SONS OF APOLLO – featuring former Dream Theater, Journey members

INTRODUCING… SONS OF APOLLO FEATURING EX-MEMBERS OF DREAM THEATER, GUNS N’ ROSES AND JOURNEY DEBUT ALBUM, ‘PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY,’ DUE OUT 20th October ON INSIDEOUTMUSIC/SONY MUSIC

APOLLO: The ancient Greek and Roman God of music and poetry.

SONS OF APOLLO: The new supergroup featuring members of Dream Theater, Mr. Big, Guns ‘N Roses, and Journey.

For the past few months, rumours have been circulating about a new secret project including former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian. Now, the time has come to make the grand and highly anticipated introduction to their new band, SONS OF APOLLO.

Reuniting to form SONS OF APOLLO, Portnoy and Sherinian have joined forces with Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force). Their debut album, PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY, will be released 20th October on InsideOutMusic/Sony Music. An album teaser can be seen on InsideOutMusic’s YouTube page here:

PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY was produced by the dynamic production duo of Portnoy and Sherinian, also affectionately known as “The Del Fuvio Brothers,” which is the nickname given to them over 20 years ago during their time together in Dream Theater.

SONS OF APOLLO got together very organically, as Portnoy explains: “Derek and I reunited shortly after I left Dream Theater in 2010 and we put together an all-instrumental touring band with he and I, Billy Sheehan, and Tony MacAlpine. That was my first time working with Derek since the ‘90s when he was in Dream Theater and it was just great to be working with him again. Ever since that tour, which was really just a one-off live thing, he has been nudging me to start a real, original, full-time band. The timing just had never been right, because I had too many other things on my plate. Long story short, the time was finally right to take the bait and put together a band.”

“Mike and I work at a relentless pace in the studio,” continues Sherinian. “The music is modern, but we have an old school soul. What is unique about SONS OF APOLLO is that we have true rock n’ roll swagger along with the virtuosity– a lethal combination!”

But what to call the next great supergroup? “Derek was mainly the one behind the name,” says Portnoy. “I have a list that I keep on my phone of about a hundred different band names, which I constantly have to refer to every time I have a new band every year (laughs). So, I pulled up the list and Apollo was one of the names on the list. It was a word that both of us really liked. We started fiddling with different variations of the word. One of the original band names we were working with was Apollo Creed, the character from the ‘Rocky’ movies, but after lots of different discussions on different variations, Derek suggested SONS OF APOLLO and it seemed to stick. Apollo is the God of Music so with that in mind it seemed like a fitting name.”

Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian and Billy Sheehan previously toured together in 2012 and 2013 as PSMS (along with guitarist Tony MacAlpine), playing all instrumental versions from each of their previously recorded music. SONS OF APOLLO is the next logical progression by adding a vocalist and creating all-original material. The band incorporates the progressive style and individual technical prowess that Portnoy & Sherinian shared together in Dream Theater combined with the swagger and groove of Van Halen, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

“I have known Mike and Derek for a long time, so when they came to me with Sons of Apollo, I jumped on this straight away,” says Thomas Waber, Label Manager/A&R International of InsideOutMusic. “However, the album they ended up recording exceeded my already high expectations by a long mile! We couldn’t be happier about it!”

SONS OF APOLLO will hit the road in 2018 for their first worldwide tour.

“This is a real band,” Portnoy declares. “This is going to pick up for me and Billy where The Winery Dogs left off, in terms of this being the next logical full-time thing for us. I’m not saying The Winery Dogs have broken up, because we haven’t, we’re just on a break. SONS OF APOLLO is absolutely going to be a full-time band and we plan on touring all over the world all throughout 2018 and, honestly, it is the priority for all five of us.”

Sherinian agrees, “We will go on a worldwide crusade in 2018 to bring SONS OF APOLLO to as many people as possible. Apollo was the God of Music, and we are his mighty offspring!”

SONS OF APOLLO online:

www.sonsofapollo.com

www.facebook.com/SonsOfApollo1

www.Twitter.com/SonsOfApollo1

INSIDEOUTMUSIC ONLINE:
www.insideoutmusic.com
www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
www.twitter.com/insideouteu
www.myspace.com/insideoutlabel

Archive interview: Neil Carter (UFO/GARY MOORE) interview 2006

Thought I would re-publish a few archive interviews from my Rock ‘N’ Roll Oatcake blog. Neil Carter has since retired from music teaching but still actively posts on Facebook.

Neil Carter was the keyboards/guitar/sax player with UFO during the band’s early 80’s period and he then went onto join Gary Moore’s band for a series of classic hard rock albums. Now he is a well respected music teacher. Visit his his rather good Website and read on…

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Well as far as any of the ‘previous life’ activities go, none at all but I am about to go to Malaysia to examine and next year New Zealand and the USA. Otherwise it is business as usual with tons of teaching and examining.

2. Since leaving Gary Moore’s band you have been a music teacher. What was it like to teach at first and have any of your past pupils gone onto being full time musicians?

Actually I admit I was lousy at first but as ever, enthusiastic, so I got by. No one had ever taught me how to teach so I had to find my way and discover the tools of the trade and get used to preparing candidates for exams etc. I think I know my stuff these days but it took me a couple of years, and also a while to understand how to interact with children and teenagers. I really love it now but for a long time it was hell on earth! I have taught a few that have gone on and in fact one of my past pupils now teaches some kids from my school. So many really talented kids have passed through the College but become doctors/lawyers etc. It is the way of the public school I’m afraid!

3. UFO What were the musical and live highlights of your time in the band?

Musically I suppose the initial album ‘Wild and Willing’ as I really liked such a lot of the songs on that and it was all ‘new’. ‘Making Contact’, I felt responsible for a lot of that album and am pleased with it on the whole. Live I suppose some of the headlining shows in the USA and Reading in 1980 of course. I had a bootleg sent to me of the Chicago show in 1981 and it is really good. Never thought I’d say that!

4. Gary Moore You played on what many Gary Moore fans would regard as his classic hard rock albums in the 80s. What was it like playing with musicians like Bob Daisley and the late, great Cozy Powell? How did the bands camaraderie differ from UFO?

With Gary I was always aware that ultimately it was his show although it did feel like a band on stage. I suppose my position was a little different as I had the longest serving term and I wrote with Gary. I like to think it was a good partnership. The strange thing is that when I joined his band all the musicians, Ian, Neil and myself had come from much bigger acts but you could tell Gary was on the ‘up’ and he was always so well respected by other musicians. Working with Bob was always great and Cozy was a fine drummer (albeit rather briefly with us!). Working with Gary was so different to UFO, much more professional and well organized but perhaps not quite so unpredictable!

5. Did you get other band offers after you left Gary Moore and would you be tempted back into working with say Gary Moore or Paul Chapman if the chance arose?

Strangely no…..I wonder why? I suppose it was left ‘open’ for almost a year afterwards and no one actually said ‘that’s it, no more rock tours’ so I was in limbo, but getting on with life. I did some writing and recording of my own but somehow I had no real desire to carry on. Which, looking back now, I find strange but understandable in a way. I had done such a lot and we had finished on a real high. Why go downwards or start again and I would have had to. I think you would really have to want it badly to do that and I didn’t. Added to which money was still coming in from royalties so I wasn’t exactly destitute! I have had the odd ‘what about it’ from both Paul and Gary over the years and I never rule it out but I think I am so far out of the loop now I don’t know if I would be any good!

6. Who/what made you want to be a musician?

I wanted to be on the ‘stage’ I knew that, but I loved music and played instruments (piano, recorder) from a very early age. My Mum was heavily involved in am dram and I used to ache to be involved in those productions when I was very little. I did so much playing in those things which gave me a good grounding and helped my sight reading immensely. Then one day Bowie came along and that was it. I wanted to be Mick Ronson!

7. How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?

My first break was with Gilbert O’ Sullivan when I was 19, until then I had been in semi-pro bands although technically I was ‘pro’ ˜cos I didn’t work and my parents supported me! That came about from our bands guitarist answering an advert as he wanted a ‘rock’ band to back him. I was the singer but usefully I could play other instruments so I think it helped to ‘sell’ us. In the course of a 45 minute set I played 7 instruments for him. Slave labour. As far as ‘advice’ goes I suppose something I have learnt is in order to be successful at anything in life you need supreme self motivation and above all, self belief. It doesn’t necessarily take supreme talent!

8. Which song(s) do you enjoy performing most live and why?

Always with UFO the classics especially ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Only you can Rock me because they are such classic rock songs. Gary, hmmmm, I could say the entire set list of the ‘Wild Frontier’ tour as that really has to have been my favourite period I was with him. If you look at the Sweden live video we were having such a good time and it worked so well live. I have a bootleg of the ‘After the War’ tour and we look terrified and miserable! (Mind you that was right at the start of the tour with Chris Slade who just about new the songs….just!)

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Well it has been documented before, but I am a Judge of pedigree cats and that is my hobby. I go all over Europe judging although not quite as much nowadays as I am so busy with work. I enjoy it, although I am not sure whether it’s cool to say so! I also do a fair amount of arranging these days and enjoy that a lot too!

10. Message to your fans…

For those that hold memories of the things I did in the past and have the albums, thanks for your support and feel free to check out the website as there will be some new stuff appearing from time to time. I really enjoy hearing from you all and thanks to those who have emailed me. Have fun

Albums of the Year 2017…to date!

I am going to keep a rolling top 10 – no more as otherwise I end up with at least a top 40! So up to June (and including Cats In Space’s ‘Scarecrow’ which I have ben luckily enough to have a promo for review) here are my top 10 albums of 2017 to date:

  1. CATS IN SPACE ‘Scarecrow’
  2. NIGHT RANGER ‘Don’t Let Up’ Frontiers
  3. BIG BIG TRAIN ‘Grimspound’
  4. NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA ‘Amber Galactic’ Nuclear Blast
  5. BITERS ‘The Future Ain’t What It Used To be’ Earache Records
  6. HAREM SCAREM ‘United’ Frontiers
  7. ORDEN OGEN ‘Gunmen’ AFM Records
  8. DON BARNES ‘Ride The Storm’ MelodicRock Records
  9. LONELY ROBOT ‘The Big Dream’ Inside Out
  10. IT ‘We’re All In This Together’ Progressive Gears Records

I have yet to hear fully the new Styx and Cheap Trick albums which based on reviews could challenge for a top 10 spot once I have listened to them.

PictureHouse to release summer hit “Sunburst” this July

PictureHouse have announced plans to release their smash hit single “Sunburst” internationally on their PHRC label in the summer of 2017.

For two years in a row this summer song was the most played song on Irish radio, used in a national TV advertising campaign for a major retailer and was used in the soundtrack to a film. It propelled the band to stardom and brought them on tours with the likes of The Corrs, Meatloaf, The Divine Comedy, Mel C from Spice Girls, Texas, Ronan Keating, their own tours and festivals which saw them headline Dublin’s Big Day Out in Marley Park to 35,000 people.

A dispute with their then record company ultimately contributed to the band breaking up, meaning the track never got released properly in the UK. They reformed, releasing 2014’s “Evolution” (which spawned the hit single “Rules of Science” which was playlisted on BBC Radio 2 as well as countless other stations across Europe.)

PictureHouse have now digitally remastered a number of their songs in a package that’s not meant to be a greatest hits – but instead be a “best bits” including some previously unreleased material. The record is called “How Can I Explain How This Came To Be?” and is due for release in August 2017. More details to follow.

The band hope to confirm a tour in Winter 2017.

New music…ANIMAL DRIVE

Frontiers has had an ongoing successful working relationship with the one and only Jeff Scott Soto for many years now, so when JSS put a band in front of them and told them they HAD TO HEAR IT, they turned up the volume, leaned back, and awaited what would soon wash over their ears. What immediately stood out was the way the singer had such a commanding presence of the hard rock songs that were being performed. So, a conversation was started and a deal has been struck. Frontiers Music Srl is now very pleased to introduce the world to ANIMAL DRIVE, a young and driven hard rock band founded in Zagreb, Croatia in 2012 by singer Dino Jelusic, who is the primary writer and driving force behind the band’s sound. Dino was chosen by the late, great Paul O’Neill to tour as a featured vocalist on Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s most recent U.S. tour, which is how he crossed paths with Soto and which would ultimately lead to them becoming labelmates.

ANIMAL DRIVE’s line-up is completed by guitarists Ivan Keller and Alen Luke (who unleash a ferocious twin guitar attack on the listener), Damjan Milekovic on bass, and Adrian Boric on drums. Influenced by legendary bands such as Whitesnake and Skid Row with progressive rock and metal elements from Dream Theater thrown in the mix, Animal Drive take their listeners on a wild ride of hard rock bombast.

Dino says: “I am more than delighted and excited to be part of Frontiers’ machine, the label that Animal Drive’s music can relate to in so many aspects, from classic rock, progressive metal, heavy metal, hard rock… Our music contains everything that Frontiers holds right now, and some of the bands that are our biggest influences are signed to the label, which makes us even more excited. Can’t wait to share material we have been working on for almost a year now, and can’t wait to kick ass!”

The band’s debut album is expected to be released in late 2017/ early 2018 with a tour in support of the release to follow.

Weblink: https://www.facebook.com/AnimalDrive69/

Video sample: https://www.facebook.com/frontiersmusicsrl/videos/1413822088673838/

Gig review: MATT ANDERSEN – Borderline, London, May 25 May 2017

My first time at the Borderline since its recent refurbishment and it was looking impressive, with trendy seating and bar. Luckily it keeps the same atmosphere for live gigs with the audience crowded round the small stage area.

William the Conqueror was the support act and he took to the stage with his acoustic guitar and bass drum. He did mention he normally toured with a full band but tonight he joked they were replaced by said bass drum. He had an easy going style, both in the music – a mix of blues and Americana – and between song chat – he thought the revamped venue looked like the set of ‘Blake’s Seven’ (I’d wager this refit cost more than that creaky old set!). His new album is due out on August 4 and will be one to investigate further based on tonight’s impressive performance which went down well with the crowd.

Matt Andersen is a Juno Awards nominated Canadian blues guitarist/singer, and tonight’s gig was his final date on his UK leg of his current European tour. Where to start? Let’s just say you need to see Matt Andersen live to fully appreciate him as his acoustic guitar playing is stunning and then there is his voice. I have rarely seen a singer pour so much passion into his singing, a real joy to behold and reinforces why live music is good for your soul and well-being. Take ‘Make You Stay’, he was all over his guitar, his head thrown back, eyes closed as he got into his own groove and took the audience along with him. Amazing to watch and hear.

He has a very laid back, friendly on stage presence and can even slip in some unexpected fun as could be heard on ‘Have You Got The Blues’, where midway through he started playing the theme tune ‘The Pink Panther’. There was audience participation on his version of the classic ‘People Get Ready’, as he has the “guys and gals” singing different backing parts and it made for a one of the evening’s highlights. Needless to say Matt had the audience on his side from the moment he walked onto the stage. Interestingly the audience was made up of a younger crowd than I expected with a few hardened blues fans dotted around the crowd, proof that good blues music and musicians, like folk and country, has the timeless sound and appeal to carry on through generations.

Go see Matt Andersen play when he is town near you as you won’t be disappointed.

Review by Jason Ritchie

DON BARNES Lost Solo Album ‘Ride The Storm’ Comes To MRR

MelodicRock Records is thrilled to announce one of the biggest releases for the label thus far! How else could you describe an album featuring Dann Huff, Alan Pasqua, Jeff & Mike Porcaro, Jesse Harms and Denny Carmassi?
MRR will be the label finally able to extract one of the best “lost” albums of all time for an official release. Plenty have tried over the years, but timing is everything!
Nearly 30 years ago, what would have been an instant classic was relegated to storage thanks to the old story of record label machinations. Of course, we are talking about the classic AOR masterpiece DON BARNES solo album ‘Ride The Storm’.
MelodicRock Records started a conversation with the legendary 38 Special vocalist nearly 12 months ago to the day, suggesting that more than enough time has passed and that this record deserves its time to shine. So it is with great pleasure that MRR announces that DON BARNES ‘Ride The Storm’ will be released worldwide June 30.

And even better news for fans and collectors that have had this record in its various MP3 forms over the years, what you have isn’t the main record you’re about to hear.

In searching for the original masters for ‘Ride The Storm’, after being lost for two decades, Don found the only existing copy of a ‘rock mix’ that was commissioned back in 1989 to take a look at how the songs would sound, remixed for a bigger ‘rock’ impact.

Ever the completist, MRR’s Andrew McNeice insisted that both mixes of the classic album were included in the release – as well as the three individual, heavily traded, solo demo tracks that were recorded but not included on the original album.

The complete ‘Ride The Storm’ release will therefore be a 2CD set, featuring the album in its intended form, plus the second ‘alternate mix’ disc, on which the three additional bonus tracks are added at the end.

As there was no original artwork yet conceived for ‘Ride The Storm’, so regular MRR artist extraordinaire Nello Dell’Omo was commissioned to come up with something amazing. And that he has. In collaboration with Don, who drove the vision and MRR, the end result might just be one of his best album covers yet! Two individual sets of remastering also serve the album well – it sounds as fresh, punchy and as amazing as it ever has. Thanks to JK Northrup (Rock Mix) and Brian Foraker (Alt. Mix) for their vital work.

It’s time Don himself jumped in with the story behind this amazing solo album:

“Over two decades ago, with years of success as lead singer and guitarist with 38 Special, I was given an opportunity by A&M Records to create a side solo project as an artist.  A&M suggested putting several top-rated musicians in the studio with me and I would write and co-produce the project. I set about co-writing songs and was honored to have some of the industry’s top musicians join me in the recording.

All of these players were extraordinary talents in the music business; the great Jeff Porcaro along with his brother Mike, respectively the drummer and bassist from the band Toto – and the best ‘bottom-end foundation’ for any session – came on board to help forge a great rock record.

We also had the masterful veteran drummer Denny Carmassi from the band Heart, noted session keyboardist and composer Alan Pasqua from the band Giant on keyboards…along with another music titan, virtuoso guitarist and now-producer Dann Huff, all of whom brought such excellence and talent to the sessions that I just can’t find enough words of praise and appreciation for them.

Additionally, I was privileged to work and collaborate with two extremely talented producers – Martin Briley and Brian Foraker – both of whom brought a wealth of experience and cool vibe to our sessions. We had always felt that the combination of these powerhouse players together created a very special album, a unique ‘rock classic.’ Many who have heard the album say that description still remains true today.

Unfortunately, unexpected situations arose in the record business at that time and corporate transitions got in the way of the release date. The album was finished, mixed, and ready to go, but what started out as a great rock record turned into a series of disappointing twists and turns.  Just as it was ready to be released, A&M Records was sold through a huge global acquisition and the company changed hands several times over the years. The new company and staff had their own difficulties getting accustomed to the transition and my project was put aside without a release date.  My solo album became one of those music stories of a great rock record that started in one direction but had corporate business dealings move it to some other outcome.

I’m proud to finally present my solo album, complete with extras like the 3 additional recordings in demo form left off of the original group of songs, along with a second full CD of alternate mixes.

We had a great time recording these big, explosive songs, all presented here with newly re-mastered technology.  You’ll hear the intensity and spirit of the songwriting, the excellence and power of talented players, and the absolute force we delivered on the recordings.

This album and these songs made it through a rough storm and they rock stronger than ever today. Turn it up and enjoy a great ride.”
– Don Barnes, May 2017