Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett will be kindly plugging Nordoff Robbins charity on next year’s Cruise to the Edge –
(Acoustic shows) Saturday 9/Sunday 10 December – Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green East Sussex, UK – Tickets
Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett will be kindly plugging Nordoff Robbins charity on next year’s Cruise to the Edge –
(Acoustic shows) Saturday 9/Sunday 10 December – Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green East Sussex, UK – Tickets
Voyageur Press [Published 04.08.17]
ISBN’s 0760352208 978-0760352205
Martin Popoff interviews musicians including Metallica’s Kirk Hammet, Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) and Mr Big’s Paul Gilbert among others – all who were influenced by the music of Rush. Interesting insight to the band is added by Rush’s first roadie Ian Grandy, along with fans like Douglas Maher, who has followed and written about Rush for many years.
The good thing about these sort of ‘Album By Album’ books is that they provide a source of endless debate between fans. Nicely illustrated throughout with band photos, album covers, tour posters etc.
Ideal for a die hard Rush fans covering all the band’s studio albums, both informative and entertaining.
Prog rock legends Yes will kindly plug Nordoff Robbins charity when they are on their Cruise to the Edge next February. Very honoured to have their support and involvement.
Yes are Steve Howe (guitar), Alan White (drums), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Jon Davison (vocals) and Billy Sherwood (guitar/), plus Steve Howe’s son Dylan was recently announced as joining the band on their current tour. He will drum alongside Alan White.
They are currently touring the US with Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy –
Aug 04 – White Oak Amphitheatre at Greensboro Coliseum Complex, NC
Aug 05 – Holmes Convocation Center, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
Aug 07 – Pier Six Concert Pavilion, Baltimore, MD
Aug 08 – Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA
Aug 10 – The Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT
Aug 11 – Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk, Brooklyn, NY
Aug 12 – P.N.C. Bank Center, Holmdel, NJ
Aug 14 – Hershey Theatre, Hershey, PA
Aug 16 – The Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA
Aug 17 – DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI
Aug 19 – Festival Park – Grand Victoria Casino, Elgin, IL
Aug 20 – Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, Cleveland, OH – A benefit for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Aug 22 – The Zoo Amphitheatre, Oklahoma City, OK
Aug 23 – Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land, TX
Aug 25 – Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
Aug 26 – The Joint @ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV
Aug 28 – Balboa Theatre, San Diego, CA – only Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy supporting
Aug 29 – Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, CA
Aug 31 – Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, NV – YES only – no support
Sep 01 – Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA – YES only – no support
Sep 03 – Tulalip Amphitheatre, Tulalip, WA
Sep 05 – Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC – only Todd Rundgren supporting
Sep 07 – Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, AB – only Todd Rundgren supporting
Sep 08 – Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary, AB – only Todd Rundgren supporting
Sep 11 – Bluestem Center For The Arts Amphitheatre, Moorhead, MN – only Todd Rundgren supporting
Sep 12 – McGrath Amphitheatre, Cedar Rapids, IA – only Todd Rundgren supporting
Sep 14 – Budweiser Gardens, London, ON – only Todd Rundgren supporting
Sep 15 – Roc Dome Arena, Rochester, NY – only Todd Rundgren supporting
Sep 17 – The Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA – YES only – no support
Sep 18 – The Paramount, Huntington, NY – YES only – no support
Sep 19 – The Paramount, Huntington, NY – YES only – no support
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:
I first posted this on my Rock N Roll Oatcake blog last year. Since then Rick Parfitt has sadly passed away, yet Status Quo carry on first announcing further acoustic dates and then deciding to plug in for a full electric tour.
The latest twist in keeping rock alive came as it was announced the late, great Ronnie Dio would tour as a hologram backed by Dio’s Disciples – the band features ex-Dio members Simon Wright, Craig Goldy and Scott Warren. Not something I’d personally want to see, but you can see the idea is keep the music alive. It could come across as a bit ghoulish though and of course every night would be the same vocals and presumably the same musical backing/solos, which loses a lot of the live thrill for fans.
Black Sabbath have finished their ‘The End’ tour earlier this year, but again they are open to future one-off shows. Aerosmith and the Scorpions seem to be happy to carry on touring, despite both saying in the recent past they were embarking on farewell tours. Deep Purple have announced a ‘Long Farwell’ tour for later this year but conversely Queen are still packing them in and touring worldwide with Adam Lambert fronting the band. Roger Taylor’s son Rufus (also a member of the Darkness) joins his dad on drums in the shows now. Jeff Lynne has reactivated ELO after many years and has recently completed a series of successful stadium shows here in the UK. Shows that you can never fully write off a musician or band coming back to the live arena. On the recent dates long standing ELO member Richard Tandy was absent and it is unsure if he will be in future ELO plans.
Do we have enough bands coming through to replace these rock giants? There are a few stadium filler bands like Foo Fighters, RHCP and Muse, with a healthy number of arena sized fillers like Nickelback, Alter Bridge, Arcade Fire, Avenged Sevenfold et al. Rock will carry on in the live arena, maybe in smaller venues and festivals, with different names as headliners, but the days of the 70’s rock giants are drawing to a close sadly…
‘First we had the sad passing of Lemmy which meant no more Motorhead, a band that lived to be on the road touring and playing to their fans.
Now we have the news that AC/DC have had to postpone their remaining US tour dates as vocalist Brian Johnson has been advised to stop performing live to save his hearing. The band have said they will be rescheduled later in the year with a guest vocalist. But it won’t be the same without Brian Johnson plus of course illness forced Malcolm Young to leave the band.
Age is catching up fast with the rock giants of the 1970’s sadly, even the mighty Status Quo have said no more electric gigs and their UK tour later this year will be their last.
The latest band to call time on touring has been Rush. Guitarist Alex Lifeson confirmed in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine that the band won’t tour again due to the pain that drummer Neil Peart goes through.
When rock bands started way back in the 60’s and 70’s, they would not imagined the longevity many of them would have and now we are way into the twilight years for them sadly. But hey, they will still be drawn back to the stage I am sure for one-off shows and it is not all bad as Motley Crue have stopped as well 😉 ‘
Away from the music scene for nearly 10 years since the release of the critically and commercially well received third album, Global Warning, another slab of British hard rock is on the way.
We are proud to announce that Burn’s fourth album, Ice Age, will be unleashed on the planet in November 2017. It will be available in CD format and on all digital platforms.
We have taken 5 years to create this album, and it is something of which we are incredibly proud. We hope and believe that the thousands of people who enjoyed Global Warning will find plenty to enjoy in this new release. The album was produced by Barney Stackhouse and mixed by the Grammy award winning Tobias Lindell.
We are also very proud to announce our new line-up. Although we have lost some great guys along the way, namely Jeff Ogden, Julian Nicholas (although he is still featured on one track on the new album) and Benji Reid, we are extremely lucky to have replaced them with a couple of outstanding new members.
On lead vocals we welcome Steve Newman. Steve is well known in the rock community through his numerous solo albums and other projects. Steve was our first choice to lead the line up, as we view him as possessing one of the very best voices in rock. Burn is the first band that Steve has committed himself to for many years. We are honoured to have him on board and fronting the band.
Our other new member is the ridiculously talented Chris Green who brings his incendiary lead guitar skills to the band. Chris is a current member of Tyketto and hard rock fans will remember him from Furyon, Rubicon Cross and Pride, along with various other projects. We really couldn’t think of another guitarist on the planet, who could have done a better job on the new material, than Chris.
So, here we go. This is a new era for Burn and we are really looking forward to sharing our new stuff with everyone. We can’t wait to get it out there. Further updates will follow.
Bob Kulick has a new solo album ‘Skeletons in the Closet’ due later this year. It includes guests Dee Snider, Vinnie Appice and more. This phone interview was done back in early 2011…
Bob Kulick has worked with Meat Loaf, Kiss, Balance, Skull and many more besides, along with a serious of popular tribute albums. The latest of these is a reworking of songs associated with Frank Sinatra. The album entitled ‘Sin-Atra’ features a whole host of top draw rock and metal vocalists including Geoff Tate, Dee Snider, Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna, Mr Big’s Eric Martin and Devin Townsend who does a show stealing version of ‘New York New York’.
How did you come up with the ides of this tribute?
It came about after the Christmas album where we took all those great Christmas songs and turned them into something totally different where people had never heard them that way before. Lemmy, Dave Grohl and Billy Gibbons doing ‘Run Rudolph Run’ and the great Ronnie Dio, may he rest in peace, doing ‘God Rest Yee Merry Gentlemen’ with Vinnie Appice and Rudy Sarzo. We took that kind of formula as a way to take on of these Frank Sinatra songs and turn it into something it was never conceived for without reinventing it.
This is a rearrangement in a rock and metal way of some of the greatest songs ever written, rivalling even some of the Beatles songs.
Who came up with the idea of using Devin Townsend on ‘New York New York’? That is a stroke of genius an excellent version.
It was one of the last songs we recorded where we realised that unless we had the perfect singer, as it is the most famous Frank Sinatra song, it wouldn’t sound right. After listening top some of his albums hat’s when we realised Devin would be prefect for this song. He was one of the artists who couldn’t come to the studio, most of the artists could. We had to trust he knew what to do as we supplied the track and backing, he did all of the vocal arrangements. I remember the look on our faces when we got it back, one of the happiest moments as the guy totally made it his. That was the big lesson from this record, in that Frank Sinatra never wrote any of these songs, not a lick, not a melody. But what he did do was make those his and made it his, so you believed every lyric he sang. Devin Townsend did this on this version and you can see online Devin Townsend kicks Frank Sinatra’s ass all over ‘New York New York’.
Do you have an idea in your head who you want to sing a particular song? Or do you see who is available or do people come to you?
All of the above but mainly we try to concoct what the style of the song we want and make a list of who we want to sing it. We came up with the ‘Summer Wind’ arrangement we thought Geoff Tate, here was somebody who could totally song this tune and be recognisable from the beginning and to be hold those notes. We sent it too him, he usually likes to think about things and take his time responding but he came back to me straight away saying ‘That is an insane arrangement, I have to sing that song.’
I wanted to see people who were excited to put their stamp on these songs as we were. To do the Frankenstein job and make them into something new. I love it, I would put a track on and people would say what the heck is that? It’s ‘Fly Me To The Moon’!
Funny you should mention that track. I am a big Cheap Trick fan and you wouldn’t know it was Robin Zander, as his vocal style is very different.
We kind of pushed him. We had a good weapon between Devin Townsend and Glenn Hughes. Whenever there was an issue with a couple of guys who sang good but we played there songs and they’d realise good is not even close enough. We’d say to them you haven’t made the song yours yet. Once they heard that they really went out and sang their balls off!
I remember seeing Glenn Hughes at Wendy Dio’s New Year’s Eve party and him saying to me ‘So I hear you terrorised everybody with my vocal I hear’. (Laughs) All the guys called him up saying we heard what you did with ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ we had to go and change our performance.
’Witchcraft’ with Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is the most metal song and you wouldn’t even know it was a song sung previously by Sinatra.
That was a song was not on the original list as you couldn’t say it was one of his biggest hits but the lyric meant it was a song to be hammered. We finally figured out Ripper Owens was the one to do the hammering! To me that track really came out amazing – the huge powerchords, the way the orchestration sits in there. One of my favourite pieces and one of my favourite singers.
The one song rock fans may know if they don’t know Sinatra is ‘That’s Life’, made famous by Dave Lee Roth. How hard was it for Jani laine to cover this one as many rock fans may thinks it’s a Dave Lee Roth song.
Jani had come to the studio and had done things with us previously. He’s a tremendously talented guy, given a bad rap by being in a band that really is not as good as he is. I love them all but Jani Laine is extremely talented. At the time he was having a bunch of personal problems and asked specifically if he could sing that song. It was perfect as we wanted him. If someone’s life was in turmoil they would really bring themselves into the song like Frank did and that was the goal.
Ripper he totally did, Glenn Hughes, a couple of the other guys needed prodding. I had to get the cattle prod out a couple of times but the end results your hearing are worth it. I have seen online comments saying Frank must be spinning in his grave but I didn’t see that, I saw Cole Porter and other great songwriters standing their like the apparitions at the end of ‘Star Wars’- Yoda, Darth Vader – watching the celebration that was what we saw. We know Frank hated rock music stylistically.
The label were like ‘what?’ when we pitched this album. But we said its not going to be cookie monsters but guys that can sing. They were happy to here that.
Who would you like to do next? You’ve done Queen, Shania Twain, Cher, Kiss and more already.
We had a little cottage industry going doing these, all with great singers. Its about the playing and the experience. Dave Grohl had great fun in the studio with Lemmy.
Dee Snider enjoyed this and realised he could sing these songs. So he joined the Broadway show ‘Rock Of Ages’ and now we are right in the middle of ‘Dee Does Broadway’, where Dee does all these Broadway classics. Hammering these songs in a way they have never been done before. So ‘Sweeny Todd’ sounds like Ozzy Osbourne. We are having a blast with this.
I am kinda thinking the tribute thing could be winding down and we’ll do things focussed on one artist like Dee. We are doing a song with Ripper Owens where we are co-writing some songs.
The Sinatra record took a year to do. We took it very seriously and there were some people who didn’t end up on the record. If somebody couldn’t make it theirs we didn’t use it.
What was it like doing the Balance album after so many years away?
It was kinda a tooth extraction as we didn’t really want to do it but the label boss at Frontiers was a big fan and really wanted us to do it. When I was finally able to talk to Peppy (Castro vocalist) and Doug (Katsaros keyboards) we had some songs we had from back in the day. We used these rather that write modern songs which wouldn’t sound like the band. There are three or four things on there that are exceptionally good. It was difficult as back in the day it was very compartmentalised and now I want to be involved in all aspects, I don’t want to stand on anyone’s toes. Back then I was maybe less well known but now I am more known than the other guys as I have been out there more. The reviews and response on Facebook made it worth it. That’s what I like that my work is appreciated and I can give someone that joy through the music.
The really great news was that it reunited me and Doug. He worked on the Sin-Atra album and the Dee Snider album we are doing now. We will taking Dee Snider and the songs on the road with a big theatrical show. His is one of the top three songs on the album.
Eric Martin was another good one. He had to sing it a couple of times to get it there but now it sounds like ‘wow’ he made it his own. I am really glad where people are interested like the papers including the ‘New York Post’. It was unique enough to tweak their interest. I have seen some good comments coming through.
How did the Blackthorne album with Graham Bonnet come about?
I try to keep moving forwards, not looking backwards. That was a band that should have done better than it did. Unfortunately we were a little late in the game. Graham was another case of being dragged screaming and I had to dish it out to get it done. Again on that record there are three or four songs that are great on that record.
What was it like working with Meat Loaf?
Eagle put out a 1978 gig. There are some parts where you go ‘woah’ but you watch it and look back and think what a really great band. I could look at myself and think I was in tune and played my ass off. I was impressed with myself. Meat Loaf was always great vocally.
What made you want to pick up guitar in the first place?
Initially it was like I never played any instruments that were offered to me as a child. It was like ‘Want to play the piano? ‘ ‘No’. Then I played guitar after hearing family members play folk songs at family gatherings and then the Beatles came along. They and a New York DJ called Marty Dekay, who would play all the best music of the time. He’d do holiday shows and have ten, fifteen of the biggest artists of the time. We’d go religiously to see this, sit in the front rows and see artists sing like the Moody Blues, Peter & Gordon, the Hollies. That was my indoctrination into music. Seeing those singers fuelled my desire to be a musician, a rock star.
A message for your fans…
I would like to thank everyone for their support and digging past projects. I really hope this Sin-Atra album matching those classic songs with some of our rock idols is something they will appreciate. Keep rocking and check out our Dee Snider one up next.