrase best describes Sergeant Steel: “Sex, drugs & Rock’N’ Roll” or “I wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll all night and party every day”?

PHIL: Definitely “Rock ‘N’ Roll all night, party every day”. We enjoy life, because we believe in the most important message of rock music: Fun!!! Yes, we are occasional drinkers and smokers. But we DO NOT believe in permanent self-destruction. Look at Gene Simmons and Ted Nugent. Both live straight but they are crazy motherfuckers on stage and deserved songwriters. That is what it depends on.

STONE: “Lovers & Maniacs” is a solid Hard Rockin’ album of 10 songs, an unreal great debut album. Were there any songs that just missed the cut that you wish were on the finished album?

PHIL: Thank you for showing us your appreciation! When we determined the tracklist for “Lovers & Maniacs” we had to choose out of 35 pre-produced tunes. Meanwhile we have over 90 demo songs to be at choice for a second record. You know, there will always be some songs that will be missed on a finished album by someone.

STONE: Which song or songs from “Lovers & Maniacs” gets the fans most fired up when you play live? Are there any “vintage” cover songs that you guys enjoy playing live?

PHIL: Our most renowned live smashers from “Lovers & Maniacs” are “Hammer Of Love”, “Still In Love” and “Nuts Of Steel”. People also get loco everytime we play a cover version of “Jailhouse Rock”!

STONE: How would you describe the “state of” Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in Austria?

PHIL: Well, being in a hard rock band in Austria is like being a human rights activist in fucking North Korea. As I told you before there are only a handful of bands playing that stuff. Anyway there’s no competitive thinking among these bands. We organize concerts together and exchange our experiences in the music business.

STONE: Are European Festival dates in the future for Sergeant Steel?

PHIL: We play at a local festival in 2011, which is going to be attended by about 4000 visitors. Beside that there’s nothing official yet.

STONE: From looking at the photos and “Hammer Of Love” video, along with listening to the Hard Rock glory of “Lovers & Maniacs”, I get the perception Sergeant Steel has a tight bond among themselves. How accurate is my perception?

PHIL: You are absolutely right! Being in SERGEANT STEEL is being among friends! It took a lot of patience and understanding to reach that level of fellowship, but now we are all geared up to take the world by storm.

STONE: Thanks again Phil!

PHIL: Thank you very much Stone. Best regards to the American rockers over there. We are proud about gaining fans in the home country of many of our favorite bands!!

* Here is some late-breaking Sergeant Steel news, as told by Phil Vanderkill: Ronny Roxx succeeds founding member Cosy Coxx on bass guitar. Cosy leaves the band in a friendly way due to personal reasons.

* For more info on Sergeant Steel, click on the links below:

SERGEANT STEEL – Official Website

Sergeant Steel – MySpace Music Page

To become more informed about this great new Sergeant Steel album debut – Lovers & Maniacs, just click on the link below:

SERGEANT STEEL “LOVERS & MANIACS” – GOOD TIMES & CONTAGIOUS HARD ROCK DEBUT FROM AUSTRIA!

Go Get ‘Em Sergeant Steel!

Stone.

MORPHINE KILLER – A Metal Odyssey Interview!

Posted in extreme metal music, gothic metal music, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, heavy metal news, interviews, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

MORPHINE KILLER Belle Roka is a singer and plays keyboards. Eski, he too is a singer and also plays bass, guitar and drums. These two talents combined have created what I consider to be one dynamic Metal Band… Morphine Killer. If diversity is the key to success, Morphine Killer is on the fast track. From Extreme Metal to Rock, this Stanton, California Metal Band is making some serious Heavy Music, so good in fact they caught my Metal attention with ease. Add in the pluses of contagious enthusiasm for music, a deep respect for Classic Rock and the roots of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Belle and Eski have the discipline, skills and foresight to make Morphine Killer soar.

With their 2009 EP releases of Unapologetic and Nightmares, a brand new single Throw It All Away released in March of 2010 and a new album to be released towards the end of this year, Morphine Killer is steadily building a credible catalog of Heavy Music. I caught up to Eski and Belle recently, as they took the time out of their hectic schedule to chat to Metal Odyssey. Here is what they had to say:

Metal Odyssey: Where and how did Belle and Eski cross musical paths?

Belle: We met through mutual friends. It was right away, that we began talking about music, Eski said he could record me and I said great!

Eski: Both of our musical projects were coming to an end, so it just made sense and felt right that we should make music together.

Metal Odyssey Note: Eski’s two previous bands were Reckoning Day and Honor The Fallen. Belle’s previous music project was Xob.

Metal Odyssey: Your band name Morphine Killer just screams Metal, how did this name come about?

Eski: Originally, when there was no name for our band, I was looking at song titles, like Nightmare and In Silent Agony. Then we went with Morphine Killer. In Silent Agony was just too depressing!

Metal Odyssey: Is your new single “Throw It All Away”, which Rocks the hell out me by the way, a prelude to an upcoming album or EP?

Eski: We’re finishing up on a full length album now, with a release date towards the end of the year. There will be ten or eleven new songs on this album and Throw It All Away is included on it. We never considered putting any of the songs from our two EP’s on this upcoming album, it just would not sit right with us.

Metal Odyssey: Yeah, I’ve seen so many bands over the years do just that, put a previously released EP on a future album. It’s like paying for the songs twice if your a fan.

Eski: I agree.

Metal Odyssey: Does Eski and Bell agree to disagree?

Belle: We don’t always agree, most of the time it all gels together and in the name of music it’s totally worth it.

Eski: We have a song that is slower than anything that we have ever done, more of a ballad, that’s on our upcoming album. The slow ones, those are the songs you really have to work on.

Belle: To the benefit of the song, we work things out.

Metal Odyssey: Morphine Killer has fused together, rather seamlessly, two separate worlds of vocals. The dark and extreme can really coexist with soothing harmony, can’t it?

Belle: Yeah!

Eski: Definitely.

Belle: We have been exposed to an underground L.A. Metal scene that has beautiful sounds of screaming and harmony together.

Eski: Out in Europe, I like looking at what Epica and After Forever have done with vocals.

Belle: We really love bringing something different to music. We wouldn’t be pushing the boundaries of music if we both sounded the same.

Metal Odyssey: “Clutching Defeat” from the “Nightmares” EP seems to be the heaviest and angriest Morphine Killer song. Where did you draw the extreme inspirtation for this intensely great Metal song?

Eski: “Clutching Defeat” has an Old School, Thrash vibe, with a Metallica like riff. It’s a song I took on all myself. It’s a song about knowing you get defeated all the time and you are always being close to winning, then something takes it away.

Metal Odyssey: How supportive has Final Breath Records been to Morphine Killer?

Eski: That’s our company!

Metal Odyssey: Hey, great for you guys! That’s very cool.

Eski: We started this label to back our own stuff.

Belle: It’s being entrepreneurs and we really enjoy knowing we can do this.

Eski: To be taken seriously as musicians, we have to do this and have control of our music.

Metal Odyssey: A rising band like Morphine Killer can utilize a vast array of internet platforms to gain exposure. Does utilizing the internet for promotion take away some of the stress of needing to get your name and music out to the world?

Eski: Sometimes, only there are a lot of other people using the same platforms as us. Interviews and reviews do help of course!

Belle: There is always going to be equal stress, we still have to be going to places for promoting ourselves. The internet is a fantastic gateway of course, the best gateway right now is selling on itunes. It’s the way of the future and we use the technology to our most advantage. Eski is in charge of our marketing and promotion, he’s our publicist as well. Eski is the one behind our website and Myspace Music Page. The amount of exposure Morphine Killer has generated in just two years, is remarkable.

Metal Odyssey: No one can say the two of you are lazy, that’s for sure! I give both of you enormous credit for taking charge and making it happen.

Eski and Belle: Thanks!

Metal Odyssey: “She’s Slipping Away” just resonates with emotion in both Belle’s vocals and the lyrics. Is this song about a personal experience?

Belle: Yes it is. This is a song I wrote about my Mom. She passed away a couple of years ago from cancer. It was a terrible experience, to watch someone I love so much suffer and die this way.

Metal Odyssey: I’m very sorry to hear that Belle. I’m sorry for your loss.

Belle: I wanted to really put my emotions in song for others to hear it, so people could relate. Instead of sitting around at home and doing nothing about what I was feeling and going through, I wrote this song, both the music and lyrics. I do want people to take away whatever inspiration they want from this song, fans don’t have to relate it to my personal loss.

Metal Odyssey: Eski, you and Belle are without question, multi-talented musically, the “Nightmares” and “Unapologetic” EP’s prove this. With that said, would you ever consider adding musicians to Morphine Killer?

Eski: I would like to. It would be a different vibe, as opposed to playing instruments back to you vs. a live environment.

Metal Odyssey: Eski, what is your favorite instrument to play?

Eski: I’m trying to make the bass more fun. I’m more inclined to play the bass live.

Metal Odyssey: You have posted many of your music influences on the Morphine Killer Myspace Music Page. Which band or what musician is your most personal influence?

Eski: Metallica! I especially like “Master Of Puppets”, it’s just awesome! Avenged Sevenfold as well.

Belle: I like Classic Rock. Heart and more recently, Gwen Stefani. Vocally, it’s Ann Wilson and Gwen Stefani, I love those two women! I was raised on Classic Rock because of my parents. Classic Rock was imbedded in our minds, it was the music our parents played in the car and at home.

Eski: As a kid growing up, I knew about bands like Boston and Deep Purple before I knew of Metal!

Metal Odyssey: What band or bands are you aspiring to tour with down the Metal road?

Belle: Good question!

Eski: Metallica, someday!

Metal Odyssey: Hey, there’s nothing wrong with aiming high!

Belle: Avenged Sevenfold is what Eski always says as well. Nine Inch Nails would be great!

Eski: Deathklok, just because of the way their assembled. I really admire what Brendon Small has accomplished with Deathklok, just the way he built that band.

Metal Odyssey: Where will Morphine Killer be in ten years?

Eski: Hopefully on the radio!

Belle: Oh yeah!

Metal Odyssey: Well, something tells me you will be. Especially with the talent and attitude you both have.

Stone.

* You can check out more Morphine Killer by clicking onto their official website and Myspace Music Page links below!

MORPHINE KILLER – Official Website

MORPHINE KILLER – Myspace music

LONG LIVE MORPHINE KILLER!

Stone.

 

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