UBER BASSIST BILLY SHEEHAN DISCUSSES MR. BIG, DAVID LEE ROTH AND THE MOST DIFFICULT MATERIAL TO PLAY

Greg Prato of Songfacts spoke with Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan. Portions of the interview appear below.

Greg Prato: How is the new album, Defying Gravity, similar or different to previous Mr. Big albums?

Billy Sheehan: It’s similar to the very early stuff, because we went back to our original producer, Kevin Elson – he did all the Journey stuff, he worked with Lynyrd Skynyrd. He’s a legendary guy in the biz. He was the guy who did our first four records. We were trying to get him in 2009 when we got back together, but our schedules never worked out. And this time, it did.

Kevin just has a way…that makes everyone comfortable and feel good, feel right…

Songfacts: What were your initial impressions of [your hit song] To Be With You [from 1991’s Lean Into It]?

Billy: Instantly loved it and insisted it had to be on the record. It’s funny, because [lead singer] Eric Martin wasn’t quite sure. I’m like, “Bro, come on. We’ve got to do this.” We didn’t think of it as a hit – we just loved the song. So when we did it, we put it last on the record, thinking, “The record’s over, the credits are running, this will be the final goodbye by the campfire at the end of the record. Everybody roast your marshmallows and sing along.”

We never thought of it as a hit. If we would have known it was a hit, we would have released it first. I think it was the fourth release from that record. But I instantly loved it and it instantly had an appeal to me right away. I’m forever grateful that that song did what it did.

Songfacts: Are there any updates about the possibility of a David Lee Roth Eat ‘Em and Smile-era band reunion?

Billy: Unfortunately, no. We haven’t heard from Dave in a while. I hope he’s doing well. If he changes his mind and decides to do some shows, I’m ready to go, and I think Steve and Gregg feel exactly the same way.

We have a great respect and love for Dave and what he did for us. And if he wants us to play, I’m ready to go. But I haven’t heard anything at all, so we’ll see what happens with that. There’s no secret undercurrent thing going on that I’m not talking about. The fact of the matter is it’s Dave’s call. If he chooses to do so, I couldn’t be happier.

Songfacts: How much rehearsal did you, Steve, Gregg, and Brett do for the aborted show at Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood back in 2015?

Billy: No rehearsal, no soundcheck, no nothing. That was the whole idea: We were just going to walk up and play without anything. So we didn’t rehearse.

That particular jam was no pedals allowed, no nothing. That’s why the jam is so great…There’s no dicking around with pedals or adjusting the drum kit or setting stuff up,…and it’s fun and exciting.

We thought that was a proper challenge for the Eat ‘Em and Smile band – to just step up on stage and play it like men, and do the real thing without having to fool around with gear and soundcheck. Unfortunately, the fire department shut us down. Me and Steve were on stage, behind the curtain, ready to go when the fire department came in. No rehearsal, no practice, no nothing.

Songfacts: Did you know beforehand that Dave was going to show up?

Billy: Originally, we asked and we didn’t hear from him, but about three days before the thing, Dave called back and said, “Yeah, let’s do it!”

We had to keep it a secret, but people started to put two and two together and figured it out. The club holds about… legally it’s 600, but they’ll allow 700-725 and the fire department will look the other way. But there were about 1,200 people in there and a line all the way down the street and around the corner on Hollywood Boulevard. So probably a total of about 3,000 people had showed up, and 1,200 got in the club.

Somebody got wise to it, because it was dangerous. People were jammed in there, so the fire department came in and said, “Nope. Shut the whole thing down and everybody out.” In retrospect, they probably did the right thing. If something would have happened, it could have been one of the worst catastrophes in the history of show business.

The club I don’t believe did the right thing by allowing so many people in. Everybody had a friend of a friend and they all wanted to get in. I know people that were there, and they said they couldn’t even put their arms out – they were jammed in like sardines. It was dangerous. So in the end, it was probably – sad as it is – wise to shut it down.

Songfacts: Looking back throughout your career, which material was the most difficult to play?

Billy: To Be With You, a song like that is challenging because it’s sparse and you’re under the microscope. Every note counts. It’s a challenging piece of music to play right and do it consistently. Other than that, there’s been a lot of stuff that is tough to play and took me time to work it out.

Some of the stuff I did with Steve Vai on his Real Illusions record, there are some tough lines. And Steve insisted that I do that same fingering with my left hand that he did, so I had to go back and re-adjust. Some of the Niacin stuff was tough because there were keyboard lines I had to do on bass. I had to jump through some hoops of fire to figure out fingerings and finger patterns to get those lines to land and pop in the right place.

Read more at Songfacts.

source: songfacts.com

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FORMER IRON MAIDEN VOCALIST BLAZE BAYLEY ANNOUNCES NORTH AMERICAN TOUR IN SUPPORT OF “ENDURE AND SURVIVE (INFINITE ENTANGLEMENT PART II)”

Over the years, a whole new appreciation has developed for the “Blaze Bayley era” of Iron Maiden – which resulted in such classic albums as 1995’s X Factor and 1998’s Virtual XI (and the singles Man on the Edge, Lord of the Flies, The Angel and the Gambler, Futureal, and an all-new track on 1996’s Best of the Beast comp, Virus).

Recently, Bayley (who was also the singer for another highly-respected rock band, Wolfsbane) has released his latest solo effort (a second in a trilogy of release), entitled Endure and Survive (Infinite Entanglement Part II).
Check out the video of the new song, Escape Velocity, below.

With the album’s release, comes the announcement of an extensive North American tour, which starts August 9th on the east coast, and will run to September 9th on the west coast.

“I’m so excited about coming to USA and Canada for the Endure and Survive part of my Infinite Entanglement tour,” explains Blaze. “I have great memories of touring there with Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden. I’ll be doing a few songs from those days and some songs from my new albums. As a thank you to my fans for waiting so long for this tour, I will be doing a free meet and greet after every show, signing any CDs and albums that I’m featured on. I’m fitting in as many towns and cities as I can on this tour and I’m hoping it will be possible to tour USA and Canada every year if fans want me to return.”

Soon, North American fans will be able to hear Iron Maiden classics and solo material performed on stage by one of the great rock singers of recent times, Blaze Bayley,

Tour Dates:

August:

9 Sellersville, PA Sellersville, Theater
10 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus
11 Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance
13 Baltimore, MD Fish Head Cantina
15 Syracuse, NY Sharkey’s
16 Montreal, Quebec Piranha Bar
17 Ottawa,Ontario Brass Monkey
18 Quebec City, Quebec L’Anti
19 Toronto, Ontario Rockpile
20 London,Ontario East Side Bar and Grill
21 Detroit, MI Token Lounge
23 Newport, KY Southgate House Revival
25 Janesville, WI Backbar
26 Bolingbrook, IL Tailgators
27 St. Louis, MO Fubar
30 Ft. Worth, TX Rail Club
31 Austin, TX Come and Get it Live

September:

1 Houston, TX Concert Pub North
2 San Antonio, TX Rockbox
4 Hollywood, CA Whisky A Go Go
5 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
7 Eugene, OR Old Nick’s
8 Portland, OR Bossanova Ballroom
9 Seattle, WA El Corazon

For more information, please visit, blazebayley.net.

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L.A GUNS BASSIST SAYS, TRACII GUNS AND PHIL LEWIS “ARE GENUINELY HAPPY TOGETHER”

Johny Martin, bass player for L.A. Guns joined the Monday August 17th edition of Another FN Podcast With Izzy Presley along with Barry Pointer of The Anatomy. They were talking The Anatomy and Soundcheck Live, the new L.A. Guns single, Speed, their upcoming record, touring with this version of the band, Michael Grant and Tracii Guns complimenting either others playing, the Adrenaline Mob tragedy, and had a call in from Ace Von Johnson of Faster Pussycat who is currently out on the road.

Martin, who is close friends with Adrenaline Mob tour manager Janet Reigns said “One of my dear friends,” “she’s in critical condition. I heard that things are getting better, that they got the smoke out of her lungs, [as she] is also a singer. They said that she’d be able to sing again. I don’t know exactly what’s going on, I don’t know if she’s in a coma, or what, but things are getting progressively better within the past couple of days. So, we’re just praying for her and everyone involved.”

He continued, “It was very vauge, the info that I got. I know everybody’s gotta be clamering to get information from people closest to her but what I heard was from the neck up she’s not badly burned, but her chest and back I believe is…it got the worst of it. That’s what I’ve heard.”

L.A. Guns have just gotten off the road and are amping up for another run to take them into August before they take a break leading into the release of the brand new record on October 13th. There may be some things, here and there between then, but they are trying not to oversaturate until the album drops. \

The album started being recorded in late 2016/early 2017 and was a true group effort with everybody contributing.

“What had happened was, we had our first official show with Phil, at the Hair Nation Festival, that was September of last year. Everything went great. And then we waited, you know Tracii got some songs together, we all got songs together…everybody wrote something on this record, if not everything, together. And then Tracii and Shane, the drummer, Shane Fitzgibbon, they laid down the basic tracks probably, in I wanna say December/January, and then the rest of us went in and cut everything. We finished it, mid-March, I believe? You know, a few tweaks here and there, gave it to the label, see what they had to think…brought it back, we had a few things we wanted to change and yeah, it’s submitted to the label” Martin said.

Martin gave us a little preview of some other tracks (not on the show so don’t get all excited), but also played a couple tracks for Barry Pointer on the ride over.

“Johnny played a song for me in the car on the way over here and I totally hear this grinding punk thing underneath it, it’s cool”, Pointer commented.

“It’s a fresh thing”, Martin replied, “You have Phil and Tracii together, you’re gonna get that sound regardless. But, we have three new guys as kind of a fresh…we’re all songwriters.”

When asked how it is playing with Tracii and Phil together, Martin said ““Since our first show in September, that love is still as genuine as it was back then- now”.

They have a great chemistry together, it’s like a lot of people are like ‘I guess they’re doing it for the buck.’ Well yeah, we’ve gotta make a living, but Phil and Tracii, are genuinely happy together. You see that on stage…they look like Joe Perry and Steven Tyler…sharing the mic at times. [Also], with the chemistry of Mike and Tracii, it’s just phenomenal. You have two different types of guitar players, but two amazing guitar players and it works.”

Martin also commented on the feeling of doing it now compared to that 1st show in September, “It still kind of feels the same. I know what to expect out of it a little bit more, out of a show, but still the audience doesn’t ‘cause they’re seeing this for the first time in years. So that excitement, I’m still feeding off that from everywhere that we play.”

Another FN Podcast airs Monday nights via spreaker and is live at spreaker.com/user/izzypresley.

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ICON ROB HALFORD, OF JUDAS PRIEST, TO RECEIVE THE “LEMMY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT” AT THE LOUDWIRE MUSIC AWARDS

The first-ever Loudwire Music Awards-the ultimate Rock ‘N Roll award ceremony and concert-announced today (July 19th) that the GRAMMY Award-winning Rob Halford of Judas Priest, one of rock and metal’s most acclaimed and beloved icons, will be this year’s recipient of the Lemmy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Also today, the event announced a first wave of live performances from some of the most exciting artists in rock and metal, such as: Ice-T’s Body Count, Halestorm, Starset and Power Trip in addition to a special guest performance from Rob Halford as well as others to be announced. Tickets for the rock ‘n’ roll concert event on Tuesday, October 24 at The Novo in downtown Los Angeles are on-sale starting today, July 19th at loudwireawards.com.

The centerpiece of the night, the Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister. Each year, this award will go to an artist who embodies the spirit of Lemmy and pure Rock ‘N Roll. Halford will join Black Sabbath guitarist and fellow heavy metal icon, Tony Iommi-who it was announced last week-will be presented with the Courage Award, which recognizes not only his unparalleled musical output, but his absolute bravery in his battle with cancer. Going forward, these awards will be named the “Lemmy” and “Iommi” respectively and presented to future generations of deserving artists.

“At long last the metal stars are aligned and I’m stoked to attend this year’s Loudwire Awards show,” says Rob Halford of Judas Priest, the legendary singer famed for his powerful and wide-ranging voice. “I’m excited to shout hails with horns up for all of my friends at Loudwire and all the bands and the fans! It’s going to be a hell of a crazy night of good times and major surprises.”

Formed in The Midlands, England, in 1969, the GRAMMY Award-winning heavy metal band Judas Priest has sold close to 50 million albums to date. Frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time, the band’s album British Steel (1980), helped shoot the group to rock superstar status. The group’s pioneering sound, with lead vocalist Rob Halford’s operatic vocal style and the twin guitar sound of Glenn Tipton and KK Downing as well as their legendary costuming (leather and studs), continues to be widely influential in defining the rock and heavy metal genres. The current line-up of Judas Priest consists of Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis.

Ice-T of Body Count states, “Body Count are excited about performing at this amazing event. Loudwire has always greatly supported us and we can’t wait to kick off the show to set the tone right off the bat. It’s metal and hard rock’s premiere award show and we are coming to tear the Novo up. We’ve also got some special surprises up our sleeve, so you don’t wanna miss out. Body Count’s in the house. Let’s do this.”

Fronted by Ice-T, gangster-metal collective Body Count formed in Los Angeles, in 1990. Co-founded by lead vocalist Ice-T and lead guitarist Ernie C out of their mutual interest in heavy metal, Body Count’s musical style derives from the dark, ominous tone of heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath, as well as faster thrash metal bands such as Slayer, as well as hardcore punk. The band’s 1992’s landmark self-titled debut sent politicians, parents and law enforcement officials into a proverbial tailspin when it was released unto the world a quarter-century ago. In 2017, the group released their sixth studio album Bloodlust (Century Media Records) which Rolling Stone described as “one of the most over-the-top metal excursions to date.” The Loudwire Music Awards will mark Body Count’s first Los Angeles-area live performance in over four years.

Lzzy Hale of Halestorm adds, “I’m so looking forward to the Loudwire Awards this year, it’s a Rock N’ Roll family reunion with all our friends there representing the genres that drive both our horns and hearts.”

Grammy-winning hard rock band Halestorm recently released their third EP of cover songs, ReAniMate 3: The CoVeRs eP, produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains, Korn). Their most recent full-length album, Into The Wild Life, debuted in the Top 5 on the SoundScan/Billboard 200 upon its release last year while also entering Billboard’s “Top Hard Rock Albums” tally at #1–both marked the band’s highest chart placement to date. That album is highlighted by the singles, Apocalyptic and Amen, both of which ascended to #1 at rock radio outlets nationwide, as well as the Top 5 Active Rock favorite, I Am The Fire.

Starset is a multi-media, modern rock band that quickly became one of the most successful breakout bands of 2015 when their debut album Transmissions became a mainstay on the radio, sales and streaming charts. Along with multiple hit singles, over 300 million audio streams and nearly one billion YouTube views, their current album Vessels debuted at #11 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart. The album’s first single Monster remained on the mainstream rock radio chart longer than any other song so far this year and is currently the #1 most played song on Sirius XM’s “Octane” in 2017. Look for the band’s new graphic novel being released by Marvel Comics in September.

Hailing from Dallas, Power Trip execute music with raw energy. They’ve trimmed the fat on every reference they pull from–whether that’s Hardcore, Metal or Punk–to make music that actually cuts in 2017. The band has toured the world relentlessly for years. Their musical proficiency, perfect song structure, rich tones, fierce riffs, delivery and collective attitude has seeded them as one of today’s most prolific acts in any astute or heavy genre. Nightmare Logic, Power Trip’s latest and most powerful effort yet was released earlier this year on Southern Lord. Highly anticipated, their sophomore release earned towering marks across the board including critical acclaim from the likes of NPR, The New Yorker and Pitchfork who described their “fist-pumping choruses, ricocheting grooves, and ample charm are so animated that they leave us with something addictive and, well, fun.”

As previously announced, WWE superstar Chris Jericho will serve as host for the event, and Loudwire.com readers will be able to vote in several awards categories, including Album and Song of the Year, beginning on August 15th, 2017.

Rob Halford photo credit: Travis Shinn

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VINNIE MOORE AND GUS G. LOCKED AND LOADED FOR “GUNSLINGERS” TOUR 2017

Guitar wizards Vinnie Moore (UFO) and Gus G. (Firewind, Ozzy Osbourne) will hit the road for some shows together in November and December, 2017. This is Moore’s first solo tour since 2015, and will mark the first time these two powerhouse players have toured together. The show will feature music from both guitarists’ impressive catalogs.

“Gus and I met years back in Greece. I brought him up onstage to jam a couple tunes with me and we had a great energy together and had a blast. I knew that night that I would like to do some shows with him at some point. He’s a very talented guitarist. Am really looking forward to some ‘gunslinging’ with Gus”

Gus comments, “Touring with Vinnie Moore is yet another dream come true for me. His album Mind’s Eye has had a huge impact on me as I consider it somewhat as a shred guitar “bible.” I spent countless hours learning his licks as a teenager. We met and got to jam few years ago and have become good buddies since. I’m looking forward to returning to the US and playing guitar for you & sharing the stage with Vinnie. See you soon.”

Tour dates are as follows:

November 2017:

28 Derry, NH Tupelo Music Hall
30 Cleveland, OH Agora Ballroom

December 2017:

1 Detroit, MI Token Lounge
2 Joliet, IL The Forge
3 Milwaukee, WI Shank Hall
6 Sellersville, PA Sellersville Theater
7 Brooklyn, NY St. Vitus
8 Stanhope, NJ Stanhope House
9 Somerville, MA Once Ballroom

Visit the following for updated info:

vinniemoore.com
gusgofficial.com
facebook.com/Vinnie.Moore.Official
facebook.com/officialgusg

From his first release Mind’s Eye in 1987 through 2015’s Aerial Visions, Vinnie Moore has set the standard for instrumental guitar albums by delivering soulful songs that feature his signature crackling guitar solos along with memorable melodic lines.

Gus G.’s latest album Brand New Revolution was recorded with Jay Ruston (Stone Sour, Anthrax, Steel Panther, etc.) and mixed by Mike Fraser (Metallica, AC/DC, Van Halen, Aerosmith, etc.) and featured various vocalists including Mats Leven (Candlemass), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Jeff Scott Soto (x-Yngwie, TSO), Jacob Bunton (Alder, Lynam).

Brand New Revolution entered the sales charts in his native Greece at # 18, in Japan (International artists chart) at # 44, in Belgium at # 69 (Wallonia) and at # 187 (Flemish), additionally reaching the following results in the USA: #22 (New Artist), #87 (Indie Chart) and #37 (Hard Music). The album is available at the following outlets:

CMDISTRO.com
Amazon
iTunes

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PHOTOGRAPHER MARK WEISS PARTNERS WITH WHYHUNGER TO LAUNCH ONLINE ROCK N’ ROLL PHOTOGRAPHY AUCTION

For the last four decades, rock photographer Mark “Weissguy” Weiss has photographed and toured with some of the most iconic names in rock including Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Aerosmith and Guns N Roses. Weiss approached WhyHunger about partnering on his new photography auction site, RockSceneAuctions.com as a way of giving back. Through the site, music fans will have the opportunity to bid on rock and roll photographs. WhyHunger will receive a percentage of proceeds from the auctions.

The debut auction will launch on RockSceneAuctions.com beginning on July 18th. This particular auction will showcase Weiss’ photography from his early days in the ‘70’s with shots of Led Zeppelin, Jerry Garcia, David Bowie and Mick Jagger along with over a dozen additional quintessential photographs. Future auctions will feature other famed rock photographers.

“My career as a photographer has been a dream come true. I am excited and thankful to be able to use my work to give back by joining forces with a prestigious charity like WhyHunger,” Weiss stated.

“RockSceneAuctions.com is inspired by the pages of Rock Scene Magazine, a monthly publication that captured the Rock-And-Roll lifestyle of the ‘70’s. Each month, RockSceneAuctions.com will present a collection of iconic photographs in an online auction format. The starting bid will be priced at a fraction of the photo’s retail value. Each photo will be signed by the photographer and accompanied by a Certificate Of Authenticity.

“We are excited to partner with Mark Weiss on this new endeavor,” said Hillary Zuckerberg, WhyHunger’s Director of Artists Against Hunger & Poverty. “We celebrate artists like Mark who are committed to supporting WhyHunger’s work to end hunger and poverty and we are proud to welcome him as the newest member of our Artists Against Hunger & Poverty program.”

WhyHunger was founded in 1975 by the late musician and activist Harry Chapin and radio DJ Bill Ayres, so artists have been a part of WhyHunger’s DNA since day one. Tapping into the power of artists to raise funds, increase awareness and help motivate change, WhyHunger has partnered with hundreds of musicians, photographers, chefs and more to use their voices and talent to support the movement to end hunger and to ensure everyone has the right to good, nutritious food. Learn more at whyhunger.org.

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