Interview with Jeremy Spencer of Five Finger Death Punch

Five Finger Death Punch
Five Finger Death Punch will be one of the headlining acts of Rock in the Range this year, one of the nation’s biggest Hard Rock and Metal festivals that takes place in Columbus this weekend. They have become known for their “active” show encouraging crowd participation that can get on the edge of out of hand at times. The band released their third studio album last year American Capitalist which quickly shot to the top of all Rock and Metal charts.

Amy caught up with drummer Jeremy Spencer  and the two discussed the grueling nature of the industry especially as a drummer and the advice that has driven him to be in the position of leading the rhythm and timing of Five Finger Death Punch. They will be taking the stage Saturday night on the Main stage in Columbus.

Amy: I was excited to talk to you because I know you just won the Golden God award for Best Drummer. How was that experience for you?

Jeremy: It was really great because I am a fan of all those drummers in the category and to be put in the same category was humbling already and then to win, it was “Wow, this is really cool.” We couldn’t be at the show because we were out on tour. I got a call saying, “You know he won and if you could put together a video for the acceptance that would great.” So I made this really ridiculous acceptance speech video where I dressed up as redneck fans mocking me giving a speech so I did a multi-character video for winning the award and it was really funny. It is all over the internet in case you get a chance to see it. Everyone got a kick out of it, but overall it was a really humbling experience and really cool.

To read more of the interview head over to The First 3 Songs! (Direct link to interview)

John 5 Talks Serial Killers and ROTR

John 5 Rob Zombie

John 5 has seen almost everything in Rock music from his days with David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson, and currently with Rob Zombie and has been credited on songs in all aspects of music from Saliva to Salt n Pepa to k.d. Lang to an upcoming collaboration with Rod Stewart.  He has gained the reputation as a musical genius and one of the most action packed guitarists in the world. He has just released his sixth solo album, God Told Me To which mixes acoustic Spanish style guitar along with heavy metal riffs.

Amy caught up with the guitar player to promote the new album and Rob Zombie’s upcoming appearance at Rock on the Range in Columbus. The two discussed some of the dark aspects of what goes into his writing as well as the lighter aspects of what puts him to sleep every night.  John 5 will take the stage with headliner Rob Zombie on Sunday May 20th in Columbus.

Amy: Can you tell us about the name of your album God Told Me To?

John: The name, it is funny because I remember, I am from Michigan, I am from Grosse Pointe. I was upper class growing up there. I was brought up in a really nice environment and home and I remember the night before I was leaving for California to really give it my shot saying, “I am going to try this. I am going to try to be this musician type of thing.” I remember I was saying my little prayer. I never wished to be a “rockstar.” I just wanted to be a working musician. My dreams didn’t even go past a session player or a working musician like that. It was too far beyond my dreams. That’s kind of what the title means, that kind of thing, but also you can look at in the negative way, like when someone does a horrific murder, they always say, “Oh, God told me to.”

To read more head over to The First 3 Songs! (Direct link to interview)

Q&A with Ben Wells of Black Stone Cherry

Ben Weller Black Stone Cherry

Black Stone Cherry is a Kentucky based band that combines their Southern roots with some hints of Metal in it. Last time we spoke with them, they had just released their third studio album Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea which they continue to tour on this summer. They have been featured on major tours with sensations Theory of a Deadman, Alter Bridge, and Nickelback and recently headlined a European tour.

Amy was able to speak with the band’s rhythm guitar player Ben Wells to preview their upcoming performance at Rock on the Range, where they will be taking the Main Stage on Sunday May 20th at the Columbus festival.

Amy: Last year, I spoke with Chris and he talked about how you guys love to go to Europe and how the fans embrace you in there. I know you just got off a European Tour. What was the highlight of that tour for you guys?

Ben: We did shows in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, and 14 shows in the UK and every single one was sold out. It was a pretty big accomplishment since we have been over there several tours and this was the first time we had one as big as it was. We just felt really good about that and they gave us a tour plaque to hang on our walls. That was pretty neat.

Amy: Are there any bands you are looking forward to seeing at Rock on the Range this year?

Ben: I know we are looking forward to seeing Rob Zombie. We really enjoy his show and we are good friends with John 5 who plays guitar for them. I can’t remember who else is playing that day, but I am sure there are tons of bands that we are looking forward to seeing.

Amy: I think Marilyn Manson is that day too?

Ben: I’m not a huge fan of his but I do like Rob Zombie.

To read more head over to The First 3 Songs! (Direct link to interview)

Interview with Megadeth’s Lead Guitarist Chris Broderick

Megadeth Mayhem Cincinnati

Megadeth can be considered one of the most legendary sounds in all of music, not just Metal. They are synonymous with a time period, moments in the lives of so many of their fans. They may have a different look than when the band was formed in 1983 but they are one of the founding fathers and would definitely find themselves on the Mount Rushmore of American Metal music and can still fill festival stadiums all over the world. They have been doing their thing for almost 30 years and show no signs of stopping. They had released their fittingly named 13th studio album TH1RT3EN last year before they came to Cincinnati. They will return to Ohio as one of the main acts at Rock on The Range.

Over the past year, Amy had time to speak with band drummer Shawn Drover two times and lead guitarist Chris Broderick at Mayhem Festival about life on tour and what the future holds for the band. Their timeless sound continues on and will be able to be heard on the Main Stage in Columbus next Sunday night with Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie.

Excerpts with Chris

Amy: I know you joined the band in 2008, right?

Chris: Yeah, the very beginning.

Amy: What was it like the first time you played and jammed with Dave (Mustaine)?

To read more head over to The First 3 Songs! (direct link to article)

Glenn Danzig and President Obama are Not Having Dinner Anytime Soon

Heavy Metal legend Glenn Danzig was a guest on Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld back on April 28, 2011. It came as no surprise when Glenn spoke his mind about the Obama Administration -it is Fox News programming after all.

He came onto the show to talk about his new album, Deth Red Sabaoth, which is the first new Danzig album of original material in 6 years. It is pretty odd that that he went onto Red Eye to do an interview. Glenn isn’t exactly into doing press and doesn’t like press at his shows, especially photographers. It’s funny because if you look at him he is getting older, but he’s still pretty fit and looks amazing.

In the video above, Greg asked Daniz,”Would you ever do an album about singing about puppies and rainbows?” Danzig’s response, “No, maybe I’ll do a real horror record and talk about the Obama administration.” That is when the chuckles and sounds of shock came from the Fox Studio. Greg exclaimed, “I didn’t see that one coming!” I can only say really??! It’s Fox News and why would Glenn go on Red Eye and not state his political views?

Greg also says he’s going to try and catch one of his live shows. I would like to know if he did and I would have liked to see that.

The full video is available here: http://video.foxnews.com/v/4228321/deth-red-sabaoth

Talking with Jesse Friedman the Co-Founder of Almanac Beer Company

Jesse Friedman almanac beer companyWe are so excited to bring you a new interview from Jesse Friedman, co-founder of Almanac Beer Company. Jesse founded Almanac with Damian Fagen in 2010 when they started brewing beer right in their apartments in San Francisco. They started with the goal in mind of brewing seasonal ales, pairing different fruits each harvest, in order to compliment locals foods and and cuisine.

Jesse handles the receipt development, barrel selection, and managing the brewer and farm relationships, while Damian handles the visual design, bottle labels, and the day to day operations of the brewery. We are were pleased have Jesse take some time to talk about his passions and Almanac Beer. Enjoy!

Jesse Friedman almanac beer companyCan you please introduce yourself and your role at Almanac Beer?

Im Jesse Friedman. I’m one of the two Co-Founders at Almanac. I’m in charge of beer recipe developement, as well as heading up sales, working with local chefs on pairings, and putting together our beer dinners.

Going back to the beginning of your brewing career, do you remember the first beer you brewed and where?

The first beer I brewed was with a homebrew batch with my roommate, just after I moved to San Francisco. It was for an Irish Red. Everything went wrong – the grain bag scorched and tore, and then the priming sugars weren’t properly distributed. Half the bottles were flat, and the other half were gushers.

What people, if any, inspire you outside of the beer industry?

I look alot to the culinary world for inspiration. There are the local big thinkgers here in San Francisco such as Alive Waters and Michael Pollan, but I’m especially inspired by the local chefs who set out to create (and succeed) in making something genuinely new and delicious – like Anthony and Karen at Mission Street Food (Now Mission Chinese Food), who created a new way of building a restaurant around great food and philanthropic giving.http://blog.missionstreetfood.com.

When did Almanac Beer start and what is the inspiration for the name and it’s logo?

Almanac Beer launched as a business about a year ago, but Damian and I had been working on it for a few years before that. The name comes from the Farber’s Almanacs, which record each season. We try to do the same thing with our beer, and use hyper seasonal fruit that will leave a unique character from the season it was brewed. Our design work is all done in house by the other half of Almanac, Damian. The tree etching was custom made for us by a local artist, and really does a great job of making us stand out on the shelf. For us, the Oak tree and it’s roots it does a great job of illustrating that our beer is different, and directly ties to the seasons and local farms.

How would you best describe your brewing style?

Inspired by the local food scene in Northern California. We start with Belgian-style ales, then layer on local fruit, unique sugars, and (sometimes) a loose west-coast hand with the hops. We are less concerned with fitting into a particular style or category than with our beer being food friendly and delicious.

In what states and markets can our readers find you beer and is there a plan for expansion?

We’re currently only available in the San Francisco Bay Area, but are slowly expanding out to more of California.

Does Almanac have any new projects or beers coming down the pipeline to share with our readers?

We’re about to release our sophomore effort: a Farmhouse Pale with Plums. We brewed a Belgian-style Farmehouse Ale, then added in 1,000 Lbs of plums from Twin Girls Farms. We finished with a dry hopping of Cascade and Amarillo hope to give it a bright, citrusy aroma. It’s fermenting as I write this, and expect it to be out in the early November. You can learn more about this bere here.

Does Almanac have a Facebook or Twitter page for our readers to check out? If so, have you seen an impact on your brewery from these social networks?

Of course! We’re on Twitter @AlmanacBeer, and also on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/almanacbeer. We’re very active in social media, since it gives us a great way to communicate directly with customers and friends online. Sincer what we’re doing is different and new, it really makes a big difference to be available and transparent online. We love live blogging each brew, and then hearing back from customers how our beer is, and what they pair it with.

Jesse Friedman almanac beer companyWhere can our reader find additional information about your brewery, beer festivals, new beers, tour info?

We’re online at AlmanacBeer.com, where you can sign up for our newsletter, which always has info about releases and upcoming events.

Okay, here’s a tough one for ya. If you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Oh man. If I had to pick JUST one, it’d have to be Orval. I love it, especially since it ages so well in the bottle. Young it bright and hoppy, then if you let it age a bit, you get a while new beer – funky and farmhouse as the Brett takes over.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Jesse! Looking forward to drinking more of your beer. Make sure to get your hands on Almanac Beer if you are living or visiting Northern California.

Interview: Ken Grossman, Founder and President of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Ken Grossman sierra nevadaFor our very first interview here on Farbrew, we had the honor of interviewing the founder and president of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Ken Grossman. Ken opened up the brewery back in 1980 in Chico, CA and has now grown the company into one of the most respected craft breweries in the United States.

Ken studied chemistry and physics at Butte Community College as well as Chico State University. He also opened up a store in Chico called The Home Brew Shop, which supplied breweries with supplies, materials, and equipment. On November 15, 1980 Ken brewed the first batch of Sierra Nevada Co. beer which is now regarded as one of the top beers in the country: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Ken took the time to answer some of our own questions for our readers to learn more about Sierra Nevada as well as the creator. Thanks Ken!

Can you please introduce yourself and your role at brewery?

My name is Ken Grossman and I am the founder and president of Sierra Nevada.

Going back to the beginning of your personal brewing career, do you remember the first beer you brewed and where?

I first learned to home brew from the parent of a childhood friend. We were pretty young at the time, and my friend’s dad was tired of us stealing all his brew, so instead he taught us how to brew our own.

Where do you look for inspiration in the beer that you brew?

I wouldn’t say there is one single place I look for inspiration. We brew the kinds of beer that we like to drink, no matter the style or the origin, if we like it, it’s fair game! Lately we’ve been experimenting with a lot of Belgian-inspired styles, and that’s been fun for us.

When did the brewery start and what is the inspriation for the name and it’s logo?

I started building the brewery in 1979, and got it up and running a year later. We brewed our first batch on November 15th 1980. The name came for my love of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When I was growing up in southern California I used to love to set out on bike tours, and hikes, and backpack trips into the Sierras. When I settled here in Chico, in the foothills of the Sierras it seemed obvious to me to look toward that as the name for the brewery. The original banner logo was drawn by an artist friend of ours and we still use that logo today. (granted, it’s been update a bit.)

How would you best describe your brewing style?

We’re famous for being an American brewery. We were arguably one of the inventors of the “American style” beer…(hop forward, dry, clean yeast flavors.) That said, we love to make beers in any style we can. We’ve had a lot of success with our traditional German and English style beers, and now we’ve been playing with some barrel-aged projects, and more experimental Belgian styles. At the end of the day, though, we live hops and lots of ‘em.

Sierra Nevada logoIn what states and markets can our readers find you beer and is there a plan for expansion?

Right now, our beer is available in all 50 states. We’re getting close to capacity at our brewery here in Chico, so we’re looking into the possibility of building another brewery somewhere east of the Mississippi River. No final plans have been made, yet, but it is an option on the table.

Does the brewery have any new projects or beer coming down the pipeline to share with our readers?

We’re always coming up with new beer and new projects. We’re setting up a new canning line, as we speak, so that will be an adventure for us moving forward.

What can visitors expect when coming to visit the brewery?

We love having visitors come to visit us here in Chico. We’re proud of our brewery and we want as many people as possible to come here to see it. We’re especially proud of showing off some of the more traditional techniques we use in making our beer. We still use only whole-cone hops, we rely on open fermentation for several of our beers, and bottle condition most of our products. There aren’t too many breweries doing those sorts of things anymore. In addition, we like to show people our estate hops and barely fields. Right now, we have about 9 acres of hops, and 30 acres of barley growing on-site here in Chico. We use these organic products to make our Estate Homegrown Ale, which is one of the few estate made beers available anywhere in the world! We’re also really proud of some of our sustainability efforts. We have the nation’s largest private solar array and currently produce more than 80% of our energy needs, on site.

Does the brewery have a Facebook or Twitter page for our readers to check out? If so, have you seen an impact on your brewery from these social networks?

We have a pretty active following via social media. Our Facebook page has over 100,00 followers, and I think Twitter is upwards of 20,000. We’re lucky to have such a loyal and vocal group of fans, specifically without any large-scale advertising or marketing. To see the amount of activity and support for our brewery and our beer is humbling, especially after all these years.

Where can our readers find additional information about your brewery, beer festivals, new beers, tour info?

Facebook is a great place to hear about what’s coming next. We try and post a few times a day just to keep people updated with what’s going on here at the brewery. In addition, we’re in the process of overhauling our brewery website,www.sierranevada.com, and that will be updated with news and info as well.

Okay, here’s a tough open ended question for ya, if you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I can’t answer that! There are too many to choose from! Historically, if I could go back in time and pick one of my own from the past, I would choose the stout I brewed for my wedding. That was over 30 years ago and I still remember it, so it must have been really good!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions Ken and we look forward to drinking more of your beer!

Thanks for taking the time to reach out to us!

Make sure to check out Sierra Nevada on FacebookTwitter, and their official site.

Check out more beer reviews at Farbrew.com or Farbrew on Facebook!

Five Finger Death Punch’s Zoltan and Chris Talk Fans, Being the New Guy, and American Capitalist

Five Finger Death Punch Ohio

Five Finger Death Punch is the biggest and most exciting show you can find in Metal music right now. They are set to release their third studio album American Capitalist which features the popular single “Under and Over It” and the song “Back For More,” featured in the latest game offered in the Madden franchise. They are about to go out on their Fall headlining “Share the Welt” tour with All That Remains.

Amy spoke with lead guitarist Zoltan Bathory and band newcomer and bassist Chris Kael at X-Fest in Dayton, Ohio. The three discussed the upcoming album and why the band’s music moves a more aggressive crowd. The new album, “American Capitalist” will hit shelves on October 11th.

Amy: I want to talk about the new record  American Capitalist, it’s all over the radio but I actually heard “Back For More” for the first time this past week and I think I like it better than the first single. I’m excited. What’s the story behind that one?

Five Finger Death Punch OhioZoltan:  The interesting thing about that one is, that particular song is on the soundtrack for “Madden 2012,” and we were looking at the record and trying to pick the first single. Basically what we did this time, we kind of wanted to pick something that was not so obvious. There are a couple really nice ballads, a couple really heavy songs, and there is potential for many more songs that are singles. This time, we went with something unexpected, we did this with the first single, the album cover, everything. We wanted to shake it up. It’s funny that you mention “Back For More” because we were going “Which one? Which one? Which one?” will be the first single. We went with “Under and Over It” because we wanted to wait for Madden to debut “Back for More.”

Amy: The new Madden, with the Browns on the front cover.

Zoltan: Some people love the Browns. I am just saying that is the reason we ended up going with this one because we gave that song to them and we wanted them to debut it. Madden debuted that song and then the single “Under and Over It” is out there. So you have two songs that are a little bit up-tempo out there and floating.

Amy: Let’s talk football for a minute.

Amy: The reason I ask this, I live in Cincinnati and am a Bengals season ticket holder and at the games they play “Bad Company” constantly so I always think of you at football games. Do you have a partnership with the NFL or do the teams just gravitate toward your songs?

Zoltan: The interesting thing about our band and the mentality we have and the general overall message. Every time that you listen to music, you usually put in a CD that will put you in a specific mood. If you are depressed, you are going to gravitate to music that will speak to that mood. If you are happy maybe the Beach Boys is what you go to for that kind of music. Every style of music puts you in specific mood, and if you look at Five Finger Death Punch, at least I’d like to think, it’s the kind of music that pumps you up or “Let’s go, let’s take it” kind of mood. Most of our fans are already football fans, soldiers, people that are “Let’s get up and fucking do this.” So it’s kind of like our music resonates with people that are ready to go and pumped up, and it’s just football. It’s every Sunday. It’s not just them but a couple different football teams are playing that song.

Amy: I think I heard it in Cleveland as well.

Five Finger Death Punch Ohio

Zoltan: It’s a pretty common song to play in arenas.

Chris: Last night in the UFC fight too. Somebody also waked out to it.

Zoltan: Stan, a former Marine, one of the UFC fighters walks out to it. Jake Ellenberger walks out to it. Kyle Watson walks out to it. In fact, I am friends with these guys.

Amy: I know you fight. You have talked about this a lot before. Do you work out to your own music?

Group: YES!!

Chris: “Under It, Over It” that’s a good stomp, you can time it right to the treadmill. It works out real well.

Amy: You are the newest member?

Five Finger Death Punch OhioChris: I am the newest member.

Amy: How did you come about being in the band?

Zoltan: Tell her the story of how you ended up in Vegas. His car broke down while he was heading to LA.

Chris: I got to Vegas about ten years ago, went out there to pursue music, did things for quite a while. I heard they were looking for a bassist through friends of theirs. My old friend from high school is actually their drum tech, Saul.  He has been working for those guys for a little bit now. I heard they were looking so I kept telling Saul, “Get me an audition, do what you can.” So finally, I had been trying and hadn’t heard anything, went to go see System of a Down at the Palms and was watching those guys on the stage and turned around and looked at the stage and it hit me, “If you want it, go after it.” So that night I went home and Facebooked Jason Hook, a real brief message, “I’m your guy. Call me. All I need is an audition.” He messaged me back the next day and asked “How are your vocals?” Other projects I had done before I did lead vocals so I sent him a track from something I had written and was singing on as well. I guess they liked it because I was invited to do the audition. I came in that Saturday.

Zoltan: It’s an interesting thing because when he showed up, it was kind of the audition with the friends of friends, people that we kind of knew. Because you never know what you’re gonna get. You get the crazy person and have to live with him. It’s not just a musical thing that has to click but personally. He walks in, and he is a laid back guy and when I saw his Muay Thai T-shirt, he is a fighter too.

Amy: I’m scared you all are going to get hurt in the parking lot. Look at him, he’s ready.

Chris: That shirt was worn by design.

Zoltan: And I was like, “This guy is a fighter” and he has a pro record already.

Chris: Not a good one though.

Zoltan: What is it, 1-0?

Chris: 0-1

Five Finger Death Punch OhioZoltan: When he walks in, it takes balls to get in the ring. It takes balls. Whoever says otherwise, it is you and the other guy and there is no way out unless you die. So he walks in as a laid back guy and I see the shirt and I ask him, “Do you fight?” He says, “Yeah, yeah.” It’s a hobby on the road touring.

Chris: So he got a work out partner.

Zoltan: You have to have a laid back guy that you can live with on the bus for 300 days a year. I want some guy who is chilled, nice to people.

Chris: Boy did I have him fooled.

Zoltan: No, he sounds awesome. I loved his bass tone. Ivan wasn’t there and we called him, “We got the guy. We got the guy.” That night we went to dinner with Ivan and Ivan loved him too. It was done.

Chris: It was one of those things, it was a good proposition. During the audition, very first song, I felt it. I’m sure they felt it as well. Very first song, right into the chorus.

Amy: You just knew.

Chris: Him and Jeremy during the first chorus.

Zoltan: It’s really interesting, musicians know. Some people who are not musicians may not, you have to have connections. It is how bands survive. It is not necessarily about success, not necessarily about music. The first and foremost issue with bands on why they break up is personal, it’s always personal issues. So the bands that never have success and fall out are either about substance abuse issues or personal issues amongst members. So, half of the success is keeping your fucking band together. Therefore, you have to have the right member. He was the right guy.

Amy: Have they played any jokes on you yet?

Chris: Not really. It has been pretty low key. There have been a couple little small things. If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

Amy: I am excited about the new album. I look forward to seeing you guys on tour. You guys are going to  be touring again for this album soon right?

Zoltan: The album comes out October 11th. We are really proud of it. It is a really strong album. We are Five Finger Death Punch. We will never try to be something else. We play the music we love.

Amy: Well you guys have a huge fan base.

Five Finger Death Punch OhioZoltan: Yeah, but you have to look at it this way. We played the music that we love and then we got signed. We already had a record before we got signed. We are just lucky that a lot of people out there have similar taste. Really that’s how it works. I can’t twist your arm to like me. I can’t give you money and say, “Hey, listen to us please.” You are not going to. If I give you a free CD and you don’t like it. Because it is free are you going to listen, no.

Amy: I get them every week. I do not listen.

Zoltan: It is pretty much that we are blessed to have so many fans and we are blessed that we love what we do. And that’s what happens. We look at recording as we are the same.

Amy: The new record sounds the same. You are not going to alienate the fans.

Zoltan: We have a bonus CD that has some interesting remixes but those are remixed because they are interesting.

Amy: I have only heard two hard songs off of it so far. Any ballads? Any “Bad Company”?

Zoltan: Yeah we have a couple, there is a song that is called “I Remember” and it sounds like an 80’s ballad out of the book. All of us listened and thought it was really 80’s but it is such a good song that we have to use it. The fans, we love. The haters, I don’t care what they have to say. Listen to something else. We play for our fans. We know who those guys are. Everybody else, we don’t care. Do whatever, it’s your life, this is ours. Oh yeah, you got your ballads. There is one that’s a ballad and one that is slower and ballad-y. There are no “Bad Company’s” but it’s not really a ballad anyway. It is not a song that you could call a typical ballad.

Chris: And coming from the outside…

Amy: Did you know every song when you auditioned? You were ready?

Chris: No, for the audition I learned three songs. I came in and did those. He gave me a heads up later in the week saying, “You might want to go ahead and start learning these other ones too.” He gave me the heads up and we got it done. But yeah, the new album…

Amy: Do you like it?

Chris: I really do, coming in.

Zoltan: We had finished the album by the time we found him. The album was done.

Amy: Sounds like approval for an official external opinion.

 

Interview: Sam Loeffler of Chevelle

Chevelle Amy Harris

Chevelle has been rocking faces off their crowds for over ten years. The three piece set is set to release their sixth studio album in December with Hats off to the Bull. Their most recent release Sci-Fi Crimes was a top 10 album on the Billboard charts with the smash hit “Sleep Apnea.”

Amy spoke with drummer Sam Loeffler before their show in Cincinnati on Friday. They spoke about their rise to fame and their new album hitting stores in December. Their current tour with Filter and Bush is a must-see.

Amy: I’m kind of intrigued by this family band concept.

Sam: We get that a lot. Pete and I just always played together since literally 23 years ago when we picked up instruments. We just always started writing songs from the very beginning and it was just a coincidence that we both got really interested in music at the same time.

Amy: What was the age at that time?

Sam: 12 and 14.

Amy: Are you the older one?

Sam: I am. That’s how I think of myself, as the old one.

Read the entire interview over at The First 3 Songs!

For pictures from their Milwaukee set go here!

Thomas Dolby releasing first album in 20 years, giving special performance Oct. 7 in Chicago

By Eric Schelkopf at The Total Scene

Thomas Dolby

It only makes sense that the man who wrote the song “She Blinded Me With Science” went on to form the tech company Beatnik Inc., which created the ringtone synthesizer embedded in more than three billion mobile phones shipped by Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson and others.

Now retired from Beatnik, Thomas Dolby, www.thomasdolby.com,on Oct. 25 will release his first new studio album in 20 years, “A Map Of The Floating City,” featuring such guest stars as Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley and Imogen Heap. He worked on the album in a studio he built aboard a 1930s lifeboat in the garden of his beach house in England.

In addition, Dolby in June debuted “The Floating City” transmedia game, a living world that changes and reacts to player contributions.

Dolby will give a special solo performance and lecture Oct. 7 at Martyr’s, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.
The show starts at 6:15 p.m., and tickets are $17, available at www.martyrslive.com.

I had the chance to talk to Dolby about a variety of  topics, including his view of the changing music industry.

Total Scene – I saw a YouTube video of you and Imogen Heap talking about the song, “The Toad Lickers.” It looks like you had a fun time making this album.

Thomas Dolby – Yeah, it’s been really good fun. I’ve been away from music for a while. I’m finding that I’m having a lot of fun doing it, and it’s really nice to be back and I’m not feeling at all jaded.

To read the full interview go to The Total Scene.

Q&A with Mark Tremonti from Alter Bridge

Interview by Amy Harris at The First 3 Songs

Alter Bridge is a hard rock band formed by Creed members Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips alongside their lead singer Myles Kennedy. The band released their third studio album in 2010, aptly named ABIII. The album features their first number one hit “Isolation” and debuted in the top 20 the week after release. They are currently on tour with Theory of a Deadman, Black Stone Cherry, Adelita’s Way, and Emphatic on the Carnival Madness tour.

Amy spoke with guitarist Tremonti to preview the tour coming through the area in Louisville and Dayton. They talked about the band’s writing style and his future ventures including the future of his solo career and other headlining band Creed. Alter Bridge will be playing the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville Friday night and in Dayton, Ohio as part of X-Fest in Dayton on September 18 with the rest of the acts on the Carnival of Madness tour.

Amy: I’ve seen you play several times in Creed and with Alter Bridge most recently at Rock on the Range. I love you guys in both bands. I know you write a lot of music with Myles and for Creed as well. Do you have a different writing style when you are considering the different vocals between Myles and Scott?

Mark: No, when I am writing, I am writing whatever I am feeling at the moment. Then later on I will go through and categorize stuff after the fact and kind of organize ideas once I have gotten out of the moment.

Amy: Do you write it by yourself?

Read the rest of the interview at The First 3 Songs! (Direct Link)

A Conversation with Stevie Nicks

Interview by Amy Harris at The First 3 Songs

Stevie NicksShe is currently on the road to promote her latest record with her solo act and will come through Cincinnati on Saturday night at the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend. It will be a fun night of music showcase with her new sounds and a nostalgic flair.

We caught up with Stevie via email this week to discuss her upcoming tour stop in Cincinnati and her inspirations for the new record and what a typical day looks like for an iconic rock star.

Amy: You recently released your first new album in ten years “In Your Dreams”. What was your biggest inspiration for the album?

Stevie:  I actually didn’t think I’d do another album for many years.  But I went to see the movie “Twilight New Moon” in Melbourne Australia when I was on tour in 2009. I loved it so much that I went back that night to see it again. It inspired me to go back to my room and write an essay based on the love story of Bella and Edward and Beauty and the Beast.  In the next city we were in, Brisbane, there was a piano in the suite. I sat down at the piano on our night off and wrote the song that became Moonlight- A Vampire’s Dream. I turned to my assistant when I was done and said, “I’m ready to make a record”.

Amy: You stated recently that having a boyfriend takes you away from being an artist. Do you get lonely and miss romance?

Read the full interview at The First 3 Songs!(Direct Link)

Chicago Music Couple Michael McDermott and Heather Horton are Inseparable

By Eric Schelkopf from Total Scene

Michael McDermottAnd as I learned, they like it that way. Horton has been a member of McDermott’s band since 2005, and they were married in 2009.

Horton and McDermott also both have birthdays this week, and will celebrate by performing at a birthday bash Friday, Aug. 26, at Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave., Chicago.

The show starts at 8 p.m., and general admission tickets are $20, available at www.maynestage.com.

I had the chance to talk to Horton about a variety of topics, including how they balance being musicians while tending to the needs of their 1-year-old daughter, Rain.

Eric – The birthday bash is coming up, I see.You guys both have birthdays this week. And your daughter Rain just had a birthday, right?

Horton -She just did, yeah. She turned 1 on July 19. And then we took off for Europe.

Eric- Yes, I understand you were just in Italy. How was that?

Horton - It was amazing. It was extremely challenging, and we knew it would be. But it was just amazing.
I’m doing a documentary on Michael, which was less about the music and more about an American traveling through the center of Italy.

We’ve been there several times, but each time we go there, it solidifies our belief in what our roots can really do for us.

We’ve gone there and seen a 1,000-year-old castle. It’s just a whole different way of life over there, and it really makes you put things in perspective when you come back here.

Read the entire interview over at The Total Scene.

Emily Armstrong is “Not A Hater” Exclusive Interview.

Dead Sara Cover

It’s Tuesday afternoon in sunny Los Angeles. I just hung up the phone with Emily Armstrong, the uber talented, equally cool and polite lead singer of the band Dead Sara. Who was kind enough to speak to me while having a busy day off from making music.

You guys play the Sunset Strip Music Festival this Friday, Are you excited?

[EA] We’re playing the party… technically. The warm up..

Well better to play the party in the beginning then at the end when everyone’s so fucked up they won’t remember, right?

[EA] Sure! I mean.. yeah we didn’t expect to play at all until they invited us and it’s already sold out.

Will you catch any of the other shows?

[EA] maybe.. we’ll see bush, since we’re going on tour with them.

How long are you going out on tour with Bush?

10 days. (Dates Here)

Was Bush big for you growing up?

[EA] Oh yeah. The 90s. They were everywhere.

Yeah they were. I feel like we’re similar age, how old are you?

[EA] 25.

..I reveal my old age to Emily, and no I won’t tell you.. we share a laugh of love for 90′s music..

So how much touring has Dead Sara done?

[EA] Not that much touring.. We did SXSW a couple times.. in 2007 we went up the coast. We’ve just been playing LA for years now but with the new lineup, new band, and new album coming out it all makes sense. We are looking forward to it.

Are you prepared? Ready for next step.. or are you shitting your pants?

[EA] We’ve been preparing for it. It’s something we’ve looked forward to. most of all we’re fucking scared.

Can I write that?

[EA] Yeah. (laughs) We are totally excited.

What is the goal for you and the band for the next level?

[EA] The debut record is the next level, then tour with a bigger band… I mean this is already a bigger level for us. We look forward to things like this happening again next year, and our next record.

Are there any songs on the album that you wrote instantly?

[EA] Weatherman – It was the first song we wrote together. We wrote it instantly. It was magic. (Bands first single available here.)

Which song was the biggest bitch to write, lyrically?

[EA] “Lemon scent” we wrote in the studio, and we thought it was rad, lets keep this for record, but we didnt have much lyrically. When it was my time to do vocals, I was like “what?!” The pressure builds and it’s harder than it usually is (writing on the spot in the studio in the heat of the moment) But I enjoy the process very much. In that situation it was just a bit different.

Lemon Scent is actually my favorite track on the album. When can the fans expect the album in their paws?

[EA] October 11th.

Officially?

[EA] Officially.

So do all of your families and parents support you and your musical decisions?

[EA] Yes and no. You can’t expect parents to support an 11 year old little girl saying “I’m gonna do this” It’s like “Really, oh c’mon.” Eventually it was like “Emily you stuck with it.. you show no signs of letting go fucking do it..” Me being dedicated showed everyone.

Do you feel being successful now you can be like “Look, WHAT! I told you so?”

[EA] yeah (laughs) I’m no hater. I couldn’t be cocky and do that. That’s not me..

Any advice for kids or musicians trying to make it in today’s music scene?

[EA] Staying true to yourself. In the industry people have a vision FOR you, you have to go in with YOUR vision and from that you will have no problem personally.

(That was profound.)

When you felt crushed by the industry and people telling you who you should be or how to do things – did you ever create a back up career?

[EA] Anybody would do that, create a plan a or plan b but I just knew it had to work. It just had to..

We talk about the current state of affairs in the music industry..

You have a strong fan base, and I think streaming the album online helped that. People have mixed views today about giving music away for free to promote the better of the band – or busting your ass in the studio, paying for the studio, then you make .99 cents a track…How do you feel about all that?

[EA] I can go both ways on it. You put out your blood sweat and tears and it = debt. But at the end of the day fans and people are coming to shows and tours are happening more importantly..

Some bands say that they tour, do the albums, and get home and break even..

[EA] Absolutely..

…We debate if breaking even is shitty, or cool. In the end we agree that as long as people know Dead Sara’s music even if they “download and snatch it” the word is spreading about the life-full new band and none of that is bad.

We go on to talk about Los Angeles, where we both are currently living..

I just moved here (LA) from NYC about 9 months ago..I feel like in NYC people steal your ideas, so you can’t share too much. In LA people want to help you make you make it, but only to make a percentage off of you.. Do you have any experience with the East Coast side of business?

[EA] A few years ago we went out there for a label meeting, but that’s all. I feel like when a band comes up people say “this is good for LA.”

..You may have to live here to understand this but.. Los Angelenos, Miss Armstrong just spoke the truth. We talked for a while about when a band plays LA. Emily mentions that there is so much going on here besides music, and I can’t agree more. Moving here from the east coast I am mesmerized by nature alone. Things you call hills, I call mountains. I make childish sequels when a dolphin swims by, you’d think I just saw a unicorn, every other day I think I’ve found a pot of gold when a street is shut down for an ethnic festival and beach BBQs are part of our weekly itinerary. It is a lot of competition if you’re playing a friday night show..

[EA] When a show happens, People say, This is good for LA, This might make people get out..

Your band is so unique and energetic, “Lemon Scent” and “Timed Blues” are unlike anything I’ve heard in music and you can hear all of the various musical influences laced all throughout them..I would think that it would get people off their ass, and off the beach to a show?

[EA] You would think…

What are you listening to these days?

[EA] I’ve been singling out songs – I do the iPhone download. Joy formidable. Cheap trick. Eric Clapton. etc.

What aggravates you the most about music today?

[EA] The complete formula of how to make a star thing. Lets get this girl, lets go over some songs, dress this way. OK we get it! I want to see bands and singers who have paid their dues and written and felt songs for themselves – the formulated pop stars or formulated rock bands. (they aggravate me.)

Who is your dream band to tour with?
[EA] We as a band keep saying the foo fighters. Personally, Stevie Nicks. cockatoo twins, Elizabeth (Fraser), to write with her, I mean fuck.

What is your dream place or festival to play?
[EA] Coachella, that would be a magical place for us to play. As far as stadiums Madison Square Garden, Wembley, I’m thinking outside the box here

“Nah man, you’re in the box, It’s gonna happen..

I wasn’t just being nice, because I’m not a nice person, I’m just honest – I believe in this band and it’s always icing on the cake when the musicians are as nice as they sound. Thanks Emily!! Rock On. ….(& If you’re out of the loop, catch up on Dead Sara Here!) If you’re in the loop, and in LA, see them at the Sunset Strip Music Festival playing with BuckCherry at the Roxy this Friday! See u There!

Bumpus founder bringing the soul with new band, Dance Floor Plans

By Eric Schelkopf at The Total SceneJames Johnston is a soul man. After forming beloved Chicago funk jazz band Bumpus in the late ’90s, Johnston has a new band, Dance Floor Plans, that is all about the soul with a healthy dose of funk.

Dance Floor Plans, www.dancefloorplans.com, will perform its first show opening for Nikka Costa on Aug. 21 at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago.The new band features members of Bumpus, Terrible Spaceship, Clip Art and Mars to Maridia.

DJRC is also on the bill. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $17, $20 at the door, available at www.lincolnhallchicago.com.

I had the chance to talk to Johnston about his latest project.

Eric: Dance Floor Plans will play its first live show opening for Nikka Costa. Do you think that’s a good gig to introduce the band?

James: I actually can’t think of a better first real gig than opening for Nikka Costa. She’s got the funk and soul, but her music is not completely retro. She brings something modern and we’re trying to do the same thing.

Read the rest of the interview at The Total Scene! (Direct Link)

COLD Interview with Scooter Ward

COLD interview by Amy Harris at The First 3 Songs

Cold can still bring an alternative grunge style to the stage that they rocked when they hit the scene in 1996. They became a mainstay in the musical culture with their 2003 top five release Year of the Spider. After an announced break-up of the band in 2006, they returned to the stage with a reunion tour in 2009. Right now, they are promoting their recently released fifth studio album Superfiction.

Amy was able to speak with the band’s lead singer and original member Scooter Ward. The two discussed the road back after the time off and a visual imagery associated with their new music. T

Amy: I’ve been listening to the new album and I love it. I’ve been listening to it over and over this week.

Scooter: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Amy: I personally think it is your best work.

Scooter: I think so too. We’re on the same page. We are very proud of it. It took us a long time but it definitely came out well I think.

Read the full interview at The First 3 Songs! (Direct Link)

Volbeat Interview with Michael Poulsen

Volbeat Interview by Amy Harris at The First 3 Songs

Volbeat is Michael Poulsen (Vocals / Guitar), Anders Kjølholm (Bass), Jon Larsen (Drums) and Thomas Bredahl (Guitar).  They may not be a household name around the venues in the United States, but they are an intense heavy metal Danish band that has played in front of some of the largest crowds in the world overseas.  Their song Fallen is also taking over Octane Sirius radio and rock radio stations across the country. They are about to kick off their U.S. leg of their Grand Summer Tour. It will promote their album Beyond Hell and Above Heaven that was released late in 2010.

Amy caught up with lead vocalist Michael Poulson to discuss their growing popularity in America, being naked with Metallica, and the great successes of the band in Europe.  This is a great opportunity to catch an act that half the world already has fallen in love with.

Amy: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. I know it’s evening for you.

Michael: Yeah. Right now the sun is shining. Me and my wife are sitting out in the garden. It’s really good weather. The kids are playing around. Everything is just really peaceful.

Amy: The tour does kick off next week in the U.S. What can fans expect from you guys and the show?

Michael: We really love what we are doing. We are definitely a live band. We are very serious about our records. We would never go into the studio if we weren’t capable of doing exactly the same thing on the records that we do live. The image is just so much higher live because there are certain things you can’t get on the record. So there will definitely be lots of energy and good spirit and good connection to the audience. This is definitely a tour we are looking forward to.

Read the full interview at The First 3 Songs! (Direct Link)

Q&A with Bo Koster from My Morning Jacket

It is undeniable the effect My Morning Jacket has placed on live rock music in America over the past couple years. Their legendary show is full of production value and an electrifying experience for all audiences that attend. They are coming off their sixth studio albumCircuital that was released at the end of May of this year peaking at number five on the Billboard album chart.

Amy spoke with keyboard player Bo Koster to discuss the upcoming show in Cincinnati. They discussed his passion for the local record shops and the My Morning Jacket live experience. They will be performing Wednesday August 17th at the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center.

Amy: Many of the band members are from the Louisville area, are you actually from Louisville as well?

Bo: I actually grew up in Cleveland, a Cleveland boy. I haven’t lived there in a long time but I grew up there. I spent the first 21 or 22 years of my life there.

Amy: You guys opened your tour for Circuital in Louisville at the Palace Theater. You had it broadcast on Youtube with a director. It was a large production. What was that experience like for the band?

Read the full interview at The First 3 Songs (Direct Link)!

Cage the Elephant Interview from Kanrocksas

Cage the Elephant interview with Amy Harris at The First 3 Songs

The inaugural Kanrocksas Music Festival took place at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City last weekend with headlining performances by Eminem, MUSE, The Black Keys, Cage the Elephant and many more acts. The festival is being called a mini-Lollapalooza as many of the same bands performed as they made their way to and from Chicago. We caught all the headlining bands with photo coverage and were impressed with the overall festival and organization in its first year. Eminem brought the house down with an epic performance on night one singing classics like Stan with the video playing in the background and newer hits including Airplanes.

Cage the Elephant also had one of my favorite performances that was high energy with lead singer Matt Schultz diving into the crowd singing In One Ear. They have taken the garage band setup to a new level. Their energy and raw talent has made them a summer festival favorite. They have just come off releasing their 2nd nationwide label studio album, Thank You Happy Birthday which features Rock number one hit “Shake Me Down,” and the current single “Around My Head.”

Amy sat down with lead guitarist Lincoln Parish and rhythm guitarist Brad Schultz before they took the stage at the Kansrocksas music festival this past weekend. They discussed the band’s most recent show and performances in Cincinnati as well as dealing with nerves, no matter how big the stage they perform on.

Amy: You had a big day in Cincinnati back in March, you came through and played Bogarts and you sang at Opening Day for the Reds. How was that experience for you?

Lincoln: It was definitely interesting. When we got up (at Reds stadium) and it was time for us to do it, they were like, “The keyboard is going to come in and then you guys start.” Then they said, “No, the keyboard is not going to come in so you guys just start it.” Then they came back and said something totally different.

Brad: Then right before we went on they were like, “The keyboard is definitely going to start.”

Read the rest of the interview at The First 3 Songs! (Direct Link)

Janet Jackson Talks About her New Book, Touring, and her Inspirations

Janet Jackson literally comes from the music royal family. She has extended the legend of the Jackson family positively through her strong powerful voice and a performance that could only be matched by her brother, the King of Pop himself. She has a very successful acting career with several Tyler Perry produced and directed movies, Why Did I Get Married, the sequel Why Did I Get Married, Too, and the 2011 hit For Colored Girls. She recently released her first book True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself. “The Baby Sister” has broken free of that name by creating a legacy of her own through versatility of music, dance, and performances on the silver screen.

Jackson will be performing at PNC Pavilion at Riverbend on Thursday August 11th  bringing her “Number Ones” tour to town.

Janet is extremely private in her personal life but we were able to catch up with her via email to talk about her book and her upcoming tour performance in Cincinnati.

Amy: What is a normal day for Janet Jackson?

Janet: That depends on what is going on in my life. One thing that is consistent is that I start every day with a prayer to God.

Amy: You have played in Cincinnati before on previous tours.  Any significant memories?

Janet: Yes, if I remember correctly, I was in Cincinnati for the Rhythm Nation, JANET and Velvet Rope tours. The one thing that stands out most for me is how wonderful the people are. I can’t wait to get back and see all my fans there.

Read the rest of the interview with Janet at The First 3 Songs! (Direct Link)

 

The Band Perry Tells Stories on the Road with Tim McGraw

Interview by Amy Harris at The First 3 Songs

The Band Perry took the stage at Riverbend Music Center on Sunday night in front of a background that said “We’re The Band Perry & We Play Country Music.” Simply stated that is exactly what they did to warm up the crowd for Luke Bryan and headliner Tim McGraw. The band is as traditional a country act and as they play you will ever hear every possible string instrument present and meaningful songs that resonate within the culture of the genre. They are country music’s newest crossover act with their smash hit single “If I Die Young” reaching number one on the country charts and the top 15 on the pop charts. They are merely a humble family band made up of siblings from Mississippi that take pride in their songwriting and classically trained musical talents. After listening to their chart-topping self-titled album, it is not hard to see why they are the hottest young group in country.

The crowd sang along as Kimberly started their newest hit song “You Lie”- dedicating it to all the cheaters with an intro from the Rihanna/Eminem hit “Love the Way You Lie.” It was not hard to see that many of the fans at Sunday’s show came just to see The Band Perry.

Amy caught up with Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry on Tuesday after the show to discuss the band’s show this past weekend in Cincinnati. They talked about the current tour hazards of being on the road with Tim McGraw and the band’s innocent nights out.

Amy: What’s your craziest Tim McGraw tour story so far?

Kimberly: Our craziest Tim McGraw tour story? I’ll tell you this. There have been so many injuries on the “Emotional Traffic” tour. Everything from the king of the tour, Tim himself, he had his broken ankle. We had our guitar player who broke his collarbone in three places riding his bike.

Reid: Luke Bryan actually got in a fight with his bass player and his guitarist actually broke his arm. We have had everything from scratched knees to broken bones.

Kimberly: We need an emergency room on our tour.

Reid: But the cherry on top is actually on the tour in Washington. There was a fight that broke out right in front of us on stage in the crowd and Tim McGraw actually broke it up. It was actually pretty cool.

Read the full interview here at The First 3 Songs!

Brad Gillis of Night Ranger Talks Touring, Downtime, and Replacing Randy Rhodes

Interview by Amy Harris at The First 3 Songs

Night Ranger is still alive and kicking in the heart of Rock n Roll after 30 years on the road. They have just released their 9th studio album Somewhere in California. The band is celebrating their long and glorious career on the road with 80s music staples Journey and Foreigner on the Eclipse Tour. Over the duration of the band’s time in the mainstream, they have produced seven top 15 singles including the always impressive “Sister Christian” which gets any crowd on their feet when the drums kick in.

Amy caught up with lead guitarist Brad Gillis to preview the show. Brad has great stories of the road and a look at his history with Night Ranger and touring with Ozzy Osbourne.

Amy: I have been listening to Somewhere in California which is your 9th album. I think my favorite song on the album is “Lay It On Me.” Can you tell me the story behind that song?

Brad: It’s funny that you ask because in our short set that we are playing with Journey and Foreigner, that is the opening song for our show. We all enjoy that song too. Our first video came out, “Growing Up in California,” and now we are looking into doing a video for “Lay It On Me.” I’m glad you like it. It’s a song where I brought in that heavy riff and we all got into the studio and started jamming on it and it ended up turning out the way it was and became the second song on the CD. So we like it a lot and it’s coming across live very well.

Amy: I think it comes back to the roots of the original music that you guys did through the years. I saw that there weren’t a lot of ballads on this record so you guys are going back to the rock n roll vibe on the new album in general right?

Brad: Yes, we decided to kind of get back to that kick ass Night Ranger music from the original three albums that made us famous Dawn Patrol, Midnight Madness, and Seven Wishes. We just wanted to get back to the big vocal harmony choruses, the twin lead guitar assault, and we were pretty excited to go into the studio, especially with our new guitar player Joe Hoekstra and our newest addition Eric Levy on keyboard. So it was great to get them in studio and bring the best out of them to create this new record. We took our time recording and spent a little over four months on this record. Usually we do records in two to three months. We just wanted everything right and exciting and the mixes to be great and we kind of went over time on our recording schedule but we all believe the final mixes came out great and are so happy that it is a worldwide release. We have already been to Japan, already been to Europe, and now we are out for three months with Journey, Foreigner, and Night Ranger on the road in the United States.

Amy: Did you guys come together and write it together or do you work separately when you write?

Brad: We all got into a room with musical ideas and started jamming on all these different riffs and stuff and then the vocals came later which is a different process for Night Ranger. Usually people come in with songs or chorus lyrics or some type of hook and we write music around it. But we just wanted to get into the studio and jam on some of these new ideas and kind of focus on the more up-tempo, exciting musical ideas and went on to finish those off. Like you said there is only one ballad on the record, I think mainly because we had so much energy and excitement in us that it is how it turned out.

Amy: You guys are obviously coming to Cincinnati tomorrow and you have been touring through here for years. I was curious to see if you had any crazy Cincinnati memories from the 80s or the original touring days?

Brad: I remember back in 1983 when we first came out, one of the first shows that we did was in downtown Cincinnati at this radio station on the sixth floor. I remember that it was crazy because the crew had to haul equipment up stairs instead of using an elevator to get to this live radio show we did.  I remember we had just come out with “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” and the excitement was just beginning for Night Ranger and I remember doing that radio show in 1983. Somebody sent me pictures of us at the radio station doing that performance six months ago and it brought back memories of being there in Cincinnati. Cincinnati kind of has a warm place in my heart for Night Ranger because they were one of the first radio stations that put on our first single “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me.”

Amy: There are bands that are getting lots of press like Kings of Leon right now who are having all this internal strife and cancelling tours at the peak of their career. Do you have any thoughts on that or what advice would you give bands today going through the process that you have been living for 30 years?

Brad: Well I guess the key to our success and longevity and the reason we get along so well is that we all have a sense of humor. We all like to make each other laugh and keep things positive. When you have been touring as long us, you have to make sure that everyone is getting along. We keep the humor up and joking around. On our days off, we all go sightseeing and go out for a nice band dinner. We just try to get along by keeping each other in check and keep the humor up. Because of that we seem to get along. This is our heaviest touring year since the 80s so we are kind of reliving the old experience of being out on the road for a long time. I think we are going to be up to about 100 shows total this year for Night Ranger and it’s pretty exciting to be able to have that much touring available to us and great packages to be playing on. We thank our lucky stars that we have a new record and a great tour going on and our key is just keeping everybody positive, happy, and keeping the humor rolling around.

Amy: What do you do on your downtime on the road?

Brad: On the downtime on the road, I collect vintage guitars and amplifiers, so I like to hit all the pawn shops and music stores on the road. We try to take in as many sites as we can see in each city, but there is only so much time allotted to us having to travel and having to play the opening slot in the Journey, Foreigner, Night Ranger Tour. But when I am at home, I have a Harley that I ride around town. I live in the San Francisco Bay area. There are beautiful roads to ride on and nice back mountain roads. And personally, I do a lot of music for ESPN and Fox Sports. I am constantly writing music at home and trying to place that and spending time with my daughter and gearing up for the next Night Ranger gig.

Amy: You famously replaced Randy Rhodes with Ozzy Osbourne after his tragic death. What was that experience like for you and how did you go about coming back to Night Ranger after that?

Brad: When Night Ranger got together in 1980, we put together our demo with like five songs and we were trying to shop this demo and not having much luck. It was very time consuming with people trying to shop our new material. We did not want to play small clubs in the Bay Area. We wanted to hold off and get a record deal and go in big time like gangbusters with a new song on the radio. In that interim, I put together a band, the Alameda All Stars, and we were playing Ozzy tunes. When Randy’s tragic death occurred, two weeks later I got a call to go play with Ozzy and go to New York and finish the tour up. It was very exciting for me but very scary. I had never been in that type of situation where I was being thrown right into a headline situation where I had to learn all this intense material. I camped out in my hotel room for four days with a live cassette that Randy was on and the fifth night I played my first show, my first sold out Ozzy show in Binghamton, New York for like 7,000 people. It was very,very scary for me because I had never played with the band before and the only time I was able to play with the band was at the sound check the day of that first show. So we had gone on stage and it was very scary for me. After a few weeks, I started settling in and getting into the groove. And I remember doing a live broadcast from Memphis, Tennessee, King Biscuit Flower Hour, and our show was broadcast live throughout the US. I actually had a very good show that night, and after that I actually started relaxing in my position with Ozzy. It was a lot of intense touring. We were out for about 11 months total. Towards the end of the Ozzy tour, our bass player decided to leave Ozzy because his new band Quiet Riot had gotten a record deal. Rudy ended up leaving the band and about a month or two later, we got offered a record deal with Night Ranger. Being a side man with Ozzy, I felt in my heart that I would be more comfortable with Night Ranger because these were best friends of mine that I spent a couple years trying to get this project together and I was a full band member and not a side man. So I decided to quit Ozzy in the end and we had just recorded the live record Speak of the Devil with Ozzy with old Black Sabbath material and Night Ranger, we had our record Dawn Patrol finished in the can. When I re-joined Night Ranger, both records, Speak of the Devil from Ozzy and Night Ranger’s Dawn Patrol were released in the same week in early ’83. It was exciting I had two records charting at that time. Night Ranger hopped on a huge tour and next thing you know we were back out doing big shows opening for a lot of big acts at the time. We were fortunate enough to have MTV behind us so our videos all throughout the 80s were heavily played which helped with the recognition of the band.

Amy: That’s a great story. Do you have any regrets over the years?

Brad: Not at all. My career has always been going in a nice direction. It is just wonderful to see in this day and age 30 years later, after Night Ranger was conceived, we are having one of the biggest years that we have had since the 80s with the all the shows and the new record and the worldwide tour. You can’t ask for anything better than that.

Amy: What do you feel was your greatest rock n roll moment ever?

Brad: When I was 19 years old, when I just graduated high school, I was playing in club bands playing five nights a week. I got picked up by this band called Rubicon, and Jack Blades, our lead singer for Night Ranger was in that band. We got a record deal from 20th Century Fox Records and we did a small tour. The highlight of my life will always be playing Cal Jam 2 at Ontario Motor Speedway with Rubicon and the headliners were Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Heart, Santana, all these great bands. I will never forget that day, it was March 18th, 1978. I played in front of 250,000 people. It’s still to this day the biggest day of my life, being flown in, backstage, and helicopters, and taking limos everywhere. All my friends from the Bay Area drove down to see me and hang out with me at the show. After that, they made a live video for TV and showed us and a Double Live album from the Cal Jam 2. That was the biggest day of my career.

 

Chicago Band Gold Motel Bringing Sunny Pop Songs to Lollapalooza This Week

By ERIC SCHELKOPF at The Total Scene

Not everyone thinks that Los Angeles is a music mecca. Take Greta Morgan, former lead singer of The Hush Sound, who moved back to her hometown of Chicago to start the new project Gold Motel after living in Southern California for a year. Gold Motel features the talents of several other Chicago musicians, including Dan Duzsynzski, Matt Schuessler and Adam Kaltenhauser, of the band This Is Me Smiling, and Eric Hehr, of The Yearbooks.

Gold Motel, www.goldmotel.com, is one of several Chicago bands that will perform at  Lollapalooza in Grant Park.

The band will perform from 12:15 to 1 p.m. Aug. 7 on the PlayStation stage. Tickets are $90, available at www.lollapalooza.com.

I had the chance to talk to Morgan and Hehr about the band and its current projects.

Eric:  You guys were just at the Taste of Chicago, and now the band will perform at Lollapalooza on Aug. 7. Is this just another goal for the band, being part of Lollapalooza?

Greta: It was a big goal, but I kind of didn’t think it would happen this early. In the band The Hush Sound, we toured all over with a bunch of really big bands.

But we were never asked to play at Lollapalooza. So the fact that Gold Motel has only been a band a year and a half and has only released one album and we got a personal invitation from one of the lead bookers at Lollapalooza was really, really flattering.

It has been one of my goals for a really long time to play at Lollapalooza, so I just feel really lucky we get the chance to do it.

To read the rest head over to the full  interview with Greta at  The Total Scene!

Journey Interview with Deen Castronovo

Journey can only be described as 70’s and 80’s Rock legends and they are still going strong. “Don’t Stop Believin” is the number one ITunes download of all time and they have created some of the most well-known songs in modern music. Their summer tour schedule includes stops all across America and they are back with their 15th album, Eclipse, released earlier this year. Their current tour supports the new album with other arena rock legends Night Ranger and Foreigner.

Amy had a chance to speak with the band’s drummer, Deen Castronovo. The two spoke about touring, the new album, his love of KISS and some fond Coney Island experiences in Cincinnati. The Eclipse tour will be arriving in Cincinnati on August 3rd at the Riverbend Music Center.

Amy: First of all, I’d like you to talk about the new album Eclipse, which is the band’s 15th album. Tell us a little bit about the album and what your favorite track is to play live.

Deen: The new album, we love, we’re very proud of. It’s definitely more guitar-driven than a lot of the Journey records we have had in the past. Actually, Arnel got to do a little writing on the record which is great that we have added him to the mix with writing. My favorite song I have to say is a song called “Someone.” It’s classic Journey. When I hear this song, I get chills and I want to drive really fast in my car. I love the song. It’s a great song.

Arnel Pineda is the current lead singer of the band with uncanny vocal resemblance to Steve Perry. Pineda was discovered by the band on Youtube performing Journey songs. It is a true Cinderella story where Arnel was flown halfway around the world from the Philippines to audition with the band for two days before landing the gig of a lifetime.

Read the full interview with Dean Castronovo at TheFirst3Songs.com!

Journey Photo Gallery:

All photos by Sparky – Click on Thumbnails to enlarge images: Journey 7/2008 ChulaVista, CA

Amy Harris Talks to Nate Query of the Decemberists

The Decemberists are a very popular folk rock group with an easy sound that appeals to the mass audience while keeping their Indie edge. They believe that life as a musician means continual evolution and that over the course of a career, any band worth paying attention to will pursue a sound, a direction of great adventure. The Oregon based group has spread from the West Coast bars to filling venues throughout the country. They are currently touring behind their new album The King is Deadwhich debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. They have collaborated with members from My Morning Jacket, R.E.M., and even the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Amy spoke with bassist Nate Query. The two discussed the new album and tour. They also spoke about the upcoming break the band will be taking and where the band is headed. The Decemberists will be performing Thursday night at Riverbend. It would be smart to catch this widely popular act it will be the last time they play Cincinnati before their scheduled hiatus.

Amy: I’ve been listening to the new album The King is Dead this week and I wanted to start with some questions about the album and how you put it together. My favorite song was the “January Hymn” song, and I was just curious about the story behind that song.

Nate: Well, I’m a bass player not the songwriter so I won’t read too much into it. That song and “June Hymn” is Colin kind of doing an ode to the seasons in Portland, especially in the part of Portland that he lives which is near a big park with a forest. A lot of the imagery is about painting a vivid picture of January in Oregon.

Amy: Most of your songs are very vivid storytelling. Do you write as a band or does one person take the lead?

Read the full interview with Nate here at First3Songs.com!

Ted Nugent Talks About Why “Google Sucks” and Sensationalized Hollywood Drug Abuse

Most recently Uncle Ted has taken heat for a recent episode of Piers Morgan on CNN with an interview on gun control where he attacks President Obama. “Anybody that wants to disarm me can drop dead,” Ted Nugent tells CNN’s Piers Morgan. “Anybody that wants to make me unarmed and helpless, people that want to literally create the proven places where more innocents are killed called gun-free zones; we’re going to beat you. We’re going to vote you out of office or suck on my machine gun.”

Amy caught up with Ted to discuss his early roots in rock-n-roll music and the current tour.

Amy: What has been your greatest rock-n-roll moment?

Ted: Oh Lord, there has been a lifetime of nonstop spirit stimulating thrilling tsunamis of excitement and fun. Surely this tour is the most ferocious, high energy fun rock out of my life. My band is the best on earth.

Read the rest of Amy’s Interview (trust me you want to!) at TheFirst3Songs.com (direct link to interview)

Hinder Talks Touring, Blackouts, and Ke$ha

All Hinder Photos By Amy Harris

Hinder is Oklahoma hard rock. The band, comprised of members Austin Winkler (lead vocalist), Joe “Blower” Garvey (lead guitarist), Mark King (rhythm guitarist), Mike Rodden (bassist), and Cody Hanson (drummer) blew up in 2005 with the release of their debut studio album Extreme Behavior which featured popular hits “Get Stoned” and “Lips of an Angel.” They are climbing the charts again with the single “What Ya Gonna Do” off their third studio album, All American Nightmare.

Amy Harris caught up with the band prior to their performance at Rock Fest when she traveled to Cadott, Wisconsin to check out the popular rock festival that has been around since 1994.They had time to discuss the new album and the festival life. The band will be rocking the entire summer hitting rock festivals all across the country.

Amy: You’re out here in the metropolis of Wisconsin. What did you guys do last night?
Austin:  We played a show in Indiana.

Amy: So you were on the bus last night?
Group: Yeah

Amy: Is this your first time at Rock Fest?
Austin: I don’t think so. I think we’ve played this before in 2007.
Blower: I know we’ve played this venue.
Austin: We played with Three Doors Down in ’07.

Amy: What can we expect today from the set?
Cody: Rain!
Austin:  Rain and Lots of wetness.
Cody: We’re going to get the chicks wet tonight.
Mark: God is doing it for us.
Cody: Wow!

Amy: That’s the line of the day. You guys were just at Rock on the Range. What was your craziest Rock on the Range story?
Mike: I think I pissed myself that night.
Amy: Any particular reason?
Mark: I don’t remember why because I was blacked out but I definitely woke up with some wet pants.
Cody: Shit I was so hammered that night, I might have pissed your pants.
Austin: I got so high, I didn’t know where the phone was.

Amy: Did you guys go to Rocklahoma after that or did you just go on tour?
Austin: Yeah, we did Rocklahoma for the first time. That was pretty awesome. It was about time too because we are from there.

Amy: I love the new album. It was one of my favorites that I listened to prep for Rock on the Range. I’ve been listening to it ever since. What are your favorite tracks to play live on the album?
Mark: “Two Sides of Me” is one of my favorites to play live. It’s a good little rocker.
Austin:  “What You Gonna Do” is one of my favorites to play recently.
Amy: It’s catchy. I can say it with you.
Mike: Tell that to radio.
Amy: It’s all over the radio. I’ve been in traffic coming into this place for a day and I think I heard it three times today. I think they got the memo that you were here. You guys have toured with some huge bands. Are there any other bands that you would like to tour with or play with?
Austin: I want to play with the Rolling Stones. That would be awesome.

Amy: You guys did Aerosmith for a few dates right?
Group: Yeah
Austin: That was badass.
Mike: I’d like to play with The Doors, if that was possible.

Amy: I had a question about “Striptease.” Any particular strippers or clubs that inspired that song?
Austin: I think it’s a lot of the bullshit that’s being shoved down people’s throats these days.
Cody: It’s more about a few of the pop artists and you can throw some reality stars in there.
Mike: Yeah, it’s kind of like they belong more in a strip club than they do on the radio or TV. That’s about how much talent they have.
Mark: Dude Ke$ha is talented, alright.
Amy: In more ways than one right?
Cody: I doubt that. I did just see a picture of her online yesterday with her holding her tits and a big wad of nut underneath.
Group: Are you kidding me?
Amy: Are we sure it was her?
Cody: Yeah, or it was some nasty bitch that looked just like her.

Amy: So what has been the highlight of 2011 for you guys so far?
Mike: I don’t think we have any super-big highlights.
Austin: The fact we have our third record out is pretty awesome. Being well-received by our fans, I think that’s pretty badass.
Mike: We might just make a highlight tonight.

Amy: I have to tell you. I was here last night and Rob Zombie made a highlight.
Cody: What did he do?
Amy: The stage, as you know is two-tiered. He said, “Everybody is too far away. Come up on the stage.” So all the girls came up on the stage with them for four songs. He said, “If you behave. Don’t fuck it up.” Next thing you know I am running onto the stage and at John 5’s feet.  So I think that shocked the security and the venue for a minute. So you guys can try it.  Nobody got hurt.
Mark: They are a lot braver than us.
Blower: A lot more scary looking too.

Amy: Any regrets over the years?
Mike: Yeah, we have lots of those. We have a whole bag of them.
Cody: We have tons of regrets and mistakes we have made over the years especially when you first start out being a band. You are green and you let outside people have a little too much control and make some bad decisions for you. If we could go back, we would probably have a lot more money.

Amy: Do you guys all still live in Oklahoma.
Austin: I don’t. I live in California.
Cody: But the rest of us do.
Amy: How often do you get home?
Cody: We just came from home. We have been home for quite a bit on this cycle. It’s been a little more relaxed. We’re out on this run for like seven weeks. So it’s good to be out.

Amy: Do you guys prefer to play festivals like this and Rock on the Range or your own shows where you have your own, obviously your fan base is here too, but when you have your own shows, you know who is there?
Autin: Either way, we bring the same show. I guess sometimes when we play like Rock on the Range, we only get a certain amount of time. We come in and play 40 or 45 minutes, that kind of sucks. I wish we could play longer. Other than that, we bring the same show no matter what.
Mike: It’s kind of cool too, to have a break from the same tour every night and have a few festivals stuck in there because the lineup is different, and there are different bands at all the festivals. So it’s cool to get a change from the everyday show.

Amy: Anybody you are looking forward to seeing today?
Blower: I’ve never seen Kid Rock so I am pretty stoked about that.

Amy: You guys are touring with the new album. Have you started working on any new music yet?
Austin: Not necessarily recording in the studio but we are always coming up with ideas and stuff on the road. We kind of never really stop writing.

Amy: What’s your process? Do you guys do it together or separately?
Austin: Usually me and Cody will sit down with acoustic guitars and write the nutshell of the song and bring it to the rest of the guys and they put their thing on it.
Amy: How does the feedback session go?
Mike: Pretty straight forward.

Amy: You guys have been together forever so you can take it right?
Group: Yeah
Amy: You guys had a ton of songs to pick from for this album?
Cody: We’re hoping to be able to recycle some of those and use some for the next record. There are some really great songs that didn’t make it. Hopefully we’ll pick some of them out for the next one.
Amy: We’ll you tonight at the show when we all get wet.

Photos from Hinder’s set at Rock Fest are here.

Interview and photos by Amy Harris at TheFirst3Songs.com.

Talking to Easton Corbin

Easton Corbin is one of the hottest new acts in all of country music. Since debuting in 2009 with his self-titled album, which reached as high as number four on the country album charts, he has been gaining great recognition. His first two singles, “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It” skyrocketed to number one in country music. He has been nominated for 11 awards in his short career, taking home three of them, all at the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards.

Amy spoke with Easton about the new success. They discussed the new tour life and how he is affected by being up on stage in front of thousands of fans. Easton Corbin is on tour with Rascal Flatts and will be coming to Cincinnati for a show at Riverbend Music Center on Friday, July 22nd.

Amy: You’ve had kind of a big year this year. How has your life changed in the last 12 months?

Easton: You know, for me, I travel a lot more. I’m not home a lot. And, of course, a lot more people recognize me. Those are probably the biggest changes you know. Once you’re big, there’s a lot of stuff going on with the schedule. It’s good and it’s a blessing. It’s always better to be busy than not.

For the rest of the interview head over to TheFirst3Songs.com!

Shannon Larkin from Godsmack Sets the Record Straight

Interview by Amy Harris
Godsmack is in your face, kick you in the ass heavy metal. Not only do they not apologize for this, but they embrace it. They are touring and promoting their fifth studio release, the 2010 album, The Oracle.

As part of our 2011 Mayhem Festival coverage Amy spoke with Godsmack drummer, Shannon Larkin to promote the upcoming tour stop with the Mayhem Festival  in Cincinnati at Riverbend Music Center on July 20th. In the interview Shannon discusses the band’s writing process and is happy to set the record straight about crazy rumors with a famous rock star groupie.

Amy: I wanted to start with the important questions, I know you love football. What do you think is going to happen with the lockout?

Read the rest of the interview with Shannon at TheFirst3Songs.com.

Goo Goo Dolls Take Over The Charter One Pavilion

Goo Goo Dolls
Charter One Pavilion – Chicago, IL
7/16/2011

Goo Goo Dolls is:
John Rzeznik
Rob Takac
Mike Malinin

Goo Goo Dolls Charter one Pavilion Chicago 32 HF

Goo Goo Dolls just released Something For The Rest Of Us on Warner Brothers Records and on tour with Michelle Branch and Parachute.  They also have a song on the Transformers soundtrack, “All That You Are.” The trio are very successful with songs on soundtracks. Lets take you back to “Iris” on The City of Angels soundtrack. Can you say hit?

The Charter One Pavilion site just blocks from Chicago’s Field Museum and right up to the shores of Lake Michigan.  The Pavilion’s location adds the extra touch to what was nothing but a stellar show even with high humidity that left everyone coated in sweat.  Goo Goo Dolls delivers nothing but rock and roll music with a rock and roll stage show to boot. It wasn’t long into the set when they pulled out “Slide“.  The also launched black balloons into the crowd for their hit “Black Balloon” making the front of the crowd distracted and happy.

Many left their seats at the Pavilion and headed up to the front of the stage. The band started into a song and it was moments later the  band stopped and John asked the crowd of fans, “Does anyone know this one?” I don’t think many knew the song judging by the reaction of the fans.  The song was “Cuz You’re Gone.” Their set also included one of their biggest hits “Name“,  ”January Friend,” and the first single off their last EP Waiting For The Rest Of It,Home“.

For those those who need to catch up with John Rzeznik,  Amy Harris talked to John Rzeznik recently about the bands future, their current tour with Michelle Branch, and moving back to the East Coast.

For those fans who need some more Goo they are releasing a Live EP tomorrow, Live From SOHO.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:

Goo Goo Dolls Tour Dates with Michelle Branch and Parachute:

Wed     July 13              PNC Pavilion at Riverbend                     Cincinnati, OH
Fri        July 15              Harrah’s Council Bluffs                          Council Bluffs, IA
Sat       July 16              Charter One                                           Chicago, IL
Sun      July 17              Meadowbrook                                       Rochester (Detroit), I
Tue       July 19              Bank Of America Pavilion                      Boston, MA
Wed     July 20              Oakdale Theatre                                    Wallingford, CT
Fri        July 22              PNC Bank Arts Center                            Holmdel, NJ
Sat       July 23              Tropicana Casino & Resort/The Quarter  Atlantic City, NJ
(Parachute not appearing)
Sun      July 24              Nikon at Jones Beach Theater                Wantagh, NY
Tue       July 26              The Filene Center                                   Vienna, VA
Wed     July 27              The LC Pavilion Outdoor Amphitheatre   Columbus, OH
Fri        July 29              Darien Lake Performing Arts Center        Darien Center, NY
Sat       July 30              Bethel Woods Center for the Arts           Bethel, NY
Sun      July 31              Saratoga Performing Arts Center            Saratoga Springs, NY
Tue       Aug 2               Stage E                                              Pittsburgh, PA
Wed     Aug 3               nTelos Wireless Pavilion                        Portsmouth, NH
Fri        Aug 5               Pompano Beach Amphitheater               Pompano Beach, FL
Sat       Aug 6               Tropicana Field                                     St. Petersburg, FL
(Michelle Branch and Parachute not appearing)
Sun      Aug 7               Verizon Wireless Amph at Encore Park   Alpharetta, GA
Tue       Aug 9               Uptown Amphitheatre                            Charlotte, NC
Wed     Aug 10              Raleigh Amphitheater                             Raleigh, NC
Fri        Aug 12              Live at the Garden                                 Memphis, TN
Sat       Aug 13              Hard Rock Hotel/Hard Rock Live            Biloxi, MS
(Parachute not appearing)
Wed     Aug 17              1st Bank Amphitheater                           Denver, CO
Thur      Aug 18              Deer Valley Ski Resort                           Park City, UT
Sat       Aug 20              Mammoth Mountain Ski Area                  Mammoth Lakes, CA
Sun      Aug 21              The Mountain Winery                             Saratoga, CA
Tue       Aug 23              Fox Theater                                           Oakland, CA
Wed     Aug 24              Antelope Valley Fairgrounds                  Lancaster, CA
Thur      Aug 25              Grand Sierra Casino/Summit Pavilion     Reno, NV

http://www.googoodolls.com/
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http://www.twitter.com/googoodolls
http://www.myspace.com/googoodolls


John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls Speaks!

The Goo Goo Dolls have come a long way since they started in 1986 in the crumbling rust belt city of Buffalo, New York where the band was probably started for no better reason than to kill time, make some music, and hopefully get a few free beers from the clubs where they were lucky enough to get a gig. They have stayed together for over two decades and continue to create hits on the music charts. Their current single “All That You Are” is getting serious radio play and featured in the newest installment of the Transformers franchise, Transformers: Dark of The Moon.

Amy spoke with vocalist and lead guitarist John Rzeznik about tour life, longevity, and the future of the super group. The band will be playing in Cincinnati at the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend on July 13t to support their current album Something for the Rest of Us.

On this album with his songwriting, Rzeznik confronts some of the issues that have become part of many people’s everyday lives.

Amy:  You guys have written a lot of songs over the years and had so many hits. What is the difference when you get asked to write songs for a movie soundtrack like Transformers or “Iris” from City of Angels versus just writing songs for touring or for a record?

To read the rest of the interview head over to Thefirst3songs.com.

Amy Harris is a an established journalist and photographer from Cincinnati, Ohio.  She currently is a photographer and writer for Citybeat.

Interview: Zach Myers and Chris Allen the Soullow Acoustic Tour

While Shinedown is prepping to go into the studio for a new album, Shinedown guitarist, Zach Myers decided to hit the road with his good friend Chris Allen. You can read about the Soullow Acoustic Tour‘s stop in Michigan here.

Peter Lizano caught up with the dynamic duo in Michigan to discuss the tour and to get the lowdown on Shinedown.

Spotlight: Dev talks SXSW, Working with The Cataracs, and Fashion

Dev is currently in Costa Rica recording her debut album with the super duo, The Cataracs. She also has a smash hit on her hands with “Bass Down Low,” which has already reached over 8 millions views on YouTube.  Dev was also recently nominated for the “Breaking Woodie” at the MTVU Woodie Awards.  This award is voted on by the public via social networking accounts.  You can go here for more info on voting for Dev. She is also gearing up for a spring tour, SXSW, and the Bamboozle Road show in May and June.

Dev took a moment to get us caught up on what’s rocking her world right now.

The Dead Hub: Are you excited about SXSW? What is one of your goals while at SXSW?

Dev: I’m so excited! Austin is one of my favorite cities… The whole SXSW Festival is so great for everyone, artists, and music heads of all types. I guess my goal for SXSW is to have an amazing fucking time, and make sure everyone at my show does too;]

DH: How did you meet up with the The Cataracs?

Dev: I made a song on my Macbook, posted it on MySpace, and two months later it was found by The Cataracs.  Fast forward just about 3 years and here we are!

DH: What made you decide to record the new album in Costa Rica?

Dev: We needed to clear our heads, have good vibes, and get away from all things distracting us in LA. Why not COSTAAA RIICAAA?!

DH: What has recording process been like recording the album?

Dev: It’s been amazing. The Cataracs and I work the same; No pressure, no weirdness. We go into the studio with ideas and conversation and stories. They’ve taught me how to paint pictures with my thoughts and words. The creative process behind the album was perfect.

DH: How much writing and sampling are you doing on the new album?

Dev: I think as of right now, I only sample like 16 bars the whole album. As for writing, I try to do as much of that as I can. However, if The Cataracs have a great idea, or verse/hook already written and I fuck with it, we’ll go with it. They’ve taught me a lot and they know me better than anyone, other than my parents. They know what I’m looking for or what I’m trying to get across. Whether it’s me coming to them with an idea, or them coming to me, it’s all from the same place and with the illest intentions.

DH: Should we expect any guests on the album?

Dev: As of right now it’s just The Cata(racs), however, I do believe they’re might be a couple surprises.

DH: What is your favorite part about living in LA? What’s the biggest drawback?

Dev: I love living in downtown LA. I love the entire vibe and everything that goes with it— from the bars and boutiques, to Santee Alley and art walk.

The biggest drawback is not being in Northern California. Nothing in the world is quite like northern California. <3

DH: What’s the biggest highlight so far for you either personally or on the music front?

Dev: Everything. My life did a complete 180… Every experience, new city, new state, new food, new shirt, new venue, new person, I’ve encountered has been amazing. I’m growing and learning. This journey has been gnarlyyy AND so beautiful.

DH: What are your plans for 2011?

Dev: To do as much shit as I possibly can. I can’t stop grinding.

DH: What is the one thing you can’t leave the house without?

Dev: My cell phone lol!

DH: Mac or PC girl?

Dev: MAC’in

DH: Artist that is getting the most traction on your mp3 player?

Dev: I just copped a new computer and the only music I have on me right now is the new WAKA FLOCKA mixtape, so as of right now, it’s that lol!

DH: What is your biggest pet peeve?

Dev: people who don’t fuck with chocolate, because I love chocolate. ha

DH: How would you rate your sense of fashion on a scale of 1-10? 1 being without a stylist you’d be lost in an abyss and 10 being trendsetter.

Dev: I don’t know lol. I was always into fashion and was the kid that would wear outa pocket shit because I saw an artist or model I looked up to rocking it. However, growing up in Manteca, I never had the best stores or boutiques at my fingertips. I’d like to pride myself in the art, but I’m just now playing catch up. LOL Y’all gonna have to answer that one.

DH:  Finally, do you really like your bass down low?

Dev: YES.

Dev on tour:

Fri Mar 4 Mezzanine – State College, PA
Sat Mar 5 Boss – Orlando, FL
Thu Mar 10 Clevelander Pool – Miami, FL
Fri Mar 11 Bianco – Santo Domingo, Domincian Republic
Tue Mar 15 Never Say Never Festival – Mission, TX
Thu Mar 17 Mooncussers – South Padre Island, TX
Fri Mar 18 Moodswing SXSW showcase @ The Phoenix – Austin, TX
Sat Mar 19 State Theater @ Playhouse Square – Cleveland, OH
Mon Mar 21 Club LeVela – Panama City, FL
Thu Mar 24 Ruby Skye (KYLD Radio)-San Francisco, CA
Sat Mar 26 Moodswing @ Louis at the Gansevoort – Miami Beach, FL
Tue Mar 29 Blush @ Wynn – Las Vegas, NV
Fri Apr 1 w/ Cataracs @ The Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend – Palm Springs, CA
Wed Apr 6 Cheerleaders – Pittsburgh, PA (w/ The Cataracs)
Sat Apr 9 Georgetown University – Washington, D.C. (w/ The Cataracs, Kevin Rudolf & Shwayze)
Wed Apr 27 Duke University – Durham, North Carlolina (w/ Ludacris)
Thu Apr 28 Cheerleaders – Philadelphia, PA (w/ The Cataracs)
Fri Apr 29 Bamboozle Festival – East Rutherford NJ
Sat Apr 30 Bamboozle – East Rutherford, NJ
Sun May 1 Bamboozle- East Rutherford, NJ
Wed May 4 Bamboozle Road Show – House of Blues – Boston, MA
Fri May 6 Bamboozle Road Show – Fillmore – Charlotte, NC
Sun May 8 Bamboozle Road Show – House of Blues – Myrtle Beach, SC
Wed May 11 Bamboozle Road Show – House of Blues – Orlando, FL
Fri May 13Bamboozle Road Show – House of Blues – Houston, TX
Sun May 15 Bamboozle Road Show – House of Blues -Dallas, TX
Tue May 17Bamboozle Road Show – House of Blues – Los Angeles, CA
Wed May 18 Bamboozle Road Show – The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA
Thu May 19 Bamboozle Road Show – House of Blues – Anaheim, CA
Fri May 20 Bamboozle Road Show – House of Blues – San Diego, CA
Tue May 24 Bamboozle Road Show – Commodore – Vancouver, BC
Fri May 27Bamboozle Road Show – Gothic – Denver, CO
Mon May 30 Bamboozle Road Show – House of Blues – Chicago, IL
Thu Jun 2 Bamboozle Road Show – Egyptian Room – Indianapolis, IN
Fri Jun 3 Bamboozle Road Show – Bogarts – Cincinnati, OH
Sat Jun 4 Bamboozle Road Show – St. Andrew’s – Detroit, MI
Sun Jun 5 Bamboozle Road Show – House of Blues – Cleveland, OH
Wed Jun 8 Bamboozle Road Show – TLA – Philadelphia PA
Fri Jun 10 Bamboozle Road Show – Sound Academy- Toronto, ON

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